Friday
Jun142013

In Search of a World Record

Dale had always been fascinated by the Guinness World Records.  As far back as he could remember, his parents had given him a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records every year on his birthday. He would read it from cover to cover and when he was done, he would read it again. Then when his friends came over to play, they would all cluster around and review the various world records.

But where others may have enjoyed checking out the records, Dale dreamed of the day when he could set his own world record and appear in the pages of the Guinness Book.  As a teenager in rural Minnesota, Dale’s first attempt at Guinness Record fame was growing giant vegetables.  It started after he visited the Giant Vegetable Growers of Ontario in Canada.  After seeing tomatoes bigger than his head and carrots as long as the width of the display tables, Dale knew he could do this.

But the world of growing vegetables was fraught with disappointments.  Growing a giant vegetable was no easy feat.  You had to spend every waking minute and almost skip out on sleeping entirely to tend the giant veggie.  Dale wasn’t ready for this type of commitment and as a result his attempts to grow the great, giant pumpkin of all time yielded, let’s just say, less than satisfactory results. Well it was no results but who’s counting.

This led Dale to occupy himself with Guinness records that didn’t depend on the intervention of Mother Nature or God.  A guy in India held the record for the fastest game of Operation – 21.97 seconds. John Cassidy held the record for the fastest time to create a balloon dog sculpture at 6.5 seconds. The record for the longest swimming pool is 3,324 feet while the longest pool toy is 5,250 feet.  Dale deduced that the longest pool toy couldn’t fit in the longest swimming pool.

It occurred to Dale that the playing field was finally leveled.  Possibilities were now endless.  Being somewhat, unusually passionate, Dale decided that he would erect a building on his property, dedicated solely to the pursuit of a Guinness World Record.  In this building he would tinker and finally create something worthy of a Guinness record.  Of course this was possible because of the economical and flexible post frame buildings from Sherman.  All that was left was brainstorming.

Dale checked out the possibilities. Should he one-up the largest paintbrush?  What about the largest buffet?  The record for the world’s largest cup of soft drink was just topped in China at about a thousand gallons.  The longest baguette was not in France but in Vietnam.  Dale was tempted by the idea of the largest cupcake but then again here was something else that was up to nature at some level.  Largest shopping bag?  Most people applying moisturizer?  Good ideas all.  But there had to be something original left to do.  And in a flash, it came to him.  World’s largest pole building.  Had that been done yet? He put that on the list for the Sherman Pole Building design team.

Friday
Oct192012

All Things Minimal

Long after Hope had grown up, married and had her own daughters, she kept her vintage Barbie Doll collection hidden away. While Barbie’s inventor believed that little girls just wanted to be big girls, Hope knew that among the numerous women who kept their Barbies long into their adulthood, the big girls really wanted to retain a little bit of their childhood too.

Then one day Hope read about a photographer who had created a series of photographs of Nigerian wedding customs. The man and his wife had used Barbie dolls as their models. They scoured the internet for months looking for everything for the photo shoot. From doll furniture to fabrics for the clothes to items for the scenery and even the Barbie doll models, all had been carefully acquired for the photo shoot.

The resulting collection of photos depicted scenes from a Nigerian wedding, which was indeed a complicated affair. There were many detailed, elaborate scenes of the families meeting and greeting, meals being shared, and even of the groom and his family laying on the ground before the bride’s parents as part of their tradition.

Soon after reading about it on Facebook, Hope was inspired to get out her own Barbie Doll collection. She envisioned creating a similar project, except not the Nigerian wedding. Hers would be a timeline sort of project with scenes from the decades when her Barbie Dolls were manufactured. While the Nigerian wedding was a single project, hers would be on a much bigger scale covering several decades along with a variety of scenes from each.

As is usually the case with such a large project, Hope was soon trying to figure out how and where she would create, store and setup her photography projects. This is precisely the situation where a Sherman Pole Building would come in handy. A Sherman Pole Building could fill all of Hope’s requirements and soon she too could be posting her photography projects on Facebook.

Friday
Oct192012

The Way to Build a Boat

It was on a trip to England that Grayson became interested in something called “punting.” Back home in Minnesota, his friends had a great time laughing at the idea of a punt being something that doesn’t relate to football.  In England he had learned that a punt was a boat.  Specifically, it is a small flat-bottomed boat with neither a bow nor a stern and without a keel, an oar or a motor.  Technically it did have a back and a front but one was not distinguishable from the other.

The punt as a concept was difficult for most people.  Could you call it a boat if it didn’t have the critical components of other boats?  And how do you ever move it along if there is no motor and no oar? Grayson’s friends joked that a punt must be the type of boat that is powered by a swimmer or several swimmers pushing it along.  Others suggested that a punt must be a boat that you kick, which was a completely ridiculous idea but the boys had fun with it none the less.

In reality the punt is pushed along shallow waterways with a pole.  In England punting is a popular leisure activity that is mainly done on shallow rivers. Grayson had first learned of the concept on a visit to Shakespeare’s home at Stratford-on-Avon.  Grayson had a tendency to think outside the box anyway and as such was fascinated with the idea of these punts that had been around since the 1860s.  He was even more impressed to learn that college students at Cambridge participated in punting and that there is the Cambridge University Punting Society.

 It wasn’t long before Grayson had convinced his best friends that maybe they would all like to build a punt or two for themselves.  Grayson’s dad being a practical type suggested that they might instead wish to build a sailboat.  Why a sailboat?  Well, because it was something you could actually use. And there as they checked into the possibilities for building a sailboat was the suggestion that a good boat design for a beginner would be, “The Elegant Punt.”

As Grayson’s mother wisely pointed out, the first step to building a sailboat or a punt, elegant or shabby, was to acquire the space that would be an appropriate storage facility and also a weatherproof place to build it.  All of this meant they had to start with a call to Sherman Pole Buildings.