Saturday, November 3, 2007

~ the piñata will not build itself

For those of you interested in the progress of my piñata - here's the straight word

After hearing an extraordinary number of horror stories, I decided to blaze my own trail to organised children's party violence. So many unlucky revelers, old and young, have been deeply frustrated by indestructible piñatae.

First, the children try. The line cycles twice, thrice. Then the adults lend a hand. Then better weapons are chosen. Then the piñata falls to the ground and an exasperated mob gathers around the pig, donkey, love-heart - or, in ancient times, an image of the rain god Tlaloc - and beat the living bejesus out of it.

Yet even then there may be no satisfaction.

I warn you now: commercially acquired piñatae are a risk. And over-enthusiastic home papier-mâché artists can, unbeknownst to themselves, be paving the way for disappointment. I, however, am building an exemplar of the ancient Aztec art.

From the outset, we thought a single-balloon form was too common, and decided to make it a double. But what could double spheres represent? Someone suggested a pair of tits. The kids would love it, I know - but there will be unknown parents at the party and people can be embarrassed by the mildest things. If we moved to a tri-spherical form, we could have an insect - head/thorax/abdomen - but to me this seemed like overkill, [and too much work.] Then came the suggestion of a spider. They do have a thorax, but it's sort of integrated with the abdomen, and so the idea was adopted - until the question of legs came into play ...

To cut an interminable story short, Polly's piñata will resemble a bullant from a parallel universe.

To establish the correct level of whacking-resistance, we have brought the spheres into the house - so they do not acquire moisture from the atmosphere and become soft. If this does not work, I may use a little vinegar in order to degrade the paper. [An idea borrowed from the cryptex in The Da Vinci Code, [if it works for papyrus, it should work for newspaper, non?]]

We narrowly avoided the trap of putting unwrapped sweets inside. [When they fall, they fall on germy ground.] Today, Jenny brought home an alluring selection of lollies - and an abundant one. There are few things worse, I would guess, than a miserly piñata.

The party will be in the park a few doors down. Several weeks ago we identified a perfect branch from which to hang the piñata. Last week, the council came and chopped it off. There is another useable branch, but it borders a six foot drop into thick blackberries. On this point we still need help. I shall integrate a new harness into the design, as the weight of confectionary has changed the centre of gravity, but there is still nothing to hang it from. Ideas? Anyone? If ever you feel like commenting, now is the time.

The final issue is the thwacker. Mick Lewis suggested a long pole with a sharpened scythe on the end, [but then he also advocated the use of 2-stroke petrol]. It needs to be something kids can use. A cricket bat...? I have one of those things you open/close high windows with... Someone else suggested the legs be detachable thwackers... a great design idea, but the image of six over-stimulated five year olds thronging around something and beating it to a pulp suggests a level of sophistication which I'd like to think our civilisation has transcended.

Anyway, here is a photo of what I have achieved so far. In a week, you will see these same elements transformed into a bona fide wonder.

[this post dedicated to Marc Raszewski]

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Anonymous said...

This sounds like a work of art Sam, it so sweet you're putting so much effort into something that's going to be smashed to smithereens, but I know it's worth it for little Polly. I was thinking for the wacking stick you could maybe find a heavy-duty fairy-wand, it looks child friendly but the spikes of the star could prick open the bullant. It doesn't fit into the "bullant from outerspace" theme, but I'm sure you could fix that!! Just a suggestion anyway. Good luck and I'd love to see the finished "thing" when you're done.
Love Amanda

Dangerous Meredith said...

it does indeed sound like a wondrous pinata in the making.

suggestion? don't bother hanging it at all. bowl it at the kids like in cannonball or thunderdome or whatever that game's called.

or get them to play soccer with it. didn't one of those ancient central american civilisations play a game a bit like lacrosse with the head of a human sacrifice or captured enemy soldier or something? just get all those little kids to kick the spider around until it explodes. keeping with the tradition then.

and thank you for explaining the mystery of my ruly / unruly image

Spoon said...

You've done well to go for a potentially hostile non-cutesy theme for the piñata. A few years ago we had a home-mde job in the shape of Pixar's Nemo (which was a big hit at the time. Was also easy to make with one balloon).

We didn't realise the error of our ways until, after everyone had had a good solid bash at it, and it had spilled it's sweet innards over our rumpus room floor, one of the kids said "I think we've killed Nemo."

I like to think that we didn't scar prep-aged kids emotionally on any long term basis, but I can't guarantee that.

lily was here said...

Its a very brave person who constructs a piñata for his child and agrees to hang around for the bashing! Its looking great though, a futuristic original, yet sticking to the traditional theme of an animal. A Kelloggs special "not too heavy, not too light". Does the park have one of those monkey-bar or swing set-ups you could hang the piñata from? Would save you having to apply first-aid for blackberry cuts. I'd recommend a cricket bat but ONE only. Stay well clear of wild swingers - maybe even helmets could be in order..for you, not the kids. I liked the bowling suggestion tho' kicking an ant while its down, maybe not :)
If by nightfall there is still no result, then the 2-stroke petrol could be an option, no? Could be quite spectacular! :) We expect photos Sam. And the breast design, well the mind boggles, the possibilities endless, but you could leave that for a different kind of theme night.

Sam Sejavka said...

Lily, you are right on the ball. There are some swings and we are thinking about using. Also we're making the head a time capsule with a message from me and Jenny - to be cracked at a later age. That way, if we have a pinata at every party we can accumulate time capsules, one for every year. Unfortunately, there are a couple of extremely violent young boys present, who will want to beat the bullant to a pulp. They, naturally, will have to be restrained.

Marc said...

Sam I like where you are going. I suggest you look at two or more points of suspension and perhaps a degree of tension in the system, that way when the ant finally gives up it wil be rent apart and distribute it sugary goodness accross a wide area. The downside is that you could end up with two seperate pinatas very close to the ground which is not really that exciting.. you may need to consider building in a fault line.
As for whakers, it may not be strictly in the spirit of the pinata but there is something timeless about ants and kids with magnifying glasses.
Good Luck cheers marc

Sam Sejavka said...

Thanks Marc

Well, it's nearly done actually and as to whether it resembles a bullant, well... I'm calling it the rain god Tlaloc... Single point of suspension. nylon string ... hope it holds ... but they're only five year olds ... your bursting idea is a great one, I'll save it till next year. And if there's any trouble destroying this one, I'll definitely build in a fault line next time round