Gar 3.0

This was the pinnacle of Gar’s evolution. It was also the last time he went outside. When the wings were redesigned they could become entangled in the horns, so the horns were removed from the prop.

The linear actuators inside pulled strings to deploy wings, work the jaw, and incline the head. By the end of Halloween night, all of those control lines had snapped. The only things that still worked were the turning of the head and the eye lights.


In the middle picture above, you can see Gar sitting in the corner of the garage next to the chest freezer. After Halloween, I had Gar in that very position in the garage with his PLC plugged in to keep the program in active memory until I could back it up to the laptop.

One night our daughters went out into the garage to get some ice cream. Gar was just sitting there there, silently guarding the precious contents of the freezer. The girls stopped at the sight of the gargoyle…he always made them uneasy. He was dark and silent so they opened the freezer and began rummaging around to get to their prize. Suddenly, Julia thought she heard something come from the direction of the gargoyle. It sounded like a motor turning. “Did that thing just move?” Christine stood up with two ice cream bars in hand and turned to look at Gar just as the two red eyes lit up and the head began rotating back and forth!!!!

Meanwhile back in the house, Becky and I were waiting for the girls to come back, when the screaming started. Not a startled scream. Not a surprised scream. It was an ear-splitting, continuous shriek of sheer terror as the girls both tried pushing past and over each other in a mad attempt to squeeze through the door, and escape the suddenly living prop! “I don’t have to outrun the gargoyle. I just have to outrun you.”

It took a few minutes to intercept them and calm them down enough to figure out what had happened. I looked at the clock on the wall, and burst out laughing. It was a couple minutes past the dinner hour. But from the PLC’s perspective it was midnight GMT, and it had just gone through a soft-reset cycle. Every day at midnight, the PLC runs a self-diagnostic, testing each of the actuators and the digital outputs to make sure they still work. The girls were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and had witnessed the gargoyle equivalent of turning over in its sleep.

(Incidentally, this is the real reason Gar never came out again. The girls were dead-set against letting me plug him back in)