Friday, December 15, 2023

KABC-TV Spark of Love Toy Drive - 2023

Today R2 participated in KABC-TV's Spark of Love toy drive. We were there for the 3rd shift of the day at the Los Cerritos Center mall, from a little before 3pm until a little after 6pm. (The first shift started before 5am!)

R2 and I were joined by Walter Marconi and R2-LB, along with several members of the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion and Mandalorian Mercs.

Families in the area bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate, and they get to interact and take pictures with the Star Wars characters. During the newscast, there are regular reports from the event that showcase the Star Wars characters and other volunteers, including companies that donate a lot of toys, and local fire and police department representatives.

Some evidence:

R2 checked in on the progress. So far, so good!

The event ended up filling 11 buses with toys. There were a few other identical events prior to this one, so lots of kids will be getting gifts.

Toward the end of the event, all of the volunteers gathered for a group shot for the final live report of the evening. Walter was capturing the live feed to the station from the TV truck, and our KABC-TV cameraman/friend/501st member Edgar made sure to the turn the camera to the support team as he walked by. I'm usually not this blurry in real life.

This is one of my favorite events because it helps bring some holiday happiness to those who might not otherwise get a gift, and it has immediate feedback to those watching the newscast, as they can come meet R2 and all the other characters. I hope to be back next year.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Hollywood Christmas Parade - 2023

Tonight R2 and I participated in the 2023 Hollywood Christmas Parade, in Hollywood, CA.

We were joined by Michael and Kyle McMaster with their droid, LX-R5 (from Jedi Temple Challenge on, Gordon Tarpley as C-3PO, and William Miyamoto, who was driving his Transformers Bumblebee car in the parade.

I arrived a little before 1pm (they close the streets early) for the 6pm parade. I quickly met up with the others, and we joined William at his car.

We also checked out a number of cool cars. There would be dozens of Star Cars participating, including this cool Mach 5 (not to mention the Lamborghini adjacent to it).

While wandering Hollywood Boulevard, I found my star on the Walk of Fame.

I also passed our starting line.

We then walked over to Johnny Rockets for lunch at Hollywood Ovation, and then went back to check in with the other Star Wars clubs (501st Legion, Rebel Legion, Mandalorian Mercs and more), to figure out our lineup within the Star Wars character groups. After a few discussions, we ended up deciding that the droids would be leading the Star Wars clubs(!). That was a first for us. We left the discussion as the characters were getting ready in the parking structure.

Meanwhile, William returned to his car to get ready, while we returned to our vehicles around 5pm to start unloading the droids, and Gordon started suiting up as C-3PO.

Finally, Michael, Gordon and I made our way to the front edge of the red carpet, where we stood by for the Star Wars clubs to arrive. The clubs were 18th in line, although I think we might have gotten moved up a few spots. My former coworker Xin, and Mark Chu-Lin took a couple of photos of us.

In the meantime, we watched the parade get started. That meant we got to see William drive by.

About 10 minutes later, right behind Might Mouse we saw the Rebel Legion, which was our cue to get ready to jump in.

Once the Rebel Legion advanced to the red carpet, we lined up right in front of them. A parade official gave us the go-ahead, and off we went. I was able to snag a couple of photos online (thank you to those photographers).

We managed to get through the parade in one piece, with no mishaps. LX-R5 has a slower gear ratio, so he trailed us a bit, but the important thing is that we all got through it successfully. We exited the parade as planned, at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, and then we made our way to the gross alley that leads back to the parking structure. On our way, we encountered some delighted tourists that got some photos.

We took one last picture before loading droids back in the car and helping Gordon get out of the suit.

Afterwards, we grabbed some food at Mel's Diner across Highland Avenue while the parade continued. Since the streets would still be closed off, we weren't in much of a rush. After about an hour of hanging out, we were able to wrap up and head home.

Another successful parade is in the books, and we all had a good time. The full photoset is here.

Edit: And through the magic of post-dating, here are some pics from the broadcast on Friday, December 15, 2023 on the CW network.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Finished Working on Replacing Dome Drive Wheel

Today I finished up installing the 110mm outer diameter dome drive wheel on droid #1.

I decided to redrill the hole through the center of the wheel, as I was not satisfied with the hole I drilled yesterday.

I then pinned the wheel to the shaft adapter on the dome drive, and reinstalled the dome drive on the droid in preparation for testing. Note that I did not need to redrill the hole in the shaft adapter, I was able to use the existing hole.

And, I'm satisfied with how this worked out. The dome rotation is a bit faster, so I think I'm happy (for now).

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Started Working on Replacing Dome Drive Wheel

I've decided that I'd like to have droid #1's dome spin a little bit faster, so I am replacing the 88mm outer diameter inline skate wheel with a 110mm outer diameter wheel. In this way, each rotation of the motor shaft will spin the dome about 25% faster.

I removed the dome drive from the droid. I needed to use some needle nose pliers to pull the segment of rod that pins the wheel to the shaft adapter.

Next, it was time to drill a hole in the new wheel for the segment of rod that will secure it to the shaft adapter.

Mmm... close, but it could be better.

I ran out of time for today, but tomorrow I plan to try again and nail the center point of the wheel.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Halloween 2023

Once again, tonight R2 joined me in the garage to hand out candy for Halloween trick-or-treaters.

Lots of kids showed up, starting around 6:00pm.

In all, I'd say I had about 60 trick-or-treaters come by, and I wrapped up around 8pm. There were still a few pieces of candy left in the bowl, but I can state with a high degree of confidence that they will find a good home.