Friday, December 20, 2013

KABC-TV Spark of Love Toy Drive

Right after R2 wrapped up visiting the kids at CHOC, he headed on over to the Honda Center nearby, where the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL play.

Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC-TV was sponsoring the Spark of Love Toy Drive, that was broadcast throughout the day. This is a pretty major station in the US.

No sooner did Mike and I arrive with our robots, than they appeared live on the local news to all of Southern California. Look closely at the pic below, and you can see cameraman Edgar shooting the droids as the news went to a commercial break.

Star Wars characters were in appearance from before sunrise until after sunset, to help encourage viewers to come on down, donate a toy, and get some pictures with them.

Besides viewers, dozens of companies and organizations donated lots of toys. There must have been over 100 brand new bikes alone that were donated.

The toys were all placed aboard public transportation buses. You won't believe how many buses were filled by the time the event ended. (Stay tuned, that info is forthcoming.)

The Ducks Power Players (I call them the "Duckettes") were on hand to help with the cause.

Miss California 2013 Mabelynn Capeluj was on hand as well. (Recall that R2 met Miss California 2012 at an event earlier this month. He's on a roll.)

KABC broadcaster Garth Kemp was the man in front of the camera, filing several live reports per hour, encouraging people to donate. At one point, R2 got to talk on camera. I may be able to get some video of that soon, but in the meantime, here's the not-so-great picture I got.

[Edit: 12/21/2013:] And here is some video.

Orange County Firefighters helped unload toys from delivery trucks all day.

Cameraman Edgar was great at keeping us informed of when we would be going on the air, and managing all sorts of other details of the event.

By the end of the event, over 16 large buses were filled with toys! That's an incredible number of toys! I would hope any nearby child in a situation where a toy cannot be provided at home will receive at least one from today's effort. Maybe even one of the dozen or so that I brought. I hope they like Star Wars!

There should be a lot more happy kids Christmas morning through the efforts of the toy drive. Well done to everyone involved today and each day they've done this drive.

CHOC Winter Visit 2013

Today R2 went out to Childrens Hospital Orange County for his regularly scheduled visit to help cheer up the young patients. Complete with Santa hat.

In fact, there were a lot of Santa hats, as R2 was joined by WALL•E and Mike and Amy Senna, who were all wearing Santa Hats as well. Even the little roach riding along on WALL•E was wearing a tiny Santa hat, although I neglected to get a picture of it.

We especially liked the decorations on this door. The signage read, "Reindeer Stable," and "Do Not Feed The Reindeer." Inside the room, it was decorated amazingly, including "snow" made of cotton balls hanging from strings on the ceiling. I wish I could have taken a picture, but it's the ol' patient privacy issue.

As always, we roamed (escorted) from floor to floor and room to room.

It was a great visit as always. We may not be back for a little while, as they have a flu embargo for visitors that runs through the first few months of the new year, but we'll return as soon as possible.

R2's work wasn't quite done, as he headed off to his next event, not far away in Anaheim.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cut Center Foot Door Openings for Droid #2

Time to get back to work on the aluminum foot shells for droid #2, at least for a little bit. Today, it was cutting the side doors out for the center foot shell.

I traced where the door is supposed to go, and then marked parallel lines about 1/8" inset from the door outline, and used that as the place to cut. This way, the door will have something to rest upon.

Naturally, I used the Dremel with the cutoff wheel attachment.

Getting there.

There really isn't any need to cut the curved corners at the bottom, so I just took a shortcut.

I finished the cuts with a hacksaw blade.

All done, for now at least. I filed and sanded the edges smooth.

I may need to remove a little more material toward the center of the top edge of one side, to allow the ankle bolt to slide in and out of its hole. I'll deal with that if and when the time comes.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Radiothon Benefiting the Homeless and Hungry

For the second time in less than a week, I woke up before 4:30am to have R2 help with a benefit for those in need. Today, it was a Radiothon for local radio station KFI, as they raised funds and collected food for Caterina's Club. Caterina's Club is an organization that provides 300 nutritious meals every night, and helps families in transient living situations establish a more stable residence. The event was held at the White House restaurant, in Anaheim, CA.

This is what 5:30am looks like in Anaheim, CA. Very similar to what 6:00am looked like in Valencia the other day.

R2 and I were joined by Saber Guild members Rob Estrada, Michele Headley, Sal & Liz Perales and Andrew Wood. They brought 500 pounds(!) of pasta and sauce to donate toward the cause.

We were there to help promote the benefit broadcast. Talk show host Bill Handel repeatedly mentioned to the listeners to come on down to donate and meet the characters. I especially appreciated it when he said my R2 was "absolutely perfect" on the air. :)

Many folks (guessing mostly retirees) sat in on the broadcast in a large banquet room.

R2 got some love from Miss California 2012, Leah Cecil.

Newsman Gary Hoffmann had some fun dancing with R2 and the characters.

After the show we took a few pictures with host Bill Handel, and then I had to get my butt in to work.

My next event on the schedule has a start time of 2:00pm. I think I'll sleep until noon that day.

The full photoset is here.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Christmas Event for Homeless Children & The Shelter for Domestic Violence

Today I got up bright and early (4:00am) for a roughly 75-mile drive to Valencia, CA, for Combat Radio's Christmas Event For Homeless Children and The Shelter For Domestic Violence charity event. This was held at the Salt Creek Grill restaurant. Joining me and R2-D2 were Chris Romines and R2-A1, Paul Thompson and R5-D1, and Michael McMaster and WALL•E. Several other Star Wars costumers and other costumers joined in the event as well.

It was a very cold and drizzly day. This is what 6:00am looks like in Valencia, CA.

Besides serving a hearty meal to those in need, dozens of autographed memorabilia were being auctioned to patrons to help raise money for the cause. (The liquor in the background was not up for auction.)

The Marines were also there collecting toys for Toys-4-Tots. I contributed about 30 unopened Star Wars action figures to the collection.

Ethan Dettenmaier from Combat Radio puts this event together each year, and of course Santa is a guest of honor.

While R2 was hanging out in the relative warmth of the restaurant, the other two Star Wars droids were entertaining the line in the cold and wet weather.

At 8:00am they opened the doors, and hundred of kids and their families came in.

It was a good event for a good cause, and it's always good to get together with droid-building buddies.