Monday, November 30, 2015

Star Wars Visit to CHOC

Today R2 made a special visit to Childrens Hospital Orange County that was organized by Lucasfilm, to help spread some Star Wars cheer to the patients. We were joined by members of the 501st and Rebel Legion.

As usual with these visits, pictures with patients is not permitted, so I don't have much to share.

We started off in a broadcast studio that the hospital has on-site. It even has a green screen for us to goof around with.

R2 and I have been in the studio before, but never with our special guest, Mark Hamill!!

Mark joined us in the studio for about 30 minutes to talk Star Wars and answer questions. R2 was stationed next to Mark and occasionally beeped a comment here and there.

After the interview, Mark was kind enough to pose with R2 and me, and sign R2's back panel.

Next, we all went to a couple activity rooms that were set up for the patients. Mark signed pictures and talked to the kids. We were also joined by Star Wars Rebels voice cast member Steve Blum. I don't have any pictures of the visits due to privacy concerns, but the kids got to choose from lots of toys and clothing, and got to play Star Wars characters with Disney Interactive gaming, and get photos and such.

It was a great day for everyone involved (not the least of which, me), and I was honored to be a part of the afternoon at CHOC.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hollywood Christmas Parade 2015

Tonight R5 took part in the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade. I say R5 instead of R2 because I was joined by Roy Powers and his wife with his R2-D2, so I decided to dress my droid as R5-D4 to add a little variety to the parade.

The parade starts on Hollywood Boulevard, in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theater and the El Capitan Theater. We parked in a structure just off of Hollywood Boulevard and joined members of the 501st and Rebel Legion to go over logistics.

Roy, his wife Marie and I grabbed lunch at a nearby food court, where we got a bird's eye view of the start of the parade route. The first entire city block worth of street was covered in red carpet. I was happy about that, as it would help smooth out bumps.

The droids were only to drive the first block of the parade, and then we were to exit to a VIP tent area to take in the rest of the parade from the sidelines, which was fine with me. We did a quick rehearsal to make sure the carpet would be okay, and it was. My droid is in there somewhere.

Getting close to parade time! The Goodyear blimp is in place, and last minute preparations are made.

Bands, floats, and the Star Wars clubs lined up down the block. However, the droids stayed near the starting line, as the plan was for them to be injected into the parade between the 501st and Rebel Legion, when they finally got to the red carpet.

Around 8:00pm the parade started, and bands, floats and cars made their way along the parade route.

A few short minute later, the 501st arrived, and it was time for us to roll!

And off we go!

We drove the route for our one city block, and then we exited to the VIP tent area, and parked. Of course it didn't take long for people to start taking pictures with the droids.

We had better-than-front-row seats, we were still on the red carpet, and were able to watch the rest of the parade from this outstanding vantage point.

Another fun fact, we were facing the El Capitan Theater, where the world premiere of The Force Awakens is scheduled on December 14, 2015. That will be the center of the Star Wars universe soon.

This was the first time I've driven a droid in a parade (vs. having him on a trailer), and it worked out well for the short distance we drove. Maybe we'll do it again next year.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Comikaze 2015 - Day 3

Today was the third and final day of Comikaze 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

I always wanted a picture with a Bith TIE Pilot. Now I have one.

I always wanted a strange selfie with Michael McMaster. Now I have one.

At 10:00am the doors opened, and we were busy again.

R2 devotion of the more permanent kind.

Over at the main stage, Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood held a panel about their work in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

They were followed by William Shatner.

Seen around the con:

Meanwhile, back at the booth, it was still busy until that blessed hour of 4:00pm, show closing.

Alas, all good things must end, and that was a wrap. We took down our banners and started packing up.

It was another great convention, and the best part is always spending time with my droid building buddies. I look forward to doing it again in the not-too-distant future.