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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Florida Orchestra John Williams concert one

For a guy who does NOT like crowds I did pretty good last night at Tampa Bay performing arts center. Maneuvering R2 through the crowds of MegaCon was a little different than the congestion and crowds at the Performing Arts center. For instance I don't remember any people with walkers or many people over 70 at MegaCon. It just adds another degree of watchfulness to wrangling R2. Because you don't want to startle someone who is very wobbly on their feet to begin with. So I was very careful last night and didn't have any problems.

The one issue that makes it even more exciting in a crowded situation is someone inevitably figures out you're controlling the droid and wants to chat. You're trying to be polite but you also have to watch people interacting with the droid. And you have to be very careful you don't run someones foot over or worse when turning the droid when someone wants a picture. When in doubt the droid just sits until I have a clean view and a safe area around him to maneuver.

Controlling him with my hand on the controller in the leather bag really works good. I can't count the number of times people around me were talking out loud how they thought the droid was software controlled because they didn't know who was controlling it. I guess that 75% of the people think he's running on his own. Some think there's a small person inside. And the clever ones figure it out. It was the same at MegaCon.

Without stereotyping people, without a doubt the crowd was "stiffer" last night than the uninhibited free thinker teenagers / 20's from MegaCon. Of course a lot of people purchased tickets to John Williams because they love movies and it's a fun concert. So there were a lot of smiles again last night which is why I enjoy wrangling the droid in public. A lot of smiles and pictures being taken.

This was the first official time that I used my droid "escape pod" and the Spitz lift crane on my truck. And I have to say it performed flawlessly. I was able to load/unload the droid into my truck by myself in minutes with a professional look. The one thing I need to be very careful about is to check the cotter pins in the crane assembly. They have a habit of partially slipping out in between applications. That could spell disaster if I miss one and the crane collapses in the middle of a lift. So I will have to remember to not rush and check the entire crane once over between each use.

On the way home it was dark and I had R2 looking out the window of his escape pod. And I left him on so the lights were running. Needless to say he attracted some attention.

Oh and one other bit of excitement was when I first unloaded R2 at the venue. I fired him up and everything worked except the dome wouldn't turn. Immediately I started thinking the worse and was ready to change fuses and check the wiring. But then I stepped back and started looking at obvious problems first which was wise. It turned out that I forgot to attach the spring holding the dome motor tension to the frame. A simple fix of 2 minutes.

And finally wouldn't you know it. The walkway from the dropoff area was cobblestone. Rough bumpy cobblestone. Fortunately R2 was able to handle it but I don't like the jarring and bumping unless it's absolutely necessary. So I found a smooth section by the ledge/dropoff of 6" (talk about stress). If I wandered on this trek R2 would have fallen into the garden area but all went well.

Tonight .... we're going to a different venue with the Florida Orchestra. The St. Petersburg Mahaffey theatre. A whole different set of circumstances. Hopefully I'll be able to repair my sound system antenna by then. Last night I had to have R2 close to me to activate the sound. I *think* the antenna may be missing or ???? on the sound system. Having automatic mode on the sound system is nice. I drove him by me and set it on automatic and then he could drive around for 15 minutes in auto mode and chatter.

It's great being a "nerd".

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