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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Florida Orchetra John Williams concert two

Yesterday morning I removed R2's Dome and battery to access the sound board. The sound board and remote control board are on a separate panel mounted in the front of my droid in front of the battery. To remove the board you only have to pull a quick disconnect wire and then unscrew the speaker wires. The panel is held in place by plastic ties. They work very well.

Upon removing the board I quickly determined the problem with the sound system. The antenna to the remote is a 6 inch wire soldered to the board. That wire was missing which confirmed my suspicion. The fix was easy enough and I made some modifications to insure the antenna wire was better supported. I soldered a longer antenna/wire into a T formation for better reception. Now part of the antenna/wire extends into the skirt/front ankle area and another part snakes up to the top of the panel.

I have to say that last night was one of those really sweet moments in life. Yvonne and I had great fun interacting with the people at Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was a much better location than Tampa and R2 had a large beautiful carpeted lobby to play in. The employees and the patrons just loved R2 and he was a hit again. There was a food drive so we put a couple bags of food on R2's utility "arms" so he could deliver the food to the charity. There were some good publicity shots taken. The orchestra employees and volunteers were just great last night. Yvonne stopped by the theatre yesterday (she works only a few blocks away) to make sure everyone knew we were coming and to get a lay of the land for parking and unloading. That helped pave the way. Even though the Orchestra people informed the venue, it's a good idea to communicate with the people who you will actually be interacting with. Often the higher ups communicate but not everyone is infomed. So when we got there last night they were ready for us.

By hanging out in the shadows with my controller hidden it really brings out the magic in R2. Especially with kids. You can see it in their eyes. When you turn R2 to look at them and the eye of R2 follows them and interacts with them, you can see that R2 is real to them. And it shows in their eyes. It's hard to explain but it's just cool. This even happens for adults but on a different level. Adults know it's not a real droid but when you start interacting with them, you can see the imagination kicking in and for a minute or two they forget and are temporarily kids again. I just have to say that Yvonne and I had a ton of fun.

Even loading R2 up was nice. I drove R2 out to the loading area and all the parking lot attendants were coming in with their mini light sabers (parking wands). R2 hung out with them for awhile taking pictures with a beautiful florida night breeze and the strong sweet scent of Jasmine as Jasmine was in bloom all around us. A perfect moment. And again when we loaded R2 into his box, we left him on and looking out his window for the drive home. We turned the sound on too and occasionally we could hear R2 chattering in his box from the cab of my pickup.

Tonight we'll be in Clearwater at Ruth Eckerd hall with the Orchestra (only a few miles from home). And tonight we're getting tickets to the show so after entertaining in the lobby we'll stash R2 away someplace while we watch the performance. I better go out and put R2 on a charger before I forget.

R2 Stretching his legs before the doors open

R2 Dropping off food for the food drive

Everyone wants their picture taken with R2


Calvin Thomas said...

Congrads on your gig!!!!

That lift is nice and I like the way you have a center eyelet for the lifting.
How did you make the eyelet area strong enough to support the weight?
That's what I need to change on my box, The straps can be a real pain.
Did you see the small Dc winch at Harbor Freight?
I was thinking of adding it to my lift, But you have a nice strap winch. Much better than the cable winch on mine.

Jim Quinlan said...

Hi Calvin,
My box is constructed with 2x4's that are reinforced with the metal brackets all over the place. That's how I was able to support it in the center.

We're worn out from 3 days of wrangling R2 and ready for another break ! But we had a lot of fun and are fortunate to fall into that gig.

Tell Brenda 'hi' for us.

Brenda's blog said...

Wow!!! looks like you all had a great time, We are going with the 501st here on Wednesday for our real first outing here. it will be at the Public Library Downtown for the art walk, if the rain does not rain us out. I will post some pics on my Blog Thursday, And R2 sure looked GREAT!!!!!


Mike D. said...

VERY WELL DONE!!! It looks like R2 was a huge hit with the crowd!

Hopefully this will turn into more opportunities for you guys, he looks great and you did a nice job with him interacting with the crowd.

Jim Quinlan said...

Thanks for the comments Mike and Brenda. Brenda, I hope that library event on Wednesday with the 501st turns out well. Bring an umbrella for R2 : ) just in case.

Yep, interacting with the crowd is mucho fun Mike.