Saturday, August 05, 2017

Hillsides Visit 2017

Today, R2 returned to Hillsides Children's Group Home, where he participated with dozens of members of various Star Wars clubs, to bring happiness to kids who have had a tough childhood. Per policy with these things, no pictures with kids were allowed.

As he's done each year, R2 hid under an outdoor stairway, as the characters changed into costume and prepared for their grand entrance.



Quite a large group assembled behind the building where the characters had changed, in order to make their surprise appearance.




The kids got to meet the characters, and most of the characters signed their autograph books. The kids also got patches. Next, the Saber Guild put on their presentation, where Jedi fight Sith, and ultimately, Vader himself. The kids help use the Force to chase Vader away.



And finally, we wrapped with group photo.



It's a great event for a great cause, and I hope R2 and I are part of it again next year.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Comicon 2017

This weekend R2 and I attended San Diego Comicon at the San Diego convention center, along with many of my R2 Builder and Mouse Droid Builder friends. I was scheduled to moderate two panels. The first was on Mouse Droid building, on Friday from 6:00pm-7:00pm. The second was on R2 building, on Sunday from 12:00pm-1:00pm.



I loaded up the car and headed out to meet up with Michael McMaster and Gordon Tarpley. Once we got to San Diego, we grabbed a quick lunch at In-n-Out, and did the requisite goofing around.





Upon our arrival at the convention center, we plunged into the sea of people.



We immediately took in the sights and displays.






At 6:00pm we gave our Mouse Droid Builders panel. Kevin Holme demonstrated his "Mousezilla" and it was well received.




Afterward the guys decided to do a demolition derby, but my mouse droid timidly sat out. (I preferred not to destroy him until after he's done being built.)



Saturday was a free day, so we roamed the convention some more, including things that were going on just outside the convention center. Adam Savage presided over the presentation of Justice League-themed wheelchairs to young children, so they could roam the convention in style.



The Hasbro booth had some neat Star Wars dioramas on display.



The Weta booth had a neat Gollum model on display.



Speaking of Gollum, Andy Serkis was signing nearby.



The Prop Store had amazing props on display, many of them selling for tens of thousands of dollars.




We wrapped up the day with Gordon dressing up as C-3PO, joining Thomas' R2-D2.



On Sunday, we met up early to load the droids into the U-Haul that Thomas arranged, in order to get them to the convention center loading dock.



Our first stop was the tribute to Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker. Joe Font represented the R2 Builders on stage, and at the panel's conclusion we all gathered our droids to the front of the room for a photo op.




At noon, it was time for our R2 Builders panel! Mike and William started it off with an entertaining BB-8 competition that Mike's wife Amy captured.



The panel went great. There were lots of laughs and everyone had a good time.




And that's a wrap! We loaded the truck back up and returned out our rendezvous point to unload and head back home.



It was a great weekend, I always enjoy spending time with my building friends, and I hope we get to do it again.

The full photoset is here.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Star Wars Night at Dodger Stadium - 2017

Tonight R2 returned to Dodger Stadium along with many members of other Star Wars clubs for their annual Star Wars Night.



My friend of many years Manny and I arrived around 3:45pm and I unloaded R2.



It didn't take long before people started taking pictures.



I wasn't expecting a visit from Tommy Lasorda this year as we have had in years past, but as luck would have it, Tommy walked by and we spoke for a minute.



The characters changed in the Hall of Fame conference room.



Soon we were on our way to our stations. In R2's case, that was on the field!




R2 and the characters participated in the pre-game fan trivia contest that was shown on the scoreboard.




The characters also helped wrap up the on-fieled pre-game entertainment.



As I was driving R2 by the Dodgers dugout, I noticed outfielder Yasiel Puig on the top step. I asked Dodgers photographer Jon Soohoo if it would be possible to get a picture with him, and Jon had Yasiel pose with R2. I got pics and Jon posted a pic on the official Dodgers blog!



It turned out that Star Wars Episode 8 director Rian Johnson was throwing out the first pitch, so he mingled amongst the characters. Cool!





Finally, the characters joined Rian for the traditional, "It's time for Dodgers baseball!" announcement.



And with that, it was game time, so we hustled off the field and onto the little elevator that gets R2 up and down to the field level.




The Dodgers gave us excellent seats, and we all watched the game, which the Dodgers won, 4-1! R2's record is now 7-2!



After the game, it was fireworks set to Star Wars music.



We let the crowd file out for a while before attempting to get R2 back to the Droidmobile. Even then, we got stopped for plenty of pictures.



It was another great night, and I hope to do it again next year.



The full photoset is here. Thank you to Manny for many of the pictures.