Monday, September 22, 2008

Cub Scout Pack 798 Meeting, Placentia

R2-D2 appeared at a Star Wars themed Pack meeting for Cub Scout Pack 798 at Golden Elementary School in Placentia. The boys & their families enjoyed hearing about how R2-D2 was built & the types of activities he goes to. We took off R2's head & back panel so they could look inside at his wires and inner workings, as well as see all the celebrity autographs on the back panel. Michael encouraged the young boys to be curious about how things work and learn to repair things that break, such as their toys. That type of curiousity & ingenuity leads to developing the engineering skills necessary to build cool things like R2-D2. It's rewarding to be able to potentially inspire young minds.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

R2-LA VI

The 6th annual gathering of R2 Builders was held at our home again this year. About 50 people attended the 12-hour event, while more than 100 online viewers watched the live webcast via 3 cameras stationed around the house & yard. Viewers were able to type questions and comments that appeared on laptops and the big screen here. Attendees could reply by either speaking into the camera with audio, or by typing into one of the laptops. It was crazy! One of the viewers even created an online trivia contest complete with prizes, to add to the online interest. We moved droids out to the back patio this year, where we had about a dozen operational units driving around. Plus more parts indoors. It's amazing how much this event grows every year!

R2-LA wouldn't be complete without some type of shenanigans orchestrated by Mike McMaster. A bunch of the guys surprised Michael with T-shirts that said, "Who's Mike Senna?" and had a funny picture of his face. Builders were encouraged to bring their childhood Star Wars artwork. Two women made R2-D2 cakes during the day. A baby wore an R2-D2 onesie. There was even an R2-D2 pachinko machine and an automated C3PO. The event was kicked off with a pizza dinner Friday night, and wrapped up with brunch on Sunday. A very full & exhausting weekend with a fun group of people!



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Legoland Star Wars Weekend 2008

R2-D2 and the ewoks made another appearance at Legoland's annual Star Wars Weekend. The ewoks always draw a big crowd at the front entrance as guests enter the park in the morning hours. We take them out one at a time and trade off so we don't leave a line of people disappointed that the ewoks had to leave for a water break. They overheat in about 20 minutes, even with their air cooling systems & ice packs. Other children of 501st members also showed up in costume as jawas, mini bounty hunters and troopers. Park guests are invited to wear costumes as well, for a costume contest. A Droid Hunt event is conducted throughout the park, where costumed characters wander during the weekend. This was our third time at this event since 2005.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

John Williams Concert, Pasadena

We were honored to meet world-famous composer and conductor John Williams at a benefit concert for the Orchestras of Pasadena (Pops, Symphony & Youth). Outside the Ambassador Auditorium, R2-D2 welcomed guests to the pre-concert black tie cocktail reception. At the invitation-only event, John Williams conducted the symphony in playing his most famous film scores, including Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Schindler's List, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Memoirs of a Geisha, and the Olympic Fanfare & Theme. After enjoying the fabulous concert from our balcony seats, we were able to meet John Williams in his dressing room backstage. He autographed R2's inner panel, along with numerous other celebrity autographs. Described as Hollywood's greatest living composer, John Williams has composed music and served as music director for more than 100 films, and has received numerous Academy Awards, Emmy Awards and Grammys. He was Music Director of the Boston Pops Orchestra for 14 years.