Monday, November 22, 2010

A Virtual Geek Festival

We give thanks for all things Geek, in this season of peace, joy, love, and Comic-Con registration aggravation. Okay, we can do without the Comic-Con ticket sales glitch, but we still hold Geekness in high esteem.

Geoff moved the Green Goose, our beloved first home, to make room for holiday parade float construction... and for the first time since last spring, when we were in Las Vegas for FRC, I saw our spirited robotics paint job. Oops! Someone forgot to clean all the windows. Maybe we should just leave it. Now that we are fully immersed in building a robotic arm float to represent Team Paradox in the parade, we may as well keep our colors flying!

Yes, it's Thumbs-up and full steam ahead on construction. Geoff is mentoring, and William, Alex, Eli, James, and Suki have been designing and building.

On the first day we had some enthusiastic marketing representatives here too, cutting cardboard for the initial vision of how the float should look. I wonder if Lonnie, Sammay, Emma, Taylor, Lauren, and Annie would recognize the float now?

Generally speaking, the robotics team is made up of two sides: Marketing and Build. They are not entirely separate, because they must work with and for each other, but club members tend to gravitate to either marketing or build. Some members can do it all. Suki. Marketing muse, artist. Suki, does the build team know how well you handle power tools?

I have to admit I have already lost count of the hours and days, the nights, of work that have gone in to designing and constructing this float. The initial idea was some decorations and lights on a trailer bed... but it has definitely grown.

James, Alex, and Suki are placing the wheels on the base of the robotic arm. It's basically a giant lazy Susan. After the parade, I am going to get them to convert it in to a dining table. It will be awesome. Trust me.

Robotics is fun.
I am not just saying that as a supportive mom, a pumped-up science loving marketing mentor... I am saying it as a witness. I see great students getting together in their spare time to share ideas, make plans, work out problems, design moving parts, and build something from those ideas and plans. I hear power tools and laughter, discussion, debate, resolution, and more power tools. I smell sawdust.

The core of the arm is foam, and for added stability they have wrapped the foam in plywood. And that is the end of my description. Geoff mentors build.

I am resuming my role as semi-marketing-mothering-tormentor, which means I make food runs, give sewing lessons, write, photograph, counsel, and say things like, "Do we have a budget?" "How can the float best represent this year's theme?" "Why not invite other teams from Team San Diego, for good outreach?" And... "Who's hungry?" Maria keeps spirits up, and matches people with their favorite Winnie the Pooh character in cookie form.

While William has not been an official team member in the past, he has always participated. Now he is fully on board, an indispensable builder and designer. Without William, I never could have been as successfully and whole heartedly immersed in robotics as I have been, and it thrills me to see him enjoying his own role in this family obsession activity. Robotics is fun, especially when you can hang out with creative, hardworking, intelligent, supportive people, which is like always.

All of this is fun, outreach, team building stuff, which is a great warm up for Build Season. Build Season begins in January, with FIRST Kick-Off on January 8th! From that date the robotics club will be all about preparing for regional competitions, and Finals in St Louis, Missouri.

Hey, if you dream it, design it, and build it you can be FIRST.


mtnchild said...

Yeah!!! Go Team Paradox!!!!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you Yvette!
You've got spirit!

Anna Banana said...

so good, so cool. hmmm, maybe I need to go the parade!

judy in ky said...

I love all that geekiness... intelligence, creativity and cooperation.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

And I love all my friends that appreciate the intelligence, creativity, and cooperation, and the coolness! Yesterday there were twelve... 12! robotics students over here, working on the float. It was epic!

The GURU Channel said...

Go Team Paradox! Love the action shots. I'm now inspired to build a workshop/patio in my backyard!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Go robotics!
Go Team Robokong!
Thank you for visiting Chickenblog, Rick, and I hope we see you in San Diego.