Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to be a relationship JEDI!

I know it's weird of me to say but most churches creep me out. Not sure why I've only had 1 bad experience at a church. So believe me when I say that the event we did last night at Journey Christian Church was a blast! And I wasn't creeped out at all!

Before I go into about the event, I must say how impressed I was with this church. I think my Aunt Pam and Uncle Harold would love this church. When you first pull up to this place it's absolutely huge and gorgeous. Most people think of churches as triangular with stained glass windows and polished hard wooden pews. Not this one. The architecture of the building is just quite amusing. I can't even describe it and now I'm so sorry I didn't take a picture of it. I for see a road trip out there just to get a picture of it. When you first walk in there is a huge lobby with some chairs and tables for people to gather at. I didn't see the entire place but I was very impressed with the auditorium where they had the event and the chapel. Both had a very nice layout no such thing as a bad seat in either room. Lots of nice audio and visual equipment as well. I was most impressed with the baptism area off on the side of the chapel. (By this point I was impressed with the building but who knew I'd be so impressed with the children from it's congregation. I will honestly admit I was prepared for the worst and so glad I was wrong.)

Now normally I guess one should find out more about a place before they do an event but I have to admit I had no clue about Journey and must admit that they are not what I would have expected. The name of the event was, "How to be a relationship JEDI". It's part of their youth program called Reverb.  Although we didn't go into the auditorium during the meeting it was fun to hear the kids inside be all excited. I believe it was either Amie or Matt that told me that it was about building relationships and that tonights meeting was about serving others. I can't help but say that is a tough stance for a church to take. Although Aime said it best when she said, "that doing the right thing is not always easy". In today's society you see so many of our youth throw their lives away with wreckless decisions. Not to mention so many parents are to busy to be parents and talk to their children about building relationships. Although I don't have children of my own I've met so many wonderful kids over the years and have to admit that it breaks my heart when I see them going for a relationship that B9, from lost in space would scream, "Danger!". So if you live in the Orlando area and are looking for a church that has family values on their agenda I highly recommend checking them out. I also have to say I really enjoyed my conversation with Aime and learned from her and the many inquisitive children what a great place this was. I also have to admit I really enjoyed watching the videos they've done on relationships.

I have to admit that tying in Star Wars as a theme for the night was a great idea. The kids were all so well behaved and the middle schoolers had a million questions. Sadly some I couldn't even answer. At sometimes  the kids couldn't tell which were they more excited about the Storm Troopers, Commander Rex or the Astromech Units. I couldn't believe how much fun I had talking with everyone that I forgot to take pictures. (Which is so unlike me! Well, I did take a few pictures.)

I have to say one of my favorite parts of the night was when I took R7's head off. I remember as a child how being smart and being intrigued about science and electronics was frowned on by my peers. So I really got a kick out of the swarm of kids and adult who came over to look.

For more information on Journey Christian Church you can check out their main site or find them on Facebook. For more info on their youth program Reverb you can visit their main site or find them on Facebook as well.

As a side note I'd like to say it's always a pleasure to work with the 501st! I'd also like to thank Jim Quinlan for let Matt know about the group here in FL. Thanks so much Matt for having us it was a blast. If you guys ever have a need for us just ask. Also want to say thanks to all the kids for being so well behaved. You make your parents proud.

The many faces of R2

Many people know R2 when they see him but few know that he's more than just some famous droid from Star Wars. Many don't know about all the great things he does when he's not busy hang out with fans at the many conventions held around the world.

Recently another individual who owns an R2-D2 made an egotistical comment about how they built their droid for charity purposes and invited an R2 Builder to join them or do charity events too. Well, it's been a few days since I read those comments and it infuriated me beyond belief. Especially since not only does that individual do a lot of charity events with their droid but so do so many other R2 builders. I know you guys don't go boasting about your accomplishments and how awesome you are for doing events for this charity or that but I felt that you guys deserve recognition. The video above of Victor Franco's build of his R2 shows tons of charity events that he's attended with R2.

We all know how wordy I get when I go on a tangent but I decided to see what I could find as to what the droids have been up to. There are so many stories of how droids will ruin our lives and take over the worlds but with so many kind and caring droids like R2-KT it's hard to think that machines will bring our doom. In the long run I think it's their compassion to inspire and bring joy to the lives of children and adults that will help us live a better life. It's saying something when even a toy company is compelled to make an action figure of this much beloved droid.

Oh and who can forget about when Paul accompanied R2 at the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. They say that laughter makes you live longer as well as there is no better medicine for sick children than the laughter and smiles that come from seeing a "real live R2 unit". Paul has accompanied R2 on many other similar benefits and just viewing the laughter and smiles on Paul's blog from these events is so heart warming one heart might burst!

Now granted all these stories were mostly in the US but I  have 1 more I'd like to mention that is from the United Kingdom. Mark Enwright's statement in an interview with the BBC about sums up the best part of building the droids. He said, "Building these kinds of robots is very self-indulgent, so getting the opportunity to raise money for charities using these builds is very satisfying". Mark you are so right!

Well, I feel better now and just one last thing to say to you guys.... Your droids are awesome and inspiring. Thank you for being so generous to donate your time for so many great and wonderful causes. I look forward to seeing what you guys do next. :D

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wizard World's Miami Comic Con

The convention was a blast I had so much fun! To bad gas prices sky rocketed that week.

The convention took place at (MACC) Miami Airport Convention Center. I don't know if Megacon does a red carpet event but I thought it was a cute idea. Especially since everyone waiting to get in gets to see the stars, cosplay and fan groups as well. I think it gives them a taste of what they can find inside. I really loved Urban Ronin's Stunt Team's red carpet entrance. Granted they almost ran me over but I think that's what made it so much more fun. There's nothing like a good front seat to fight.

One of the other things I liked about the red carpet entrance was the boys got to go out there with their droids. I think we were a big hit not just on the carpet but on the floor as well. I probably say this all the time but there is nothing like seeing kids & kids with 18 yrs or more experience face's light up at the site of the droids. Each one of our droids was different and had their own thing.

I know one thing none of us will forget is this cute girl from the picture on the left. That girl was so cute and loved the droids so much. She couldn't believe their were 2 R2-D2's. When she did the Leia scene everyone had to take pictures of her. I don't think Todd will ever forget her reaction the first time he played the Leia message for her. Her eyes got as big as saucers, clenched her hands to each side of her face with a look of amazement. I also don't think either of us will forget Brimstone and the Borderhounds comic book. They signed it and gave it to R2. There is a picture of it on Paulina Splechta's Photography blog.

I don't think Mark will forget all the kids dancing to his and Fletch's R2-D2's Cantina song. People ooh'd and aah'd over Blake's R2-X2. They really enjoy being able to see the inner workings of the droid. Mark and I were both amazed at how many kids knew the different droids. I thought it was a great idea of Mark to have brought photo from Celebration V. It was a major hit. Can you believe people are still talking about Miyamoto's R2.

One of my favorite parts of the convention was that people thought it was cool that my R7 played other songs besides Astromech sounds. Although the absolute best part was getting a hug from Ernie Hudson. It's nice to meet people who are really nice. My worst moment at the con was being told my droid was the gay droid because of an upside down purple triangle. Grrr it just irritated me. No offense but what happen to the earing thing or rainbows? Although that is silly cause I like rainbows too! I did feel a little bad about being agitated by the comment but oh well. Best complement we received was from one of the vendors. They said that the droids really made the convention a lot of fun. A lot of the vendors will also be at Megacon so they are now looking forward to that even more.

Some lessons I've learned not just from this convention but other conventions I've done is make sure your foot motors are on a separate switch. We did have an incident where the throttle on their droid's foot motors was not in the neutral position and took off and hit my droid. No damage done and I was glad it was my droid who isn't finished instead of one of the guys. Another important lesson is to have relays for your foot motors so you don't blow the speed control.

My only regret is that the main site is down. Luckily we have a local forum cause apparently there is a demand for builders in Miami. Some even stated the only reason they didn't start was cause they didn't know of any others in that area. Sadly it does seem we are lacking builders in southern Florida and well, Orlando, Tampa and Brandon are all long trips from Miami.

Any way if you missed out on going or want to see more pictures here's some links and videos that were not previously mentioned.

In the news
Soul of Miami: Photographs of Wizard World Comic Con on 2/26/2011
Miami NewsTimes: Wizard World Comic Con at Miami Airport Convention Center
Comic Con Celebrities Who Love and Hate Us
Recap: Wizard World presents first-ever Miami Comic Con bringing celebrities, collectibles, and costumed attendees to South Florida
YouTube & other Videos