Saturday dawned warm and beautiful. It was FIRST Robotics day at Summerfest, and we had to corral a couple of high school kids before 9 AM, load a truck with tools, robot and batteries, and drive to the staging area for transport into the grounds along with eleven other teams.
This marks the first time I have ever been to Summerfest before noon. Not too surprising, when the gates don’t open until noon.
We got moved in, and I helped the organizers finish setting up the game field. It was the start of turning into an utter sweatloaf.
The team and the robot were all ready
At the driver station:
We used liberal amounts of sunscreen, but sweated it right the hell off. Wound up with some nicely crisped parts. Those three youngsters and one aged zombie were the drive team, and I wound up carrying the robot on and off field most matches.
We had the robot out on the field for about half the matches. We had some superb outings, often scoring the majority of the points for our alliance. Hell, we even scored a decent number of autonomous goals, and our human player scored a full-court bucket during the endgame! At one point, our alliance even tried to do a three robot balance on one of the middle bridges, although the end robot tipped off and we only managed a dual-balance; keep in mind these are 150 pound industrial devices being remotely operated.
The demo matches were run nearly flawlessly, all the teams had fun and the crowd loved it. At 4:30 we walked back through the park to the staging area, loaded the truck, and drove back to the school: exhausted, burned and pleased with how the robot and the kids performed.
So then, tired as I was, I washed the sweat off and downed a couple of aspirin, slathered on some sunburn lotion, and back down we went. There was music and beer, after all.
Also it was Tony Memmel’s show. Some of you may recall that we had Tony and his wife Lesleigh play at our house during a party last fall. This night, he had expanded his band to a five piece, had a new EP out, and the Cascio stage was filled up with an appreciative crowd.
Tony was recently one of three top prize winners of a contest sponsored by Counting Crows to cover one of their songs. Tony’s version of “Recovering The Satellites” is sublime. And if you check his site, he’s also been ramping up the press and TV appearances. I guess bands should take note; if you want to raise your profile, you probably need to play my house.
The crowd was pretty heavy, and I was tired and irritable, so we made an early night of it. I suspect Heartless Bastards managed OK without me.