Monday, June 25, 2012

Robots lurching around awkwardly

Russ really earned the geek award this year. I mean, I knew he was a nerd when I married him... his email address was closetnerd@home.com back in the day... but this year he took it to a whole new level. His co-worker convinced him to enter an autonomous vehicle competition, and the object was to create a vehicle that could go around a building without human intervention... in other words, a robot.

Now I know you've all heard a lot about this robot, and I know I've heard more about robotics than I ever cared to... and finally, at long last... HERE IT IS!!



Not much to look at, right? It's pretty much a jalopy! Sorry, Russ... you gotta admit it's true :)

This little robot has been the object of Russ' preoccupation these past few months, and we even postponed our trip to Oregon so that we could travel to Boulder, Colorado, to watch him race. The things we do for love!

Here he is in the pit before the race, making final adjustments.



Gentlemen... uh, push your "GO" buttons!



At least I know there are geekier geeks out there ;)



And honestly, I was really proud of him when his car made three of the four turns around the building. Most of the cars didn't make it that far! He didn't finish, but he was satisfied with his performance. He put a whole lot of effort into that car, and even I could appreciate how nicely he assembled it all together.

Here is a video of his car making the first turn.



I was ready to capture video of his car coming around the final turn, but when it made a curb check, I thought it was all over. To my surprise, it recovered and took off again, so I turned the camera back on just in time to get footage of it speeding straight into the pit!



At the end of the day, all the vehicles were allowed to make one final run together. Team Rusty drove straight into a camera tripod.



We had so much fun. The races were very entertaining... cars going haywire and crashing into walls, dumpsters, stools, each other, and even people! Some never left the starting line, some went around in circles looking confused, and one pushed a barrel into the water. Just when we thought the last heat was finished, this one car came cruising around the corner after having gotten lost in the public street and then finding its way back onto the course... disqualified for taking too long, but funny!



Oregon can wait!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's fun to stay at the...

Triangle Y YMCA camp!

This Memorial Day weekend, we went to YMCA family camp in Tucson with our dear friends and neighbors, the Barths.

As soon as we got there, it was pony time!!

Our first activity for the afternoon was high ropes. Never done this before... scary! I told the man holding my rope that I was a good contributor to society because I was raising five kids. Okay, sir? Do not let go!

There was quite a breeze this day, which made standing at the top of this wobbly pole even more terrifying. It took all I had to let go with one hand for a split second so I could wave. Do I look confident?

Zoom out... yikes!

Just so you know, my legs were trembling and my heart was racing... this is me thinking, "Please don't die!"

Halfway done!

They told me it's easier if you just run across these ones... yeah, right!

I'm holding onto that rope so tightly... you don't even know. Dude at the end, please stop stepping on this bridge and making it shake!

I made it!

Ready to zip.

Weeeeee! This part was NOTHING compared to the ordeal I had just gone through!

The next thing we did was tie-dye shirts at arts-n-crafts. The girls were more interested in performing on the stage than dying the shirts.

Later, we did archery.

Wow, Kallie... you go, girl!

Lookin' like a pro...

This was the first time I can ever remember shooting an actual bow and arrow... luckily, I am a Zelda junkie, so all I had to do was imagine myself in the game... haha!

Okay, I completely missed with the first two arrows. I cannot tell a lie. I kept going too far to the left, so the instructor moved the target over in jest, but it worked! I shot five more arrows, moving in a spiral pattern around the edges of the target until I hit the bullseye!! Proof! I had to quit after that so that my legacy could live on.

At night, it was time to gather in the chapel for camp songs.

It was unusually chilly for the time of year.

Each age group got to go up and do a song.

Even little Brando got to join in. They loved it!

The next day, our first activity was exploring the Peppersauce caves.
Russ and I did the high adventure and climbed down this rusty old ladder to the subterranean lake (why can't I just say underground?).

This picture makes me laugh because Russ looks like a stump.

This was how we had to enter and exit the cave. That helmet really came in handy right about then.

That afternoon, Russ got his chance at the high ropes. Of course, he heard that the other guy in our group went "the hard way," so he had to do it, too.

Ready, set...

And he's off! Literally!

Nice recovery.

All right, he's back on track. Nervous wife can calm down.

That swing is really small...

And he's off again! Okay, the other guy didn't have this problem... what's up with that, Russ?

And another recovery. At least we didn't have to get the rescue team up there.

Made it!

This part was cake.

Ready to zip.

Smooth finish. As I was leaving with the kids, we heard this lady behind us talking to her daughter who had gone "the easy way," and she asked her, "Did you see that man struggling to get across? I think you were smart to go the way you did." Haha!

Next it was back to the stables for more pony rides. Here is Kallie with our next door neighbor, who is the same age.

And beautiful Paige.

Our last activity for the day was panning for gold.

This was no tourist trap. We actually had to get some sediment from the creek and try to find gold. It was frustrating for the kids, so they pretty much gave up, but I persevered until I found one big enough to keep... and it was tiny. We kept hearing people celebrating when they found a "nugget"... HA! What I found could only be described as a grain... almost a speck... but I was proud.

If you remember from my Louisiana posts, Kallie loves to catch critters. Poor moth... we convinced her to free it rather than bring it home. This is what happens when you have no real pets.

Except for the churros and the s'mores, eating was a big part of the fun. It was Brandon's favorite activity.

On the last night, each family did some sort of skit, and we joined our neighbors in their Snow White play. Here is the climax... poor Snow White!

The next morning, another moth almost got caught.

Time to pack up, but still having fun!

Our family in front of the camp with our cool tie-dye shirts. I couldn't convince Russ to make his until the second day, so his wasn't ready in time for the picture. Darn.

Exhaustion.