All-Con 2009

All-Con 2009

Cylons and other robots converged on Dallas, Texas this week for the annual All-Con science fiction convention. I joined other members of the Dallas Personal Robotics Group to do demonstrations of our robots. We ran line-following races with the 3pi robots. We hosted a “robot petting zoo” for kids to get hands on with real robots.

We got to hang out with Aaron Douglas, who plays a robot on the Battlestar Galactica remake. We saw lots of robots among the local cosplayers including a really fun Starscream Transformer. There were also some nice static, life-size replicas of hollywood robots created by local builder Jerry Chevalier.

And when we weren’t demonstrating robots we got to have fun with the derby girls of Assassination City and the Lollie Bombs burlesque girls, some of whom turned out to be robot geeks likes us.

Check out the mini-album above or go visit the full-size pics in my All-Con 2009 Flickr album to see all the cool stuff.

A Few Fun Things

It’s way past time to catch up my readers on what we’ve been up to lately. Since my last post we went to the La Reunion winner announcement party for their Make Space for Art architecture contest. While there we heard a really cool music ensemble that called themselves the Escalator Maintenance Society. In addition to a cello and bass, they played an amplified mechanical typewriter and a child’s toy piano. It was some fun, minimalist-sounding music. After the event, I ran into the manager of Club DaDa outside and she said the group would be playing there soon. We’ll probably go hear them again if we can work it out.

We also went to the Dallas House of Blues for the first time to hear They Might be Giants and Oppenheimer play. I’d previously been to the Las Vegas HoB and spent a lot of time in the Foundation Room there hanging out with bizarre local characters. We weren’t lucky enough to know anyone with Foundation Room access here but still had a good time. It’s an interesting place and a pretty good mid-sized music venue. We got the cheap tickets for the standing-only area near the stage but it turned out there are a couple of bars near the back and we managed to snag some bar stools there. It was further away from the stage but the view wasn’t too bad. As is frequently the case, the audio was mixed so that the instruments were 10 times louder than the vocals so you couldn’t make out any words. For some bands that’s not a problem but TMbG’s music is largely about the humor of the lyrics so it was a bit disappointing.

Last weekend, I went to All-Con 2008. The Dallas Personal Robotics Group was invited to display and do some demos so I went along to take photos. This was the first science fiction convention I’ve been to in many years and it was a lot of fun. There were all sorts of robots to be seen. Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol of Battlestar Galactica) was one of the guests, and I suppose we can count his character as a robot too. There was a fun demo by the Assassination City roller derby girls, a local group that does flat-track roller derby. I was also surprised to see the Lollie Bombs there. The Lollie Bombs are a Deep Ellum burlesque troop and this was the first time I’d seen them. Also a lot of fun. I met lots of other interesting people and posted a flickr set of All-Con photos. I stayed out way too late and ended up coming down with a cold the following week, probably from some alien bug I caught at All-Con.