Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 in Review

Now that I've had a few days to reflect on this latest lap round the fiery ball of death at the center of our solar system, it's time to write up a quick summary.

In short: that was one hell of a ride.

2015 started with me having just returned from another trip to a third-world country to visit with the Lady Shawnon.  As a result, January found me back home, flat broke, and in between major projects.  I was digging through past contacts looking to drum up some business and then, as often happens, after a month of little to do, I suddenly had three major projects dropped on me simultaneously.  Sadly, all three are still covered under non-disclosure agreements.  I'll post details on those as soon as I can.

Of course, just before all of that mess, I'd started preparing for Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.  What started as "hey, let's go to this convention in costume," quickly ballooned into, "let's make something like 25 costumes for the entire crew and some of their friends."  This started a massive effort to coordinate builds that really would have made herding mountain lions look sensible and orderly by comparison.  Here's a snapshot of just some of the pieces in progress at a brief, calm moment at the end of one of the days:


Somewhere in the middle of that madness, I had to clear everything out of the shop and dust off some finished costumes because the UK-edition of WIRED magazine was sending a photographer to do a photoshoot.  I invited some friends over and we had a lot of fun playing dress-up:


In the end, we made nineteen sets of Death Watch Mandalorian armor.  Here's a few of them together:

Not pictured: at least four more suits we made that didn't show up for the group photos.

There were also a handful of Sith Acolytes and the Lady Shawnon's Shae Vizla costume:

Not pictured: three other Sith Acolyte costumes that never even came out of the box.

Still, there was a lot of running around and we ended up having fun despite the fact that half of each day was spent scrambling to get people in and out of costume and wrapping up last-minute touches on various outfits.  Along the way I made a few new friends and got a pretty great photo of me after I was killed by Roxy the Rancor:


When we got home, it was time to take stock of the massive disaster that had been left behind in the shop:
OHMYGAWDWHATAMESS!!!

Thanks to Trevor and Shawnon, after a solid day of dragging things out, putting stuff away, and hauling trash off to the dump, things were finally back to a usable state.  I can't remember the last time I'd had so much open workbench to use:


Of course, that also meant that it was time to get focused on paying projects again.  One day I'll be able to talk about those.  But not just now.  Suffice it to say, in no time at all the shop was a disaster again:
20150812_114604

After that massive burst of building stuff, the next big thing on the schedule was the Bay Area Maker Faire.  Once again, I rounded up the whole crew and set up my usual display:


Once the gates opened, I was pretty steadily swamped with folks checking out all of the bits and pieces that were on display:


The next week, I was on board the SSS Compass Rose enroute to the Ancient Mariner's Regatta.  Once again, the crew did an amazing job and we ended up posing for a quirky group portrait:


Days later I put the finishing touches on the grand prize trophy for the Proving Grounds EVOLVE tournament:
Completed Illuminated Revolving Trophy

Then I started breaking ground on the tallest thing I've ever built:
20150709_143116

Which was met with a significant amount of approval once it was finished:
Installed

Shortly after I wrapped that up, Shawnon was back in town:
Jurassic T-shirt Club

Having finished her three and a half years of veterinary school in the Caribbean, she and I were able to enjoy a bit of free time.  Somewhere in there we took the dogs to the beach:
Beach Trip

Bain seemed to enjoy it most of all:
Beach Trip 2

Shawnon also kept me company in the workshop for a couple of days:
Flametrooper Test Fitting

At some point during that break, we took Leeloo to a birthday party where there weren't near enough balloons to achieve liftoff:
Dejected Dog Fails to Lift Off

A few days later, we set out on the open road:
2015 road trip 003

Which was terrifying:
Iowa

But after a few leisurely days of driving and visiting friends across the country, we arrived safely in Ithaca, New York:
Arrival in Ithaca

That's where the Lady Shawnon got to spend her clinical year at the Cornell University Veterinary Hospital:
New Scrubs

Days later, I flew back to California:
My Ride

Where the puptards were pretty happy to see me:
Dogs on the Boat

At that point, there was some room in my schedule for a few hobby projects, so I started making things from the upcoming Star Wars movie:
Phasma Helmet Prototype Test Fit 1

When October rolled around, I was happy to be able to spend a day aboard the Sea Scout Ship Compass Rose during Fleet Week:
Airshow from the Flying Bridge

November and the beginning of December were a mad rush of scrambling to finish a few costumes to wear to the premier of Episode VII:
Fiberglass Armor Layup

Sadly, I didn't get them done in time.  But I did get a set of parts off to a friend of mine who managed to wear hers to the actual red carpet premier in Hollywood:
Ingrid Moon as Phasma at Premiere

What I did get to do was fly back to Ithaca and spend Christmas and New Years with the Lady Shawnon in the midst of snowy northern winter wonderland.

So as usual, the year passed with highs and lows, goods and bads, and the end result was that most of us survived.  So that's okay.

Stay tuned for much madness to come in 2016...



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