Robots Tres


So I got all caught up in the excitement of the robot tournament/match that I completely forgot to finish up what I was discussing about how the meets actually are run.

So after qualifying the teams are ranked one to twenty-four. My daughter’s team qualified in third place, which I thought was pretty awesome. She was kind of all, “whatever” because well they have done it before, so…

After the teams are ranked the top eight teams then can start picking teams that they want to be on an alliance with. I noticed that during the competition several people were following along, each assigned a different robot, very intently. Apparently this data was then processed to give the captains an idea of who the best team to align with would be. Total geekville there, I have to admit, and they should get a gold star or something for their efforts, but even with my untrained eye, I knew which robots were the best, and which robots needed some assistance.

The alliances were really made behind the stage since no one wanted to be embarrassed if someone were to say no – I guess it has happened before. A lot of times, team one will pick team two and so on down the line enabling team one to be matched up against an alliance that has two teams ranked fifteen and sixteen, thus enabling them to make it to the semifinals easier. This is set up for competition yes, but they don’t want anyone to get their feelings hurt. Good lessons for these kids to learn, too bad it isn’t like that in the real world.

My daughter’s team which qualified third was chosen to be in an alliance with the team that qualified first. My daughter’s team can hang their robot, which is worth a lot of points, and others can not. So even if they came in dead last, they probably would have been picked right away just for the hanging.

After the alliances are made the teams then can set up strategy and all that fun stuff. It was a little different at this meet than others because they had three teams on an alliance – again, we don’t want anyone to have hurt feelings. This also meant that during the best of three format for the remainder of the meet, the three teams would need to switch out so that every team in the alliance got a chance to compete for the glory.

First quarterfinal match was probably indicative of a real world situation as the top two teams on my daughter’s alliance, went up against the teams in alliance number eight. Final score was 79-2. The highest score of the day to that point was 42. Domination to the extreme, and then when my daughter’s team took a break and the third team on the alliance participated, they still won, but it was a lot closer.

The only hiccup alliance one had, happened when the driver controls lost connection with the robot because of some faulty wiring. Surprisingly enough, they did not allow them to run that game again, enabling a team to beat them and get their hopes up, while looking for the upset. They also happened to belong to the school hosting the event, but that was just a coincidence. Really it was.

In the finals they finished up the competition with two more matches and the awards came out shortly after that.

I was excited because the girls qualified for the U.S. Nationals, which I thought was a big deal, and state – also a big deal in my book. The girls were all “meh” about it since apparently this was the fifth time that they qualified for these events already.


All in all, I will admit that it was a great time, which really did surprise me, and when I figure it out, I will try to post some video.

Next weekend, we have gymnastics! Can not wait.



Robots Deux


First off, we had to get to the location at 7:30am.

Drivers meeting is at 9:30.

Competition started at 9:45.

Confusion reigns. For me anyway.


That is what a robotics field looks like.


Robots in action.

The field consisted of two teams, which form an alliance, going against another two teams. One team is red and the other is blue. There are three fields which are worth a certain amount of points, no idea, but I will put a link in here somewhere that will explain it. Basically you want all your balls, red or blue, in the zone furthest from the drivers. There are also two, for lack of a better word, buckets that you can either put your small balls into, or put the large ball on top of. In the zone closest to the drivers there are hanging bars that you can also try to get your robot to hang from. Apparently this is a big deal because when a team (my daughter’s) got theirs to hang, the roar of the crowd was pretty awesome.

Currently we are in the middle of a lunch break, which is why I have the time to write this. I have to admit getting caught up a little in the chaos of the moment, especially when team Cobalt is on the field.

Okay back to the competition. The match starts with a fifteen second autonomous competition, where the programmer is driving the robot autonomously. It is interesting seeing how many robots don’t even seem to work during this period. It could be anything from a programming glitch or a battery failure, or just poor programming. Every match, so far, our robot has gotten two red balls over and one small ball in the bucket. Call me impressed. The girl programming the Cobalt robot is a genius, to say the least and is a junior in high school, I think.

After the autonomous round the teams have one minute, forty-five seconds to drive the robot around and get as many points as possible. This is where having a good driver comes in handy. Proud moment my daughter is a good driver, along with her BFF, and they are in eighth grade. I imagine she’ll use that as a reference come this fall when she gets her drivers permit. We’ll see.

Like I said, the morning round is over and round two starts in a little bit 12:30, where they will try to improve their 4-0-0 record with 8 WPs (winning points) and 49 SPs (strength points), which are points that serve as a strength of schedule cans separates the teams that are tied in the win/loss column. Think point differential in soccer. They currently sit in a tie for fourth with a team that has already played five matches to their four.

More in part three…



My daughter is on a robotics team. Pretty awesome, right?

I think so.

So I will now try to share my experiences from my first-ever meet, which means I may sound a bit jumbled and lost.

Go figure.

I have had a son play baseball, which for the levels he went through constituted sitting on hard bleachers or lawn chairs for several hours while the kids learned the trade from parents that think we know how to play the game, and can teach it to our children. I’m not big on sitting on bleachers for long periods of time, so I volunteered to coach, mostly as a base coach and some one that would help warm up the kids arms. Eventually the fun waned for him, or maybe we forgot to sign him up too many times. Anyway, we won a championship, so it wasn’t all too bad.

Son number two didn’t want to play baseball – too boring, I guess. His game was soccer. Now this is a sport that I used to play growing up and I still follow the sport watching mostly the EPL, whenever I can find a game.. The World Cup is a big deal in my house and hopefully the United States will have a championship caliber team this year, because that would be freaking awesome. Anyway, so with son number two he grew up playing soccer and I coached. We had some awesome seasons, and maybe one bad one, a really bad one. Oh well, you can’t win them all. He also delved into gymnastics, and was pretty good at that.

My oldest daughter upped the ante and played basketball, volleyball and softball. When she started playing softball it was like with my oldest son, three hours of fun in the sun watching the girls try to hit, pitch and field. Like with my son, we also would forget to sign her up, but unlike him, she did play it again in high school. In high school the games were at a much quicker pace and lots of fun, although some days were a bit chilly. Volleyball and basketball were two more fast-paced games that I started getting into, heck I even refereed a match when the official referee was late. I learned a lot about volleyball since my two oldest daughters both played it. Volleyball and basketball were played indoors at least, unlike track and field which is a long, cold experience. At least it was while my middle daughter participated in it.

Currently it looks like sons three and four are really into gymnastics, which is pretty cool. The meets are indoors and, so far, aren’t too long. I have to admit that I really got into it though.

I think I will end this post here as the activity level increased suddenly, to more than just a couple of high schoolers playing with the microphones. Back later.



I live in the Midwest.

We have winter here, every year. Some years are relatively mild, while others are like this year – brutally cold. Okay, that’s a lie, every year it gets brutally cold for about a week, then it is back to the thirties and life goes on under the boring, dull and grey skies.

This year, it’s got a little extra cold going for it. As I type this it is currently seven below zero with a wind chill of, let’s call it 40 below.

That is cold, my friends. Dangerously cold.

Now imagine putting together high winds, and light snow (which is the snow you get when it snows on days below freezing), and then try to drive in it. I do not recommend it in the slightest.

A couple of co-workers of mine and I were driving to southern Illinois – also know as the normal part of Illinois without the evil Chicago influence – and we had the pleasure of experiencing the wind, snow and blowing snow for five hours of our four hour trip. The first hour wasn’t too bad, as the snow and wind hadn’t picked up yet.

Yes, the trip is supposed to take four hours, I got here in just over six. My co-workers got here today, after I had to backtrack and retrieve them from the firehouse where they were riding out the storm after their vehicle went off road. Needless to say, they had a way more entertaining evening than I did, in the company of strangers, while I had the thrill of staying in a hotel with no TV, internet or phone and the, let’s say  50 MPH winds, trying to knock the building over.

So glad I went with the pig whose house was made of brick.

They got to experience the life of a group of survivors banding together, for the night in this case, after a tragic experience of being blown, slid, swept off the road – that you shouldn’t have been traveling on in the first place.

These guys are Marines – no longer active, but still Marines. They adapted and they overcame all the odds and had fun while doing it. Even if there were some odd people that stared at them and accused them of being Chicago cops, or that there was an older gentlemen on oxygen with them, and his family and dog.

They adapted to sleeping in a room that was kept just above freezing, actually it was probably closer to fifty, but when you don’t have a thermometer…

They adapted so well that wake up call for them was around 9 – slackers.

They adapted so well that they suffered through steak and eggs for breakfast – I myself had the much better breakfast of week old cinnamon rolls heated up in the microwave, along with some orange juice from a machine – pretty sure it was orange juice at least.

They even managed to look cheerful when I walked in the door to pick them up.

All in all it was a good day for travel, by dogsled maybe.


The Beginning


This is the beginning of Trust of the Innocent my new blog where I take the time, hopefully daily, to spew forth various thoughts and the like here on these pages where I can later reflect upon them when I am an old man and am curious as to what I was like as a middle-aged man.

That being said, it must be said that I have blogged before, and eventually I will share the link to that blog, but for now I want this to be its own separate entity where I can be relatively anonymous, which is a joke especially since I think this will be linking to Facebook and Twitter and some of you may have been curious enough to venture over to find out what exactly this is about.

Well, this is about, um, I’m really not sure yet. Part of me wants to do politics (scary), while another part wants it to be memoir, while a third part seems to want this to be about magic and Disney, or maybe just the magic of Disney since I really don’t know any magic. A fourth part is looking at this as being an avenue for getting the writing going again, because I feel like that part of my life has stagnated and I really don’t want it to be stagnant. So that means original masterpieces by yours truly.

Quit laughing, I’m serious.

I am also trying to master the WordPress way of blogging, and to see if I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Blogger version and plan to keep up with my blog over there as well – maybe even a little cross posting will be in order, who knows. As for now, like I said, they will remain separate parts of the whole me.

Maybe I should start another six blogs and then there will be eight parts of myself, wouldn’t that be awesome?

Probably not.


I think I have exhausted myself at this point, besides I need to use the restroom and start watching some football, (go Colts and Eagles).

Fear not though, I will return.