More Robotic Mayhem!
Robot battling mania is sweeping the nation! In less than ten hours after posting Tuesday's update, I received hundreds of e-mails telling me how smart I am and what a fantastic idea my robot battle was. However, I soon sobered up and realized they were actually hate mail telling me how stupid I am. No surprise there, but what was shocking was that one of the e-mails was from the actual driver of Team Beatty Hammond, the winner of this year's illustrious FIRST robot-battling competition! Wow!
Hello there. While I appreciate your "sense of humor" I am deeply offended by your article entitled "Hooray, More Sissy Robots!" FIRST was created to inspire high school students to become involved in the world of science and technology, namely engineering. As for the other half of the article concerning the national champions, Beatty Machine and the School City of Hammond, Team Hammond, maybe you should know what you are talking about before you say something. I am a member of this wonderful team, more specifically, I am the driver for this year's robot. Six weeks of intense designing, building, and testing went into this machine, and I do not feel that you have any right to just bash this competition or team. That is not anywhere near our team motto, nor is that the cost of our robot. Being the driver, I know exactly what that machine can do, and let me tell you, you haven't a clue. We never once have tipped over, and I am personally offended by your offensive and defensive comments. I just wish you would think twice in the future before you post such a hateful article.
Team #71 - Driver
I took this e-mail to mean that they indeed wanted to see their pansy robot BALLBALANCER compete in my mega robot battle to be held on the barren alkali flats of Utah. My bot, BLOODSMASHER, wasn't quite ready for the competition, as he was still having a slight problem regarding the "making spectators explode" programming bug, but I didn't want to disappoint Team Beatty Hammond! After all, when you get a chance to visit the stars you don't cancel because cold weather has damaged your o-ring!
Lowtax was primed to go, but his robot "The Molestinator" would have to be a wild card if I could not find a worthy competitor. Just as I was spray painting "STAB-O-TRON" on the side of a remote-controlled car with a knife taped to it, I got another e-mail. This one was from Kevin Genson, the captain of "Team Illusion," whose robot "The Washer" was simply amazing in the FIRST competition. He had apparently heard from Kevin (I think you're required to be named Kevin to compete at FIRST) that the competition was to be held the morning of the 9th and he wanted in on the action. I had him send me the stats for "The Washer" to see if it would make a good adversary for "The Molestinator." For all you non-tech people who don't keep up with sissy robot Olympics or whatever the hell they're called, here's a rundown of his bot:
Team: Team Illusion
Max Speed: Stationary
Cost: $399.00 with manufacturer's rebate
Team Motto: "We're tough on stains!"
Triple Action™ Agitator
5 Water Levels
15 Variable Wash Settings Including "Heavy Duty"
Loud buzzer notifies when load complete
Heavy Duty Construction
1 Year Warranty (parts and labor)
Installs in minutes
Too much detergent might cause a soap suds overload
Bright colors may bleed into whites
Can only counter dirty laundry based attacks
I gave "The Washer" the thumbs up and just after dawn the robots paired off on the barren alkali flats of Utah, poised to destroy one another in a no-holds-barred combat of destruction and destroying. The air-raid sirens marked the beginning of the competition, which we all viewed through binoculars from our respective team's hardened concrete bunkers.
Round 1: BALLBALANCER Vs. BLOODSMASHER
BLOODSMASHER, weighing in at almost 5,000 tons, wasted no time in making the opening move of his battle against BALLBALANCER, rolling forward and firing both barrels of his flamethrower at the air-raid siren. BALLBALANCER responded by tipping over, sending its ball racing towards BLOODSMASHER, who had left his back open as he charged forward to repeatedly drive over the siren. Totally ignoring the oncoming ball, BLOODSMASHER opted to use his 500mm cannon to shoot the air-raid siren skyward, catching it in his hydraulic jaws and crushing it even further.
With a little help from a strong wind, BALLBALANCER managed to upright itself and rotate in a wide circle to face its opponent. BLOODSMASHER, displaying incredible disdain for BALLBALANCER, casually avoided the dreaded ball attack and instead turned his attention to the crowd of spectators, raking them with his machinegun and eye lasers. Panicking and screaming, the crowd began to trample one another as they hurried towards the parking lot, away from the cruel blue lasers of justice twinkling in the eyes of BLOODSMASHER.
In a maneuver of derring-do, BALLBALANCER managed to carefully navigate the wreckage of the air-raid siren and approach BLOODSMASHER. For his part, BLOODSMASHER raced away from BALLBALANCER like a coward, bent on crushing every last spectator beneath his steel treads. Twice more BALLBALANCER was overturned by the force of exploding automobiles and light winds in the parking lot, an excellent move to avoid the shrapnel screaming across the battlefield. When the smoke had cleared, Ultimate Doom Force (me) realized that their robot was going haywire and heading away from the alkali flats and towards distant Salt Lake City. With much dismay, Ultimate Doom Force waited for BLOODSMASHER to make his way to minimum safe distance and then they detonated the nuclear bomb strapped to his back, conceding the match to the superior capabilities of BALLBALANCER.
Round 2: The Molestinator Vs. The Washer
Team Illusion lowered The Washer from the back of their 1976 El Camino while Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka and the rest of Team Leapin' Leprechaun waited for the UPS box containing The Molestinator to show up. Six hours later, word arrived that the UPS delivery van had flipped over and careened into "Dead Man's Gulch," so Team Leapin' Leprechaun was forced to create a new Molestinator robot. Luckily there was a Radio Shack nearby, so all crucial parts were stolen from the dumpster and assembled with packing tape and Elmer's "safety" glue. Soon The Molestinator v2.0 was ready to go and began spinning around in circles just like the previous model did, shortly before shooting sparks everywhere and melting into a pile of smoldering circuitboards.
The Washer took the preemptive strike by launching a blistering volley of somewhat moist tubesocks at The Molestinator v2.0, who deftly dodged the assault by tipping over and emitting a defensive "smokescreen," which was really his control unit overheating and catching fire. Mistaken as a sign of weakness, Team Illusion commanded The Washer to charge full blast towards The Molestinator v2.0, hoping to douse the unsuspecting robot with a lethal combination of lukewarm water, bleach, and an assortment of loose change that fell out of some pants pockets. However, The Leapin' Leprechauns had a trick up their sleeve; a large brick that was knocked loose from a Wal-Mart during BLOODSMASHER'S reign of terror. Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka hurled the brick at The Washer, denting its command processor and causing damage to the circuits responsible for determining whether or not a beer is too far past its "born on" date. The Molestinator v2.0 immediately sprung into action and began to slap what it believed was The Washer, but was actually just a hot dog vending station six miles outside the arena. After the confusion was cleared up 40 minutes later, The Molestinator v2.0 rotated around and began its merciless assault on Team Illusion. A remarkable amount of garbage and medical waste was ejected from the "secret panel" on the back of The Molestinator 2.0, showering Team Illusion with contaminated refuse from the most shady hospitals in Raytown, Missouri.
Trapped in a pile of medical waste, Team Illusion found themselves unable to see their robot, much less command him, and was forced to concede defeat and, later on, die from various viral infections. Team Leapin' Leprechaun celebrated their victory by throwing The Molestinator 2.0 off a bridge and carjacking a New Jersey couple on vacation.
Round 3: The Molestinator Vs. BALLBALANCER
Still high off their victory over BLOODSMASHER and also slightly irradiated, Team Beatty Hammond brought their battered BALLBALANCER onto the field to meet head to head with the impressive might of The Molestinator. Unable to repair the scattered pieces of The Molestinator 2.0, Team Leapin' Leprechaun stole components from the engine of Team Illusion's car. Soon they had welded the pieces together into a lump vaguely resembling the original robot and even had time before the match to paint "MOLESTINATOR IS GOD" on its side.
The Molestinator v3.0 was the first out of the gate at the sounding of the newly installed buzzer, overturning in the general direction of BALLBALANCER and emitting a high-frequency sound that began to liquefy nearby insects. BALLBALANCER responded with a terrifying show of vibrating slowly and rolling forward before losing a wheel on a small rock. BALLBALANCER tipped slowly forward and unleashed its devastating ball attack upon the unsuspecting Molestinator.
Meanwhile, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka and the rest of Team Leapin' Leprechaun struggled desperately to get their robot to stop hurting their ears and get back up. They had only moments before the ball attack would hit the immobile Molestinator v3.0. Acting quickly, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka ran out onto the field and kicked the ball out of the way. As Team Beatty Hammond was crying foul, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka began to strut off the field, lifting his hands skyward as if to say "awwww yeah, I raised the roof, yo." Then the unthinkable happened; Kyanka, tied up in his showboating routine, stepped directly on the servo control unit of his own team's robot.
Shrieking in robotic agony, Molestinator v3.0 began to twitch wildly and spray oil from several orifices which were installed in its groin area for unknown reasons. Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka tried to calm his berserker robot down with soothing words and softly sung lullabies, but in the end all he could do was run for cover as the Molestinator v3.0 "went critical". It screamed a final time and with a small pop its short life was finally over. Team Beatty Hammond won the day again, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt the superiority of the BALLBALANCER.
In the end it appears that while the FIRST competition may be for sissies, the intelligence and perseverence of a few highschool underdogs can overcome the ingenuity of two webmasters from a failed humor site. Congratulations Team Beatty Hammond, you are this year's grim and humorless champions of the Annual Non-Sissy Robot Demolition Rally (ANSRDR). If you are over 18, you can collect your trophy here.
‘Toad coin?’ wondered the traveler as he examined the pebble. It did not look all that different from any other pebble, and certainly nothing like a coin. ‘What manner of coin has no head or tail, and bears no seal or flag? Who backs this toad coin, the toad bank? The toad treasury!?’ The traveler laughed, but the toads croaked sternly back at him.
Spending $10-15 a day on perishable organic dog food is not a sign of a decadent culture in terminal decline, it's actually real good and worth it.
No lifeguard on duty. Maze run at your own risk.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.