Why Isn’t This All Over The News?
One man’s secret to a socially distant Halloween: A robot who’ll deliver candy to trick-or-treaters
Megan JohnsonSun, September 27, 2020, 2:11 PM PDT·4 mins read
Luke Keyes has always loved Halloween. Every year, the software engineer and his wife create a haunted science lab in their garage for the kids in their North Austin neighborhood to explore. But, wanting to encourage social distancing this year, Keyes decided to scrap those plans and focus on a back-up: a candy-delivering robot.
“COVID is very real to us. We actually know of one person that passed away during the beginning, and the person that she lived with — he has permanent heart damage from it,” Keyes told Yahoo Life. “It’s very real to us.”
Keyes also has a lung condition of his own, and didn’t want to do anything that would encourage unsafe behavior.
“I’m comprised. I know it’s very real and I don’t want to get it, and condone or encourage others to spread it. But I feel bad because [the science lab] has finally grown to where the neighborhood kids will see me and ask about it,” says Keyes. “So I was like, OK, what can we do?”
A longtime robotics enthusiast, Keyes began building his robot, Arty, eight years ago out of Lego bricks and a Roomba. (Arty’s name is derived from the acronym for “Robot Test.”)
“I’m an ‘80s kid. In the ‘80s, robots were everywhere. They were in every movie,” said Keyes. “So when I was growing up, I just saw robots. Any time my parents would buy me a toy with a motor in it, they’d get so upset because I would take it apart and be like, I’m building a robot!”
There have been several changes to Arty over the years, but the robot now measures nearly 6 feet tall. He’s constructed out of a Balder power wheelchair that someone left in a boat shed, several cameras and a lot of wood. Keyes controls the robot, which he estimates weighs over 300 pounds, with an Xbox controller.
About a month ago, Keyes realized he could put Arty to use this Halloween season in an effort to promote safe trick-or-treating.
The www.https://www.portofsandiego.org/projects/portside-pier just after it opened.
My newest Staycation place
I had been following the progress of this pier almost every week for over a year now. A few major restaurants like http://ketchgrillandtaps.com/ http://www.brigantine.com/and https://www.miguels-cocina.com/ were supposed to open locations here on the pier. I read a sign that said it was supposed to open in March 2020. Then came the coronavirus. And a lot of delays. I kept checking back, taking a weekly pleasant walk around the San Diego Embarcadero on Mission Bay, hoping it would open. I remembered the old Anthony’s Restaurant and regretted what this historical landmark and beautiful view would become until I saw that they were building a dome here.
Since I met Buckminster Fuller when I was in college, more decades ago than I care to say, and as an experiment, I even lived in a plastic dome in the Santa Cruz mountains that are on fire now, to the chagrin of my late father who spent the night with me there, I was thrilled! The plan was for a few domes that became upscale restaurants, right near the ancient Star of India.
It finally opened, even during Covid 19, so we decided to drive down there. As you can see, it looks fantastically futuristic! They now call it Portside Pier. At the time, we got an easy waterfront parking space and there was no line to get in to Ketch so we walked right in. and I ordered the delicious Coctel DeMar, an incredible ceviche, with crab,shrimp, avocado,salsa, cilantro, etc. as seen on the left in the picture below. It’s supposed to be an appetizer but it was large enough to be a main course. The beer was good too.
Me in the Ketch Dome
I went back to the Portside Pier a few weeks later on a Saturday night. The word has gotten out about the place now so it was a little harder to park but I still found a free spot right in front of the Star of India. We got up to the restaurants and asked for a table at Miguel’s. The pretty hostess said it would be a 2 hour wait. We went back to Ketch and they said the same thing so we wandered around outside the building and inside where we saw some amazing sign art and a restroom, something that was needed on the Pier. My date was clever. She wandered upstairs to the top of Ketch, sat down at a table they said was reserved, and first asked for just a glass of water. Then when we were sitting down, she got a waiter to give us menus. I was ambivalent about the fairness of this because some people were waiting in line for a few hours, and I mentioned it to her, but I finally gave in and ordered. The menu upstairs where we were sitting was very different than what you can order downstairs in the dome. Downstairs they have great seafood. Upstairs you can only get bar food like sandwiches or just fried foods. Downstairs closed at 9pm so we had to eat upstairs. I had the blue fin tuna sandwich. I would say it’s very salty and just Okay. We each had a drink and the total for bar food and drinks was around $50.00. Certainly not a bargain, but incredible scenery! Besides, what do you expect from San Diego’s newest Saturday night hotspot?
Which acting couple will be the Next Zoom Superstars?
Now casting for San Diego Filmmakers Zoom Screenplay of “Qur’an Tina,” written by YOUtopiamedia’s founder, Jordan Schaffner!
Qur’an Tina a Zoom Screenplay
Summary: Tinder relationship interrupted by Covid-19
Qur’an Tina Script by Jordan Schaffner
Before the US Covid-19 lock down, a couple chat on Tinder, who are physically very attracted to each other but when they actually meet, they really can’t stand each other. TINA, a Jewish Brazilian hottie flies to San Diego to attend a business conference and to meet BUZZ, the blonde not so religious Muslim surfer from Tinder. After they have a drunken one night stand, the President declares a nationwide lockdown so she and BUZZ must stay together until the quarantine is over.
TINA is a young late 20’s Jewish Brazilian hottie with a Portuguese accent who flies to meet BUZZ at a bar in his condo in San Diego.
BUZZ is a blonde somewhat religious liberal Muslim San Diego surfer.
A BARTENDER serves drinks to them at a local bar.
Note: Because of Covid 19, the male and female actors must already be living together.
Copyright 2020 Jordan Schaffner. All rights reserved.
Providing filmmaking education for the San Diego community.
San Diego Filmmakers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. We appreciate your support.
The winning couple will receive a recording of their performance for their acting resumes and if they are in San Diego, CA, a free lunch at Rubio’s Restaurant with the writer/producer or an Amazon Gift Card of an equivalent amount if they live out of town. For more info: please Email Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A sign of the times: A mask on the Star of India.
Even though Coronavirus is still raging without a vaccine available, it’s legal again so I have to escape once in awhile around my San Diego neighborhood. Here’s a huge snake at Pet Kingdom, a nearby pet store with a stardust Android photo filter that makes it look like the snake is in a disco.
Here’s some floating hammocks near Paradise Point.
Here’s an upstairs view of boats from Point Loma Seafoods.
I kept getting calls from Israel from my Mom that my Dad who is 86 got pnemonia fell down, hitting his head. My lady friend Carol told me that he should be wearing a medical helmet just in case he falls down again. He was doing so well when my orthodox brother-in law, whose father recently died was there. But when he returned home to New Jersey, my Dad was back in Hadassah hospital and he died in the middle of the night right after we came home from seeing the movie Medea’s Family Funeral which wasn’t that funny or good.
I didn’t really want to see it but my lady friend did. I felt it might be bad luck and it really was.
My dad was a pioneer. In the air force, he was a ham radio operator who worked with Morris code. When I was young, he had his own mobile TV repair business. When I took classes in cyber security, I invited him and he absorbed the lecture like a sponge and formed his own Cyber Security company that charged a monthly fee. He always had great ideas but they just didn’t make it to market the right way.
I don’t want to be that way, but I guess I’m like that too.
I was going to go to back Israel to spend Purim with my family anyway since I got a Discover credit card, but now I would unfortunately have to attend my father’s funeral, or so I thought. Actually neither my sister or I were allowed to because the rabbi wanted him buried traditionally within 24 hours and my mother agreed to this. So we were told to come and sit shiva, which is a ritualized mourning party where friends and family visit and bring food over to share memories. Not being able to even attend the funeral added to the upset feelings I felt.
I scheduled a flight on British Airways which seemed like a very safe airline at the time. Then I heard the news while I was packing that a package exploded at the Airport in England where I was transferring to Tel Aviv. Great. Now I might die too. I was scared as hell to get on that flight. I had enough room on the flight to fall asleep but a couple stole the extra seats. When we went over Colorado, there must have been a storm brewing because the turbulence was so jarring, it knocked over my free beer. This is not the first time I almost crash landed in Colorado. Maybe that’s why it’s called the Rockies.
Anyway I survived and had to deal with all the ques in Britain. After a free bus that took me to the wrong place and I had to walk in the rain, here’s the hotel I stayed in near the airport.
I had to line up or as they say “cue” up just to get the room I already reserved.
After only being there 1 night, it seemed to me that I had to cue up for everything. I cued up when I got off the plane to get the bus to the airport. I cued up to go through security. I cued up to get the free bus to the hotel. Cue up to get my room and even cue up for dinner. The only thing I didn’t have to cue for was the bathroom or what they call the lough. Thank G-d.
Dinner was pretty good. A seafood pasta. But I didn’t know anybody there so I knew I had to move on the next day. The weird thing about the rooms was that there were two beds and one was super hard and the other was super soft. I chose the soft one and there were red strings hanging from the ceiling near the bed and in the bathroom. I asked about these and a hotel staff member said they were for disabled people.
I tried to calculate what time I should get up to sleep as much as could, even with my jet lag. But somehow I woke up late and got it wrong. I showered, packed and took the elevator down. I asked for a taxi and then I realized I forgot my suit! I panicked until I saw a room attendant that I asked to help me. He ran up to the room and promptly delivered it to me. I felt blessed, gave him a nice tip and the cab driver was still patiently waiting for me. I felt like I still had time to catch my flight but the cab driver thought it would be a close call. Thank G-d he knew where my airport gate was. As a matter of fact, he was an expert. He charged a little more but he got me to the airport and there seemed to be enough time so it was worth it. Besides, since the price of a British pound was currently $1.40, Britain was too expensive for me no matter how much I wanted to visit the places where British invasion rock stars had lived. I went through security , even though they tried to stop me because I only was a half hour early.
I prayed while they checked if I could still get on the flight. It would be very embarrassing for my family if I couldn’t sit shiva on time. They told me I’d have to run but I could still make it if I go through security and get on the train to the gate to catch my flight. I went through security as fast as possible and ran like hell to catch the train even though I didn’t reall know where it was. I had to ask people while I was running. But I found the train and then I was running to the elevator to the gate.
I met a disabled person in a wheelchair who was going my way and said we had plenty of time. I didn’t take it for granted after I got off the elevator though that calmed me down and then I felt like I could make it on time. I got in my seat on the plane and felt relieved.
I was very hungry but willing to wait till the staff served breakfast. I had to wait a few hours. Then I saw a great movie called Instant Family about a couple that adopted teenagers. It starred Mark Walberg and was pretty touching and funny. The story emphasized the struggle that orphan teenagers have to be adopted. So many people want to give birth to children or adopt babies but not teenage orphans. Before we before we reached Tel Aviv, the stewardess offered me another free beer.
We had a fairly smooth landing where I could see Hebrew letters from the air near the ocean but in the airport when I went to pick up the luggage, it wasn’t there. I spoke to two airline representatives about this and they finally told me they would deliver it to my Mom’s house.
I called my brother in law who was picking me up outside the airport and told him I was here.
He arrived about 20 minutes later and couldn’t figure out how to use the GPS to get us to my Mom’s house. and it was getting dark. I started freaking out.
But my brother in law found a beautiful Yemenite synagogue in the country for the evening prayers since he is a religious Jew.
We finally got to my Mom’s apartment and I was told to stay with a neighbor because my Mom’s apartment was too crowded with my sister, her husband and my Mom there.
So I met the family downstairs that was hosting me. I found out I’d be staying in a bomb shelter room Here’s a picture of it.
End of chapter 1