Derek at Emerald City

So far we haven’t taken Derek out of town. The Vancouver FanExpo is small but mighty, and we have loved the two visits Derek has made there. In the background, however, was this idea that maybe we should be looking to keep moving up, with the eventual aim of going to the Mother of All Comicons, San Diego.

Just a couple of hours across the border, Seattle hosts the Emerald City Comic Convention. This year they announced that David Tennant was going to be attending, along with Billie Piper. A few years ago, the Weasels went all the way out to Edmonton to get a photo with David Tennant.

Mrs Dim and I decided we might head out to Seattle, take the photo with us, and get our picture taken with their picture, and then challenge them to get another picture holding our picture…. Well, it was a great plan. Unfortunately, once the Weasels heard about our plan, they decided they should come too, and bring Derek…

Derek has been upgraded somewhat, thanks to the 3d printers and the Raspberry Pi, but we hadn’t had more than a brief try out with all the kit in the basement. The biggest addition was the hoverboard that Mrs Dim found, which allowed Eldest Weasel to move Derek around without having to flap her feet like Fred Flintstone.

With Derek taking up the whole of the back of Magda the Mazda, the Weasels has to drive themselves to Seattle, but we managed to arrive at the same car park beside the convention center. Assembling Derek as easy, thanks to experience…

But then we ran into an issue that we’ve not had to deal with before, which Seattle may need to look at. To get to the elevator for the convention center, Derek had to go down some stairs. Derek can not go down stairs. Despite the fact that we were parked next to a disabled parking spot, the only access to the elevator without stairs was down the “NOT FOR PEDESTRIANS” ramp. Only to find we couldn’t get into the convention center that way. We had to go find an employee to point out the ADA compliant entrance.

It’s a good job we don’t believe in omens. We trundled Derek into the center itself and stacked him up with Eldest Weasel in the driving seat.

Try as we could, we couldn’t position the speaker in a way that prevented feedback whenever we tried to use the Raspberry Pi voice-changer. The Pi worked, but the feedback drowned the dalek voice. We disconnected it, and hooked up a phone with pre-recorded phrases instead. Voice changer next time. The hoverboard was working, though, so we trundled forward, into the convention at last.

Derek was a sensation. From the moment he rolled into the the first hall, he was mobbed by people admiring him, asking for photos, for details of construction, for confirmation that someone was inside.

Eldest Weasel makes Derek come alive, but even when she stepped out for a chance to tour the halls and Derek was simply standing sentinel, he attracted admirers. It was just so much fun to see people genuinely light up when they saw him.

When Eldest Weasel returned we had our biggest challenge: We had to make our way from the convention center to the Hyatt Regency. Out on the actual streets of Seattle.

All the photo sessions were taking place in the Hyatt, so we were making our way there along with other convention goers, and passed by others on their way back to the convention. We were stopped for photographs as we went, and Derek’s hoverboard proved equal to the challenge of the streets. Even so, Derek’s driver found the process quite tiring, and was relieved to unstack in the Hyatt for a bit of a rest.

We had made it to the Hyatt in good time, so Derek was able to restack and roll into the long line of people waiting to have their photo taken with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper (David Tennant having, sadly, had to withdraw due to filming commitments.)

Even after everything we’d seen that day, the look on their faces as we rolled through the curtain – well, Derek rolled – it was amazing. So much so that I apparently nearly forgot to get into the photo myself.

Derek made it to Emerald City in style, and he wowed the crowds and the celebrities. We still have more upgrades planned, more work to do, but as he is, Derek is just fine.

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