Two years ago I made the announcement that I would be attending the taping of the seventh season of BattleBots, the second (and ultimately last) season produced by ABC. BattleBots was back and bigger than ever with twice the turnout of teams, a bigger audience, a new champion, and an incalculable amount of hype and support from the robot combat community. Sadly, as it turned out ABC would rather invest in shit like a reboot of Match Game — which wasn’t funny 40 fucking years ago and still isn’t funny today — than hedge their money on something cutting edge and potentially educational like BattleBots. Rather than get today’s youth starry-eyed over dreams of becoming superstars in engineering and science ABC would instead prefer to let them believe that if they suck Lionel Richie’s dick just right they might be the 16th winner of American Idol.

It’s robot fighting time once again.

I thought about celebrating the first Discovery Channel season of BattleBots by blasting the shit that ABC prioritized over the show while it aired on their channel. Then I remembered that I’ve already done that. Regardless, I don’t think I could write anything that summarizes how pathetic and trashy ABC’s programming lineup is beyond what the phrase “there are literally 16 seasons of American Idol” can convey anyways. It’s almost too easy, like beating up a retard. Instead I’ll take a quote from everyone’s “favorite” YouTuber DarksydePhil and say “thanks for the views, you worthless humans”. Thanks, ABC, for giving BattleBots the second chance it needed for a more appropriate station to take notice and pick it up before it got “reality TV-ified” any further. I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your third goddamned reboot of The $100,000 Pyramid. Actually no I don’t, but whatever I guess.

TOMBSTONE KILLED A FUCKING CAR YOU GUYS

So, if you haven’t guessed by now, I was at the taping of BattleBots 2018 and this is my stream-of-consciousness “event report”. Much like what I said last season, this article is spoiler-free. I am not legally permitted to tell you that Abattoir came out of retirement to win the Giant Nut who wins this season, and even if I could why the fuck would I ruin the surprise? Last season I joked that ABC would send a hit squad out to get me if I preemptively told you that Tombstone was the new champion; I don’t think Discovery Channel has that kind of money, so I think my physical well being is safe, but out of respect for Trey & Greg and the whole BattleBots community I’m going to be careful with the content of this article. Also much like last season the cost of my trip was bankrolled by someone who runs a company that sells dragon dildos. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

(All of the photos you see in this article we either taken myself at the event or by someone I traveled with, so technically these are all “exclusives”. Yay.)


HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM

Last season it nearly took a fucking act of God to get me to Los Angeles in time for BattleBots thanks to a fluke storm that grounded all of the departures from the airport in Houston, Texas. I ended up having to ride a bus to San Antonio — three hours away — to catch the last flight to LA and then try to call an Uber from my Windows Phone which, as you’d know if you’ve ever used a Windows Phone before, was a total goddamned nightmare. The process of calling an Uber was so fucking bad that my trip sponsor literally bought me an Android phone out of pity. I had to fly out of Houston again this year, but mercifully South Texas got a lifetime’s worth of rain from Hurricane fucking Harvey last year so I think we’re good for a while.

Yes I picked up a kid’s meal menu specifically to take this picture.

No drama, no bullshit, just a simple flight from Corpus Christi to Houston, and then Houston to Los Angeles. If I absolutely had to pick one thing to complain about for the sake of exaggerating some shit for this article it would be that I got a ride to the airport from my brother on his way to class and since I was at the mercy of when he was going to school I ended up having to sit in Corpus Christi’s perpetually empty airport for nearly six hours doing fuck all until my flight. I ended up practicing video game speedruns for something like seven different games and even had enough time to test whether or not some “hypothetical” categories were possible for some games that I follow. It was that dreary. (The good news though is, yes, you can beat every single level in Puggsy without the running shoes power-up. Even the secret levels!) It’s also worth pointing out that in last season’s trip report I made this snarky retort about how I should’ve flown American Airlines instead of Southwest because “they don’t give a fuck”. As luck would have it, at the end of 2017 I actually flew via American to visit a friend and on the trip back home they fucked up my flights so badly that I was stuck in Dallas for three fucking days because literally seven flights in a row were cancelled.

So I flew United instead because fuck that.


THE VIP TREATMENT

LOOK AT ALL THESE SNACKS

Also like last season, the group that I traveled with sprung for the “VIP” ticket package. We originally had purchased standard tickets for every single shooting session (yes, all 20 of them) but when we did the math we found out that for literally just a teeny bit more money we could refund all of the tickets we bought and instead buy the VIP package and get seats for every session plus all the neat extra stuff that came with it. That’s not to say that the regular tickets are a rip off or anything, but if you’re like me and you’re buying twenty fucking tickets to BattleBots you’re already invested to a degree that casual fans and people looking to do something with their kids on the weekend aren’t. I think the VIP package was like $2,000 for four people so it factored out to $500 a head, whereas 20 regular tickets at $20 each ended up being $400. That extra hundred bucks got us into the “VIP lounge”, which was new for this year, as well as things like a tour of the pits and some free merch and all that. It was absolutely worth it.

The ABC seasons of BattleBots were co-managed by an LA-based company called On Camera Audiences. They did not return for this year and instead admissions and seating were handled by a new crew from 4 Ways Entertainment. Between 4 Ways and the staff of Whalerock Industries (the production company behind BattleBots since 2015) we were literally given “the VIP treatment”. I’m a shitty Q-list comedian at best so whenever I travel to conventions and venues to perform I’m lucky if I get my fucking bus fare covered, so you can imagine my surprise when I show up as a “VIP” to BattleBots and get greeted by like six different crew members who are more than willing to go and get me whatever the fuck I want, even if it’s something sitting in the same goddamned room. It was very weird, I’m not used to that kind of service; I’m used to being told to go fuck myself if I ask for a sandwich from the convention green room, not to have said sandwich literally phoned-in via walkie talkie and delivered to me. “Giving cracker snack trays and bottles of sparkling apple juice to the asshole who writes BattleBots Update” was literally someone’s job. For two fucking weeks. I don’t know whether to be flattered or ashamed.

The “Robogames Famous $5 Hot Dog” costs $6 here.

But for real, everyone involved from 4 Ways and Whalerock were the real MVP’s of the show, especially compared to how things went last season. There was no “VIP lounge” in 2016, nobody escorted us to our seats, nobody asked us every 20 minutes if there was anything we needed. I don’t know if that’s the difference between ABC and Discovery Channel or what, but it was like night and day. I mean, I would’ve just been happy with someone saying “hi, welcome to BattleBots” every morning but these guys went above and beyond to such a degree that by the end of shooting we were all on a first name basis and openly chatting about random menial things from our lives like we were old friends. If we’re not competitors in 2019 then we’re sure as hell getting the same VIP ticket package again. Sadly we were the only VIP guests this season, but that might have had something to do with BattleBots not offering the VIP package until the regular season tickets had been on sale for like two weeks. If you’ve got $500 to spare and know three other people who are as into BattleBots as you are it’s totally worth it. Consider this my five star Yelp review.


THE GANG’S ALL HERE

boop :3

I’ll admit, one thing I was worried about when BattleBots made the jump from ABC to Discovery was that the show’s entire cast would be replaced. Despite the fact that I poke and jab at Chris & Kenny for saying dumb shit like “jam up” and “primary weapon” I do concede that they are good at their jobs and their charisma really helps to sell the show. Not only did Chris & Kenny come back, but so did Faruq as the ring announcer. Allison and Jessica also remained with the show, though they swapped roles. The only role that was cut was that of the third host, the spot held by Molly McGrath and Sam Ponder in the first two seasons of the reboot. I remember specifically pointing out how out of place they felt and I guess the people writing checks at Discovery felt the same way. They dialed back the amount of spending on talent and then really invested in what they kept. I mean it, too; somewhere along the line they decided to just let Faruq have fun with his intros and he cranked the cheese factor up to 11 and had Tombstone come in and rip the knob off. They let him have his own personality as an announcer and you can really tell he gets into it. I loved Mark Beiro in the original seasons because he brought his booming boxing announcer voice to the sport, but Faruq is just doing his own thing and his mixture of UFC-style announcing blended with shit like rhyming, A capella, and knock-knock jokes somehow just works. Off camera Faruq is also one of the nicest TV personalities I think I’ve ever met, because even if he was on his way to do something else if some kids wanted to get a photo with him he was more than willing to drop what he was doing and hang out for a few minutes.

One thing you’re also going to notice with the new season is Discovery is starting some of the new episodes of BattleBots with what’s known in TV terms as a “cold open”. Every single episode of the reboot thus far has just gone straight to the opening with either Chris or Kenny saying something along the lines of “welcome back to BattleBots tonight we’re starting the Round of 16 and now here’s Radioactive to fuck everything up and embarrass the entire country of England”, but new for this season are some short sketches and skits based around the competitors. It’s a really dangerous tightrope stunt, especially with this kind of event, but it all ties back into Discovery letting the hosts’ personalities really shine through. Faruq is the tough announcer with a soft side, Chris is a big dumb doofus who’s secretly sort of smart, and Kenny is “the expert” who is occasionally his own folly. Believe it or not, most of these sketches work. One that immediately comes to mind is where Kenny has climbed a ladder to start marking various heights in the Battlebox and Chris shows up to ask him what the fuck he’s doing on a ladder in a nice suit. Kenny explains that he’s marking how Bronco is “growing up” and each point is how high the robot has thrown an opponent since 2015. It’s dumb, but it’s good fun. Plus since this is airing on a channel owned by Discovery there’s also a themed sketch for Shark Week, and it just so happens there’s a shark robot at this event…

Kenny Florian, this season’s new house robot.

And finally, while we’re on the subject of famous faces in the sport I can confirm that a particularly notable robot from a bygone era of BattleBots showed up at this event. Unfortunately, try as I might to sweet talk the team, the robot ultimately did not participate in any exhibition matches… but there’s always next year! I can’t name names obviously, but I did make a sign for them to wave during the championship fucking finals which caught the attention of BattleBots founder Greg Munson and prompted him to explicitly tell one of the cameramen to get a shot of it while he laughed his ass off and took a photo to go show Trey Roski backstage. (Once the series has finished airing hopefully you’ll know who I’m talking about, otherwise you’ll just have to wait until this season’s Giant Washer Awards.)


TV MAGIC

The new nut table… not so great.

BattleBots owns their arena, and apparently they also owned the entire goddamned set from the ABC seasons. This surprised me because I had just assumed that ABC footed the bill for the giant light up marquees and entrance tunnel all that crap but I guess I was wrong. Everything you saw from the ABC era of the show made its return with the exception of the Dr. Claw Dildo Table that the Giant Nut formerly sat on, likely because Mark Setrakian is fucking livid that I Google-sniped his robotic sculpture with the name “Dr. Claw Dildo Table” and he’s currently building Super Mechadon to come kill me in my sleep. Basically the good news here is much like the on-camera talent for the show, there have been no major changes to the set as well. This is also a good thing because making drastic changes to the look and feel of a TV show is a guaranteed way to kill it. The downside to this is pretty much everything I said in my 2016 event report about what it’s like to be at a taping of BattleBots is virtually unchanged, so I don’t have much more insight to share.

I will say, however, that Discovery has really mastered the art of streamlining the production of their shows. After all, when your most popular shows are “dumbasses fighting with each other over building motorcycles” and “dumbasses fighting with each other over fishing for crabs” I guess you kinda need to get the process down to a science. Every single fight had a tunnel entrance filmed when the show was produced by ABC and that just took for-fucking-ever, especially when someone would inevitably trip over the fucking lights on the ground or run into the goddamned boom mic and require a reshoot. This season only the “main event” matches have tunnel entrances which cut down big time on production time and waiting. They also set up some incredibly smart scheduling with the fights and taping sessions. There are going to be 20 episodes in this season of BattleBots, and there were 20 shooting sessions. With only a couple minor exceptions due to delays and technical problems, each of these sessions are going to become their own episode. Easy peasy.

It’s B-B-B-Bite Force!

The wait time between fights this year was noticeably improved. Because 90% of the fights this year don’t have a tunnel entrance that meant that the competitors for the first match of the day were staged and set up ahead of time long before the audience was even let inside the venue to find seats. The schedule says taping starts at 1PM? Taping started at 1PM or damn close to it. The whole production ran a lot more smoothly and often times after fights the two teams would hang out for a few minutes to let fans get pictures and autographs while the crew swept the arena and readied the next two robots. Everyone was so much more accessible this year and at the same time everything ran so much more efficiently. I don’t know how they did it, but they did it, and it was fucking magic.

Oh, and “Joby the Hype Man” was back this year too. You know, the overly excitable Englishman who only has like 7 songs queued up to play between fights. At least he had 7 different songs this year.


IT’S ROBOT FIGHTING TIME!

2018 newcomer Sharkoprion.

Again, just to reiterate I’m not at any liberty to tell you who actually wins any fights, let alone the Giant Nut. I will say, however, that this season’s new seeding system is much better than previous series’ and it gives a pretty fair chance to everyone to make it through the qualifying rounds. The first dozen or so episodes of this season are going to be what’s called “Fight Night” where everyone gets four fights to show what they are made of. Once everyone has had their fights the “selection committee” reviews the obvious candidates like bots who went 4-0 or 3-1 and then more than likely pepper in the rest with 2-2 robots who had a strong showing or unique design. I don’t fully know what goes into the secret sauce, but given the fact that everyone gets four tries to make an impact it seems a lot more transparent and fair. The best part is that even if your favorite robot loses its first round they still get three more so it’s not a total letdown.

Me, hoverhanding my waifu Overhaul.

Last season I highlighted some newcomers to keep your eyes on as the series airs. Without spoiling how any of them do, I’d like to do the same again for 2018:

  • Double Dutch: Winner of last season’s “Saltiest Builder” Giant Washer Award, Double Dutch was finally accepted as a competitor this season. It’s armed with two spinning bars, one on its top and one on its underside, that spin in opposite directions. It also has wheels that are slightly tilted to allow for a little bit of extra maneuverability. It’s quick, it’s quirky, and those blades can hit like nobody’s business.
  • Double Jeopardy: Brutus may have been “the first” robot to feature projectile weaponry, but Double Jeopardy is the first robot to actually feature it. The robot’s main weapon is an air-powered cannon that can fire off a five pound slug of solid fucking metal. The downside is that the robot only has one shot, but when you’re launching five pounds of “fuck you” at someone at god knows how fast that just might be all you really need.
  • DUCK!: Known elsewhere as Whoops, this is Hal Rucker’s new robot after The Ringmaster’s poor showing last year. With less moving parts and less points of failure, Duck’s modus operandi is the fact that it’s literally made from a solid chunk of milled aluminum and thus is indestructible. It was built specifically to take on Tombstone, and at Robogames 2017 Duck (as “Whoops”) fought — and defeated — Ray’s Tombstone equivalent “Last Rites”.
  • touch

    Free Shipping: “Isn’t this robot just Original Sin with a fucking forklift stuck onto it?” Yes, and there’s also a flamethrower. Since you can’t just enter a wedge in BattleBots these days Gary Gin knew he had to do something special to Original Sin to make it through the application process. His solution was to add a real forklift to his robot and a couple of flamethrowers for good measure. This thing looks and drives like a shitty Ghost Rider sequel and it’s amazing.

  • Gamma 9: Nearly 15 years ago the Gammatronic Robot Brigade vanished from the face of the Earth after Dreadnaught demolished Gammacide in the final season of the Comedy Central run of BattleBots. Three fucking presidents later the team has returned with Gamma 9, a robot armed with a gripping jaw that looks like it was plucked straight out of 2003. Does it suck? Probably. But I still love it, and I was probably the only person at this event who bought a poster print of the team and their robot.
  • Gigabyte: I know you guys already know who “Megabyte” is. This robot began its life as a shitty robot with a shitty overhead spinning bar that lost its first ever match… but then proceeded to become one of the most devastating full body spinners in the heavyweight class. Megabyte entered BattleBots as Invader last season and lost (and held up production for 45 goddamned minutes because of an electrical problem) but it has continued to grow and evolve and has returned as Gigabyte, literally one thousand times better. Do the math.
  • HUGE: The guy who built Huge obviously took a look at Gabriel from Robot Wars and thought to himself “what would that robot look like if it didn’t suck”. The answer? “Almost exactly the same, except instead of a shitty hammer the robot has a massive fuck off vertical spinner.” Much like former competitor Wrecks, Huge began life as a proof of concept in a lighter class before being beefed up to 250 pounds. It’s here, it’s dangerous, it’s huge.
  • SPOILER: It’s heavy.

    Hypothermia: Team Toad has been suspiciously absent from BattleBots since the 2015 reboot. After all, this is the team that brought us Frostbite and Iceberg, and continued to compete long after the series ended its Comedy Central run. Team Toad showed up on fucking Robot Wars before they came back to BattleBots, and their entry Hypothermia is basically the next iteration of Polar Vortex just without its spinning disc and instead featuring a new build of its original lifting/clamping mechanism.

  • Kraken: I don’t really know what it is about Florida but it seems like every single fucking robot that comes out of there has some bizarre theme or team gimmick or something. Witch Doctor’s thing is voodoo, I don’t even know what Hypershock’s problem is, Ultimo Destructo’s builder thinks he’s in the WWE, and Kraken’s team all dress up like fucking pirates. Their robot is styled to look like an angler fish, complete with a lure that lights up (and eyes that turn red when it bites down on opponents). It’s not the most powerful set of jaws at the event, but it’s certainly up there as one of the nicest-looking.
  • Monsoon: Speaking of Robot Wars, Monsoon is a joint effort between the teams behind Tauron and Concussion. I believe at some point this robot was almost named Tauron 3, but I guess once the Concussion team got involved they decided to go with something else. Tauron has been one of those “middle of the road” robots that’s neither great nor crap, but this new version features a vertical spinning blade that tops out at 240 MPH, the fastest BattleBots will allow. Naturally that means shit’s going to go crazy.
  • Sharkoprion: Ed Robinson is a man who fucking loves sharks. I am 90% confident that he has accounts on all of the popular furry porn sites simply to check the “shark” tag. He’s been building shark-themed robots for almost two decades and I legitimately cannot think of a single robot of his that isn’t some weird monument to them. Sharkoprion isn’t an exception, it’s a two-wheeled bot built from an old propane tank and features a vertical spinning disc. It might look like a piece of junk but make no mistake, this thing literally has a death hum of its own.
  • Super Hammerhead: lol just kidding this piece of shit was literally blown away by Harvey and it took us two months to notice
  • Valkyrie: Last season I lamented the absence of Road Rash, the fourth robot to come about from the split-up of the original Overhaul team. Overhaul, Brutus, and Sawblaze all had their chance to shine, but Road Rash wasn’t accepted and ended up blowing up in a consolation rumble. The team didn’t give up though and they’ve returned with Valkyrie, a robot with an undercutting blade that sort of looks and functions like PP3D from Robot Wars.
  • Whiplash: Much like Gigabyte, Whiplash is the end result of years of design evolution. Formerly Splatter in a previous life, Whiplash has technically been to every season of the BattleBots reboot. But also like Gigabyte, this robot is just different enough to be its own thing. After a brilliant run at Robogames 2017 this robot makes its way to BattleBots with expert driving and a substantial improvement over Splatter’s former weaponry. It also comes with its own signature move, “The Backhand”, where the robot spins around 180 degrees and raises its weapon arm all the way around to strike the top of its opponents.

Who else but Son of Whyachi?

And of course there’s plenty of returning greats to fawn over. Former champion Bite Force is back with virtually the same robot as last season albeit with some extra armor on its weapon chain so it can’t be sniped by Chomp again. Speaking of, Chomp is also back and is mostly the same on the outside but has had its pneumatics fine-tuned and also has a proper srimech this time around. Witch Doctor returns this season but no longer has Shaman along for the ride, instead opting to incorporate that extra weight into a more robust self-righter. The MIT bots are back, the reigning champ Tombstone is back, the runner-up Bombshell is back, and of course my favorite bot from last year — Yeti — is also back.

But there are a lot of teams absent from this event too, namely because there was an event taking place in China at the same time as Battlebots. Beta and Nightmare are two robots who were simply not present at all because the teams were out of the country, but there were a few wayward robots that still arrived either with skeleton crews or in the hands of another team altogether. All Black Robotics, who brought Lycan last season, were in charge of Red Devil this time around, and the teams behind Gigabyte and Captain Shrederator featured replacement drivers. Still, despite the absence of some of the sport’s greats, this was an amazing season. There was far more carnage this time around with many more spectacular KO’s including robots that got cut literally in fucking half.


WHEN ALL’S SAID AND DONE

Greg Gibson loved this sign.

When I (re)started this website back in 2015 no one knew who I was. By the time the 2016 season rolled around many of the builders and teams were now “in” on the joke and Trey & Greg were prepared to roll out a red carpet for me to come see the latest taping of the show. Now that we’re three seasons deep into the reboot, and I’ve written dozens of articles about Robot Wars and other events, pretty much everyone was expecting to see me. It got to the point where Paul Ventimiglia and Ray Billings, the previous two goddamned champions, were looking for me before I even ran into them. And those are just the two head honchos, because there were plenty of other teams who were eager to see me. Zoe Stephenson (Chomp) was the first builder at this season to identify me out of the crowd and say hello, and that meant a lot because I know early on she and I did not have the best of relationships, and now this season you’ll probably see me sitting next to her mom waving the official Chomp signs around. It’s crazy.

Icewave on the prowl.

I got to meet so many amazing people this year and I’m still upset because I didn’t get to say hi to literally everyone. I almost missed Charles Guan (Overhaul) again this year but had the fortune of running into him on one of the last days of taping… and then also running into him and his team again at a fucking Del Taco of all places where he (now famously?) sold me a taco that he wasn’t going to eat for $1.33. At the same though, I missed Donald Hutson (Lockjaw) and Greg Gibson (Yeti). I did get to finally meet Simon Scott and Ian Lewis (Warhead, Razer) though and chat about the finer points of robot dinosaurs. Then when I shook Ian’s hand he complimented me and said I had a “Razer grip” handshake. Fellas, it doesn’t get any more flattering than that. If the man who built fucking Razer says I’ve got a handshake like his legendary robot then just imagine how good of a hand job I can give.

Taping was hectic at times and because of the nature of the building we were in hardly anyone had any cellular reception. I know there’s tons of people who I didn’t get to meet or say hello to and wish I could have, but I have faith in BattleBots and I know that there will be more opportunities in the future.


EVERYTHING ELSE NOT RELATED TO BATTLEBOTS

Someone felt compelled to waste a bunch of team stickers and it would almost look cool if it weren’t for the fucking BACON IMGUR cancer sticker.

I was in Los Angeles for two fucking weeks to see every single taping session of the show, something that seemed to consistently surprise everyone I came across because I guess when you’re surrounded by industry professionals telling them the equivalent of “yeah I’ve got nothing else better to do for two whole goddamned weeks” raises some eyebrows. Remember, my day-to-day life consists of me getting paid to do things that include making people laugh, playing video games extremely fast, and sometimes using my writing powers for nefarious purposes in the furry fandom. Don’t judge me. Regardless, though I was in town for 14 days BattleBots was only being taped for something like 10 of them. This left a little bit of free time for my friends and I to do go “California things” while we had the day off.

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And California is fucking weird. There was a cafe across the street from one of the Airbnb places we rent and while the food was okay, there were all these crazy ass signs in the windows that said things like “ALL RACES, ALL COUNTRIES, ALL GENDERS, ALL ORIENTATIONS WELCOME — YOU ARE SAFE HERE”. Like dude, it’s just fucking eggs. Nobody is getting murdered on their way to breakfast just because they touch dicks with other men, I guarantee it. I’m from fucking Texas and that doesn’t even happen here. But I get the message and I guess if I were someone apoplectic enough to be perpetually paranoid that Donald Trump was going to round me up and throw me into Transgendered Auschwitz then I’d be relieved to know that there was a “safe space” where I can enjoy my slightly overpriced fair trade coffee and grass-fed free range no cruelty (except for the part where we literally murder the animal) bacon in peace. It’s California.

A Texas-themed brewery really wanted a trinket from a BattleBots team for their wall of money.

We spent a day at Universal Studios Hollywood and as you might imagine I spent most of my time lurking around Jurassic Park: The Ride breathing heavily. While that remark might only be partially true, we did actually ride it a couple of times and it’s nice to see something so old still in active use and still enjoyed by people every day even though the movie the ride is based off of was released 25 fucking years ago. Lots of things at Universal Studios have been decommissioned, torn down, or moved (like the rides for Earthquake and Jaws, which were incorporated into the Studio Tour) so for something to last for two and a half decades that’s kind of a big deal. The ride is in desperate need of service though as there were a few parts of it that don’t seem to work anymore, like the Ford Explorer that’s supposed to drop down from the bridge. It’s just always down now because I guess raising and dropping a goddamned SUV dozens of times a day for 20 years will eventually wear out the machinery, who would’ve guessed? One of the Brachiosauruses at the start of the ride also had a crick in its neck or something because I don’t think they were capable of bending their necks to the side at a 45 degree angle when they were alive, but what do I know, my name’s Dracophile not Dinophile.

ha ha ha oh wow

It just so happens that my birthday also fell into the period of time when I was in LA so we spent it at Disneyland. One of the guys I was with on the trip was a huge Disney buff and goes to the park literally every year as a family tradition so he knew pretty much every single piece of Disneyland trivia that there could possibly be, like where all the “Hidden Mickeys” are… yet somehow my dumb ass — who’s never been to Disneyland before — was able to point out one that he didn’t know about. I guess that makes me a secret genius. We got to check out a few of the park’s more popular rides (like Space Mountain), but I still somehow managed to convince everyone to humor me and go on It’s A Small World because it was my grandmother’s favorite ride. We spent all day at the park and before we left for the evening we checked out the recently upgraded show Fantasmic which sported a brand new 50-foot tall animatronic Maleficent. I’m not saying that’s the only reason we stayed for that show, but I would like to remind you that the people who sponsored my trip make silicone dragon dicks for a living. So, you know, we’re all just awful people.

Beyond that we didn’t really have that much time to do much of anything else. We had to get up by 8am to have time to get breakfast and make it to the venue and we stayed there until 10pm most nights. By the time we got back to the Airbnb all we really wanted to do was just go to sleep (and start the process again the following morning). It would’ve been neat to be able to see more of LA and hit up some indie stores and whatnot but I guess in the grand scheme of things attending nearly two dozen taping sessions of BattleBots kicked the asses of whatever else there was to do in LA.


“The New Twilight Foundry”??

In the end, it was an amazing (if not tiring) two weeks. The night I arrived back in Corpus Christi, TX I slept like a sack of bricks until 2PM the next day. It was all worth it, though. So many awesome memories were made on this trip, new in-jokes and memes were created, and I was continually reminded just how amazing of a community this really is. And it’s not just the builders, either, the production teams at Whalerock and 4 Ways went above and beyond making this season killer. Special shoutouts to Oliver, Joel, Big Rich, Kari, Emily, Reilly, Connor, and of course “The Safety Samurai” and the rest of the crew who worked behind the scenes to make this happen. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you again in 2019!

I realize I’ve been very lax about updating this website this year, and I apologize. Last December I was out of town over the Christmas holiday on a planned trip, and a few days after I got back I guess everything just sort of hit me all at once? It’s hard to explain. I was (mostly) fine returning back to what was left of my hometown following Hurricane Harvey. I was even optimistic, if not a little upset, regarding the status of my former home, all things considered. It was a slow burn though, and some time around early February I sort of just disengaged and didn’t have the emotional capacity to carry onward. I am doing “okay” though, if not better after my trip to LA. I’m just very easily overwhelmed and my natural response to that is to just shut down completely. I’ve got just enough time to finish up the most recent series of Robot Wars before this new one kicks in. (I’ll also be unsuspending my Patreon page as well.)

Season eight of BattleBots debuts on Discovery Channel on May 11th. Mark your calendars, set your DVR’s (or VCR’s if you’re still living in 1997), and buckle the fuck up because this is going to be the best season of the show to date.

– Dracophile