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Craziness is over… for now

I am returned home, all in one piece, and with still a decent chance of passing my classes (I think). The combat robotics trip was enlightening and fun, and my big brother is all graduamated from college, making me the only member of my immediately family who cannot (yet) claim a bachelor’s degree. Interestingly, the ceremonies at BYU were absent of tradition: no tassel flip, no hat throwing, no wild celebration. It all seemed very utilitarian, as much as a ceremony can be that way. I got to see Bradford again, and we had a good time seeing Hidalgo and then playing Starcraft until 4 am (we won!). After eating some barbeque with the Sullivans, I was dropped off at the airport and flew to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. There, I was picked up by Larry, and we made our way to the hotel, a very nice, new hotel just a block or two from both the Anaheim convention center (where the RC Exhibition was) and Disneyland (to which I�ve never been; this is the closest I have come). The interesting thing about this hotel is that while it was overall quite nice, it had the most bizarre accents in the form of drain pipes sticking out of the walls occasionally. Also, the ice machine room was extraordinarily warm. After Phaw, the combat robot that was Tim�s senior project went 2-3 in competition (the match I drove, we won, and the first two matches the drivetrain wasn�t working well [but we won one of those matches anyway]). The club was also interviewed by some tv camera and reporter lady. However, the most interesting thing about the competition for me was to compare it to a FIRST event. FIRST regionals are many times better organized and ran � perhaps up to 10 times better in presentation and organization, and having its own venue as opposed to sharing with another event. However, the entrance fee to this competition was $150, and the entrance fee to a FIRST event is $4000, well more than 10x more. It got me to thinking about where does all that money go? Even at a small regional with just 36 teams (like the PNW regional), that�s nearly $150,000 brought in. At the nationals, the budget is 1.2 million dollars from entrance fees alone. Yet FIRST says that only covers about half the cost of putting on the event. So I�m wondering, how can it really cost that much? I talked with Larry about it, and from that conversation it seems to be that there is a lot of waste going on between FIRST and the final production. I�d like some hard figures to know for sure, though. Let me know if you have any.

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