Welcome to my site. CicolaniStudios.com is the gathering place for a lot of the various geeky things I do. It’s a vanity site, sure, but I’m hoping it will serve as a guide through my adventures in robotics, gaming, and cosplay. Mostly robotics, though, with some roleplaying game stuff mixed in and a sprinkling of cosplay since I don’t really do that much of it.
A little about me. My name is Jeff, I’m a database programmer, analyst, and project manager with a circuitous career that has brought me to one of the largest computer and services providers in the world. As of this writing, #3. I work in the services organization with a lot of incredibly smart, talented, and devoted people. Now, I consider myself to be a little better than above average in the intellect area. I’m not MENSA smart or anything, but I’m no dope. The intelligence of many of the people I work with is humbling. But that just means I’m doing something right, “always try to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.”
I haven’t been building robots very long. In fact, you can see the dates when I got started in my earlier posts. I don’t have a big education and I’m not an engineer by any official measure. What I am is curious. More over I just like to build cool things. I’ve always wanted to build robots and had I not let life dictate my course rather than the other way around I probably would have pursued robotics as a career. But, I’m doing it now and having a lot of fun doing it. Having some frustrations, too, but that comes along with learning what you don’t know and how much is left to learn.
In 2014 I was elected VP of a local non-profit educational organization devoted to robotics and shepherding the field into daily life. We do outreach at schools and public events to get the public excited about robotics and reduce the overall misconceptions of the technology that goes hand in hand with a lack of knowledge. The group has a great mix of engineers, machinists, technologists, and craftsmen that lends to some interesting projects. I didn’t get the position because of any expertise in robotics. In fact I’m one of the greenest roboticists there. But I had vision and ideas to help drive the organization to new heights and grow the group.
Now I mentioned other interests. In addition to the aforementioned VP role with The Robot Group in Austin, I am also a founding board member of another non-profit organization called Austin Creative Pathways. Our mission here is quite the opposite of The Robot Group. Rather than fostering an interest in technology, this group promotes methods of getting a career in creative fields. Most specifically we try to help kids, authors, and artists develop skills to make it in the gaming industry. Our focus is in roleplaying and board games, but we recognize many of the same story writing and artistic talents are needed in digital gaming as well. We put on an annual convention in Austin called Chupacabracon as the primary fund raiser for Austin Creative Pathways. So that means you’ll see some articles in here about that as well.
So what you can expect to see in this blog are posts about robots, robot events and reviews, as well as posts about gaming and Chupacabracon. As a side effect of these interests I also frequently fins myself helping on some interesting, fun projects such as a 1:1 scale Jedi Starfighter from the Star Wars movies and animated series. I have also been recruited to assist in a large animitronic project that I can’t talk about now but will post as soon as I can (then promptly update this text to reflect this).
The advice of the professional bloggers is to keep a single blog focused on one topic. I say poppycock! This blog is about my general geekery. And while a lot of the writing will be centered on robotics, there will be more from time to time.
If you’d like more information about The Robot Group you can find us at www.therobotgroup.org
More information about Austin Creative Pathways and our mission to promote creative careers in gaming go to www.austincreativepathways.org
And I highly recommend checking out www.chupacabracon.com if you’re an analog gamer; roleplaying games, board games, and LARPing. In fact, there is going to be a heightened emphasis on both board gaming and LARPing. So check out Chupacabracon.