Outrageous Experiments

Sarah’s Exit Interview

posted: 01/07/17
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Elimination: Sarah

Sarah Petkus was the first contestant eliminated (someone has to be!), during the ejection seat myth. We caught up on what went right and what may have gone wrong during her short time on MythBusters: The Search.

  1. You did a lot of great stencil and electronics work in this episode. What do you feel went right for you?

I didn't have a particularly lucky dice roll with the first episode. I had no experience modifying cars going into the challenge and had to yield a lot of the decision-making to those on my team who had. I also am somewhat of a nerdy introvert who happens to have poor depth perception, so the football-catching challenge turned into a chance for me to shine at doing something poorly.

In spite of this, I did get to take charge of the active components of our build and do the electronics on my own. Also, since I wasn't particularly needed for the construction of our ejector seat and the general modification of the car, I had time to focus on the aesthetics. I was able to make some props to house my electronics, as well as mask, paint, and come up with a stencil I am quite proud of in all of its derpy glory. At the end of the day, I can always draw well and fast.

  1. Unfortunately, the motherboard didn't work once it was in the car. What went wrong?

I wasn't aggressive enough about getting inside the car with enough time to install my system and troubleshoot it. If I had fought to get in earlier, the problem was likely something simple that could have been fixed quickly.

However, the enclosure that housed my circuit also got hot glued to the dash of the car by one of my teammates without my knowledge, making any quick changes to the system impossible without prying it off.

With an hour or so left, it made more sense to clip the micro controller out and trigger things in analog. Though I'll never know what went wrong, my guess is that I plugged one of the wires into the wrong terminal on my relay.

  1. What were your thoughts when you first saw the motherboard fail?

"LOL. Of course."

  1. If you could change anything about this episode, what would it be?

I'd probably change the challenge in general. In the realm of strengths and weaknesses, I felt at a huge disadvantage relative to my teammates.

Also, knowing what I know now, I probably would have worn something that more closely resembles what I wear when I build things at home (pajama-esque).

  1. How is being a MythBuster harder than it looked to you as a viewer?

Well, honestly the hardest part of the whole experience wasn't necessarily the challenge we were given, it was acclimating to an environment where I was building on camera continuously. Also, the social nuance of working on a potentially dangerous project with people I was competing with took some navigating.

  1. How is being a MythBuster easier than it looked to you as a viewer?

Having such a wealth of tools and resources available made the prospect of building something for the first time a lot less daunting. There were many shapes for props floating around, as well as people who would bring us whatever we felt we needed if we didn't already have it, which is a luxury I'd never had before.

  1. Is there anything you want viewers to know about you or this experience that they may not get from watching the show?

I'd probably have graffitied a lot more of the set if I were around longer ;) Drawing is an important thing for me as a means of expression and communication, so it's likely the more comfortable I got around everyone, the more I'd have taken liberties in being creative with the flat surfaces.

  1. What's next for you?

Mars! Seriously, I'm always working on ways to get the machines I make into space. I'm back to my usual task of designing robots, documenting my work, and exhibiting my kinetic art shapes wherever I can.

Specifically at this current moment I'm exploring different methods of mechanical/artificial tasting and salivating...

In my free time I am working on designing various paint cannons ... and a Post-It roller mechanism.

  1. What was it like meeting Adam Savage?

I didn't get to talk to him in person, but it was nice hearing his words of encouragement and receiving his blessing as one of his potential successors.

It'd still be nice to have a real maker to maker conversation with him one day.

  1. Did you watch MythBusters? What was your favorite episode?

Hmmm ... I don't watch TV very often, but of the episodes I have seen, I appreciated the one where they did the experiment in order to find the most efficient way to load an airplane.

I like process, and that episode did a great job of illustrating the different solutions to a problem and how they worked or didn't work.
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