Hi there! After five glorious years, I have decided to retire this blog.
Feel free to visit my Flickr or YouTube channels instead.
Or follow my latest blogging exploits over at the Brothers Brick.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't run with them, run from FROM them!

I think Arkov has been hanging out with the wrong kind of girls. This is the result!


I have to admit, the blowy hair is so great I wish I'd thought of it first.

Looking forward to seeing Arkov again at BrickCon this year, with this and his other new creations. Hopefully by then he'll have worked it all out in therapy. Although they're probably too manly and rugged for therapists in Colorado. Or perhaps all the therapists just go around with giant scissors, I don't know. That would explain a lot. Except maybe Mork and Mindy.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

You know, for men

Titolian's microscale skills are already well honed, but you know someone has reached mastery of their art when they can squeeze this level of authenticity and detail from so few bricks.

Needless to say, he puts it to good use. And sticking with the theme of manly pursuits crafted on a small scale, Mr. T applies his eye for clever brick use to great effect in these vignettes of the two other great male passtimes. Namely: (a) boxing, and (b) enjoying the comfort of a good pipe in your study while Mile Davis plays on the gramophone and the Misses is nowhere to be seen.

...ahh, bliss! A man after my own heart. Jolly good show, old bean!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What a complete poser

...oh wait, I guess that's the point! Billy McGill (aka Mt. Dew Monkey) created this nice Lego version of one of those desktop mannequin thingies. The ones that artists apparently use when the local naked model is busy buying naked shopping or doing their naked taxes or something like that.

I don't know, it kind of looks a bit wooden to me. Oh wait...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tiny leviathans, doing stingy battle

Last year's Battle of the Leviathans was the first installment in a "Predator and Prey" series by Ryan Rubino, and made #2 in my personal Top 9 of 2009 Lego creations.

Well, today I'm glad to say it was not a one-off, for behold part two, Aposematism Ignored, featuring a battle between the noble black widow spider and that most accursed of summer-evening-barbeque-with-the-family-ruining insects, the wasp. No guesses which one I'm rooting for! Die you stripy basalmic-vinegar-loving bastard!!

The level of detail and posing of these models is simply stunning. I mean, how often is a scene so excellently put together that even the arses are a site to behold? (...ok, not counting Russ Meyer's Supervixens, that is)

By way of explanation, in biology "Aposematism" is the strategy of using bright colors or markings to warn other creatures that you are either foul tasting or poisonous. So it's the insect equivalent of Christina Aguilera.

Well done Ryan, this MOC is a true feast for the eyes and I award it a score of infinity Golden Hawkings. Ok, I admit I'm not taking this award system too seriously any more!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

nuqDaq 'oH puchpa''e'

Apologies for the low number of posts this month. Please accept the excuse of your choice...

    1. I was stuck down a well.
    2. I was kidnapped by aliens.
    3. Bricks by the Bay happened!

If you're wondering about the title of this post, either...

    1. I just sneezed
    2. My dog just ran across the keyboard
    3. A Klingon just asked for directions to the bathroom!

If you answered '3' to both the above, you are correct!

And here is the bumpy-headed bad-tempered restroom-seeking alien himself, courtesy of Dave and John Xandegar (aka briXwerX), this mammoth Klingon Warrior sculture stands almost a metre tall and weighs in at over 26 pounds!

But this chap is not only in search of the local toilet facilities, he is also in search of a name! This is to be the centerpiece of the briXwerX display at BrickWorld 2010, and Dave and John are holding a contest to see who can come up with the best name for this (a good Klingon name, of the form "so-and-so, son of so-and-so"). Submit your entry NOW, or suffer generations of dishonor for your family, you stinking human P'TAK!

As you would expect, the scale of this creation allows the Xandegars to cram it chock full of amazing details, from the uniform to the weapons to the excellent cranial wotsits...

I only wish I would be able to see this and the other Xandegar works in person at Brickworld this year. However, I am unable to ever visit the Chicago area, since I have it on good authority that alcohol is prohibited there, and the place is overrun with meatball eating gangsters with crazy names like "Spats McFrenzy" firing Tommy guns everywhere and going "Seeeeee...". Plus, how they could name an entire city after Peter Cetera's rock band is beyond me!


(...excuse me, I have a bad cold at the moment)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Space just got a whole lot emptier

The Brothers Brick today broke unfortunate news about the passing of Nate Nielsen (who operated under the shadowy online identity "nnenn"). His body of work was legendary, and set the gold standard for an entire genre of studs-hidden, super-swooshable space-themed creations.

His involvment in the online AFOL community, as well as his particular online persona, are also something of a legend: It was only a few days ago at the Bricks by the Bay convention that I was sipping on a beer and being entertained by hilarious nnenn-related anecdotes by Andrew Lee and other die-hard 'spacers'.

I'm no good at this sort of thing, so I just want to encourage everyone to go visit the growing online eulogy for Nate over at The Brothers Brick, as well as perouse his massive collection of works on Flickr. TBB will also be doing a retrospective of nnenn's work over the course of the next week.

I'm not even into Lego space, yet I always found his stuff enthralling. So I'll simply leave you my personal favorite nnenn creation...

While Nate may no longer be with us, I expect that the influence of his building style on the Lego community will endure for a long, long time to come. And that is a pretty awesome way to be remembered...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bricks by the Bay is this weekend!

Ok, so you may not be registered for the private convention, but if you live in the Bay area, you can still come on down to the public exhibition of
Bricks by the Bay, this Sunday between 10am and 4pm at the Silicon Valley Marriott in Fremont, Arnifornia. It's gonna be the firstest, bestest, most siliconiest, least grammatically correctest, Lego show in the Bay area evaaaaar...

And to my fellow attendees, that will be spending the next few days setting up and showing their wares, I'm looking forward to meeting you all and seeing whatcha got! And kicking your ass at the games (...not! I suck at games). And drinking you under the table (...not! Some of us have to drive, sadly). Ok, I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead here...

God save the Queen, and/or British music industry

I can think of any number of 'British Icons' that would be worth scultping in Lego, but Justin Ramsden's choice of Amy Winehouse was a bit of a surprise! Presumably Lady Gaga was washing her hair or something?

Anyway, ignoring the fact the Justin decided to snub obvious choices such as The Pet Shop Boys, Oasis or Simon Cowell in favor of old 'Wino', I have to condede this is a stellar piece of work! Capturing every gory detail of the woman who is role model to millions of aspiring young Brits (...if you're talking about aspiring to find amusing names for your own chuff, that is).

This creation is certainly a festival of interesting building techniques too, from the rivers of appropriately Medusan snaky hair, the clever use of lamp bricks and rods to create the glinting eyes, and the earrings made from partially-connected plates. Even the base is a sight to behold (although I haven't quite figured out what it all means yet!).


I predict that this sculpture is destined for the same greatness as the person that inspired it, seeing as how they're both collosal busts! (...nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)

Excuse me, I have to go wash my eyeballs now... ;-)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Behind the Fraternity: An interview with Andrew Becraft, creator and editor in chief of “The Brothers Brick"

If you are a serious fan of Lego, then it goes without saying that you visit Lego fan and news website The Brothers Brick on a daily basis. Over the past eighteen years, TBB has grown from a simple printed flyer stuffed into Seattle neighborhood mailboxes, to become the 16th most popular Lego-related website on the internet, serving hundreds of visitors every month in over seven countries.

To find out more about the “man behind the myth”, I recently caught up with TBB creator Andrew Becraft in a local Seattle strip club, where I also got to meet his new friend “Tammy”, who apparently (judging by her attire) was having trouble with the setting of the air conditioning in there. So while she danced to keep cool, Andrew and I stepped outside to enjoy a smoke and some conversation. At 6’ 7’’ tall, Andrew is an imposing figure, with a bleached white crew-cut, and well-toned dark olive skin that glistened in the gentle moonlight, overshadowed only by his one-piece silver spandex jumpsuit.

OJ: So Andrew, tell me how it all got started with TBB. Wasn’t it actually sort of an accident, or so the story goes?

AB: Yes that’s correct. My friend Josh [Josh Wedin, co-creator of TBB], who was my parole officer at the time, this was back in the late eighties, came up with the idea of a bulletin board that we could use to connect with people around the country for the purpose of trading Pugs.

OJ: Pugs, you mean those hideous little dogs?

AB: That’s right, those poor godforsaken curs. Anyway, it was going really well, until the mid-nineties when the market just got completely flooded with inexpensively produced Chihuahuas from South America…

OJ: You mean the great Pug crash of ’94?

AB: Oh God don’t remind me, it was awful, we had Josh’s mom’s garage stacked to the ceiling with Pugs that we couldn’t shift, it was a nightmare! So anyway, things were tanking and the garage stank so we thought “Why don’t we change the focus of the site a bit, bring in something that appeals to a larger audience, something perhaps with a bit more longevity…”

OJ: Ah, so that’s when you had the idea of making it a site about Lego?


AB: Right yes, well eventually. We toyed around with a few other things, like Pez dispensers, before we hit on the magic “Lego formula”.

OJ: But wait, wasn’t Pez how e…

AB: Don’t. Don’t go there. I, I just need to take a moment, sorry…

OJ: Erm, ok... So how did things develop from there?

AB: Well to cut a long story short, someone invented the internet, which really made it easy to drive up traffic and revenue and show pictures and stuff, and here we are in 2010 with a full-time staff of 27 (8 in Seattle and 19 in Bangalore).

OJ: Wow, I didn’t realize TBB generated enough revenue to employ that many people. I bet Joe Meno is really pissed right about now. What’s your business model?

AB: Er, well, I don’t pay them exactly, they’re kind of volunteers.

OJ: You mean they’re from the Lego fan community?

AB: Not exactly, there kind of a bunch of my co-workers, at a well-known lumbering Seattle-area software mill.

OJ: Cool, its not often you find someone with such a passion for their hobby that they can get their co-workers enthused enough to help muck in! How do you motivate them?

AB: Well, they pretty much do whatever I tell them to. If they want to get a decent score on their next performance review, that is. Or help with their naturalization paperwork.

OJ: What?

AB: Er, nothing.

OJ: So let’s switch gears a bit and talk about how you got bitten by the Lego bug. Let’s start with the usual questions. Tell me about your “dark ages”…

AB: San Quentin.

OJ: So veering sharply away from your personal history and back to the website, tell me who the blog is targeted at, and who your main readers are?

AB: Well, it’s aimed primarily at AFOLs, with the emphasis on the “A”, that’s our demographic, grown-up people with actual facial hair and driving licenses and stuff. We try to steer the snotty little oiks to kid sites like MOCPages and Brickshelf with various tactics, such as setting our site rating to “R” so that their parental controls kick in.

OJ: Nice, I wish I’d thought of that!

AB: Yeah, but occasionally some of the little bacteria farms slip through the cracks by using the Public Library computers or something, so we regularly include an article on some random political hot-topic to “sour the milk” with pretend grown-up talk and arguing and shouting and stuff. Which also gives us an excuse to relentlessly flame the silly infants and their inane LOLspeak.

OJ: Won’t that just drive the kids to Flickr?

AB: Shhhhhhhhhhh!

OJ: But given that 90% of Lego sets are designed for and sold to kids, don’t you think you should be creating content that will appeal to them as well?

AB: Oh god no, that’s the last thing we want! Have you seen children? It makes me shudder what I have to go through to buy sets at Toys R Us. The place is swarming with them. I actually have to just charge towards the Lego aisle swinging a shovel around in front of me, just in case. They really should do something about that. It’s just not safe in there.

OJ: So tell me, when you’re not busy cracking the whip on TBB articles, do you play with Lego in your free time?

AB: Oh absolutely! I’m very involved with my local Lego fan group, SEALUG.

OJ: Ah right, I think I’ve heard of that. What does that stand for?

 Andrew with a bunch of
other old ladies at
some SEALUG meeting

AB: It stands for Software Engineers Anonymous Lego User Group. We meet in Josh’s mom’s basement every third Tuesday and fifth Wednesday to talk about new Lego sets, show off our latest Lego creations, and play Lego games. We even drink actual grown-up beer drinks.

OJ: So what kind of games do you play at these events?

AB: Well there’s Shit 101 Bricks, where you have to be the first person to ingest and then excrete 101 bricks. That’s kind of an all-nighter right there.

OJ: … a sort of a “2 AFOLs and 1 cup”, I suppose.

AB: Oh, and then there’s Boil in the Bag, where you microwave a bunch of unopened impulse sets, and people race to build the set before everyone else. Or before the plastic melts their fingers off.

OJ: Sounds like fun! Well from the look of that patrol car, I guess our time’s up…

AB: Aha! This is an ex-interview. It has ceased to be!

OJ: Whatever. Thanks for talking to us tonight, Andrew!

AB: Nudge nudge, wink wink, if you know what I mean, eh? Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! I fart in your general direction!