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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The witching hour

...is almost upon us here in Seattle, and thankfully the Jelly family is all done with Halloween already for another year. The kids are candied up. I'm all cheese'd and sangria'd up - and thanks to an hour in a very hot costume, several pounds lighter too! I'll be thankful of that once Thanksgiving rolls around.

I think the Hawkings did an excellent job on their costumes this year, although I have no idea who the big one is supposed to be...


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pandering and pondering

Awww, here's a very adorable looking and completely non-violent pair of pandas, by M and M (whose charming little Alice in Wonderland figures I featured earlier this year).

They look a bit glum, as though they were waiting for something. Like the end of communism, perhaps. Then again, if the only food I could eat was bamboo, I'd be pretty down in the dumps too. Hey guys, it could be worse, at least you're not koalas!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Four by four

Christopher Tan contines to be on a roll lately. Perhaps I'll just have to made the "Chris Quad" a regular feature!


Ant farming

Jason Alleman (aka True Dimensions) built this set of microscale farm machinery. And even though I know nothing about the original subject matter, somehow I can just tell that these models are painstakingly accurate!

The only thing missing are a bunch of eviscerated cows and a flying saucer. Actually, these are so adorably playable, it just leaves me wanting more. Like, oh, I don't know... an entire microscale farm scene?!

Jason has also posted instructions to these models and more on his website. (...good man!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

LEGO patent turns 50, buys Ford Mustang GT, schedules first prostate exam

Exactly 50 years ago today, the US Patent Office granted patent number 3005282 for a "toy building brick" to it's inventor, one Godtfred Kirk Christiansen of Billund, Denmark. And so, the legend began!

Even though the patent was challenged more than once in court and actually expired some decades ago, the competition never seems to have come close to creating a product of comparible quality in all that time. The question is, does that mean we should love The LEGO Company, or fear it? :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

All bow down before the awesome power of hypno-kitten!

Wow, has it been almost 5 minutes since I posted something awesome by Korean builder Na K Amida (aka edulyoung)? I'd better do something about that! Even if it means breaking my usual rule about 1:1 scale sculptures. But then, I am powerless against the unbearable adorable cuteness that *is* hypno-kitten!

Actually, Mr. Amida (blog) has come up with a proper name and charming backstory for this model...

"Romeo, the stray cat, cocked his ears toward the corner and looked at wide eyed. His legs were ready to run and the eyes penetrated the darkness under a dim street light."

I'm glad someone out there has had such positive and poetry-evoking experiences with cats. I'm afraid my most recent encounter with my own feline family member can only be rhapsodised thus...

"Oh accursed and ever-curious moggy, why did you follow me into the crawlspace so? For the early hours are approaching, and your journeys below the lighted entry panel are so infrequent. As I reach down cobra-like to clamp my hand around your adorably chokable neck, I wonder: Will I be able to retrieve you from the carpet of rat feces below, before you claw every last scrap of flesh from my forearm?"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Please wait

Apologies for the lack of posts this week - I've been busy getting ready for a business trip. Starting tomorrow morning, I shall be in Las Vegas for the 2011 Tableau Customer Conference, where I shall be including at least one Lego-related joke in my presentation!

In the meantime I shall leave you with this charming scene entitled simply "Waiting", by Russian Lego fan (and pirate builder extraordinaire) Corioso.

Many thanks to Bruce Hietbrink at Comic-Disney-God-Micro-Miniland-Sci-Vignette-Bricktale-Bricks for the hot tip on this one!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's a dirty Jobs but someone's gotta do it

Christopher Tan (blog) is a man on fire at the moment, churning out one super little nanoblock based character after another. Here's a sampling of his latest batch (including a model of Steve Jobs that was featured on Wired's website).


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Because robots have rights too!

Polish builder Jerac has provided his own take on the whole "robolution" theme of the latest add-on to the game Borderlands, featuring some hilariously bad-ass Claptraps (which kind look to me like they should be Wall-E's redneck cousins or something).

The Claptraps seem to offer a world of robotic character creation opportunities, and I wouldn't be half surprised if these become the next Lego meme waiting round the corner for us (in the vein of all the recent Portal creations, or even CubeDudes). Let's step back and see how my prediction pans out...

Monday, October 10, 2011

BrickCon 2011: And now, for something completely different...

In the spirit of BrickCon's 2011 motto "Building a Community", the Bricks of Character theme this year included it's first ever *collaborative* display. The subject was Monty Python. The scale was miniland. And its name was...

The concept was pretty simple: Find a bunch of AFOLs who were nuts about Monty Python, and get each one to contribute a scene from the one of the TV episodes or movies. Everything would be done to about 'miniland' (theme park) scale, to allow for interesting characterization, great detailing, and to present a consistent overall look to the diorama. Each scene would be built upon one of more standard 32x32 Lego baseplates so we could just push them all together.

In the end we presented a total of 12 scenes. And you'd have to be a pretty massive Python fan to be able to name them all without Googling! For the full 'faux' miniland experience, I even hid a boom-box under the display that played random Python tunes and sketches every 5 minutes during public hours. So by the end of the convention I was pretty much humming these things in my sleep (aargh!). And during private hours, anyone within 20 feet of the area would have been treated to endless nerdy recitals of Python dialogue. As is the tradition among Our Kind.


Check out my Flick set for detailed images (including the ultra-big super-wide panoramic version, if you dare!). And many thanks to my PythonScape compadr├ęs for all your hard work. Wear your Pythonscape badge bridge with pride. Because your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elberberries!

The PythonScape crew:

Iain Heath
Oscar Heath
Tommy Williamson
Tim Inman
Micah Berkoff
Mariann Asanuma
Ty Keltner
Guy Himber


Saturday, October 8, 2011

BrickCon 2011: Bricks of Character

My continuing coverage of BrickCon 2011 continues to continue! And tonight we're gonna focus on my personal Lego raison d'etre Bricks of Character.

Check out my Bricks of Character set on Flickr to see my personal favorite "BOC MOCs" from the event, or for more comprehensive coverage of the entire convention check out Bill Ward's photostream.

First of all, your humble Bricks of Character 'emmcees' would like to thank everyone who brought a MOC to the BOC table!

We had around 80 creations this time (and as always, that's counting all the CubeDudes one MOC!). It was great to see all the new and creative models. Although as the proportion of videogame-based MOCs grows from year to year, I'm having a harder time recognizing everything. Fortunately there are always plenty of 'youths' skulking about to explain it all to me!

Here's a journey across of the entire BOC table...

And as always, we got a great response from the public! (...laugh, point, hold camera phone directly over delicate MOC, push barriers closer and closer to table, if kindergarden age then also swing off barriers so that feet almost reach table level...)

We also had the pleasure of handing out trophies to the best contributions. Of course, this being Bricks of Character, you already knew the award categories would not be normal...

This year the judging was performed by my arch nemeses The Brothers Brick. Because it's always important to have a scapegoat in these situations. Thanks guys (and godess)!

Here's me and Tommy dishing out the prizes (which included some Lego sets!) to the three winners. Tommy actually won one, as did Nathan Proudlove and Shawn Snyder. Here's Shawn recieving his award. No speeches for them since I'm a mic hog!


...is that some kind of "Left Coast" uniform? Everyone at work seems to dress this way, come rain or shine! Not that I can talk, given what I was wearing.

And to wrap up, here are two of my most very favoritest MOCs from the entire Bricks of Character display (Shawn's "Kratos" and some miniland roller derby gals by the ever-dreamy Gary McIntyre)...

Another great showing, and looking forward to seeing what the next one brings!

NEXT UP: This year Bricks of Character featured it's very first collaborative display Pythonscape. Stay tuned for an in depth analysis!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

BrickCon 2011: By the Numbers

As promised, here are some more randomly selected images from BrickCon 2011. But you may be surprised to see a GRAPH at the top of this list. Yes kids, playing with bricks is fun, but playing with data can be cool too!

When I'm not fiddling with Lego or lying face down in a pool of regurgitated vegetable fermentations, I work at a Seattle company called Tableau Software. We make "data visualization" software that is so powerful and easy to use that even politicians could operate it!

Click the image to get a full explanation of what you're looking at there. I've been using Tableau to analyze the MOC database that the BrickCon organizers used to print off all the MOC cards (which as a theme coordinator, I happen to have access to).

I'll post further revealing 'visualizations' as and when I can, including (hopefully) an interactive online dashboard that will let you explore the data on your own! (famous last words)

Ok, back to the photos... Here are my personal favorites from the convention (in what little time I could find to go explore all the other exhibits while not busy 'coordinating'). This doesn't include any of my favorites from Bricks of Character though, since I'll be covering that theme in excruciating detail very soon!

(The names of the MOCs and their creators can be found by just clicking through to my photostream)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BrickCon 2011: AFOL-ing around

Last year I procrastinated EPIC-ally and only managed to push out one decent post on BrickCon. This year I figure it's better that I just get stuff out in whatever state it comes. So get ready for randomness!

I shall be posting pictures of my personal favorite MOCs from the event, as well as providing an in-depth look at this year's Bricks of Character display, which featured our first ever collaborative effort, Pythonscape...

...if Tommy can keep his head out of the shot for just a moment!

If you want to just pore over detailed images of the entire convention, I recommend checking out Bill Ward's coverage which (as always) is exhaustively complete and very well photographed.

But tonight "on a very special episode" of The Living Brick, I want to focus on the "friends and fun" aspect of the convention, which is what it's all about (actually that's not true, it's all about how much free stuff you can swag).

This was my son Oscar's second year at BrickCon. While not manning the Bricks of Character section, he was either off fan-boy-ing it up over at Operation Bricklord or pestering me for more dough to blow on Brick Arms.

Tommy Williamson, rocking the fruits of our labor at the Bricks of Character table. Not sure where he was planning to stuff that dollar bill, though.

Scott posing next to his immense Pirate section centerpiece. He's the one on the left. We both spent a good part of the convention nestled behind this behemoth, where there were all kinds of secret compartments for operating the lights, misters, or stuffing leftover donuts. We also discovered that misters leak profusely when left running for days at a time. Fortunately Scott spotted this before the power cables did!

...the entire thing is actually made of MegaBlok (I kid, I kid!)

Brother Josh alolwed me to handle some of the Classic-Castle.com mascots that travel the world from AFOL to AFOL. They're minifigs, so of course I unleashed some HATE upon their tiny plastically nostril-plugging helmets!

This is Brother/Sister Caylin. She has the power to bestow gifts of Lego upon lucky convention go-ers. Or to unleash her teerrible fury. Fear her. This is her throttling me probably...

Me unpacking stuff for the Pythonscape table. We had Monty Python music playing out of my laptop alomst continuously. I've been humming it ever since. I think it may have caused permanent brain damage! That and all the inevitable dialog recitation from anyone wandering within 10 feet of this area.

A bunch of the younger guys showed off an arsenal of perfect Lego replica weapons, which they happpily waved around during both private and public hours. I kept pointing out to them that if they got too close to the entrance area, someone on the street would probably call it in and we'd get a visit from the local SWAT team. And their bullets aren't made out of plastic!

...and it turned out the Seattle PD eventually complained about this stuff, so we might not be seeing this theme next year. Probably didn't help that one of the lads was the spitting image of Lee Harvey Oswald.

The highlight of the evening entertainment was Hillel Cooperman's completetly impartial and thorough analysis of the quality of MegaBlok. Which of course meant a little blending. Completely scientific. Not at all maniacal...

Brothers Nathan and Andrew share a little quality family time (CAPTION CONTEST: I'll be award a prize to the suggestion that makes me laugh the most!)

And they're breeding! This is Chris Malloy, the latest recruit to The Brothers Brick. "And he shall know their ways, as if born to them". He's a really nice chap and we discovered we both met the same drunken goat in Texas one time. No, seriously! He's also about 9 feet tall.

Tiffeny, hiding her shame during the 'blind build' contest...

Darth Roger, letting his Ambassadorial powers go to his head...

Well, that's all for tonight. Tomorrow, some MOCs!

Various photos courtesy of Bill Ward, Caylin Feyring, Josh Wedin and yours truly.