Posts Tagged ‘lego’

Brick Life

13 December 2010

Dear J-

With kids in the house I can just get by saying that I’m researching various Christmas presents while secretly surfing, enviously, the massive creations that other folks are able to dream up, LEGO-wise.  Inspiration comes from all sides, and when we try to execute our own  crafts it’s somewhat disappointing, seeing how our best-laid plans often go to waste, and we end up either wresting control of the project away from figgy, or standing by watching her color/accessorize to the point of obscuring the original work.

Around about eight o’clock tonight I kept thinking — while Calcifer was screaming and figgy whining about going to bed/reading stories/climbing on the dad-gym — what I would do if we hadn’t gone down this path of kids and family; theVet likes to ask me what I would be doing without her and the truth would probably involve starvation and/or my parents’ basement, despite my romantic notions of having enough money to throw around on frivolous side pursuits (when we were living in Davis I had collected and built* all the Star Wars LEGO sets but as LEGO are in the habit** of discontinuing, refining, and re-releasing models, there’s several different versions of, say, the Millennium Falcon that I should put back out on display) I think back to the lessons of Shrek 4.

Then it becomes easy:  despite all the annoyances and lack of time I wouldn’t have it any other way, wouldn’t trade these two volume machines (they go to 11, don’t you know?) for all the complete MISB sets in the world.  Although if you’re asking …

Mike

* My LEGO curse:  if I buy a set to build the model, I’ll always build the model and leave it alone, never branching into creative use of the parts.  The last non-model creation that I built was a version of the Star Trek Enterprise, and that only because I failed in the build of an 8860 Auto Chassis.  So now I have several boxes of completed models on a closet shelf somewhere.

** You’ll notice that LEGO sets are almost like Swarovski crystal figurines:  once they go out of production, the price shoots up.  Try to find a new LEGO 8653 Enzo Ferrari (1:10 scale) or 8880 Supercar, sets that were expensive new and now are at the if-you-have-to-ask level.  The 10024 Red Baron set, for instance, which I should have gotten before it was discontinued was $50 — now on eBay for ten times the price.  Yet thanks to peeron you can find legitimate sellers***, or see if you have the right parts on hand to put one together yourself.

*** These are VERY DANGEROUS to know about.  And I’m never buying LEGO off eBay again.

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Double Flight

21 March 2009

Dear J-

When we were little my brother and I used to put together LEGO planes — pretty simple affairs, really, a 2×12 beam serving as the body, the one propeller we had to spare on the front of the lucky party’s plane, tail stabilizer consisting of a 2×4 plate on the back with a 2×2 plate jammed in sideways, and, depending on the historical re-enactment we were going for that day, anywhere from one to three wings (2×8 plates forming the left and right wings, 1×1 blocks as needed to support).  Our triplanes were especially fragile and, in the absence of glue and structural design calculations, ended up making some kind of spectacular mess underfoot (LEGO pieces are surprisingly sharp).

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I always thought it remarkable (at the time, aggravating to no end) that he always had an answer for the things I thought were upgrades.  I’d pull out a 2×14 beam for the fuselage, but that made me a bigger target.  I’d strap on jet engines, but then my wings would burn off.  I’d add a fourth wing, but then I became top-heavy and unstable, crashing even faster.  Somewhere between first and fourth grade, I reasoned, they taught you all these aeronautical design criteria, and the wisdom to deploy it as needed.

I still have every confidence in him, my quick-witted brother.  It’s impossible for me to see him without some measure of awe, for all he’s done, for all he’ll do.  It’s not just understanding that low-level monks need a steady stream of giant ants to be open-hand slapped (he may have put me up to picking that character class, but he didn’t have to keep that monk alive), or standing up to university computer lab administrators (demonstrating the easy touch used to move the avatar in Ultima IV); it’s the synthesis of experience and knowledge that’ll keep him successful in all he puts his mind to.

Mike

Cold Water on Your Back

5 November 2006

I must have really been homesick those two years in Boston. That’s all I can excuse myself for.

*****

All the same, I really enjoyed grade school. You got crayons, glue, pencils, and a notebook in September. You listened to stories after lunch. You wondered what was on top of the roof, over the fire escape, past the fences, behind the bushes, under the slides, inside the teacher’s lounge. I personally had a huge fear of being in the sunlight with the bloodstones present. As my friend described it, it would suck the blood right out of your body, much as lab reports and midterms were to do in a few years.

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Library Memories

5 November 2006

More of the same … story # 3.

*****

I read a lot, as a result. I knew the librarians better than I knew my classmates. I was bowled over, in fact, to learn that books were free in the library, where you could sit and learn as much as you’d like, never mind that the teachers were being paid to teach you.

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