Thursday, November 30, 2006

Millyard opening...

I'm in Hew Hampshire to cover this event - and it was really impressive.

Some background:

Two years ago, an idea was forwarded from Bob Tuttle to build a LEGO model of the Amoskeag Millhouse, of which the SEE Science Center and FIRST LEGO League are based. Initial plans were to have the model built in a 5,000 square feet room, which is a monumental size. As a result, the LEGO group not only had their Master Builders Erik Varszegi and Steve Gerling build, but recruited NELUG (the New England LEGO Users Group) and the community of Manchester help out.

The final result is a 2200 square foot display including the Millyard, City Hall and the main street of Manchestera and an amusement park from the turn of the century.

The dedication ceremony was a grand affair, with the mayor of Manchester and Governor of New Hampshire attending. Also, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen was present with other representatives of the LEGO Group, as well as Dean Kamen, the creator of FIRST and also inventor of the Segway.

Here's a couple of pix:

Erik and Steve talking about the project.

Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, Dean Kamen, Governor John Lynch and Steve Gerling at the dedication.

There was quite a bit of coverage of the event from the local TV stations and newspapers, which is great!

There were also members of NELUG, including Joe Comeau, Suzanne Green, Dave Eaton, Bill Bourne, Teddy Welsh (who gave me a tour of the display, showing me the neat details), and a whole bunch of other people.

And what about the Millyard?

Well, it looked likethis a month ago:

and it looks really nice with the addition of 8,000 minifigs to populate.

And yes, there will be an article on this in BrickJournal!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Hampshire...

So I got to Manchester, New Hampshire today, thanks to two planeflights and a rent a car. The weatther is cold and wet - certainly notfun for me.

What was fun for me was going to the FIRST LEGO League office here (theinternational headquarters is here) and talking to Scott Evans, thechallenge designer for the group. I interviewed him a couple of monthsago and was getting some pictures taken of him and his co-worker, Cindy Randall.

He's a great person to talk to - with a warped sense of humor, but a mind sharp as a tack! As a result, the conversation that ensued had alot of laughs and neat insights. Designing the  FLL challenges arenot easy, but Scott does a wonderful job.

Cindy has a different take on things - she's a motivator and has ameasure of charisma - she can sell people on ideas, and her jobis justthat! With the challenges, there is a real-life research aspect, andshe works on that by recruiting world experts to help her out. She's very articulate and gets people involved just by her words.

I also talked to Tormod Askildsen from LEGO tonight - and got into alot of discussions about LEGO Factory and a little about BrickJournal.

But why are all ofthese people in New hampshire? Well....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Holiday weekends...

Spending the holiday with family and just relaxing...

Built the snowmobile Technic set, and it's pretty neat! The details are pretty clever (the front fork has a suspension and the tracks move pretty smoothly)...I seee a lot opossibilities with the treads too. The alternate build is really nice too, as it makes a bulldozer with two treads that are small - small enough for an NXT brick

Also got some smaller sets to play with - the mosaic sets are fun and very addictive - as in, I can do that! and THAT! And...darn, I'm out of parts...need another set:-)

And next week, I go to cover an event in New Hampshire, then off to Chicago then off to Munich and then Billund!

And somewhere in there, I'm supposed to be writing :-)

I'm also working on multimedia stuff for use with BrickJournal..One of the things that will have to expand with the magazine is its use of media. So possibilities include video and audio presentations.

BrickJournal will be working toward getting articles from First LEGO League, Serious Play, and a bunch of events - and I will hopefullly have video coming in from Munich...

Monday, November 20, 2006

People I meet...

This past weekend, I was in DC again to  work on a layout at an event at the National Air and Space Museum. I love doing stuff here because the layouts are much more free-form, and I can look at the ohter displays onsite and learn a thing or two about space travel. Always fun, and always  enlightening.

This time we had a visitor...actually a visitor and his grandfather.

The grandfather is Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and it turns out that he is a regent of the Air and Space Museum. He's a very friendly person and chatted with use for a little bit as his grandson built at the build area.

We also got requests to do robotic demonstrations at some local schools, which were very unexpected. But it's an indicator of how much attention LEGO stuff gets if put in a public place.

The robotics were a nice surprise to build - Clifton Chambers and his father built a robot and I had 2 at the display. One was a forklift that was a little tempermental, andthe other I built onsite was a sound activated rover - I wanted something that would respond to the kids that showed up. Clifton set up the program (all of three steps) and I built a  rover using a ball as a caster (an idea that came from the MDP gang)

The result was this:

The robot are quickly got a crowd as a result.

Others involved with the display included Mike Harrod, Tony Perez, Travis Butler, Phil Moyer, and Kunie Devorkin.

Next up for me? Local Train layout!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nothing like a little craziness....

I just got back from a meeting of Meeting Professionals International, a group of organizers and convention service people who met at a hotel that wasn't far away from my place. I was invited by a convention bureau (Atlanta) to visit and maybe learn a thing or two or three.

The seminar that was set up was about leadership and management and was hosted by the Disney Institute - yep, they do training too! The seminars concentrated on how to use the "Disney Way" to get the best results from group planning and management.

For the community, it's important to note that everyone or almost everyone is a volunteer, so leading and planning is different from doing the same in a business model - there's no pay, and to a certain extent, no incentive. The good thing about this though is that the incentive for a volunteer is deeper than a paycheck - volunteers don't answer to the standards that are set by a business, but by what is set by themselves...and that is often a higher standard than is set in a business.

So leading is finding those of same vision and creating an environment that encourages creativity - this empowers the individuals to do what they want and need to reach their objectives. It's also fun.

Now, I get o zip to DC and do another display - it's been pretty frantic!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Festival of the Masters at Disney

So I was here, at Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. There was a LEGO display to coincide with the Festival of the Masters, and I was invited to join. The theme was movies, and there were mocs from Lost, Casablanca, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Little Mermaid, Haryy Potter, Spiderman, and Batman. Participants were members of GFLUG (the Greater Florida LEGO Users Group). What was really cool was that he new 2007  sets showed up too, so I got some Aquaraider and Mosaic sets.And attendance for the Festival was estimated to be 220,000 for the entire weekend.Not bad at all!

Friday, November 10, 2006

What happened over the weekend

So here's where I was - I was at Potomac Mills, VA helping out with a LEGO store display with the DC train club.

Usually, there's at least one building that I builton the layout, but this time I did three.And it was an all weekend event, so I was going to occupy myself with my NXT. So I brought it to the display on Saturday and Sunday building a robot on a little display area.

I became a huckster for teh NXT, and it was pretty fun. Problem was, I couldn't build anything fun until Sundy...annd then programminng took an hour or so.

the end result was a forklift that picked up a pallet and moved it to another point and dropped it off....and it was a LOT of fun!

More later - off to Festival of the Masters in Florida!!

Monday, November 6, 2006

Busy weekend (as usual)

Was at the Potomac Mills LEGO outlet all weekend. Worked on an NXT and did some train stuff. What fun!

More in abit - there's a lot of neat things tht happened!

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

BrickJournal in Asia

In yacking on a discussion board, I found out that LEGO Shop at Home doesn't get to Asia.

This is an upsetting thing to the Asian AFOLs, and I can understand that - one of the possibilities of marketing BrickJournal is through Shop at Home. How will the Journal get to Asia?

Definitely a question to ponder, especially since Asia is a place I would like to see articles from.