Wednesday, February 28, 2007


If you are interested in the business side of the LEGO Group, you need to go here.

Nice interview and the site is pretty slick - I would want the BrickJournal website to be like that:-)

BrickJournal 7 appears to be a smaller issue so far. Everytime I have said that, though, the issue grows beyond my expectations.

And the new layout people are teaching me a few new things:-)

I got to be at a train show last weekend at DC - and it was fun except for the snow. I provided my stable of buildings and there were sem things worth note - and I took pics, but haven't uploaded them.

The onlything that got me was that it seemed long...and I think it was a because I didn't demonstarte anything. I watched and took pictures and talked with the gang that was there, which was pretty fun - WAMALTC is a pretty cool group.

More later!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kinda quiet here...

I am working on Issue 7 of BrickJournal and really busy right now...having two back-to back issues is a little tough:-)

But not impossible. There will be some nice articles in the issue that I am looking very forward to sending out. For the amount of rushing that was done, this is going to be a pretty good issue - and that will be because of the people helping out.

This is the first issue with a layout staff and a fully active European Bureau. Thatnks to them, themagazine will be able to work a bit faster andalso bring in new things that I haven't seen - which is VERY exciting!

I'll be back in a bit to talk more,but for now, it's off to work!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Working thoughts...

Getting articles set up for layout and taking care of submissions, and ran across a couple of thoughts:

"With the ongoing growth of the LUGs we all have a responsibility to build and improve relationships both inside our own LUGs and perhaps more importantly between each other's LUGs, especially at international levels, it is very easy to allow small differences or misunderstandings between members and even LUGs to escalate to a situation that could undo all the hard work we have put into making such a success of the LUGs so far."

This is from a note on an article submitted by the club president from Portugal, and this is a very valid point. If the community is to prosper, we need to be establishing communications and relationships.

We also need to accept and appreciate our differences - our diversity should viewed as a strength. A group with members in many specialties is much stronger than a group that is limited in scope. We also need to understand that we are each representatives of the community, so if we act like an idiot in a public setting, whether it be an event or online, we will be regarded as idiots by the public.

At the LEGO Collector's Party in New York, I was one of about 50 people who came - and there were people from other websites, such as Action Figure Times and Toymania and ToyFare and BZPower...the only group that was LEGO-oriented was the BZPower staff. It was interesting to see people collect in their own groups and hang out - since I was a lone wolf, I was to myself from time to time, but also spent some time chatting with Sean Kenney and Nathan Sawaya (LEGO Certified Professionals). I also chatted with LEGO staff on some things - chatting with the Star Wars designer and also Licensing person. For me, it was a really good productive, friendly time...but I couldn't help but what wonder what the others got out of it, as some of the overheard conversation I got was about "Buffy action figures," for example, and there was only a little discussion about the LEGO sets outside of the Falcon.

Me? I got:

a committment for an interview with the Star Wars LEGO designer in a future issue of BrickJournal, some hints about possible future licensing (no Adam West Baman stuff - rats!!!!), some great chatting time with Sean and Nathan, not to mention Steve Witt and some other LEGO staff, and a visit to Sean's LEGO studio.

Not bad for a night:-)

But anyways back to the community - here's a thought we should keep in mind by one of the people I wish I could meet:

"Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards - the things we live by and teach our children - are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings." - Walt Disney

Saturday, February 17, 2007

ExoForce and SpongeBob Sets coming out...

There was a bunch of stuff at the collector's party that I will try to get into BrickJournal, so here's some stuff I can fit in here:

This is the Sentai Golden Fortress set - out in the summer. Comes with a female minifig!

This one's old news because it's out already at Toys R Us, but it made a cool pic!

This is the Mobile Devastator - and it has 3 silver robots, 6 drone robots, and an Exo-Force pilot, who has a mech.

For a less violent theme, there's SpongeBob,and two sets are coming:

the Chum Bucket, and

Mrs. Puff's Boating School. The little boat has a pullback motor, so it can zip through the track.

The SpongeBob sets have the most interesting assortment of parts.

Now off to do some more layout work....

Friday, February 16, 2007

BrickJournal 6

is out:

Announcement and links are here!

These issue refuse to get smaller:-)!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Other Star Wars sets coming out

So here are some other sets coming out:

the Naboo Starfighter without bling - as Sean Kenney put it:-)

Kit Fisto's Jedi Starfighter with hyperspace ring.... and Kit Fisto.

The back side of the Starfighter. This set iis due out in the summer.

Monday, February 12, 2007

More pics....

Here's some more pics from the event - I will be slowly going through these because I need to keep some for BrickJournal 7!

The MTT set, due out in summer has a really

The model itself is pretty big, and if you want new brown in quantity, this is a good start!

For the Castle people, this is from teh new Harry Potter castle and will be showing up in the Castle line...the skeleton horse. It's one piece without the wings. There are studs for attaching wings, harnesses, things like that.

More Falcon pics...a 'beauty' shot after unveiling

Under the upper turret, you can see a little of the construction needed to hold this ship together - Technic pins and beams are locked into place. This also means that there isn't an interior

And here's what the bottom looks like. The hatch retracts into the ship, but the landing gear does not. 

More later!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

More Collector's Party notes..

Didn't show any Technic (as it was in the Toy Fair display area a few blocks away). But saw the new Exo-Force, Bionicle, Batman and Spongebob line - the room was small, so the display was geared towardthe collectors. There peopl from ToyFar, Actionfigure,com, From Bricks to Bothans, and Raving Toy Maniac, among others.

So here's some more pics:

the rear of the Falcon...

with the cover down...

and Batman stuff -

the Batcopter and Scarecrow's biplane

that's a new motorcycle cowl! From the Battank set

and the Bat Tank! It has a dart gun in the back, like the Batwing!

More coming!

LEGO Collector's Party before Toy Fair

Quick pics:

is was unveiled!

it's big!

can be swooshed ( as about 12 pounds)

can seat 4

and can be easily scanned.

UCS Millennium Falcon - minifig scale. 

There's more coming - I just have been doing way too much and I have been in need of sleep.

Also met and talked with the designer of teh set (who was swooshing the model above, Sean Kenney, Nathan Sawaya, and Steve Witt.

A lot of fun and a lot to write about - so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Bad news/good news

Well, the bad news is that Issue 7 needs to be out at the beginning of March(!)

The good news is that there will be two issues inside of a month....


112 pages.

That seems to be the page count for BrickJournal 6.

I get to paginate tomorrow!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Next stop, New York City!

So I just got my ticket to New York City to attend the LEGO Toy Fair Event this coming weekend.

I plan to take pics and upload as soon as I can frm the event, so this will be fun!

LEGO Palooza Day 2 and Wrapup: Or WOW! What fun!

Okay, I'm exhausted.

Been a busy day....

This the 'coast' day of the event, so all I am supposed to do is relax and have some fun and go around and see all the displays.

That didn't happen. I had fun, but I also was busy with my area.

I had 2 NXTs set up as spy robots from Philo's plans and programs - and a third was built on the spot by some boys who dropped by with their father for both days. Since I didn't have another ball on hand (I forgot it), they just put runners in its place. And Huey, Lewey and Dewey were busy playing 'keep away' from the kids at the edge of the tables.

I ended up learning that most of the time, two can run unless there are less than four people at the table. Three can run when the table is full. I also learned that once one falls off the table, at least one other will go down within the next five minutes, so when  one does go, make sure that only one is still running to allow repair - there was one instance when all three were in repair (and that was because some people backed away from the bots!).

This was the general reaction, though:

I got a LOT of questions about the NXT today - and it was really a lot of fun watching everyone interacting with the bots (and the bots were interacting with each other too)

This is when we had 3 fired up and going! That was....frantic. But fun! Everyone had a lot of fun waving the bots away and just watching.

Because of this, though I couldn't walk around like I'm used to - but I did get some pix:

Joe E. at the town layout

Jennifer Joy Poole at her Harry Potter display

Taylor Poole at his Batman display

Cyndi Bradham at her castle display

Carin and Jane Proctor at their retro town layout

Mike Walsh at the train layout

Other people not pictured who participated included Gupreet Jawa, Ian Brusso, Sabrina and Signe Gravatt, Gareth Bowler, and David Winegar.

Also thanks Karen Kornegay and the staff of Morehead Plaetarium for giving us the chance to display and play for the weekedn - it was great!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

LEGO Palooza, Day 1.

Simply put, it was a lot of fun!

The oepning of the room was set for noon, and I was running behind schedule, so I made it to the Planetarium at around 11:30. I brought some spaceships and teh NXT stuff and came in straight into last minute building (and stringing) and pulling out the robots.

I had the NXT joystick, the spybot (without camera), and a sound bot (that used a sound avoidance program tat was simply the ultrasound avoidance program with sensor changed from ultrasonic to sound) - three NXT models! And I had two tables to play with them - with obstacles built by Carin and Jane.

And setup was quick, and before I knew it, the door had opend...and atfirst it was quiet. Then the place got filled with people.

And the NXT joystick and rover worked, then went down. I learned about the shutdown time on a brick  - apparently to keep them from running forever. Problem was that everytime the remote or the joystick went down, the bluetooh would have to be reconnected. On top of that the sound bot was set to sensitive - it used the ultrasound settings (which I figured out muchlater) and so it went crazy wi thteh ambient sound of the place.

So I switched the rover to its automode- which uses is ultrasound sensor to avoid obstacles, and let it go on the table - and that was all I needed to do - Kids loved watching it change direction and wavng it way with their hands. And I converted the sound botto another reomote, and set that to go automatically. And for 4 hours, everyone was completely entertained by them.

And there was moore stuff going on, but it was really fun to watch everyone light up when the bots truned and went to another part of the table. And there were many questions from adults and kids alike.  My laptop was on, so people could see the program behind the rovers too.

And except for the few times the rovers fell off the table, it was a pretty esay area to manage.

Great event - and this is only the first day!

Late night epiphanies..

So I'm doing some stuff for the display tomorrow. As usual, I talk myself into a hole that I have to pull a rabbit out of a hat (what, you think I can actually DO all the  things I say I can:-)?)

The original idea was do make an NXT rover that responds to sound - turns out that little thing makes for a really fun bot for kids. They clap and it turns - and that is something that any schoolkid can understand. And I had one of those that was made at the Air and Space Museum...until I made a tank out of it. I didn't realize that until tonight.


It's not a big deal, actually - I have the program, which was written by Clifton Chambers, Jr. on teh spur of the moment at the Museum, and I can make a rover pretty quickly (it's making them do something that trips me up). But...

this idea is kinda boring to me.  I really wanted to do something nifty. And by a funny coincidence, Philippe Hurbain happened to release online directions to make an NXT joystick earlier this week.

Now, I have been an NXT wannabee for the longest time, but it's not an easy thing to learn how to build...and programming is a trick too. So when I saw the joystick, I was really impressed - it was something that looked really neat, and I wanted to try to build it.

Of course, it wasn't easy - for one thing my downloads wouldn't unzip, so I sent an e-mail to Philo asking for a file to read. He sent it the next morning - that was really nice of him. And upon opening the file - the building is really simple.

By this time, I REALLY wanted to build it. And by this time, it was REALLY Thursday night, and I was busy getting other stuff ready.

So I went to the display setup and I was working building and taking pictures and helping, and I basically made the decision to spend the night building the joystick and a car for it - and get them to work.

Now, I'm a complete idiot on most computer things - I understand the base level of programming, but the modern stuff is way out of my league. The only thing worth note is that I used to  know Mac OS 9 likethe back of myhand in the good ol' I'm going to build the joystick, a rover, and bluetooth them.

This will be fun.

It took me two hours to build the joystck and the rover - both came from Philo's website, as I wasn't going to take chances with different models from what has already worked.

And building the joystick wasreally fun - discovering what Philo did to make everything synchronize was sorta like unfolding a great origami model - things look so basic, but once the folds are made, it's almost magic!

And the rover was a quick build.

So I got them done, downloaded the programs from the website (I am wildy incompetent on programming, so don't even ask me) and ....the remote program wouldn't load. The NXT brick sorta looked me everytime I tried to download. And after a little troubleshooting, I found out it needed a sound file. Oops. Always read the documentation.

Getting the bricks to bluetoothwas another challenge. Philo's nstructions are clear - the bricks aren't, so there's not an obvious confirmation of things...I had failed connections and pass keys that didn't make sense...but I finally got them to see each other - but they wouldn't talk.

I sat there for a moment, then just on a hunch, started the programsfor both NXTs...and they worked - the rover wandered in responce to the joystick, and I was a little kid all over again.

Those peope playing with NXTs who have more than one need to go to Philo's website - it's here.

Friday, February 2, 2007

And away we go!

So the setup fo display started - and I'm not the coordinator. YAY! This is good because I am already busy, and also because I don't necessarily want to be the only one for coordinating. It's nice to be able to be some one to bring things in instead of lead every so often.

The event site is a planetarium that is part of a state college, so it's a little interestingto come in, because you have to get ing the lot and then have to find a space - this is easy, but usually the good spaces are already taken. It's no different this year for me, so I am parked far away.

Bythe time I getthere, there are already members of our club in and starting to lay out their models.

That's Sabrina and Signe - Sabrina is Signe's daughter. And that's a Star Wars collection. And it's not all there - more is coming!

This Cyndi's pile of very organized stuff for her layout. She is presenting a castle layout that is very impressive (you'll see a couple of pix in a moment)

There's David and Joe Evangelista (or Joe Cool) - they are building stuff, as we all do - I spent the time building a crane. Joe and I are working on a construction site and a heliport so I can show these:

And who led the event?

that would be Carin. She and her sister were building and settingthings up, like this:

a nice retro layout.

Here's some other pictures too:

those are the Batman comics,incidentally!

part of Cyndi's layout...a really small part:-)

But the neatest part was when Cyndi started adding trees and foliage - she ended up teaching the Planetarium volunteer to tree build, and they were really enjoying the building!

It's moments like this that make me really happy about our hobby - when we cah reach out by intention or accident.

But I gotta get to my task - I gotta build some NXT items! Thanks, Philo, for sending me instructions!!

and the display is set to GO!!

So I have my MOCs...well, some of them:-) Doing part of a heliport, so I have my old helicopters and a refueling point.

Will also be bringing some construction stuff for a building zone...a skyscraper and stuff will be there.

There's going to be a lot of stuff, so it'll be a lot of fun!
Pictures coming

Building? I'm supposed to be doing THAT?

You know, there's nothing like getting wrapped in work - I just did some more layouts to BrickJournal (yes it's STILL going on)

But I can tell you that the following will be in it:

• Event reports from all over- Germany, Italy and the US...and a couple others too
• Interviews with some women builders
• Instructions on some nifty models (hey, I did one:-)!)
• Some more interviews

It's at 82 pages, and there are still some articles left to lay out (including one by Gary Istok)...and a surprise too!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Getting prepared for a display....

So I gotta get ready for a local display (Morehead Planetarium, Chapel Hill, NC) and have to buid some stuff. Pile this into working on BrickJournal and some other stuff, and you get a pretty busy Joe!

The display is LEGOPalooza, and will have some displays from the local builders - and it's a lot of fun! I'll be bringing an NXT set to respond to sound (so kids can confuse it by clapping their hands) and assorted MOCs to show - some are sets (the Mobile Crane and the Construction Crane) and some are custom (helicopters and other vehicles)

There will also be Harry Potter stuff, Batman stuff, and Castle it's goingto be a pretty nice layout. There will be pics taken of course, so watch this space this weekend!

So I'm busy busy busy!