Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dropping a pebble into a pond....

I'm off to go to another event in Atlanta - a Yoda Building event. It's where an 8-foot Yoda model is built by kids over a weekend, and it's pretty fun to watch. I got to see it in Festival of the Masters (Orlando) last year and this year I get to be a volunteer. This will be fun!

I'm also starting to see what is in store for BrickJournal 8, and it looks to be pretty interesting:-) The event reports are coming in, and some reviews are coming in too. Am working on a fun surprise too...

But about the title line - just a little thing that I think about every so often.

What we do and choose to do affects everything around us, like a pebble dropped into a pond. The ripples it sets off make other things happen, and create new ripples...

It's easy to think that what we do isn't that important in the grand scheme of things, but what's surprising is that what we do often is important.

What do I mean? Well, I did a video on FLL that I posted on YouTube a weekago. In that week, FIRST LEGO League sent the video link to all of the teams and volunteers to see, I got comments from teams that were at the World Festival and I got requests to send a high res copy to FLL headquarters and to a team in Oregon that is recruiting sponsors and more teams. The photos I uploaded to Flickr  got the  attention of a person publishing a book in  MIT who asked to use a pic.

All that from posting a video.

Think about this - all great things start with a first step. Or a pebble.

What's your pebble?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Another video review from Millionaire Playboy...

Joe Fulton (or Lando da Pimp) sent me a link to his newest video review of teh new Hogwarts Castle coming out.

You can go here to see it.

I really like the format of the review - the time-lapse build is really nice and shows clearly how the sets build.

Air and Space Photos...

can be found here.

Some individual pics are in the gallery here, but many more are on flickr.

Air and Space Display

So Saturday was the day for Explore the Universe Day - and it was a lot of fun. The LEGO display was center stage at the entrance (which was a nice surprise). All the mOCs and models were set up there, and the build area was set awy atthe missle display (to the left, if you entered from the National Mall entrance).

We had a monorail. micro models, NASA models, fantasy ships and even a sneak peek of the upcoming LEGO space sets and even the upcoming Republic Cruiser from the Star Wars collection!

Pictures will be coming once I get them off my camera..I have a few in my flickr account, but more will be coming. Also, go to for some more info!

Friday, April 20, 2007

BrickJournal Photo Archive (sorta)

Didier Enjary brought up an idea for he BrickJournal website: Have all the extra photos  that didn't get published be in the  site.

Ithought about this for a while and decided to us my flickr account for that. Why? Well, it can handle all the traffic the photos would take -  and it woudl be easy to maintain. Also, I can print pics from my flickr galleries.

So start looking over here for some of the pics that didn't get in the mag.

Pictures by other photographers will not be included in the galleries unless permission is given.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

National Air and Space Display

This coming weekend, I will be doing a display with members of WAMALUG at the National Air and Space Museum for Explore the Univers Day. It's a fun gig to do, because a lot of people visit from around the world.

Currently, there will be a small display (four tables) from the group and a build area. The display we have is usually this small because there are quite a few other exhibitors - but they are astronomy clubs and research labs. We do the stuff the kids like:-).

Our group will be seven or so people, and we got space in the gretting area (which is nice) and by the 'missle pit,' or the missle display area.

It's going to be a lot of fun!

Virginia Tech thoughts...

While it's easy to think that bad things happen elsewhere, with a community as large as the LEGO community, there are things that touch us closer than we expect.

I mention this because it took me a day to remember that one of the FLL volunteers I know is from VT. He has been active with having FLL events in BrickFest and has become a good friend. I contacted him, and he and his friends are okay, fortunately.

The incident at Virginia Tech is a tragedy, and I am deeply saddened by it. My thoughts and prayers go to the students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech.

More photos?

you bet!

A gallery for the second day of FLL can be found here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Flickr Gallery for FLL

You can see all the pics from the first day at FIRST LEGO World Festival here.

Be warned, it's alot of pix, and I have more coming!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

FIRST LEGO League Video

Done with video and photos I took - music from the soundtrack to "Meet the Robinsons"

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Coming back...

I got back from FLL at 4's a long drive, even with company.

Went to the Atlanta LEGO store and spent some time there talkkin with Scott Lyttle and his manager. A lot of fun, and d ten we ate at a Thai place - very good food!

I drove through a storm front, so it was pretty intense driving at times. Just after Atlanta on I-85, I was going at a pretty good clip and saw a truck some distance ahead of me brake and swerve. I tapped my brakes and kept my eyes on the road and ahead I saw some large round objects, and I slowed down toget a better look and get ready to avoid - and I did.

The SUV behind me wasn't paying so much attention and slammed on thier brakes...and through the rear view mirror, I saw the vehicle spin a couple of times and stop. Tommy (my navigator) heard the skid and looked back - he missed the whole thing.

And that kept me awake for an hour or so...

More later, includingpics!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

FLL Day 2

Busy day this time, with competition heats going on....

Today was the day the senior leadership staff of the LEGO group showed up, as I met (in no particular order) Soren Torp Laursen, head of LEGO Americas, Lisbeth Vallther Pallesen, Executive Vice President, Community, Education, Development, Jørgen Vig Knodstorp, CEO of the LEGO Group, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, owner of teh LEGO Group, Steve Canvin and Soren Lund of LEGO Mindstorms, and quite a few other staffers - I'll list them all as I remember them. And all of them asked me about BrickJournal and what was up with the mag, which was nice.

The  floor games were intense today, with teh final competitions being done - there were a total of three runs on the floor, with a maximum of 400 poinst for each. by the end of the day, three teams didn 400 points for each run! I was photographing one of teh teams, and it was simply amazing to see how the robot and  team worked...

Also met up with KK Quah and talked to him about some odds and ends.

I also got to meet Jim Kelley of teh NXT blog again and we talked about some stuff - and also was asked about possibly doing an article for ROBOT, maybe:-)

Most of the day was spent on the event floor, so the day went a lot faster than I expected. And teh awards were done at teh end of the day, where all teh teams gathered at one of teh many peopel!

And I slipped in with Bryan Bonahoom and sat in right by the VIPs, which was pretty nice..until we got kicked out - turns out we were in assigned seats. oops!

But the awards were really great because anyone could pick up on the energy in the room. This year, many of  the awards went to international teams, and it was really impressive to see so many different teams  with this year.

Afterwards, I met up with Tommy and Scott Lyttle, and we hung out a little bit....

More later!

Friday, April 13, 2007

FLL Day One

Well, I'll start out by saying that we (me and Tommy Armstrong) arrived late. Traffic is bad going to Atlanta during rush hour. And this time there was a wreck. No fun, and a long drive.

And at the last intersection, we witnessed a car wreck when a car tried to run a red was not a high speed wreck, but both cars were torn up.

But once we got to the event at the World Congress Center and Georgia Dome, things just got the LEGO NXT booth, Bryan Bonahoom of BrickWorld was one fo the volunteers showing off robots. From LEGO, Steven Canvin and Vince Rubino were present as well as other staff from Education.

All the teams were settling into their spaces, so decorations were coming up as the day went on. And one of teams was gnome-based:

so naturally, one of their sponsors was Travelocity:-)

By the LEGo Booth, LEGO Education had a table with Jim Kelly from the NXT Step blog showing off some stuff, like:

and NXT Segway or Legway - designed by Steve Hassenplug and built by Jim! It uses a HiTechnic gyro sensor to keep it in balance.

Speaking of Technic stuff, one of the FLL teams had a Great Ball Contraption at their space:

At the Georgia Dome,there was practice heats going on, and teams waiting...

and teams playing...

And after all this, there was an ice cream social with entertainment bythe teams... so one team did a rap

another team did a rubik's cube-off, with Scott Evans, one of teh challenge designers of FLL helping out

Another team from Denmark gave out lyrics to a song that they sang

EDIT: I have the lyrics to the song from the Danes:

Ladies and Gentlemen
Young and Old
Girls and Boys

Hope you will sing with us

Hold your hands above your head
And clap along

And now we sing

Hey NXT - Nano
We are a teaaam - Who likes the FLL
Hey U.S.A. - Nano
We are many here, right here - Who likes the FLL

Our team is NXT
Generation is part of it
What we love is to make
Make this day oh so great

Hey NXT - Nano
We are a teaaaam - Who like the FLL
Hey USA - Nano
We are many, right here - Who likes the FLL

Our robot is looking so great
Program it is very very straight
Driving left and right and back again
Oh we hope its working working well

Yes we are the greatest team
We are sweet and we are cool
Nobody can drive us off

Hey NXT - Nano
We are a teaaaam - Who likes the FLL
Hey USA - Nano
We are many here, right here - Who likes the FLL

Hey NXT - Nano
We are a teaaaam - Who likes the FLL
Hey Hey Atlanta - Nano
We are many here,
right here - Who likes the FLL

Hey Everybody - Nano
We are the teaaaam who wish you all a good day

The Haitian team did a nativ dance, and there were many more...but a nice performance was done by a team that did a sonng that was based on theBrady Bunch theme - that wished all the other teams good luck...

and at the end they all held signs that said good luck in all the languages that were at the World Festival...that was really nice!

And teh best way to sum up the day?

Just bubbly:-)!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Off to FLL!

wearing my Hawaiian shirt that was given to me by the SPIDERS team in Hawaii!

I figure I will be pretty distinctive!

Monday, April 9, 2007

What the...:-)

Way to go, Arvo!

You can see the entire car at the gallery.

It's a beaut, but it's Arvo, so that's kinda expected:-)

Certified Professionals At Work...

Nathan Sawaya has a display in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the local paper has a story.

A little earlier in the month, Sean Kenney was in New York building an alligator at FAO Schwarz.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Progress on website...

I added graphics to three more articles, and an extended gallery. There's a long way to go, but I got a couple of articles that actually look like something I want!

I created a web article for the Squidmen that not only has a photo gallery, but also has video from the creator's films he did for BrickFest last year!

The photos are going to kill me, it appears.

If you are wondering what all of this looks like, drop me a line, and I will invite you to the test site. It's very much a work in progress, though.

Here's something I have been wanting to do, and hope to see in the BrickJournal website - a video podcast review!

Thanks to and Joe Fulton over there for point me to this!

Another reason for a website:-)

Friday, April 6, 2007

Website progress report... is in its first stages of growth, with intial pages being placed, and a site map slowly growing.

While some things are obvious to do (archives, for example), there are other things that are, well....not so obvious. The service that I am using also is having some interesting issue - at this point, I need to get some forms up, and they can't do it yet. Hm. And photos can only be seen by members of the webiste (which isn't a bad thing, but not necessarily a good thing either)

All of the article copy to Issue 7 has been placed, but because of the photo problem, there are only a few pix so far. All of them have also been tagged so a user can search by author, issue, article title or subject.

I will also be placing galleries of pics I didn't use in this so everyone can see more than the magazine:-). Not to mention video if I can get it - I plan to do video of FLL next week, for example.

And BrickJournal Germany is already beginning, as well as BrickJournal Italy. I will be doing what I can to creat an international site, so I am open to ideas and thoughts on that.

Both BrickJournal Germany and Italy are going under BrickJournal, but I will not the the webmaster - community leaders of hte respective countries are working with me on this. I really appreciate their efforts  and hope that  other  countries will become  represented in the magazine.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

3-D printing....

or stereolithography, is being used more and more, and the technology is dropping in price, as noted in this article in the New York Times.

The LEGO Group already uses this to make prototype parts, so it might not be too long before others join in!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Off to Atlanta!

Next week, I'll be going to Atlanta to cover the FIRST LEGO League World Festival. It's a really neat event that is something of a secret, as participants are not AFOLs but middle school children and  their parents. But there are people from around the world visiting, and it's a lot of fun!

I wrote about the event in BrickJournal and will have a couple of other people helping me out this time. I am also considering doing some video too.

And I am still building - built a plane and a...aircraft carrier???