Saturday, August 2, 2008

After Brickworld....

After Brickworld, the next event that I went to was the NMRA National Train Show.

The NTS is an annual event that changes location every year. This year the show was held in Anaheim, California. This show is the largest model railroading show in the country, and the International LEGO Train Club Organization has been a part of the show for a few years. In that short time, the LEGO trains have become a major draw for theshow, especially for public.

I went to this show as a reporter. There was a side incentive too - Anaheim is home to Disneyland, a place I have wanted to visit for years. And over the same weekend, there was a Disney Fan Convention.

One thing I need to point out: While I was in my Dark Age, my main interest was in Disney.  I worked at the Disney Store for four years, and then moved to Walt Disney World, where I also worked at the LEGO Imagination Center. So in a manner of speaking, Disney led me back to LEGO building.

So this became a really nice set of events to go to. I could see NMRA, go to the Disney con and also go to Disneyland. With some scheduling, I and the group I went with planned to go to LEGOLand, Disneyland, and then NMRA.

It all looked really good....until I was informed about San Diego Comic Con. My publisher, Twomorrows, goes there to promote their books and do presentations. Last year, they did a panel discussion with the original people behind Image Comics, which was a pretty big deal.  This year had a few new things, including BrickJournal.

The publisher suggested that we do a presentation at the convention, and after some new planning and logistics reworking, a one week trip to California became a two week major promotional effort. Trips to LEGOland, Disneyland, California Adventure, NMRA, Disneyana, and  Comic-Con all became part of the trip.

Busy? You bet.

But it was fun too!

Friday, August 1, 2008


In the time that I last posted, I went to Chicago, another place, then Anaheim and finally San Diego. For most of the places, I was a reporter for events, but for a couple of places I did a litlle playing....

Chicago was Brickworld, which was a great event to attend. This was the second year of the event, and it has matured - the convention moved smoothly and for the most part, I had a really good time chatting with old friends and new AFOLs. And I was determined to show that I could still build so I brought along my Wall-E model. Some issues of BrickJournal were sent with me to sell, and Tommy Armstrong stepped in to be the sales person, freeing me to take pics.

As with each event, there were always fun surprises - I got a copy of HISPABRICKS from one of the editors who attended Brickworld - and I gave him a copy of BrickJournal. I also met one of the guys behind BrickArms, and had a great talk with him. And I got to talk to Brian Davis, a MINDSTORMS builder that you may know from the HALE project - I know him as a really cool guy who often shows me what can be done with an NXT.

There are others too - the staff to Brickworld, who have become part of the extended family that I have in the community, from Adam, the guy in charge, to the new person onthe block, Esther Walner - she was a coordinator and contest host - and she did really well. She also did a panel about female LEGO builders that was fascinating.

There were other discussions too - the LEGO Group brought Yun Mi Antorini, a former LEGO employee and now PhD doctor, to talk about the community and how it has progressed. Another fascinating talk that was much different than the usual subjects that I go to.

That was just scratching the surface  - there was a lot that went on, but for me it was just an attempt to catch up with old friends and make new ones. In some respects, I was successful, but in others,I wasn't - my roommates, Duane Colicott and son, I didn't get to spend much time at all,and that was disappointing.

The models shown ranged from buildings that were over 15 feet tall to customized minifigs and everything inbetween. One outstanding display was a layout dedicated to Indiana Jones - it included settings and of various scenes from all the movies and the TV show - and there were models of the cars trains and the Flying Wing!

Unfortunately, I had to leave early to get my flight, but not before attending the awards ceremony...and my Wall-E won for Best Mechanical Model! That was a major surprise!

I was able to attend the awards and help out with tear down a little, thendo a quick photo shoot  for Adam, then off it was back to NC...

then I was off to another place I can't talk about...

If you want to see pics from Brickworld, click here.