Monday, January 26, 2009


I am a supporter of the community - although it may not be easily noticed. There are a few that have made me out to be someone with his own agenda, and it's true. I do have an agenda.

My agenda is simple -  to help grow and mature the community. What do I mean by that? Well, BrickJournal is a publication that spotlights the community in a positive way. The magazine is a viewer to the AFOL community that is different than anything else, as it can talk at length with a builder and show their models. While the mag is a gallery, there is some time devoted to trying to find out why people build. There's a story behind every builder and every model, and BrickJournal searches for those stories.

As Editor, I also strive to be as professional as possible with the mag. I believe that if we are to be taken seriously by the LEGO Group, we need to act with respect and professionalism to them. For the most part, this means that our articles are written in a voice that is open and inviting to others (at least for the most part). I don't allow articles that are more opinion than news...anyone can write an article about why item X 'sucks' to them, but that 's a opinion. A BrickJournal article will put out the facts and let the reader decide. 

BrickJournal strives to have articles that are open and accessible to the public. This goes to my thoughts on community. I want others to join and I want the community to grow. In order for this to happen, we have to be open. And we also need to take the time to answer questions about how we do things and how we build. I have seen wonderful photos online of models that are inspiring, but without a little direction as to how to build, it's easy to get discouraged as a new person. 

And there are new things too - since BrickJournal started, there have been articles on FIRST LEGO League, and LEGO Serious Play. Both are things that are not very well-known to the AFOL community, but the mag is slowly changing that. 

In other aspects of the community, the mag is a contributor. There are AFOL initiatives that have reached out from the AFOL community to the local community, where LEGO has become not only a way to build, but also to teach. BrickJournal has provided support to these efforts and will continue to do so in the future.

So am I for community? You better believe it!

So what was the Big Trip???

After having returned a couple of weeks ago from it, I can tell you.

It was a college orientation. No, I not going back to school (though some have suggested it to me) - this is an orientation that I took part in. And there were many things that made this a special event....

1. This orientation was for a college that hasn't opened yet. Located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) is scheduled to open this fall. The first class of graduate students met for the first time at an event called "Discover KAUST," which is what I was involved in. 

2. LEGO was used in teambuilding exercises, both for groups and down to the individual level, using LEGO Serious Play and LEGO MINDSTORMs sets and projects. For me it was the first time I have seen either done on such a large scale (approximately 300 students)

3. I was one of the press pool - originally I was slated to be a facilitator, but my camera won out:-). There were some other community people who stepped up to be facilitators (MINDSTORMs people) as well as others. Facilitators came from Taiwan, Denmark, Germany, the US, and Egypt, and the coordinators were from Sweden and France. I was a truly international gathering that reflected the students participating.

While the event itself happened over a week, our part was only two days. But the impact lasted, which is really nice to know.

The event opened my eyes a little bit more to other cultures and people. ANd also opened my eyes to what the brick and NXT can do beyond building.