Cloud Cuckoo Land

January 16, 2014 by

Cloud Cuckoo Land

We’ve all thought about it (well I have at least), ever since the new Cloud Cuckoo Palace set hit the scene we’ve wanted more — more pink, more clouds, more Uni-Kitty!

Is it bad that I’ve already bought three of the set? :D

I’m not a girly girl, really I’m not. But the pastel goodness in this set brings it out of me!

Now I’m not saying Ryan Howerter is a girly girl either, but the fact that so many guy AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO) are going crazy over the set, I can see how Ryan would want to expand it to a whole world.

I’m really interested in seeing what it will look like in the LEGO Movie. Some of my friends that work for LEGO got to see a premiere yesterday and loved it! Of course they’re a little biased, but aren’t we all? ;)

Make sure to brush your teeth

January 15, 2014 by

I know, I know. I’ve been MIA (missing in action) here on my blog for a while. If you’ve been following my Facebook Page or my Twitter feed then you know I’ve been working on a large model. It has a head, torso, arms and legs — but that’s all I will say till after I’m finished, which should be soon. So until I’m done, enjoy this cool model. ;)

You know, for teeth!

Carl Merriam has done it again with this over sized tooth brush. I love how he gets all the details of the bristles and rubber that makes up the head.

It makes me think of the giant tooth brush that I designed at LEGOLAND, sadly I don’t have any pictures. :(

It was for the Splash Battle Ride in the Pirates area of the park. If you’ve been to the park I’m sure you’ve seen the giant shark on the ride. Well one of the models that didn’t make it, but was designed, was supposed to go on the shark. The initial concept was of someone holding the mouth open, but I thought that joke had been done too many times so my idea was to have a cabin boy straddling a tooth in the mouth of the shark with a very nervous expression on his face and a giant tooth brush in his hand.

We got as far as designing most of the model, and I made both a two foot prototype and a four foot long toothbrush model with a big dollop of toothpaste, but for some reason the final version of the cabin boy was never finished and I have no idea what happened to the model. It still might be somewhere in model storage or it might have been recycled (yes that does happen), either way, I wish I had the pictures now.

My toothbrush was in no way as detailed as Carl’s, but it was still a fun project.

2014 year of the Horse

January 7, 2014 by

2014 year of the Horse, originally uploaded by Omar + kamitera.

So apparently 2014 is the year of the Horse. Even if it wasn’t this is an amazing model with a wonderful sense of movement and life about it. I love the legs mid-gallop and the tail waving in the wind. The Chinese character above it stands for horse. ;)


January 6, 2014 by

TO-TO-ROOOOO!!!, originally uploaded by Carlmerriam.

I’ve always loved Totoro and this awesome model by Carl Merriam is a great model to start of 2014!

I can hear Totoro’s roar as he awakens to the new day. :)

2013 in review

December 31, 2013 by

Happy New Year’s Eve to one and all! I know I haven’t been all that active on my blog this past year, a fact I plan to change in the next — I refuse to call it a resolution because they always seem to get broken.

Quick health update: I’m doing much, much better! I’m still not 100%, closer to 85%, but on the mend and looking towards a healthier future! One of the things I’ve started to help me get better is juicing and with all the veggies and fruits I’m juicing my energy is growing. :D

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Some of the quick highlights:

My blog was viewed in 160 different countries — the US, UK, and Canada having the most readers.

There were 92 (this is 93) new posts this year. A number I plan on surpassing next year

And my most popular post was the Happy 1001 Posts, which also happened to be my first giveaway — something I will also be doing more of in the future. ;)

Click on the picture if you want to view the full report.

Click here to see the complete report.

LEGOLAND in Boston looking for a Master Builder

December 19, 2013 by

If you live in the New England area, and have always wanted to become a LEGO Master Model Builder then here’s your chance.

Via: Boston Magazine

On January 25 and 26, at the Boston Public Library, an “intense competition,” called Brick Factor, will be held to try and identify the perfect candidate to take on the job of building Lego projects for the Discovery Center Boston coming to Assembly Square in the new year.

Applicants will be asked to tackle several construction challenges over the course of two days, competing in multiple rounds to take the title. The lucky winner of the competition will be offered a full-time, salaried position from the Discovery Center, and will become responsible for constructing new features, exhibitions and models at the new attraction.

So what does it take to become the next “Master Model Builder,” a title that only a handful of other people in the United States hold?

According to Lego representatives, the perfect candidate should have “a natural love of Lego bricks…be creative,” and show that they are a skilled model builder and passionate about working with and teaching kids.

“The Brick Factor Competition is a unique opportunity to turn one lucky individual’s hobby into a dream job,” said David Gilmore, General Manager for Legoland Discovery Center Boston. “The Master Model Builder will become an integral member of the team, bringing all the incredible Lego brick models within the attraction to life. We can’t wait to put New England’s building skills to the test.”

Here’s a look at what the “Brick Factor” was like in Toronto

Tips from a former Master (me :D ):

1) Practice before you go. Do timed building tests — both free style and theme to get and idea just how long (or short) half an hour or hour is when on a clock

2) Have a portfolio of your previous LEGO models — a booklet or tablet with pics of what you have done can give LEGOLAND an idea of what you can already do.

3) Don’t just show one style / theme of building — Master Builders can be required to build anything. So you have to be able to build a building one day, a mosaic the next and then make a sculpture and a microscale model. If you just specialize in one type — Castle, Space, Mecha, etc. — and don’t diversify your building style they might not be as interested in you. That’s not to say that you won’t get hired, but it helps to be versatile. ;)

On the flip side — Remember it is a real job. Its not just playing with LEGO all day. Whoever wins will have budgets and time frames. You can’t spend months on a foot long model getting it “just so.” Its also a corporate job, no matter how creative it may be. And sadly, they don’t pay all that well. Which is part of the reason I’m not at LEGOLAND any more. So if that’s not your cup of tea, you might not want to do it.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying out. I don’t regret the 5 years I spent working at LEGOLAND California. It was amazing, life-changing and I learned to be a much, much better builder because I was there. But there were days when I didn’t want to go into work. Its a job and you work hard. I want anyone trying out to go in with their eyes wide open and not have false expectations.

So for those that do plan on trying out in January, Good Luck! And if any of you readers do try out, I’d love to hear how you do.

Sword in the Stone

December 6, 2013 by

The Sword in the Stone

This truly epic scene by Chris Maddison is awesome! I love the Disney movie Sword and the Stone and Chris’ version of it is simply perfect.

The Sword in the Stone

I love the technic connectors as bare winter trees and the slight glow on the alter. :)

Santa’s Workshop

December 4, 2013 by

Watford store xmas 2013

Gary Davis has created a fun Christmas display for his local LEGO store.

I love all the fun details like the Mission Control
Mission control

Santa and Mrs. Clause checking the naughty and nice lists (why isn’t it nice and naughty lists? :D )
Checking the lists

And the present distribution center
Santa's house1

Definitely feeling very Christmasy!

I’m thankful to be Alive

November 30, 2013 by

Parents, please note that this following post may be a little too grown up for younger children.

So if you’ve been following me regularly, you’ve probably noticed that my blog posts have been rather sporadic throughout this whole year. Even when I’ve been home with enough time to post on my blog, I haven’t kept it up nearly as regularly as I used to, and I’ve seemed to get less and less enthused about blogging at all. Its not that I don’t love this blog, because I really and truly do. I love to share all the awesome sets, video games, and LEGO creations by friends and fans around the world. I love attending and covering all the LEGO Conventions that I go to each year. Building with LEGO and writing this blog all about LEGO isn’t just a job for me, its a passion.

But something has been off this year. It really started months ago, probably around March, when something in my personal life started interfering with my professional life. I didn’t really pay attention at first, it was affecting my health, but I didn’t know what it was and as I don’t have a “normal” job, I don’t have insurance either. So I didn’t think about going to the doctor. I’ve always been pretty healthy and even when I had insurance, I rarely went.

I thought that whatever was happening would get better on its own, I really did. I even joined a gym, because despite me being overweight, I actually do love to work out. So when I felt good, I would go and work out. I used to work out 2-3 times a week for eight years doing Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art) so even though I haven’t worked out in a few years, I know how to work out properly.

But as the months have passed, I’ve been getting worse, not better. It would go in cycles, I’d not feel like doing anything, then I’d get better, then I’d go back to not feeling well.

In mid-August I got pretty sick for a couple of weeks, but again I eventually got better, so I thought I was doing okay.

But then, about mid October, I started not feeling good again and this time it didn’t go away. I felt less and less like me. Less energy, less of everything, including interest in my work.

Well, I had finally had enough of being sick, so I finally made an appointment to see a doctor this last Tuesday. After a really (and I mean really, really) bad weekend of feeling totally lethargic I got to the clinic at 8 am sharp. From the moment I walked in they could see something was wrong. I was light headed and very short of breath. My heart was pounding in my ears with an intense roar that didn’t bode well.

The first thing they did was check my blood pressure, which I could have told them even without the test was high. Then they tested my hemoglobin — the amount of red blood cells in my body. It was low — lower than the RN checking me had ever seen in 20 years of practice.

She said “You are literally bleeding to death. You need a blood transfusion. Get to the Emergency Room right now.”

It shook me to my core. I knew I was sick, I knew that my blood levels were low — the loss of color in my face last weekend was a big clue. But I had no idea, none at all, that they were at life threatening levels.

The ER doctor told me that if I hadn’t have been so relatively healthy otherwise, I would have been in even worse shape than I was. I needed not one, but two pints of blood.

Luckily there was no one else in the ER that morning, and it was early when I started the day. Because I spent the entire day, all the way till about 4 or 5 pm at the hospital getting the blood I needed to start on my road to recovery.

So this Thanksgiving has very special meaning to me. I still don’t know fully what’s wrong, and I’m not anywhere near back to normal — that’s for other doctor visits and tests in the future — but I’m thankful, more than thankful, grateful to be alive to see this Thanksgiving.

Hopefully whatever it is can be found and cured. And I still have to take it easy. Even with the transfusion, I’m still at only 2/3rds the amount a person should have. So although I’m not at Death’s door, I still have a long way to go.

So even though I will keep up with this blog when I can, I have to let my health come first right now. Thank you all for reading my blog, following me on Twitter and Facebook, and for just being there. You make this all worthwhile. I feel bad when I don’t have a post for you to read, and I love hearing from you when I do. I’m not giving up, not after all the years I’ve put into this, but I’ve got to slow down till I get better.

Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)

LEGO Tardis

November 20, 2013 by

LEGO Tardis

I couldn’t very well make two Doctors and not make the Tardis. So I built this last night too.

I’ve tried in the past to create the time traveling blue box without success. Its tricky to get the distinctive look properly in LEGO, so I’m pretty pleased with the end result. :D

This is Miniland Scale, so it works well with my two Doctors, but I haven’t taken a proper picture yet. It is just a hair over 7 inches, and due to all the tiles I used, the interior is rather more complex than the plain exterior suggests — much like the real Tardis. ;)

I was going to wait to post the picture till I got the custom tiles made, but I just couldn’t do it. I was too happy to finally have a Tardis of my very own. So I photoshopped all the printing for now.

Maybe now that I’ve got two Doctors and a Tardis, I can go on my own adventure…


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