Archive for November, 2013

I’m thankful to be Alive

November 30, 2013

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

LEGO Tardis

November 20, 2013

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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…

Fett Christmas Tree Ornament

November 20, 2013

Fett Xmas Tree Ornament

Its not all that much of a build, but its pretty darn clever non the less. Okay Yaramanoglu made this for the Eurobricks Christmas Raffle that’s going on now through November 28th.

Looks like fun, and I just might have to enter ๐Ÿ˜‰

Day of the Doctor — LEGO Style

November 19, 2013

Day of the Doctor -- LEGO Style

I’m a huge Doctor Who fan and this whole week is getting me excited for the 50th Anniversary special that will be on this Saturday. So I naturally had to make my own 10th and 11th Doctor (David Tennant and Matt Smith respectively). ๐Ÿ˜€

I may just have to some of the Doctor’s other regenerations and companions too, who knows. We’ll see ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bricks + Shadow = Awesome!!!!

November 11, 2013

4a

Looks like a bunch of bricks doesn’t it? Well surprise, it is a bunch of bricks! ๐Ÿ˜€

But that’s not the awesome part.

With the simple addition of a well placed light source, the bunch of bricks laid out by Vir-a-cocha becomes something more…

1

How was this missed when it was posted? Of course I didn’t find it till tonight, thanks to another creation that was blogged on The Living Brick, so maybe not enough people have paid attention to Vir-a-coche. But now that I’ve noticed, I’ll keep checking for more awesomeness!

T-Rex

November 10, 2013

T-Rex

Okay, this clearly isn’t a build. Its just a really great shot of the T-rex. But what a shot! Mark Holden has created several awesome shots that just beg to be blogged! ๐Ÿ˜€

Sit back and enjoy!
Pteranodon

Lego Star Wars

The Rancor had escaped again!

The Rancor

One small step…

November 6, 2013

Astronaut

This awesome model is by Tyler Clites. I always like to see Tyler’s creations and this is no exception. I can almost see the Earth reflected in the astronaut’s visor. ๐Ÿ˜€

And the 1×1 round gray tiles are a perfect moonscape!

Apparently this was a commission and it was also a more realistic variation of a model he made last year for MOCathon and Iron Builder competitions.

Houston, We Have a Problem

Its hard to say which one is better. The top one is more dramatic, but the bottom one is playful. But the great thing is that we don’t have to chose, we can like both equally! ๐Ÿ˜€

Help me win a Grant

November 5, 2013

*** Update — We’ve reached 250 votes!!!! — A Big Thanks to all who’ve voted! You can still vote if you like, extra votes are always appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚ ***

Hi all. I’m trying something I’ve never tried before — I’m applying for a small business grant. Yes, I do okay working as I do on my own. But there are certain things I would love to do to make my business that much better.

So, where do you come in? Well, to even be considered for the grant I need 250 votes by November 15th — from you!

Last week I posted on my Model Building Secrets Facebook Page that I needed votes and a lot of you came through. I went from only 30 votes to now having 185!

That’s great! But I need just a little bit more — 65 more to be exact. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So how about it? Please vote for me and help me grow my business. ๐Ÿ˜€

Rainbow Lorikeet

November 5, 2013

Rainbow Lorikeet 1

Such a pretty birdie! This awesome Rainbow Lorikeet by Gabriel Thomson is so lifelike it looks as if it is about to fly away!

I can almost see it ruffling its feathers and chirping a little tune. ๐Ÿ˜€

Rainbow Lorikeet 5

And the Lorikeet’s perch isn’t to be discounted either. I’m new to Gabriel’s work, but I will certainly keep an eye on him from now on.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Video Game Review

November 4, 2013

So I’ve been a little under the weather (okay more than a little), which is part of the reason there’s been a lack of posts. So since I haven’t been feeling all that great, and since the new LEGO Marvel Super Heroes video game just came out I’ve been playing the game.

I’m not much of a gamer anymore, but LEGO video games are always the exception. And unlike my LEGO Chima video game experience, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this game from the get go. ๐Ÿ™‚

*** Warning Spoiler Alert! ***

Okay now that the warning is in place, I can freely mention all the fun goodness that is the game. From all the previews of this game and the demo I saw at the San Diego Comic Con, I was sure I would love this game. I mean what’s not to love? Its got practically every Marvel character — ever! There’s over 100 characters in the game. Of course you have to play and replay levels to get all the goodies and find all the characters.

But even from the start this probably my new favorite LEGO video game. I really, really liked LEGO Batman 2 but the main failing with that game was that it was all about Batman. Sure Superman and several other Justice League-ers show up, but its still mainly a Batman game.

That’s where this one differs. At each level you have a different mix of characters — from Spiderman with the Hulk, to Mr. Fantasic with Ironman. You don’t get to play with every character during Story mode, but you get a nice mixture.

The voice talent is top notch! Including the actual voice of Agent Colson (yes he is alive in the LEGO world too)– Clark Gregg. So much better than the watery sound bites they used for LEGO Lord of the Rings and much more in line with Batman 2. The story line is pretty darn cool too and you have all of New York City as your background. There’s tons of hidden areas and you can even ride the train!

If I have one complaint, the levels seem a tad easy this time. Maybe its because I’ve played basically all the TT LEGO Video Games since they started in 2005 with LEGO Star Wars. Maybe, but even so, there wasn’t anything new about the basic gameplay. Each level took about an hour. They would have probably taken less time, but I was going for “True Believer” status on each level — in other words, getting all the gold and silver studs I could — and smashing everything takes time.

Another good / bad thing about the game is that when you beat all the levels you only have 25% of the game completed. There’s a lot to do.

****super spoiler alert****
There isn’t just one extra level. There’s a whole bunch of extra levels! The more gold bricks you collect, the more levels you unlock. And just like the story levels, there’s a story level and a free play level. You need to play both to unlock everything.

On top of the gold bricks, Deadpool bricks (red bricks), minikits, characters and vehicles there’s one additional thing you have to find throughout the game — Stan Lee in Peril. There are no less than 50 of them! And of course Stan Lee voices himself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even after 2 weeks of playing I still have less than 40% of the game complete. I’ve gotten half of the characters, extra levels and Deadpool bricks. But I’ve only saved 10 Stan Lees. So I still have a lot to go.

This is definitely a game I highly recommend!!!!

And if the LEGO Movie Video Game is anything like this one (which I’m sure it will be) I will be picking that one up as soon as it comes out next year. ๐Ÿ˜‰