Diana and I built the LEGO version of The Simpsons’ house today, streamed it live, and recorded it for posterity — we indeedily-o did! (Ned Flanders oversaw the construction and kind of rubbed off on us.) Warning! This video was not done in our typical time-lapse fashion! It’s hours and hours of us putting this thing together (in an epic, two-part miniseries), so if you want the experience of assembling a full-fledged LEGO set in real time without actually… assembling a full-fledged LEGO set in real time for yourself, this is about the closest you’re gonna get!
If this Star Scores were part of the Star Wars series, this would be Episode V, aka the Empire Strikes Back. While I can in no way expect that you will enjoy it as much as what many consider to be the best of the Star Wars movies, I do hope that we can only get better from here.
Who’d have thunk that putting together the LEGO Lord of the Rings 10237 Tower of Orthanc Building Set would take six hours? It probably would have gone faster if I’d hired some orcs and goblins to help out, but they’re not the best houseguests. Last time, they ganked our entire supply of jerky and left muddy footprints all over the carpet. Analysis: Greenskins are jerks. At least they didn’t bring a cave troll.
Anyway: Behold! The Tower of Orthanc stands tall and proud above House Pirillo! Watch the time-lapsed video to see how it was made whole from over 2,000 not-so-easy pieces!
Some would call it an unhealthy obsession – I would prefer to refer to it as a hobby.
LEGO isn’t for some. Those who cannot accommodate bricks must continue to put up with people like me (who, by the way, are not responsible for gigantic minifigs washing up on Florida shorelines). We need some kind of creative outlet, and at least this activity is more interactive than outmoded options like zoning out in front of a radio or television for hours on end.
Building LEGO sets has been my zen. Combine that with the crazy possibility of someone eventually producing an Apple Store model constructed entirely of… it happened. Oliver Burridge from our community asked if he could create a “Day in the Life of Chris Pirillo” for our YouTube Channel and I happily agreed to support the endeavor. Part of the “plot” will be spent within an Apple Store, apparently – and this scene has already been recorded:
So, maybe we’ll inspire a passionate brick enthusiast to upload a DesignByMe set for any of us not-so-Master builders to buy one day?
I’m running out of room around here; without a dedicated LEGO space somewhere in my home, I’ll soon be swimming in bricks (and they’re quite sharp around the edges if you hadn’t already noticed). Perhaps it’s better that I stick to collecting minifigs and disassembling the sets once I’ve done ’em?
While I did happen to enjoy a few random episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on PBS when it aired, I couldn’t understand half of it. The troupe’s thick British accents were not half as challenging to interpret as their somewhat-foreign, albeit clearly offbeat, humor humour.
It wasn’t until my early days at college (before I discovered the Internet) when I’d be introduced to Monty Python’s range of movies and music through the Final Rip-off set of CDs. On these discs, you could listen to some of their more popular show skits – reproduced and somewhat sanitized. Plus, there were notable scenes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” sewn throughout the selection. That’s how I learned of the airspeed velocity of unladen swallows (and then some). To many, this is the only thing Monty Python ever did.
After picking up “Monty Python Sings” through one of those mail order CD clubs, I rented “Meaning of Life” and watched it with my brothers at home. This particular film was a bit more like their classic show, but a non-sequitur classic unto itself. I’m just glad my parents didn’t catch us watching the “Every Sperm is Sacred” segment at the time. “Christmas in Heaven” may have redeemed us, though.
Out of all the Monty Python movies produced, I’d have to say that “Life of Brian” was the most entertaining for me. I’m still a fan of Grail’s nonsensical storytelling, but there’s something to be said about well-crafted religious satire. If you couldn’t tell the difference between the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea, then… you’re in on the joke.
When I happened upon the series of Monty Python LEGO MOCs at Brickcon 2011, I couldn’t help but share. Credit goes to PythonScape for these:
Do you remember each of those scenes? If not, perhaps it’s time to move along to something completely different.
I still have mixed emotions about “Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” I want to love it, but at this point I think I’m going to have to settle for a tepid like.
I recall living in an apartment at the time a pop music radio station played “Duel of the Fates” for the first time. I couldn’t help but wonder what scenes we’d see unfold on the screen when that day actually arrived. Then, I remember painstakingly downloading the official trailers over a 56k Internet connection – in the days long before YouTube. Who were all of these wonderful new characters?!
The Battle Droids caught my eye, of course. The army was more than ready for battle – but against what? I’d have to find out at a later date.
I didn’t wait in line like so many of my fellow geeks did. Somehow, I made a connection through my brother that shot us close to the front of the line on the evening Episode I was released (at Midnight). We didn’t have Twitter – we didn’t even have text messaging – to keep in touch with nerds from around the world. Blogs were still a distant possibility, too. We were “Force’d” to socialize with one another in-person.
Was “Episode I” worth the wait? No. Was “The Phantom Menace” nice to see? Maybe. Would I watch the “first” Star Wars movie again? Sure. A fan of the prequel, I was not. You might make the argument that I was too old in my mid-20s to see what Lucas had served up, but I’d tell you that Sithy dialogue is Sithy dialogue no matter your age.
When LEGO began producing Star Wars sets for the fan base, I didn’t go out of my way to swoop up anything outside of the original Trilogy. Still, when it came time to populate my own Amazon wish list, I gave in and added a few Prequel items I thought would be worthwhile – if only to torture certain characters.
My girlfriend and I did have fun putting the Droid Invasion set together:
We now have more than enough Battle Droids in our library, though I’d hardly consider them minifigs (by my own definition). These things are near impossible to keep free-standing or fastened! If you wanted to grow your own Droid battalion, this set would be a good place to start; you can get plenty of Battle Droids for the price.
When “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was first released, I was still in grade school. I remember sitting in the back seat of my mother’s old (yes, even old by that day’s standards) Volkswagen Rabbit and being told that while she and Dad would be seeing the new movie in theaters, my brothers and I would not. I guess there were scenes which might have frightened us – like when Toht’s face melts away and Belloq explodes when they open the Ark. Yeah, that was kinda spooky.
I do believe I was given permission to watch Raiders when it ran on television (under adult supervision, of course). Certainly, I had seen the first Indiana Jones movie before the second one (“Temple of Doom”) came out of Hollywood. A group of boys from school and I went to see it together with my mom acting as chaperone. Can’t say I was all that impressed with the Indy sequel, though. There were certainly a few exciting parts – like the white-knuckle mine cart chase – but I wouldn’t say that it’d be my type of adventure movie. The corresponding MAD Magazine parody (“Inbanana Jones”) was funny, though.
Then, there was “The Last Crusade.” I wound up seeing this in theaters a few times, actually – it was easily my favorite of the three Indiana Jones movies that had been produced to that point. I enjoyed the score, the characters, the plot, and the mythology. It was a bit depressing to think that this would be the last time I’d know anything of Indiana Jones on screen.
I did catch a good part of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles when it ran on television (but don’t remember seeing every episode in the series). To me, Harrison Ford was Indiana Jones – young or old. And older he certainly is in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
Ancient astronaut theories continue to tickle the imagination – and though the Skull plot would seem far fetched for some, I was one of the few who liked it. The Indiana Jones characters seem to live in a parallel universe, anyway – their history unfolds much like ours, but who can say whether or not this piece of their history is closer to our truth? The Nazca Lines exist, the Mitchell-Hedges skull exists, and we certainly did nuclear testing in the southwest.
Well, let’s hope that LEGO exists in Indiana Jones’s universe, too (even if his own brick likeness does not):
Thanks for taking a small bite out of my Amazon wish list! Later, I happened to receive a rather stark (no gun, no whip) Indiana Jones, Mutt, and an Irina Spalko minifig – though recording a separate video for them seemed to be a bit odd after I did this one.
At least I can say I’ve held a crystal skull… made of plastic!
While I have certainly known about LEGO for a number of years, I can’t say that most of my adult life was spent with bricks. It wasn’t until the social network FriendFeed came about that I started to become interested in LEGO as a post-pubescent. There, some people were regularly sharing MOC (My Own Creation) images, minifigure dioramas, and the like. I re-shared, and the rest is history.
I learned about Brickcon, the Pacific Northwest’s Premiere LEGO Convention & Conference, last year – and when Dan Sabath reached out to me, I was compelled to sign up and spend a day with other Adult Fans of LEGO down at Seattle Center in a large room filled with buys and builds. I didn’t know any names, I didn’t know any faces, I just knew that I wasn’t alone.
This year, Dan was helping registered attendees sign-in by the front door. We chatted for a minute or so, then my girlfriend and I passed through the gates and into a crowd of what must have been thousands. We were about to dive in when I could hear Dan shouting from behind. He forgot to tell me that one person recognized him from YouTube earlier – from the video we shot at the beginning of last year’s public event: What is Brickcon. The video did its job!
So, what about this year’s Brickcon festivities? I was just as enchanted – seeing so many new projects up close. There were so many people snapping still photos, but I thought it would be much nicer to record the experiences in video, instead. We used a digital camera that has amazing image quality (but horrible autofocus). That said, here’s 17 minutes of footage from Brickcon 2011:
If you ever have a chance to go, you should. It should remain quite affordable – and it’s family friendly, so you’re welcome to bring the kids along. Even if you have absolutely no interest in this part of our world, you’ll certainly be enchanted by what these Master Builders have constructed.
The idea of using an Advent calendar once held deep, religious significance for me – but since evolving into a non-Catholic, I only seem to appreciate the winter Holiday season for nostalgic reasons. I love the sights and sounds of Christmas, but… not its largely-borrowed-by-Christianity foundation. As such, I don’t feel the slightest bit of guilt when I go about my merry way, spreading love and joy without being chained to an outdated dogma.
Speaking of chains and Advent calendars… when I was a child, my brothers and I would find ourselves counting down the days to Christmas by stapling together (then tearing apart) a string of paper rings. It was a Christmastime staple! And, yes, we used staples to keep those chains together. I took the tradition too far one year and accidentally stapled my finger to one of the links.
On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a bandage.
I’m quite grateful that LEGO is producing Advent calendars which do not require the usage of any pointed object. I may not have the best hand-eye coordination, but I can click bricks with the best of ’em. I’ve missed a few earlier LEGO Advent calendars, but that won’t happen again now that I’ve come out of the bin as an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO). I even decided to completely assemble the 2011 Star Wars Advent Calendar long before this Holiday season was upon us.
My girlfriend and I stumbled through a couple of the models, but it wasn’t too much of a challenge. We’re certainly ready to open more presents! Having streamed the LEGO build live on YouTube, this particular walkthrough was an hour in the making.
The full list of items (including the ones I couldn’t quite identify by sight):
Day 1 – Red Republic ship
Day 2 – Nute Gunray
Day 3 – Hologram Walker
Day 4 – Homing Spider Droid
Day 5 – Slave I
Day 6 – Chewbacca
Day 7 – Weapon holder with barrel of tools
Day 8 – Rebel Pilot with completely white helmet
Day 9 – X-wing
Day 10 – Imperial Shuttle
Day 11 – Battle Droid Pilot
Day 12 – Rebel Snowspeeder
Day 13 – Imperial Astromech Droid
Day 14 – Mouse Droid
Day 15 – Republic Gunship
Day 16 – Clone Pilot
Day 17 – Another Weapons Holder
Day 18 – Y-wing
Day 19 − 2010 TIE Fighter Pilot
Day 20 – TIE Fighter
Day 21 – Millennium Falcon
Day 22 − A-wing
Day 23 – Christmas Tree
Day 24 – Santa Yoda
Wouldn’t it be nice for LEGO to create a full 365-day calendar with new bricks every day?
I’ve never been to Egypt, but I’ve watched plenty of documentaries and informational shows about it to know everything there is to possibly know about its history. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch – but I’m sure you feel like you’re in the same boat as far as Egyptology is concerned.
Unless you’re in de Nile. Get it? Sounds like “denial.” Anyway…
The Golden Staff Guardians  is but a small part of the entire LEGO Pharaoh’s Quest series. My only other experience with them was with the ill-designed LEGO magnets a few months back. That said, I’m still quite enchanted with how LEGO brought this small bit of humanity’s past into the brick universe.
Maybe the golden staff has the power of reversing the pain of stepping on a LEGO piece with your bare or socked feet? Or, perhaps that’s how the Egyptians built the real pyramids? Wouldn’t that be an amazing LEGO set: a complete “true to life” LEGO pyramid? Of course, if I had enough bricks at my disposal, I could probably attempt the same myself (and it’d probably cost as much as all the real gold in Egypt, too). I’m sure that build would be easier than the actual pyramids at Giza.
Here’s an overview / review of what my girlfriend and I built:
This LEGO set’s mummified minifigs (mummifigs?) drew me to it. Assembly was a snap, too – pun intended. The bricks clicked at the skilled hands of my girlfriend, who assembled the set live on YouTube. She was quite proud of her accomplishment, and I was impressed that she did so well without much guidance. Sometimes even I find myself misassembling constructions as laid out by LEGO instructions.
It’s quite a standard, simple build at $10 (for ~70 pieces). The motorbike might be a nice addition to your collection if you happen to be a LEGO vehicle fanatic, though I don’t find any other piece to be a must-have. The mummy heads do have dual faces to give you a little variation between them, and the scarab shields are a nice touch. The golden staff is, of course, the centerpiece – though its true value is completely subjective.
As to how we wound up with consciousness on this globe, there are quite a few theories floating around. One such theory is that very long ago (like, long before Abe Vigoda), creatures from another dimension / galaxy / planet / universe visited Earth. I don’t know if this theory holds water, but it sure makes for some interesting television on the History Channel.
What do I believe in? I believe nobody has any idea.
But I, for one, welcome our new Alien Conquest LEGO overlords!
I had reviewed the slightly-larger collection of minifigs a few weeks back. I wasn’t expecting to get another one until this minifigure came as a bonus with another purchase. And the best part of that purchase? I didn’t buy it – someone else did, as a way to get me to look at his free product. It worked! Yes, you can get me to do just about anything for you if you buy me enough LEGO. It’s sad.
As I had plussed about earlier, Alistair Milne has written a free eBook on Startups. Courtesy of my Wish List on Amazon, Alastair sent me the the LEGO Millennium Falcon – now waiting in my home to be assembled at some point in the near future. This particular minfig came as a LEGO order bonus with the larger set.
So, that was my girlfriend’s first true LEGO kit review. It was a pretty simple construction, so we added a bit of conversation into the mix. I get the feeling, however, that my girlfriend’s choice of attire is distracting viewers from the subject at hand.
I’ve never been in trouble with the law – other than receiving a few speeding tickets. After watching all the cop dramas and prison exposés on television, it’s a wonder anybody would commit a crime anymore. Sure, you have a few errant “bad cops,” but most police officers are good guys (and gals).
I happened upon the LEGO Police minifigs set the other day – and I couldn’t pass it up. While I seem to have an overwhelming abundance of LEGO City minifigures, picking up four additional ones didn’t hurt. Indeed, I am quite satisfied in having paid less than ten bucks for ’em. That’s a steal! Of course, I’m not suggesting that you should steal LEGO for yourself. That’d be a crime – almost as much as it would be a crime for you to ignore the value here.
Inside, you’ll find a couple of criminals – with faces covered in painted stubble. Are they stealing money directly from an ATM? Are they hacking into the machine using their l337 skills? That’s completely up to you. You’re also welcome to swap their heads with those from the friendly forces, too – it’s LEGO, after all. If you’d rather err on the side of perfection, you can use the comic printed in the back portion of the assembly instructions to guide you.
If you ask me, the smirking cop knows something the robbers don’t. What? Maybe the dog knows:
I’m also a bit jealous that the ATV-riding policeman is looking too cool for the room (with his silvery shades and all). Actually, I’m not sure if that’s really a LEGO ATV or some other kind of four-wheeler. Our police sure don’t ride those here in Seattle! Or, maybe they do and I just haven’t done anything wrong so as to warrant the dispatch? I’m not about to find out.
I’ve heard a few people complain that LEGO isn’t what it used to be – a random series of multi-colored bricks which encouraged a person to use their imagination to complete the assembly of any given construct. Yeah, that’s how LEGO sets were when I first learned of them (as a child long ago, mind you).
These days, most LEGO experiences are seemingly dictated by detailed instruction booklets and unique pieces that were custom cut to serve a certain purpose. Brands have entered the LEGO brick fray, but is that really such a bad thing?
Creativity isn’t stumped by absolute dictation, though there may only be one solution to a brick-laden “puzzle.” Even when there’s a construction guide sitting at your fingertips, you still must learn how to navigate a 3D maze to craft the object to completion. I would argue that the more pre-defined LEGO templates one assembles, the closer they get to becoming a “Master Builder.”
I wasn’t gifted with the insane ability that some LEGO artists have; while I can conceptualize and organize, I do not have the improvisational talent that would bring me to assemble breathtaking dioramas or brick-stricken likenesses which draw envy from every observer.
Here’s my take on 5929:
Still, I appreciate the perceivably-generic LEGO brick collections that are actively produced under the “Creator” label. Within these small boxes, there’s one set of directions and a series of suggestions for the builder. Isn’t this the best of both worlds? One brick doesn’t rule them all – and even a dozen bricks might yield a thousand separate creations.
I think I’d categorize myself as a person who has always loved the LEGO minifig. Mind you, I adore all bricks equally – but the minifigure has a special place in my heart (and permanently on my shelves). My first set did not come with a single minifig, though – since its delivery preceded the minifigure’s birth.
When LEGO released the first series of limited edition minifigs, I couldn’t believe my pegs. Of course, I had ’em all in-hand within a short period of time – and would have gone through hell and back to collect ’em all. I hoped they’d continue releasing sets from that day until the planet ran out of usable plastic.
And here we are with Series 5 in wide distribution! Like many AFOLs, I’m still quite disappointed in LEGO for ultimately deciding to obfuscate the minifig character identity pre-purchase. Without any tag indicating which minifig you’re holding onto, you either play the guessing game, finger-fondle its package to possibly identify a unique accessory, or you’re forced to scroll through eBay and pay obscene prices to buy the full set in one fell swoop. For the sake of sanity, I have opted for the latter.
To the buyer go the spoils of brick:
Now, I’ve also gone through the trouble of populating our new YouTube BrickTrix channel with individual minifigure spinarounds – in case you wanted to see more of any one of these series 5 characters. You can watch the LEGO Minifigs – Series 5 Playlist on YouTube itself, or you can just press play on any of the following embedded videos. I did my best to be comprehensive in taking a closer look at the minifigs, but even a one minute review seemed to be a stretch.
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