Saturday, July 30, 2011

Birthday Cake

Although LEGO is perhaps best used within its own context, there is a long and noble tradition (at least in my family) of using it as a cake-topper. So far, it has yet to see service as a wedding cake topper (and probably won't, at my wedding... or so I am reliably informed), but it has frequently appeared atop birthday cakes. My younger brother's 17th birthday was no exception (that was during our Internet blackout), and as the master-chef in charge of the cake, I oversaw the production of the picture below (although the LEGO belongs to the birthday boy's):

Mind you, it's not actually a cake... Instead, it was a tray of squares. As to the birthday-dessert preferences of my brother, I'll offer no comment here, except to say that it made decorating more difficult--although I *am* quite pleased with the final result. Especially with the candles lit, in a darkened room, it has a certain charm.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Grandfather's Tale, Chapter XI

It took me the better part of the summer, but I did it: Chapter XI of the story this is blog is named after is now online. (A link to the Brickshelf folder, once moderated.) I took the pictures for both this chapter and Chapter XII in April, before I left Boston, but all the events of the spring and summer conspired to put it on the backburner until now.

For those preferring deeplinks, here is the rest of the chapter:
02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Aquazone Breakfast News: 026

Sorry about the extreme delay on this one... the internet modem went last Wednesday/Thursday night, and it took until this evening to get the new one. My style, one can see, has been cramped.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Aquazone Breakfast News: 025

And so the good updating week lost momentum when Formendacil's fiancée came to visit from Boston... However, things look good for a better/more normal week next week, when my family AND my beloved leave me alone in the house for a week.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Aquazone Breakfast News: 024

Actually, "Scout" never had a name in my LEGO-verse other than "Aquashark," but I needed to have him talking about *something* when the Aquanaut guard interrupted, and I had to call him something--so Scout it is! However, for those of you wanting to know what the story behind that was... well... there wasn't one.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Custom Clerics

Although I am not a gung-ho customizer of LEGO pieces, and have my purist moments, I'm not *really* a purist, and have been known to do a little bit of it here and there. For the most part, I tend to limit myself to some torso decals (well... torso stickers... let's not overstate what they are). The figs below, however, go slightly beyond stickers, and represent what are probably the most advanced customized figs I've made

From left to right, we have three members of the Catholic clergy: a priest wearing an alb and stole (who could easily be a Lutheran minister... or all sorts of Protestant ministers), a priest wearing a chasuble over his alb and stole, and a deacon wearing an alb and stole.

All three figs belonged to one of my earlier post-Great Take-Apart MOCs, St. Adrian's parish (which can be seen in an earlier stage in this Brickshelf folder). I'm a Catholic myself, and spent four years in seminary training to become a Catholic priest before I realised that what made seminary awesome for me was the academic end of things--at which point I shifted to academic and moved to Boston for grad school. The church goes back to before I even entered seminary, and these figs go back to my last year or so of seminary--about a year and a half ago.

Having established that baseline of what they're wearing on the bottom, this second picture goes whole-hog. On the left is a priest again, now wearing a cope (which is used when presiding at liturgical events OTHER than Mass). In the centre is a bishop--actually a metropolitan archbishop, as denoted by the pallium he is wearing over his chasuble (which one will note is more ornate than the first). He actually has a crozier (staff) with a crook somewhere, but it's not the handsomest piece, so I didn't worry about digging it up for this picture. Finally, the deacon is still there on the right, now wearing his dalmatic over his stole and alb.

This is a view from behind of the previous picture. Both the cope and the chasuble look their best from behind, and I've removed the archbishop's pallium so that the detailing on his chasuble is visible.

Monday, July 4, 2011

8536 Kopaka

One of the unfortunate things, from a blogging standpoint, about being back in Alberta for the summer is that I no longer have access to the majority of my LEGO collection, and of the LEGO I *do* have here, the vast majority is Bionicles.

Yes, you read that right: Bionicles. Although I would not consider myself a huge Bionicle fan--and, indeed, I've been considered a traitor to the canon by my younger, more knowledgeable brothers for changing things around in "Formy Nui" from the "way they're supposed to be"--I do have a good-sized collection, mostly of the early years, with an emphasis on the red Bionicles.

While I don't want to turn this into a "Bioni-blog," I do want to look at a few sets this summer. They've been around long enough now (10 years since they first burst onto the LEGO scene, shocking some and saving the brand during its most off-kilter years) that I think the hating should be secondary to a general sense of "well, I don't use them, but I've seen some cool stuff."

The first set then that I want to look at is 8536 Kopaka. He was one of the original six Toa (oversized heroes) released in 2001, and was the first one to feature in the Bionicle comic that was included along with the Mania Magazine. As that was my introduction to the Bionicles, Kopaka has a special place in my memories as the "first" Bionicle. Mind you, all the original Bionicles have a special fondness for me in the light of some of things that came later. The farther away the writers/marketeers got from the original island of Mata Nui, the less interested I became (and I don't think it was all because I was 14 when they came out and in my early 20s when the line finally died).

Kopaka was the Toa of Ice (the Bionicles were rather neatly divided into six colour-coded elemental camps; ice, of course, was white), and had the mask of X-ray vision, a sword (that could shoot ice, at least in our variations), and a rather holey shield. I never actually acquired him back in 2001 or so, but got him in a box of used LEGO parts for Christmas in 2009. This was intentional: the eldest of my younger brothers and I divvied up the six elements, and Ice White was one of his, not mine. Of the original six Toa, Kopaka was the one that was "not mine" that I was most envious of.

By the way, I should (and do) apologize for the baseplate-stripe background. It was an experiment, but a poorly thought-out one. Had I used a 32 x 32 it might have worked (though my 32 x 32s are all in Boston), but as it is, it looks a bit tacky.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Minifigs: Harry Cane

Just a short post today--most of my "blogging time" has been spent taking pictures to use this week (and for the next batch of Aquazone Breakfast News), and I have a few non-blog projects on the go.

However, while this post may be minor, this minifig isn't--at least not in my LEGO-verses.

Harry Cane was one of the Adventurer gang released originally in 1998 in Egypt, and he stuck around for their second year, 1999, in the Amazon. As his pilot hat with goggles and bomber jacket indicate, he was the team pilot, and each set he came with in the original two Adventurer lines included an aircraft for him to fly. My Harry Cane came with the balloon in 5988 Pharaoh's Forbidden Ruins, and his inclusion was a *big* part of why I wanted that set. I already had the three other "good guy" adventurers, both of their "bad guy" rivals, and the even-badder Pharaoh in my first Adventurer set, 5978 Sphinx Secret Surprise.

To judge by his abbreviated backstory--Harry had none in the 1999 issue of the Mania Magazine, although the other returning Adventurers did--and by the fact that he was not back with the three others in 2000 when they discovered the Dinosaurs. In fact, his slot on the Adventurer team seems to have been taken by Mike (who because was not a popular character in my LEGO-verse, I assure you), the "token cool kid" character. Nor did Harry reappear in 2003 when Johnny Thunder, Dr. Lightning, and Gail Storm were rebooted (albeit the latter two had different names) in the Orient Expedition line.

Still, Harry Cane was never a secondary character in my LEGO games. Admittedly, he was the co-star and Johnny was the star of the Adventurer games, but Harry was no second fiddle. The fact that he was the Adventurers' pilot somehow morphed into him being among my most proficient pilots of... well... anything. Stick him in an X-wing, and he'd fly as well as my Luke Skywalker; stick him in a race car and he'd take first; stick him in a seaplane and he could take off and land on the desert sands.

Nor were these heroic feats the limit of his awesomeness. In many respects, Harry became the "voice of reason" character among the Adventurers, while Johnny was the rash optimist, Gail Storm the dour pessimist, and Dr. Lightning the timid worrier (we'll not speak of Mike).

As a final note regarding Harry's "awesomeness," it certainly didn't hurt that while I have 5 Johnnys (see this post), 5 Gails, and 3 Dr. Lightnings, I only ever had one Harry Cane. I did eventually acquire a second head on Bricklink, but he serves in my Unitron fleet away with my Space and that was long after the Great Take-Apart.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Aquazone Breakfast News: 023

And so concludes the fourth production batch of Aquazone Breakfast News (Episodes 19-23), as well as a story arc (4.1-4.7). I'm not entirely pleased with the photography in this batch, but Boston wasn't having sun and I had to get the pictures taken before I left, so that I could actually prepare the batch, so that I could post them during the rather turbulently travel month of June.

Fortunately, Alberta is having lots of sun now, and I should be a bit happier with the next round.

No promises about the punch-lines, though. :-p