But what really stood out was meeting all the LEGO Group folks that came to visit from Enfield, CT, which is pretty close by. I met a few people from the social media team, chatted with an employee who handles LEGO Brand Retail Stores about what gets me into the store (like promotions), talked with Strategy Director Jack Clarke for about 20 minutes (and even showed him a few Space MOCs), went to panels by folks like Paul Striefler (AFOL liason) and Tim Courney (LEGO Ideas) Sara Moore (LEGO Rebrick), and attended a very special panel by LEGO CEO Bali Padda who just happened to be in the States this week and was able to spare about an hour on his way to the airport for a Q&A and meet and greet.
While Danny is still holding my photo with Bali Padda for ransom, I was lucky enough to get his minifig business card:
So I'm pretty pleased with my takeaway from BrickFair NE.
How ridiculous is that?!?! For the amount of time I've been alive, more than half of that time has been deeply invested in the discussion of a particular LEGO theme, connecting with others who share that passion, meeting them, keeping in touch, and caring for everyone that has made an impression. Half. Of. My. Life.
Where would I be without BZPower? Without Bionicle? Probably not building with LEGO. Probably not traveling across the country to tour Pikes Place Market and hike the Cascade Mountains. Not visiting New York City multiple times.
BZPower has always been about the people. From posting in the Forums chatting with strangers, to meeting them in real life and hanging out with internet friends. You all are what keep me coming back for more.
And let's hope there isn't a point where half of my life hasn't been on BZPower. Or at least, without spending time with BZPower buddies.
We succeeded in all three.
When it comes to the comics, I found some deals on Skottie Young variant covers! I didn't think I'd be able to afford the Young variant for Doctor Strange, but it was only $3.33! I also got Charles Soule to sign the She-Hulk variant, which was an awesome run and ended too soon. And when I handed Louise Simonson the cover with Apocalypse on it, she exclaimed, "Now THAT's Apocalypse!" probably in reference in Fox's poor choices in limiting Oscar Isaac's potentially amazing movie performance this past summer. (Louise Simonson created Apocalypse in X-Factor #5 in 1986, which is a feat unto itself because for a woman to be in comics and to create an iconic comic villain back then was unprecedented.)
The Supergirl art is by Mike Maihack, who is awesome.
While I also found some great deals on comics and graphic novels (I jumped into the Valiant universe this weekend, buying some graphic novels from the Valiant booth which had some excellent salespeople to get me started), I also added some value to a comic I owned: Getting the first printing, first appearance of Spider-Gwen certified and quality rated by the Certified Guaranty Company. The 9.2 is Near Mint, and this particular issue will fetch me over $100 when/if I put it on eBay. I'm quite pleased with myself.
Finally, I got to meet Stuart Sayger and visit with Pop Mhan again (met him last year). Sayger was awesome to chat with, and 55555 and I spent almost an hour interviewing him for BZPower (news story coming soon) and chatting about Bionicle and artwork. He's so cool, and really passionate not just about making comics but about being a part of Bionicle history! He and Mhan signed some comics for me, which may or may not be made available to members to obtain in the future. He was also selling prints, so I bought a few favorite comic characters drawn in his unique style.
When I pulled out Bionicle V2 #5 and opened it up to the first page, where my Piraka Fusion creation was, I asked, "What can you tell me about this?"
He said a kid built that, won a contest, and mailed it in to him to draw to appear as part of the story. I was that kid, I told him. And he flipped out!
He was ecstatic to meet me, who built the model that appeared in the comic for a page. He started asking me about my building style and what I remember from the contest (this coming after questions about his art style and his memories from the Bionicle art job). And before we left, he said he wanted to get a picture of me with the comic! That pretty much made my weekend.
Unfortunately I did not get to all the authors I wanted to visit to get comics signed. Which is ok, because the panels I attended instead were the real value of the convention experience. Deals and lines for autographs are other perks of the entrance fee. What is really important is to not set high expectations to get everything signed, but take the opportunities if presented. Right now my first thought is "don't bring anything to get signed next year" (which my back will appreciate), but I'm sure I'll have second opinions on that by then.
Until then, I'll have to figure out how to show some of these off in my room!
Number of half-filled gallon bags holding free/cheap parts: 5
Number of free assorted Zamor obtained: 221
Amount of money made at the yard sale: More than I expected, honestly. And then I spent 2/3 of it that same night!
Number of photos taken: 365
Average cost per meal: $10 (Breakfast cereal is your friend)
Amount of MOCs brought: Lost count. At least 12.
Times I won Fibbage: 1
Times I absolutely lost it playing QuipLash: At least 12.
Miles driven: About 181
Number of memories made: 5
(Just kidding. How can I count that?)
But I was in a filming mood when I did this last night, so I made a short video detailing each piece:
Now, off to hunt for more!
We've since made a few more mosaics via collaboration, but a constant has been the base I've displayed them on.
In 2010 it was two plywood boards that would fit 3 baseplates by 3 baseplates.
In 2011 it was combined and trimmed into a long 2x6 board:
Then in 2013 it was trimmed again to fit a a single row of baseplates:
And now at Scouting for Bricks, I've adjusted it again, hopefully for the final time. It now fits 2 by 2 segments of baseplates, so xccj and I could collaborate on a mosaic design I've wanted to do for a few years now, Kurahk:
(It'll be at BrickFair VA too.)
It's been weird seeing it shrink and change shape over these years, but it's happy to still be excited about making mosaics, even if I've taken a year off here and there (2013's mosaic was at BrickCon).
What's next? Well, I've got a few clever mosaics in mind, so we'll see what I have the time and budget for.
It's an odd bunch, towering over minifigs. But man, they look so cool! It's almost enough to make me want Mungus, Dogshank, and a Wampa, though not enough to make me shell out the cash. But it might be a new addiction.
Now, I can just as easily ignore gossip as the next person who doesn't care, but sometimes things enter my field of vision. Which gets me thinking, why them? Who decided that this random person suddenly gets a bunch of money in exchange of being followed around and get their drama reported on?
What if it was me? Or you? Or any other nerd in the world? How hilarious would that be? A TV crew is set up and arriving at your house, an editor is eagerly awaiting an article and pictures of every detail of your day, and blogs are going to dissect your every facial expression.
Except if it was me, with the cameras lined up waiting for something to happen, they'd just see me sitting at my computer for an hour scrolling through facebook and youtube right before work. Then an 8 hour shift of fetch quests with a lunch break of reading comics. "Start some drama," a paparazzi says (at this point I'm as surprised as you are they're still here), so I call up some friends to play Risk or Catan later that night. Little do the reporters know that my friends will go back to being quite agreeable as soon as the game is cleaned up. Ha!
Then it's back to sitting in front of my computer, or reading a book or watching TV, with a few glances at my phone for a silent conversation. And that's the day. I take the money allowing them to follow me around for a day, and they go back home rethinking the purpose of their career, with any luck.
Let's do that again at BrickFair VA! Except it won't be someone's sacrificed Death Star set. We'll build a sphere out of Stay and Play bricks and find a slope somewhere to roll it down. Maybe put the finishing touches on it at Adult Swim when everyone is already riled up and ready to see something wild.
Let's remember this post in July right as we're ready for BFVA.
*IDK if it was even his or at BrickCon. Could have been at BrickFest PDX, and someone else's set. But then where did I hear about it if not on BZP or TBB?
While my plan is to use model car cases for things like the DeLorean and Curiosity Rover, and some big clear cases for minifigs to grandstand on, I would rather have a few figs stand out. I have some cases, but that's still not good enough. Things can be touched easily, and I am always rotating out which minifigs get displayed.
So I found these little things that came with Pokemon toys inside them. They're relatively cheap (or cheap enough) and look great.
The pricey minifigs in the upper pictures deserve a bit of separation from the rest of my collection. The chrome Star Wars figs shouldn't ever be touched with bare fingers, and the two Comic Con figures have a nice sentimental value. (Their high monetary value also garners them some extra respect.) The TRU Force Friday brick could be moved elsewhere more visible, but it's big and bulky and doesn't quite deserve to be unintruded. It's a nice piece of history though.
The Avengers in the lower pictures were a gift for a friend. She had a few of the "main six" from the movies, but needed a few more characters to complete her collection. I put them in the display case on some bases adhered with sticky tack, allowing for the mirrors to really show them off.
I have one more case which needs filled. I can fit 5 figures without overshadowing anyone, so it's just a matter of who. Something special, something cool, and something I won't want to take out to use in a vignette. I've got a lot of figs to choose from, so I'll make it count.
Specifically, I will be drawing from my own building experiences. Admittedly, regrettably, I still have a few 2015 sets unbuilt. I don't want to become the AFOL stereotype of having hordes of boxes of unbuilt sets. These are not yet built because I thought I'd review them and then I never did and then I realized that Jurassic World sets and Quicksilver's Avengers set would never be on store shelves again after their initial run. But I doubt they'd make this list anyway.
The list of my favorite sets stars off with General Grievous, who has a fantastic build and looks great on my shelf. That's saying something, because it's hard to be surprising with constraction sets nowadays, and because I like to think I cannibalize my sets pretty quickly after getting them if I'm in a building phase. But until I build a tan Bionicle MOC, Grievous is here to stay. People can argue about the price, but for the satisfaction of a 45 minute build that is quite intense, it's worth it.
I also had the pleasure of building the Helicarrier with 55555 thanks to Toa Lhikan Hordika buying it and then we did a livestream to build it. Good times. It's huge, it's iconic, it has a great build. And I didn't pay for it but got to build it anyway; you'll have to ask TLH if it's worth the $350 plus motor pack. (I bet he'll say yes.)
The Doctor Who LEGO Ideas is also worthy of a mention. It's got the minifigs, it has the TARDIS interior and exterior, and it's reasonably priced for a licensed set. Unfortunately it doesn't come in numbered baggies for staged building within the instructions, which means you are searching for parts a lot longer than expected.
And finally, I can not forget the Millennium Falcon! It's iconic, has a great build, comes with great play features and hosts some great minifigs. I'll be keeping this displayed on my shelf for at least a year before realizing I need grey angled plates for something.
These were my favorite. I build some more, but nothing as stand-out like these. I've already got my hands on a ton of 2016 sets however, some of which already look amazing, and some which can be criticized too. Now to find time to build some....
The Me Brick
Location: Northern Virginia
Favorite color: Guess
Favorite smell: Campfire
Interests: LEGO, Boy Scouts (Eagle), Geeking, Comics
First LEGO Set: Renegade Runner
Convention history: BrickFest '04, & '06
BrickFair VA '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14 & '15.
Bricks Cascade '15.
BrickFair NJ '15.
BrickFest web page
BrickFair web page
Brickworld web page
North West BrickCon site
Members I've met
Arpy His Something Completely Different
xccj His Team
EmperorWhenua His Blog
Nukaya Cloud Fire Her Bubble Wrap
Nuju Metru His Showtime
Toa Lhikan Hordika His Blog
ChrisKopaka His blog
Omicron His Rush
Aanchir: Rachira of Time His Sugar Bowl
Lyichir: Rachira of Influence His Surreality
Black Six His Bio
Kaiapu His Skippy
.:Sora:. His Keyhole
Ouch His Giant Enemy
Roa McToa Her Spectaculoso
Darth Vader His Wanting
55555 His Array
Smeagol His Quote
Hahli Husky Her Label
Nikira Her Blog
Janus His E.M.O.T.I.O.N.
LehvakLah Her Handshields
Emzee His Maker
(Inner)Rayg His Contents
ToM Dracone His Memory
Vezok's Friend His Journeys
Waffles His Window
Senjo Her Outpost
Friar Tuck His Tuck
Kohaku His Room
Spink His Garden
Brickeens His 9
Total Nut (well, now he's Ancient Builder)
The dude that worked at Tyson's Lego Store
Toa Meiko of Meikoes
The pangolin under E's bed
Turakki #1 Lavasurfer
One of my college buddies who forgot his username
(PM me if I forgot you)
Other Cool members
Bundalings the Bunny His Burrow
GregF His Blog
T-Hybrid His Haven
Tilius His Blog
Brave_Dragon: Her Pyromania
Jack_Skellington: His What's This
Air-Master: His Ærospaċe
Nukora: His Land Beyond
Master Vahi: His Testing Center
Arch-Angel: His Yin/Yang Story
Kativa/Ka-Chan: His Dormitory
~GreenBioGuy~ His Forest
Ca'gerrin His Orbit
Creator of the Kanohi
Core: Matoran of Chaos (Spiderman 121)