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Scientific Progress Goes "Boink"


Steampunking It UP

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jul 19 2013 · 57 views

In a continuing endeavor to build more steampunk MOCs, especially before BrickFair, I bring you something that's been floating around in my head for a while now:
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Hopefully some more ideas will float my way before the con!
-CF :kakama:


Mr. and Mrs. Pym

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jul 13 2013 · 96 views
comics, lego, minifigs, marvel and 1 more...
I finally got around to digging for the pieces to build one of Marvel's favorite couples (until they weren't).
I present, the Avengers

I could do Wasp as black/yellow/black, but the brighter colors make her stand out more. My friend has suggested a clip and some head-dress feathers as wings. I'll have to look for a vendor selling some at BrickFair.
These will go great with my other LEGO Avengers, both official sets and custom (but purist) minifigs.
-CF :kakama:


Building Progress for BF13

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jul 10 2013 · 94 views
lego, brickfair, moc
I've had the chance to start building (after a long lag period) so I can hustle and bring some new stuff to BrickFair. So far I've dabbled in Steampunk (I am the coordinator after all) and fiddled around with Brickbadge possibilities.
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I wanted to stray away from the stereotypical brown and slapping on gears, but I think the result is more post-apoc than giving two baddie Victorian ladies a buzz-saw tank. And as my brother pointed out I really should put a boiler on the back (with steam) to show off functionality. So I think this will be revamped with the top half in brown and a formidable engine on the back. But overall I'm happy with how this turned out for merely being an idea using treads and having two cockpits for figs I made last month. The buzz-saw is staying.
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And I might as well give you a tease of what I'm thinking of putting on my brickbadge. I've attended five conventions! Wow! I consider that a milestone, being able to have five convention bricks on your badge. BrickFair '13 marks #6 (and #8 if you include the two I visited), and I feel it's time to stray from the traditional straight up and down, 1x8 brick format. We'll see what I actually do once I put on a graphic tee and find this thing covering half my shirt.
This year's theme is birds, though I might find room for a fig or two. Also, blurry: You didn't think I'd reveal the entire thing now, did you?
Anyway, back to building! I've got a hot-air balloon to construct with Naboo!
-CF :kakama:


In Appreciation for Paperbacks

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jul 09 2013 · 105 views
books, reading
Don't misunderstand me, I'll buy a paperback book out of necessity most of the time. I just bought Redshirts and will probably buy Mistborn soon too, in paperback. Usually that's all that is around if I'm buying something new because by the time I get around to buying it to read it's in paperback.
But when a book as wonderful as American Gods comes into my life, I want to make sure it will stay with me for decades and still be intact with every read.
-CF :kakama:


Hardback vs Paperback Books

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jul 08 2013 · 191 views
books, reading
I have a question for everyone: What is your preference between hardback books and paperback books? And not just in general, but new books, older books, favorite books, read-it-once-then-donate books, etc.
See, I work at a bookstore, and constantly I'll hand someone a hardback (because it's new or is still selling well even after being out for half a year or more) and they'll ask "Is it in paperback?" (Um, no, this new Dan Brown book came out yesterday. It's in hardback because they know they'll make more money by people who can't wait to read it.) (Rinse and repeat for Mockingjay, A Dance With Dragons, and Gone Girl, books that have been out forever.)
Now, I can understand that a paperback is lighter to hold and easier to take on trips, despite being cheaper. But whenever someone asks that my first thought is that they are cheap and can't appreciate the work the are holding in their hands. But customers have revealed that they prefer paperbacks due to being lighter, usually thinner, and easier to travel with.
For me, I love that I have some gems in hardback, because I know in 20 years they won't look like they'll fall apart ala The Time Machine. I'll definitely want to reread Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, or Douglas Adams multiple times between now and my death, and these books will need to take a beating between my hands and friends borrowing them.
But I can understand wanting to pay less for a book you're unsure about or if money is tight. An $8 pocket paperback is more alluring than a $26 hardback for an impulse buy.
So, does anyone feel how I feel, or do you strictly buy a paperback, even if it means waiting 8 months to two years to read the new Neil Gaiman or George RR Martin?
(And don't get me started about graphic novels. Only the best of the best need to be in hardback to stand the test of time, dust, and rereads, but those have already been out so long they're only in paperback. And the new stuff most likely doesn't need to be in hardback.)
-CF :kakama:


Things to do before BrickFair

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jun 30 2013 · 110 views
LEGO, BrickFair
-Build some (like 4) steampunk stuff for the cool steampunk minifigs I've made
-Make sure I use more than just brown. Use gears and functionality. (As if that needs saying.)
-Build something for the Pharaoh's Quest collab, because Greg is part of WAMALUG and super-cool.
-Build my secret Galaxy Squad idea which only works this year.
-Build a 16x16 Micropolic thing because that theme is super-cool and I keep forgetting to.
-Mope about not building any new Bionicle stuff since 2010, but bring all my old stuff anyway to fill the theme.
-Realize I won't get much pleasure reading done like I have in most recent months, but it will be worth it.
-Register MOCs.
-Be awesome.
If this list didn't exist I'd just time-travel to August and hang out with you lovely people.
-CF :kakama:


"I'm good." "Um..."

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jun 01 2013 · 195 views
people, work, life, snark
Funny how many customers who I've never met assume I'm asking about their well-being and reply, "I'm good," when I'm merely saying "good morning" to them as they come into the bookstore.
And by golly the amount of snark I repress could fill a swimming pool. (Or a book...hehe.)
And no, we're not going out of business. (And even if we were, what are you going to do about it?)
-CF :kakama:


Ask me questions!

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Apr 19 2013 · 95 views
me, chocolatefrogs, bzpower and 2 more...
As per my front page news story, I'm up for interrogation this month in the BZPowercast. Which means I need questions to answer! That's where you come in--ask me anything!
Anything? Well, sure, but we'll have a whole lot more fun with geeky questions or real questions inquiring about various aspects of life. And any gobdlygook nonsense will probably be ignored as it's hard enough when put on the spot being asked about the average velocity of an unladen swallow (you've been warned).
Leave questions here or send them to me in a PM.
-CF :kakama:


Avengers Vs X-Men!

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Apr 12 2013 · 236 views
lego, moc, avengers, comics and 1 more...
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My LUG gets to display at the LEGO Store(s) in the area, and April was my month for Tysons Corner's LEGO Store in Virginia. While Marvel's Avengers Vs X-Men comic event was mediocre in the summer of 2012, I can't deny the inspiration it gave me:
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Topic here. Brickshelf gallery here.
Can you guess which part is my favorite?
The Avengers are fighting the X-Men because they want to apprehend a mutant (Hope Summers) who they believe might cause destruction to humankind if the Phoenix Force, currently on its way to Earth, has the chance to posses her, due to then nature of her powers. The X-Men would rather the Avengers stay out of the way and let them deal with one of their own kind. Things get nasty for 12 issues, which was about 5 issues too long (not to mention all the tie-ins).
Still, the chance to make some X-Men minifigs that LEGO hadn't and then pair them up with several Avengers was something I couldn't pass up for the display. The kids visiting the store wouldn't care some of this stuff didn't happen or didn't look perfect like the comics, and the adults that might have read the comic series would get a kick that I made it out of LEGO in the first place. The LEGO employees there that night knew what it was and loved it.
The next goal is to show off my SHIP at Potomac Mills, because their display is visible from all 4 sides and will fit a 103-stud long spaceship.
-CF :kakama:


Coming Up Next

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Mar 15 2013 · 128 views
books, reading, sci fi, fantasy
Velox continually posts interesting blog entries about books and what he's reading/has read/will read. Which reminds me that I have such topics to blog about. But my blogging has been sparse, and I need to make such an entry interesting. But I hope that if you share my enthusiasm of reading that you will chime in.
Without further ado, a glance at my to-read list from now until May:
1) American Gods by Neil Gaiman--I'm currently reading this and loving it! Gaiman crafts a story so well that simply reading his tale is a joy. (Also, I have the 10th Anniversary hardback version, which looks as magnificent as it reads.)
2) Uglies by Scott Westerfield--A teen dystopia book/series that I'm borrowing from a friend. I'm seeing her next week, so I figure I might as well read the first one now and decide if I want to hold onto them until we visit again or just return the rest of the series if the first book doesn't hold up to my tastes.
3) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton--I've seen the movie, but with it being released in IMAX 3D in 2 weeks, I might as well read it before seeing it. (Because, as much as I hate 3D (and post-conversion), if there was one movie to see in 3D, it's this one.)
4) Best of All Possible Worlds (Don't feel like looking this up)--I'll be borrowing this new sci-fi with a touch of romance from work in a few weeks. It's been getting great reviews.
(4.5--I wish I had time to also sneak in A Great North Road, another sci-fi geting decent reviews. But I think I'll have to borrow that from the library in a few months so I can keep on track reading things on my shelf that I own.)
5) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline--Gosh I just need to read this already! Have you seen the bombardment of positive "read now!" reviews on every geek site that gives it a paragraph of recognition?
6) Gone Girl by Gyllian Flynn--Another book I'll borrow that has been getting rave reviews, has been a bestseller since its release early last summer, and so is something I should read soon.
7) Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly--Borrowing from a friend due to her recommendation. I'm looking forward to it. Will probably read it on my lunch break while reading fiction at home.
8) In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson--I heard this wasn't as good as his book The Devil in the White City, which is on my list for this year too, but since my grandma liked it she lent me her copy, since it's still being well-received.
9) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson--I'm sure you've heard of this. My friend got me it for my birthday 1.2 years ago and I've been putting off reading it because other books catch my eye. But I'm tired of waiting. Plus I bought the other two in the trilogy for $4 total.
10) Iron Man, Extremis by Warren Ellis--The graphic novel gets a rerelease in April right before Iron Man 3 hits theaters. Ideas from this story arc have inspired events in all 4 of the films Iron Man is in, so I'm looking forward to this bit of comic history.
Right now I'd better get back to American Gods.
-CF :kakama:


So I Built...

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Feb 28 2013 · 128 views
lego, bionicle, moc
I threw this together in about 40 minutes:
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I haven't built a Bionicle thing in a few years. I threw something together back in 2010, and I'm pretty proud of the toros/head/arms, but the legs need work. I'm out of touch with the constraction medium.
But I am displaying at my LEGO Store's "Window Into the Community" display in April and decided upon one of two themes: Avengers Vs X-Men (based on last year's comic event) or Bionicle, because nothing sticks it to the man like displaying a 3-year-dead theme (as our LEGO conventions prove by being one of the biggest themes). (I've done this twice before. Once with Bionicle (with a WAMALUG kid) and another with space (with a friend). This time I'm getting the spotlight all to myself.)
AvX is only happening if I can craft a few things quick and cheap, like overturned cars and a building (sideways plates instead of brick by brick, methinks) for scenery, the Phoenix Force vs Iron Man's Phoenix Force mecha, the X-Men Blackhawk (vs an Avengers jet?) and then various bits of the two teams fighting.
That's if I get my creative juices flowing in the next couple of days. Otherwise I'm going to build a few Bionicle non-humanoids (I have 7 of those) and display Bionicle, because Bionicle is awesome.

Bigger things to come?
-CF :kakama:


So Many Names

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Feb 22 2013 · 126 views
brickfair, brickbadge, lego
There comes a time every year where I must place some words on a badge for BrickFair. Luckily my name and location is not required, and not necessary for me because I already have engraved bricks with my name(s) on them.
So now it's just a matter of putting some cool text there.
But I don't know what I want to put on them! :o
My first thoughts were "From Outer Space" for the location badge, but that's not nearly clever enough.
I was also thinking of having "DFTBA" be one of the bricks, but I'd probably frame it between some ~tiddles~ if possible.
I'm the Steampunk coordinator, so maybe something like "Captain Steam" might be cool. For a name.
Or maybe "Stormagedddon, Dark Lord of All" hmm?
And of course I can put some geeky things down, like "Don't Panic" or "Vworp vworp vworp" if I felt so inclined.
I have two bricks to fill, remember.
-CF :kakama:


An Evening of Awesome

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Feb 08 2013 · 102 views

A few weeks ago I visited New York City for my first time with one of my best friends! It was amazing in all kinds of ways, but mostly because I got to geek out at various appropriate times and take in sights I had never seen before. It was all pretty fantastic.
Throughout our trip I got to visit many places on my "to do if I visit NYC" list, including... (pictures)
Going into the Times Square Toys R Us LEGO section
Seeing the outside of the [Will Smith alien movie from 1997] building entrance
Stopping by Midtown Comics
Visiting Forbidden Planet, the amazing geek emporium
Peeking into Obscura, from the Science Channel show Oddities
Going to the amazing independent bookstore Strand (I got a $28 hardback Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio-edited collection of stories for $8)
Wandering into The Way Station, the steampunk bar (I had a Skywalker Margarita) with a TARDIS bathroom (and signed!)
Eating some pork buns in Chinatown
Strolling through Central Park
Having some New York pizza
What incited the trip was the fact that our favorite vloggers were going to be "playing" Carnegie Hall Tuesday, January 15. The author John Green and his brother Hank are internet celebrities and have amassed quite a fanbase of "nerdfightes"--enthusiastic people of all walks of life that fight for the nerd and towards various efforts of decreasing "worldsuck" (basically we want to make the world a better, more awesome place, especially one where liking things to a fanatical extent is no longer shunned by popular opinion of what is the "norm"). Penguin Publishers sent the two on a book tour last year when John's latest and most popular book The Fault in Our Stars was released, and this show was in honor of that one-year anniversary. The book has remained a New York Times bestseller since its release.
That was "An Evening of Awesome," and it truly was. Lizzie Bennet Diaries cast members read from TFIOS, The Mountain Goats played some songs, other surprise guests came out and shared the stage, which included Neil Gaiman who said something hilarious not repeatable on BZPower, John and Hank answered questions ranging from life to writing to enjoying life and not "growing up", and Hank sang some songs about Harry Potter, science, and angler fish.
Overall, it was tons of fun and unforgettable!
-CF :kakama: DFTBA!
(Total trip (travel, food, goodies, Carnegie Hall ticket) cost me under $200, because we stayed at my friend's counin's place both nights!)


90s LEGO

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jan 07 2013 · 176 views
lego, 90s, 1990s and 1 more...
I got a blast from the past tonight as I tidied up my room a bit, which meant taking the instructions from the recent LEGO sets I've gotten and putting them in the box with all my other instructions.
Normally that would just mean I'd toss them on top and move on, but the box was a mess. So I took everything out, arranged the instructions by paper size, and put them back in an orderly fashion that will leave room for more instructions throughout the year (but probably not much longer).
Whilst organizing, I quite enjoyed sifting through the instructions, with their pictures of the sets and the memories that came with. And a few "oh right, that was a set. And I had two because I really wanted those couple distinct pieces" moments.
Now, I had some cool sets since the new millennium, but the nostalgia factor kicked in as I kept finding instructions for sets from the 90s. Exploriens, Insectoids, Throwbots, Outback, Hydronauts--I even have the large plastic stringray I need to eventually fit into a MOC. Definitely some cool stuff there.
Maybe I'll even go back and rebuild a few of those sets.
-CF :kakama:
Fun fact: I do have an old 90s set still built. The Robo Raider, from Roboforce. That minifig is awesome, and considering I don't have anything older than recent stuff built, I never have the heart to take it apart.


Being Bookish 2013

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Jan 01 2013 · 161 views
books, reading, life
Spoiler alert: Once you graduate college you suddenly find plenty of time to read books that have been on your list for years, because homework is nonexistent!
While I read a lot over the summer, fall and winter, I have only just recently been pushing through books left and right. Being ambitious, I hope to read 40-60 books next year, including, but not limited to:

The Cassandra Project
American Gods
Ready Player One
Gone Girl
Cloud Atlas
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
World War Z
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Night Circus
The Dresden Files
Any strike your fancy? What in particular is on your list for next year?
-CF :kakama:
(New year's resolutions include the usual: read more and build LEGO more)

The Me Brick

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Location: Northern Virginia
Favorite color: Guess
Favorite smell: Campfire
Interests: LEGO, Boy Scouts (Eagle), Geeking, Comics
First LEGO Set: Renegade Runner
Roman Catholic
Convention history: BrickFest '04, & '06
BrickFair VA '08, '09, '10, '11 & '12, & '13.
BrickCon '13.
:flagusa: :kakama:

Chocolate Froggy Bloggy


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Mosaic 2011

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(Thanks to everyone who helped!)

BḞ10: Mosaic

^News Coverage^
Special thanks to Nukaya. Without her this might not have gotten off the ground.

Other thanks go to xccj for making the pictures, and the members for making the squares!

Cool Links/members

BrickFest web page

BrickFair web page
Brickworld web page
North West BrickCon site
My BrickShelf
Piraka Fusion
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Members I've met
Arpy His Something Completely Different
xccj His Team
EmperorWhenua His Blog
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Kopaka's Ice Engineering His Chocolate City
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Bionicle Rex
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
Bionicle Raptor

Avohkah Tamer


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
Shine His...Hikarikagayaku
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)
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