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Scientific Progress Goes "Boink"


An Evening of Awesome

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Feb 08 2013 · 117 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 · 206 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 · 171 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)


My Favorite Book Recommendations

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Dec 30 2012 · 168 views
books, reading
I'm going to copy Velox (again) by listing my favorite books and authors I read in 2012. I've read an incredulous amount of books since graduating, compared to how little time I had to read during college overall. It also helps to keep reading, and to have a few different genres worth of favorites in the back of my head, due to my employment at a bookstore.
My top author, if you hadn't guessed, is John Green. I got to meet him at the National Book Festival in DC in September, which was awesome. His books are realistic teen lit, which is a far stray off from my usual sci-fi and fantasy leanings, but each novel is incredible and has shining moments. My top two books are Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. Crying is expected. I never thought books would make me cry, and then it happened. Good times.
I also enjoyed Every Day by David Levithan, the story of someone who swaps bodies with a different person every day, but must deal with that fact in a whole new way when they fall in love. Well-written and very impressive for Levithan's first solo novel.
I got a blast from the past when I read Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, a book my teacher recommended to the class back in 7th or 8th grade, but I snuffed it out of mind. But my best friend said it was one of her favorites, so I gave it a shot and found myself unable to put it down, being moved with various feelings, yelling at the main character for his bad decisions and loving Stargirl.
I just recently read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, and my praise of this off-beat treasure hunt just enough out of reality for geeks but realistic enough for the everyday reader will make it my go-to book recommendation for anyone.
Finally, the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman has been a work of brilliance, and I can't wait to read more (and finish it in time for the prequel comic's release in November) in 2013.
That's 2012. But let me tell you, my 2013 reading list has about 60 books on it! More about that tomorrow-ish.
-CF :kakama:


Best Books of 2012

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Dec 24 2012 · 166 views
books, reading
I'm copying Velox in examining the books I've read in 2012. It allowed me to look back at what I've read this year, and a lot of that happened after I graduated. But I still got a few books in during my last semester in college.
Best Books in 2012
1) Best Book You Read in 2012? Like Velox, I can't choose just one. I like his system of choosing the top five, which is also hard:
~The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS), by John Green--It's like Green takes all these wonderful ideas you had floating around in your head and didn't even know it and then placed them perfectly on paper to amaze you at how marvelous human conscousness is.
~Mr.Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan--Such a wonderfully written narrative with plenty of popular culture references for geeky Easter eggs. It's also nice to break away from the space operas, laser blasts, and teenage-death-love-triangles every once in a while but still read something not rooted entirely in reality.
~Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli--The characters are so drawn out from every day individuals you know (including yourself), I started to wonder what I would do in the main character's shoes, hoping, believing I was different enough at his age to make the right decisions.
~Sandman series, by Neil Gaiman--I restarted this series (having barely read volume 1 a while back) and am now 3 volumes in. It's absolutely fantastic the way Gaiman writes and crafts his stories.
~Every Day, by David Levithan--While not perfect, this book had me growing with the character, understanding the situation so well, feeling the pain and joy as they jump into a new body, and a new life, every day.
2) Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn't?
~Matched, by Ally Condie--I dropped it halfway through. John Green recommended it I picked it up and was surprised at how enthralled I was with it. Then I had to wait a week or so before picking it up again, and it was at that point that the story slowed down from the excitement I had in the first few chapters and lost its glamour. The pacing was off and things weren't happening, so I decided to take my useful time elsewhere.
3) Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
~Stargirl--I had been resistant to reading this back in 8th grade, then picked it up this year and couldn't put it down!
~Mr. Penumbra's--I didn't know what to expect at first.
4) Book you recommended to people most in 2012
~I suddenly fount myself telling many customers to buy Mr. Penumbra's, because it's fiction with a hint of mysticism. I am also always recommending Looking for Alaska by John Green (which I read less than a year ago, at the end of 2011). It was the first book that got a few tears out of me (Stargirl being the second), and is excellent.

5) Best series you discovered in 2012?
~The Giver Quartet, by Lois Lowry--I had read The Giver back in 8th grade (by choice, no class assignments to make me hate a book) and loved it. I bought the second and third "companion novels" to it in the summer of 2011. With the fourth novel, Son, having come out to wrap it all up in October, this was a great chance for me to reread a favorite book and catch up on the series too. Each one was wonderful in its own right.
6) Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
~Technically I hadn't read David Levithan's work until this year. I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Every Day, and am open to reading whatever else he's put out. But really, I started John Green's books around Christmas last year and he's definitely my favorite author. And I've met him!
7) Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
~Stargirl, because I didn't think I'd enjoy it, avoided it in 8th grade when my English teacher recommended it (I thought it was a girl book--surprise! It has a male voice narrating, and at my age I stop caring about that anyway), snuffed it when my best friend a few months ago said it was her favorite, and then picked it up anyway to see what the fuss was about. Now I can't stop thinking about how much it's touched me.
8) Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
~Every Day, TFIOS, Stargirl--Because they're so good!
9) Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 
~TFIOS--I'd been wanting to reread it every since I finished! Actually, my best friend and I are having a sort of "John Green book club," where we'll read Paper Towns, TFIOS, and then Looking for Alaska together (she hasn't read PT or TFIOS, or An Abundance of Katherines).
10) Most memorable character in 2012? 
~Stargirl--I'm in love.
11) Most beautifully written book read in 2012? 
~The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman--Between the art and the story, it's a work of brilliance.
12) Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
~TFIOS, Stargirl--Both had me thinking, choking up a little, and Stargirl especially left me emotionally scarred, in a good way that only a book can.
13) Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
~Stargirl, Sandman--I explained my delay for Stargirl, and I wonder what kind of effect it would have had on me had I read it in 8th grade. I feel like I was meant to read it now. It had been hard to get into Sandman because I had to borrow them from the library, but now that I'm not in school that's easier. Plus they take longer to read than most comics.
14) Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
~Presently on my mind is a line from Green's The Fault in Our Stars: "I am not in the business of denying myself the pleasure of saying things that are true." Seems like a good philosophy.
15) Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
~Stargirl was pretty short. Everything else was around the 300-page mark, give or take. I'm about to read The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George, which is over 400 pages.
16) Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a huh moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers! 
~There were moments when I wanted to call my friend up to discuss how Stargirl was ripping my heart out and stepping on it, then giving it back, only to repeat the process. But I wanted to keep the fact that I was reading it a surprise.
17) Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)?
~There are lots of solid friendships in John Green's books. I really liked the budding relationship in Stargirl.
18) Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously? 
18a) Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Had Not Read Previously (and not solely recommended as seen in 19)?
~A Princess of Mars--Very different and cool to read.
19) Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?
looking ahead...
1) One Book You Didn't Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
My top unread books of 2013 include: NW, American Gods, Ready Player One, Gone Girl, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and V for Vendetta. (Also Redshirts and Robopocalypse. (And The Dresden Files.))
2) Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013? 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and The Goliath Stone by Larry Niven.
3) One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging in 2013? 
Read more! I've made an Excel spreadsheet 
-CF :kakama:
(Final note: The Batman graphic novel Hush by Jim Loeb is absolutely superb and the epitome of the Batman comics I have read so far (which includes Scott Snyder's Court/Night of Owls this year and The Killing Joke).


Rancor pit!

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Dec 15 2012 · 271 views
LEGO Star wars, lsw, lego and 1 more...
Rancor pit! Finally, after 14 years, we finally get a Rancor pit LSW set!
It's just a little... small.
The rancor, the set, but certainly not the price ($60, 380 pieces).
I've been in favor of something made from constraction pieces, and then of course something larger. This guy is Hulk/Troll sized, nowhere near the size of the Rancor.
At least we finally have one.
-CF :kakama:


Ruby Sparks

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Dec 09 2012 · 142 views
movie, ruby sparks, movies
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I finally saw Ruby Sparks! Wow, so good! Quite near being perfect (one little quip in the reply), amazing characters, well written to push characters to their limits and show them in various lights, and self-reflective on what makes a person and how you can't really change someone.
I slightly teared up at the end. I hadn't thought a movie could do that for me, but it did.

Quick summary: A writer who is terrible with girls starts writing the girl from his dreams, in hopes to get rid of his writer's block. Next thing he knows, she appears in his kitchen in the morning, freaking him out. Whatever he writes about her comes true. But should he use this ability to make her his perfect idea of a girl, or simply let her become the perfect girl for him, and vice versa?
It's definitely one of my favorite films of the year. Do yourself a favor and check it out at Redbox. (Look up a trailer or two if you're apprehensive. It's NOT a romantic comedy.)
Also, Zoe Kazan might be my latest celebrity crush. So cute! Also I can't wait to see what she writes next. (Knowing she wrote it also made me admire her acting at Ruby.)
-CF :kakama:


Reading The Two Towers, et al

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Nov 28 2012 · 130 views
books, reading, lord of the rings and 1 more...
A big thanks to everyone in the last entry about reading a book versus listening to it on CD. There were many good arguments made towards the difference between enjoying a book through reading it versus listening to someone else read it (and Aanchir even wrote an essay. Bless. His English teachers must love him) and some points I had not considered.

So coming off of Eyru's suggestion, I'm going to focus on just reading at least 10 pages a day. I started that last night and eagerly want to pick up The Two Towers again today immediately if it weren't for some other things I had to do. (After the 10 pages, if I don't feel like reading more, I'll switch to another book I'm in the middle of, something more engaging.) At this rate, I should have TT finished in less than a month. I'll start Return of the King sometime next year and apply the same tactics. With any luck I'll be fit for rereading The Hobbit in time for the second movie.

I should probably apply this tactic to Cloud Atlas. And Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Both books are a little hard to get through at first.

-CF :kakama:


Books on CD: Cheating?

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Nov 26 2012 · 216 views
books, lord of the rings, lotr
Is listening to a book on CD versus reading the actual book cheating?

Basically, it took me 5 or 6 years to read The Fellowship of the Ring. I didn't pick up The Two Towers for about 3 years later, and I'm still reading it off and on a year and a half later.
I'm a big believer in reading the book before seeing the movie, but my roommates had other plans. (But boy are the extended editions awesome.)

I figure I can spend about $35 on the trilogy on CD and take about 13 hours listening to the books. Though I realized this is the BBC dramatic reading for the radio and not the word-for-word unabridged edition (which is 50 hours and $70). But I like this idea because what is taking me so long are the long descriptions.

But a little bit of me dies at the thought of not actually reading the books. But at this rate I won't finish The Return of the King for a decade.


-CF :kakama:


SP3 Rainbow Helmets

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Nov 21 2012 · 180 views
LEGO, Galaxy Squad, space and 1 more...
I've made it a point to get 2 of every helmet seen in the second wave of Space Police III (grey), the white and pink spacemen, the black cyborg, and Alien Conquest (weird light blue) (is that all?) in recent minifig history.
So if i want even just one of all the pretty Galaxy Squad helmets, looks like I'll have to get each set.
Which sounds like an awesome idea!

-CF :kakama:


No Shave Nov. Day 2

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Nov 02 2012 · 165 views
beard, no shave november and 1 more...
No Shave Nov. Day 2 Just kidding. I haven't shaved for over a week. :P

-CF :kakama:

Speaking of November, I'm having a really hard time being motivated to start NaNoWriMo this year. I just have so much other stuff going on that I don't want to neglect by insisting I type on my computer for a few hours each day. That, or I don't have a story formed yet. If I did I'd probably want to jump right in. I was thinking of retrying one of two stories I've tried for the past two years, one steampunk and one sci-fi. And now I'm thinking I might just try both in one story! Maybe. *Sigh*



Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Nov 01 2012 · 155 views
books, stargirl
I just finished reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli! The feels! Such a fantastic piece of literature, it spoke to me in ways that reflect my appreciation for similar John Green books. It tore out my heart and broke it and put it together and ripped it up again and and and... uggg the feels!

Heartbreaking moments, happy moments, moments where you jump up and down in joy and others where you want to punch the main character in the gut because he's being a typical high school boy that cares more of what his friends think even though he's dating the coolest girl ever but the school hates her.

Though I am probably biased because I don't care what other people think of me, and even then in high school I didn't and I knew that in his shoes I would have made different decisions than he, even back then.

But the feels!

I avoided reading this back in 7th or 8th grade when my English teacher recommended it to the class, because at that age I didn't want to read what I thought was a "girl book." That being said, it's a boy narrator and the girl is awesome. But I don't think I would have appreciated that back then, whereas now I absolutely revel in young adult fiction that decides to toy with my emotions and ask the BIG QUESTIONS and have BIG IDEAS (see my John Green comment above. His books do that and I love them to death).

-CF :kakama:


The Awesome Steed

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Oct 18 2012 · 141 views

Is there anything more awesome?
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I thought not.

Current wallpaper too!

That is all. B-)

-CF :kakama:


Sending BFair MOCs!

Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Oct 01 2012 · 205 views
mocs, brickfair
I am sending out the second batch of BrickFair MOCs today before work. Sorry it's taken so long--between two people receiving MOCs for two conventions, there was a lot to sort through and a lot of addresses, usernames, and MOCs to match up. And return shipping.*

So if you sent something to BrickFair or the convention in May/June, expect your MOC to arrive soon (unless it already did!).
Unless these are your MOCs, in which case I have no idea who they belong to and I need you to PM me. (Otherwise I get free pieces!)
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Everyone has a prototype piece in their box. I wish some of you could get more than one (two arms of one color, etc) for having such cool MOCs, but alas that wouldn't be fair.

-CF :kakama:

*New rules for next year: Cash (rounded up to the nearest $5 increment) or paypal only. No checks, exact change, or stamps. Gosh stamps are the worst. And I don't like worrying about if the stamps enclosed are enough to get it back. Just one of many reasons it's taken this long.
And be sure to follow the procedure of pictures, name/username, address, please.



Posted by ChocolateFrogs , Sep 29 2012 · 172 views
doctor who, moffat, sci-fi
Waterworks And today the Whovians shall watch Doctor Who and experience heartbreak as we have never felt before.

My girlfriend and I are aiming for a BBC livestream so we can watch at 2:30 instead of abandoning our friends at 9:00. Or waiting a few days.

-CF :kakama:

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 & '14.
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
Posted ImageSodalitas HumphreibusPosted Image
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

Lady Kopaka Her System
Primus His Time
Sisen His Company
Disky Her Rant
Binkmeister His Blog
Kopaka's Ice Engineering His Chocolate City
Argetlam (nathan8472) His Showcase

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
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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