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Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. The process is easy and you can use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to make it even faster. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
  • Show off your creations, stories, art, music, and movies and play member and staff-run games
  • Enter contests to win free LEGO sets and other prizes, and vote to decide the winners
  • Participate in raffles, including exclusive raffles for new members, and win free LEGO sets
  • Send private messages to other members
  • Organize with other members to attend or send your MOCs to LEGO fan events all over the world
  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!


Bio of a BZP Admin



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Toy Fair 2013 Coverage

Posted by Black Six , in LEGO Con, BZPower Feb 10 2013 · 327 views
Toy Fair
Toy Fair was a blast this year. I have a lot of things to say on the matter but that will have to wait until I get you all the coverage of what LEGO is releasing this year. I'm still in the hotel working on editing pictures and getting ready to leave tomorrow, so while I'm busy with that you should head over to this poll and vote for what you want to see first. I'll be listening to what you all have to say, so get to it!


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Cue Killer Keyboard Riff

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower Feb 04 2013 · 326 views
Final, Countdown
It's time for another new feature! I spent probably too much time recently looking through addons for BZP after our fundraiser blew away our expectations. This one caught my eye and after some discussions and testing, you all get to see it.

There's still a lot of other cool things out there, but we don't want to overdo it. But there's always some planning and scheming going on behind the scenes, don't worry.


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Black Six Goes to Disney

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Feb 02 2013 · 329 views
Vacation, Orlando, Disney
As I mentioned near the end of this entry, once I was done with BrickFair Alabama I didn't head back home. Instead, I hopped on a plane and headed for sunny Orlando, Florida for a real, live vacation.

I can't remember the last time I took a trip of more than one night that wasn't for a LEGO convention or PAX East. Sometime back in high school I just kind of stopped going on normal vacations. So this was the first time I had done something like this in a while, probably closer to a decade than I'd care to admit. Also, I hadn't been to Florida since I was in second grade, which was about eighteen years ago, making this even more of a big deal.

Back when I started planning to go to BFAL, I was talking to a friend of mine who now works at Disney and mentioned the idea of stopping by on the way since I would already be down south. It turned out the plane ticket would only be about $50 more, they could get me 50% off a hotel room, and into all the parks for free! With a deal like that, I couldn't pass it up. So I took a few more days off from work and made my plans to hit up Walt Disney World.

I had a lot of fun, and going with someone who knows the parks really well was like having my own personal tour guide. We knew which rides had long lines that we should get to early or Fast Pass, the best order of doing things, and where everything even was. We crammed a lot into the almost four days I was there. We did most of what Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom had to offer, and spent some time in Downtown Disney as well. Unfortunately we didn't make it to Epcot - next time!

Some of the highlights for me were Star Tours, Disney Quest (so many videogames - if you go and play some Guitar Hero Arcade, see if you can beat any of my high scores), Festival of the Lion King (my favorite Disney movie), Space Mountain, Muppet*Vision 3D, and Toy Story Midway Mania. There were lots of other fun things too though, so many I've probably forgotten some of them.

If you've never made it to Disney, definitely put it on your to-do list - it's a blast no matter how old you are, as long as you're a kid at heart. Big thanks to my friend for organizing things and being my guide while I was there.


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New Profile Settings!

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower Jan 30 2013 · 417 views
Features
Thanks to your incredible generosity, we have some additional funds that we can use to add some new features to BZP. We started off by closing a couple Tracker tickets.

The first one is Add Default Font Feature. If you head over to your profile settings you can define how all your posts and other content look by default. No more playing with the RTE or adding BBCode tags every time you post! This is never something I've really been interested in, so I'll let you all tell me how it works out.

The other ticket is Block users from profile feed. Again, if you head over to your profile settings, you can now control who can view your profile (Everyone, Registered Users, or just Friends), who can view your contact information (Everyone, Registered Users, or just Friends), and who can comment on your profile feed (Registered Users, Friends, or people who are allowed to message you). So if you want to block someone from commenting on your profile, you can choose the last option and then just block them from sending you PMs. There are some additional privacy settings we could enable if we decide to, but I think those should be sufficient.

There's certainly still some funds leftover, and they definitely won't go to waste supporting our hosting and licensing costs. But we are certainly open to adding some more cool things. If you know of any addons for Invision that you think would improve the site, feel free to open a Tracker ticket so we can look it over and get feedback from others.

Thank you all again for donating and helping make BZP a better site!


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Do you want to set a default font for your posts?

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower Jan 29 2013 · 435 views

Check out this Tracker ticket.

I know a lot of people have asked for this feature over the years. We've found an addon to do it, but it's not free.

We've set up a donation goal to gain the funds necessary to buy the addon. If you are interested in making this happen, please consider donating. Every dollar counts!

If fifteen people donate one dollar, we'll have enough. That's not much, so please help out!

UPDATE: Thanks to some generous donations, we've already exceeded our goal. Our payment processing system seems to have backed up though, so it's not reflected on the page yet. Thank you so much everyone who donated - we'll be sure to put it all to good use!


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BrickFair 2013 AL

Posted by Black Six , in LEGO Con Jan 29 2013 · 364 views
BrickFair, BFAL
So I suppose I'm a bit behind in updating this, but I thought I'd give you all a summary of the first part of my recent vacation - BrickFair Alabama!

Things got off to a poor start when I forgot to set my alarm for my 6:45 AM flight. I'm a light sleeper though, and went to bed early, so I woke up with enough time to take a shower, eat something, finish packing, and hop in my car so I could park at a friend's place and catch a ride to the airport.

I feel the need to add that at 5AM it was already in the 50s in Maryland.

I got on a plane, flew to Charlotte, got on another one and made it to Birmingham by about 10AM thanks to the time difference. And it was cold. Like in the 30s cold. I thought it was supposed to get warmer as you went closer to the equator? A shuttle bus took me to the hotel and convention center and I checked into our room. Then I headed to the convention center and started distributing the floorpads, which I was in charge of. I helped out with some other stuff and then went back to the hotel room to wait for John (Watashi Wa) to arrive. Around that time he texted me to ask if it was snowing. I looked out my window to see it was coming down so hard I could barely see. There was very little accumulation though and it was all gone by the next day. They called it the 'Blizzard of 2013.' I laughed at how cute they were.

Anyway, John showed up and we got all the boxes out of his car - all the MOCs you guys sent in! We found some table space and began setting things up. Obsessionist once again wins the award for 'best instructions for how to assemble/disassemble a MOC.' You're awesome man. Anyway, with the space claimed and the MOCs mostly assembled, we headed out to find some food and ended up at Dreamland Barbecue, which was delicious. Their sauce was sweet and had enough of a kick to make it interesting and the service was excellent. Highly recommended. Back at the convention center we played some Bingo - I won the Maersk Train! Then we had the opening ceremonies followed by the door prizes. At some point during all the festivities Kevin Hinkle showed up, so we, along with a couple other AFOLs (Abner!), started harassing him. We talked for a good long while about all sorts of stuff from community support, to LEGO Stores, to when Abner would actually build a MOC. It got late as tends to happen so we went to sleep.

We slept in on Friday and when we eventually got motivated John and I took a walk to get my first ever Chick-fil-A. It was good, and I'd go back, but not something to go out of your way for. Back at the convention center, we discovered more Bionicle MOCs had shown up, built by a couple of the younger Technic builders. We incorporated their stuff into our display and finished setting up and arranging what we had. Kevin Hinkle hosted a session called 'AFOLs vs TLG.' He'll be doing it at all the North American events this year, so you should definitely sit in if you have the chance. He talked about a lot of the problems the Community Team faces sitting between the fans and the company and it was very insightful.

I forget what we did after that; that may be around the time we went and watched some How I Met Your Mother and New Girl. We came back at 5PM for the LEGO Q&A hosted by Kevin along with the 10232 Palace Cinema set reveal. It was actually pretty brief - I think people are finally running out of questions. I plan on asking you guys for some for BrickFair New England. Then I participated in the Combo Build - we were given an ExoForce set and a Chima set and had to build something in 30 minutes. I didn't win because I suck at building, but I got to keep the sets (up to three free sets!). Then we had to set up stanchions, for which I was also volunteering. As cool as some of the people there were, they pretty much abandoned us and there were only a handful worrying about setting up and taping down the stanchions. Alabama, I am disappointed. After that though we had the Organizer's Dinner - we were at the cool table with Kevin and Todd Webb. Lots of fun discussions and delicious free food and drink ensued. Thank you so much Todd!

Saturday was the first public day, and I got in early to start taking pictures. The nice thing about the smaller conventions is that it only takes about thirty minutes or so to get everything, versus two or more hours at a big convention like BrickFair VA. Then I had to set up the LEGO Guesstimate, which I was also running. We helped Todd with a couple more things, then grabbed some breakfast/lunch from Subway and returned to watch the public. There was a much bigger line than last year, and it wrapped around and around the lobby. There were a lot more people in general, and I feel like Saturday was close to matching Saturday and Sunday COMBINED from last year. A very good turnout and there were a lot of good comments on the Bionicle MOCs on display. Thank you everyone who sent your stuff in! Oh yeah, that reminds me, Brickthing's MOC got caught in customs, but it arrived late Friday, and John's sister was kind enough to bring it to us so it could join the display.

After the public hours, Kevin schooled us in a game of Minotaurus (I demand a rematch in New England!) and then went out to dinner with John and me. This is where the talk of a BZPower LUG started coalescing and Kevin talked to us some more about how LEGO is planning on supporting online communities and the challenges they face. We also talked about Pokemon a lot, and other videogames and things like that. Then we headed back to the convention center to get a closer look at things, watch the blind speed build, team speed build, etc. We wrapped up the night with more HIMYM and New Girl. We might have also watched Hamlet 2.

The highlight of Sunday was the NFL Conference Championships more public. Sunday was a lot slower than Saturday, especially to begin with, likely because a lot of people in the area participate in various religious activities on Sunday mornings. Things picked up though, and while it wasn't as crazy as Saturday, there was definitely an improvement over last year. I ran the Guesstimate again, which went well during all four drawings. I was approached by the Bird Theme Coordinator, who wanted to thank the five of us who participated in the bird theme by giving us free LEGO. I got a free Witch Doctor set, woohoo!

Before we knew it, we were kicking the public out and starting to pack stuff up. We got the Bionicle stuff down fast, then started on the stanchions. Then it was the floorpads, many of the boxes for which seemed to have disappeared. We took a break to attend the closing ceremonies where I unfortunately didn't win anything. Then it was back to breaking down for a while. Once we got to a point where a lot of the work was done, we brought all the MOCs back to the room, cleaned up (floorpads and stanchions get dirty!) and went to get some dinner at the hotel restaurant and watch the Ravens beat the Patriots. We ran into Todd and a few of the other volunteers there and were invited to their table where Todd graciously paid for our food again. The Ravens did indeed beat the Patriots, and everything was grand.

Then it was back to the hotel to pack up and get ready for leaving. I had a 6AM flight back to Charlotte, but from there I wasn't going back to Maryland. But that's a story for another entry.

Before I wrap things up, I'd just like to go ahead and thank a bunch of people:
Todd Webb (and his family) for hosting, running, and organizing BrickFair, and for his generosity in buying us food and other perks for volunteering.
Kevin Hinkle for being awesome, for donating some (unannounced) prizes for a contest later this year, giving us all sorts of insight into The LEGO Group, and for dinner.
John (Watshi Wa) for being our Bionicle Coordinator, receiving MOCs, helping out with setup and breakdown, driving me around, and for the delicious Chick-fil-A; less than two months until PAX East!
Everyone who sent MOCs in - Obsessionist, Brickthing, Great being Velika, Imatron, and Banjax2077 - thanks for making our display infinitely better than it was last year at BrickFair Alabama!

BFAL was a great event this year and I had a blast. I look forward to returning in 2014!


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Things to Bring to BrickFair

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life, LEGO Con Jan 09 2013 · 547 views

BrickFair Alabama is eight days away! So much stuff to worry about! To help me not forget anything, I'm going to make a list here. Let me know what's missing.
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Wallet
  • Passort/drivers license
  • Boarding passes
  • Snacks
  • MOCs
  • Brick badges
  • Prototypes and other pieces to give out
  • BZPower Guestbook
  • BZPower business cards
  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • Other phone
  • iPod
  • Packing tape
  • Umbrella
  • Tablet (maybe)
I'm sure I'm overlooking something...


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BrickFair Alabama 2013

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower, LEGO Con Dec 26 2012 · 381 views
BrickFair, BFAL, MOCs

SEND STUFF!

Please?

We need all the help we can get to make these events fantastic. We appreciate all your support and look forward to getting bunches and bunches of MOCs to display. If anything is unclear, please ask and we will do our best to clarify.

Less than a month to go!


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Thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Dec 14 2012 · 433 views
Hobbit, movie, spoilers
This entry contains spoilers! I discuss both The Hobbit (the book) as well as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (the movie), and even go into The Lord of the Rings (the books and movies). If you don't want any of those spoiled, stop reading now.

We good?

Great!

I loved the framed narrative. I was expecting it since we knew Ian Holm and Elijah Wood were in the cast, but they did it so magnificently. I love how it ties into The Lord of the Rings movies and the beginning of those where Ian Holm does the 'Concerning Hobbits' narration. Perfect, absolutely set the right tone.

I loved the history of Erebor and seeing the Lonely Mountain and Dale in their prime. The way they cut the arrival of Smaug was teaser-ific (in a good way). Except Thorin and Balin were supposed to be away from the Lonely Mountain when Smaug came, and they witness it from afar. Also, Thrain and Thror are supposed to escape from the secret door and be the only survivors. I'm not sure what they gained by changing that.

I loved most of the Unexpected Party, especially the dishes scene. Except it was supposed to start at tea-time, which I'm pretty sure is the afternoon, not the evening. I also missed the colored hoods which are very clearly and explicitly mentioned in the book. Also, I wanted to see them playing their instruments. I'll concede that all of those are pretty minor in the big scheme of things - but I wanted to see them all in the different colors!

I loved the trolls - they captured their personalities perfectly. Except that they completely changed everything else. It was supposed to be raining, they were supposed to be having a hard time lighting a fire and they all see the trolls' fire from afar and send Bilbo to investigate instead of their ponies being stolen. Bilbo gets captured when trying to steal a troll's wallet. The dwarves then go one at a time and get captured instead of all of them fighting until the trolls threaten to kill Bilbo. And it was Gandalf who confused the trolls until they turned to stone. I'll concede that a talking wallet (as described in the book) would have been silly. Also, since the book has been broken up into several movies, they had to start developing Bilbo's character as a quick-thinker earlier by having him delay the trolls.

I loved the council scenes in Rivendell. They're touched on in The Lord of the Rings, and I think they did them well. Except for everything else. I disliked the whole Azog storyline - he was killed by Dain well before the events of the movie. The dwarves and Bilbo were supposed to enter Rivendell peacefully and by choice, and where were the singing elves? I wanted to hear their songs! And then there was the whole mistrust thing - I know there's little love between dwarves and elves, but they added Thranduil to the flashback and then made Thorin despise all elves - totally different from the book. I'm sure it will come into play again in the following movies when the dwarves are captured by the elves in Mirkwood too. And then they leave secretly, without Gandalf or their ponies?

I loved the Great Goblin. They did a good job fleshing out that character a bit (literally) and even included some of the singing stuff I'm about to gripe about. Also, the battle scene was fantastic, if a little over-the-top. It takes a lot of creative license, but it's fun at least. Except the stone giants were a bit much. It would be fine to include them, but the whole 'getting caught on the giants' knees' part didn't do it for me. Neither did the change of the 'front porch' scene, with Bilbo trying to leave and then the floor opening up instead of there being a crack in the wall. And they took out the goblins' fun little evil songs. I'll concede that Gandalf not being there at first worked out in the end in this regard.

I loved the Riddles in the Dark - they nailed this in spirit if not in complete accuracy. But no real complaints on that... Except for how Bilbo got there, and how he found the Ring. They have a flashback scene in The Lord of the Rings that shows this, and it's quite different in the new movie. Bilbo shouldn't see Gollum until he gets to the lake (really he's not supposed to see much of anything except the darkness) or see him kill the goblin (although in the book it's mentioned that Gollum had recently eaten one). Then for the escape he should lose his buttons on the door, not on some crack in the rock. And Bilbo shouldn't see the dwarves and Gandalf escape, they're supposed to have quite the head start, since Bilbo is supposed to have been knocked out for a while. I'll concede that the buttons are a minor detail and at least he lost them.

I couldn't stand the tree scene. It's supposed to take place in a glade with a wide open meeting area. Obviously Azog isn't supposed to be there. They're all supposed to get in the trees before the wargs even arrive. And then there was the silly and contrived 'trees falling into one another while the dwarves jump from tree to tree.' I'm sorry, but I don't see a pack of wolves uprooting trees like it's nothing. And then there's the battle scene with Thorin and Azog where Bilbo saves his life but he still is maybe dead and then they're all falling off the tree over the cliff only to be rescued by the eagles. And where were their aeries and why didn't we hear them talk? Smaug has a voice actor, so obviously they're making some creatures that talk. At least there were still eagles.

Other things I loved: Radagast in his entirety, Dol Guldur and the references to the Witch King of Angmar, the score by Howard Shore, and the sneak peek of Smaug.

I think in general they made it a lot more serious than the book. Which makes sense since it's a children's book and that wouldn't have worked nearly as well as a movie. But the part of me that really loves the book wishes they had kept it a bit more innocent.

All in all, I enjoyed it. If they had not included Azog it would have been a more manageable length and I think I would have liked it more. I will still be seeing the sequels and buying the extended editions and all that though, make no doubt about it.


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Camera Adventures

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower, Real Life Dec 03 2012 · 395 views
camera, reviews, photography
I really wasn't satisfied with my recent set review pictures, they were way too dark despite me having tons of lights on and using my flash (indirectly). So I did some research and pulled out my camera's manual and learned how to adjust the shutter speed. A bit of experimentation later, and brighter pictures appeared.

The only problem is that now I have to make sure to be very still so that I don't shake the camera when I hit the shutter button. I'm doing a 0.5 second exposure so that can have a lot of impact.

So I thought to myself, 'I wonder if I can get a remote to trigger the shutter so I don't have to touch the camera?'

The short answer is no. :(

The long answer is, if I put some open-source, aftermarket firmware on my camera, it can support a remote shutter release, but I have to make the remote myself.

Needless to say, I'll be installing the firmware this week and making a trip to RadioShack on Friday.

I get to play with my soldering iron!






Welcome To My Blog

I'm glad to see you made the trip intact.

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Name:
Andrew
Alias:
Black Six
Join Date:
August 2, 2001
Staff Since:
August 6, 2001
Position:
BZPower Administrator
Forums Currently Moderated:
Bionicle RPG, LEGO RPG, News Discussion
Forums Previously Moderated:
Fan-Created Games, Promotions, Marketplace Banter, Storyline & Theories, Buy/Sell/Trade, probably some others
Other Responsibilities:
Making sure news is posted, keeping the forums running smoothly, learning the ways of server-burping.

Video Games!

Most Played Games (as of late):
  • Halo 4
  • Tiny Death Star
  • Plants vs Zombies 2
Currently Playing:
 
 

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It's A Trash Can!

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Comment Approval


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