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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!

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BrickFair 2013 AL

Posted by Black Six , in LEGO Con Jan 29 2013 · 416 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 · 643 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 · 406 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 · 469 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 · 472 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!


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2013 Fan Conventions

Posted by Black Six , in LEGO Con Nov 30 2012 · 634 views

So what conventions is everyone going to next year?

My current plans include BrickFair Alabama, BrickFair New England, and BrickFair Virginia. I think there's a pattern there... I'm actually going to be the Bionicle Coordinator at New England, so expect me to bug you guys about sending in MOCs.

Anyway, I'm considering seeing if I can squeeze in a fourth event, because I'm crazy and stupid like that. Bricks Cascade is unfortunately out, because they moved it to right around the time that PAX East is, and two vacations that close just isn't feasible. Bricks by the Bay is out too, since that's the week after Brick Fair Virginia. Apparently Brick Magic isn't happening next year, so I guess I can't go there either.

The top two I was considering then were BrickWorld Chicago and Brick Fiesta. They haven't released any details for the latter yet, but I recall hearing it was going to be in San Antonio or Dallas next year. Neither is really high on my list of places to visit, and I've never been to Chicago, so I'm kind of leaning towards BrickWorld.

I'd like to see where other LEGO fans will be though, since that could help my decision.


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Go Vote!

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower Nov 28 2012 · 232 views
Like, Thank You, Reputation
The presidential election is right around... oh right, missed that.

No, the reason I'm posting here today is to get the word out about this poll. We want your feedback to know how best we can improve BZP. So please go let us know what you think.

Thanks!


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Announcing Ticket Closures

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower Nov 22 2012 · 478 views
Tracker
Recently with the new Tracker, I made some blog entries about some of the tickets that were resolved, to help get the word out. Now I know not everyone reads my blog and it seems clear that not everyone has quite gotten the hang of the Tracker or is aware of it yet, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to make people aware of tickets that have been closed.

I don't want to keep posting blog entries, because I feel like I have better things to post here, plus not everyone reads it. (But they should!)

I'm considering a topic in GD that would keep a running tally of things that are fixed and added. Maybe pinned, maybe not, but as tickets get closed, I'd make a post so people are aware and can comment or discuss it.

What do you guys think? Any better ideas?


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Logging into the Board and the Archive

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower Nov 18 2012 · 487 views
Tracker, Archive, Logout
Another one bites the dust.

You should now be able to be logged into the archives and the main forums at the same time.

Alright, I think that's enough BZP work for today.


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Indenting Paragraphs

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower Nov 18 2012 · 275 views
Tracker, Indent, Tab, Proto and 1 more...
     Apparently people like to indent the first line of paragraphs. I was totally unaware of this, and had gotten out of that habit in middle school sometime, and just included an extra break between paragraphs, or in Word used the 'space after' setting, or whatever it is. But once I was made aware of the issue, it was a pretty easy fix. I just added a new BBCode to 'tab'. It just adds five spaces wherever you put the tag. You can put it       in the middle of a sentence if you want.

[tab]Put your paragraph here.

I also added your Proto bar to your profile. Which was actually harder to do than the above.

Keep the tickets coming guys!






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


Please note, due to people posting inappropriate comments in my blog in the past, I have chosen to approve all comments before they become publicly visible.

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