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The Songs of Distant Earth


Bionicle Return Woes

Posted by Lyichir , Jul 02 2014 · 291 views

Ugh... Ever since we first had hints of a Bionicle return I've been dreading this. Now that leaks are in the wild, newbies are posting them everywhere they can, including BZP, despite the rules forbidding it and the fact that the leaker could lose their job for such a critical breach of contract. At the same time, I've seen a lot of people dismissing them because they "look shopped" despite the alleged source of these leaks involving what would be a photoshopped image even if it were real (in that case, it would be shopped by THE LEGO GROUP). Personally? I think the leaks are real (given that faking them would require a great deal of work including poorly photoshopping well-designed graphics as well as faking more than a year of non-trolling interaction, not to mention making legit Hero Factory leaks in previous years), but I also want to try to inhibit their spread. So I end up trying to play both sides, explaining the rules to passionate newcomers but also trying to explain to friends that maybe they'll look a little silly if they nitpick leaks that may well turn out to be real.

And this is only the start—if the leaks ARE real, I'm due for a long period of dealing with Bionicle fans eager to dance on Hero Factory's grave, smear people like myself who tried to temper people's high hopes or evidence-free predictions for five long years, or at the very least view Bionicle's return as "destiny". Not to mention the folks who are furious when they find out that the new sets use the Hero Factory building system. It's gonna be interesting. I might end up withdrawing from BZP again if the level of discourse gets as bad as it did five years ago, when Bionicle itself ended.


Or maybe BronyCon after all

Posted by Lyichir , Jun 30 2014 · 225 views

Why? Well, on top of the fact that it might not be the best use of my money (since BrickFair will itself be plenty of fun, and I've already PAID for five days of that), a new expense has recently shown up on my radar. That being... Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions! That's right: the Pokémon Facebook page just announced an orchestral concert featuring music from the Pokémon series. I had a great time at The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses two years ago, and this concert will be premiering in D.C. a few weeks after BrickFair, so there's no way I can afford to miss that.

In other news pertaining to expenses, BrickFair AND this concert, I finally found a place that I can send my 3DS to to have it repaired. My 3DS has had a few issues lately, most significantly an R button that doesn't function reliably and a charging port that only charges when pressure is applied to the AC adapter. The repair facility I found seems less expensive than sending the system to Nintendo themselves, and less risky (since Nintendo warns that if they can't repair the system they might replace it, which could endanger all my save data). As a bonus, the site I found (which I have used before, with my older DS) promises to have the system repaired quickly, so that I can have it back in time to soak up all those delicious Streetpasses at BrickFair!

EDIT: Looks like I will go through with my BronyCon plans after all. I had forgotten that my family would be at Family Camp during the time that concert would be in D.C.

I'll have to catch that concert at another stop on the tour. Oh well, BronyCon will be fun too!


BrickFair, BronyCon, and related musings

Posted by Lyichir , Jun 28 2014 · 352 views
BrickFair, My Little Pony and 2 more...
I've been trying to figure out my plans for BrickFair VA this year and am seriously considering cutting out on Saturday, August 2, and catching a train up to Baltimore to spend the day at BronyCon instead. BrickFair is one of the highest points of my social life each year, but it still wears me out each year and try as I might, I can't avoid being mega-awkward even around my fellow FOLs. I'm worried that an extra day of BrickFair, like we're getting this year, might just push me to my breaking point.

The alternative I'm considering is to spend the Saturday of BrickFair (which, being the first of the public days, manages to be both super-stressful and overwhelmingly uneventful compared to the other days) at BronyCon instead (which holds a number of interesting panels and events on Saturday). Baltimore is only a short train trip away from D.C., and if I buy tickets early I can get them for a pretty decent price. And my experience at Cloudsdale Congress (a small MLP convention in Northern VA) last year was pretty uniformly positive, so if BronyCon is similar it'll serve as a welcome respite from the chaos and drama of BrickFair.

I'm still not 100% decided yet, so if anyone has any thoughts or opinions over whether I should/shouldn't go through with this they should feel welcome to share them here. I'm going to need to make a decision soon if I want to get the best price on train tickets, though.


Re: Bronies

Posted by Lyichir , May 31 2014 · 537 views

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I was happy to see this on my twitter and tumblr. There's still not much I can do on my own to make bronies and non-bronies alike reconsider what the fandom really means—but hopefully by sharing this I can add my voice to the choir.



Posted by Lyichir , May 07 2014 · 821 views
MLP, Bronies, Rant
I get that some bronies are awful people. I get that they have a pretty loud voice.

What I don't get is the amount of hate bronies get AS A GROUP for the sins of a few. To the right wing they're a symptom of the waning masculinity of society. To the social justice types they're misogynistic brutes who took one of the best modern feminist cartoons and turned it into their sex object, all while adopting a persecution complex that belittles the struggles of actual oppressed groups.

Do you know what opinion I don't see often? That they are a large and diverse periphery demographic of a well-made cartoon, among them both bad people and good people.

And it's entirely possible to mostly avoid the bad ones. Mainstream communities in the fandom like Equestria Daily generally do their best to keep things family-friendly. Local meetup groups can set rules to keep their meetups friendly, whether it's by limiting themselves to PG discourse or by limiting their exposure to the younger target audience. Cons are, from my experience, mostly positive experiences where, while you might run into more unsavory folks (as you might at any large gathering or convention), largely keep their tone welcoming and supportive and maintain a positive atmosphere. And most communities do plenty of good, whether it's by inspiring creativity among its members, supporting charities, or just going to the people who bring them the show and letting them know how much they're appreciated.

Seriously, stereotyping is bad. Every time you call bronies as a group "neckbeards" or "perverts" or what have you, you're facilitating a persistent and broad stereotype that affects both the good fans and the bad ones. As an exercise, think about a group or subculture that you yourself are a part of, be it animé fans, gamers, sports fans, or even Lego fans. Now isolate the worst aspects you've seen in a member or members of that group (be it misogyny, cultural appropriation, perversion, rudeness, whatever), and see what it's like to label yourself as that. It's not nice, is it?

One last note to address a common complaint I see: that the good people in the fandom are themselves guilty for associating with the bad ones. This is a false argument. Again, let's relate things to another fandom, that being the Lego fandom. I've seen plenty of misogyny and other bigotry within this fandom through my time on Eurobricks, Brickset, and even BZPower. But I'm not about to quit using those sites (or calling myself an AFOL) because of that. If I did, not only would I be missing out on a lot of the most relevant news and discussion to my interest in Lego, but by divorcing myself from the group, the group would itself become worse due to losing one more voice of reason who's willing to argue with its worst members. Rare is the group or subculture that maintains acceptable attitudes in all its members, but if you isolate yourself from any group that has one or more less-than-perfect members you're going to find yourself awfully lonely. By remaining there to combat regressive attitudes, you can make your part of the world a brighter place.


Getting back into Fire Emblem (and getting back out)

Posted by Lyichir , Apr 30 2014 · 161 views

I'm kind of upset. I've been getting back into Fire Emblem Awakening lately, and had intended to pass down Lancebreaker to Yarne. But when I went into his mission I found that he received a lame skill from Kellam and nothing from Panne. Apparently, I must have gone into that mission and quit long before I had any decent skills on either of his parents, which I didn't know was a problem. And worse, I don't know how many of the other kids I've done that with, meaning a lot of my tireless training and reclassing might have been for nothing.

It's really a letdown, and I might end up quitting the game again because of it. I just don't have the energy to start over but continuing this current file feels like it could be a waste. :(

Source: Video Game General


Job Woes

Posted by Lyichir , Apr 16 2014 · 263 views

Another year, another opening for a set design position at Lego. You'd think that'd be good news for someone like me whose life goal is to have such a career. It's not.
Let's start at the beginning. In High School when I had to finally decide what I'd do with my life (and after failing an architectural drawing class hard, and giving up on studying to be an architect), I realized that my childhood dream of working for Lego wasn't actually all that unrealistic. Through BZPower and other Lego fansites, I met actual people who worked for the company, and they loved it. And I read all sorts of news on the internet about what a great company Lego is to work for. Of course, my interests had changed since I was a kid. Back then, when I was asked what job I wanted, it was to be a Master Model Builder at Legoland. But my building preferences have never favored large-scale models or sculptures—I liked the sets. I liked minifigures. I liked the idea of actually being able to walk into a toy store, and look at a product on a shelf, and be able to say "I made that". So I decided I'd like to be a set designer, and to my guidance counselor, that meant getting a degree in industrial design.
So I looked at some design schools, but as I approached the end of my time in high school it became apparent to me how much my Aspergers Syndrome and Non-verbal Learning Disorder affected my ability to learn and function in school. So I ended up going to Landmark College, a school specifically for students with learning disabilities. And I loved it. They didn't have a design program, but since it was a two-year school I figured that I could get my associate's degree there and then transfer to a design school. When it came time to find a school to transfer to, I looked at a number of options, but so many of the schools seemed so competitive and their programs seemed to ask the world of students. My transfer services associate at Landmark recommended Wentworth Institute of Technology, a school that had an impressive program for getting design students internships in the field.
It turns out, Wentworth was a hellhole. I spent a year there and it was the worst year of my life. I went from being a bright student who was constantly encouraged by my professors to being a talentless hack who couldn't manage to complete even the simplest assignment. And it wasn't for lack of trying—but Wentworth turned out to have zero tolerance for anything short of perfection, and no useful options for a student who needed clear instructions and step-by-step assistance. I withdrew from Wentworth, and went home to see if I could earn a position at Lego through job experience, rather than through education.
It's been a year since then, and I've been stymied at every level. Trying to get a design job? Good luck, if you don't have education or a portfolio. Trying to get a retail job with Lego, and work my way up through the company. Good luck, for someone who can't drive (and maybe never will, since I have a crippling fear of being behind the wheel) and has no retail experience. Trying to get retail experience? Good luck in this market, where there are always more experienced people out of work and looking for the same job. My only work experience was interning at the newspaper (a business my family runs), as a copy-editor, and copy-editing doesn't offer a lot of transferrable skills (and is a dying trade to boot). I've since diversified that to interning for the radio (also part of the newspaper), handing out freebies to listeners. For the past month I was working an unpaid internship with a local toymaker, hoping that could be seen as an advantage if I apply for a design position at Lego again. But I scarcely got to do any design work, and while he was impressed with my skills and knowledge (the first person to recognize such things in me for some time), I don't think I was furthering my future at all by working there.

So I quit, at least temporarily, to try to work on a portfolio to submit to Lego next time there's an opening. And now there is. But just like last year (when I lost my chance at a job with Lego after the first email back from them), I have no portfolio and don't know the first thing about making one. My counselor instructed me to look at ones online, but all I've found there are amazing portfolios that I have neither the skill nor the content to make.
If not for the total lack of other options, I'd be just about ready to give up my dream of working for Lego entirely. After all, no matter how many people say I'm talented or knowledgable about Lego, my experience in the fan community constantly reminds me that there are hundreds of people who are both more talented and more knowledgable than me, most of whom don't work for the company either. I'm an intensely uncompetitive person who wants to apply for one of the most competitive jobs in the world. And I'm just about at my breaking point. I can't tolerate much more disappointment, or one more "no" from a prospective employer. Not with the family paper going bankrupt and my annoying little brother almost done with high school (he'll have a job before I do, at this rate, and then any hope of ever getting respect from him goes out the window). I don't know where I can go from here.


All the Wrong Questions (From: Last Book You Read)

Posted by Lyichir , Apr 14 2014 · 211 views
Lemony Snicket, Books

The other day at BJ's I picked up the three books from Lemony Snicket's new series, "All the Wrong Questions".

The series is a sort of prequel to A Series of Unfortunate Events and deals with Lemony Snicket's apprenticeship with VFD at the age of thirteen. Where ASOUE was inspired more by Gothic novels and penny dreadfuls, this new series is more of a noir detective story. It maintains Lemony Snicket's trademark humor, but being told in the first person more of that humor is told through dialogue than in ASOUE, where the bulk of it occupied the narration. It definitely scratches the itch I've had since ASOUE concluded almost eight years ago.

The titles, for whoever is interested:

"Who Could That Be at This Hour?" (Book one, dealing with a "stolen" statue)
"When Did You See Her Last?" (Book two, dealing with a disappeared girl)
"File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents" (A standalone collection of Encyclopedia Brown-like whodunits, presumably taking place between book two and the upcoming book three, "Shouldn't You Be at School?")

Halfway through the series (which will have four books rather than the 13 of ASOUE), I'm already on the edge of my seat with anticipation. And I'm surely going to want to read these to my mom, as I did with ASOUE back in high school. Personally, I can't wait.

Source: Last Book You Read

So, anyone else reading this series? Thoughts? Opinions? Please share in the comments!


New Lego Movie Fanfiction?

Posted by Lyichir , Apr 08 2014 · 469 views
The Lego Movie, Fanfiction and 1 more...
So, I was thinking about writing another, longer, slightly-more-serious Lego Movie fanfiction (after my Comedies Contest entry from earlier this year). And I was bored, and all of a sudden I found that I'd written about two pages worth. Thought I'd post it here to see what people think of it and get a second opinion on whether I should keep going with it. It's tentatively titled "The Courting of Princess Unikitty".


So, what does everyone think? Continue Y/N?


Metru Nui Online Game

Posted by Lyichir , Apr 07 2014 · 1,407 views
Bionicle, MNOG, rambling
While I was a fan of Bionicle for its entire lifespan, I was often disappointed by its video games. There was obviously one exception—the original Mata Nui Online Game, which I feel was the best tool Lego ever used for establishing a world for a new line of sets. Later settings lacked any such vehicle for immersive world-building, and I think they suffered for it.
If I could program in Flash (or anything else, for that matter), I'd love to create a "Metru Nui Online Game" based on the original MNOG. My concept for such a game would involve a Matoran (possibly Jaller, who had previously investigated the Toa Tuyet killings) being asked by Toa Lhikan to investigate the ongoing disappearances of the Toa Mangai. Such a story would allow for the exploration of Metru Nui, and a darker, more noir take on the MNOG formula (imagine if during the battles in which Takua was introduced to the Toa Mata in the MNOG, the Toa LOST and Takua could do nothing but watch). The climax would involve the discovery that Turaga Dume was behind the killings, and your character having to steal the Toa Stones so that Toa Lhikan could use them to train a new team of Toa to save the city.

Obviously such a game couldn't have a completely happy ending; to maintain a semblance of canon and explain your heroic Matoran's absence in the main story they would have to be captured after delivering the Toa Stones. That's the other reason Jaller would be an ideal character in my opinion—it'd allow for a bittersweet epilogue, with his mask possibly being damaged over the course of his adventure and the epilogue being his awakening on Mata Nui (on the same beach the original MNOG started and ended on), and receiving Lhikan's mask from Turaga Vakama.

Again, though, no matter how much I conceptualize, this is just another of those ideas I'll likely never be able to bring to fruition. I just don't have the skills necessary to make this dream a reality.

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