BrickFair is nearly upon us, and for the fourth consecutive year I will be attending.
Last year, Zatth, Xaeraz, and I went around the convention making all sorts of six-second videos on Vine. We had no shortage of ideas and I'm certain that this year will be no different - especially with Takuma Nuva in the mix.
In addition to our regular fare of insanity, the promise of a custom Vine was presented as a prize in the recent crowdfunding campaign. But that's not all that I have in mind.
So I present to the good members of BZPower a challenge: come up with an idea for a Vine we can make at BrickFair. As long as it follows BZP rules, BrickFair rules, and the law, we can make it.
Since BrickFair is nearly here, the entry period will run until 11:59 Eastern time on July 30th. Polling will be on the 31st, and then the winners will have their ideas filmed the following days.
We explored our Mount Washington hotel thoroughly. We saw the Gold Room, where the setting up of and signing of the International Monetary Fund took place, and a few old fuses - well, I thought they were old. It turns out that the fuses, part of the original wiring put in by Thomas Edison, were actually still partially in use.
Honestly it sounds like a fire hazard, but I'm not an electrician.
We decided to skip the treacherous Mount Washington Auto Road due to the fact that it's a private road that doesn't have guardrails, and doing so in a car that has well over 100,000 miles on it and has just come off of its fifth road-trip repair in three years is just kind of asking for trouble, especially when the road is notorious for burning out transmissions and brakes.
It was just as well, since that was well out of our route.
We worked our way through sleepy towns in rural New Hampshire as we wormed our way back down amidst the towering granite faces of the mountains. As we kept on the route to Portland - towards the stadium of the Portland Sea Dogs (or, as my dad called them, the "Portland Dog Drips") - the towns increased in size and had signs that designated earlier and earlier dates of incorporation.
The roads leveled out as we neared the Maine border, but we could still look back and see mountains - some still with traces of snow near their peaks.
Conway was one of the towns we passed through, and its quirks included a motel with different "themes" for each room like storefronts in the Old West as well as bizarrely funny shop names.
Around 12:30 we entered Maine, and got some literature at the welcome center from a guy who was born in North Carolina but moved to Maine when he was young. He'd long since lost any southern accent he might have once had, replacing it with a thick northeastern accent that turned "Bar Harbor" into "Bah Hahbah" and "Bangor" into "Bangah." I didn't hear anything close to that in Boston, where I thought I would.
The potholes got really bad as soon as we crossed the Maine border. Only a few were absolutely unavoidable - the fault lines - but these were eased over as best we could. We slalomed through the rest, only hitting one - which was pretty good considering that there were as many potholes in one mile as there are living humans on Earth.
It didn't slow us down considerably, so we stopped by the Sea Dogs and got our customary pennant, then set off for the Portland Head Light. Before doing so, we ate pizza at a local place called Otto's, which converts old gas stations into "filling stations" - for your stomach.
The crust was flaky and buttery - one of the few crusts I actually liked. Onions, sausage, and marinara sauce gave it a little bit of kick. It was a filling and delicious late lunch.
We then got to the Portland Head Light, which was absolutely gorgeous.
The Head Light was built at the directive of George Washington and is now part of a municipal park complex encompassing both it and an abandoned fort. Rolling green grass saw much use from local citizens, but our main objective was to see the Head Light.
We saw so much more than that.
The Head Light itself was interesting - especially since it's still in use! - and the high-intensity fog signal that blasted out was close to deafening if you got too close to the lighthouse. We spent most of our time down on the rocks below, climbing and clamoring over the jagged rocks that claimed so many ships, even after the Head Light was fully operational.
Seaweed and assorted flotsam would get tossed up into the rocks. Most of it would just run off back to the ocean, but in a few places, it would pool up in large rocks. An algae that looked like grass flourished in these tiny ponds, anchoring themselves onto the rock bottom of their little world.
We were out on the rocks for the better part of an hour, enjoying the challenge of navigation, investigating interesting details in the rocks, and getting as far out on the rocks as was safe before heading back, taking care to avoid the slippery bits.
After this rather extensive exploration, we headed back to the car, over a curved drawbridge, and back onto I-295, which eventually merged quite unexpectedly with I-95.
Our destination was Bangor, just a short drive away from Bfahome. (He says that it's pronounced "B-F-A-Home," but I pronounced/sneezed it a little more as it's spelled.)
My dad and I met him at a bar & grill in Orono. By the end of the day, we wanted to keep him around to be our new GPS, found out that he owns every university from here to Kingston, Ontario, recited bits from old BIONICLE games and the asdfmovie series, discussed the fun and hats of BrickFair, and generally had a blast. 10/10, would Bfahome again.
Tomorrow: Acadia National Park.
I'd like to see a story where, during the writing process, the characters are completely fleshed out and developed. Genders would be assigned at random at the end by computer generation, so as to avoid any unwanted author-based prejudices.
Obviously this example refers to a book, but the same process could go for anything.
(I was going to say more, but I think this pretty much speaks for itself.)
- - - - -
Well, the latest firestorm of drama hit BZP earlier - this time on representation in media. It's a change of pace from what these flare-ups are normally about, but that doesn't mean that it's not an important and hot-button issue.
My three major points are bolded.
There is no excuse for not having female characters in modern media.
First, though, let's look at what representation really is.
Representation is, for the most part, determined from capitalistic tendencies. Once the media gets in its collective head that the men are the people they should be focusing their energies and spending their money on, the vicious cycle begins. This goes for race as well - I was watching an episode of the brilliant late '90s sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun the other day and the main characters - aliens in the show's narrative - said that they'd chosen to be white because that was the color of everyone on TV. While a throwaway gag in the context of the episode (one which poignantly highlighted the inherent absurdity of racism), it stuck with me.
Women make up half of all the people on Earth, so it's much easier to explain a male-dominated media as an offshoot of a patriarchal society. But if we defocus the issue from one of representation of women and into representation as a whole, things get quite a bit dicier.
People of all races, genders, and orientations exist. I mean, there are over seven billion of us now, so even the most minor of minority groups have significant numbers. One would think that what would follow would be representation for every group equal to their number.
Unless you've been living under a rock, however, it's clear that it hasn't happened.
So ... why?
Some point to internalized prejudices. While this could account for some media behavior, I harbor serious reservations that it accounts for all media - and all media are affected by this. What, then, is the most logical explanation?
Like I said - by following the money.
If you're a member of a group, you're going to want to get a cut of the majority. In America and much of the West, this means white people. If you're the biggest ethnic group, people who want to market stuff to the mainstream will probably market it towards you, because that's where the money lies.
If you're a member of a minority group, I think it's only fair to have media representation for you. The culture that led to the situation we're in has to change.
When minorities appear, they are often in token form. I shouldn't have to explain why this perpetuates stereotypes, but if we look at this from the broad view that I keep trying to get at, then we see that the smaller the minority, the less of a chance that a character from that minority will appear in media. Why? Again, money. If you're a studio executive and you want to make a movie sell, would you include characters that the perceived "majority" would relate to?
Most of them answer "yes," because it's the easy way out. Only now are we started to see the inklings of a fundamental change. The more bits of media that have minorities that are successful, the more that the people who are in charge of the media will see the fundamental error of their ways.
Here's another thing to keep in mind here: Representation does not always mean positive representation.
Let's take The Big Bang Theory. Among its quartet of protagonists, a trio represent some sort of minority: asexuals, Indians, and Jews. All of which are, at some point, played for laughs - or for whatever the writers think is funny. (It's not funny.)
When the most prominent asexual character in modern media is Sheldon Cooper, you know something's gone off the rails somewhere along the line. While gay characters are on the rise, a lot of them are accompanied by harmful stereotypes. Don't even get me started on bisexual erasure and the dearth of pansexual characters.
Hypothetically, every movie and book and TV show could change tomorrow to one where women outnumber men, but yet the women are always portrayed with harmful stereotypes. Let's imagine the same with sexual and ethnic minorities. You'd have more representation, but if it's with even more sexism, racism, and homophobia, how is that better? Mathematically speaking, it's actually worse.
Let's not support mere representation. Let's support good, positive representation. Let's prove to the media that they don't have to follow where they think the money is, but rather, where the moral thing to do lies.
I welcome discussion on these issues, but I am not afraid to defend myself if I see something I wrote taken out of context.
I was going to compete in a piano competition in Charlotte but that fell through - even though I passed the regional with flying colors, the state tournament conflicts with a home game for us against the toughest team we're due to face. This sucks, because even though I didn't care about the competition (Béla Bartók said "competitions are for horses, not artists," and I agree), if I'm going to put off learning tough repertoire that I want to learn in order to play stuff I don't care for and have now overplayed, I was hoping to get some mileage out of them before I went into "I'd-rather-give-myself-a-papercut-with-the-sheet-music-than-play-it-again" territory.
Oh, and I'm composing a set of 23 short piano pieces for a legally blind prodigy, as well as a longer piece to be played by myself for my honor society's graduation ceremony, which, last I heard, they were trying to move to a Friday specifically so they could accommodate my playing because people really liked what I threw together last time apparently. This piece might end up being for four hands, which I really hope works out. Because of reasons. (she's cute)
By now, you all should know what happens when May rolls around, so I'll try not to spoil anything there.
The things that could have been put off have been, I'm sorry to say. I'll try to get around to writing more for Rise of the Rookies (which is still a thing that I haven't forgotten about) as well as do THAT ONE THING which none of you know about except for Pablo. At the moment I'm swamped, but I'm still kicking.
He's the lord of all strangeness. - Ignika: Nerd of Life
How awesome is Sumiki on a scale of 1 to 10? - Waffles
42. - Black Six
[He's] the king of wierd, the prince of practicality, the duke of durr! - Daiker
Sumiki is magic. - Cholie
Sumiki says, "Do I creeeeeeep you out?" Yes, he does. - Waffles
Sumiki is a nub. He's cool, but he's still a nub. - Ran Yakumo
"What is a Sumiki?" You may ask. But the answer to that is still unknown, even to the Sumiki itself. - Daiker
LISTEN TO SUMIKI - Cholie
Sumiki is best snickerdoodle. - Takuma Nuva
BZPower = Sumiki + McSmeag + B6. And Hahli Husky. - Vorex
What's a Sumi? Does it taste good? - Janus
I would have thought Sumiki wanted to reincarnate as a farm animal. - Kraggh
EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH - Kakaru
Sumiki: the horse_ebooks of bzp - VampireBohrok
Everything relates to Sumiki. No really, everything. - Daiker
Sumiki - hat-wearing ladies man. - Black Six
He's in worse mental condition than I thought. - Obsessionist
I'm just wondering why I'm looking at some cat dancing ... I suppose the answer would simply be "Sumiki." - Brickeens
I was like a beast, screaming through the mind of Sumiki at the speed of sound. I.. I wasn't strong enough to stop myself. What I saw was the end of infinity, through which one can see the beginning of time, and I will never be the same. - Portalfig
I imagine the 13th Doctor will be rather like Sumiki, at the rate we're going. - rahkshi guurahk
I was quite sure Sumiki had another set of arms stashed somewhere. - Bfahome
Note to future self: don’t try to predict Sumiki, he’s unpredictable. - Voltex
Let's be honest, I would totally have picked my main man Sumiki to lead my goose-stepping night killers anyway. We tight like that, yo. - Xaeraz
10/10, would Sumiki again. - Bfahome
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Every week, I post a new "Tuesday Tablescrap", a small MOC not worthy of a topic, but something to post and inspire me to build more.
10/25/11 - Duplo Flower
11/1/11 - Slender Man and Masky
11/8/11 - Bizarre Black Spaceship
11/15/11 - 2001 Monolith
11/22/11 - My Little Slizer 50
11/29/11 - Punching Bag
12/6/11 - Thunder and Escorts
12/13/11 - Three Concepts
12/20/11 - Kaxium Alternate
12/27/11 - None (Christmas Break)
1/10/12 - None
1/17/12 - Volant
1/24/12 - Nidman's Chute Shoop Shop
1/31/12 - None (Brickshelf down)
2/7/12 - None
2/14/12 - Atomic Lime
2/21/12 - Spearhead
2/28/12 - Glatorian Kahi
3/6/12 - Seeker
3/13/12 - Skyscraper
3/20/12 - Microphone
3/27/12 - Toa Vultraz
4/3/12 - Flammenwerferjüngeres
4/10/12 - Umbrella
4/17/12 - Lime Beetle
4/24/12 - Special - Flame Sculpture
5/1/12 - None (BZPower down)
5/8/12 - Purple Ninja
5/15/12 - The Original Sumiki
5/22/12 - 7/24/12 - None
7/31/12 - Tahu
8/7/12 - None (BrickFair)
8/14/12 - Special - Chess Set
8/21/12 - Heavily Armored Wasp
8/28/12 - Spaceship Drill
9/4/12 - Scuba Vehicle
9/11/12 - Orange Guy
9/18/12 - Strange Flying Thing
9/25/12 - Goblet
10/2/12 - None
10/9/12 - Aim .............................. Down
10/16/12 - Gold Bot
10/23/12 - Teal Mech
10/30/12 - Special - Teal Mech (#2)
11/6/12 - Bits and Pieces
11/13/12 - Two Spaceships
11/20/12 - TARDIS Interior
11/27/12 - Christmas Creep
12/4/12 - Toaraga
12/11/12 - Fireplace
12/18/12 - Abstract Duckling
12/25/12 - None (Christmas)
1/1/13 - Black Bot
1/8/13 - 1/22/13 - None
1/29/13 - Handheld Rhotuka Launcher
2/5/13 - 8/6/13 - None
8/13/13 - The Hinklebot
8/20/13 - Special - Post-Apocalyptic Piyufi
8/27/13 - 8/5/14 - None
8/12/14 - Another Chro Original
8/19/14 - Kanohi Zatth
8/26/14 - Miniland Hatpile
9/2/14 - S. S. Starfish
9/9/14 - Special - Claude Hairgel
9/16/14 - Green Flame
9/23/14 - Avohkah Tamer
9/30/14 - Special - The Havoc Wreaker
10/7/14 - Fire Snake
Formerly known as the Bring Back Teal Club, the Unused Colors Society is a club that serves to promote colors that are little-used or discontinued, such as teal, old purple, or metallic blue.
Akuna Toa of Sonics
Popup2: The Camel
~System Of A Down~
Thunder on the Mountain
Toa of Vahi
WORT WORT WORT
Toa Kuhrii Avohkii
Toa Neya 2011 Edition
~prisma son of dawn~
.: WoLVeRINe :.
The Great Forgetter
Thomas the Tank Engine
Oh my miru
Element lord Of Milk.
Lexuk Toa Of Insanity
Michael J. Caboose
Lord Kaitan de Storms
Toa of Dancing
The Oncoming Storm
Toa of Pumpkin
Toa Zehvor Blackout
Lord of Ice
Zarayna: The Quiet Light
Vorex: Keeper of Time
Toa of Smooth Jazz
Click to join!
Three Things I Know About The "Avatar" UniverseRahkshi Guurahk - Dec 23 2014 01:11 AM
Three Things I Know About The "Avatar" UniverseActually... I'm Santa - Dec 21 2014 07:57 PM
Three Things I Know About The "Avatar" UniverseLyichir - Dec 21 2014 06:55 PM
Three Things I Know About The "Avatar" Universexccj - Dec 21 2014 06:43 PM
Medically Induced SelfishnessSumiki - Dec 20 2014 10:05 PM
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If you learn one thing in life, learn this:
You should never, ever question why demons would possess a soda.
just a heads up - Cthulhu would probably eradicate mankind before bringing back Bionicle
so yeah, all I'm saying is, please think twice about this okay
nothing gets democracy flowing like erratic capitalizatION
[the NSA] couldn't say no when I offered them an ostrich farm in exchange
Sumiki -- nice try but we all know Toa Mata Nui stuffs its bra
have we mentioned hats
Shhh, I'm trying to focus on the negative to justify my dislike of history.
Also a long line of really great hats.
You have a great understanding of history, but don't forget, war, murder and other poor decisions are also huge characteristics.
To be fair, I am the one responsible for the invention of Mafia in the 1320s by seventeen bored italians locked in a mine shaft.
It's a long story.