Wow, like, seriously, I was going to do a day-by-day post, but things just happened so quickly that I hardly had time to just glance through my email, much less post a full blog entry! It was fun and awesome and I hope we can do it again.
I had a great group of people who stayed at my place. It was hectic scheduling all their arrivals / departures and everything (not to mention the process of
asking them to show up in the first place.) Steven (Swert) came down from Tacoma with our Mata Nui Island. (And it was cool to have them at the show, but the drive for me was killer both ways and I am not doing that again!) Micah (Kakaru) and his brother Russell were driven up from Colorado. Micah was awesome as usual, but I also got to meet Russell, who I didn’t know to well. He’s quiet (especially compared to the rest of us) but man is he good at building! Finally, we had Androx (Velox, who’s name is Andrew, but since we already have too many Andrews, he needed a nick-name… and he hasn’t fully come to accept that one yet.
) fly in from California.
I also got to see a bunch of other cool BZPower staffies at the convention. Pat (DV) and Madison (Nukaya) were there of course, since they were the theme coordinators for Bionicle and Art. Andrew the Bossman (Black Six) also graced us with his presence (and he only banned me once!) Becca (Hahli Husky) and Rob (Janus) also drove down from Canada. We even got to meet Thomas (Sumiki) on Saturday, and he hung out with all of us for a while. Plus, the famous Kelly (You know, Bink) showed up for a bit on Saturday, and we even got a group picture!
I think there were a few other BZPers who showed up, but I didn’t meet all of them, sadly.
Thursday was mostly a set-up day at the convention. I put up the Mata Nui island (with some help from Swert and Micah) my many Bionicle MOCs (set into a huge fight scene) and then my mocs in the other themes like Space, Mecha, Steampunk, and Art. It turns out that I had a LOT of models on display, and I made MOC cards for 30+ of them. This seems standard at other conventions like BrickFair and BrickCon, where there can be over a thousand models registered a week before the convention… but at Bricks Cascade, they only had 300 preregistered, which means I had about 10% of the printed MOC cards. (When I picked them up, they were like “Oh, you’re
this Jason character who wrote up so many cards.) Additionally, I filled up almost 2 and a half tables with just my Bionicle characters in a fight scene. (But we had plenty of room for everything else.) Sadly, the Steampunk theme only had a few models, and Technic had nothing, so on Friday night, Micah, Russell, and I built a couple of cool creations to add to those themes (using my collection). And it paid off… Micah won a trophy for his last minute Steampunk model, because it was the only one that fit the category. Russell also constructed this amazing Technic car, but it lost out to this lame-o thing with a lot of gears in it. (AKA, mine.)
Friday is when the events started to pick up. Micah and I both signed up for the Blind Minifig Bag competition, which was basically to try and identify a bunch of collectible minifig bags, but the catch was that you were completely blindfolded, so you couldn’t even tell which series you were looking for. The first round was just series 6 and 7, so it was easier, but the second round was series 1-5, which got really complex. We each felt through 15 bags, and I guessed all of mine correctly! However, while accuracy was the first determining factor for selecting the winner, time was the second, and I was too slow to make it to the final round. (Micah, on the other hand, did make it to the second round… but he guessed a few wrong and didn’t end up winning the trophy.) Some of the other BZPers participated in some other competitions. Becca, Rob, Pat, and Madison went to the combo build event, where they had to make something using a Friends and Ninjago set. (And Madison won that, I believe.) The four of them and Andrew Bossman also were teamed up in the speed build of the Tower Bridge set the next day, but didn’t win. Russell really swept the floor in the competitions, winning the Build-in-a-Bag and Brick Hunt competitions, and being on the winning speed build team.
We also visited the Lego Store on Friday morning. They had all sorts of cool sets, including the new ones from Marvel, Ninjago, City, and even Lord of the Rings. (They had some of the larger sets on display, like 4-Headed Dragon Battle and Helms Deep, but not for sale.) I got the Avengers Truck set, the Ninjago Bite Cycle set, a Ninjago Snake booster pack, and the Brick Calendar that comes with the S1 Cheerleader and S1 Skateboarder. We had some credit card issues with our combined purchase, but we ended up being able to pool all our cash together to make the buy. Fun times.
Saturday was when the public showed up. Additionally, it was Androx’s first day. We were a little late picking him up from the airport because I had to finish writing a story for his contest.
(Sadly, I wasn’t able to enter all the ones this weekend cause the convention took up too much time.) Public hour began and we met with Thomas, and we started playing the old Bionicle Quest for Makuta Board Game behind the Bionicle table. The others kept ignoring me as I tried to explain the rules, and as such I had to keep explaining them over and over. (At one point, I was so busy explaining to Swert that I didn’t notice the others taking my wallet and looking through it… yeah.) Micah got some decent power ups and started sweeping the board by fighting all the Rahi, but he never got a chance to defeat Makuta because Kelly showed up and we abandoned the game to talk to him. After Kelly left, we decided to go to lunch (and inadvertently followed Kelly part-way out of the convention center, and when we realized this, we decided not to be so stalkery and changed directions.) We went to the Lloyd Center Mall and ate Subway sandwiches and Cinabon cinnamon rolls while overlooking the ice skating rink. (Yes, the mall has an ice skating rink.) Then Micah, Andrew (Velox), and Thomas went to the Dentist Office in the mall and asked for toothbrushes… and got some!
We also got to ask the Lego representative Kevin Hinkle some questions Saturday night before the Award Ceremony. (I’m pretty sure that’s his name, but I know some of the other Bionicle guys got to chat with him a lot, so they can correct me if I misspelled it.) He told us some very interesting things. One of the topics I was interested in was the bit about more flesh tones for minifigs. Basically, for traditional themes, they’re sticking with yellow, and the colors for licensed figs depend on the characters in each licensed theme. But at least he knows the public want more variety in skin tones… and also that Portland wants more man-dolls in the Friends style. (Yay, keep Portland Weird!) Ninjago came up… it’s apparently the second best selling theme after Star Wars. Hinkle said it’s actually ending this year, but that something cool will be coming to replace it. (But apparently his data was wrong… it’ll end next year instead, so we still have more new Ninjago to look forward too.) Hero Factory, however, is expected to be around for a bit longer! And we did get an official announcement for the return of Bionicle… just after classic Monorail comes back! Yay!
On Saturday evening, we did have another fancy dinner. Andrews Bossman, Pat, Madison, Becca, and Rob all dressed up early, and were thus the snazziest people at Award Ceremonies. The rest of us dressed up later on. (Velox went all out with a suit and everything… I just did a button-up shirt with a tie, which is fancy for me.) We went to this cool Italian place about a mile away from the convention center… and unlike BrickFair, we did not get horrible lost on the way there! (Okay, granted, I had to navigate through a mall parking lot that I accidentally turned into, but I still managed to get there in a timely-ish manner.) The food was good (I liked it at least) and it was a nice little restaurant. We would’ve swamped it if we’d have the full Brick Fair crowd, but for 9 of us, it worked out. It was also my first chance to really chat with Rob and Becca (even though they mostly went on about Homestruck with Micah, a topic that I was mostly lost upon.) But it was fun.
For public hours on Sunday, we again sat around and chatted with Rob, who told us how he would’ve written the Bionicle storyline. At one point, Micah and I also went to play a new Mecha strategy game one of the AFOLs had designed, where each vehicle had different abilities and weapons and we tried to blow each other up each turn. We never got to finish it, but it was fun, and it sounds like he’ll have a bigger game set-up at BrickCon, so that’s something to look forward too. The end of the day came too soon, and then it was Closing Ceremonies. Then it was back to packing all the MOCs away. (Taking down my Bionicle display was easy; I just had everybody shove them off a table and into my large container. No delicate storage for me!) BZPower members had group pictures taken, and then we said our goodbyes.
It wasn’t quite over for my group tho. First we went to the movie theater and watch Avengers. We kind of got lost trying to get out of the mall after the movie, and then Steven accidentally knocked half my brick badge down the elevator shaft.
When night fell, we returned to my house and pulled out the Nerf weaponry and had a major battle in my yard in the dark. I was supposed to have the advantage of knowing where everything was, but Micah and Russell were in much better shape. Plus, the grass was wet, so twice I slipped while I was running and ended up rolling down the hill, where I was then tagged. (Not as fun as laser tag, tho.) Then Micah, Andrew/Velox, and I tried to video review the Ghost Train Monster Fighter set, but we spent most of it making jokes, and now it’ll be a pain for me to edit out. We stayed up until 4 AM, but then eventually crashed.
On Monday, Micah and Russell’s parents picked them back up. Then I drove Steven back to Tacoma (with Andrew.) We visited Dan Parker’s shop and showed Andrew around, and then took Steven home. On the way back, we stopped at the Lego Store again, so Andrew could take advantage of the Bricks Cascade sale and get some LotR sets. (And on the drive back from the Lego Store, we got caught in a torrential downpour that forced me and everybody else to drive 35 MPG on the freeway.) On Tuesday, Andrew and I went outside and threw the ball for my dog, who now loves Andrew. Then we went on a tour through Portland, which included riding the Max train, visiting Powell’s Bookstore (I think Andrew spent more on books there than he did on Lego this weekend), eating VooDoo Doughnuts, and walking around the Portland Waterfront. Although it was a little windy and sometimes cloudy, it was the nicest day of the weekend. The I helped Andrew shoved the rest of his books and Lego sets into his suitcase, and dropped him off at the airport.
So now it’s Wednesday, and I’m going through pictures and looking at the sets I get to build and thinking about cleaning up the garage and ordering my Lego collection again. But I’m also sad that everybody’s gone. It was a super fun weekend with lots of great people, and it’s the one time of the year where I really get to socialize with friends, since I don’t have many close ones living nearby. (And seriously, I talked so much that my throat was sore every night… not to mention I almost laughed myself to death Sunday night.
) And I’m already getting excited for future conventions, pending on if I can find a way to pay for them. (I am kinda completely out of money now.) We totally need to do this again, and some other cool people need to join us, like Rene (Emperor Whenua), Ben (Chocolate Frogs), Jon (Fivey), and a bunch of other people who we’ve met at BrickFair who weren’t able to make it out here.
So yep, there’s my experience at Bricks Cascade this weekend! Official news reports will be coming up soon, when I get around to working on all the pictures I have and posting them. We had a lot of cool model sent in to the Bionicle table, and we’re expected to have even more cool ones showing up at BrickFair this year too! So yeah, pictures coming soon!