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Team J.A.F.


Potential Natural Disasters

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jan 12 2015 · 338 views

In the latest xkcd comic, he said he would want to live on the example map in geography books where all the geographical features are labeled. However, I believe there are a lot of risks he's overlooking, and I shall list them here.

Flooding: He is located in the drainage area of a fairly large mountain range, and the primary drainage seems to be just north of his location, so he would likely be prone to seasonal flooding, particularly since he's on a fairly flat section.

Cold Climate: Considering how far that glacier is reaching in this day-and-age with global warming and all, his location must expect pretty cold temperatures.

Volcanic Eruption: He's located fairly close to a volcano, and seemingly an active one too. (It has a red caldera, that probably signifies something.) Since it's a Stratovolcano, with steep sides, it is likely prone to explosive Plinian eruptions, which can be widely devastating over a long range. He might be far enough away to avoid pyroclastic flows, but eruption-triggered lahars (huge floods with ash and mud and everything else they pick up along the way) could reach him. Furthermore, if a collapse were to fall into the lake, it could trigger a tsunami wave. (Mt. St. Helens did this in Spirit Lake.) Not to mention he's well within range of an ash cloud, though that could depend on the wind.

Earthquakes: Granted, earthquakes can happen anywhere, but his location would likely have strong ones. The volcano so close to the coast is probably caused by a seduction zone in the tectonic plates, similar to Japan or the Pacific Northwest. These areas are prone to strong earthquakes, like the big ones that hit Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Chile. (California's earthquakes are caused by a slip-zone tectonic plate boundary, which is different.) Besides the shaking, such earthquakes triggered off coast could cause tsunamis. Which brings us to...

Tsunami: His location is right next to the lagoon, which means that he would be right in the path of a tsunami. Also, since the water area is constricted by the bay, this might cause a tsunami wave to grow in size. So technically he could get wiped out from a landslide-triggered tsunami from the lake in the west OR an earthquake-trigger tsunami from the sea in the east.

Hurricanes: This depends more on the exact latitude / longitude of his location, as well as the directions of the Gulf Stream-equivalent air and ocean currents. But if a hurricane blew from the southeast, as in the Eastern US, then he would still be in trouble. Unless the hills on the peninsula are significantly large to block the winds, the storm would push through it, and the storm surge in the water would push through the bay and into the lagoon, adding more potential flooding. But there are plenty of other factors here that could make-or-break the hurricane threat. Additionally, I don’t think he’s at a great threat for tornados, which seem to rely on as collision between warm and cold air systems. Potentially, cold air could flow from the mountains while warm tropical air could blow up from the forest, creating a thunderstorm mix that could spawn tornadoes, but there’s nothing absolutely indicating that.

Meteor Impact: Okay, I guess anywhere that's above ground is prone to meteor impacts. I forget if longitude has anything to do with where they'd strike, but I don't think it does.

Dinosaur Invasion: C'mon, there's a giant mesa in the forest. Odds are, there are bound to be dinosaurs there who survived the extinction.

Granted, any location has it’s own set of risks for natural disasters, but he’s just asking for it with this location. So he just needs to be aware of the warning signs, prepare for emergencies, and have good home-owners insurance.



Bird of a Feather... er, Brick

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jan 02 2015 · 253 views

Posted Image

Lego Store visit paid off. (Just in case this goes the way of other Cuusoo / Ideas sets and disappears quickly.)

Also FYI although there are like 3 polybag deals you can get with Lego right now, my store would only give my one bag even tho I qualified for all of em. But I went online and was able to get all three deals. So that's a better option really... except I didn't want to risk not getting the Birds and I wanted Gali in hand... so yeah. (BTW, I got Gali, and Onua has been ordered. I'll find some time to pick up Tahu and Kopaka eventually.)

I also went for a hike on a nature trail today, and slipped on ice and skinned my knee. CURSE YOU KOPAKA, I KNOW THIS IS YOUR FAULT BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO GET YOUR SET FIRST.

Now I have to go back to work tomorrow. :( I liked sleeping in.



What I Haven't Done in 2014

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 31 2014 · 273 views

I'm seeing some people writing about accomplishments and such they've made this past year. I considered it, but since I'm an eternal pessimist, I'm going to look at what I didn't accomplish this year, albeit with a slightly positive outlook.
  • I didn't die.
  • I didn't lose my job.
  • I didn't get booted off BZP.
  • I didn't go broke or get kicked out of my apartment. (Those two kinda go hand in hand)
  • I didn't start the apocalypse.
  • I didn't get robbed.
  • I didn't get swept out into the ocean via a tsunami.
  • I didn't get in a car accident.
  • I didn't have to deal with the Big Earthquake.
  • I didn't have to flee from the Yellowstone Super Volcano.
  • I didn't get obliterated by a meteorite.
  • I didn't lose any of the files on my computer.
  • I didn't run out of room to store more LEGO.
  • I also didn't work on any of my stories, save the BZP one, and this one does make me sad.
*Clearly each of these could be appended with a "yet."

Anyway, I'm hoping to not do all that same stuff in 2015. Wish me luck!



Unnecessary Helpful Ads

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 18 2014 · 308 views

The other day I was researching on a couple of sites to see who had the best deal on a product. (Korra Season 3, ended up picking it up from Target.) But despite having made the purchase, I keep getting ads from the various places I searched (Amazon, BestBuy, and Target) telling me they have the product I was searching for. Ya, that's right you do, cause I specifically searched for it on your site, and in Target's instance, I actually bought it there. So why are you still showing me the ad for it?

Oh, I bought the BluRay and you're advertising the DVD. Oh that makes much more sense now.

Here's to complaining about Target's targeting ads. Remember to eat delete your cookies, kids!




Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 11 2014 · 321 views
Posted Image

BOOM! Let's make it cannon!



Built Pet Shop

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 03 2014 · 324 views

As per the recommendation of some blog readers, I recently purchased the Pet Shop modular building during one of those Lego.com sales... I think it was the VIP one. See, I'm currently working on displays for my apartment, and I thought a big building would be fairly awesome.

Well, today I got it in the mail (a day early actually.) So instead of sorting my collection, I went and built the building... and it only took three and a half hours. But yay.

Unfortunately, I'm slightly disappointed.

There is a TON of detail in a lot of things. The interior has all sorts of nifty designs, especially that spiral staircase. But you can hardly see any of it when it's on display, you only get the front. And while you can take the floors apart to access it, that doesn't exactly work for a display. (And for role-playing or whatevs, it's a little too cramped IMO.) Don't get me wrong, it's a great model... but now I just feel less inclined to spend $150+ on these things.

That said, it's a treasure trove of pieces, or at least has a lot of bricks. I can't say how long this will last as a display before I break it down and still the parts for a mosaic.

So good set, but for my purposes, maybe not the best. Might still get the Detective's Office... but that's just a might.

The train set I got, on the other hand... awesome! In my order today also came some track extensions. Now I know why this hobby is so addictive for Lego train enthusiasts... and still not sure if I can afford it, but why let monetary responsibility stop me? (Besides, I have convention plans in mind for this one...)



Just So You Know

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Dec 02 2014 · 277 views

I'm really bummed I didn't get to review one of the new Toa. :(

But thanks a lot to the BZP Staff who provided them. Was fun to read!



What Modular Building Should I Get?

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Nov 17 2014 · 360 views

The new Detective's Office model that's been seen around lately looks rather nice, and now I'm tempted to maybe get one. And if I do, perhaps I should also look like some of the older ones, so I can get a few of them before they disappear from production. This idea is terrible financially, since these things aren't exactly cheap. But it seems like a good idea when I'm putting up displays around my apartment and going "Gee, I don't have that many structures to put my minifigs next to." And of those two issues, clearly the one that requires me to purchase more Lego is the more important one.

There are only three other modular buildings currently availible thru Lego: the Palace Cinema, the Parisian Restaraunt, and the Pet Shop. None of them really jump out to me over the others. The Pet Shop has some nice colors (sand blue) while the Parisian Restaurant has some more intricate designs. And the Cinema looks nice too, even if there's quite a lot of tan. So none of them are bad, but none of them really stand out, so if I theoretically were to get one (just one), which should I get and why?




Completing Collections

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Oct 20 2014 · 190 views

Swert's post of his new, completed collection the other day has made me rethink my collection and look through it recently. Curse you, Swert, now I want to work on mine!!

I actually already have the original 72 masks, plus gold and silver, for a few years now. (I did a challenge where I built a model for every mask of the Toa's 36, which resulted in some cool Rahi and a lot of Meh Rahi.) One tempting idea is to go for the misprints... I currently have 5 of the 14, but gosh that's expensive. I also at one point had a nearly complete Nuva collection, but I never used those masks so I gave a bunch away. (And I don't regret it, those were ugly masks! Well, except for the silver ones... those sell for so much now adays that I do sorta regret handing a few of mine away, although I think one was a trade to Chocolate Frogs...)

Of course, my mask collection is almost entirely packed away in a container, which is kinda sad. So this recent burst of collector-itus spurred me to buy parts to create a stand so I can have my masks on display. That set me back a bit, but mostly because I'm insisting on using Mata heads with eye pieces.

Then I considered Krana. Like the Nuva masks, I handed away a bunch of random krana for a while. But I kept quite a few, and when I checked em out, I have about 1/3 of the original batch left (Both active and inactive), and nearly 1/2 of the Krana Kal. I'd be more interested in completing my original Krana batch, so I might be interested in buying and/or trading the Krana Kal? I dunno, haven't thought too seriously about this one.

I could do Kanoka, but there's not much collectability value in them, even if I'm a sucker for the Kanoka powers that the codes record. But that got me thinking about the original collectible... the disks from the Slizer/Throwbots! Each Slizer had 6 discs to their name, each with cool artwork, but only the first two were ever in sets. See, back then they had "disk packs" with random discs, but they were only available through limited retail (or maybe even just the Lego catalog) so it was harder to collect them compared to the eventual Bionicle Kanohi collections. But they still exist, and seem to be poorly valued on Bricklink... so there's an idea!

That said, if anybody has any krana or Slizer discs, I'd be willing to buy or trade something. (I still have three silver Nuva masks, plus a handful of others) (Also for the Slizer discs, not one of the ones that came in the sets with them throwing the discs and their elemental emblem... I have those already.)

As for the kraata... no, just no.



Buyer's Guide: 2014 Ninjago

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, Review Sep 29 2014 · 300 views
My Opinions
On the heels of my last Ninjago review for the year, I have to admit that I was a fan for this wave through and through. And I also had the budget to buy most of them. (Well, except for the Ninjago City Temple, which is still on my wish list... waiting until October for double VIP points) But just saying "Buy em all" is a poor buyer's guide, so I should think on a more limited income level. So here's a quick rehash of my opinion of what Ninjago sets to get this year. In case you hadn't decided yourself yet, of course.
  • Thunder Raider - It comes with two Ninjas and two vehicles for each (which can combine too.) Plus a decent Nindroid to boot, although he's totally outclassed. At $30, I think it's a nice, affordable way to get multiple Ninjas and an enemy character.

  • Kai Fighter - You only get one Ninja here, but it's Kai and the new hairpiece is a win. Plus a decked out General Cryptor. The jet is also an excelent design. A little similiar to Jay's previous jet, but good all the same, and nice at $20.
  • 3: NinjaCopter - This is probably my favorite vehicle of the wave, plus exclusive battle damaged Zane. You also get Pixel and Nindroid and a drone (which is kinda lamer than a full Nindroid), so good deal there too. At $60 it's a tab pricey tho.
  • Destructoid or Ninja Charger - I don't have either of these so this is a toss up really. You get good figs in each, a mid-priced Nindroid vehicle in the Destructoid (they're a little lacking in vehicles in that size), and a cool red car with Kai in the Ninja Charger. They're a little pricier ($35 and $40 respectively) and IMO the designs aren't as good as the others. But still probably fun builds.
  • Hover Hunter - The cheapest set is a bit lackluster; the drone is a lame verson of the Nindroids, and Cole's a repeat. But it's the only way to get the green techno blade, and the spinning blade function worked better than expected. Still, even with the price, it's not high on the list.
  • Nindroid MechDragon or Battle for Ninjago City - I have the former and plan to get the latter. These two are pricey: $90 and $120 respectively. But each comes with a plethora of characters (including at least two exclusives) and great designs. The MechDragon makes up for the reletive lack of Nindroid vehicles by looking super rad and awesome. Meanwhile, the Ninjago City temple is an awesome design that improves upon previous Ninjago buildings (or so it seems from the picts I've seen.) I'm sure both these sets are must haves, but at their cost I doubt everybody could afford one. If you have enough budget for just one of these, you could get it and potentially ignore the rest of the theme. But if you're tight on cash, you can still enjoy Ninjago with some of the smaller sets without needing to go bankrupt for these.
  • OverBorg Attack - Yeah, this is at the bottom of my list. It's the cheapest way to get Lloyd and only way to get Cyrus Borg, but the latter is not that exciting of a fig compared to the other Nindroids, and if you can save up for one of the pricier sets then you also will get Lloyd. Beyond the figs, the vehicles are pretty meh-worthy here, with nothing too exciting. It does kind of capture the essence of the Ninjago theme here, but I think some of the other cheaper sets do it better, and this seems to just be a cheap way to grab Lloyd if you can't get him in one of the pricier sets.
Anyway, those are my opinions, feel free to disagree or whatever. Or take my advice and purchase away! It's been a fun year of Ninjago, and I'll be interested to see where it takes us next year.


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Is that the light at the far end of the tunnel, or just the train.
~ Owl City

Lisztomania, think less but see it grow. Like a riot, like a riot, Oh.
~ Phoenix

I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight.
~ Foster the People

Birds sing for you, you can make this blue sky blush
~ Oh Land

On the other side of the street I knew, stood a girl that looked like you.
I guess that's Déjà vu, but I thought this can't be true
~ Train

But even the sun sets in paradise
~ Maroon 5

Crazy how that shipwreck meant my ship was coming in
~ Train (Again?)

So make now your ally, and leap before you look
~ Nothing's Carved In Stone

I'm just too much a coward to admit when I'm in need.
~ Passion Pit

Just believe in far away, ikiru tame ni sore wa
~ Song Rider

Everything that drowns me makes me want to fly.
~ One Republic

I live my life in shackles, but I'm borderline-free.
~ Tove Styrke

Silver Lake, Mercury Mining, This Mistake, No Silver Lining.
~ Alkaline Trio


Ha Ha

You scrolled to the bottom.

I now control your mind.