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In the past, before the upgrades and the downtime, reporting things in the blogs was a complicated mess of PMing BlogAlert, linking the content, describing the broken rules, and hoping someone read the BlogAlert account in a timely manner.
The "REPORT" buttons on comments and entries DO WORK. Before the downtine, they did not. Now they do! Hurray!
So, in short, if you have something to report, click that button, describe the offense, and a blog staff member will receive the report and an automatic link the the offending content. (Please do not use this to report signatures)
This is much easier on us, on you, the general populace, and also on kittens everywhere.
-The Blog Staff
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Once something is close enough to pass through the skin, it enters the black hole in your chest that formed from the self-destructive weight of the questions that are at the end of their lives, as old as anyone has ever been, but also just as young as you. "Who am I?" "What is the meaning of life?" which invariably means, "what is the meaning of my life?" It is said to teach is to learn. How can you teach something only you will ever truly understand? With that in mind, how can you ever truly learn what you know?
Suppose you are trying to describe a friend to someone else. You can use the words most of us would use; loyal, kind, funny (for some of them). You could very well go far, far beyond that. But what that friend is to you is something that can never be articulated fully because no one else is you. To anyone else that friend is just another person, or perhaps their friend, not yours. Once something is a part of you, you can only be and feel it, never know it, because the black hole questions will never stop sucking you in.
I can describe my childhood home to you, can draw a blueprint for you. I can tell you that my room was blue and had a window looking out on the street, and right outside was the staircase that led down to the front door. I can even tell you how that scared me as a child because on nights when I couldn't get to sleep and heard things going bump I'd imagine some axe-wielding madman would kick in the door and come right up and chop me to bits first. But I can never make you understand what it was to me, what it was to live there. It's in my bones, not my head. If I break off a piece of me and give it to you, it will wither and die.
I could, however, tell you in no uncertain terms what the home of someone I know is. I might not remember how many chairs are around the kitchen table or what color the walls are, but I could tell you what it's like to be there, what's on the air. How it feels in that house. That place is nowhere near the event horizon.
This trick works for people, too, and the further they are from you the sharper the image is. I can tell you more about a stranger passing on the street from the way they walk, how they carry themselves. What they wear and how they speak, what's in their eyes. Do they grimace or just roll their eyes when they step in that puddle? When I look at my dearest friends the lens is blurry with love and years of memory. The woman opposite me in the waiting room is a neon sign.
We grasp and flail through our lives and anything we manage to grab ahold of is brought in close, too close, lost and kept forever. You will never stop asking who you are, but people on distant and lonely planets of their own are putting together the puzzle of you. The further from your reach they are, the bigger the piece they've got.
You may stumble through darkness, but know that in the telescopes of unseen strangers, in untarnished clarity, the real you burns.
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Bought a Lego set today for the first time in ages. It was a toss up between this one and another shuttle, I think from the Lego City line? Don't really remember lol. But this one was a little cheaper and had more pieces, so I went with it. I did like the other one too though.
It even comes with Optimus Prime!
There were a few pieces that were new to me, but I'm not sure how new they actually are considering this is my first set since Chima if I remember correctly. Neat little set overall, but we all know there will never be another shuttle set as good as this one:
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So I figured I'd do a blog post about my actual life. I'm pretty sure I can post this and not break any company confidentiality stuff because all pictures are from google searches.
Maybe some of you have had similar experiences, and I'd love to connect (commiserate. jk)
For the past 13 months, I've been a warehouse grunt at a local Amazon warehouse. Yes, they do call them 'fulfillment centers', and we are 'Amazon Associates', not 'laborers'. Anytime I bring this up - that I work at Amazon, I get a lot of questions, like "I hear it's terrible! How can anyone like it there!", or sometimes, "Oh! I saw a news/youtube video! are you a picker?" But a common denominator is that people always want to know more about it.
As a disclaimer: I'm not recommending you go out and sign up to work at your local Amazon Fulfillment Center, I'm not trying to recruit or promote them. I've personally had a good experience there, and people are always curious what I do. Since shopping season is coming up, and I have a feeling many more people will be ordering online this year, I figured it would be cool to have a little bit of 'behind the scenes'.
Positives - I know this isn't representative of all fulfillment centers. In fact, I'm assuming it's not. I've heard from multiple people at my warehouse who have tried out the other warehouses in the area (Amazon and otherwise), that my building is one of the best in the area. Not entirely sure what they mean by that, but I do honestly like it there. Definitely not a career, but still.
- Diversity - Grew up in a homogenous area, which is fine, but it's nice to work at a place that's majority minority. Contrast to my graduating high school class of 250, where I was one of five of my racial minority student. Just from people I've talked to at work, we have representation from Nepal, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Peru, Brazil, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, and probably a lot more I don't know about.
- People - The other side of the 'people-at-work' coin is the people who have never left the state their entire life. But, contrary to what I expected at a warehouse, people are really nice and willing to help you out. Like, 98% of them, at least. And the bad apples, it's a big enough warehouse that you don't really have to deal with them much.
- Active - I get to be on my feet all day, which took about 2 weeks to physically adjust to, but I sleep really well at night.
- 3 day weekend - Yes, we work four 10-hour days a week, normally. Three day weekends are great. But yes, during peak season - that is, holiday season, it's normal to work six 10-hour days and basically only sleep on your day off.
- Stable job in a pandemic - I thought I'd only be working there for a gap year to save up for grad school, but, surprise! pandemic. I almost took a cushy secretary job, and then applied to a few TESOL positions in schools when I moved back home to start working/saving up, but I wanted something that would let me walk out easily (without feeling bad). Honestly, the wages there, and the overtime they offer, I make more than I would at a 'cushy' job. And especially with all the layoffs during the early pandemic, I definitely would have been cut from a school, and possibly an office. But with the hazard pay and extra time offered during lockdown (extra time was offered because the company offered unlimited unpaid time off to quarantine and stay safe - some people wanted it to be paid time off. You get paid quarantine time with proof of a positive test, or proof a family member has tested positive. Also, free COVID testing at work, and they're super stringent with masks and distancing and sanitizing.)
- Fun stuff - The company does things like catering lunches during peak season and prime week, raffles, dress up (in ways that don't violate safety codes) for halloween or as superheroes etc (no capes!). I won a camping set last year, and $200 bonus just last week, actually.
Negatives - Forewarning, I do that thing where if I overthink a negative too long, it becomes a positive, or at the very least, a learning experience.
- People - The aforementioned 'bad apples' - they definitely threw me for a loop my first months there. Lots more cussing than I was used to, but not less than I expected. Lots of honking when driving powered industrial trucks (PITs, from here on out, and more on those later), lots of complaining and malicious gossip. But again, easy enough to avoid. People also sometimes think they're above rules and safety measures (granted, there are a TON, esp. with COVID. yes, we're aware Amazon takes drastic measures to avoid any type of lawsuit even though it could easily handle them), and while it would take a lot for me to narc on someone, it's kind of stressful to witness.
- Apathy - Sometimes driving the aisles of product feels like I'm literally running the rat race to feed rampant consumerism. I try not to let it get to me. Working for a huge company bothered me a bit, but I try not to overthink it and camp in a moralistic spot on the issue. It pays bills and one person deciding they doesn't like monopolies (I prefer Catan XD) won't stop them from making billions.
- Physically demanding - Some days are worse than others, it depends on my job that day. I developed mild tendonitis in my writing hand/arm from the controls on one of the PITs, so that's not fun. It's getting better, but my arm falls asleep doing totally normal things, like reading or typing, which is annoying.
Yeah, I want to get out and go to grad school (I'm supposed to be in Vancouver! I'd MUCH rather be there, pursuing my dream, than moving boxes all day), but it's not a bad place to be stuck while I wait. I did try to take online classes in the summer for school. Absolutely hated it. The way I put it to people at work who asked how it went - "Yeah, I was alone in my parent's basement, sitting and staring at a screen, losing money, when I could have been on my feet, with people, at work making money." Also, I'm self conscious how much I've mentioned money in this post. But tuition doesn't pay itself.
I mentioned this before, but we normally work four 10-hour days. I work from Wednesday to Saturday, starting at 7:30 AM until 6:00 PM. We have two half-hour breaks - an unpaid break at 11, and a paid break at 2:30. Usually your job changes slightly between periods (like, I'd be picking in the morning, then after first break, be on the ship dock, for example. More on that below). The break room has multiple fridges, microwaves, and what looks like the grab-n-go section at a gas station for people who want to buy their lunch on site. There are lots of TVs, and enough space to sit alone, which I like. As for the actual job:
The warehouse I work at has 4 departments.
- Inbound - responsible for bringing product in (receiving), palletizing or organizing it in order to shelve it (stowing). Their peak season is October-November, basically leading up to holidays.
- Outbound - responsible for shipping out orders. Pickers go out and get the items in the shelves, packers ... pack? I don't know how to put it more succinctly. Ship dock makes sure the items get into the right trailers to be sent off. Peak season is Thanksgiving-Christmas, basically.
- ICQA - quality control, goes around counting items in specific shelf locations (called bins, which can be whole pallets of items, a jumble of smaller items in a drawer or box/space on a shelf, or sometimes pallets in rows on an open floor, it depends on the warehouse). because sometimes there's a discrepancy between how many items a picker picks verses what a stower stows, and it messes up the numbers in the computer, which is bad.
- TV-grading - I think my building is the only one in the area with this department. They're also called vendor returns, but most people return TVs, apparently. Their peak season is after Christmas when customer expectations were disappointed, and after the Super Bowl.
I've been trained in three of the jobs mentioned above. Stowing, picking, and ship dock. Now, I don't stow very often, I'm primarily an outbound worker. My first job was picking, my favorite job is ship dock.
Depending on the warehouse, picking is either mechanical, or done on foot. My warehouse, it's all done with machine. The main type of machine used to pick is (surprise!) called an order picker, and it looks like this.
You can kind of see the controls (circle is steering, acceleration is hidden behind the guard rail, but it's above that orange bar). They can elevate up to 40(ish) feet, and have a maximum speed of 5mph, and are battery powered. There are a TON of rules, like no driving when elevated, don't elevate within a certain distance of another picker or person, don't drive straight at a person, honk at every intersection, and so on.
So pickers drive around the shelves with carts (both pictured below) that they fill up with orders that are filtered through the algorithms, and show up on each picker's scanner gun (also pictured).
Shelving units, pretty standard.
Carts that go on the back of the order pickers (also used by other machines, but we're only concerned really with the OP (order picker) here). The open side goes toward the OP machine, you can see the rectangular metal slots below the bed of the cart - that's where the machine's forks go. So, I technically drive a fork lift! There's a locking mechanism to keep the cart attched to the machine at all times.
These are the scanner guns that almost everyone uses, and they're basically little computers. You scan in your ID badge and you have certain process paths assigned, from what I understand. A basic process path would be something like picking orders that are in aisles 105-125.
So the picker fills up the cart and then drops it off at the packing lines. I haven't learned packing, and really don't have a desire to. They're called pack cells for a reason. Cells.
I love working here! One, there's no rate, two, you're walking around instead of standing on your little picker machine alone all day, and you can talk with people! (I'm an extrovert, "extrovert with introverted hobbies like reading and being alone', is what I say.) On the ship dock, we have about 20-some of the 18wheeler trailers, and we sort the boxes coming down the conveyor/chutes into the right trailers.
Here are pictures (again, from google) of similar conveyor setups. The packers push the boxes onto the automated belts, which then make their way to the shipping dock.
This is one of the favorite jobs on the ship dock - it's called diverting. You're up on a catwalk with boxes being conveyed (is that the right verb?) past you. You're standing in front of 2-3 chutes that lead down straight into trailers. You have to look at the shipping labels as they go by you, and push the right boxes down the right slides. It's like a video game but in real life. Also, in diverting, you have to keep an eye on the conveyor line and when stuff gets stuck, unjam the line, which is always stressful.
Here's a diagram of what a conveyor going into a truck looks like.
Loading trucks is probably the most physically demanding, especially when the boxes are coming down the chute faster than you can stack them safely, and sometimes you get boxes bigger than you, or carpets twice your height. But that's what friends are for.
Here's an example of a nicely stacked truck.
The boxes that don't go straight to trailers get palletized or sorted into carts, and shipped off in other trucks. I'm not sure entirely how that all works, what gets sent where, why, etc, but I think it would be cool to learn someday. I'm not good at building pallets, you have to have this certain spatial awareness and sense of how to balance things so it doesn't fall. I'm learning, but I'm always a bottleneck on the pallet building team, unfortunately. Here are examples of built and wrapped pallets.
So, that's the long and short of my job. I hope it was informative, and I'm totally open to questions - I'll answer what I can!
Today, I got the box containing all my BIONICLE sets down from the top of the closet for the first time in probably a couple of years or so. Giant nostalgia blast. I decided to take a picture to commemorate the moment, but to make it funnier I posed them all duking it out in a huge side-less battle.
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Just some artstuffs!
9X12 Lop ear bunny, finished last month. Acrylic, pencil and watercolor paper. I feel like the leaves look kind of odd/over-detailed....The reference photo had a bokeh background. It's so hard to decide when it's done.
Drawing time:? Painting time 31 hours.
A happy little pumpkin panda with bamboo. White wood fill markers and black china markers will stick to pumpkin skin (Yaygaragestuff)
That color wheel feel when an art idea materializes: And the Lego version:
(Not an accurate color wheel.)
This is a pseudo paint palette...A fraud made of foam board...taped to the face.
I wish I had a younger sibling so I could bribe them to be in photos instead. These photos were taken using the most barbaric methods.
MR. NARWHAL and cantaloupe octopus. Poor cantaloupe octopus was illuminated with a flashlight, I couldn't find another candle.
I fail at carving cucumbers.
The fire that was threatening my local area is mostly contained. Actually it has been for two weeks or so. Evacuation orders are probably almost entirely lifted by now except for some small area. So that's mostly good. It did not come without losses for many people, though.
But it's California, and we're a box of matches when it comes down to it. Hotspot detection satellites are lighting up the state like a Christmas tree. That's why even though we (folks in my area) aren't being immediately threatened by fires, we're still breathing near toxic air, ash is falling down like a light sprinkle of snow, and everything looks like Las Vegas from Blade Runner 2049 (which, not fun fact, the look was inspired by this very phenomenon). And many, many people are still being threatened by fires.
And we aren't even in fire season yet. October is when we start to see stronger winds, when things can get really bad. But, then, at this rate, what will be left to burn?
What a miserable end of summer.
This is it! The twentieth entry in my BZPower blog! Why is that significant? Probably because I just decided it would be!
Blog-like writing has been a theme of my internet presence from near the beginning of my teenage experience. I got my first blog on Blogspot.com (now just blogger.com) in January 2004. My English teacher wanted us to create personal blogs for writing exercises outside of class, a new concept to 15 year-old me, but apparently, some of my peers had discovered Xanga (remember that!?) by then. Anyway, it was pretty simple. I wrote in it weekly based on whatever prompt my teacher assigned the class, but occasionally, we got the chance to do free-writes and write about whatever was on our minds. This was something I re-discovered joy in, for originally, I had to keep a journal (with paper! The primitivity!) back in the sixth grade. I actually had fun writing in it daily, but I was naive and thought my expressions within were private. Unfortunately, some imp pulled my journal out of the class stack one day and revealed some things I had written about another person. It wasn't nice , but the exposure was cruel, and I was humiliated in front of the class for it. After that, I became very wary and anxious about doing any kind of personal writing.
Therefore, my lesson learned, I was able to outgrow my anxiety and thrived in blogging years later in my English class. Even after school ended for summer vacation, I still posted a few times over the summer. By now, commenting was enabled, and some of my peers could read and comment on my thoughts. But most gave up their blogs permanently after the school year, so I was alone. In time, I abandoned the blog as well.
A year later, in 2005, new friends introduced me to Myspace. I was hesitant initially, but since a lot of these friends I wanted to keep in contact with over long distances, I decided to embrace it. And of course, once I found out that you could write your own blogs on your page, I was hooked. I wrote regularly on that thing from 2005 to 2008, usually juvenile, smart-aleck kind of stuff that only a cocky high school kid would write. Other times, I'd get a bit introspective or remark on local events in my town and high school. Eventually, I started adding more friends from high school, so there often lively comments and bulletins exchanged between us. Several friends actually complimented me on my writing, and that encouraged me to write more.
In 2007, with the end of high school nigh, I joined another social media site: Facebook. Once again, I found Facebook (it was a lot simpler back then!) had a blogging function (of sorts) called Notes. It was a lot cleaner-looking than the Myspace blog, so I started writing some thoughts down there, too, often copying and pasting them into my Myspace page later. As my friend count on Facebook increased steadily into college, I started to give Facebook more precedence with blogging. Eventually, spam bots, glitches, and general lack of activity on Myspace forced me to give it up in late 2008. The future would be with Facebook, and as of this writing, I have almost 90 Notes written on Facebook. It would be more, but my output seriously started to lag after college, as did my readership. I think Facebook encouraged this, as they sidelined the Notes function more and more until it was almost invisible to the casual user. Plus, I think most people don't like reading too much anymore.
Where does the BZPower Blog fit in all this? Well, if you scroll back through my 20 entries, you'll see my first post was in 2006, during a renewed Premier membership in the summertime. So, that was back in the Myspace heyday. It was kind of a "secret" or "joke" blog, since I made no connections in it to my "real" identity on Myspace. I wanted to keep my BZPower and BIONICLE fandom separate from the "real me" in high school, which, looking back, was kind of dumb. I was already a nerd, BIONICLE fan notwithstanding!
Speaking of secret blogs, I also kept a Livejournal from 2005 to 2007. I mainly did it to get in touch with an old crush from my middle school days. That sort of didn't work out like I had hoped, but there is definitely some interesting writing on there that was not on Facebook or Myspace.
With this twentieth entry, I have been more prolific on BZPower's blog than anywhere else in the past two years, if not more. I guess I like the fact that this blog is still a bit removed from my non-BIONICLE identity, and part of me is fine with the reduced traffic on this site now that BIONICLE is dead and buried. I feel like I am contributing to an archive for one of the internet's lost tribes--a dwindling folk who still remember their past and customs even as time and society pass them by. Someday, there may be nothing left of BZPower but these forums and the blogs. In that way, it pleases me to be doing my part in ensuring some memorial to my presence here, a veritable "BIONICLE Guru was here" epitaph on the gravestone in the cemetery of the Internet's never-quite dead.
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Lo, a rare iaredius! Fond of nebulae and Roman art, I have fused them. First made a glowing blue edged edit of dynastic emblem of the Comnenus dynasty, then made my own personal monogram. Tired of a plain black background with only this blue bird, I made the creature somewhat holographic and placed a befitting nebula as its background. Behold!
Opinions of Rise of Skywalker were mixed. Some people hated it. I assume others didn’t? I walked out of the theater somewhat satisfied, but there were certainly some problems with the storytelling, and I did not have the same desire to rewatch it compared to some of the other movies. And on top of that, most of the sets from the movie weren’t super interesting either. (I mean, okay, they’re not bad designs per say, but they’re repeating vehicle designs again with slight modifications. And yes, I did pick up a Y-Wing and enjoyed building it, but that was because it was my first Y-Wing.) Either way, the Pasaana Speeder Chase has got to be the wackiest of the wave, but it was the only one with Rey and... well, nope, got nothing else, that was my primary reason to pick it up. $39.99 for 373 pieces isn’t bad for Star Wars, but it’s not exactly a steal either.
The more solid build was actually the Stormtroopers little speeder bike. It’s a compact design, but they did some neat stuff with surrounding the treads with panels, and the clipped top panel does a good job of covering the treads without getting in the way, even if it can be easily lifted up. The use of sand blue wedge plates and curved slopes is appreciated too. There’s also a little tent stand where some gear can be stored; nothing too exciting but it works for a “weapons rack” display piece.
The rest of the build is on the red speeder bike... thing. I guess it’s not too dissimilar to the Desert Skiff from Return of the Jedi, but it’s mostly a weird speeding platform, not super iconic. The red wedges at the front do offer a nice design, and the engine bit is held up at an angle which is nice. The back panels are a bit more haphazard, although the clever use of the crash bar piece on the back is well done. Although I’m sure this thing is supposed to carry a bunch of people, there’s little room to accommodate many figs, and a severe lack of guardrails. I guess it’s somewhat reminiscent of the vehicle from the movie, and I can’t blame the set designers if the official vehicle is a bit of a mess. But this ain’t going to be one of the iconic Star Wars speeders people will remember.
For the figs, you get Rey, BB8, a First Order Stormtrooper (generic), and a First Order Jet Trooper (apparently unique to the set.) Beyond the jetpack element and different helmet style, the Jet Trooper is not too much different than the Stormtrooper; I’m sure super fans would obsess over the minor details in the armor, but they look pretty bland to me. BB8 is the same as always, but I can’t fault him because he’s a great fig and another is never a bad thing. But, as I hinted at earlier, Rey is the main reason I picked up this set. The previous Rey figs were somewhat bland compared to her character, whereas this one has the flesh arms and detailed leg and torso printing that match the character from the movies a lot better.
Is the set worth it for just the one fig? Probably not, but I got it during the Star Wars day sales so the pieces will make it worthwhile. But beyond the characters and pieces (which aren’t too exclusive) this is some minor vehicles from an unpopular movie. I know fans do want a Lego set of EVERY vehicle from the Star Wars universe, so they might as well get this one over with while the movie was out. But would I recommend it? Nope, not unless you’re a major collector. (Again, I mostly did it to fulfill the Star Wars min purchase requirement for Star Wars day.)
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I'm rarely on this site and have rarely posted about anything in any format because the honest truth is I've been on this site before under a different username, a different account.
That account was bullied off the site.
I was much younger then. I was ignorant of things and was just looking to have a good time with friends I made. Older members, adults, on this site came after me when I was 14 years old and bullied me off the site.
That's the BZPower I remember and know. I made a new account later in life, this one, and hoped I could talk about my passion of Bionicle again without carrying the social stigma that was made against me.
It, frankly, hasn't worked well. I see many of the same folks that hurt me dearly still posting and being active.
BZPower, to be honest, lost its way. It stopped being about Bionicle a long time ago and became a clique. The forum was ran(both on staff and off staff) by a group of people that used the forum to flex their internet power points on others. Many things I posted, shared, wrote, whatever...were criticized and ignored for not being one of them. And that's a hard thing to take when all you want is to have fun on a website dedicated to a toy.
There is not a single friend I made on BZPower that I still know today because of the environment created here. My friend, S, has become consumed by this site and I can't bear to talk to her ever again because of the venom built up in her over all this. It's too much.
It's all too much for a toy.
It was just supposed to be a toy fan site.
That's all I wanted. I got a lot of other things instead.
I'll probably still be around, here and there. I've said my piece.
I'm done holding the sky up.
So, I haven't been on this website in YEARS, but something I specifically regret forever is posting some very blatant anti-LGBTQ+ bull on here. At the time I had zero (0) socialization with anyone other than those who my conservative parents exposed me to, and HOO BOY have things changed. For one thing, I myself have come to realize my own bisexual identity. I feel like MOST of my friends now aren't straight, amazing what getting a theatre degree does to you.
So, for those I hurt way back when, if you're even still around here? I'm so sorry for the hateful identity-defying rhetoric I spouted back then. A term I've come to appreciate is "hate parroting," and at the time I really was a hate parrot against the LGBTQ+ community. I regret hurting people by inserting my own dumb, sheltered child opinion, and my adult self is at least offering this apology to the void that will probably not even be read by anyone (and that, afterwards, I probably won't visit this site ever again, or at least not for another few years). I can only hope that this provides some mental closure for me after agonizing over things I said on a children's website years ago, and that somehow someone directly affected back then might see it and feel validated that their attempts to tell me I was wrong weren't completely in vain.
I love the memories I have otherwise of BZPower, and do miss everything I've done here long ago. Thanks for everything, and one more time, I'm so sorry for hurtful things I once said and hope this olive branch provides... something? Anyways, peace and love, **** Trump, I hope everyone's living life to its fullest despite the world crumbling right now. -Benjamin
Just a warning up front: this will probably be long, and it is going to touch on, though not go into very deeply, some more mature themes such as drug use, and skirt around some sensitive sexual-adjacent content. If these topics are triggers for you, I hold no will will towards you for not reading or pushing through. There is no need to relive your trauma on my behalf. Though some of these topics push (or blow past) the rules here on BZP, I have been specifically asked by the administration to post this after some topics of conversation had elsewhere have recently come up.
The rest will be under a spoiler.Spoiler
First, I want to make a few things explicit. I do not care how those who have been writing about our big friend group breakup in 2016 are framing things. I am not interested in re-litigating who hurt who, or trying to create an "us vs them" mentality or saying "we did nothing wrong and they went our of their way to hurt us". I do not believe anyone in this situation was blameless, innocent, or can or should make any sort of "we are victims and did nothing wrong, period" comments. Including myself! Trust me when I say that I wish things were that cut and dry. It would certainly make all of this way easier. I'm also aware that there are several former BZP members who are saying that even allowing me to write something from my perspective is evil or immoral. I hope that the rest of you read this, engage, and make your own choices. And while some of the stories I am going to tell (and, due to the circumstances, I will be using names for clarity where appropriate) do not cast the others here in a positive light, I am explicitly not setting out to say "here are bad things they did too, don't trust them". I am interested in an honest, open, and transparent dialogue of issues that have been brought up from my (slash our) perspective. This includes many places where I am going to be a lot more frank about issues around my own mistakes, relationship histories, etc than, honestly, I feel I should have to in public, but I have been watching those I care about be thrown under the bus the past few weeks and so here we are. I want to make a few more things very clear: I am not now, nor have I, in my life on BZP staff, been a TERF. Trans-women are real women, trans-men are real men, and non-binary people are valid and their pronouns are not up for debate. If you attempt to engage in this history with me off-site (I am willing to talk via discord or twitter, though I will probably lock this) and do so using any deadnames or incorrect pronouns, I do not care what kind of support or desire for support you are expressing toward me, I will block you. I may not have any real desire to be involved with this group or individuals in it, but I will not allow for any sort of bigoted language to be used towards them or anyone else.
I'm going to start with a few quick hits before getting into more detailed and emotional areas.
Yes, in May of 2010 I was fired from a Target in OK, over sexual harassment. But it wasn't mine- In May I had a vacation scheduled to go to Austin with a friend, Mike. The second-to-last day of work before my vacation kicked in, I witnessed an Executive Team Lead, Trey, who was my age (22ish) trying to coax the cell phone from my 17 year old female co-worker, Anna. He told her that "cellphones aren't allowed on the floor, they need to be in a locker. Give it to me so I can put it in one, though you better hope there are no pictures on it I might be able to see". I clocked in, got behind the counter in the Starbucks kiosk we worked in, and very loudly informed her she was off so she could leave. After my shift I stayed an hour late, went to the HR office, and reported him for sexual harassment. It was not the first time she had mentioned he made her uncomfortable, but she was terrified of him both due to his power in the store and his actual physical size. So I reported it myself. The HR manager told me "I think the issue is that you (me) and him are just two different types of people, you wouldn't hang out as friends, so you're just misunderstanding". She refused to file anything for me. I asked for a transfer. The next day I came to work, did my entire shift, and as I was getting ready to clock out, I was called into the HR office. I thought it would be about the transfer, but instead I was told that "unfortunately" I had taken my lunch break inside the Starbucks instead of the break room, which was against the rules, so I was being terminated. I was ALSO told that I was welcome to file legal action, but that she would not hesitate to say it was about something else. But luckily, I was "welcome to shop there" still. So I did. Every day. After a few weeks I was met outside by that same manager and told I was no longer welcome in the store. Fair. The next day the girl who was being harassed called corporate HR and complained about the ETL. Both he and the HR manager were fired a week later. I told this story at length to my BZPower friends on our secret staff forum (yes, those very obviously existed), and several were friendly enough to donate money to help me pay for brickfair that year, which meant a lot to me. Plus, that's the year I met Maddison.
The workplace harassment leads directly into another story I've read about myself. When I worked for Starbucks here in Portland, I worked in a store with a shift supervisor named Heather. We got along on and off, mostly we were sort of anime rival frenemies? But at one point towards the end of my time there, she started sitting in the backroom when doing admin work, and we'd chat on my break or vice versa, me doing admin work and her on break. She started showing people photos of trans-women (not explicit, just standard model photography) and saying "do you think she's hot?" And when someone would be like "sure" she'd go "she's trans, so hot right?" This made a lot of us uncomfortable, but directly related to how my time at Target ended, I was too cowardly to report her. Things got much more explicit from her over the last few months before I transferred, and Sal (a friend I made at that Starbucks who a few Cascade and Brickfair folks have met, and who used to live with Avery before she moved out in the middle of the night leaving him with the lease) and I would complain about her in front of Avery. Somewhere over the years since our friendship ended, the story has turned into Heather and I swapping places and it happening at a completely different store. I don't know why.
I am sure that, as someone who did not grow up progressive, that I said several slurs as a younger person. But I have never said the "N word", and don't even say it when listening to music featuring it when in a car by myself. I am sure I have used the others mentioned at some point, though it would have been when I was younger, before I was a BZP staff member, during a different political and religious time in my life, before I "knew better". That's not to excuse those terms as they are still awful regardless, but as I grew into an adult and learned how they were used to harm and persecute, I cut them out.
Speaking of toxic behaviour, though, there is something a lot of BZP folks back in the heyday wondered that it feels passingly appropriate to mention. While we tried to NOT, there was definitely an "inner" group of friends in the staff, though the group obviously splintered several different times. And yes, several of us over the years would get together and complain about BZP members we didn't like, folks that bothered us, or just exchange gossip. I will never pretend that wasn't a strong part of all of our trips to visit other staff when we'd drive up to Canada. Or when Avery and I would hang out here in Portland, pre-California, we would often get together and just tear apart MOCs others had built together. These are all true things. To cast any of that as a "just Pat" thing is really really really exaggerated and false. We each had folks we personally disliked that became "group dislikes". Whether out of legitimate worry and concern for how they acted, whether out of petty jealousy, whatever, this happened a lot. There are plenty of screenshots out there on Tumblr from when our secret staff forum was hacked you're welcome to go find. Those screens are all real. We were all "the cool kids" and sometimes we acted just like you'd expect. That's dumb, it's toxic, it's gross. I've spent several several years befriending a lot of those people who we said mean things about and apologizing and creating some of the best, honest, lasting friendships I currently have. Making those moves was never a "haha now that our friends are all talking bad about this person, I'm going to befriend them and tell them all we said to make that group look bad". I have ALWAYS taken responsibility in those situations for the things I've said and my own role. Several of you reading this will know that- because you know who you all are. I don't think any of that is truly surprising when you remember that as "the cool kids" on a BIONICLE website we were mostly all maladjusted folks living out power fantasies and group dynamics we were often too poorly socialized to recognize "in the real world". And for this group of us specifically, the Internet and message board and social media culture is something we, for better or worse, got to be the beta test generation for. As a quick focus point story, I flew up to Bricks Cascade in 2015, and there were two different and distinct BZP groups there, Rob, Becca, Bryan, Jen, Nate, Avery, and then the Rileys, Rene, Trisha, etc. Those two groups had different evening parties, and I remember going over to the hotel room Rob and Becca and Bryan were all in one night, them all doing nothing but making fun of the "not cool BZP" group, and then going to spend time with the other the the next night. I really wanted both groups to enjoy Portland and the convention, and while it hasn't always worked, I've tried at lots of cons to bridge the different BZP groups. Not to make one or the other group look bad, but because I genuinely liked most of those people on both sides and wanted to be a good person. Even when I wasn't. I remember Sal, Jen, and I getting lunch during that con at Red Robin and venting about how our friends were being jerks who didn't seem to care about the convention or the other people there, as they kept just... not showing up. Which is really fine, but we were there for the lego convention and the socializing, and they simply were there for just the latter. But we, as a group, did not always communicate these things well.
I apologize if this is and continues to be rambling, I've talked this out at length with a handful of close friends several times now, and I've written 1000 of these entries in my head the past few weeks.
I'm not even sure how to organize the rest of this to be honest, so I apologize if it bounces back and forth a bit.
I moved to Portland in 2012, and that's when Maddison and I started visiting Becca, Rob, and Jen in Canada a few times a month. We treasured those friendships and trips, and for a bit before Maddison and I got our own apartment, they were some of the only times we were able to truly feel free of all the weight of depression and poor homelife situations. I want to stress how important these people were to us. Rob was my oldest friend, someone I'd kept in close contact with since we were 15. These were good people, and these were good friendships for a long time. They helped us through bad times, we were at their wedding, we cared about them like family. All the rest of the drama aside, there are still times where I dream everything has fallen away and we are all friends again, and I used to ache for that immensely. I don't anymore, but I say this because, as I said above, I'm not interested in painting them as evil. While during the original fallout in 2016 I was very very hurt, years later I can look back and see how much of that time was all of us, separately, grappling with massive changes and identities and one hundred percent not communicating as friends or people who cared about one another, and it's easier to see where the fault lines grew and how they were taken advantage of. It's easy to see how we allowed our own issues, each of us, to warp how we expressed our care for each other and allow it to turn to resentment. I'm just as guilty in this situation as anyone else.
In 2014 Avery moved to Portland, and it was awesome! We had another BZP friend, another MOC builder, another friend to spend time with who we were excited to have here. Avery is the same age as my youngest sibling, and from the beginning I turned Avery into a surrogate sibling, as I'm thousands of miles away from my family, so I'm estranged by distance. It was nice having someone too who took MOCing as serious as I did and who was just as good (if not better!) than I was to bounce ideas off of and to talk history of techniques and all of that with. Avery had a car and we didn't, so Avery often drove when we all went out and hung together. I truly believed we were helping Avery grow out of an oppressive childhood, and we tried to create safe spaces for her. There were times where it was hard, there was the obvious age gap, the various depressions that would flare up, and money was constantly an issue. At one point Avery's first roommate situation fell through and we helped her find a new roommate, though we didn't know at first that she did not tell her first one she was moving, and that roommate had to find a way to pay Avery's part of the rent and the lease termination fee. Maddison and I both were excited to see Avery better express herself, we complimented her outfits when we thought she was being more "portland", we helped pay for the trip to NYCC for the G2 launch, we were family and friends. Avery was going through a period of self-discovery with sexual and gender identity, the first we knew, the second we missed almost all the signs of until after the friend group imploded. As older friends we tried to allow Avery space to talk about her identity with us, at one point getting TOO excited about the idea of her and another BZP member we thought would be cute together (god we even had a cutesy portmanteau nickname for them if it ever happened). Avery was like a surrogate sibling, but also due to proximity became one of my best friends. We talked about religion, politics, life, relationships, etc. I was not always as cognizant of the power imbalance in our age gap, and always thought of myself as a "wise older brother" (lol) imparting wisdom to a younger one. Years later I have discovered that, due especially to the age difference, this has been seen in hindsight as me pushing my religious and political views onto her and trying to mold her into a younger me, I guess? I hate that, but you can't change how someone feels about a past situation.
In 2015 Maddison and I moved to California. Contrary to what I've also heard, while we were nervous and I was definitely bummed to lose our newly established friend group (the three of us and Sal), we were EXCITED to move, and we were very hopeful for the new life. We felt bad that Avery had just moved to Portland, and that we were heading out, but she lived with a friend, had Rob and Becca a few hours away, and we hoped she would be able to make new friends through work and art. We had taken her with us to Portlug meetings, to NYCC, to conventions, events, invited her to every party we went to, so we were hopeful she would be able to have a solid support structure underneath her since we were leaving and wouldn't be those people for her anymore. We were glad to know she was not isolated and had her family back in Colorado if she needed as well. But I hated living in Escondido. I'm not going to mince words, my job sucked, the area sucked, I hated the weather, we were away from an easily accessible city center, and we had one car Maddison used for work. I felt trapped, I was resentful, Maddison's depression got bad for awhile, and I felt alone and angry and upset and depressed. All of my Skype convos with Avery turned into "I am building this MOC, what the heck how did you build yours so fast, and also I hate California and I want to be back in Portland". It wasn't fair to Maddison, or to Avery! But it was all I could think about. For my birthday that year we flew back to Portland for a weekend and stayed with Avery and Sal.
During that time, we became aware that Becca, who had recently expressed she felt she was polyamorous, was suddenly dating another BZP member. We showed up in Portland and one of the very first things a very very very angry Avery told us was that Becca was dating Bryan and that Rob was devastated. We learned later that a lot of this was worked out between the three of them, and I DID reach out to Rob and Becca both a few weeks later to talk about things more, and as things came into sharper context I talked with Becca and told her I was sorry for the confusion but that I definitely supported them and wanted them to be happy. But at first we were blindsided by what Avery told us, and, in the context of our own issues, we took out our anger on Becca and Bryan anonymously on a tumblr ask. Again, contrary to the story that has been told, this was not my idea, we were told that Rob was near suicidal and we felt very angry about it. Avery sent a tumblr response, then I did, and lastly Maddison did. I remember specifically that they got meaner as we sent them. This is not okay! We should have just left ourselves out of their personal business, but we were all too deeply entwined in ourselves and each other to do that. Once we realized that things weren't as we were originally told, we sort of pretended we hadn't sent those and let them be a mystery as we were embarrassed and had already caused too much harm with them. We should have apologized and let the fallout be what it was. I should have apologized!
As an aside, this is probably the clearest "okay maybe someone here is an actual victim" moment. If you'll notice, I have almost never mentioned Bryan. Somewhere along the line the story became that I was cutting him out until "the whole poly thing settles" or whatever. The truth is, honestly, probably worse. While I had always seen Bryan as a close friend, to be honest I never saw him as the same level of friend as the rest, simply because he was farther away and didn't get to be involved as much in our group shenanigans. And I never reached out to him to see how HE was doing during all of this. I didn't even think about it. God I was a terrible friend. I don't remember saying that I didn't get why people thought he was funny, but I also wouldn't put it past the angry and resentful version of myself that existed as a selfish fiery supernova at that time. He had never done anything but help me out over the years, and I never even once even texted him. And it's not like I didn't have his number! Heck, I think I still do, since I never delete contacts.
Eventually Maddison and I both broke down and we moved back to Portland. It felt like things were good! Jen came to visit for the New Year and it was nice! But things unraveled very quickly. While Jen was visiting we went to a NYE party, and were supposed to meet up with Avery after to do the countdown. We were running late, and so Avery said "never mind", got angry, and went up and posted an IG image of herself at midnight being angsty and alone. We felt bad about running late, but she had always been welcome at our celebration. That said, I felt very guilty for being so adamant about moving back, and Maddison started talking about maybe looking into a job at LEGO HQ at some point, and having JUST moved back I had an internal panic at the idea of moving again. I felt like I had JUST found a part of myself in Portland and I HATED the idea of leaving again. As you can guess, we were not communicating effectively at this time. I spoke to Avery about this a bit, but at the same time, I had started to make friends at my new Starbucks who were my age with closer life experiences, and I started pulling away from Avery too. Avery would invite me to lunch or dinner and I would text her that I already had plans. I vividly remember us hosting our first large group Star Wars movie night in February 2016, and Avery just up and leaving about an hour in. Everyone thought it was very odd and she did not attempt to come to another, even though we invited her. I also remember her coming over so her and I could get lunch, me standing at the sink as I poured a glass of water, and her asking me point-blank why I liked spending time with Stevi and Kirsten and Zack. I remember it was awkward and I could not get across "they are my age and it is easier to talk to them about things that makes more sense to us due to being at closer life experiences" effectively.
At the same time, she took up cannabis as a hobby which caused some strife in our relationship. We did not care if it was something she did in her free time, but she would smoke outside, come up, and the fumes would still be so strong our couch would smell like it after she left and it would burn our eyes. She would ask to smoke on our balcony, and since it was against our lease we said no. She would get very upset about this, saying we were being too "straight edge" while we just wanted her to respect our boundaries in our home. I remember her drawing a few random comics that said "I hope I burn your eyes". It was frustrating. It was hurtful. We had ended up at the same Starbucks, and she missed a few shifts, and the other supervisors and our manager noticed she would go back and forth from irritable to lazy on shifts, and our manager knew we were friends and asked me to check in. This was construed by Avery as me being invasive and trying to get her in trouble, but I was trying to keep her from getting fired. I don't think she knows, but at one point the paperwork for her separation had been already been written out by our boss. At one point she showed up at the store so stoned, with cupcakes she had made for the store beforehand, that the cupcakes weren't even cooked. I was worried about all of these negatives, and I reached out to Becca. She said Avery was mad at me, but also that we needed to be more supportive. She also dismissed my concerns regarding the work situation as lies. I remember being frustrated then and there, and I remember Becca hinting at some conversations I'd had with Avery in private regarding both the weed and Maddison and myself. It was very stark to me in that moment how deeply our group was intertwined and that none of us had any secrets with each other. I remember being angry. I remember Avery saying something to me, verbatim, a few weeks later, that I had said to Becca in private, and I remember snapping "Becca needs to keep private conversations private". I should have also kept things private! It's much easier to see from years later, but our group was gossipy and overly-involved and it was just waiting for a big fire to be set. I want to be very clear that I am saying that I was just as guilty of this as they were.
At the SAME time, Maddison and I were not talking effectively and I had started to build a wall there. We had a small falling out with Avery that we thought was resolved after she visited with her sister and aunt (i think?), and the three of us went to Seattle for Maddison and Avery to sell art at a convention. After one night, Maddison went to bed, and Avery and I saw Batman v Superman (it was v bad!) and walked from the convention center to the Space Needle and back. During the walk she talked about how Maddison and I needed to break up, how we were dragging each other down, how especially Maddison's health was dragging me down. I remember it was really dark out, and really emotional. It was the first time I'd had that conversation out loud. I thought she was probably right. We texted about it several times between that and Brickcan. Avery was very supportive but also would text unsolicited advice about how to breakup, often using a rollercoaster metaphor. About a week before Brickcan I was at a point where I was pretty sure it was what was going to happen, and Avery and I went out to the lego store or somewhere, and on the way back I told Avery I had started glancing at apartments or rooms for rent if it came to that. I remember she was mad. I remember being confused as I thought it was what she had wanted to hear, and that she would be proud of me, tbh. But later I learned that she thought I was going to do what she had done to Jason and leave Maddison with rent and a lease and nowhere to stay. That had never been my "plan". I wanted to know if I had the funds to pay for a place IF it came to a point where we no longer lived together. A few weeks later we DID break up, and we stayed roommates. At Brickcan I had a one on one emotional conversation with a BZP admin about how I thought Maddison and I were going to break up, during an event where this group of friends was trying to break a different BZP admin and his new girlfriend up. I remember telling her that things were bad, that I was emotionally exhausted, that I couldn't be there for Maddison like she deserved. I remember that BZP admin telling me that it sounded like it was for the best, and that maybe BZP relationships weren't a great idea for most of us. I agreed and we laugh cried about how neither of us would ever date another BZP member again (which I guess I followed through on, since I went back to the SAME BZP member a few years later, so it doesn't count). I remember hugging her and desperately wanting to tell her about the other woman I was interested in back home. I remember chickening out. I remember hating myself for it. Later I remember reading her say she wanted to push me in front of a train during that talk. I remember being broken hearted and betrayed when I read that. We had cried together!
Right before the breakup, Maddison's parents were babysitting a cat we'd had before moving to California. I remember I had to work, but Maddison wanted to go see Sleuth and we didn't want her to be alone. Things were odd, but we were sort of hoping seeing the cat with Maddison might help Avery connect with us more and help us work through all of our differing angers. Plus, she had always liked the cat, and we hoped it would be a nice olive branch for all the awkwardness we'd all had (Avery had ridden with us to Brickcan and not spoken in the car once). I remember Maddison afterward said Avery had been mostly angry and quiet to visit the cat. The breakup, though, came after Maddison got out of an intensive care unit in a hospital. During that time there was a group chat that everyone above was in that was, on its face, there to "support Maddison" but instead turned into a "we hate Pat, let's fantasize about his murder" conversation. It's easy to see why and how they were angry, as things in our personal lives had been deteriorating, but considering the sensitivity of all that had just happened, reading them talking, however jokingly they want to cast it as, about murdering me was deeply terrifying and it made both Maddison and I feel very vulnerable and angry. It felt insensitive to everything that was going on with Maddison, especially as we had both on and off sort of cut them mostly out of everything, so the things they knew were all filtered through Avery, who was angry at me for both wanting and not wanting to break up with Maddison. That night we found out about the chat both Bryan and Rob texted Maddison saying that her anger was triggering Becca, that maybe it would have been best if Maddison had never made it out of the hospital, and that it would be her fault if Becca did something that night. Then they blocked her. It was one of the worst nights of our lives. So much for "supporting Maddison".
I have learned recently that the relationship with Avery has been cast in a very very different light than the one I remember having. Avery was my sibling and a best friend. She was smart, funny, and insanely talented at MOCing. I was so proud of every single MOC she built, I wanted her to get recognized, I wanted everyone to know how cool and talented my friend was! We even talked about doing a "BIONICLE and MOCING podcast" together at one point. Everyone around us knew we were friends, nothing about our friendship was a secret. Heck I was often proud of her and for most of that time showed her MOCs to anyone (including LEGO when they sent me the 2014 G2 launch NDA, because I thought she deserved to be involved too) who would let me. I also hate pointing it out, but it's also important for context, but for most of this time period Avery was presenting as the male she were socialized as as well. Her identity as a woman is not something we knew or had any inkling of until after Brickcan, well after our friendships had imploded. Neither Maddison nor myself had been perceptive to the hints Avery had been leaving us regarding her gender identity, something that even after we stopped being friends I felt incredibly bad about. I could see the moments she had created openings and I ran right past them concerned only with myself, my relationship with Maddison, or my anxieties about our life together in Portland, or trying to keep her from asking too many questions about Stevi. I remember very starkly driving together in our car (she drove us everywhere before California, and after moving back to Portland we had a car and did all the driving, especially after she got too drunk one night at an event with co-workers she constantly called "bible studies" ironically, and her car was towed and she never got it back) listening to Halsey, and Avery talking about Halsey's gender identity and sexuality and her music and how it spoke to Avery. I missed the opening entirely and talked about Maddison and myself. I'm very very guilty of being incredibly selfish, exhausted, and internally angry during this time. There are so many more stories and scenarios I could go into. I wanted the best for her. I don't know where any idea of anything more untoward came from. She was never someone I saw in any other light or had any desire to take advantage of. Especially as during that same time, I had strong feelings for a different friend, that I was trying to hide from everyone around me, who I was growing too close with in a romantic way while I was still dating Maddison. For years I've thought THAT self-destructive behaviour was (rightly) what Avery was most upset with, and to be honest that felt deserved, regardless of all the ways that group hurt us. For so much of the post-California period, I was basically deeply enmeshed in, at the very least, an emotional affair with Stevi. I consider it the worst decision of my entire life. It is something Maddison and I have worked together on for years, and it sucks that I even feel pressured by all of this to talk about it. To be honest, it really isn't any of your business. Really any and all of this isn't. It sucks in 2020 to have to be adding all of THIS baggage to everything else. But here we are I guess.
This is a LOT longer than I wanted it to be. It feels unfair to say "we were gossipy and that was bad" and then air a bunch of this in public. I've tried to mostly limit the story involvements from the other group, though I know I've gone into parts of that here in the past. But I don't know HOW to tell the stories illustrating that time period otherwise. I want to emphasize that I believe very strongly that we should believe victims. I do not believe that between Becca, Avery, and myself, that there are any victims. I think all three of us were going through massive life upheavals around who we, at our very core, were, I believe we were all blinded by our own issues, and that we took the stresses from these changes out on our friends. I believe both Bryan and Maddison got caught in our own awful drama and somewhat domineering personalities, and I believe Rob was used as an emotional chess pieces by several of us. I don't think that's fair. It is very true that I've never apologized to any of them, but also none of us have talked outside of a "hey your moc broke" at the one event we've overlapped at since. I don't want to harbor ill-will for this part of my life and those people anymore. I thought we were past it 95% of the way by now. I can see one hundred percent where some of the thoughtlines they have established about me could have come from, and I don't believe they are sharing them maliciously. But the deepest accusations are about as far from the truth as it gets, and I don't know how else to say or prove anything. I DO have screenshots of several of these conversations (I have every single text conversation Avery or Becca or Rob or Jen and I had from February 2016 on, plus some earlier from my pre-smartphone days) I documented up above, as well as the group chat that has been presented as "rob went overboard". As anyone who has been to our apartment can attest to, sometimes we have a hard time throwing things away, and I've never deleted those numbers. I'm not thrilled about the idea of posting "receipts" where Becca says "I'm not in a good place to have a conversation about this" and I say "that's okay! Let me know when you are, your mental health is important to me", but if that's what it comes to, that's what it comes to I guess. It shouldn't have to, but here we are.
Literally none of this drama has anything to do with any sort of patterned sexual harassment or anything of that nature. Any inappropriate relationships I had that were not with my girlfriend were with a non-BZP member (who I took to Brickcon in 2016 and she HATED it, and then we broke up). This entire thing is a frustrating lesson in poor friendship choices, poor communication, depression, lack of therapy, internalizing anger, and all of us growing up on a website where our friend group WAS the ruling power. It's messy, it's complicated, and it's full of heartache and blame and anger and regret. And while we tried our best to make BZP a safe place when we knew about things, I know there are things, people, members, that slipped past us, or that we simply did not pursue correctly. We were learning while we were growing and administering and we did a lot a lot a lot wrong. And there are things that, through this, I am learning about for the first time from conventions I was at! With people I interacted with right after events happened, that I had no idea were as serious as I'm reading now. The BZP staff tried to do the right thing when we could or knew how, but we were often very slow in catching up with social justice or progress as it occurred around us. That's not an excuse, we are one hundred percent to blame for a lot of hurt that still lingers here, on twitter, 4chan, wherever. We were loud, brash, proud of our site, proud of our success, and we flaunted it. I flaunted it! I have always attempted when informed of these hurts to try and make amends. Several members over the years, as I've mentioned above, are now my closest friends after once being someone I couldn't stand/ couldn't stand me. People are welcome to reach out personally if there is more that you're curious about. I know this does not address everything people may have heard or be concerned about. I'm not afraid to talk with you about it. I won't block you if you ask for proof of something. I'm not here to tell you "believe me or block me". While I don't have an endless supply of emotional energy myself (and boy has 2020 done a number on that), I'm still willing to communicate in good faith. You are welcome to take it or leave it, that is always your choice to make.
My elementary-school self is jumping with joy.
One of the ways I've occupied myself this summer was by trying to reconstruct one of the old LEGO Pirate ships, the Black Seas Barracuda. However, I wanted to do it with a twist. I've always loved the sails of the Skull's Eye Schooner, but the yellow/black/white motif of the Barracuda was always my preferred color scheme. Therefore I opted for a mixture of the two.
The sails are, alas, not genuine, but printed sheets of paper cut appropriately. Surprisingly it looks really good in person, but I do want to try printing actual cloth sails in the future.
A keen eye will notice that the bow is modified to be more like that of the Skull's Eye Schooner, and there are still some minor decorative pieces that need to be obtained, but otherwise it looks quite impressive.
it's been a few years huh. i miss how things used to be the last time i posted but then again i don't miss all of it. lotsa stuff happens but i gotta remember me is me
one thing i miss is how the old blog system looked lol, that modular layout was
also holy cow i forgot ALL ABOUT THESE FORUM EMOTES I JUST THOUGHT THEY WERE GONNA BE EMOJIS BUT I GOT A BLAST FROM THE FRICKIN PAST
idk yall ive just been nostalgic recently and wanted to drop by and say hello to whoever is reading i hope life is treating you fair, and if not then i know you can take this bull by the horns and make the best of it. i've just been down recently considering im now living 2500 miles away from where i was when i made the last blog post. but im in good company and making the best of it all, just homesick and nostalgic.
in happier, and older, news, i got engaged in 2017! sorry for telling you all so late lmao
we got a puppy recently, we're living in a nice house, and we have a videos game in production!!
sorry im just LOVING these emotes
what's going on with everyone here??
I chose the name "Bfahome" in a desperate fit of non-creativity as I was signing up for the Kanoka Club on bionicle.com in 2004. Maybe I should've thought about it a bit more, because in the following 16 years it remained my primary handle on pretty much any site or service that anyone here would find relevant.
(It stands for "BIONICLE fan at home", loosely inspired by the "Adam@Home" comic strip I remembered seeing in the newspaper. I was told not to use the @ symbol because it tended to not play well with systems, and "Bfathome" might be interpreted as using the word "fat" derisively. So I went with "Bfahome". I don't think I've ever mentioned the handle's full origin story but now seemed as good a time as ever.)
So if you're wondering what becomes of me, you can find me on Twitter, YouTube, Steam, Twitch, Discord, Battle.net, and a slew of others I've forgotten about because I stopped using them or something. Follow me if you want; occasionally I share cool things I've made, though most of the time it's just weird thoughts that pop into my head that I used to use this blog as an outlet for.
With that, I'll be "officially" logging off of BZPower for probably the first time in the twelve and a half years I've been a member. Right now I consider it a hiatus, however extended it may be, because I still want to believe that there'll be a site for me to come back to that I can feel good about associating with, promoting, and contributing to. As it stands now, though, there isn't. And maybe there won't ever be. Can't tell, and it won't be just my judgement on the matter.
I've certainly had my own shortcomings and I'm sure there have been things I've done that have contributed to the general climate of negativity that I've been ignorant of, and for those things I am sorry. I've tried to become a better person over the years, and still have a long way to go in that regard.
Anyway, it's been fun, mostly. I definitely got my 35 dollars' worth at least. But this is it, I guess.
See you all on the other side.
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To all the great friends that I've met here, you've made my time on BZPower unforgettable and I will always cherish that. But, most of you have long since left this website and will likely never read this message... and I feel it might be time for me to finally move on as well.
I had always trusted BZPower to be a safe haven of my childhood. No matter what, even if I didn't post in years, I could always come back here and remember the good old days. But now, I fear that might no longer be the case. If the appalling recent allegations are true, then I don't think I can rightfully think of BZPower as a haven anymore. I may be a cisgendered heterosexual man, but if women and LGBTQ+ people cannot feel safe here, then no one can.
Currently, I am posting the Dino Attack RPG: Director's Cut on BZPower, and I had started doing so "for old time's sake", since this website is where the RPG began fifteen years ago, it has been my most cherished memory of BZPower, and I wanted to bring it full circle. Despite it all, I still want to leave BZPower on a positive note, so I shall continue to post the Director's Cut until it is complete. I've made my commitment, and I won't stop until my mission is accomplished. But aside from that, I doubt that I will be posting much else or continuing to engage with this community. There is a very real chance that the Director's Cut shall be my BZPower swan song.
There is other unfinished business that I had wished to attend to, such as posting The Story of Rosamu (a rewrite of an old BIONICLE fanfic from my early days on BZPower, which I had previously been hyping up on the Blaaahhhg whenever I remembered that I had a Blaaahhhg) whenever it was finished. When the time comes, I will decide whether I shall do so on BZPower, again "for old time's sake"... but what I had once treated as a certainty is now merely a possibility. To be honest, with the once-thriving library forums now silent as a graveyard, there may be no one left to share my stories with.
I have my notification settings set so that I am emailed when I receive a personal message, so I can still check and read any PMs sent to me in the future if needed. That way, you can still reach me through BZPower even after I am gone.
I can only hope that one day, BZPower can prove that it can change for the better. Maybe there's a chance that we'll see a thriving, healthy, welcoming community whenever BIONICLE Gen 3 comes around. But until then...
"It's all right, children. Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it."
The Empire has fallen. The Church reigns supreme. Ragnarok approaches.
The Black Eagles face greater odds than any protagonists before them. As they are hunted across the world, they must search for one last miracle to save the day...
...or there will be no more tomorrows.
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I think I've been on this site for almost seventeen years. In that time I've made a terrible comic series, had some fun in General Art, added a handful of unfinished stories to the library and made a few friends and acquaintances along the way. If any of you here want to keep in contact, my twitter handle is attached to my profile. It's goofy and weird and a bit of a mess, just like my time on this site.
The more time has passed, the more I recognize that the only thing keeping me coming back to this site is my blog. And really all I've used it for lately is to complain about life's frustrations.
I'm tired of being someone who only complains. I know my content used to be goofy and silly and full of... well, more than what it is now.
I've been lucky during my time here. I can't say I've been a victim of any sort of prejudice or attacks. But due to more recent statements, it appears I was ignorant to the other members that had been victims of such actions.
I also feel I haven't always been the most supportive member of the LGBT+ community on here to my fellow LGBT+ peers. I feel I remained silent when I should have spoken out. I feel I was inconsiderate during one or more occasions. If I ever caused any grief, I apologize. Being gay myself is no excuse for instances of lashing out due to internalized homophobia.
This website held a lot of personal milestones for me. When I was nervous about coming out to my family, I sought advice from an openly gay staff member of the site. I came out publicly here before I did to the rest of my family and friends and was mostly met with support. That meant the world to me. I like to think the person I am today was molded in part by the experiences I've had on this site.
However, it would appear bzpower is no longer a place where I feel comfortable or safe. And so I shall be logging off. I hope one day things will be better and I can feel comfortable logging back in again. But I kinda doubt that will happen.
So, for what is perhaps the final time...
GET OFF MY LAWN!
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As of July 26th, 2020, I am resigning from BZPower staff and voluntarily requesting to be banned. I can no longer trust or vouch for this site as a safe place for users in light of the admins' failure to meaningfully condemn or punish multiple instances of abuse or harassment perpetrated by staff members against fellow BZPower members.
I will not elaborate at present, seeing as these are not my stories to tell and I do not want to give staff members who disagree with my decision any motivation to censor this message. But rest assured that this is a decision I've been contemplating for weeks, even as I naively held out hope that matters like this might finally be taken seriously.
I would like to extend my condolences to those who have been victims of abuse or harassment by members of this site, and forced to endure the trauma of seeing them maintain good standing within the community, even among those who knew of their actions.
Goodbye, BZPower. I'm grateful for the experiences I've had here, but it's clear to me that my continued involvement in the community will never be enough to make it the kind of safe, healthy, and supportive community that I used to believe it was.
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So what will probably be a tropical storm by this coming Friday night is going hit where I live in a couple of days. It won't get a direct hit, but my area will be on the east side of the storm. AKA the dirty side of it. And that means lots of rain and thunderstorms. Yay.
Now as I have been few a couple tropical storms and hurricanes, I'm not too worried about these storms. But I am a little frustrated because I bought a ticket for Pokemon Go Fest and I'll probably have to do half of it sitting in my house. (Which is what many people are doing anyways, so I shouldn't be one to complain)
If anything, I'll probably get at least half the weekend off from work. So I have that to look forward to. I just hope the storms don't get too bad.
When I was young I was very paranoid about a lot of things. In some ways I still am.
I used to imagine myself putting on a protective piece of headgear to... prevent people from reading my thoughts... at school. If I didn't I would be so afraid that people could read my thoughts. I don't know why I thought this other than just basic paranoia. Probably should have just tried to relax, which is difficult sometimes and is still now.
Similarly, I used to stare into nothingness, and when I made sure nobody else was around, I would talk into this nothingness as if the world was a television show. I don't know why I did this. Still, it's something I just thought about for the first time in a long, long while. It would be nice, maybe, if we would stop being tools of humour in a televised sitcom. Hmm, maybe not, maybe one should be careful about what they want and wish.
This year hasn't been great, has it? It's like we all fell down some stairs and we keep falling down the next step hoping we regain ourselves but we seem unable to for some reason. I hope, therefore, that we right ourselves. Metaphorically, I fell down some stairs and managed to right myself very recently.
Of course I think I probably might have messed something up or a few. Threw myself out of the BZP Realms Discord after being there for quite a while in a rude manner. I'm sorry about that, for all those that applies to (a fair number of people if I recall).
Well, here's hoping things go better from now on.