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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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So this is the end of my slog of prepared reviews to post. I got a plethora of new sets from the Summer release, so I’ll probably look into reviewing those in the coming days, but there’ll be more time needed so it won’t be like I’m spamming the blogs too much. Not that I think anybody’s really noticed or worried about that, anyway; it is kind of interesting that I used to gripe about all sorts of stuff here and now I mainly just stop by to post set reviews. I do miss the days when there was a ton of content in the blogs, but alas times are changing and people are moving to other social networks.
And I’m just as guilty of it, especially because I’ve been taking these mini blog reviews and reposting them on BrickSet. I haven’t posted reviews on BrickSet in 8 years and they have a new system and everything. . . and yet I can skirt moderation because I posted so many CMF reviews (that were marked as helpful) there 8 years ago that I’m listed as a trusted reviewer. I still plan to do the big in-depth reviews on BZPower when I have the chance. . . which I ended up doing for the Ninjago Hydro Bounty last week. But I also like to give quick snippits on other sets without going the full mile I do for a front page review. . . and honestly nobody is seeing them here in my blog, but they might reach an interested audience on BrickSet, who’s inventory of sets remains one of the best on the web. (Their opinionated member base in news comments. . . that’s a different story.) Too bad they don’t seem to allow embedded Instagram photos, which is where I’m posting most of my picts for now.
Of course, here’s the main event…
265 pieces, $29.99
This was not a scene I was expecting to be made into a set. But given that Korg and Miek don’t really show up a whole lot of places, so it’s hard to find a set for them to fit in. Something from Ragnarok, like the jail cells or rainbow bridge battle? Boring or already done in a previous set. They showed up in the final battle of Endgame but were basically just cameos, so if you’re going to get them in a set, might as well be in the one scene they were solely featured in. And so thus we get Thor’s messy room, also known as “it doesn’t look that bad compared to my place, heck you can even see the floor in places!”
First the figs. You get three characters that are all exclusive to this set: Bro Thor, Korg, and Miek. Bro Thor / Fat Thor shows him without a shirt and with a big belly, whose printing overlaps onto the hips (although the coloring isn’t great.) It’s about the best you can do to showcase a chubby stomach in printed form; I would be tempted to suggest that they’d actually make an additional molded piece to create a 3D belly, like the fat-suit that Chris Hemsworth had to actually wear. . . but I guess that would be going a bit far for a humanoid minifig. The head and hairpiece are reused from the other Thor figs in sets this year. Next up is Korg, who is wearing a festive tan skirt with his rocky abbs visible beneath it. I think the headphones he comes with are supposed to be because he’s a gamer now. His rocky hair piece is exclusive, I believe, and does a good job of recreating this character as a fig. Miek was a bit more abstract of a character, so he only gets a printed minifig head atop a few studs. The flower studs give him some added texture, but he remains quite simple.
The main room is pretty cluttered for a LEGO model but has a lot of fun details hidden around it. Pizza boxes litter the house, you have stuff like a frying pan, a whip, a pitch fork, an ore, and a shovel stashed on the walls. There are seem to be two boat models; one on the shelf above the couch and one above the fireplace. (Maybe they’re supposed to resemble something else, but I see them as mini sail boats.) Strangely, there’s a barrel next to the fireplace that contains trans yellow tiles. This is obviously supposed to be ale, but I find it kind of weird that alcohol is included in a LEGO set in such a way. Maybe officially it’s labeled as lemonade?
The couch is the most interesting build of the bunch, featuring a few SNOT techniques to create the cushions. And then you have a lot of detailed stickers hidden around the model. The TV (nicely placed at an angle) showcases the video game, where Korg seems to be a playable character due-wielding Stormbreaker and Mjolnir. Noobmaster is making some comments on the side, and you even see the stud score at the top of the screen, representing many LEGO video games, even if that’s not exactly what they were playing in the scene, heh. (It was Fortnight, right? I dunno, don’t really have the time or budget for games like that.) I don’t know if the number for the score means anything, it’s too long for the set number anyway. A newspaper clipping is included talking about the blip. . . obviously New Asgard is old school if they’re still using print newspaper. Somebody needs to build them a website. The best sticker is the photo of Thor, Valkyrie, Korg, and Miek attached to the wall, a nice memento of their previous adventures.
Once you’ve removed all the clutter, the room itself is extremely basic. The walls use a mixture of different textured bricks to give it a rustic look, and there’s a little stove in the corner. A fun bit of the design is cookie tiles and pizza slices are placed on the floor under other items like the couch, showing just how messy Thor has let his place become. The exterior looks remarkably plain, but the door does open to let you in, even if the ale barrel blocks you from entering too far in. There’s also a small signpost for New Asgard that’s supposed to be set up outside the room. (Full disclosure; in the photos you may notice I’m missing one of the dark tan windowsill pieces. It felt to the carpet while I was building, my dark tan carpet that it blends into too well, and for the life of me I cannot tell where it bounced off to. So, alas, I moved forward without it.)
I think the minifigures are the main draw to this set, and the other pieces don’t necessarily excite me. There are a few fun sand green elements in the couch, and the walls used a lot of SNOT and masonry bricks which could be useful. Oh, plus the angled door frame is here, which isn’t new but I still believe it’s uncommon. The printed pizza tiles and game controllers are also a nice touch. I could’ve gone without the treasure chest however; I’m not a fan of getting the bottom half but not the top half.
It’s a solid display piece that captures a lot of nice details from the movie with some easter eggs hidden around. The characters are great, but there’s a pretty big lack of action features here, so not really a set for playability. I feel this is probably aimed to an older audience who want to collect the figs, but I’m sure any Avengers / Thor fans will appreciate this set for what it is. And honestly, at $29.99, it’s on the cheaper end of things too. I wouldn’t say that this is the set to represent the EndGame movie, but it will do a good job of supplementing your Avenger collection. (And besides, we all needed an Korg fig even if we haven’t admitted it to ourselves yet.)
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My dad has proven not to be steadfast around balloons again
They have the peculiar habit of swooning him
What a guilty pleasure
...a T-Rex as light as a feather!
(Dad’s antique toy train, balloons attached with dental floss, a snapped dowel, a giant zip tie and tape. Metal insulation tape track toothpicked down, fishing line to drag him across the ground.)
And the BTS mess:
Had to make a little, quick, thank you card from some foamies.
Presently not much to blog, WIPs going on and haven't gotten around to scanning some artstuffs. It’s August, which means the time to start the Winter presents!
The velveteen Dino! And his Beloved Egg. Inspired by my love . (With the Ghostly drafting test subject). Made from fabric via my grandma’s basement. Seed bead pearly-whites (teeth), weight from with a small pack of BBs I maybe stole from my dad, bead-toes, handsewn waxed embroidery floss backstitch skin details, and two button eyes with tiny punched leather irises and pupils. French knots on Beloved Egg.
This is the most relatable meme I have ever encountered:
So many pairs. Turned the EGD socks (Yellow for fall risk at this hospital) into a Socktopus. Complete with Fall risk collar. And a recent wristband reef. Pattern still needs refinement, didn’t bother with a muslin/tester. Lace handsewn around the eye sockets and eyes made from buttons with fabric yo-yos sewn on them. Lower body made from white PUL, weighted with BBS also.
Life: Medi-drama edition. (TMI warning, as usual.)Spoiler
It’s easy to get lost at hospitals. Especially university hospitals. When you learned to navigate the other university hospital but changed systems. And when every ultrasound has been in a different wing. When you’ve been to three different buildings. And your mom is starting to panic. But thanks to transport shuttles (basically free hospital Uber) and a fire truck, an evacuation, and a news crew in the building my EGD was in, I wasn’t late!
As they snapped my old friend, the fall-risk bracelet on my wrist, it soaked in that “I’ve not been unconscious since the PICU. They wouldn’t even use anesthesia during the wisdom tooth extraction. Did I just sign up for a lethal injection? Guess I’ll find out, haha..?.” It was more surgical than I expected. Got to borrow a lovely gown, two hairnets and a lovely gift of ye olde grip-socks. Hand IVS were a new experience, and those rooms are quite small. Then they rolled the bed thing into the surgery room with a gigantic digital clock. To my surprise, four nurses and three surgeons were present, apparently due to being on ASA III and violent past anesthesia reactions. Then they put a mouth guard over the teeth and a nose oxygen tube, then started the IV. Woke up back in the small room to my mom telling me that the doctor had told her everything looked normal, except for “Excessive stomach fluid, was suctioned with good visualization”. How strange that looked in the photos. They said NPO (nothing by mouth) for two hours before the procedure, but I did NPO for four hours prior to be sure I didn’t mess it up. But still, a stomach flood was there. Also got a Tylenol IV and free ginger ale, the latter of which was the highlight of the day. And had the first wheelchair ride in a long time. Spent about 3-4 weeks in one of these once, and was counted as a happy weirdo for dubbing it my “Sweet Ride”.
Biopsies found no evidence of Celiac, Mastocytosis or other damage via the samples from four-foot long scope, so I was sent for more bloodwork to rule it out genetically, and a Gastric emptying study.
I was given a lovely meal of toasts with jam, a 4oz water and scrambled eggs laced with radioactive tracers. Radiologist: “Try not to touch the eggs since they’re radioactive, drop any of it, or get it on your clothes. Also, try to save a sip of the water to wash it off your throat”. I hadn’t eaten an actual meal in months, just bullions and electrolyte drinks. It was so delicious (despite the aftermath of nausea, dry facial rash/flushing, massive ankle edema and low heart rate) . Then they did a one-minute scan of my stomach in this thing. The ceilings in scan rooms always seem to have beautiful photo tiles of cherry blossom trees and the sky.
Then they periodically repeated the scans over a period of four hours. ‘Twas a fun morning of hanging out with Baby Yoda (I have no shame) and drawing. And blasting “Radioactive” song piano cover in honor of the Nuclear Medicine experience. Also got to graffiti Baby Yoda on their garden rock.
The Celiac genetic test results stated that it was a possible, but “unlikely” cause.
And the solid gastric emptying test came back normal.
So another period of “just have to survive to the ‘next steps’ appointment ” began.
I can deal with the stabbing ER level gut pain, but when the ankles become that swollen and my heart rate drops to 47, it’s not good. This happened when I had a serious electrolyte derangement before. Got labs on Saturday at Urgent care. But it wasn’t electrolytes or PCM. Then got a Monday EKG and labs at Primary care. Since last October, my heart has apparently grown. In light of learning this, I’d like to say that I do love you all very much.
Primary care ignored the result, so I ended up back at Urgent care the next Saturday again with still swelling ankles, heart rate dropping to 45, and total deafness in my left ear. The same doctor and nurse were there. Heard him saying “She’s back? But I don’t know what to do!” in a concerned panic outside the door. So he referred me to Cardiology and an ENT.
On the Monday after, I took another trip to the ER. LLQ pain and chills that max-dose Tylenol couldn’t touch. I normally just wait it out, but hoped maybe they would figure out what was wrong. I’d sign up for dissection at this point, if it would provide answers. That was a 7hr stay, the longest ER so far. Still no knowing or relief, but a non-intestinal cause was ruled out via ultrasound. I’ve learned it’s easier just to print out the scroll of symptoms and positive test results and hand them to doctors. They seem cool with it.
GI Zoom visit ensued the next day (woo, made it!). I’m getting another EGD-type procedure on Monday. And it’s with new, partial anesthesia, so that should be an experience. There’s “prep” for this one. New COVID restrictions mean that my mom cannot come inside the hospital and just has to drop me off at the door. At least backpack-Baby Yoda can come. Maybe I won’t get lost, they only give the suite address and not the floor number. Weird to realize I’ve never actually done anything adult-like on my own before. I feel like I have the real-world knowledge level of Buddy the Elf.
And apparently liquid gastric emptying studies are more accurate, so that’s getting repeated on Tuesday since the EGD still suggests stomach paralysis. Yay for ingesting more nuclear nuggets. XD
After all this, I get to attempt to eat 4 slices of bread/day for six weeks then eat a camera (capsule endoscopy) to formally rule out patchy Celiac damage (..and look for another thing). They had instructed me to consume only the pediatric amount of 1/2 slice bread/day for the EGD, given the symptom severity, so 4 slices should hopefully be enough to wreck the gut if it’s truly Celiac.
ENT visit ensued a few hours later that day. Impromptu Nasoscopy. I’m scarred. The doctor was scarred. There were tears. Maybe it would have been worse without numbing cotton balls? RIP to the left-side hearing for possibly the next 3 months, apparently fluid is trapped in there due to Eustachian tube dysfunction.
Wednesday was a phone call scheduling sprint. I have no idea how people deal with this stuff when they’re “real adults”. Thanks, Mom, for doing all the hard stuff while I try to force myself to sit upright for like an hour then crash on the couch.
Thursday, yesterday, the cardiologist appointment happened. They’re doing an Echocardiogram in a month, and gave me my first cell phone! A Samsung, I think? It doesn’t really do anything, though. It’s a 30-day heart monitor. It has a battery that attaches to the human sticker, and the batteries get charged and switched once a week. I’m supposed to stay within 10ft of the phone, so thankfully it clips onto stuff. There’s a button to push to report symptoms on the phone, and it’s waterproof. The company monitors it 24/7 and will call if they see something going wrong. Then you ship it all back in the box. Feels so Sci-Fi.
Very close. Overjoyed about this, because time’s running out. I've lost 20lbs in three months. My weight’s in the 80s, I’m starving and cannot feel it, just nausea and pain, other stuff and that bizarre dry facial flushing/rash when I eat, drink or just wake up. Weird, because last September I just got so exhausted, had heart rates in the 40s, cried when I tried to lift my arms, lost my appetite but simultaneously, rapidly gained ~8lbs (Maybe fluid-weight? It was all in my face and ankles.) It stayed like that for months. Primary care didn’t believe I was unwell and unable to eat because of this (“You don’t look sick”).
All I presently have confirmed via med tests is: Elevated TTG Iga, blood abnormalities, the fact that I never grew like normal, joint hyper mobility, gut intussusception, sometimes delayed stomach emptying/possible gastroparesis, and cardiac enlargement/malfunctions. I’ve only had abdominal and hand imaging so far, and doctors keep implying that a brain/whole body scan should have been done, but I am unsure who would do that. GI Doctor has become my PCP, at this point.
I’m thankful to just have proof of this stuff. I photo-documented all the visible manifestations when it began. Rashes, swelling, home vitals.
I’m glad, as one primary care doctor in December accused me of “anxiety and somatic complaints” and refused to give me any tests or referrals. At this point, I’d lost the ability to do what was supposed to be my job, get my license, sign up for college, do normal living, go to stores, sleep, eat, and sometimes stand upright or move. She told me it was in my head, lied about test biomarkers, said it was fine to be surviving on dangerous amounts of ibuprofen, it was normal to almost die from local dental anesthesia, said it was fine that my body had never grown to adult size and functioned properly, and then tried to get me on mood-altering drugs. No.
I am thankful to say I’ve never encountered a human so intentionally..like this...before. I wish I could stand up for myself on the spot. My mom gawked in silent horror. I just sat there, frozen. I absolutely forgive you, and love you as a fellow human being. But you will never, ever see me again. For a few moments of utter frustration over this, I yearned for an incredibly foolish permanent solution to the temporary problem. How could I escape this suffering? Like a nightmare where you’re attempting to shriek but the shadows consume the sound. My dad made homemade soap once... But wait. This isn’t my life. This is not my choice. And then she would have won. And possibly crush others. It’s on. I fought and got that referral, actually from a different PCP. Yay for medical messaging systems, a way to communicate without actually having to talk. The first one was to an Endocrinologist, who ran a lab that finally, in late April, proved there was a problem. I couldn’t believe she found anything. It’s strange how relief manifests as uncontrollable sobbing sometimes. Then she sent me to GI and rheumatology. And the proof started to roll in. Now waiting for a genetics EDS appointment at the other university hospital, which might take up to a year. Life is so beautifully, chaotically unpredictable!
I’m on my dad’s insurance, and the deductible is massive. The company tried to deny coverage on a large number of the procedures/tests. I’m so grateful to my parents for covering all the past bills, but honestly, we’d run out of money.
A hospital billing dude called and requested 3k for a CT before they would do it. I nearly dropped the phone as the thought of “I have a Baby Yoda doll, a pack of gum, and a lot of passions that I’m too tired to use for monetary gain.” ran through my head. My mom was considering getting another job to pay for it, but knew it wasn’t a medically good idea to leave me home alone. She suggested applying for financial assistance at the hospital. Wrote the letter of my situation and sent it in, didn’t expect anything.
But they provided 100% coverage on everything, at least for three months, then I can reapply. All the bills voided. All of it. A free gift. How is that even possible? But they had mercy upon this mere mush’?!? I am eternally grateful, ever unworthy!
I’ve turned the internet inside out researching medical DDXs and scientific studies for nine months. One thing keeps showing up, should be interesting to see if that is it, or some other wildcard. Or multiple, haha. If I almost die enough times, maybe one day I’ll figure out why. I don’t care what it is, or if there’s a cure. I just hope to know the name of the bodily oppressor (And to be able to eat actual food again. There is going to be a major shortage of supreme pizza, watermelon and ice cream when/if this happens). Never giving up. Childish trust kicked in a long time ago. One day I will know .
Additional spam meme because I'm not sure why they don't ask me for ID ~85% of the time:
He gives you his best smile, to bid you the finest of weekends.
(Warning: Kinda long and rambly)
So my last real entry was at the beginning of the summer, right after I graduated. Now, I'll be honest, I didn't do a whole lot for much of the summer. But, what I did do was plan for Brickfair. My dad has a new job and he couldn't take time that week, but hey, I'm 23 now and I have a functional car, so that's not a problem. It is a 10 hour drive though, and I didn't want to be tired and miss out on all the fun, so I had the idea that I would go up a week in advance and stay with my aunt in Maryland. This also worked out nicely since I haven't seen her since pre-pandemic.
I started my drive up on July 21st, exactly a week before the start of the convention. This was my first time driving a long distance by myself, and I was in no rush, so I figured I would stop in a hotel for the night halfway up, along with any other stops I felt like making. The first such stop was at an outdoor mall. Normally, I don't go to a mall alone, but I've passed this one so many times over the years on my trips to and from Maryland without actually checking out, so I thought I could change that while also exploring "outside" a little. I got myself a couple new pairs of sandals there, because I had noticed mine were beginning to smell during the car ride, and I didn't want to stink up the whole convention hall with my foot odor. (There ended up being enough complaints about stinky people in the Bionicle section with me contributing...)
I stopped for dinner and a hotel, both of which kind of sucked, near the NC/VA border. I hit the road the next morning, but the 2nd half of the trip contained many more stops, enough that it really increased the length of the trip. I needed food, to use the bathroom, and to charge my phone. I somehow managed to navigate the final leg and ended up at my aunt's place that night. I was proud of myself for making that drive myself, but mostly I was just tired. I think at some point, it could be fun to just go on a road trip along that route with some friends.
I really enjoyed staying with my aunt for a few days. I think I made some healthy habits while I was there. I ate more fruit and gamed a little less. I took an enjoyable 2 mile walk each morning for the duration of my stay. I had been a bit worried I might have nothing to talk about with my aunt, but we were able to have plenty of good conversation. We also went on a few day trips together. One day we went to an art museum, and another we got me some nicer newer clothes.
On Wednesday, I packed up and drove off to Virginia. It was only a 1 hour drive instead of the 9 hour one it would have been from home. My initial plan was to have my own hotel room, but I saw Ziontyro looking for a roommate, so I decided to reach out to him. That was a good decision, it was a great experience sharing a room with a couple other Bionicle fans.
There were relatively few people there this year that I already knew. Most notably, I was the only farm animal. I did have Luroka there at least, but otherwise, I was trying to introduce myself to new people to make friends, rather than catching up with new ones. I'm a bit shy, and it took me a while to come out of my shell, but I'm satisfied that I was able to make a good impression on at least a few people. Also, there were just less people there this year in general.
There were a few Bionicle panels this year. Nothing compared to 2019, but still good fun. I think my favorite was the "Actual, Physical Violence" one, where we all cheered like mad for everything Brian said and yelled out "Pickle [name]!" to all the guests who took the microphone. I think the mask hunt was also a good idea, nice to get people out looking around at the mocs during private hours.
I think Saturday night was my favorite part of the con. ToaD came through for a while during the public hours, but afterwards, I met up with him and Unit and we went to a Korean Barbecue place near the convention center. It was a great dinner. Afterwards, I headed back to the convention center. This was my first time really staying there during the adult swim hours. Before, I had always gone back to a hotel room to hang out once adult swim started, even once I was old enough. It was also my first time drinking during the con, although I only had a couple White Claws. There was a large carpeted section of the convention full of green 2x4 bricks and that's mostly where I hung out during adult swim. This is really where I came out of my shell, messing around and having a good time with some cool people I hadn't interacted with too much up to that point in the convention. This was the type of night I feel like I haven't had in a long time, maybe years.
The public hours were pretty good to me too. I brought my Lego version of Betrayal at House on the Hill with me to display, and I actually decided to sit with it during the public hours. Most of the kids ran past me to get to the Elsa castle down a bit from me, but it made my day hearing one kid yell "Wow, Betrayal at House on the Hill!". After that, it was usually gamer types who recognized it that would talk to me, but I still loved it! I was very surprised and satisfied with the amount of people that liked my moc.
On top of that, on Sunday, one more person came up to me and asked me if I was the one who made it. I of course answered yes, thinking this was just someone else who liked my creation. Then, he hands me a Brickee, the trophies awarded at Brickfair. I was SHOCKED at this, I was thinking there was no way he had the right guy. I even checked again on the website after he left. But it was for me, and I'm so happy with this! Winning a Brickee is literally something I wrote down as a life goal when I was in 6th grade. I think I had a grin on my face the whole rest of the day.
I of course brought back a lot of Lego with me too. I picked up my lugbulk order. I won a Ford Mustang from door prizes, which led to some jokes with my friends back home. I snagged a few nice deals at the yard sale. And I got a few prints from Khing K and Ziontyro.
Overall, Brickfair was lot of fun as always. Traveling up and going on my own was a big milestone for me, and between that and socializing I feel a lot braver. I also feel older, which can be both a good and bad thing. Thank you to everyone who made Brickfair 2021 such a good experience for me! And I hope maybe I made it better for you too.
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Here are the two shirts for BrickFair/BZPower this year! (Give or take a shade of orange or yellow. Touching that up.)
The teal is the primary shirt. You can order a yellow shirt if you ALSO order a teal shirt. (To keep costs down like 2019's orange shirt, which was still a dollar more because so few people wanted it.)
*Shirts are $10 each (unless we need to bump up the yellow, as explained). *Please message ChocolateFrogs your order: Shirt(s) and size(s) by Friday night, 6/25. *Reminder we're only giving these out at BrickFair VA 2021 in August. If you can not make it, ask a friend who is going to order for you. We're not bothering with mailing out orders or keeping track of who ordered what but someone else it picking it up or whatever.
Thanks for reading!
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I’ve done this a couple of times here before (although I didn’t mean for 6 months to pass before doing another one of these, oops) so I won’t explain it again. You can see my past two here:
And I’ll be using my playlist of music from 2017 (557 songs) for this one; share yours below if you want to.
1. What is my life’s philosophy?
“Fine” – Tayler Buono (not good or bad, just fine)
2. What will my last words be?
“Ground Control” – All Time Low; Tegan and Sara (So my death’s gonna be plane related? Ominous)
3. How am I Feeling today?
“Want You Back” – HAIM (ha, ha, NO)
4. What is my Theme song?
“Totalizer” – Charly Bliss (uh…*checks Genius* alright, next)
5. What song will be played at my wedding?
“Give Me Your Word” – Bella Goldwin (I’ll take it)
6. What song will be played at my funeral?
“Life Goes On” – Bailey Bryan (well, not my life, but good advice anyway)
7. How will I be remembered?
“Just A Crush” – Grace Vanderwal (whoa)
8. What is some good advice for me?
“Big Girls Cry” – Mimoza (wrong gender, but sure)
9. What’s my life’s dream?
“Empty” – Olivia O’Brien (what?)
10. What’s my kind of lady/man?
“Something To Tell You” – HAIM (no comment)
11. How do people see me?
“High Enough” – K.Flay (um, OK, next)
12. How would I describe this page?
“Bleachers” – Jillian Jacqueline (another what?)
13. How would I describe my best friend?
“Bloom” – Marnie (uh, ok)
14. What’s in store for this week?
“No Love” – Olivia O’Brien (OUCH)
15. How would I describe my parents?
“Sleep” – Timothy Heller (ha)
16. If I had one wish, what would I wish for?
“Too Many Love Songs” – Maggie Rose (probably not)
17. What do my friends think of me?
“(Not) The One” – Bebe Rexha (I think that’s a good thing?)
18. What is said about me behind my back?
“Oh Love” – MisterWives (no comment)
19. What do I think of this questionnaire?
“Fly high” – DREAMCATCHER (cool story)
Favorites: 2, 6, 11, 14
As something of a realist, I knew going into this year that fangirl and fanboy pipe dreams of "The Return of BIONICLE" for the 20th anniversary was crazy talk. As much as I love the original run of BIONICLE from 2001 to 2010, there was no way in Karzahni that LEGO was going to revive the theme just for an anniversary year. It's a major one, but still. BIONICLE is done. No need to "continue" the story or reboot it (2015 and 2016 showed how poorly the latter went).
My prognostication was we'd likely get something like a GWP or one-off trinket by the summer to commemorate the worldwide release of BIONICLE (Europe had the Toa and Turaga from the start of 2001, but the US and Canadian markets didn't see BIONICLE sets on shelves until July). On the lower end, I figured we might be lucky to see prints of, say, Kanohi masks on minifigure torsos scattered throughout CITY sets or sets from another theme.
Then I found out about this "20 Years of LEGO Harry Potter" nonsense. Wow, I mean, I know LEGO loves money (and I write that realistically, with no chagrin or sarcasm), but Harry Potter is beyond a cash grab at this point. Especially considering several years went by when LEGO didn't produce a single Harry Potter anything. Why celebrate that, of all LEGO themes?
But that's not even why I'm mad. It was the sight of a sticker on a piece in one of these anniversary sets that really spelled it out for me. In what looks like a star chart of constellations in whatever weird, transphobic, "magic" universe Harry Potter is set in, one of the designers snuck in a constellation that forms the shape of the Kanohi Hau, a symbol of BIONICLE as a whole.
Great. Bravo. Slow clap. See that BIONICLE fans???? BIONICLE LIVES!!! Happy 20th anniversary! Watch my YouTube video to see how LEGO CELEBRATES BIONICLE - SECRET COMEBACK?!?!?
Blood from a (Makoki) stone, people. I kept my expectations in check, but now, after seeing this "tribute" in one of the new Harry Potter sets, I'm beginning to wonder if I was the foolish BIONICLE fan too optimistic for LEGO to pay respects to one of the greatest themes they ever produced? Is this all we're getting for acknowledgment of BIONICLE's 20th anniversary? Or is there a leak to come of something just a tad more substantial?
We can only hope. If this is it, though, it will be a very sad footnote to one of the best original stories I've ever heard and participated in. Reduced to a single image in a set celebrating the 20th anniversary of another, non-LEGO, IP.
Well, there's always the 50th anniversary...
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So I saw this post elsewhere on the internet about a dude who bought so-so paintings from thrift shops and added Star Wars elements to them. My best friend (who sent me this mug from previous blog entry) came to surprise me right before COVID hit, and we went thrift shopping, and I got a painting (pictured above, but without the star wars stuff). Said friend was an art major in college, and now I have an awesome star wars painting hanging up!! Definitely going to treasure it forever. I love that the droid is picking the flower
Update on the Ko-Koro Express - gift went over well, my folks loved it, but the pup, Dakota (sometimes goes by Dog-kota) felt insecure. But fear not, he was promptly and repeatedly assured that he is still a good boy, just sometimes a noisy boy.
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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.
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.
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!
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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