Archive for November, 2010

Dog vs. Lego

Posted in Animals, Family, Miscellaneous, Musings, Random with tags , , on November 22, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

"The Minifigures are the tastiest"

Ladies and gentlemen, meet S’mores. My pure-bred 3-year-old male Shih-tzu. I named him S’mores due to his puppy coat consisting of  the 3 colors that you would find in the campfire snack.  White, tan and dark brown- which had faded into an ash after a few trips to the groomers. Such a great dog for our 1300+ sq.ft. condo. He’s got a great temperament, loves kids, strangers. He loves to play and fetch. Hardly barks-which was the selling point for me when we chose him over another shih-tzu pup that whined and barked a lot. He only barks when he hears noises-you know, the ones when someone’s at the door.

The only issue with S’mores is that….he’s a chewer.  This is my second dog ever and first one as an adult so I took precautions when I got him as a pup. We picked up the “Shih-tzus for Dummies” book and started getting all the info on this breed so we knew what to expect. It did mention the chew factor, but I think S’mores is beyond the curve that the authors wrote about.

No matter what the chew toy was made of; hard rubber, cloth and anything else suitable for his small teeth…he obliterated by not only chewing up and making big pieces out of little pieces, but he’d consume the little pieces as well, which led to some interesting and decorative “leavings” on the puppy pad.

Bonus activities included hacking and coughing and the “ejecting” of the material that didn’t agree with his tummy. After realizing that I’d had enough of his hijinks with chew toys, I came to the decision of stop buying them. BIG MISTAKE. Damn dog turned his attention on our expensive furniture and gnawed on corners of our artsy coffee table. And if he became tired of the table, he shifted over to the remodeled base boards that I installed during our living room makeover. SERENITY NOW!!!!!

I wanted to kill him right then and there but no…Instead, I went to one of the bigger pet retail places and explained to them my situation. They suggested the “chews” that get smaller as the dog chews them and then, can be ingested.

Score: S'mores 1, Jawson 0

The last and (hopefully) final casualty.

The pic to your right is clear evidence of the serious chewing power that S’mores is capable of. For those that aren’t sure what you’re looking at, it’s the underside of a minfigure torso and minifigure head. I took off one weekend and came back to what looked like remnants of one my Lego Minifigs: Jawson. Do I have to mention the irony here?

Luckily when I purchased the entire second wave of the Space Police collection throughout the earlier part of the year, I was graced with 2 Jawson’s, so I’m not that much upset. But another drawback of this dog is that he is sneaky. He doesn’t dare do the things he knows that he’ll get punished for when I’m home, but if I’m gone…it’s a friggin’ free for all…sneaky bastard. You can best believe that I’ll always those chewables for S’mores to prevent unwanted chewing of Lego, furniture and who knows what else may my dog fancy at the time.

After reading the above, I’m sure y’all are just thinking why I make sure that I don’t leave ANY Lego for the dog to get a hold of. I am the father of an 8 year old and he’s constantly aware of what S’mores is capable of doing. I make sure that all Lego stays in his room but for those with children AND Lego….easier said then done. 😉

"...and I thought I had teeth".

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My Lego….Rat’s nest??????

Posted in Design, Family, Lego, Organizing, Toys with tags , , , , on November 19, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

A bowl with no name.

How many times have you come home and placed your keys, phone, wallet or etc…, somewhere and when you go to leave your home….you can’t find them? This used to be the case with me several years ago.

Thanks to the biology of our human bodies, I’ve been in a rush to get home and make use of the facilities because of something that I ate, didn’t agree with my innards. Of course that means that I frantically unlock my door, toss my keys wherever and take care of my business while re-enacting the toilet scene from “Trainspotting” when Renton was no longer constipated and had to use the “worst toilet in Scotland”

Great! After everything was settled and my abdomen could return to Defcon 5, all was right with the world, until I would have to leave my home and play one of my other favorite indoor sports….”Dude, where are my keys?”

Frantically looking for anything, leading to desperation….is not good, period. You now become late > hurried > unfocused > aggravated > aggressive > angry > a schmuck. Do people want to be around schmucks? I know I don’t.

A movie about love, music and home organization

The remedy.

Flashback to the early-mid ’90s when I saw the movie “Singles” for the first time. I specifically remember a scene where Kyra Sedgwick’s character walks in her unit and tosses her keys in what appears to be some type of bowl w/marbles in it. I couldn’t get an accurate description of the bowl due to the scene only lasting a second or so, but my sub-conscience picked up on it and it actually distracted me for a few seconds of what immediately followed in the film.

Within a day or so, I too had a bowl with marbles in it to now hold my keys and wallet when I walk in the door. Remember, this is the early mid ’90s so I did not have a mobile phone at the time to add to the bowl. Placement of the bowl was a non-issue. It was to be somewhere relatively near the door where I would place  my goods when I walked in and grabbed the goods when I was walking out. The “schmuck factor” was considerably lower due to the bowl…but not eliminated. 😀

The bowl unlike the one pictured, was made out of  glass used for baking which the mouth  measured about 1 foot long in circumference and I filled it with some random marbles packaged in a fishnet sack that you would find at Toys “R” Us.  Now the other issue that I had to address was what to call the bowl. To be honest and in reality, I was the ONLY person that I knew of that had a bowl like this, so no one could help me with properly naming the said bowl.

Henceforth, the bowl shall now be known as…

For NO specific reason, I dubbed it “The Rat’s Nest”. I figured rats gathered things and kept them somewhere and that’s pretty much what the bowl did, it helped me to keep my things… gathered. Yes!!!!! Problem solved. The glass and marble combo started at my bachelor pad in Long Beach, Ca and went with me at its current location here in Anaheim, Ca. which is now a family home. But when we were remodeling our home-circa 2004, the bowl had to undergo some minor changes as well to fit in with the rest of the decor.

My wife and I were stuck on the stainless steel idea while using primary colors….you know, red, yellow and blue. So I went ahead and swapped the bowl for a stainless steel one and proceeded to find some primary colored marbles. The marble phase did not pan out due to the fact that… 1.) I couldn’t find a rather large quantity of primary colored marbles and 2.) I was not going to invest in buying several dozen Chinese Checker board games to meet my marble criteria even though I’m sure Toys “R” Us would’ve appreciated it.

I’ve lost my marbles.

Ok, so the marble idea petered out. What could I possibly use to fill the bowl that would be not so costly as well as be available in primary colors????

Suddenly, I was overcome with the notion of using something that I had forgotten entirely about from my youth…The Lego Brick. But where could I find such a large quantity that would be enough to fill my Rat’s Nest?  I got my answer through ebay in the shape of 350 red pieces of various sized bryxx and plates which came to the cost of $16 or so, shipping included.

I should also mention that the primary color idea was also short-lived right after I received the package of the red Lego’s. The new color scheme was to include “earthy” tones like tan, olive green and sand green to name a few but we kept the stainless steel concept nonetheless. This will no doubt mean that I will change the bryxx in the bowl once again in the near future. *Sigh*

A recent revelation.

When it came time to blog about the Lego featured “Rat’s Nest”, my mind got to thinking about researching the term “Rat’s Nest” and if in fact, that’s what the proper name of the bowl where one keep’s their gatherings. So I googled the term and found this one of several entries:

“The slang term “rat’s nest” is used to describe a particularly messy or disordered environment, referencing the habits of many species of rat. The term can also be used metaphorically, to describe a messy situation, as in “a rat’s nest of problems was uncovered when the company was audited.” As a general rule, this term is used in a deprecating way, under the assumption that most people prefer a state of general cleanliness to a mess.”

“Rats are famous for having messy nests because they build their nests from a wide assortment of items, and they tend to hoard objects of interest or curiosity. A rat’s nest might include scraps of paper and textiles, twigs, grasses, and leaves, but it will also hold things like pens, metal, and any other objects which a rat might find intriguing. As young rats are raised in the nest, they soil it until they reach an age where they can strike out on their own, rendering the nest spectacularly messy.”

“Humans and rats have been living close to each other for centuries, so it is perhaps not surprising that a messy human’s living space or office would be compared to a rat’s nest. The implication is that the space is totally chaotic and filled with a wide assemblage of hoarded objects, stored in no particular order and for no apparent reason. A rat’s nest might also have various food items squirreled away, causing a distinctive odor to hang over the space.”

“Some people prefer messy environments, and in fact some would argue that although their spaces look messy, they have a very particular and set order, even if it is understood only by the occupant. Much like the rats they are likened to, people who inhabit or work in rat’s nests may actually have a very sound logic which governs the arrangement and contents of their space, although more clean-minded people might have trouble comprehending it.”

So there you have an idea as to why I’m inclined to label the bowl as something else. For the record, I hate to be dis-organized. Cluttered room = cluttered mind and I for one cannot function when I’m faced with chaos and disorder, particularly in my dwelling.

If anyone out there actually knows the correct name for this type of  bowl, I would like to hear from you.




Brickd.com : Another site dedicated in showing Lego MOC’s.

Posted in Building Toys, Hobbies, Lego, Toys with tags , , on November 2, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

It never ceases to amaze me just how many different MOC sites that are out there. I literally just discovered this site as an advertisement on Facebook of all places. The above piece was created by an artist called “rongYIREN”

The site features all sorts of creations. Spaceships, Mechs, Castles, Dioramas & etc with the artist’s name in a hyperlink that warps you to their respective Flickr accounts to show their entire photo stream. Simple yet….brilliant. For me,Brickd.com is just another tool to utilize in gathering ideas from other Lego artists to use in my own future MOC’s.