Archive for the Miscellaneous Category

Lego PAB Haul for 5/06/11.

Posted in Design, Fun, Local, Miscellaneous, Random, Shopping with tags , , on May 26, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

First, an update on my life and this blog.

Time once again to share the info for my latest PAB haul that took place a few weeks ago. A FEW WEEKS AGO ?????????? Yep, ¬†shocking isn’t it? I can barely remember why I bought these bryxx in the first place. “So why the delay?” ,you may be asking. Well folks….after all the praying (…yes, I’m spiritual) and at least 20 different positions that I applied for in the past 5 months at the same company….I finally landed a job at the place where I wanted to work the most. Let’s just say “they” are another 4-letter word company based in Europe and the name rhymes with “Idea”. ūüėČ

It’s taken me all this time to get adjusted to the concept of working again after being unemployed for the past 9 years while still being a full-time Dad and still adjusting to my new residence. Since the last post, I’ve also teamed w/a friend from my past and we have begun to undertake the steps in planning a Lego website. The site’s name has already been decided and will be disclosed in a future post. Before I get to the PAB contents, I should also point out that I have shot a few concept videos that feature me and some MOC’s. These will NEVER see the light of day for a couple of reasons.

  1. They suck. LOL. Seriously though, during playback…it was like listening to a key-note speaker who had the fear of speaking to large crowds. Ironically, I don’t have a problem with speaking to a large crowd in front of a real-time audience, but on video….a different story. I can’t explain it, but the plan is to talk more into the camera so I’ll be desensitized to the whole idea. The lighting and video editing were real raw also, but those are issues that I am addressing or should I say – was addressing right before I became employed again.
  2. A Virus¬†took hold of my Mom’s MAC and lost all the data (which was hardly much) that was on it, which included the videos that I speak of. I wasn’t worried about losing them since they were not to be viewed by anyone anyway.

In addition with spending time with my son, I’m doing a lot of juggling as far as time is concerned, but the good news is that a new job equates to more $$$ to purchase more Legos, which I haven’t done since…

My latest PAB haul.

If any of you are still sticking around and anticipating some bitchin’ looking PAB bounties as these posts go by…..my¬†apologies¬†to y’all. As I’m staring at the pic to the right, I can now fully recall why I picked up these pieces in the first place. Actually, it was the 6×4 white plates that I was only after. The other pieces were to fill the voids of the PAB cup itself, but as usual…will prove themselves to be useful in future MOC’s. Here’s the breakdown of the “booty”

  • (363) 1×1 Translucent red tiles
  • (54) 4×6 white plates
  • (10) 1×1 Translucent red plates (mixed in with the tile pieces)

The purpose of purchasing the 4×6 plates is to help finish a fully functioning rotating table (rotable) to display featured MOC’s, minifigs or other Lego models of interest. The concept videos that I mentioned earlier in this post had some great footage of the “rotable” in action and the end result was rather close to what I was trying to execute in the first place, with the exception of some “lighting” issues, but all in all…I was somewhat happy on how it all turned out.

Here’s how I filled the PAB cup this time around. Take a look at the pic above to the right. I layed (2) 4×6’s adjacent to their longer sides, then I turned both plates to one side and laid¬†another (2) plates adjacent to their longer sides and repeated that¬†particular process, which gave it an overlapping effect. Next, I placed (2) 4×6 plates on top of each other and laid¬†them in a perimeter that surrounded the multi-stacked overlapping 6×8 plates (two 4×6 plates joined together by their longer sides become a 6×8 plate). After I could not place anymore white plates in the cup, I filled all the empty spaces with the red 1×1 pieces – both plates and tiles, which yielded me the 427 pieces in total.

Price per piece for this PAB haul.

Before Orange County, Ca state tax, the price per piece came to $0.0187119….or near $.02 a piece. And as usual, here’s the group shot of the PAB contents this time around:

From left to right: The 4×6 plates are stacked in groups of 5, the (10) 1×1 Tr. red plates are in “Space Invader” form and finally, the 363 Tr. red ¬†tiles are in rows of (10). I’m hoping it won’t be too long before my next entry, since I’m doing more test video shots and I have to start planning on creating the future sites logo out of Lego. Until next time…..BRICK ON!!!!!!! I know I will be.

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Subtle Lego part variations.

Posted in Design, Fun, Miscellaneous, Random with tags , , on April 3, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

Part# 3747a (upper-left), part# 3747b (lower-right)

You can file this post under “Lego lessons” just like my previous entry, because this Lego “newbie” keeps discovering new things in the wonderful world of Lego.

As the title suggests, I’m talking about some of the subtle differences in the molds that The Lego Group creates at the factory and how in fact, they can make all the difference in the world when it comes to creating (your) MOC’s.

The pic above shows 2 relatively similar pieces, but if you look closely…you can see the differences in the mold where there are connections between the studs on the lower-right piece and no connections on the upper-left.¬† “Mold A” started to appear in sets as early as 1980, while “Mold B” appeared with the change in 2004. For the record, I had Mold B in my inventory for some unspecified time. It came from any of the various sets that are now taken apart and placed in their respective bins categorized by color. I¬† received Mold A from a bricklink order just days ago, which is to be used in my current project. My design calls for 16 of these pieces. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled that the shop only had 1 piece in their entire store’s inventory, but it was a blessing…I’ll explain later.

In regards to the piece itself, I honestly could not understand why an additional mold was created. If one was to place another piece over the entire surface, it would not make any difference in regards to the pieces locking together, nor would there be a difference in placing a round studded piece smack dab in the middle of the 4 “open” studs. So why on Earth did¬† TLG create another slope piece similar to the original but with the extra plastic???

I’m not 100% certain of this, but I suspect that the connections on Mold B have something to do with the thickness of the edge shown in the oval. Mold A is thicker so it did not need the connections between the studs like Mold B.

It was in fact, the difference in the edge’s thickness between Molds A & B, where I was happy to learn that the bricklink store only had the 1 brick, because Mold B would have suited my project better now that I realized the differences between the 2 molds. As I write this, I’m waiting for another bricklink.com merchant to invoice me for the remaining 15 pieces of part #374b, ship them and finally add them to my project where I can at that point,¬† call it done.

One thing is certain however; the next time that I see 2 different part #’s…I’ll be sure to examine both of them thoroughly so I don’t order the wrong piece(s) for future projects.

Taking the bite out of Lego construction discrepencies.

Posted in Design, Fun, Miscellaneous, Technology, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 31, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

Well, this has been an interesting week for me in learning about the dynamics of building with Lego and I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to blog about on the subject in the future. But for now, I’ll just share what I discovered recently.

I am near completion of¬† working on a project that will aid in showcasing some MOC’s to be shot on video so I can feature them here and on youtube. Yes….I know, I did mention a while back that I will be featuring video “how-to-build” of my MOC’s. Life just keeps getting in the way, but I’m just about near the point of making this whole video thing, a reality. I’m just waiting on parts for the complete assembly of my project which started to arrive yesterday as a matter of fact and I should be getting the rest in the next few days.

The gears are grinding…literally.

A grinding halt....almost.

I should point out that this is my first ever MOC that involves the use of gears and bushings and that I could not wait to develop a project where I would be able utilize these pieces. Since I was a child in the single digit age, I was always fascinated with gears, sprockets, cogs and pulleys, thanks to the board game – Mousetrap. I enjoyed watching things in motion and how they affect their neighboring parts.

The functionality of this project, relies solely on gears and how they mesh together. So one could imagine my disappointment when I was experiencing grinding and locking while the gears were in motion only after almost 1 revolution. I wasn’t sure why my project was being hampered with this problem, but then again….since I’m new to the whole Lego gears universe, I could not begin where to start troubleshooting.¬† After about an hour or so of getting nowhere, I decided to take a break and come to a stopping point before my own gears between my ears started to smoke, grind and come to a halt of its own.

The next morning after a good night’s sleep, I am blessed with a reassurance that I will not only solve my “gears” problem on that day,¬† but I will solve it in about an hour or at least an hour after my morning ritualistic cup of Sumatran Reserve. I kept telling myself that the problem was already solved and the project was just waiting for me to execute the correction.

After careful re-examining the problem area, specifically the gear that rests vertical, I begin to¬† remove some of the¬† bryxx that exposes the axle that it’s connected to. I notice a slight lift of the axle itself. It’s not very noticeable to the naked and untrained eye, but I happen to be very anal retentive and see it plain as day.

Somehow, I was remembering visions of¬† the bryxx that are “salt & peppered” in all my Lego bins that feature bite marks, thanks to my now 8 year old son. I started to rummage through any given bin and found a brick that would best describe what I’m about to show.

Tasty brick....needs salt.

Hopefully, by this photo, you can see the bite mark that rests towards the left of the pic on top portion of the bottom Lego plate. (Click on photo for a slightly larger pic).¬† As you can see, the bite mark left an imperfection on the plate itself which created a “lip” of some sort and it prevents the top plate to properly snap to the bottom plate, creatiing a rift or a raise to the top plate. Notice that the gap between the 2 plates is larger toward the left vs. the right side??? Properly locked bryxx illustrate a clean and even hairline gap from one side to the other which is clearly missing in the above photo. It wasn’t these 2 plates that were featured in my project but you can start to get the idea that any bryxx that were resting on the slightly askewed top plate, would indeed affect any and all adjoining pieces that were supported by this plate to begin with.

That’s what essentially caused the lift of the axle that was connected to the gear that laid vertical. Great! Woo-freaking-Hoo! But now the question is……..which piece has the imperfection?

The search for block.

Yep, time to get up and walk around to wake my legs up because I’ve been sitting “indian-style” for nearly 30 minutes while playing Sherlock Holmes in figuring out the culprit to my grinding gear problem. Since I’m up, another cup of joe wouldn’t be bad either. Ok….back to work. It’s at this time that I start meticulously eyeballing literally every piece of brick on the main section of my project and start looking for imperfections which only took about a minute or so. The faulty piece was resting toward the bottom of the main section, so with my trusty brick separator, I begin to deconstruct the main body and making my way to affected brick to swap it out with a newer conditioned piece.

Problem solved and a lesson learned.

After reconnecting the last piece of the main body, I test the gears by giving the crank arm that the axle is connected to, a few turns and what-d’ya-know…the sound of gears meshing and spinning continuously with no grinding is achieved. One step forward the completion of this project and a lesson gained of checking each proposed piece to be used in upcoming projects for bite marks and other imperfections, before going into any MOC from here on out. This Lego “newbie” is forever grateful of this and the upcoming lessons that I will learn in working with these wonderful bryxx.

Lego PAB Haul for 3-12-11

Posted in Design, Fun, Local, Miscellaneous, Random, Shopping with tags , , , , on March 16, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

Hey guys! It’s been a while since my last post. A lot going on in my personal life and things are starting to slow down around here. One of the issues was including a move from my old residence to a new one. I don’t want to get into all the details in the risk of dis interesting y’all….so let’s get to the subject at hand.

I was able to make it to the grand opening of the Costa Mesa, Ca. location of the new Lego Store at the South Coast Plaza, which I will fully disclose all the details of that trip in the next blog after this very one.

After waiting in line for about 45 mins….yep-you read right, A LINE, I was able to mosey on through the melee of the crowd to make my way to the rear of the store where the newly stocked bins with vibrant colored Lego awaited me.

Fill'er up.

The “wanted” list.

Had no idea of what was to be found in the bins since this was to be my 1st grand opening of any Lego Store, but my “wanted” list was rather simple-meaning that I only wanted white bryxx and some clear ones as well, which is usually found in the bins of any given Lego Store. One of my pet peeves of the PAB section is that there are different bins with duplicate bryxx found; and not just one type of brick, several.

I was thinking with this being a brand new store, the PAB section would have had a different brick in a different bin. This wasn’t the case, but I must say that the bin display was rather unique in terms of presentation. All the bins were cleverly filled with almost every spectrum of the Lego rainbow,not to mention that most of the bryxx were 2×4, 2×6 in size and they were individually lit. One could see them if they were even passing by the entrance to the store from the wing of the shopping mall.

Soon after being entranced by the brightly lit bins, I began to scan for white bryxx. Just a few days ago, I happen to start yet on another project. A Lego sorting bin. If you guys recall on my last PAB for 8-31-10, I picked up quite a few of the white round-corner 2×2 bryxx. Well, I finally found the best use for those pieces and it was a mere accident how I discovered to utilize them. All I needed was some key white bryxx to “fill the gaps”…literally.

The Four Horsemen.

Here’s the booty in detail.

Ok, so this is my what….3rd post on the whole PAB thing? I like sharing with you guys what I pick up and just how much I pick up to fully illustrate that with a some time and patience, you can score big savings at the PAB section at any Lego Store you visit.

The pic to the right shows what I chose to fill the larger sized PAB cups with. ($14.99 before Orange County, Ca tax) From top to bottom w/their quantities in parenthesis:

  • 1x2x5 white brick (52)
  • 1×10 white brick (36)
  • 2×6 white brick (4)
  • 1×1 trans-clear plate (554)

I started locking the 1×10 bryxx in groups of 8 which took up the middle portion of the cup. Next was the 1x2x5’s and I stacked those about 3 high and those went around the perimeter inside the cup. Next were the 2×6’s and I could only fit 4 of those in the center due to the first 3 sets of bryxx occupying the space below.

Finally, I filled every gap of the white bryxx with the trans-clear pieces by pouring a small amount into the gaps, shake the cup around to make the trans-clear pieces settled to the bottom and repeated that process until the cup was filled to the brim. That’s how I wound up with 554 pieces of the clear, bringing a grand total of¬† 646 bryxx in all. $14.99 / 646 = $.023 cents (or more than 2 but less than 3 cents per piece of Lego).

Price Comparison: Lego PAB vs. Bricklink.com

Ok, on my last PAB post, I did mention that I was going to demonstrate the price difference in picking up the same bricks at the 2 different venues. I’m sorry to report that it was too involved in including the price breakdown for finding a single merchant on bricklink that had all 4 of the types of bryxx that I found collectively at the PAB, but I assure you that I got a way better deal in buying these particular bryxx at just a little over $.02/piece vs bricklink.com, plus….I acquired a larger size PAB cup in the process.

What I will show you in the following links are the prices on the average of the bryxx and what they are selling for at bricklink.com. If you’re not familiar with bricklink.com’s site, I ask you to focus on the 2nd column from your right and to address the “new” brick column, since that’s the condition that I purchased the bryxx in Costa Mesa.

Total of the Avg. prices on bricklink.com: $45.66. Please note that this price does NOT include the shipping and handling charges that would have been added by the prospective seller and given by the weight of this potential order, they could have tacked on another six bucks or so for prep and shipment of said order, which brings the potential grand total to roughly $52.00.

It looks like I did give you some type of breakdown of the bricklink.com prices after all, but again… those were prices based on the averages of¬† bricklink.com as a collective vs. the¬† same pieces that I purchased at The Lego Store, but it does not show the exact amount that I could have spent if I was to find all 4 different types of bryxx from the same seller on bricklink.com¬† due to them selling any of the 4 bryxx above or below the avg. price for each item listed above.

Group Shot.

The intent of this visit to the PAB bins was to pick up the white bryxx to see how they would work with my Lego sorting bin project. The clear ones are going to be utilized (if you can believe) another project that would include ways of creating letters of the alphabet.

I’m seeing a trend here where I do find what I’m looking for at the PAB, but when I need to finish topping off the cup, I start brainstorming then and there and end up filling the cup w/pieces that I had no intention of getting upon my arrival. That was the case with the clear pieces on this last visit.

New and Improved MOC Space Police Jail Cell.

Posted in Design, Miscellaneous with tags , , , on January 11, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

Room for improvement????

I may have been a little premature in releasing pics of the MOC Space Police Jail Cell that I posted several months back. As a matter of fact and after looking at before and after pics….I KNOW I WAS!. What was I thinking? I may have just learned a good lesson of creating something and letting loose the creative and detailed monster that I know that dwells inside of me, instead of just releasing something just for the sake of releasing something. Deep down in my sub-conscience, I wasn’t that proud of what I posted now that I look back at the whole thing.

I’ve heard, er…rather read what the talented MOC’ers whose work that I admire have said; and yes…I’m paraphrasing….”Give it your absolute best effort” or something like “If you think there’s room for improvement, then it’s NOT done.” Well, from those thoughts to my mind and hands, I’ve come up with a design that I’m proud to exhibit

More SNOT is always good.

The roof, the roof, the roof in on…..Heh heh.

Yeah, after a couple of designs and seeing which pieces would go where AND 3 purchases from different bricklink shops, I’m very happy with the end result as seen above. The only thing that remained from the previous design, was the housing for the antenna that rests dead center. I did have another design in mind but I felt that it lacked the WOW factor and even though it was more in detail than the previous effort, it was nowhere near enough of what I could have done with the ample room on the roof.

Bird's eye view.

I tackled with the aspect of designing the roof in 2 different objectives. To cover the studs and to give the overall appearance of the roof a little more “oomph”, because there was so much detail on the sides of the cell block and it seems like I just ran out of creative juices when it came to the roof. Yep, Lego Building 101 is in full effect. After putting the finishing touches on the roof, it almost resembles a parasite with 4 “tentacles” that have a grip on the entire cell block which was not the intent of the design but the whole concept grew on me.

The other improvements.

Out with the old gauge-in blue insert and in with the new interface.

In addition to the enhanced roof and since I was buying more bryxx anyway, I’ve decided to do more improvements to the cell as a whole. The original photo featured some light bley (blue-grey) pieces on the side that rested between the 2 observation windows on each side. After much consideration, I wanted a more streamlined look so, I switched out the lighter bley pieces with the darker bley pieces with some slight moderation to the features already in place, shown in the photo to the right.

This pic also shows the addition of more pieces to add height to the roof which aided in hiding the former studs on top, which was one of the main objectives to this remodel. I really don’t see anymore I could do with the cell, but this time – I am more than happy with what I’ve got here.

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. ūüėČ

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

Lego Collectibe Minifigures: Series 3 Pre-liminary list.

Posted in Collectibles, Family, Hobbies, Lego, Miscellaneous, Toys with tags , , , , on September 11, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

Series 3...ETA: January,2011.

The Spartan is HOT!!!!

After checking out the forum’s on bricklink.com, there’s alot of talk about how series 2 of the Lego collectible minifigs have been found more easily, possibly because Lego created more than series 1; and now they can be found at Target. To be honest, I haven’t been searching for them since I have my entire collection of the different sixteen minifigs myself. My hunt lasted less than 24 hours and that was including the usual 6 hours of sleep.
It was news to me to read that w/the additional extra vendors, people have been having better chances at finding them….except for the Spartan minifig, which I can validate, due to the fact that I myself went through almost 2 freshly opened cases (60 minifigs in ea. case)before I found my first Spartan.

No more codes.

I came across the following link
w/a proposed list of 15 out of 16 minifigs and as you can see, they should be available for sale in January, 2011.
It should be very interesting to hunt and to become touchy/feely w/the packages when the time comes to determine which figure is in the bag since Lego will NOT be providing the barcodes like they did in Series 1 & 2.

I myself will be searching for the Ferrari Driver while Sebastian will be looking for the Mummy to accompany his Zombie (series 1) and his Vampire and Witch (series 2).