Archive for the Toys Category

The Lego Store Grand Opening: Costa Mesa, Ca

Posted in Current Events, Family, Fun, Random, Science Fiction, Shopping, Toys with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2011 by zzyzxbryxx

The Lego Store - South Coast Plaza

I can’t even recall the last time I ever stepped foot into this particular shopping mall; and on top of that…I can’t remember what store I even visited when I did step foot at the South Coast Plaza, maybe…the Swatch store, LOL….not kidding. I’m not the shopping mall type of guy, which is a major contrast to my youth when I would frequent shopping malls all over SoCal with my Mom and that was to hit the coin-operated video arcades. Yes, before Xbox and Playstations, we Gen-X’ers had to leave our dwellings and visit stores that housed video games that gave you 3 men for a quarter.

Well, I may be visiting this mall more frequently due to the opening of The Lego Store that quietly took place last Wednesday, but they advertised their official grand opening this past Friday, Sat. and Sunday with a lot of fanfare.

"Sorry bro, kids only".

“Let’s build a Yoda”!!!!!

The mall and The Lego Store worked together to have a building event that took place at the closest center court that was adjacent to the grand opening itself. Lego brought in an expert builder to orchestrate the event in which kids were able to sign up and assist in building the support structure underneath where a 3′ Yoda stood.

Afterwards, the kids were given a certificate of achievement for participating in the event. I didn’t have my 8-year-old with me when I was at the grand opening but I asked the gal who was issuing the certificates  if I could have one for collectible purposes and she asked if I wanted it blank. I then asked her if she could put my son’s name on it even though he was not there to take part in the event. She was nice and obliged me,  plus… I thought he would appreciate the  sentiment.

Onto the store.

Well, not quite. As my Mom, brother and I turned the corner and walked  about 30 yards heading towards the anchor store (which was Sears), we saw the yellow glow of the store entrance with the red cube adorned with the Lego logo. We were getting ready to make our way into the entrance when we saw a couple of Lego employee’s at the doorway stating that there is a line to get into the store and they directed us towards yet another employee who served as a placeholder for the unsuspecting store attendees.

So here we are, standing at the end of what seemed to be a very slow-moving line. This just about took the wind out of my sails…so to speak. I mean, I was surprised to see such a large crowd to get into a store dedicated to Lego’s. This was after all on a Saturday when we went. In disbelief, I asked the employee if it was like this the day before, he stated that the reason they had a line like the one we were in was due to the fact that they had all the attendees IN the store AT THE SAME TIME. He said that people were packed like sardines, rubbing elbows and all the descriptions you can name in describing a crowded situation.

"No cut-sies!"

So that explains the velvet rope. It also demonstrates just how much Lego is becoming more popular as the years go by. I got re-acquainted with the world of Lego almost a couple of years ago, so I missed all the hoopla of the grand opening for the Lego Store at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, back in January of 2001,  which was not far from the Costa Mesa location. Never in my childhood would I have dreamed that I could build my favorite Disney movies out of Lego or Star Wars for that matter, thanks to the licensing power that The Lego Group has amassed over the years. Not to mention the DVD movies or how could I forget….a theme park.

And what about all the photo albums on Flickr and other photo sharing websites that showcase all the various types of  Lego genres from the young and the young-at-heart Lego builders. After hours and ogling Flickr accounts, my son and I were hooked. Ok, I now fully understand why we had to wait 45 minutes to gain entry for The Lego Store. Besides, it was a whole decade before Orange County, Ca received its 2nd Lego Store.

How many pieces am I?

 

 

 

It’s raffle time.

Yesssss!!!!!!!!!! We made it in. It was crowded so you could not run yourself ragged and sucking up the newness of the store, but we were finally inside. Another way of celebrating the grand opening, was a raffle by guessing how many bryxx made up the most famous Mandalorian ever in the Star Wars universe. The prize is a $50 gift card to be used at any Lego Store location. I had made my guess based on the amount of Lego that it took to create this guy, but Boba Fett looked a little bit smaller in girth compared to the Firefighter at the Toys R Us store in Cerritos, Ca.

I chose a smaller amount, filled out the form, made my guesstimate and dropped the slip in the box. Truth be known, it was another reason for my attending the event. $50 in store credit will be very welcomed since my son has more than shared his interest in the up-coming brand new genre of  the “Alien Conquest” building sets that are due to hit retail in July.

DO NOT ADJUST YOUR MONITORS!

The Pick-A-Brick section.

When we were back in line waiting to be the next ones to walk through the entrance, we could barely see the contents of the store itself, however, what was prominent to me was the PAB display that was way in back of the store; and what appears to be a well-lit PAB display which is how my eyes caught it…all the way from the front of the store. Not sure if this is exclusive to the Costa Mesa location, but I’ve never seen lit bins at both the Downtown Disney or Ontario Mills locations. I just thought it made a great pic.

And of course, what would a trip to the Lego Store be without leaving with a cup full of Legos. I got my money’s worth and then some. For full details of my score, read here.

Something for Jr.

My son wasn’t able to join us for the festivities and frankly, he would not have done well with all the waiting in line and the crowds in the store but I didn’t want to leave there empty-handed since I had a great score at the PAB section. Plus, I had $5 in VIP points to use up….so why not?  He also had $20 coming to him from his Aunt from up North. What to get him was a no-brainer. The boy wants collectible minifigures. The problem is, I don’t know which ones and for those that are not “in the know”, they are all sealed in the same packaging with no hint to what lies inside.

In order to find out which minifigs are in the package, one needs to feel around the packaging for specific accessories that pertain to the figure that you’re looking for. I wasn’t about to deal with that noise like I did when I found Series 2, if you guys remember that, not on that day.

His Uncle picked him up a Lego coin bank and I got him a Ninjago Spinjitsu Minifigure. There were about 3 different types of  Spinjitsu’s and because of my collective nature, I grabbed the figure that was the least available hanging on the pegs. It was a black Ninja and its name  happened to share my son’s middle name: Cole, which I didn’t notice until I got home to take it out of the bag. Awesome! All in all, it was a great day had by all. I for one am glad that there are now 2 different locations in somewhat a close proximity to each other.

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.

Lego Staircases: The first step.

Posted in art, Building Toys, Lego, Toys with tags , , , , , , , on October 19, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

 

Where's the bathroom?

How’s that for an optical illusion? Look familiar? It’s a Lego rendition of  Escher’s “Relativity”. This particular piece was done by Andrew Lipson and Daniel Shiu. For more mind-bending Lego artwork like the above, click here.

This particular post is about my learning of building staircases. In a previous post about my ongoing (and monstrous) MOC Space Police HQ project, I mentioned that it is going to be a 2 level layout and somewhere amidst the build, I’m going to incorporate a staircase along w/a working hand-crank elevator. However, I was a bit stumped about how I was going to achieve this since I’ve never encountered an official Lego set that featured one, let alone…an MOC.

Problem solved…maybe.

Lego StairsSeveral months back before I properly…er, somewhat  planned out my  HQ, I made a visit to the Lego Store at the Ontario Mills Mall in Ontario, Ca. I checkout out their PAB section and was shocked to discover a bin of what appeared to be these staircases that were 1 whole piece. In my excitement, I picked up as much as I could cram in the larger sized PAB cup and filled it with other bricks on interest that was offered.

When it was actual time to properly plan out the HQ in regards to the color schematic, I was not particularly interested in using the stairs due to the fact that they were black, since the colors that I was using were light bluish-gray and dark bluish gray bryxx. Using the black staircases at this point would be a no-no for me…design wise, they would stand out in an unflattering way.

This just in…

No kidding, as I was looking online for a decent pic of the black staircase that I featured above, I checked out bricklink.com and found the exact same staircase in the dark bluish-gray color. Hallelujah….right? Meh. I’m one detailed oriented son-of-a-gun and no longer did the staircase find a place in my heart or in my proposed project. I’m ditching the idea of using this design all together.

My research paid off.

The major reason about ditching the staircase is mainly because I found some examples of how to make a more detailed but still elementary staircases about a couple of days ago. I visited another Lego site called brickshelf.com which consists of a gallery of images of legos.

Went to the search window and typed in “staircases” and was met w/some good examples of what I was looking for. Particularly, this tutorial. This is not anywhere close what I have in store for my project but it’s a step (no pun intended) in the right direction of how to begin designing my own staircase. This is one of possibly a few hurdles that I needed to overcome in my project. Now all I gotta do is start tinkering. That’s where the learning/discovering begins.

Dolluck???? What are you talking about,Seb?!?!?!?!?!?

Posted in British Television, Family, Hobbies, Lego, Music, Radio, Robots, Science Fiction, Toys with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

So…no sooner does my son Sebastian discover (and I re-discover) the joy of Lego a little over a year ago, he goes on youtube to watch various vids about them. Stop motion movies, Lego set reviews, home movies, you name it…he watches it; and whatever he watches, he usually builds it so he can have his own out of the plethora of bryxx that we have.

I’m sometimes in the room with him when he’s watching these vids. Some are rather hilarious, some are rather….hmmm- interesting and some are just “zzzz”.

Suffice to say, I am a child of the 70’s myself. The only science fiction/space TV programs that I was exposed to was “The Twilight Zone”, “Star Trek”, “Battle Star Galactica” and “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”.

My son is talking AND building gibberish.

Fast forward to about a month ago, Sebastian announces to me that he’s going to build his very own “Dolluck”.
“A what????”, I ask. “A Dolluck, Dad”. I’m shaking my head as I’m tidying up the kitchen and thinking that he’s having fun with his old man and just making words up, but he’s never been one to do that, so…I just shrug my shoulders and tell him to “have a nice time with building your ‘Dolluck’ “…and yes, it’s pronounced the way it’s spelled, just in case y’all were wondering.

"Dalek...my darling"

Sure enough, my boy returns in about 30 minutes with what appears to be a steampunk version of a vacuum cleaner and what I would imagine…the perfect mate for “Rosie the robot” from the Jetsons – which happens to be another program I used to watch in regards to space, though I wasn’t sure if the “Dolluck” was male or female due to its ambiguity.

“Look at my ‘Dolluck’ , Dad…whatd’ya think?” And like the Dad that I should be, I respond with “Oh….that’s a pretty good “‘Dolluck’ , dude.” Of course in my mind, I have not the slightest clue of what he just showed  me, but like I said….he’s built stuff from youtube before and he’d done a great representation of the things he’s seen, so I wasn’t about to question it, plus – he was quite proud of it and that’s all that matters.

Mystery solved.

Later that night as I walk into the bedroom where Seb is on my PC watching youtube right before I prep him for his evening shower, I hear a somewhat familiar theme song. “Bubba”, (my nickname for him), how on earth do you know of this show???? I don’t even know this show”. I was just familiar with the theme song since it was sampled in a song called “Doctorin’ the Tardis” by The Timelords which received heavy FM radio airplay on our alternative-rock station KROQ in the late 80’s. The song also mimicked Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll-Part 2”

“Dad, this is where the ‘Dolluck’ came from”. I peer into the monitor…low and behold I see the words “Dr. Who: Dalek” plain as day. Needless to say…I was dumbfounded, flabbergasted and any multi-syllable words of “duh” that you can think of. I can barely make out the good Dr. if he was in a line up and if you asked me to single him out….let alone a Dalek. I never watched the show, I just knew of the theme song as mentioned above.

Yes, the pieces are mix & match colorwise due to not having the particular parts in certain colors, but dang…my boy did a great microscale of the Dalek, thanks to him finding a video on how to build one out of Lego.

EXTERMINATE!

Lego Sale at Toys R Us. (Bricktober)

Posted in Lego, Saving Money, Toys, Video Games with tags , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

What’s better than your favorite Lego sets of any genre? When they’re ON SALE. October is “Bricktober” at TRU in the U.S. and they are celebrating by giving away some Lego Minifigure magnets w/selected purchases plus a sale on ALL Lego sets and games and on top of that…selected Lego sets to be 30% off of the listed TRU prices.

A great opportunity if you’re a builder who wants to increase your brick inventory for a smaller price per piece ratio. Here’s a link for more info.

Lego MOC: Space Police Sentinel concept…..or is it?

Posted in Building Toys, Family, Lego, Organizing, Pets, Toys with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by zzyzxbryxx

SP sentinel in "flight".

Plenty of light-gray bryxx.

Since my son was the age of 4, he’s acquired a great assortment of Legos. The Star Wars theme was the brunt of it….hmmm go figure. But other themes included; Indiana Jones,Power Miners, Atlantis-to name a few.

But these sets have all since been dismantled in their entirety and have found their way into either some 6 qt. “Sterilite” bins, an official “Lego” sorting cabinet or have “passed” through my 2-year old Shih-tzu….S’mores, which is another post in its entirety, so stay tuned for that. LOL.

Basically, I have amassed the following colors that have made their way into the 6-qt bins that I mentioned above:

  • Black
  • Dark-grey
  • Light gray
  • White
  • Red

Several months back, way before I decided to create this Lego blog, I was digging through the light-gray bin of bryxx and was just placing pieces together…or what I refer to it as… “fartin’ around”. I mean…that’s the way I address it when Sebastian asks me what I’m doing when I’m putting Legos together w/no particular plan in mind. I’m just simply assembling pieces to/with other pieces….farting  around.

So after 20 minutes or so of “farting around”, I came up with what I posted above. At first glance- it’s a ship, but that’s the beauty of Lego…it can be whatever I want it to be, but for now….let’s just call it a ship-a “sentinel” to be exact.

"Honey....you've shrunk my cruiser!"

This is considered a “micro-scale” build which means that it’s too micro to fit a minifigure in it. In order for me to fit a minifigure to pilot this thing, I would have to build it at least 4 times the size of its current design (oh geez, another project???)….but then with a pilot inside of it, it would cease to be a sentinel.

But what exactly is it????

On my earlier MOC Space Police Jail Cell post, I did mention my Lego Genre of choice is indeed…the Space Police. Not sure if sales of  the current wave of Space Police sitting on the toy shelves will dictate that we see a third wave of this 3rd go-around of the Space Police…but I will continue to build all things related to them after the genre goes the way of the doh-doh. After all, there are some breath-taking MOC’s (courtesy of Peter Reid aka “Legoloverman”) of the very 1st Lego Space theme that were based on the sets back in the late 1970’s.

As far as my MOC…it is a concept of a Space Police sentinel droid which consists of 19 pieces total. It’s a concept for now due to the fact that it could be used for the infamous “Black Hole” gang if I alter the colors and maybe a very few finishing details, but to make the droid go from concept to an official SP sentinel, I would have to change the colors to its common white with black elements with red & blue sirens affixed.

Most of my concepts will be in (but not limited to) the light-gray, dark gray or black since I have a vast array of different pieces in those colors kept in the bins mentioned above.

I got a couple more MOC’s to showcase which were created  around the same time as the sentinel, so keep an eye out for those as well.

Brick On!