Home One built with 30,000 Legos

From Geekologie – some completely insane genius constructed Home One – the Mon Calamari capital ship from “Return of the Jedi” – as a seven-foot-long structure comprised of 30,500 Legos.

I’ve long been envious of Lego engineers – but this thing is just miles beyond amazing. It’s even got a light system.

Epic 30,500 Piece LEGO Star Wars Ship – Geekologie.

I like it better than the Lego version of General Greivous’ ship that Geekologie posted about in January of ’08:


But they’re both pretty amazing.

Update: Coraline popup construction

Popup house planning - 3/7/09 updateHey, first post for awhile… I was out of town for the first three days of this week at a training conference (which was actually really good), but during some of the spare time I have had I’ve been doing a little more work on the “Coraline” pop-up diorama project I started last month.

Most notably, I think I’ve basically completed the planning for the house; that’s a big step, because it should prove to be the most time-consuming layer to complete (although I’m still tossing around some ideas in my head on how, exactly, I’m going to do the sky…). You can take a look at where that stands here.

I also did a construction mockup for one of the “lids” to the pop-up; the 65-pound cardstock I’m going to use for a lot of the primary construction would be too flimsy to support the weight of the diorama layers, so the two outer layers are going to be backed with foamcore for stability and strength.

However, I didn’t want to just slap a piece of foamcore onto the back side of each lid of the popup and call it done; that would’ve looked incredibly sloppy. So I decided to wrap the foamcore in paper so it would have a nice, consistent edge.

I wanted to build a mockup of one of the backer boards, just to test out the concept and see how it would turn out before being in position to do a live run on the final project. I initially cut two 8.5×11 pieces of foamcore, intending to wrap them and end up with a standard letter-sized final product. But the paper I wanted to use for the wrap was also 8.5×11 – and that obviously wouldn’t work. So I decided on a final size of 7 9/16 x 10 1/16 inches; it allows for a standard letter-sized page to be cut and scored so it can cover the 3/8-inch edges of the foamcore and leave a quarter inch flap to glue to the back of the foamcore and secure the edge.

The mockup I built is blue; the final product will be black, but I didn’t see myself using this particular pattern of paper very often, so I used it instead. I didn’t think to take any pictures of the build process; I’ll do that when I’m assembling the final product.

I think it turned out really well; it was good practice using a bone scorer, which I’ve only used a few times now (and yes, I learned you can tear through paper if you push too hard with the scorer – valuable lesson for the final product), and I learned that the Elmer’s glue stick I raided from Helen’s art box dries *way* too fast to be useful for a precision project. And I’ll want to be a bit more careful with the corners, although the ones on the mockup turned out pretty well.

I attached a piece of cardstock to the mockup just to see how it would fit; the cardstock is a 16th of an inch narrower than the backer board, because I wanted to leave some room for the hinge attaching the final pieces together. On the final product, I think I’ll make it an additional 1/16th of an inch narrower and an eighth of an inch narrower on the long side, too – to leave a 1/16th-inch border around the entire area. That’ll look really nice.

So – final dimensions for the actual popup are going to be 9-15/16 inches wide by 7-7/8 inches deep.

This is really starting to come together, especially considering I really haven’t done anything quite like this before. Hopefully the final product measures up, but so far I’m excited about the progress.

Book-nerd freak out: Madrid 2016

Somebody posted a variety of pictures from Madrid’s bid book for the 2016 Olympic games. It’s beautiful; I want one, just to look at.

I miss designing publications. 🙁

ADDITION: killer – the Madrid bid committee has the three volumes of the bid book available in their entirety in PDF format on its web site, here. Furiously downloading as I type this…

ADDITION 2: OK, now I have go to get the bid books for the other host finalists Chicago; Rio de Janiero; and Tokyo.

“Watchmen” prep work completed

Who watches the Watchmen?

Who watches the Watchmen?

We’re a little over a week out from the opening of “Watchmen,” a movie I’m more excited to see than any other in a long, long time. I didn’t even have this level of anticipation for “The Dark Knight.” I finished my pre-screening homework tonight, completing my first read of my 20-year-old trade paperback collection of the 12-issue limited series that spawned the film.

I hadn’t read “Watchmen” in I’m  honestly not sure how long; it’s been 15 years at the absolute least, and likely closer to 20 at this point. There were things I recalled – vague recollections and bits-and-pieces flashes triggered by the various trailers for the film playing everywhere you look – but I had forgotten even more, to the point that this latest read was all but new material.

Moreso than the details of the story, I had forgotten just how absolutely brilliant “Watchmen” is. After I finished it tonight, I wondered if I had even realized what a masterpiece it was when I first read it. I know I enjoyed it; I’m just not sure I was at a place in my life to actually get it. I think I get it now. And it’ll certainly be less than 15 years before I read it again to test whether I am correct.

Setting aside the source material — material which, as time goes on, seems increasingly regarded as one of the 20th centuriy’s finest literary works — the advance material for the film makes it seem as if its creators have crafted a movie that should be tremendously entertaining to watch. Reading the source material again, and you realize quickly the enormity of the task they’ve taken upon themselves in rendering this story to film.

I find that it’s necessary to always keep expectations in check for movies, because at some step in the evolutionary food chain of films, there always seems to be someone intent on screwing things up to please a focus group or appease an investor. Some broken cog in the machine not allowing movies to be what they could be, out of fear or ignorance or a simple grab for a bigger piece of the box office pie. Whatever the cause, disappointment and letdown seem far more frequent reactions than having that thought enter your mind that this time, by jove, they’ve done it.

If they should fail, or succeed even on some marginal level, “Watchmen” will still probably turn out to be a, pardon the pun, watchable and perhaps even enjoyable movie.

But what if Zach Snyder, the director of “Watchmen,” pulls this off? What if he has legitimately succeeded in translating this work to the big screen in such a way that the film reflects the greatness of the comic book series?What if it really is the film adaptation of this comic book that we’ve all played through in our minds while reading the story?

What if he’s done it?

My homework is done… Now I just need a ticket so I can see for myself.

Tapping the Vein, two weeks early

Earlier this afternoon, I received an e-mail from an indy record store in Philadelphia called IsoTank (visit them here) letting me know that the new CD “Another Day Down” by Tapping the Vein was in stock and ready to ship.

The cool thing about this? The release date for “Another Day Down” was supposed to be March 10 – hopefully IsoTank, from which I’ve purchased each of the other three TTV CDs I own, really did get it early, because the last CD from this band came out in the distant past of 2002. I’ve been waiting for new stuff from them for a long time.

While I patiently camp my mailbox waiting for this CD to arrive; it would be a pleasant surprise to have it show up earlier than I had been planning.

In the meantime, if you haven’t heard of Tapping the Vein, you can check out some of their music – including a couple of tracks from “Another Day Down” – on their MySpace page.

Good times – the sordid history of andybartlett.com

I had forgotten all about the Internet Archive Wayback Machine until I was working on updating the “About” page for this web site (changing my theme today, and thusly having the “About” page info show up in the site’s footer, made me realize I had forgotten about it when I relaunched ab.com); it’s an Internet archive of the lameness that has traditionally been my personal web space.

Check out out here: http://web.archive.org/web/*/andybartlett.com

You can see I basically did nothing for a long time; made a relatively decent effort to get something going in 2004; continued that into 2005, and then followed my usual pattern and saw things kaplode. 😛 The archive doesn’t track when this site switched from dot com to dot net due to my horrid experience with the thieves at register.com, so there are some things in the 2006-07 range that are likely just gone. Which is probably fine – I’m sure those things sucked anyway.

I found my experimentation with content managers interesting; Blogger in 2002, pMachine in 2004, etc. I’m enjoying WordPress right now, but there will probably be something new at some point in the future. Stuff changes all the time; but somehow, there’s a site like the Wayback Machine recording your experiments for all eternity. Good times.

I just wish it had my old-school sites archived from when I was a student at Kansas State; those would be fun to look at again.

Alex Rodriguez’s story starts to unravel

So, it turns out that the admissions of guilt given by Alex Rodriguez during his interview with Peter Gammons are mostly turning out to be egregious and verifiable lies. This gets better all the time. Rodriguez has hired a half-dozen PR firms to help him with this; I’m not sure why they haven’t been able to hammer into his head the one truth about things like this. “The act gets you in far less trouble than do your efforts to cover up that act.” He’s digging his own grave here.

Primobolan, drug Alex Rodriguez used, not available for legal purchase in the Dominican Republic – ESPN.

Construction planning for the “Coraline” house

Coraline house - startI began the process of designing and planning the construction of the house for the “Coraline” popup diorama I’m working on; it’s proving to be more straight-forward than I had originally thought it might be. I’ve spent about an hour and a half getting it to this point; it shouldn’t take more than a few hours more to complete it. Then I’ll plot out the other three layers and begin construction. Should be fun.

The roof overlay will need to be reworked a little; I didn’t catch the little area of roof that’s visible between the turret and the front eave, and I’ve lost a little detail there. Will be easy to fix. Then I’ll need to work out which details I’ll build up with paper and which will be added in with score lines or colored pencils or watercolors later; at this point, the majority of the major features look like they’ll work well as paper. Will adjust as necessary during construction.

I’m liking how this is going so far. It should be a fun project to complete.

Coraline house planning - layer plans

A new “worst movie of all time” champion

There is a new king! “Love Actually” has held the crown of “Worst Movie Andy Has Ever Seen” for quite some time; that film supplanted the absolutely ghastly “House of the Dead,” which also held the crown for a significant period of time before being toppled by “Love Actually.”

Well, there is a new champion. The 2008 remake of the mid-80s camp horror classic, April Fool’s Day, has stormed to the top of my personal Worst Film of All Time charts with a bullet.

I’m not even sure where to begin with this movie. The acting is absolutely horrendous – I literally almost quit on this movie during the first 10-15 minutes of exposition and character introductions, and I only stayed with the movie knowing there was a good chance every one of them would eventually be killed.

The characters are not remotely believable; they’re so over the top and in-your-face that they’re more caricatures than characters. The completely fake-gay gossip blogger is the worst of the bunch; every second he talked on screen made me want to kick a puppy. In fact, he’s so bad I can’t even readily find him in the cast listing at IMDB.com; there’s no way I’d want to be associated with this movie, so maybe he found a way to purge his involvement. The rest of the cast should be so lucky.

The “plot” is laughable; impossibly rich and impossibly self-absorbed rich kids throw a debutante ball in the Carolinas, and a practical joke against a long-time rival goes horribly awry, leading to a death. A year later, all involved receive “go to the cemetary at noon, I know your secret” cards, and the movie just devolves into nonsense from there. Everybody “dies,” only it turns out at the end of the movie to just be a prank to get the bitch to admit to everyone she’s a bitch. And through one of the most ridiculous setups ever, the bitch is “accidentally” killed so her brother could get his mitts on the inheritance.

It’s horrendous. I really wish I could kill the part of my brain that remembers I’ve seen it. And it’s now officially the worst film I’ve ever seen.