Brickcon 2012

I just attended the longest consecutive running LEGO convention in North America. Brickcon 2012 was the 10th anniversary of North-West Brickcon. The link between LEGO and Science Fiction and Fantasy is undeniable. In fact, Brickcon is responsible for hooking me up with Stack Exchange in the first place. I became aware of LEGO Answers SE thanks to a Facebook post by Mellissa McConnell after last year’s convention. It was just a matter of time before I wandered over to the Science Fiction & Fantasy site.

This year’s event drew more than 470 convention attendees and over 12,100 visitors during the 12 hours of public viewing. Held in Seattle at the Exhibition Hall from Oct. 4-7, it brought together people from around the globe. Sweden, England, New Zealand, South America and Canada all sent representatives to rub shoulders with their American counterparts.


Superman and Wonder Woman’s family dynamic.
Venom defeats Spider-man.


The energy level when I walked into the Exhibition Hall was palpable. These people were stoked, and rightly so. They came to play, and they came to show you how well they play. But there is more to a Lego Convention than just showing your projects to the world. There is a camaraderie that exists between builders. Sure, they want to show you what they built, but they also want to see what you have come up with. They feed off each other a lot like we here at do. Someone gets inspired, and then everybody gets inspired.

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy dispose of some unneeded personnel.

The themes were many and varied. They ranged from architecture to art. Castles and Superheroes. Microscale and macroscale creations abounded. The Best in Show model was a breathtaking version of Hogwarts Castle, but it could have easily been the 14 foot tall Space Needle, or the 20,000 piece Bat-Cave. Once you throw away the instructions that come with the sets, anything goes.


The Space Needle.


Thursday and Friday were spent checking in and setting up, though some MOCs weren’t actually completed until moments before the doors opened to the public on Saturday morning. But, like I said, Brickcon is more than just showing your model to the world. Seminars and contests for the attendees take place throughout the weekend. Each conventioneer gets a “goody” bag and an engraved Lego badge that allows them “back stage” access to a side of the convention the general public doesn’t get to see. In fact, some builders shy away from the press of the crowds during the public viewing portion of the event, choosing to take part in blind builds, bag and box builds and other assorted contests centered on building speed, agility and creative ability rather than bask in the glow of public attention. It’s enough for some to just be there with friends and other like minded individuals that soon become friends.


The micro-scale model of the Brickcon convention.

This year, my MOC was a microscale version of Brickcon. It consisted of Lego tables displaying microscale MOCs while being viewed by miniland scale Lego people. I put the idea out there and before the weekend was done, people from all around the country had added to it. Marianne brought an entire table from California and populated it with models she and her brother had made. Alaskans Breann and Ty pitched in too. Breann added a tiny Bionicle while Ty built an oilrig then added a nanoscale version of it and a miniland version of himself. Fellow Washingtonians Gus and his parents built a dead on Jeep CJ-5 and then whipped up a microscale version to place with the growing micro display. Shawn and Amanda, another couple of locals from Washington and Meg from Colorado also joined in by adding tiny replicas of their models and a risque miniland figure to place in the crowd. It was my first collaborative build, and it went over better than I had imagined. 

The Batcave.

The 20,000 piece Batcave was outstanding. It included interior lighting and all the bells and whistles you could imagine. Here is a link from another Batcave fan that just about says it all. (My photos did not do it justice) From the top to the bottom, Wayne and Carlyle created a masterpiece.

However, this year’s People’s Choice and Best in Show awards went to Alice’s mega Hogwarts Castle. She began building it for last years convention and hasn’t stopped. It is HUGE. It is eye catching, and she nailed it. If you look closely enough, you’ll find what you are looking for.


Best in Show Hogwarts Castle. Oh wait, that’s my micro-scale version.


Here are a couple of shots of Alice’s award winning creation:


Hogwarts Castle.


Hogwarts Castle.

You can find more photos from Brickcon 2012 at FLICKR.

So, to sum it up, if you’ve never been to a Lego convention, you are missing out. The energy levels are high, the entertainment value is well worth the $9 general admission and the experience can be likened to Comic-con. The only thing better than coming to the public display is joining the behind the scenes activities the convention attendees enjoy. It truly is eye candy for all ages. I’ll look for you next year. I’ll be the guy wearing the Major Stackings badge.






Live Chat – Star Trek TOS “And The Children Shall Lead”

Some of the regulars of the Scifi.StackExchange main chat room (Mos Eisley) got together to enjoy (and mock) some Star Trek.
The first episode we watched was And The Children Shall Lead, which is considered one of the worst episodes from the original series.

Star Trek TOS – And The Children Shall Lead.

The USS Enterprise arrives at the planet Triacus. (Stardate 5029.5)

TangoOversway: Oh! Cool! Remastered FX!

OghmaOsiris: The Ship is with updated graphics, right?

TangoOversway: Yes, all space shots are remastered. And cool 70s jumpsuits — before the 70s!

They arrive on the planet’s surface to discover the people are dead and dying.

Jack B Nimble: I would have committed suicide if I’d been wearing those clothes too.

Keen: Why doesn’t the Federation ever establish colonies on planets with plants?

OghmaOsiris: I like that people of the future kept the cool Mod look

Keen: Week in week out, rock planets.

Professor Starnes delivers several mad ravings before succombing to madness (of the space variety?).

OghmaOsiris: WATCH OUT FOR THE GUY IN PINK Nurses of the future will kill ya

Jack B Nimble: Kirk’s bad acting killed him.

Keen: Do people serve in the Federation so they don’t have to wear those terrible jumpsuits?

OghmaOsiris: They sign up and put their name in for a lottery. The ones with bad luck get the red shirts. Another clown school drop out

Spock attempts to take readings from the planet.

Jack B Nimble: This planet gets terrible reception

Keen: Hit the TV, that’ll fix it!

To the surprise of the crew, all of the children are alive and unaffected by whatever travesty occured here.

OghmaOsiris: Play with us….forever and ever!

Keen: Kirk is not amused by your playtime shenanigans

Jack B Nimble: Some of those kids look a little old to be playing ring around the rosy

Keen: Space children are stunted developmentally.

TangoOversway: Kirk is upset because he feels the shenanigans are his privilege.

The opening credits.

Jack B Nimble: Did I just hear a split infinitive?

TangoOversway: Oh, remastered theme song, too!

OghmaOsiris: HA! I actually laughed when I heard the theme music start to play lol What happened to the Theramin?

The Enterprise crew buries the dead.

Jack B Nimble: Lining up the tomb stones with the mounds would have been too hard.

Keen: Looks like they turned everyone into tiny piles of dirt.

OghmaOsiris: Why wouldn’t they bury their people back on earth?

Keen: Did they steal the dehydrating weapon from Batman?

The children continue to display no remorse for death of their parents. McCoy speculates they are suffering from amnesia due to the tramatic event.

OghmaOsiris: Children these days No respect, I tells ya

Keen: In the 2100’s, we kids respected our elders!

OghmaOsiris: Damnit Jim!

Keen: We also starved to death when our parents died and left us behind….

Jack B Nimble: I forget, is McCoy a medical doctor or a phychiatrist?

OghmaOsiris: I like how a “Doctor” in the future meant an expert in every medical field ever

Keen: Haha, what the hell kind of flag is that?!

Kirk starts to feel anxiety after entering the cave.

OghmaOsiris: “Someone messed with my presets…” “MCCOY!!!”

Keen: Kirk’s going to start dancing….

OghmaOsiris: The LSD is kicking in

TangoOversway: I’m getting a feeling of anxiety from the writing in this place.

Spock continues to scan the cave to try and determine the source of the anxiety.

OghmaOsiris: Silly humans.

Jack B Nimble: It must have been convenient for the tv crew to have Spock carrying around a DAT tape during all the filming.

The children have been brought aboard the Enterprise. Nurse Chapel offers to give the children ice cream.

Keen: Does that girl have flowers pinned to her dress? I guess the tailors were also high in the 60’s.

TangoOversway: That wasn’t a computer lady. It’s Nurse Chapel. And she was married to Gene Roddenberry at the time.

Keen: Exactly, she was the computer in later Treks.

OghmaOsiris: You mean the voice of the computer? And Luxuiana Troi

TangoOversway: Oh, the voice work. She was the computer in this series, too.

Jack B Nimble: After serving with Captain Kirk she requested to be turned into a mindless computer.

OghmaOsiris: Dr. Sung helped.

They (the children obviously) are treated to ice cream while the crew tries to figure out what happened.

OghmaOsiris: So there WERE replicators in TOS

Keen: And spanking them didn’t calm them down, Jim!

OghmaOsiris: Now he’s a pediatrician…

Jack B Nimble: The drugs seem to be working though.

OghmaOsiris: “God I hate kids…” Kirk sleeps with her in 3…2…

Keen: The computer lady made a terrible mistake when she fed all the kids only ice cream. Good luck keeping the kids calm now.

OghmaOsiris: This episode is like a Benneton ad…

Keen: On the other hand, being able to just eat ice cream for meals is another sign that the Federation is a utopia.

Jack B Nimble: Without gaining any weight.

Kirk questions the oldest boy (Tommy) about the cave and death of his father. Tommy talks back to Captain Kirk.

Keen: Kirk’s never going to get the truth out of this ginger.

Jack B Nimble: Lousy redhead is a trouble maker.

OghmaOsiris: Ginger on the loose

After the adults leave, the children gather in a circle and begin to chant.

Jack B Nimble: Oh I see, they are a coven of witches.

OghmaOsiris: Light as a feather stiff as a board….light as a feather stiff as a board…

Gorgon, a shimmering figure, appears as a result of the chanting. He tells the children no one will tell them where to go or what to do anymore.

Keen: So the villain [of] this episode is Bloody Mary? Err, I guess it’s evil Pavarotti.

OghmaOsiris: Chef Boyardee! Is he wearing a couch?

Keen: “no one will tell us where to go” except me…

Jack B Nimble: The writers were only able to come up with two descriptive nouns. Friends and enemies.

Keen: Sounds like the kids joined a cult.

Jack B Nimble: The friends of our enemies are not in fact friends but enemies of the friends which we think are our enemies while also not being friends.

On the bridge of the Enterprise. Sulu: “Maintaining standard orbit, Captain.”

OghmaOsiris: Oh myyyyyyyy

Keen: Finally we get to see the bridge crew! Chekov, say ‘nuclear wessels’! He didn’t associate it with that godawful purple jumpsuit?

OghmaOsiris: I swear, when I watched the TOS movies, they made EVERY possible excuse to make Chekov say wessles

The bridge crew examines some of Professor Starnes’ tapes. “I’ve felt a certain growing feeling of uneasiness.”

Keen: I think that’s a clear sign of a mentally imbalanced person.

Jack B Nimble: He should be most uneasy about his outfit.

TangoOversway: Glad I have the Writer’s Guide to show he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Is that pink, puse, or purple? (His outfit, that is.)

OghmaOsiris: Muave

Jack B Nimble: TangoOversway, The answer is “yes.”

Keen: In all these videos he’s standing in front of the sky or rocks. Did they not have housing?

Tommy suddenly appears on the bridge. “Captain, after we leave here, can you take us to Marcos Twelve?”

Jack B Nimble: Here comes fists of fury.

OghmaOsiris: rock paper scissors, shoot! GINGER

Keen: Did…did that ginger just [obscene gesture] away the scientist’s video…

OghmaOsiris: So, what does Spock…do?

Keen: Make Sulu say ‘Oh my’.

OghmaOsiris: I know he’s science officer, but it seems that McCoy is doing all the science

Jack B Nimble: As with every military vessel, children are allowed to roam around care free.

Jack B Nimble: Even on the bridge.

Keen: Worked for Wesley on the Enterprise D. Wait, no it didn’t. It proved to be a terrible idea.

More children appear on the bridge and through a series of hand gestures are able to hyponotize most of the crew. Sulu causes the Enterprise to break orbit.

Jack B Nimble: Sulu is stoned at work again.

Keen: That ginger’s making obscene gestures again.

Jack B Nimble: These are the children of the corn.

OghmaOsiris: And, all the other crew who are watching what the kids are doing just stand there, lol

Jack B Nimble: Hopefully Spock will jetison them into space.

Keen: It’s the only logical thing to do.

Down in Engineering another kid influences the crew. Mister Scott walks in and discovers the ship has left orbit.

OghmaOsiris: Red shirts.

OghmaOsiris: Death in 3….2….

Keen: Red shirt on red shirt violence! NO ONE WINS.

Keen: Oh man, Scotty put the smack down on that red shirt. I was hoping for an insta-kill. 🙁

OghmaOsiris: I like that hitting someone in the back knocks them out

Keen: When you can do that, who needs a Vulcan Neck Pinch?

TangoOversway: Because when they use a neck-pinch, it’s non-violent and Vulcans are pacifists.

In Kirk’s quarters Kirk, Spock, and McCoy continue to review the professor’s log. “I’m being influenced to do things that do not make sense.”

OghmaOsiris: Was the music part of the record?

Keen: Spock’s got quite the mancrush on that guy.

TangoOversway: Whatever overwhelmed them was probably the bad writing.

Keen: Spock was practically shaming Kirk into being a better scientist. Now McCoy’s an anthropologist.

TangoOversway: It’s a slash thing. And McCoy leaves like a hurt puppy with his tail between his legs.

Kirk orders two red shirts to beam down to the planet, a planet to which the Enterprise is no longer in orbit.

Keen: Yup, Kirk just offed two red shirts by spacing them.

Jack B Nimble: Transport them into space!

TangoOversway: What’s weird is the transporter room wasn’t always purple.

Keen: TangoOversway, It’s another sign that everyone’s high.

OghmaOsiris: Dead and they didn’t even get a moving part

Jack B Nimble: Transporter operator “We don’t need to initiate a beam before energizing. Energize away!”

TangoOversway: They’re not dead — they haven’t been in space even 25 seconds.

Keen: I was hoping they’d show the two dead guys out in space when Spock turned on the viewscreen.

TangoOversway: Quick, Spock! Beam them back aboard!

OghmaOsiris: So… the computer didn’t tell them that there was no planet for them to beam down to?

TangoOversway: The Angel kept them from seeing it.

Keen: They’re red shirts, you can only allot so much time trying to save them.

Back on the bridge Gorgon appears to everyone.

OghmaOsiris: Witches!

TangoOversway: OghmaOsiris, don’t give them that much credit!

Keen: Who you gonna call?

OghmaOsiris: Couch Boyardee is back!

Jack B Nimble: I say they self destruct the ship and call it a day.

Keen: It’s the only way to be sure.

OghmaOsiris: Make them take the Kobiashi Maru 8 year olds obviously know how to pilot a ship

Sulu (and others) are hypnotized and begin to see some of their fears.

Keen: No, not the space swords! Noooooo

Jack B Nimble: Our ship is no match for giant swords.

OghmaOsiris: A fencer’s worst nightmare!

Ohura sees herself aging in a mirror.

OghmaOsiris: MY hAir

Keen: Where did that mirror come from?!

Jack B Nimble: Ohura is so vain, to have a mirror right at her station

OghmaOsiris: And they were worried about having a woman on the bridge…

TangoOversway: And it could have been done so much better — no mirror until the kids do their stuff. Notice there’s no mirror in the shot where Kirk is there. Just in the close up.

Keen: This entire episode could have ended in 5 minutes if Kirk had simply spanked the evil out of all the kids.

OghmaOsiris: No belts in the future.

Kirk struggles with Sulu in an effort to return the ship to the planet.

Keen: Why don’t they mind control Kirk?

Jack B Nimble: Were those swords digitally remastered?

OghmaOsiris: Seriously, why doesn’t Sulu figure out that flying swords in space isn’t that scary?

Keen: He’s got a crippling case of space-swordphobia.

TangoOversway: Because Kirk is just so awesome you can’t mind control him. Oh, wait.

Kirk attempts to confront Tommy.

Jack B Nimble: Why doesn’t he punch the redhead in the face?

Keen: Kirk, just backhand the ginger.

OghmaOsiris: Right in the nads.

Keen: Kirk’s really got to go to the bathroom. Excellent, this is Shatner’s time to AAAACCCCTTT!

KIRK “I’m losing command. I’m losing the Enterprise. The ship is sailing on and on. I’m alone. Alone. Alone. I’m losing command.”

OghmaOsiris: I love you Spock.

Jack B Nimble: Kirk’s mind and ego is so fragile. It’s just sad.

Keen: He stops hugging Spock as he ‘regains command’.

Jack B Nimble: Forever lost? In Space? That is the wrong TV show Scotty

OghmaOsiris: Scotty looked better fat with a stache lol

Kirk attempts to reestablish control of the bridge.

OghmaOsiris: Kill the children! Especially the ginger!

Jack B Nimble: I was in favor of killing the children from the moment I saw them.


OghmaOsiris: These boots are made for walking.

Keen: It’s a shame this is a space ship and not a democracy.

TangoOversway: Idiot ginger. Horizontal stripes make you look fat — oh, wait, he’s beanpole thin, he needs to look fat.

Keen: Kirk, spin the chair around, make the ginger dizzy! I’d be afraid to be seen if I dressed like couch boyardee too.

Gorgon appears. Spock plays back another recording of the people on the planet.

Keen: Evil always gets the cool clothes.

Keen: It’s a good thing all Federation officers receive top-of-the-line hand to hand combat training, or that could have been ugly.

OghmaOsiris: I’m glad Spock kept that recording on a flash drive. It really saved the situation

Keen: Muumuus still don’t look good 200 years from now.

Jack B Nimble: I guess we won’t use the giant view screen.

Life as it was on Triacus.

Keen: What the, they have a space igloo!

TangoOversway: See- there’s housing there, in the background!

Keen: How do they all live in that tiny thing?

TangoOversway: That dome, that’s barely taller than the kids, can house an entire family.

Jack B Nimble: This is a very close community

TangoOversway: They’ve used domes like that for sets in other episodes. I think they usually were above a stairway leading into the ground or something like that.

Jack B Nimble: I’m disappointed only two redshirts have died so far. But I’m also elated they were killed by Kirk.

After being reminded of their lives with their parents the children breakdown into emotional wreaks. McCoy “They’re crying, Jim. I don’t know how it happened, but it’s good to see. “

Keen: Nothing makes McCoy’s day quite like children crying.

Jack B Nimble: Thanks for your opinion “doctor.”

OghmaOsiris: Now he’s a nanny

The other episode we watched that evening was Space Seed, which Netflix incorrectly classifies as a prequel to the Wrath of Khan.
That is like saying Batman Begins is a prequel to The Dark Knight. Stay tuned (the correct frequency is 7) to your inter-webs to catch the transcript from that episode.

Here is a preview: “Khaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnn!” (Not actually in that episode.)

All images pulled from TrekCore

iPad PADD application: disappointing

Ever since it was released, the iPad has been compared to Star Trek’s PADD – the “personal access display device” used since the original series.  The official iPad PADD app (from CBS Interactive) brings the PADD-iPad loop full circle by turning an iPad into a PADD simulator (US$5 in the App Store).

The interface of the app mimics the LCARS (Library Computer Access and Retrieval System) interface that was used in The Next Generation.  This is well done, with appropriate sound effects, Majel Barrett‘s voice, and good-looking graphics.  The only complaint I have here is that the app doesn’t rotate to portrait (which PADDs in TNG certainly did). Note that while it looks authentic, this is mostly cosmetic – tapping an image of a cast member will take you to the cast index page, not the page specific to that character, for example, and many areas you would expect to be ‘hot’ do nothing at all.

The app provides access to the information available on (aliens, locations, technology, and an episode guide).  This is the most disappointing aspect of the app —one of the reasons that I purchased it was that I hoped it would be a useful reference source for answering [tag]star-trek[/tag] questions; unfortunately the information available is extremely limited and superficial.  If the app was an interface to Memory Alpha or Wikipedia, it would contain a wealth of information, in an attractive interface (and would be much closer to the actual PADD).  Although Memory Alpha’s content is only available under a non-commerical license (non-commerical and Star Trek merchandising are rather like matter/antimatter), I think Wikipedia’s content could have been included (supplementing the official content) and would have significantly increased the amount of information available.

Personally, I would have preferred if the links went beyond Star Trek information, and if this was a LCARS interface to a true encyclopedia (Wikipedia would suffice).  There are plenty of other Wikipedia browsers, but this one would hold a certain fan appeal.  I doubt I would use it for most Wikipedia searches, but it would appropriately set the mood when doing Star Trek research.

The app description does say “The official Star Trek PADD app database does not contain all information within the Star Trek Universe.  We will continue to update the database as information becomes available”.  I’m hoping that they do mean the whole universe here (and not simply whatever is available on, and I’m hopeful (but skeptical) that there will be regular updates that significantly increase the amount of content available.

I’m keeping the app installed on one of my iPads for now, but I suspect that I’ll rarely use it, and when I next purge unused apps, it’s likely to go.  If you’re only interested in the cosmetic appeal, or if the shallow information available at is all you’re interested in, then it might be worth $5 to you.

%d bloggers like this: