January BayLUG meeting

Each year for the past several years, Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group has been invited to hold a meeting at the home of one of our members, Dave Porter, at his house in Woodside, CA. He has a huge LEGO display in his house every year, and we get to see it in person before he takes it down each February.

Dave Porter's home layout

At the meeting we had a lot of people bring their latest models for display, bulk LEGO shopping in Dave’s home office, and of course viewing of Dave’s home layout (pictured above). We also held a business meeting to plan for the Bricks by the Bay LEGO convention which we are organizing for April 2010.

MoAH Display Wrapup

We took down the BayLUG exhibit at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, CA, on Sunday, January 11. I finally got around to dumping the camera today and uploaded the pictures to Flickr. Sorry about the delay.

MoAH Exhibit Teardown

During the teardown phase of any of our train shows, after the crowds are gone, we take down the “sneeze guards” (Plexiglas barriers to keep little hands – and sneezes – off of the LEGO models) and spend about fifteen minutes doing a photo shoot. These pictures are the results of that. I’ve been sick off and on all month so far, and wasn’t feeling too well on that day, so I didn’t get really ambitious with the photography, but hopefully I covered everything.

You can also browse all the pictures from the show or view them as a slideshow.

Our next public event is a meeting at MoAH on Saturday, February 21. Hope to see you there!

BayLUG Exhibit Closes with Record Crowds

We had some great publicity for the exhibit by the Bay Area LEGO Users Group at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, CA for the last few weekends. Lines at MoAH
There were television coverage by two different local stations, articles in the newspaper, and lots and lots of word-of-mouth advertising. We got several new members in the club and lots of people signing up for our club mailing lists or taking business cards home.

I was sick for most of the last two weekends, but did go on Sunday (the last day) and shot some video footage. However, a couple of other club members took photos of the crowds and sent them to me with permission to post online, so I have done so in a Flickr photoset. Please check that out by clicking the photo above, or view it as a slideshow. You can also view all my photos from this exhibit (or as a slideshow).

Next year, we’re not sure if we’ll be able to have the exhibit at the museum! The room is just not big enough to accommodate that kind of crowd. However we’ve already started talking about alternatives that would scale better, so don’t worry… we’ll still have an exhibit. We’re also talking to another museum about having an exhibit this summer but haven’t announced any details yet.

The next public event by BayLUG is our meeting at MoAH on Saturday, February 21 (note: originally scheduled for Sunday the 22nd, but the date has been changed due to a schedule conflict). Hope to see you there!

New LEGO blog: Sariel’s LEGO Technic creations

One of the most well-documented LEGO builders out there is “Sariel,” a Polish LEGO builder specializing in Technic models: construction equipment, trucks, military equipment, etc. They feature a lot of moving parts, often with motorized and/or pneumatic power. He takes excellent quality photos and even has Youtube videos of his models.

Until now, I mostly saw his models on the Klocki blog (pron. “klosskey”) that started in Poland (and written in Polish) but has expanded to an international audience and is also available in English and Portuguese. Sariel was often featured on Klocki along with other great builders from LUGPol, the Polish LEGO user group, and Comunidade 0937, the Portuguese group (hint: look at “0937″ upside-down), as well as other great builders from around the globe.

But now, Sariel has his own blog Sariel.pl: Sariel’s LEGO Technic creations where he will feature his work in great detail. Even if you don’t build Technic, it’s still inspiring. And of course I trust that Klocki will continue to feature his work as well.

BayLUG on TV?

Yesterday, a crew from KTVU channel 2 television came to see the Bay Area LEGO Users’ Group exhibit. Watch this Video on KTVU.com about our exhibit at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto. Russell (the club president) and I weren’t there, but Loren did a great job explaining the exhibit for the camera. I’m sure that must have been nerve-wracking but I think he’s got a great voice for that kind of thing so I’m glad he was willing and available to do it.

I heard that it was going to be on the TV today, but I haven’t heard any details about exactly when. Probably on the news or something. But the way that video clip was put together doesn’t really feel like a news segment to me, so maybe not.

I’m not there right now because I’m home sick with a cold, but hopefully I can be there next weekend – which is our final weekend, by the way! So come on out and see it while there’s still time!

SavaTheAggie’s #2602 Angus 0-8-8-0 Locomotive

I rarely blog about other people’s models, but I wanted to talk a little about the latest work by Anthony Sava (“SavaTheAggie”). It’s the Erie Railroad’s #2602 L-1 Camelback Angus class 0-8-8-0 Steam Locomotive.

Erie 2602 Angus 0-8-8-0

This has got to be one of the ugliest pieces of machinery ever built in real life, but the LEGO model is so well done it’s almost beautiful. Well, almost. :-)

But what I wanted to highlight is the way he posted works in progress as a part of the project. People posted comments about the early versions, and he incorporated some of that feedback into the final design, making it feel much more interactive than most LEGO models that are posted online. I think Flickr is particularly good for this, since we can not only post comments on each photo, we can even draw a box on a particular area of a photo and write a comment (a “note”) for that area.

Personally I’ve never posted works in progress (WIP) pictures online. I think partly it makes me feel more pressure to complete the model. There are a lot of LEGO projects that I start but never carry to completion; if they were posted online I wouldn’t feel like I had the luxury of abandoning it if I hit a dead end or lost interest in it. I have worked on a few models collaboratively with others in person but never online. Who knows, maybe I’ll try it. If posting WIP pictures is at all responsible for the quality of this final model, then it’s probably worth a shot.

Oh, and happy new year everybody!

My license plate: “I ♥ LEGO”

A few years ago I got a special custom California license plate that says “I ♥ LEGO.” And though I’ve had it for several years, I never got around to posting a picture of it online. Well, apparently Flickr user r0wb0t has beat me to the punch. My car was in the parking lot at the Museum of American Heritage as I was helping staff the BayLUG exhibit, and he took a picture of it and put it on Flickr.

My license plate: 'I ♥ LEGO'

I discovered this via the Lego Diem blog.

UPDATE 1/10: another picture of my car has turned up on Flickr.