Month: April 2010

Goodbye, nnenn

Published / by Bill

I was stunned to learn today of the passing of Nate “nnenn” Nielsen in an automobile accident. Keith of the Brothers Brick has posted an excellent eulogy which I encourage you to read along with the many comments from members of the online community included in the post.

It’s relatively rare that we learn of the death of a LEGO hobbyist, but whenever it happens I always wonder what would happen to my collection of bricks after I’m gone? Estate planning is always a touchy subject, but I would encourage everyone to give it some thought, as I will be doing.

And even if you’re not a space builder, consider building a Vic Viper for the Missing Man Fly-In at BrickWorld in Chicago in June or BrickCon in October. Keith is collecting contributions for a group display honoring nnenn’s work.

BBTB: Some good, some bad, some ugly… but mostly great

Published / by Bill / 5 Comments on BBTB: Some good, some bad, some ugly… but mostly great

So, that was what it’s like to run a LEGO convention.

I’m sitting in my hotel room, having just finished up the cleanup after the Bricks by the Bay LEGO convention. It was an amazing experience! The convention itself was so much fun and great to see so many of my ideas coming to life and actually working. We had nine themes, each with its own coordinator and judging categories, keynote speech by LEGO’s EVP-Marketing Mads Nipper, contests and games, and lots of door prizes. And though there were a couple times when I got really stressed out trying to make sure everything went off without a hitch, for the most part it was a seamless experience.

The public day though, was a bit of a debacle. We had such great publicity that the turnout was tremendous. I was interviewed for television several times, and the people came out in droves. People stood in line for hours in the cold and rain and the ballroom was packed elbow-to-elbow so much that we had to stop letting people get in line at 1:30. We had a few irate people after that, but most people understood that even if they got to the head of the line, they wouldn’t be able to stay long since we had to close at 4.

For the most part though, it went pretty well. We had a lot of positive comments and those who did get in seemed to have a great time. I just have to remember to not let a few bad apples spoil the barrel.

I’ll post my pictures online soon but right now I think I just want to rest and recover…


Published / by Bill

I LEGO N.Y. by Christoph Niemann is a book that was released on March 1, 2010. It’s a series of photographs featuring mini NYC vignettes, created entirely out of LEGO pieces! It originated as a blog post on  As far as I know, Niemann isn’t known as an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO, the term used by the adult LEGO hobbyist community).

The book is a board book, printed on thick cardboard pages like a book for children who might be inclined to eat the pages.  There are photos of cute little micro-models of LEGO parts representing aspects of New York culture and life, built usually with just a handful of basic LEGO parts.  It’s certainly not a primer on advanced LEGO building techniques, but instead goes for a very minimalist approach.  Each photo has a handwritten caption saying what it is, and that’s where a lot of the humor often comes from.

There’s no sense of story or continuity; each individual item would stand alone quite well.  In fact this might have been better as a desktop calendar or comic strip format rather than a book.

I’m not a New Yorker, so perhaps I would have appreciated this more if I were.  But while I felt a lot of the little models in the book were very clever, and in some cases hilarious, a number of them just didn’t do much for me.  I think it’s enjoyable for anyone who likes LEGO, especially if you’re a New Yorker or a fan of New York, but I’m not sure it’s worth the $14.95 ($10.17 on Amazon).  I’m not sure it’s something you’d want to read over and over, which is another reason I think a desktop calendar would have been a better format for this.  Anyway, I’m donating my copy to Bricks by the Bay, to be given out as a door prize.  Maybe you’ll win it!

(Disclaimer: I was sent a free review copy of the book, and the Amazon link in this review is an affiliate link.)