Back Online

You may have noticed this site has been down a lot lately.

The machine that hosted the Brickpile, along with BayLUG and Bricks by the Bay, along with some other personal domains that I and some friends owned, was hacked back in January, and then we got another site up briefly and it too was almost immediately compromised. But now this is the third try, this time hosted on Amazon EC3. Wish me luck.

Speaking of Bricks by the Bay, we’re ramping things up for the convention this year and I’m really excited about it. Come down to Santa Clara in August and spend a weekend immersing yourself in LEGO fan culture! The convention is Thursday through Sunday, August 7-10, 2014, with a Public Exhibition on Sunday. I’m putting the final touches on the registration system for this year now, and we’ll have it open shortly. Check out the Bricks by the Bay website for more information and I hope to see you there!

P.S.: I’m also going to be at Brickworld in Chicago this year, and later in the year BrickCon in Seattle. If you’re going to be there, look for me.

Last chance for Bricks by the Bay convention registration

I just posted this on the Bricks by the Bay site:

The Bricks by the Bay 2013 convention is almost here! I’m so excited – and busy!

If you haven’t registered for the convention yet, please note that we are in our final week of registration. The deadline is this coming Friday at midnight. After that, no badges will be sold! There is no walk-up registration. All our attendees will have custom printed badges made of LEGO bricks and we are doing the final preparations and packaging of the badges and attendee goodies this weekend (let me know if you want to come help out). Badges are currently selling for $70 each and there are 57 (out of 500) remaining as of this writing. Register today!

See the schedule of events for more information about what is going on at the convention.

If you’re not coming to the convention please come to our Public Exhibition, Sunday August 11. Tickets are on sale now for $8 per person (ages 2 and under free). Buy tickets today.

Thank you and hope to see you at the convention or exhibition!

William Ward
Bricks by the Bay, Inc.

BrickLink under new ownership

The online aftermarket LEGO store BrickLink has new owners! For years this online marketplace has been the best place for buying and selling LEGO parts. It was founded and developed by Daniel Jezek, a Czech-born immigrant to the US who ran the site for many years until his tragic death in 2010. The site has been owned by Dan’s parents since then, and administered ably by Eric Smith of Northstar Computer Systems. This week, the family announced that the site has been sold to the founder of an online game company based in Hong Kong, Jung-Ju “Jay” Kim, who is also a long time LEGO fan. You can read more about this on Mariann Asanuma’s post about the transaction. I wish all the best to Daniel’s family and to the new owners of the site.

Heather Nicole Braaten…you are loved

Missing “LEGO Girl” Heather Braaten has been found dead. The LEGO community mourns her loss.

Heather Nicole are loved, a photo by Lino M on Flickr.
Heather Nicole are loved, a photo by Lino M on Flickr.

I never knew her well, but Heather “LEGO Girl” Braaten was a fixture in the Seattle LEGO community and a regular at BrickCon. She went missing last week, and her body has been found. Lino Martins created this tribute image for her and is in touch with her family.

Rest in peace, Heather.

Setting up my LEGO studio

I’m writing this from my new LEGO studio, which is a work in progress that I’m in the process of setting up.

A little backstory: Just under two years ago, my wife Holly and I decided to break up. At first, she stayed in our bedroom, and I moved into the second bedroom. At that time, the second bedroom was a combination office and LEGO room, but to a large extent was really just a storage room. You know how a lot of the time one room in the house becomes the catch-all dumping ground when you need to clean up the rest of the house? That room served that purpose. Anyway, I cleared the junk out of that room, went to IKEA and bought a bed and some other furnishings, and moved into it. In the meantime Holly redecorated what had been our bedroom – I put our queen size bed into storage, and she got a new folding couch/bed and set that room up as her own space. We lived like that for a few months, and then in the spring she had to suddenly move across the country to Pennsylvania to help her mother, who had fallen ill. Although her mother recovered pretty quickly, she stayed there, and rented her own apartment in a nearby town. In the meantime, her room (our old room) was left pretty much as she left it. She flew out to visit once, and stayed in her room, and for a while she was paying me a part of the rent to keep her room available for her.

Eventually it became clear that I should take over the room, but I took a long time to get around to doing it. After living together for 18 years, it was hard for me to make those final steps of moving her out of the house. Finally though, this month, I finished packing up her stuff and putting it into a rented storage unit for her, and in the past few days I’ve been moving my stuff into the room. My LEGO collection had outgrown the two IKEA PAX armoires I was keeping it in, and now having the entire bedroom will allow me to organize things so that everything is easily accessible to me. Moving the LEGO out of my bedroom allowed me to reorganize the room to have a lot more elbow room, and the new LEGO studio is shaping up nicely.

The Advent calendar project, recently finished, was done in the living room until the 22nd day. The last two days were photographed in the studio, and I’ve just finished building my birthday present from Holly – the Battle of Alamut (Set 7573 from the Prince of Persia line). Hopefully with the new studio I will be more active building LEGO. But I have a lot of sorting and organizing to do first…

My MOC featured in Australian housing article

My Yellow Victorian House MOC (“My Own Creation”) has been featured in an article about the housing boom/bubble in Australia. Since I use the Creative Commons licensing for my photos, that’s just fine with me, and they gave my name (“Bill Ward’s brickpile”) so people can easily Google me and find the rest of my work. That’s what Creative Commons is for!

Thanks to Tim “gambort” Gould for pointing this out to me.