Monthly Archives: August 2006

One Year and 500 Posts Later...

This is the 500th post here on The Brothers Brick. Woo hoo! Last month, on July 24, this blog also celebrated its first birthday. Yee haw! (And a happy birthday to pootling today!) Let the long-winded, self-satisfied retrospective post begin…

A lot has changed in the LEGO blogosphere since my first post. When I launched “Dunechaser’s Blocklog,” as it was called back then, I was following the lead of bloggers like Bruce (of VignetteBricks), Jon Palmer (of Zemi.net), and Azumu (of LEGO-BINGO). A year ago, I could count the number of LEGO blogs I knew of on my fingers.

Today, there are over a hundred LEGO blogs in both English and Japanese, with an increasing number of blogs in other languages. Most blogs focus on a particular theme, with MINDSTORMS NXT a very popular subject (traffic to The NXT STEP absolutely dwarfs traffic to this blog). It sometimes seems like I run across a new blog just about every day. The number of blog posts Technorati has tracked that include the word “LEGO” should give you some indication of just how much the LEGO blogosphere has grown in the last year:

The online LEGO community as a whole seems to have changed somewhat over the last year. Although LUGNET, Brickshelf, and forum memberships continue to grow, I sense a shift toward blogging and Flickr (which itself includes many community features).

This blog has also grown substantially. I started out just planning to use my blog to feature my own creations but I quickly started featuring minifigs from other builders. I posted once or twice a week, and both comments and incoming links were rare. I installed StatCounter last December and was surprised to find that there were actually people reading my blog! When my Aztec gods were featured on Boing Boing, traffic spiked dramatically:

The Boing Boing spike hides a slow, steady growth in readership over the last eight months, especially in the number of regular, returning readers (the orange part of the graph):

As I started to post more creations from other builders and began finding and linking to other blogs, many bloggers returned the favor (along with an increasing number of non-LEGO blogs). And as I added more content and the links increased my Google page rank (4, according to PRChecker.info), people began finding this blog in both keyword and image searches:

Readers arrive here from other blogs (Unique Brique Techniques is the top referring LEGO blog), Technorati, search engines (mainly Google), and of course the forums where I post regularly. On any given day, about 250 to 300 of you who visit The Brothers Brick, from all over the world (this doesn’t include those of you reading posts in RSS/Atom feed readers and aggregators like ILENN):

On one hand, it makes me very proud that my little LEGO blog has found a measure of success, but on the other hand, it’s very humbling (and a bit overwhelming) to know that so many people rely on The Brothers Brick for their daily LEGO fix.

I don’t know what the LEGO blogosphere or The Brothers Brick will look like in another year, but it’s been an absolute blast finding and featuring so many cool LEGO creations. Builders, keep building great stuff. And readers, thanks for all your support!

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Momotaro: The Boy Born from a Peach

There once was an old woman who could bear no children. One day, she was washing clothes at the river, when all of a sudden she saw an enormous peach bobbing toward her on the water. The woman was poor and she thought, “That peach will feed me and grandpa for many days.” She caught the peach as it bumped against the shore and carried it home, where she used her biggest kitchen knife to slice into its bright pink flesh.

So begins the tale of “Momotaro,” or “Peach Boy” (well, with a little creative license by yours truly). “Momotaro” is quite possibly the most popular Japanese children’s story. Now, go read the rest of the story!

Back? Izzo has recently recreated Momotaro and his ragtag band of animal warriors in LEGO minifig form:

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Kimodameshi: A Test of Courage on a Hot Summer Night

Darkness falls and the air becomes still. Old ladies fan themselves on balconies and small children run through empty lots catching fireflies. Neon signs and distant fireworks illuminate the night sky, but deep in a bamboo grove on the edge of town, only the full moon’s grey glow shines on the stone graves.

Other children, braver and older than those exclaiming over tiny lights in jars, edge out from the bamboo. They whisper, they shuffle forward. From behind a tomb, a ghostly figure emerges, cloaked in blue flames (vig by Izzo):

Scenes like this play out all over Japan throughout the summer. Well, maybe not with blue flames. Sort of like a haunted house outdoors, I have fond memories of going over to friends’ houses for kimodameshi (肝試し), or “test of courage.” We’d tell scary stories until it got dark, and then the parents and older siblings would disappear while we drank soda and ate candy. Once we were suitably, uh, energized, we’d head out into the dark, tittering with anticipation (vig by inago100):

Our destination wasn’t always a graveyard, but those were favorite places for kimodameshi. Surrounded by tombs in the dark, with nothing but a flashlight to light our way, we never knew what was around the corner. Inevitably, an adult or older brother would jump out from behind a tree, a grave, a wall, a bend in the path and scare us half to death (vig by Moko):

Silly “haunted houses” at the mall and in school gymnasiums here in the States pale in comparison to the fright of seeing a “real-live” (heh heh) ghost float out at you from behind a grave for the very first time. My own kids (when I have any) better watch out — I have a few tricks up my sleeve…

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A Processional of Minifig Catholics

Michael Jasper should by now be well known to readers of this blog. In his latest update, Michael has posted a highly detailed processional of (what I assume to be) a Catholic cardinal, priests, choir boys, and nuns. The whole scene is surrounded by dozens of other unique minifigs playing out their own little dramas:

To make sure you don’t miss any of the mini-scenes Martin has included in the background of his processional, I’ll link to the first picture instead of the usual gallery. Click the Next links to see lots of great surprises.

Minifig Headbangers!

The latest batch of Izzo’s musical minifigs brings us heavy metal superstars.

Rob Halford from Judas Priest:

Ozzy Osbourne (with a very doomed rodent):

Heavy metal promoter and producer Masa Ito:

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