Announcing winners of the TBB Server Downtime Contest [News]

Back in March, we had a bit of a frustrating time here at The Brothers Brick, with several days of intermittent server downtime due to a software configuration issue. To have a little fun, I kicked off a brief contest. We got a number of great entries from TBB fans, which you can see in the photo pool on Flickr. Unfortunately, I became gravely ill just as the contest was ending, and I’ve been struggling to catch up ever since — focusing first on my day job (no, TBB is not actually my day job), and only then on LEGO and TBB.

With thanks to all our incredibly patient readers and contest participants (and yes, I do have a few words for the impatient and self-entitled after the jump), I’m pleased to finally share the winners of the contest categories.

TBB is Down Again!

As a techie, it was hard not to love these colorful, accurate server racks by Leopold Mao. The plumes of smoke, mice gnawing the cables, and distraught sysadmin, combined with the trans-clear bricks inside the servers, are all excellent touches. This is my pick for the top category. Congratulations, Leopold!

Chain Challenge 8: TBB Servers

404 Page Not Found

We hope our readers don’t encounter this iconic webpage error too often. Blake Foster wins this category with this simple but brilliant idea — a double-sided 1×2 plate! If only…

404: Not Found

A Lemur Did It!

Our Lemur has gone AWOL recently, but he was a frenzy of activity back in March, and some of us suspect he may have had a little something to do with the downtime. Our winning entry in this category was drawn by Sayre Blake, who illustrated an amusing scene of A. Lemur eating mangoes & PBJ while swooshing a LEGO spaceship.

Guilty A. Lemur

We actually had a number of excellent entries in this category, so in addition to the three main prizes, I’d like to extend Honorable Mentions (with a small LEGO set as a prize) to “Server Error 223 – Hungry Lemur” by IamKritch and “A. Lemur is having some trouble pulling up TBB…” by Ashton6460.

Server Error 223 - Hungry Lemur A. Lemur is having some trouble pulling up TBB...

If you’re a winner, contact me on Flickr and I’ll get your contact information to send out your prize!

Andrew’s rant about people who take LEGO — and TBB — WAY too seriously…

Every single one of us here at The Brothers Brick is a volunteer, myself included. I actually made this very point in the original announcement post about the contest. This isn’t our day job, we don’t get paid to run TBB, and we don’t always have time to give TBB as much attention as we’d like. As I mentioned on our 10th anniversary post yesterday, our contributors include a diverse group of busy people — not just doctors and lawyers but oil refinery operators (it’s where LEGO comes from!), designers, and customer service reps, too. We blog about LEGO because we’re builders, because we love all the wonderful things our fellow builders make, and we want to share them with the world.

Sometimes, real life gets in the way of our LEGO hobby. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been building a software development team for my company, and traveling all over the US to talk to customers about their needs. It’s been wearying, and I’ve gotten ill from all the travel multiple times — the latest a serious infection that lasted from April through May. Since then, I’ve been struggling to catch up with work, and I’ve hardly had time to run TBB behind the scenes, much less blog MOCs or wrap up a contest.

But in the meantime, a small, vocal number of readers and contest participants seem to have made the assumption that TBB revolves around them. These self-entitled AHOLs are gravely mistaken.

Very angry Unikitty

It got to the point where one such person appeared to be stalking me — leaving repeated comments on unrelated posts here on TBB and even noting my activity on Flickr in some detail (all activity, by the way, which was via my phone while I was lying on my back trying not to cough up both lungs). Naturally, this made me rather uncomfortable, and didn’t particularly motivate me to dive back into AHOL-dom or wrap up a silly little contest for a silly little LEGO blog.

I’ve seen comments to the effect that participants in LEGO contests spend time and money on their entries. By implication, they deserve the attention of the contest judges and they’ve earned a payday at the end of the contest. Really? Did you have fun building for the contest? Time well spent, I say. And you spent money buying some bricks you needed? A wise investment in your LEGO collection, I say. If you build because you expect an extrinsic reward, you’re building for the wrong reasons — go apply to be a designer for TLG or a model builder at LEGOLAND. I wish you the best of luck as a wage-earning LEGO builder.

But the rest of us do this for fun. And sometimes, real-life illnesses or responsibilities get in the way of having fun, and the responsibilities we have as part of “fun” take an inevitable back seat to healing our bodies and meeting our real-life obligations.

Know this: I enjoy LEGO and I get a lot of satisfaction from running The Brothers Brick, but I love our loyal readership. It’s our loyal and passionate readers who motivate me to open the computer after a long day at work and slog through hundreds of horrible photos and boring blog posts to find 2-3 gems to share with the hundreds of thousands of you out there sitting at your own computers.

Now imagine how it feels when some of those readers choose to do nothing but complain, complain, complain. And then imagine that one of those people even appears to be stalking you in an attempt to hound you into putting their own self-entitled self-satisfaction above your health and livelihood.

I don’t have a whole lot of patience for behavior like that. I’m getting too old for such nonsense.

So, less complaining, more building — less talking, more MOC’ing. Get building!

5 comments on “Announcing winners of the TBB Server Downtime Contest [News]

  1. Ashton6460

    I tried sending you my information on Flickr, but for some reason, I’m on your block list. :(

  2. gev

    “If you build because you expect an extrinsic reward, you’re building for the wrong reasons”


    That and the users that think they are entitled to certain levels of performance from a FREE site that makes no guarantees really chap my hide.

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