About Keith Goldman

See Keith Goldman's LEGO models on Flickr.

Posts by Keith Goldman

Wherever have you gone, Panda?

It’s been almost two years since we’ve seen anything new from South Africa’s WhereverPanda, but I won’t let a little thing like time and distance prevent me from blogging one of my favorite builders. I’m not sure that anyone is better at capturing the essence of a song lyric in Lego, and his skill with a camera is unrivaled.

Blue Angel

I Want My Hand To Be There...

So cheers to you, Mr. Panda, wherever you are.

Fazoom vs. Cancer

When I found the online Lego community back in 2002 the undisputed heavyweight champ of the Space crowd was Chris Fazoom Giddens. Part of that reputation came from mind-blowing builds like the Slam, the Doulos and of course the genre defining Vanguard. Unlike my builds from the early days and yours, the vast majority of Fazoom’s spacecraft still hold up today despite their lack of cheese slopes and fancy brackets. Along with dozens of other builders I took direct inspiration from Chris and his Pre Classic Space theme to develop my own Iron Reich series of vehicles and minifigs. Yes, constant reader, I too was a fanboy. Along with Dan Jassim and a handful of other builders Chris had a huge impact on my early building, the way I thought about the community and ultimately my longevity in the hobby. But it wasn’t just the building that made Chris stand out from the crowd; it was his easy sense of humor, readiness to share and willingness to always embrace the new guy. I had the good fortune to meet Chris at 2004’s Brickfest in Washington D.C. and I have to admit that a small, petty part of me was hoping he’d be a jerk so I could say “yeah, I met Giddens, he’s an awesome builder but man what a tool!“, something to make him seem more human. I ran into Chris while boarding an elevator on the bottom floor and by the time we’d reached the top he had me laughing my ass off and thoroughly ashamed of myself for harboring such thoughts. We’ve been friends ever since.

Flash forward a decade and I’m going through Fazoom’s photostream, hoping to see some WIP shots of his latest project when I came across this note.

To say the least it was shocking to read that Chris has “One mean case of Embryonal Carcinoma”. After reading up on it a little I found that Embryonal Carcinoma is a relatively uncommon type of germ cell tumor that occurs both the ovaries and testes and that one fifth to two thirds of patients with tumors composed predominantly of embryonal carcinoma have metastases at diagnosis. Chris fell right into those cold hard numbers, with a lump starting in his right testicle and spreading out because by his own admission he “waited too long“. Historically, the treatment of testicular cancer was largely based on luck: if the tumor was detected when still confined, there was a high chance of cure, if not, the prognosis was very grim. In fact, in the not too distant past, the discovery of a suspicious testicular mass was a virtual surgical emergency; urologists would often operate the same day as seeing the patient the first time to not allow any time for even a single cell to escape. Testicular cancer is now considered one of the most treatable and curable cancers with a survival rate greater than 90%. The disease-free survival rate for Stage II and III cancers is slightly lower, depending on the size of the tumor and when treatment is begun. All the websites agree that early detection and treatment is the key. When I spoke to Chris about his situation the one message he kept hitting again and again was for people to “check their junk”.

First CT.  no superpowers.

At the time of this posting Chris has been through a surgery, is undergoing the always pleasant chemotherapy and will likely have follow-up surgery in 4 months and 5 years of observation. This is a long term fight, but at least the odds are in his favor.

As you might expect, our warm and embracing community has reached out to Fazoom through letters, phone calls and social media to bolster his spirits and let him know that he’s not alone in his struggle. A host of cronies have gone the extra mile, guys like Proudlove, Jassim, Sandlin, Rafert and Wood have all shaved their heads in solidarity. If you’d like to see the growing assembly of glowing pale domes, head on over to Fazoom’s Facebook page to see the rogues gallery of supporting Lego fans.

Meanwhile the building never stops, even in the face of a nasty enemy like cancer, it’s only slowed down a bit. This is a photo of Mr. Giddens latest masterpiece in progress, an untitled starship with all the hallmarks of his style: great color blocking, beautiful curves and of course greebles like no other. I can’t wait to see it finished and to see the cancer finished along with it.

she aint much kid....

I think too often we wait until somebody is gone to say all the nice things we meant to say, so if Chris or his models have ever meant anything to you why not say it now? If nothing else, as Chris says “don’t be a punk, check your junk!”. For more information on testicular cancer including early detection, treatment and prognosis, check out The Testicular Cancer Resource Center or The American Cancer Society for more information.

I will leave you with Fazoom’s own words as he slugs his way through chemo with spirit and humor.

I’ve never taken myself seriously and mostly that’s served me well, my health, well that’s getting some more attention lately for sure. In the time’s I have taken myself too seriously I’ve fallen on my face and learned to laugh at myself. My faith and family have always been the cornerstone of who I am and will continue to be. In these things I will never waiver. You have a choice to handle stuff… I’m gonna keep moving forward. My cancer is curable and I’m slogging along to get there. My heart issue is curable too and that will be a battle I swear to win…for my wife and my boy. But, this hobby we have, this creative outlet to express our inner geek, our tormented soul, our suppressed 9 year old, or whatever means something. It’s a language. One that we may not all speak equally or eloquently, but it’s a common bond. The worst it can do is become a way to belittle and besmirch someone’s attempt at trying. The best it can do is build up and better someone to become better. Keep the standard high without the ego. I’ve seen builders support me across many lines of ideals and ideas. It’s the bond. The bond of the builder and I’m grateful!“.

Mekorig’s Mine

Michal Herbolt (gearcs) makes his triumphant return to this blog of blogs with an outstanding Castle-themed diorama that is sure to catch and hold even your diminished attention span, constant reader. I was drawn in by the architecture and fancy rock formations, but I stayed for the fine details like the mine entrance and gate house. Perhaps my favorite detail is the classic blue wizard’s cap, used by the builder to simulate pouring water. Michal is no stranger to the subject of mining, and he uses just the right amount of minifigs to provide a sense of action without overwhelming the scene. If you click through the photo you’ll find plenty of photos to keep you immersed in the Medieval action.

01

Caught on Camera: A True Account of the Haunting of the Abraham Family.

Grab some candy-corn and your hockey mask; it’s time for some spooky action to get you psyched for All Hallows’ Eve. These eye popping scenes were designed by Kiwi Millie McKenzie (Leda Kat) who has a real talent (even without the ghosts) for taking the mundane and turning it into something spectacular. Although the photos will lead you to the collection of scenes on Flickr, you can only get the full sequence with its accompanying story over on MOCpages.

caught on camera - shower

caught on camera - priest

“She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”

Chris Maddison brings you a slice of Iowa farm life for your Saturday viewing pleasure replete with tractor, microscale barn, trees and a very clever furrowed field. Although the rolling hills in lime and sand-green are very simple in construction, they really add depth and style to this forced perspective scene. The sexy-time tractor is a fine example of the species, complete with rototiller and detailed engine. Chris has only been back from his dark-age for about a year now but he sure is making up for lost time.

She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy

Friday Night Fights (Round 25)

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another punch-drunk edition of Friday Night Fights! Tonight’s bout features two heavyweight builders, former friends turned rivals putting it all on the line with the honor of HUB 14 up for grabs. Let’s go to the tale of the tape:

Fighting out of the red corner, from the throbbing engine room of the Brothership…Chris “The MaulerMalloy and his “Dragonfly

Dragonfly VTOL

And fighting out of the blue corner, from the Paris of the West…Nick “The TerrorTrotta and his “Syzygy“.

Syzygy

As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding the outcome of this pugilistic endeavor by way of comment. On the last edition of Friday Night Fights, the battle of pink slips ended with the Roadkill rat-rod destroying it’s broken down opponent by a score of 7-2. Tune in next week for another action packed edition of Friday Night Fights!

Get AMPD Up!

It’s super-fantastic-giant-robot fun time! Today’s featured giant robot is AMPED (Autonomous Multipurpose Drone), the brainchild of Marco Tagliaferri (Tagl), and it makes my teeth giggle. The model was a year in the making, has 25 geared points of articulation and will be displayed at the 10th annual Bricking Bavaria this November in Munich. I confess that I didn’t realize how far back Marco went with the hobby or how far he has come. Marco is obviously an O.G.

AMPD

I can’t stop looking at the throwing pose, it’s absolutely perfect. As usual, constant reader, it has been a blast being your weekend DJ. Have a great week and I’ll see you at the fights next Friday.

Dragon Kill

In his posting for this model on Flickr, builder A Plastic Infinity composed a list of reason why prospective viewers should take the time and leave a comment. Most of them were fairly boilerplate self promotional offerings like “Because it’s my favorite!” and “the photos are good this time.”, but my favorite was definitely “Medusa tails!“. How can I possibly argue with that logic?…so enjoy the Medusa tails, and the rest of this scene from an up and coming builder.

Dragon Kill

Although I blogged the creature a few months ago in a Sunday round-up, the builder has since added a decorative base and is therefore worth a second look. Enjoy “Quane in Wonderland.

Quane in Wonderland

“Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.”

It’s time for another 1980’s flashback courtesy of Alex Jones (Orion Pax Designs) who returns to the Brothership with the transforming big-rig Optimus Prime. One of the many reasons I admire Alex’s work is because he’s a grinder, willing to rebuild again and again and again to get things just right. While I’ve heard some of the great builders brag how they “threw it together in 2 hours”, it’s nice to hear Alex admit that he’s been working through an idea or a project for months or even years.

Building transformable versions of the G1 Transformers out of LEGO bricks is one of my strongest passions, and I’m working on this series since the year 2000 – unnumbered versions of Optimus Prime, Soundwave, Blaster, Starscream, etc went over my desk during those years – improving them over and over again until i got their design as close to the original as possible.

Description

If you’re a stone-cold purist, you may object to the KRE-O headpiece, but I bet you’ll look anyway. Alex also has a short video with some crazy zooming and a neat sequence showing the transformation from truck to robot.