Monthly Archives: December 2006

Chinese Water Clock by oldhamk

Chinese inventor Su Song (1020-1101) invented a water clock that Brickshelfer oldhamk has faithfully recreated in LEGO:

oldhamk has included lots of great details, from the armillary sphere (or astrolabe) and other astronomical instruments on the top to the working gears inside. Click the picture above to watch two movies of the water clock in motion.

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Swap This, ABC!

The casting agency for U.S. TV network ABC has been trolling LEGO-themed Internet forums and spamming prominent members of the online community with the following message over the last few days:

Hello, my name is Jodi and I am a casting producer for ABC’s hit show Wife Swap. I am seeking families who are Lego or robot hobbyists for our third season. On many occasions, we feature families with unique passions/hobbies and this is one we’ve never done. Plus, AFOL’s are obviously parents who encourage creativity and that is something that other families can learn. I came across your blog and thought you or someone you know may be interested in applying. Would you be interested in posting this on your blog, or do you know anyone who would be interested in applying to be on the show?

The premise of Wife Swap is to take two different families and have the mom’s switch place to experience how another family lives for one week. Half of the week, mom lives the life of the family she is staying with. The other half, she introduces a “rule change” where she implements rules and activities that her family has. It’s a positive experience for people to not only learn, but teach other ways of life.

Families on the show receive $20,000 and anyone that refers a family that is selected to be on our show is paid $1,000 per referral. Each family should consist of two parents, at least one child between the ages of 6-17, and should reside in the U.S. and have BIG, outgoing personalities.
Please let me know if you are interested or have any questions.


The Brothers Brick got this as a comment on a recent post (on the “old” blog), and it’s been pretty much everywhere, but I thought I’d pop this up to the top of the blog and get your thoughts.

I’ll start. The thing I hate about most reality shows is that they feel exploitative. Now, I can watch “Project Runway” and enjoy it because the people on the show have all truly volunteered for what we’re seeing on TV. But I have a special problem with shows that feature children, because the parents are the ones responsible for making the decision. What kind of long-term emotional consequences does the type of notoriety gained from these shows have on children?

Another thing I despise about shows like ABC’s “Wife Swap” and its Fox clone “Trading Spouses” is that they take something quirky (or loathsome) about a family and trot it before the TV viewing audience like a freak show. I don’t think people watch these shows to truly learn about themselves or the human condition (ironically, the way we watch good, fictional dramas). I believe people watch these shows out of a voyeuristic need to feel superior to someone else.

For both of those reasons, I hope no LEGO fans choose to cooperate with ABC to create this episode. I think my hobby — just like model railroading or numismatics or spelunking — is perfectly “normal” (relatively speaking, and there certainly are some freaks among us!). I’d hate to see it treated like a freak show.

And here’s what LEGO’s Steve Witt had to say when I asked him (on the SEALUG e-mail list) whether ABC had approached The LEGO Group about this:

Just so you know, TLG is aware and we’re not really all that happy about it. Mostly because no matter how cool AFOLs might be, show’s like this will make all of us come out looking like idiots. We can’t control anyone, but I can say that I seriously hope no one pursues this. This is for the sake of our hobby more than anything else.

So, what do you think?

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Smile! You’re on Candid Mindstorms Camera!

Check out these two funny videos of the new Mindstorms NXT robots. Thanks to LEGO Ambassador Nelson Yrizarry for pointing them out.

EDIT (AB): Okay, the auto-play is just too annoying. (Sorry LEGO, choose a different video hosting service next time.) I’m swapping the videos for a link to the page where you can watch both of them. Both hilarious, by the way.

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Crystal Falls Bridge

Here is yet another entry of mine for the Colossal Castle Contest IV (getting tired of them yet?). This one is for the Medieval Bridge category. Spanning a ravine and only accessible through an elaborate cave system, this bridge is rests amid the spray of the famous Crystal Falls. While an intrepid fish trys to leap up the falls, a band of mysterious hooded figures crosses the bridge. Check out the gallery here!

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Micro Edo Castle by Patrick Yrizarry

This was on the top of my “to blog” list before the power went out last Thursday. What I like so much about Patrick Yrizarry’s microscale Edo castle is all the detail he’s packed into it, from the moat to the gate and the courtyard full of trees of various shapes:

Here’s an angle that shows off the gate:

(Via Bruce’s new blog, MicroBricks.)

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My Prison Wagon for the CCCIV

A typical barbarian prisoner wagon returns from battle. Festooned with remnants of previous residents, the wagon rumbles its way back to the barbarian encampment. What hideous fate awaits the unfortunate survivors? I hope to never find out.

Check out the gallery here!

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