Sunday, August 29, 2004

Foundation blocks of my life

RRR... I lost this post once, so it's not going to be as verbose as it could have been. I had it all written and then has highlighted the whole thing to copy it into word to spellcheck, the blogger spellcheck leaves something to be desired, when I accidentally deleted the whole thing - and since its web-based there is no crtl-z undo available. ...RRR

I am really liking the random image generator app on this page. A couple of times now there's been a picture of the Millenium Falcon in there. Yesterday I lit it up to see what it was, and that leads me to this...

Two "links of the day"

The "fbtb" in the first url stands for "from bricks to Bothans." It is a reference to Lego and to Start Wars. Two substantive tides during my own formative years.

I often think my generation ought to be the "Star Wars" generation. It seems like a much more creative and descriptive designation than "generation x" which is neither and often seems to me to carry a hint of "being that you are so much less consequential than us 'baby-boomers' we're not really going to think of a name for you guys." (note to self, baby boomer rant another day) Not only does this speak to a movie we all saw over and over, and to a new way to make movies - and a new way to market them, but it also evokes a reference to growing up through the thick of the nuclear cold war and the Reagan administration. I have many memories tied up with Star Wars, seeing the movies, playing with the toys, reading the comics. Its is a big chunk of personal history. I do think at the time it reinforced my interest in space and science in a way that school could not have. It's still with me too, to this day I still buy and read Star Wars novels as they come out.

For me, Lego also holds a place of honor during my formative years. Hours and hours were spent on a converted air-hockey worktable making spaceships and buildings and the like. Miserable with the chicken pox, here's a brand new super-set. Can't get your homework done, here's a Lego for homework incentive program. Certainly the use of this toy helped set the stage for the technical problem solving I do at work every day today.

I remember one shopping trip to Toys-r-us where I met a guy who must have been close to my age now. He was there doing the same thing I was, trying to figure out which set to buy. The second link above is clearly for that demographic: people my age still into Lego. This is Lego's Star Wars line of models. Its good for my folks that it took people like me to know that people like me would be interested in these sets, because if they had figured it out back then I am quite certain a second mortgage would have been required. I have to say, even now I think I can find a place for that X-Wing model in my office.

It's not just the Start Wars line that keeps Lego interesting to older people. They have really stepped up their implementation of mechanical components of late. We've been using these components to help teach stage machinery, they make an excellent prototyping tool. Lego has really beefed up the form and variety of actuators. They now have compressors and pneumatic cylinders. There's even a full blown PLC that with only slight modifications could likely run actual automated scenery. Now if we could only stop feeling stupid about using what we see as a toy as a teaching tool. Too bad for me these bits weren't around back in the day (but a saving grace for Mom's checkbook, again).

I still own quite a bit of Lego. Its boxed up in my parent's garage. When we used to go visit my Dad's parent's I used to go up to the attic and play with my father's Lincoln Logs. I've a similar hope for my Lego.

Check out the galleries on the first site. Some of the models are simply fantastic. The "AC Pin" gallery is particularly good. If I had never met a girl and never left home I think I might be doing models just like these. Even still, $300 isn't too much to pay for a full blown Star Destroyer model, is it?

Maybe I should think about something else for a while.

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