Thursday, February 27, 2014

lego as artistic medium

in light of bill's comment that LEGO isn't really that creative or unique when it comes down to it, i had to share this 3D animation based on a real fashion show featuring LEGO-inspired fashion from french designer jean charles de castelbajac back in 2009. although i will grant that i will likely never create something new and unique from LEGO (i'm a building-instruction follower), there are many people who make unique creations using LEGO as an artistic medium the same way that people use wood or paint or textiles. often with amazing results. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

on an even keel

i have had the best possible start to my new job. it's a great company. i'm surrounded by creative, motivated people and i have a great boss. there are moments of actual playing nearly every day. and i am surrounded by sources of inspiration. i have been given time and support to read and learn and absorb the information i need to be able to do my job. it is absolutely as you would hope your job would be in every way.

it makes me tired in a different way than i've been tired in a long time. and it also makes me awake and engaged in a way i hadn't been in a long time. the kind of projects i've worked on in recent years have been quite solitary. i find it both energizing and tiring to be around a lot of new people. trying to feel centered in the midst of these often conflicting feelings is an exercise in balance. and i'm not always equally good at it. today, i'm on a kind of high. awake and feeling like it will be hours before i sleep, just like my old patterns (i've been a night owl for some time). other days, i come home and want to go to sleep early because my brain is full and my instinct is to go to sleep and dream to process it all. the brain is wonderful that way. and this evening, it apparently thinks it's best that i stay up and write about it (my usual mode of processing). i've learned that i need to go with it, whichever mode my instincts choose, somehow they know best.

if we listen to ourselves, we do know, at our core, how to stay on an even keel. it's just a matter of tuning in.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

don't make me get out the kragle

it's not only here on the blog that i've got lego on the brain. of course, much of my brain is taken up by learning about my new job. but it's also entered my sleeping hours in the form of dreams. or rather nightmares. nightmares of failed meeting room bookings and running around in panic, trying to find a space to meet. nightmares of running into old frenemies in the personnel shop (a place i haven't even been yet and where they wouldn't be allowed to be since they don't work there). why is it that you can't delete people from your unconscious mind the way you can from your facebook or linked-in?

i mentioned the other day that i had a tale to tell about minifigures. there is a bowl of minifigure parts near my desk and in looking through it, i realized that it really, really bothers me when they are put together differently than they are meant to be. there is, in that bowl, a head that isn't chicken man's real head with the chicken man costume head on it paired with a baseball torso and legs that don't belong. and in all honesty, it makes my hands sweat just thinking about it. i have a few minifigs from the lego movie on my desk as well and to demonstrate to my colleagues how it makes me hyperventilate, i switched the hair on wildstyle and president business. but i had to quickly put it back (tho' strangely president business' squarey hair made western wildstyle look a bit like queen elizabeth I) because it was making me a little bit ill.

but then i stumbled across this article via twitter and i realized that i'm not alone in my ocd (if you've seen the lego movie, you know it's a theme there too). the whole movie centers on the kragle, which is a tube of crazy glue. and while i don't really want to go that far, i have realized that i am a lego builder who wants to build and display, not build and play. i think you should build it and leave it as it is, not making any adjustments or messing with it and definitely not taking it apart again.

but today, i had a homework assignment for a morning meeting tomorrow. we were all given a small set and asked to build it. we will have breakfast together and go around the table and tell about our building experience. my set is a creator 3-in-1. which means that it comes with the parts to build three different things. but in order to do that, you have to take apart the thing you built and rebuild it into another of the things - in my case, a helicopter, plane or boat. i like the plane best and built it first. but then i realized that i was supposed to take it apart and try one of the others. so i made sabin do it while i left the room. and then i came back and built the boat.

i was going to leave it intact for a proper photo tomorrow morning (you can see i took this one after the light went), but i just had to take it apart and rebuild the plane, it's my favorite of the three in this set. and it was a big step that i was able to disassemble the boat myself. these are small builds and good practice for me, who didn't grow up with lego (i had a pony). i also realized that i never really helped sabin build that much of it either, so i've not had much practice. i don't think i'll ever really become a person who makes amazing things up out of my head, but i will overcome my inability to take it apart and mix and match (and if i can't, there must be meds for that). and i am in awe of those who can build their own creations.

it was a big step that i took the girl scientist's head (series 11) and used it for my mini me for my photo series. and i haven't even put her back yet. i put the girl scientist back on my minifigure shelf with the wrong head on. and my hands are hardly sweating at all when i think about it. (note to self: repeat 100x in hopes that it will become true.)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

signs of spring

sunny yellow.
small water droplets.
bright green to combat the grey.
signs of hope after a long, dark winter.
relentless winds blow,
belying the impending spring.

...or perhaps bringing it.

* * *

i know, i know, i'm all lego all the time. but i can't help it. the lego movie held onto the top spot at the box office for the third straight week. and these behind the scenes featurettes are so clever, i had to share this one.

i'll leave you with the film's earworm - everything is awesome.
just try to be in a bad mood after you hear this song.
i dare you.

here's hoping that everything is awesome in the week ahead. for you and for me.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

a grey and lazy saturday

the child is sick. the weather is grey. it's been raining off and on all day. and windy. it's best to stay indoors. and bake. and do laundry. and surf the interwebs, curled up with a cat and a cup of tea, season 2 of fringe going on the iPad. during one pause in the rain, i had a little wander, looking for the latest spot the hens are laying their eggs. i noticed that the nettles are already up, so it won't be long 'til we have nettle pesto and nettle gnocchi. i guess i can take a little rain if it brings spring with it. but i didn't find the eggs. i found one, but it was the new little red hen the pilot brought the other day, not the ones who are hiding theirs. but i guess one is better than none. and now husband came in and says he fears he's getting sick too. so i guess i'll make some more tea for everyone and make them keep their distance from me.

* * *

here are a few of the interesting articles i found while surfing around:

*  what lego and apple have in common.

*  the best 404 error pages.

*  a linguist claims to have at least started to crack the code of the voynich manuscript. i thought it might have been an exaggeration, but then i watched the professor's video on this site and he sounds pretty for real.

Friday, February 21, 2014

totally meta - me taking photos of lego me taking photos

these were inspired by andrew whyte's project. tho' i used my real camera, not my iPhone. aside: do you think there will come a time (soon) when we don't make a distinction between our real cameras and our phones? this isn't my official mini me, it's one i assembled myself <gasp> from minifigs we had around, plus the camera that loststar kindly sent to me. not sure why i chose red. i really don't have that many clothes that are red. but the girl scientist's head works very nicely (she's from series 11 if you're keeping track), and the hair is the right length, tho' i never part my hair in the middle, so it's not entirely accurate.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

hungary, you say? #tbt

she had no idea of the troubles that lay ahead.
you will be relieved to know that even when you have what is arguably the best job in the world, you can still have a bad day. that bad day will likely be brought on by computer issues, which nearly frustrated you to the point of tears. in fact, the tears were there in your eyes, unbidden, but you managed to realize how utterly ridiculous it was and fight them off. no inanimate object or ridiculous software setup should have the power to make you cry.

but it might have the power to make you be sort of absent from yourself. so absent that you forget your purse at the office and don't realize it until you're all the way home and going to the grocery store, which you then can't do since you don't have your purse. so you kind of stumble home and hope there's enough in the fridge to come up with something for dinner (there is).

and then you go out to feed the animals and find that talking to the cats and searching for the latest place the hens are hiding their eggs and measuring out grain and carrying buckets of water and the smell of hay and the crunch of contented horses eating their dinner will actually go a long ways towards making it all better. because tomorrow is another day and your purse will still be there when you arrive at the office. and even tho' your computer isn't talking to SAP (who can really blame it), it will still be a mac and it will eventually all get sorted out.

and you take a deep breath and have a glass of wine (despite your best intentions) and you realize that life is pretty good anyway. even when the help desk is in hungary.

* * *

in the midst of a bad day,
a project like this collaboration between olafur elliason and ai weiwei (and the world)
will give you hope.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

pixelated bricks - my first real building experience

this is the lego minecraft forest. it was my first lego swag and sabin built it, without me. i was in the room, don't get me wrong, but she did the building. i had a pony when i grew up, you see, so i didn't really ever play with lego, tho' i'd heard of it and knew what it was. i just wasn't really into it. if i'm honest, i was more of a barbie girl. all those clothes and shoes...and that hair. but i digress. i haven't played minecraft myself, but sabin has played it for hours and tho' it makes me carsick to watch her, she has frequently shown me her creations - roller coasters, flocks of cows and sheep and our old house on poppelvej. the pixely world of minecraft lends itself naturally to lego and the fact that it contains the word "craft" appeals to me as well.

i've heard a great deal in recent weeks about the building experience, so this evening, i decided to sit down with the lego minecraft nether micro world and build it. it took me just under two hours. the box doesn't actually say how many parts there are, so i'm not sure, but they were tiny - it is a micro world, after all - and it seemed like a lot. it was a challenge, especially when frieda was trying to help me. i can report that cats are not that much help when you are building lego, especially teeny tiny lego.

i think i got a taste of some of the stories i've heard in the past few weeks. people who described coming home from work and building  lego sets to relax, instead of watching t.v. tho' i'll admit i had fringe going on netflix beside me (i'm saving season 2 of house of cards), tho' i was also pretty concentrated on the build. sorting the pieces into piles of like colors and shapes and then following the wordless instructions was really quite relaxing. these minecraft sets are built in four separate small blocks and stuck together, so you get the satisfaction of finishing a small build four times. that's a good thing for a newbie like me.

i like that these sets have smooth tiles, which create a nice surface on top and on the edges. there are a few open bricks here and there, where you can place steve and the zombie pigman. they are also surprisingly detailed on the inside, where you end up not even really being able to see it. i like that sense of hidden secrets, it feels to me like there are stories there that are not yet revealed and that appeals to me on an intellectual level, as well as a tactile one. maybe the stories are just in my own head, but maybe they're there in the bricks. with this build experience, i think i begin to understand the attraction of lego. it's more than just minifigures.

i have a tale to tell of minifigures, but i'll save that for another day.

* * *

speaking of lego, this jerk (who is inappropriately named brick) 
says adults (especially men) shouldn't play with it in an esquire piece.

and these lego guys take offense.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

everything is awesome

it was a beautiful weekend.
it surely helped that it started already on thursday evening.
we had time with friends.
fun at lego world.
time spent with sabin (eating sushi and wandering a bit in copenhagen).
a family saturday night of dinner out and the lego movie.
sunday at home making soup and baking paleo "bread" and photographing cats.

everything is awesome.
(that's a quote from the lego movie, by the way.)
and surely also holds portents of the week ahead.

* * *

are cats better at predicting the weather than weathermen?

* * *

it seems as baby boomers get older, it gets easier to talk about sex.
and also to have some. 
i find that encouraging.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

little me (#tbt)

that's me. i'm not sure how old i am, maybe around a year and a half?
dang, dad looked young.
and how cool were my shoes?
but check out that cigarette in dad's hand.

there would be total outrage if you saw a parent smoking with their child in their arms today.
but i don't even remember him smoking.
chewing tobacco yes, but not smoking.
i'll bet they didn't even have a car seat for me.
and guess what? i survived.
and even kinda turned out.
more or less

* * *

but speaking of outrage with regard to children...
there's been an old LEGO ad from the early 70s circulating.
it features a super cute little red-haired girl.
well, someone found her.
and i have to say that i couldn't agree more.
i'm not a fan of the lines for girls and neither is my girl.
but it does seem that LEGO is held to a higher standard than other toy companies.
like, look at this piece on barbie making the cover of sports illustrated.
mattel says they're unapologetic.

* * *

have you heard all of the palaver about the danish giraffe marius?
well, this will make you laugh about it. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

happy birthday husband and happy anniversary to us

it's husband's birthday today. sabin made this fabulous cake for him while we were at work. that's a fondant tractor that looks a bit like husband's own little red tractor. not all of it was edible. the child has learned her share of tips and tricks from watching cake programs on TLC. very clever. it was six layers with nutella, cake creme (a rather pudding-like substance), bananas, pears, pineapple and raspberry jam, all covered in whipped cream and with sprinkles and fondant decoration. just perfect.

it's also our 15th anniversary. as husband remarked this morning, "15 years. i've never been married that long before." and neither have i. until today. i hope we make it 'til at least 3 times that. it's been a great ride so far. i always feel consciously grateful on this day for the path i chose to take with husband. the memories we've made and the plans and projects still ahead. i definitely made the right choice, so many years ago, turning everything upside down for love. it was all worth it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


signs the world has gone mad:

1. iPhones containing flappy bird going for obscene amounts on eBay.

signs you have the best job ever:


  pretty much all s person needs. #appleism


  I'm probably going to need some help with this. #legomindstorms #robotsrock #bestjobever


  new moleskine! #dailyswag #bestjobever

signs you are drinking too much coffee (you enlist your minifigures to help serve it to you):

Larry the Barista helps me out with my latte. #legominifigures #legomovie

signs of cuteness (and it's a cat!) in the world:

kitty says hello.

signs that your life may have been taken over by lego and that it might be time to head for bed.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

when time is of the essence we use it more wisely (and by we i mean me)

there's something about knowing that your time is limited that makes you way more efficient. when i used to have all the time in the world and could schedule things how/when i wanted to, i totally pissed away a whole lot of time. now that i have a more fixed schedule, i'm using my free time so much more wisely! like making this leather case for my new macbook pro. i also made up a new recipe for roasted cauliflower soup that you can find here. husband has me drawing trees for a logo for his sawmill, but i'm not there on those quite yet, so i have nothing to show. other than that, there was a lot of boring but necessary tasks, like laundry and tidying up. but i just felt so virtuous and efficient.

but now, back to the computer case...i bought this super soft, buttery leather a few weeks ago and have thus far, just fondled it lovingly, but now, it's put to use protecting my new computer. the feathers are much more cream colored than they appear in these yellowish evening photos. it's been dreary and rainy and cold all weekend, so the light wasn't great for photos. very little time was spent outside, aside from feeding animals and taking horses in and out and dashing out to take minifigure photos between rain showers. we also got a new spotty hen from a neighbor and she's settling in with the others nicely. 

i am keeping up my daily list art journal, but have yet to photograph it, so i'll do a catch-up post later in the week. i was efficient, but not that efficient, apparently. i'll blame the lack of good light. 

here's hoping your weekend was wonderful and you're ready to face the week ahead.

* * *

i love unsolved mysteries like this.

and spy stories like this.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

inspired by the olympics

tho' i haven't watched any of the olympics as of yet,
it is everywhere. mostly in the form of tweets about the horrible hotels.

so i wanted to play with my snow-related minifigures.
our snow is pretty much gone, but i did find some snowdrops.
that wasn't quite the same.

then on the way to the grocery store, i spotted a bit of snow in a shady forest.

luckily, i had the minifigs in my pocket.
and the camera in the car.
as one does.

the snow wasn't very clean and it was melting fast.
probably thanks to the rain.

but i played a little bit anyway.
i'm sure people driving by thought i was mental.
but i know i'm not.

and that's enough, don't you think?

Friday, February 07, 2014

the perfect end to a wonderful week

How do you define heaven? #legominifigures

early in the week, i saw these stacks of awesomeness in my boss' boss's (i did one of each because i couldn't make it look right - any grammar police, please advise which is correct!) office. i nearly fainted dead away. they're all there. every. last. one. of. them.

7/2.2014 - what an awesome week it's been

and today, i had a meeting with that boss, which stretched from an hour to an hour and a half and during the course of it, he said i could select a single minifigure from any box of my choosing every friday. this is the one i chose. i was hoping for the equestrian.

I got the gymnast! #legominifigures

but i got the gymnast, which was my second choice anyway and which is totally awesome! how lucky am i?  it was the perfect ending to a truly wonderful week. i think i actually feel sorry for anyone who doesn't work for lego. it must be the best place in the world to work.

and because you can never have too much, i had to share this fabulous MOC (my own creation - which means a lego object created from someone's imagination, not a set). it's pretty darn amazing.

soviet animation

a little bit of magic for your friday viewing pleasure. those soviets weren't all bad.

and you've got to see this as well (just ignore that weird anti-zionist description on youtube and enjoy the illustrations/animation):

happy weekend, one and all!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

it's not all downhill from here

when my alarm goes off, the first thing i always do is check email and yes, facebook. this morning, the wonderful mari linked to this piece on the fluff post (thank you for that term, extranjera) by some 45-year-old woman. as a woman of 46, i personally feel sorry for this emily that the best part of her day is when she climbs into bed after her day of complacency and being fearful about the health of everyone around her, in addition to worries about her in-need-of-a-tuck tummy. i found it to be a bleak and unimaginative look at middle age. and i can scarcely find a single sentence of it which resonates with me. i may be but one year older than her, but i by no means feel i'm looking at the downhill side of life.

these days, we have so much more mobility in our lives. we can move to other countries or even just across them, we can change our lifestyles, take on new projects and new adventures and even new jobs in our mid-forties. with retirement ages moving to 70, our working life is hardly half over. we can start over, study towards a new degree or learn a new language or completely change careers. we can take up a new hobby or learn a new craft or start obsessively collecting something new. we aren't tied to one place or one thing or one job and if we have chosen wisely, we can even make all these changes with the same husband in tow.

i'm loving watching my child grow into a beautiful and poised young woman and enjoying her being the age she is as well, even if it is 13. i don't feel sorrowful that she's no longer small and helpless, but tall and capable and sensible and smart and with well-traveled view of the world. it doesn't make me sense my own impending death on the horizon to see her growing up. and while i worry about the maniacs who drive too fast on our road while she's biking home, i am generally confident that she will grow into the amazing person she's meant to be.

i by no means feel it's too late for me to decide to run a marathon (i doubt i will, but i could if i wanted to) or take a trip to outer mongolia or write a great novel. i feel sorry for emily who thinks her brain has reached its capacity. mine definitely hasn't. my ability to learn and be open to the world and the people around me still feels pretty boundless. i am perhaps more selective about what i choose to spend time on, but that's something different and part of why i love being 46 - i'm wiser now and make better choices. and i have no trouble staying up for the daily show or writing into the wee hours of the morning. my life looks nothing like the sad picture emily paints and i'm happy for that.

i love being in my mid(ish)-forties. i've never been stronger, felt more secure or at ease in myself, or happier. i'm much more sure of who i love, what i love to do and much wiser about how i spend my time and who i spend it with. i've never been smarter or more in tune with myself than i am right now. i have a whole lot of things i'm good at - cooking, sewing, creating, entertaining, getting an overview, learning something new, reading people, thinking creatively, being innovative, being open, embracing change. i wouldn't want to be any other age. and even tho' in a month or so, i'll be 47, i by no means feel my life is going to be all downhill from here.

* * *

the grim truth of the scandinavian miracle. 
and a response by scandinavians who took it a bit too seriously.
especially that guy from iceland.

buttercup and me, part 2 (#tbt)

that's buttercup, (you may remember her from last week) giving me a kiss after we apparently got second place in our class. i'm not sure if it was showmanship or halter, nor do i recall how many people were in the class. all i really know is that second place is the first loser and it was probably here that i first heard, "win or don't come home." such are the tribulations of being the eldest, all the expectations fall on your shoulders, even if you're only 7.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

exhausted in a good way

this blurry sunset photo, taken at the end of my day, well after it was way too dark to take a photo, perfectly matches how i feel right now. it's got a warm glow, but it's just not in focus. i had a long and full day of learning exciting new things and while that's wonderful, it's also exhausting. especially because we stood up for most of the day. if i'd known it was going to be standing up all day, i'd definitely have worn different shoes. my feet went from complaining to not speaking to me to cautious rapprochement here after i came home and showered and put them up for awhile. they will undoubtedly have a strong opinion about what shoes i wear tomorrow.

this week has been amazing so far. but it does tire you out in a completely different way than putting around home, writing a little bit here and there, taking some leisurely photos and then perusing pinterest for dinner ideas does. i'm loving every minute of it tho'.

probably one of the biggest challenges (other than remembering people's names), is learning a whole new corporate language. i've never been in a company that made consumer products before (unless you count microsoft and i was arguably in a B2B corner of that behemoth). it seems there's a whole language around the way you speak of pricing and intellectual property and licensing and play experiences and buyers and gift givers and moms and DNA and built-in toilets when you're a toy company. and i had a prolonged exposure to all of that today. it's like trying to decode a language that sounds vaguely familiar, but which also seems like total gobbledygook. and it's pretty exhausting. even while it's also exhilirating.

but i'm trying to remember that you can only have new experiences once before they aren't new anymore and i'm doing my best to enjoy every minute and everything i'm learning and doing. it's such a creative, positive atmosphere that i can't really do anything other than enjoy the ride, wherever it's going to take me. and right now, it's going to take me to bed. my brain says it's time to shut down and let it get on with the processing. i'm sure that tonight i'll be dreaming of lego.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

good energy in the air

calamity drone
my lego movie minifigure collection is nearly complete. i just have shakespeare and gail the girl construction worker to go. isn't calamity drone cute with her fabulous hat? and speaking of lego, my head is beginning to fill with all kinds of input. not a whole lot of ideas as of yet, but i think i have to put a whole lot in and learn a bit more before something comes out. starting a new job is both exciting and exhausting. but in a very good way. tho' i thought the waiting would kill me, it didn't, and perhaps all that waiting even contributes to my own openness and eagerness to enjoy the whole experience. my new colleagues are so welcoming and positive i'm finding good, creative energy all around. i learned with that bad, bad job (i'm talking about you siemens wind power) a few years ago exactly how important that is. if the energy in the place is wrong, it will never be right. and i can tell you that the energy is amazing. 

so many thoughts are swirling in my head that i can't quite wrestle them to the page as of yet, but they will come. and i haven't forgotten or abandoned my february project, i'm just not getting home in time to properly photograph in the good light (hurry up spring!), so i'll have to do a roundup this weekend.

it's going well with the vegetarian month - there's even a big variety of vegetarian food at work, so i don't even have to be tempted there! and i'm sticking with the no wine thing too. i realize we're only 4 days into the month, but so far so good. it's easy to stay motivated when you're feeling positively high with good energy and new experiences. we'll have to see how it goes when things settle down.

* * *
love this story about the captain of the mary maersk.

* * *
and this visualization of the internet as a world map.

Monday, February 03, 2014

worth the wait

it wasn't easy, but i got through the waiting at long last. i spent the morning ironing and cleaning and tidying and at last selecting my outfit. i shouldn't have gone with the vintage boots because one heel (which i didn't even know was weak) cracked as i walked from the main building over to where i will work. i was able to glue it and hold it together for the day, and now it's just a funny memory.

had to have a selfie, of course. this is, after all, the age of the selfie.

and this is what was waiting for me on my desk when i arrived. a whole stack of apple awesomeness. it really doesn't get any better than that.

and i got to fish through a box of minifigs for the ones i don't have (alas, they weren't all there, but i will get the final two, i'm certain of it).

in denmark, you nearly always get a welcome bouquet of flowers when you start a new job. i had to bring mine home to enjoy them. most jobs, however, don't come with a whole lot of lego. but then, most jobs aren't this awesome.