LEGO© Creations

LEGO Ideas project – Cathedral of Learning and Stephen Foster Memorial

30 April, 2014 (18:23) | LEGO© Creations

Cathedral of Learning and Stephen Foster Memorial LEGO idea project.

Cathedral of Learning and Stephen Foster Memorial LEGO idea project.

LEGO Ideas is a site set up for people around the world to submit their ideas for possible sets. After I created my Cathedral of Learning and Stephen Foster Memorial in the Spring of 2012, I had many people ask me if I was going to submit it as a project for LEGO to review. My pessimism for it having global appeal, or even that I’d reach the 10,000 votes needed to have LEGO review the project, kept me from submitting the idea. After more attention and suggestions, I decided I’d let the world decide if they want to support the project instead of answering for them. If it got to 10,000 votes, I’d let LEGO make the decision on it’s probability of being a set instead of me just nixing the idea for them. So, here we are.

The Cathedral of Learning and Stephen Foster Memorial has until May 1st, 2015 to reach 10,000 supports. As of April 30th, 2014. We’re at 806 votes. That was not small feat either. I’ve circulated the link in my emails and bricklink transactions for a hundred or so of those votes, but it was really during the first week of March that the project got a real boost in attention. First, Reddit got a hold of the link. Then The official University of Pittsburgh Twitter and Facebook accounts shared it. Then, Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto shared it. Local news outlets ran some coverage on the project. From all of those, many fans were born and shared and voted for the project.  It was the 4th most supported project in the world that spring break week.  There is still a long road for our beloved Cathy to be immortalized in ABS though. To reach 10,000 votes, the project is needs a very broad audience to account for people taking the time to register a vote through facebook, twitter, or email accounts.  Many of the projects that reach 10,000 votes have 300,000 views or more.  If we reach that milestone, it will not be a result of any 1 person’s effort, but the work of a campus, an alumni, a city, a region, celebrities, professional athletes, and anyone with a connection to the wonderful landmark we all love and recognize.

Cathedral of Learning and Stephen Foster Memorial LEGO idea project.

A fan created this gift for his fiance.

Through the journey so far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the level of interest in the model. I’ve had people contact me for instructions so they can build their own. I took the time to create a digital version so that I could produce the 500 pages of instructions. Don’t worry, the instructions will be MUCH simpler and easier to read in a final product. Since making the instructions available for free, I’ve heard back from some of them, including one supporter, who built one as a gift for his fiancé on her graduation day from the University of Pittsburgh. Can you imagine how flattered I was??? Sure, that wasn’t the intent, but I was just so floored at the use of something I made for myself. My heart runs wild with the idea of many people being able to share my joy for the model in their own way. The original model actually now sits with the University of Pittsburgh admissions office after I was contacted by a friend who wanted to give it as a gift to them on behalf of Mind of Media. I jumped at the opportunity to get the model in the hands of the University because that’s really where it belongs; In the heart of Oakland.

So, please, vote for the project and share this link – Let this become a symbol of human creativity, a symbol of historic and architectural significance, a symbol of The University of Pittsburgh, a symbol of Pittsburgh, a symbol of all the nations represented in the nationality rooms, and a symbol of people coming together all over the world for 1 purpose. That’s big. But, it’s a big dream, and I’d like to share it with all of you.

LEGO© Creations

Collectible Minifig display case

15 February, 2014 (00:43) | LEGO© Creations

A warning – If you’re not really into the LEGO hobby or collecting, this might not be interesting or impressive.  There’s a fair amount of thought and planning in this build though, and I’m sure some enthusiasts will enjoy it.


When I came out of my dark ages, I thought collecting LEGO sets was silly.  I still do.  I want parts.  However, when I started to stumble on collectible minifigs, I really enjoyed them.  At first, I stuck to my rule that everything I own must be listed for sale on bricklink.  I began collecting all the CMFs by putting the cheapest few of each minifig on my wanted list, so that if I placed an order at any of those stores, I’d know to buy it because it was the cheapest available.  I’d then turn around and list it for a higher price.  This strategy was working well.  It was satisfying my need of “gotta catch ’em all” while maintaining a reasonable investment.  All was going fine, until I was only missing a handful of figs to have a complete set…I started questioning why I had been accumulating these…I needed to stop the madness and display the full collection!  I betrayed my words and have deemed CMFs my guilty collection.

But, how to display them?  I’m not the only one wanting to do this.  A quick search around the internet for what other collectors do provided some interesting and pretty solutions, but none struck me as “right”.  With LEGO releasing a new series frequently, a fixed height/width solution wouldn’t be scalable.  A stair-like display would easily grow out of control.  Using store bought display cases seemed like cheating and expensive, and also took up too much real estate since you can’t stack them.  So, necessity inspired creativity.

IMG_1479My “modules” snap into a rotating stand.  Each row of 4 spins independently.  Number of rows is customizable.  Easy to take down and store, easy to swap out modules, and easy to expand.  Each module is built using the color of the corresponding series.  A notable challenge here was series 5, which uses azure, but between the medium azure and dark azure available in parts, neither match well.  My solution here was Maersk blue, a color exclusive to Maersk sets.  As luck would have it, that color matches the question marks in the packaging perfectly AND it comes in all the needed brick, tile, and slope parts!  As far as I can tell, I’m the first and only person to make this match.

I do have the LDD file if you’re interested in building one.


I still have to build the module for the olympic figs.  Since there are only 9, not sure if I’ll make it the standard size or not.  I also have to come up with a solution for the individually released figs, like the BR guy, toy soldier, and whatever else comes with the minifig stand.  Balance to the stand may be a factor with both.  Anyway, this might be a good solution for any collection of minifigures, as the size of the case and number is customizable and interchangeable.  I left a 4 x 4 tiled area on top to use the number decal from the old soccer sets, as I did with my version of Settlers of Catan, and have the sticker applied according to the series they represent.  It could also be applied to the front vertical bricks, or you could event get some custom printing done.  I should also try to come up with a nice top for the stand too…
















Daddy Log

Day 1: Without Hnn-Hnn and Bumpa

11 January, 2014 (13:41) | Daddy Log

It’s been less than 24 hours since I dropped hnn-hnn (Jan-Jan) and Bumpa off at the airport.  Survival mode is already engaged.  The Mirkwood fog must have been pouring through the vents as we slept.  What day is it?  What’s that noise?  What’s that smell?  I sold my soul to the sirens of Sesame Street at 6:30am.  I don’t know how much longer I’ll last.  Though sickness fills this home, no one is able to escape.  The binky has managed to get away a few times, but a search party has always foiled its attempt for freedom.

I begin to realize my house is full of mouths to feed – and they’re all begging for more.  There’s the machine in the kitchen that spews steam at me if I interrupt its meals.  It wants all my remnants of past snacks and failed attempts to get Juliette to eat lunch.  There’s the tall machine with cold fluid pumping through its veins that bellows for milk and produce.  I can hear the deep moans of the twin beasts in the laundry room.  “Feed me, Josh, feed me”.  Kallie keeps the tiny mouth satisfied.

We are still trying to find the circle of life with the introduction of a new species to the food chain.  We give Madeline nourishment – and she’s learning to smile back to nourish us.  It’s about finding the rhythm.  1, 2, 3, 4.  Me, you, her, more.  Sleep, eat, clean the floor.  Repetition.  It’s not jazz yet, but we’re getting the groove.

If you’re reading this, it means I’ve come up for air.  All is well.  Send love.

Thoughts & Ideas


8 January, 2014 (13:31) | Thoughts & Ideas

I’m visualizing a software for organizing digital photographs. it should be able to take feeds from multiple sources, like a home network of phones,pcs, and macs. the UI (user interface) has a 3d globe on it, and you can spin the glob around to see all the places photos were taken by reading their geotagged data. There should be a slider to limit the display of photos during a specific time range. Maybe some check boxes to select which feeds are available.

Digital photograph storage and organization is such a mess, and an exponentially growing mess at that. iPhoto makes great strides, but its not on the PC and there’s no really good way to bring multiple devices together. With filtering and face recognition, it would be easy to find “that one picture with me and you when we were at the baseball game years ago”. Rather than just scrolling through hundreds of thumbnails.

Thoughts & Ideas

God’s property

20 October, 2013 (23:48) | Thoughts & Ideas

I am God’s. I exist to serve His purpose for which He has designed and equipped me. These are constants and anything else is penultimate.

I have been a believer my entire self-aware existence. This is a curse and a blessing. I am blessed because I’ve been on a steady path seeking His plan my entire life. I am cursed because that steady path is often lukewarm and lonely.

I’ve often envied the testimonies of drug addicts and faithless. I’ve been star-struck by the teenager who goes to church while their parents stay home. These are the bold. These are the ones that burn with passion.

I live dangerously as comfortably numb. Too set in my ways to stray from Christ and yet too worldly to put my trust in Him fully. I do believe I am called to live in this world, but that only makes it harder to lead others, such as my children, to an even higher calling.

I could walk away from it all and dedicate myself to prayer and solitude without outside temptation, but faith without works is dead. I could study all the teachings of ancient faith and be filled, but lack relational ministry to all non-believers. I could raise my children in the path that they should go, but risk hypocrisy in my own trials. This is my omnipresent dilemma of an omnipresent God.

I settle. Sometimes by reasoning and sometimes out of frustration. I do not have the answers to the exam of life, and I sometimes lack the mental fortitude to believe my half-attempts will ever be reviewed.

Father, help me seek your purpose instead of inserting my own. Lead me so that I, too, may lead. Turn my focus away from those that judge my actions or lack thereof, for if they would seek your purpose, they would lift me up in spiritual community, and have that be returned 10 fold.

Poll the People

Do people want to sit at tables instead of booths?

14 September, 2013 (12:00) | Poll the People

I actually get anxiety about this question sometimes.  My butt is more comfortable in a booth.  I can get more control over my leg room in a chair.  I don’t have to worry about people walking behind me in a booth.  Juliette can fit better at a table.  Why aren’t there booths outside?  Which server/section is busier?  Which is further from the bathroom?


What's your seating preference?

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