Tag Archives: legos

Mother’s Day + more

Today, we went over to Mom’s and had a great dinner with Stacie, which she fixed up.   Drinking of wine commenced along with a couple of games of Jenga and Rack-o, and all was well in the world.   We had a lot of fun, snacking on food and laughing about memories past – it’s also Harv’s birthday, so it was fun to remember the fun (and drinks) we had on his 80th birthday.   Anyway, I think today was a lot of fun, and here are pictures I took:

Sunday, May 13, 2018 – Mother’s Day in Duarte

That’s the main picture-worthy stuff from the past week, to be honest.  It’s been kind of hellacious the last week or two or three at work for me, much like last May.  This is the end of the engagement I’m on and there’s a lot of having to get us across that finish line in ways that both sides agree on.  Cross your fingers that this week is it, okay?

The rest of this post will be videos I’ve been loving this last week or so; you’re welcome.

Childish Gambino’s “This is America”:

We saw Donald Glover host SNL last week and he performed, as Childish Gambino, this song as well as one that hasn’t been released yet.   The performances were amazing, but the real show was to come in the release of this music video the next day.  It’s fantastic and powerful and intense and requires multiple viewings.

Then I saw this mashup with Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me, Maybe” and now I can’t help but think there was intentional synchronization going on:

I had previously raved about the first few singles that Janelle Monáe had released in advance of her new album, Dirty Computer, being released – well, that album has been released and it’s amazing.   She also released an entire long-form video containing many of the songs within as well as an interesting tale to stitch these videos all together.   If you have 45-50 minutes or so, it’s well worth a watch:

Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Emotion Picture:

Random videos time now –

First up, this latest season of Survivor, “Ghost Island”, has been okay, but it’s had in its cast one of the hottest men to be cast on this show, ever:  Michael.  Good lord, he’s fine.  So fine.  But alas, he got voted out recently and so now he’s on the jury and having to kill time.   Lately, CBS has been getting cute and indulging the cast to do fun stuff, so with Michael, they filmed a fake cologne commercial in the vein of Calvin Klein….and they’re pretty damn good with the vibe they create because hot damn this mofo can sell me anything.

Lego videos, especially those around Star Wars stuff, are awesome.   Here’s one I previously raved about with regards to the Death Star kit, but this new video is one that isn’t a kit and is made by those folks who collect thousands and thousands of Lego bricks to make any and everything.  This guy made the Star Destroyer wreckage as seen in The Force Awakens when we first meet up with Rey….and wow is all I can say.  It’s incredible!

Finally, there have been these small animated cartoons being released in the Star Wars world that are canon and cover areas of the lore that may not necessitate a movie on their own but it’s cool to see nonetheless.  These videos are called Forces of Destiny and there are more than that I’m showing here – but this one is about Porgs and I love porgs and you must too:

I love it so much.

Alright, that’s enough from me for now.   I hope all is well with you out in the world.

A Fascinating LEGO Death Star Video

Someone put together the official LEGO Death Star construction kit and made a simply fantastic time-lapse video of it – what’s kind of cool is it’s not like a blocky-transition video, everything is very smooth.  Plus, as each room gets completed, a demonstration of what the room does as well as corresponding audio cues from the movies can be heard.  SO. COOL.

Still working on the next pictures post from Europe.  I got distracted this weekend by wanting to get out of the house….and also playing Anno 1404 like it was crack.  That game is a fun combination of city-building and renaissance themes much the same way Tropico 4 was….which means it’s eminently playable and addicting.  We also went out and saw The Girl on the Train and it was absolute garbage.  Okay, “absolute” is too strong a word, but it was such a waste of time and money.  Talk about a bad way of telling a story.  Recommendation:  PASS.   And then of course we had the second presidential debate yesterday evening and jesus, what a shit show.  It’s clear Donald Trump knows how to play to his base but once you get past the 90s-based attacks and listen to his word salad, it is just shocking he became the nominee for the GOP.  I’m still happily voting for Hillary Clinton and I love that he said we’d be getting a 3rd Obama term with her!  I WISH!

Toys in the Attic

My mom called me earlier this week with some mind-blowing news – she had been getting boxes down from the garage area and had noticed one that said, “Transformers + Legos.”  She knew immediately to call me.  I didn’t know what to expect when opening that box, as I really really thought I had long ago lost these toys.  For some reason, I’d been dragging along the giant Metroplex and giant walking T-rex Decepticon city in all my moves, yet I had no recollection of what had happened to all my smaller toys.  Same with my Legos.  I figured that I must have had a moment of “I’m not a baby anymore” and thrown them out.  So yeah, we went over to my mom’s and she was just as excited as I was to open the box…

Rediscovering Lost Treasures of Childhood – Jan 24, 2016

…and sure enough, there they all were.  What seemed like a small box really wasn’t all that small, as every Transformer was in there.  PLUS, my Lego briefcase with all my color-coded Lego baggies.  All KINDS of flashbacks and memories were coming back.  It had been DECADES since I’d seen these toys.  It’s still mind-boggling to me that they are there.  They’re not exactly in mint condition…hell, they’re mostly in passable condition, some actually in poor condition, but they are still around and that blows my mind more than anything.  Larry was having a blast seeing all these and remembering that he had many of the same toys too.

In non-Transformers news, Larry & I went with Nicki & Brian to Terrino restaurant in West LA to scope it out for a rehearsal dinner site.  Pretty fantastic food and a great vibe.  Should be a winner!

Terrino – Jan 23, 2016

LEGO Landmarks!? Yes, please! (+ American Sniper Thoughts)

While spending $$$ at Americana and the Glendale Galleria, we ended up stumbling upon the fact that LEGO put in this fairly awesome collection of National Landmarks all around the Galleria.  We first saw the U.S. Capitol building when we entered the mall and were blown away by just huge it is.  I didn’t even realize it was made of LEGOs until we got closer as it was just such a giant model.  I picked up the handout for the exhibition which indicated that more models were to be found throughout the mall.  So we went on our LEGO scavenger hunt (not really worth being called a scavenger hunt as they tell you where everything was) while also shopping around to see if one of these lucky stores was going to sell me a suit.  Spoiler Alert:  none of the Galleria stores got lucky; had to go back to Americana for that.

So first up, the U.S. Capitol building:

06-Feb-2015 16:01, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 32
06-Feb-2015 16:01, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:01, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 40
 
06-Feb-2015 16:02, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 32
06-Feb-2015 16:02, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 32
06-Feb-2015 16:02, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 40
 

Down the hall, past some other assorted LEGO creations such as a cityscape in the midst of a chaotic battle of Avengers and pigs, we then found the Statue of Liberty:

06-Feb-2015 16:07, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:07, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 80
06-Feb-2015 16:07, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
 
06-Feb-2015 16:07, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 80
06-Feb-2015 16:07, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
 

Over by the Food Court, we found the U.S. Supreme Court building:

06-Feb-2015 16:18, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 40
06-Feb-2015 16:18, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:18, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
 
06-Feb-2015 16:18, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 80
 

That was kind of neat to see, as I really had no idea the building was so big.  What the hell else is in the Supreme Court?

Next up was the Jefferson Memorial.  It was a bit smaller in scale than the other constructions, but still fun to marvel at as they even built the Jefferson statue within:

06-Feb-2015 16:19, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 40
06-Feb-2015 16:20, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:20, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
 
06-Feb-2015 16:20, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
 

Opposite the Jefferson Memorial was a HUGE recreation of the Washington Monument.  It seemed important to build a very large scale version of it to help you appreciate the majesty of its presence in real life.  I also think it was built to be relative in scale to the size of a LEGO mini-fig.  Kind of hard to capture this construction until we got up to the second level:

06-Feb-2015 16:21, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 250
06-Feb-2015 16:21, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 40
06-Feb-2015 16:21, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 125
 
06-Feb-2015 16:21, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 80
06-Feb-2015 16:22, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:22, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 32
 
06-Feb-2015 16:22, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 40
06-Feb-2015 16:22, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 32
06-Feb-2015 16:23, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 80
 

Over in the Bloomingdales wing, we found another very large-scale construction which was of the White House.  Now here’s where I ended up learning something that is quite embarrassing:  I never knew/realized that the Oval Office was NOT in the actual White House.  It’s in the West Wing.  I swear I NEVER realized this and thought it was directly in the main house.  But nope – Larry pointed out what was “obviously” the West Wing as you could see the Oval of the Oval Office there.  That’s when my mind was blown.  Still kind of shocked I never knew that.

06-Feb-2015 16:24, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:24, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:24, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 40
 
06-Feb-2015 16:24, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:24, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 50
06-Feb-2015 16:26, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.007 sec, ISO 32
 
06-Feb-2015 16:26, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 50
 

Right near the entrance to Bloomie’s (where I did NOT buy a suit, thank you very much) is where the Liberty Bell is located.  It didn’t get nearly as much love in terms of gawking as the other structures, but it was still a fun construction to marvel over.  I’m in awe of the artistry it takes to build something so intricate and impressive-looking.

06-Feb-2015 16:28, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
06-Feb-2015 16:28, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
06-Feb-2015 16:29, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100
 
06-Feb-2015 16:29, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 64
 

Finally, at least for us, we then marched all the way back over to the Target wing area to see the last LEGO sculpture for us, the Lincoln Memorial.  That’s another very impressive structure to see but it was kind of hidden underneath the escalator, which gave me a sad.  It should have been out in the open like the Capitol building, but I guess the skin care kiosk mafia nixed that idea quick.  🙂

06-Feb-2015 16:56, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.059 sec, ISO 250
06-Feb-2015 16:56, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 250
06-Feb-2015 16:56, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 200
 
06-Feb-2015 16:56, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.042 sec, ISO 250
06-Feb-2015 16:57, Apple iPhone 6, 2.2, 4.15mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 250
 

It was a nice surprise to see these scattered throughout the mall.  As you may have seen from my image post yesterday, I did end up buying a suit, but it was back at Nordstrom’s in Americana.  I was taken care of very nicely by Adel in the Men’s Store there and even though it wasn’t exactly cheap, I got a great suit that fits great.  Now I have a nice dark suit to replace my first suit purchased way back in the day when I started interviewing for jobs upon deciding to get out of the Air Force.  That one did great for a long while, but I don’t really like it at all anymore.  It’s very bulky and wide, and while I’m not exactly svelte, that old suit does nothing for me while this new Hugo Boss suit does a LOT for me.

American-Sniper-2014Finally, today Larry & I went over to the Vista to see a movie for what feels like the first time in a while. Caught American Sniper as while there’s a whole lot of chatter about the subject matter, it is obviously striking a chord in a lot of people as it’s doing very well at the box office.  Plus, it’s gotten a lot of Academy Award attention too and a lot of people we know have seen it and loved it.

Well, I think we both walked away from the movie surprised as it was a very good movie.  It’s made in a way that you can potentially take different things away from it and that’s probably a mark of a good movie, and I’m glad Clint Eastwood bounced back from the godawful Jersey Boys.  Personally, I found this to be nothing like a jingoistic rah-rah war movie or propoganda.  It was clear this story was being told from Chris Kyle’s perspective, warts and all.  We see that he becomes quite a broken man from his experiences in Iraq as he deals a LOT of death through the course of his duties as America’s deadliest sniper but there’s of course a toll.  There’s a toll on his psyche as well as the explicit toll of seeing his comrades getting hurt or killed.  You understand where Kyle is coming from when he feels anger and sympathize with his struggles coming home as he’s shell-shocked at what he’s doing and gone through.  It’s a tragic story in the end as we know how this all ends up, and it is terribly ironic and sad that he dies not on the battlefield (after surviving FOUR tours of duty in Iraq) but at the hands of a disturbed veteran who Kyle is trying to help.

american-sniper_612x380_1I started to write some more about trying to reconcile what was told in this movie versus what is known, in hindsight, about our efforts in Iraq and about the real person Chris Kyle, but I don’t know if that really matters.  I think American Sniper shows how awful a warzone can be and you can take away from it what you want.  Me?  I’m fucking glad as hell I never went to the desert during my time in the Air Force.  I had friends who did and some of their stories scare the shit out of me.  I’m glad Larry & I saw this though.  On a purely superficial (and gay) level, there was some serious beefcake in this movie too.  Just sayin’.  And that’s how I will leave this review, on a totally superfluous note!

It’s 2015, Big Eyes!

Larry & I made it through a nice and relaxing and stress-free NYE last night, watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN’s NYE broadcast from Times Square.  They were of course endlessly entertaining and made us laugh throughout the night, while we kept warm at home and enjoyed a quite delicious bottle of Saddlebrook Champagne from the local Malibu Wines.  After the previous 2 years, it’s good to have had a simple and harmless event.  And despite usually having a terrible hangover from champagne, this was good stuff and we were pretty good this morning!

One of the first things I ended up doing was putting together my gift from Alyssa & Jon:  a LEGO set of the United Nations!  As has been readily apparent, I am all about these LEGO Architecture sets.  They’re so much fun to put together and I’ve been loving the sets of places that I’ve actually been to, as I also have a Rockefeller Center set and then the one that Larry got me for my birthday, the Trevi Fountain.  The white pieces and the clear blue pieces are beautiful – I can’t imagine taking these sets apart, but if I did, they’d be fun elements to build something with.

So first, here are my pics of the LEGO set:

And since I seemed to have not posted these on my site even back in 2010, here’s the pics I took back from December 2010 when I went and visited the United Nations.  It had been on my list of places I wanted to visit and I wasn’t leaving NYC without doing so.  It was very awesome to get a chance to go there, and I even got some pics in the General Assembly!  I can’t remember why Larry didn’t go with me though, but afterwards I met up with my friend and former co-worker Pravi in Midtown for lunch and goodbyes.  Feels like forever ago!

December 23, 2010 – Visiting the United Nations

23-Dec-2010 09:42, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 125
23-Dec-2010 10:29, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, ISO 80
23-Dec-2010 10:29, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, ISO 80
 
23-Dec-2010 10:29, Apple iPhone 4, 2.8, 3.85mm, ISO 80
23-Dec-2010 10:32, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 80
23-Dec-2010 10:32, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 80
 
23-Dec-2010 10:57, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 200
23-Dec-2010 10:58, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80
23-Dec-2010 10:58, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 80
 
23-Dec-2010 10:58, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 80
23-Dec-2010 10:58, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 80
23-Dec-2010 11:02, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 200
 
23-Dec-2010 11:03, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 200
23-Dec-2010 11:31, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 200
23-Dec-2010 11:34, Canon Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, 2.8, 6.2mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 200
 

Finally, time to the title and featured image of the post!  We went out and saw the movie Big Eyes this afternoon, and then grabbed some dinner at the Mexican restaurant there at the Americana called Frida.  Good food, and a great movie!

Big-Eyes-movie-posterBig Eyes (2014)

Saw this on January 1, 2015 at Pacific Theaters at Americana

This Tim Burton movie (!) tells the real-life story of Margaret and Walter Keane, who were married and responsible for the artwork known primarily because of the subjects’ giant eyes.  Here’s the trailer:

As it shows, Margaret was the actual artist of these drawings and paintings, while her husband Walter took the credit for it and was the one who promoted and sold the hell out of them.  She would be toiling on the paintings in secret back at home while the world thought Walter Keane was the talent.  It was the late 1950s and early 1960s so the social mindsets seemed to lean towards skepticism of female artists, so Walter took it upon himself to be the front man.  Watching this all go down from 2015, it is really hard to watch.  Amy Adams as Margaret is amazing but you want to just scream at her character that she deserves so much better!   Alas, she goes along with this arrangement for a long while, until of course she doesn’t.

Both Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz are great in the roles – she is especially good in the role, even though it requires her to rein in a lot and play someone who is bound by her domineering husband and fear of what would happen if she were to say something.  Waltz is on full smarm mode but that is what the role calls for, and you just want to punch him in the face.  But that’s him doing a great job as Walter Keane!  I think what is surprising is how little this feels like a Tim Burton movie, as he’s the same director of such movies as Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, to name just a few.  There’s a moment where you get some of his signature weirdness in the movie, but besides that, it’s a very traditional-style movie.  Larry pointed out that still there is a lot of composition of shots that Burton pulls off that help frame the movie much like a 1960s postcard which does require some directorial flair.  Regardless, it’s a very good movie and left me wondering how the Keane artwork is formally recognized now?