Friday, April 29, 2016

Trying to get back into things....

I've taken some time off from writing, and lately the camera hasn't been out and about. It's really kind of sad but life has just gotten in the way. My creative spirit has been... somewhere else. I'd like to say it was building Lego creations but I'm not sure it's been there.

I have been in design mode and learning and researching. I've been learning about Lego Digital Designer (http://ldd.lego.com/en-us/) and a program called Brickificency (http://www.buildingoutloud.com/brickficiency.php).  Which has been cool. I've been using Bricklink  (https://www.bricklink.com/index.asp) and I've started placing orders for parts.

What else?

In March we went to Brickworld Indy. We visited the town of Walton, Indiana and saw sights from my husband's childhood. I reviewed some of them on TripAdvisor. At BrickWorld I took pictures and posted them...somewhere. There was a lot of shopping on this trip. We managed to hit a Toys R Us and a Lego store on the way home in New York state.

In April, we went to a Lego KidsFest  (http://legokidsfest.com/) event in Harrisburg, PA. We stopped in Yonkers, NY on the way and visited the LegoLand Discovery Center (https://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/westchester/) on Saturday and did the KidsFest on Sunday. It was my daughter's birthday so we had a lot of fun celebrating that too. We stopped at a Lego store and a Bricks & Minifigs store on the way down. By the time we came home the car was pretty full of Lego.

Next up? We've got some ham radio events on our family calendar. Work is sliding into summer mode for us, and I need to get on the ball and figure out summer camps and family time stuff.

There's a couple more Lego events that we may or may not get to later this year. One is at the end of May (but it's in direct competition with a ham radio event) and the other isn't until August. We'll decide on those things when we get closer.

More immediately because our house is filling up with Lego we really need to do a cleanout! I am trying to get the family interested in this before I drop the hammer and just do it myself. I think I'm being generous with the time frame, but really the sooner the better.

And lastly.... I need to get the notebook out some more. I am going crazy with NOT writing. Designing Lego creations is fun, but the words.... I need to be putting words on paper. So I've got to get back into that, and if the camera comes out along the way then that's fine too.

Hopefully as we slide into summer things will start to fall into place and you'll see more updates here soon.

And if you have gotten this far, don't be shy. Leave me a note and let me know I'm not talking to myself.

Thanks.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

UMass Campus Construction Projects

A visit up to Health Services this morning lended itself to bringing the camera along. I'm pretty excited about the new building going up near the Studio Arts  building. It's a new $52 million Design Building. They are using special wood and lots of energy efficient building techniques. When it's completed in 2017 it will bring together Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning, the Department of Architecture, and the Building and Construction Technology Program. These entities are all in different colleges so the new building will be promoting interdisciplinary studies.  (See article "Timber" UMass Amherst, Spring 2016 issue).  I say I'm excited because if they can keep my tuition waiver in my contract for another 10 years or so maybe my daughter will get to take classes in this building. She seems to have an interest in art and design and architecture so this could be her future classroom building.










Of course another "landmark of campus" is our duck pond and the geese were having breakfast, as usual.



Ah...almost forgot, this is looking over at the new classroom building next to the campus center. I haven't been inside it yet but I've heard it's very high-tech.

I cannot even imagine the horror of putting a foot in here, much less swim. I know they dredge it in the summer but it must contain huge amounts of water fowl poop, not to mention snapping turtles that eat baby ducks, catfish, and other things of the deep.



The Old Chapel and South College are both being "renovated". With South College it's been very extensive. There was only a shell there for a while. The new building is much, much larger than the old one. I also got some shots of the library, because nothing is more of a landmark than the library, right?

Chapel with missing windows...
 View of the library

 Another shot of the chapel with South College next to it

Chapel, library, geese..

Almost forgot about these projects. Morrill is getting renovated and the new Sciences building rises behind it in this photo....

Chapel up close..

And closer...

South College... notice on the left, the new building addition. It goes on and on...

...and on.... almost down to Dickinson Hall and the new band building.

Cement mixers in the South College renovation zone.

A close up of the front of South College, with Thompson Tower on the right.

There you go. It's not the view from above, but it's something. Lots going on as always.


Monday, February 29, 2016

Weekend Lego haul

We went up to Burlington, VT for a very quick trip and visited a Toys R Us in nearby Williston. Another friend of mine (thank you M.R.) had clued me in as to what was available and we got to the store on Saturday morning. I picked up my first TRU Exclusive Bricktober sets. I got all 4 from 2015 and 1 from 2014. I'd love to get the rest from 2014 but I don't know what my odds are. The 2015 sets were about $20/each and the 2014 was marked down to about $10. I say "about" because there was 7% sales tax which drove up the price higher than usual. I also picked up 2 of the 2015 items for another friend. My husband got 2 cute and inexpensive Creator sets. Our daughter had to settle for a single minifigure of the Jewel Thief. She considered other items but ultimately accepted our offer to go shopping at Target on another day instead. Our total TRU haul was around $165 or so with taxes.

On Sunday, back on familiar turf, I visited my local Walmart and lucked out finding Emma's Tourist Kiosk in the clearance area. It was marked for $7 but rang up for only $5. I also found 2 Mixels that I'd been wanting. I didn't really want to spend a lot of money after the TRU trip anyway, but I was in Walmart for other things and couldn't pass up those deals.

I didn't get it all built yet of course, but I got a good start on Sunday night.









Monday, February 22, 2016

Lego Americana Tour at Providence Place, Providence, Rhode Island

The Lego American Tour is currently in Providence, Rhode Island. We went down Saturday (the first day it was open) to check it out. There are about 80 pictures here.


White House





Some displays were not on the official map. We were happy to find them.






Washington Monument is so tall. It's hard to capture.




North Church




Another surprise display. Mount Rushmore and other things.


Liberty Bell.

Not on the map. Simpsons Mall.








More displays. Not sure why the pennies were there.






Another surprise. This one featured Duplo.



More...











 Had to hold the camera up over the display to see the fountains and detail in the middle.






This is the grand masterpiece I think. It's huge!







Lego Play space...


Views of the mall.




More bonus displays...