5 for FRIDAY: LEGO SETS

Every growing boy needs a hobby. For me, it’s Lego. I loved the toy as a child, before undergoing what Lego fandom refers to as ‘The Dark Ages’ when I was thirteen or fourteen– that period between discovering Lego and rediscovering it.

I rediscovered it a few years ago thanks to my kids: Luscious and I had bought Ms 15 some Duplo when she was a little sausage person, and passed it on to Master 12 when he became a little sausage person. Neither of them had really taken to it, until one day, when searching for a way to create a maze for the remote control T-Rex they were playing with, they brought it out.

“I wonder what they’d do with some real Lego?” I said to Luscious.
“You should nip down the ships and pick some up,” she replied. (He says, passing-the-blamingly).

Today, I have a collection that lies just short of 200 sets, and just north of 55,000 pieces. The children, meanwhile, have iPads and iPods, and laptops. I have displayed at the last 2 Bricktober exhibitions, and am currently working on my display for a third consecutive year, and have travelled to Melbourne to exhibit at their giant Brickvention exhibition. I am a member of several online Lego groups, have a Flickr account, and spend hundreds of dollars a year at the Bricklink second-hand site, buying individual pieces for my MOCs (My Own Creations: what adults call this thing wot I built all by myself to make it sound more adult).

In short, I’m an AFOL: an Adult Fan of Lego. And I loves it with great lovingness.

In many ways, I’ve passed beyond buying sets: I’m more interested in MOCs, as it expands my creative skills, and it’s the act of artistic creation that fires my juices. But, like many of my colleagues, sets were where I started before I slid over to the more self-expressive, artistic end of the spectrum. So here are five sets that fuelled my love of the brick, and which will be the last to leave my cold, dead hands.

 

5 for Friday: Lego sets

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THUMBNAIL THURSDAY PIMPS ITS RIDE. AND IT ALL GOES HORRIBLY WRONG.

Back in the day when the TV show Pimp My Ride was a thing, I sketched this piece. Titled Pimp My Dalek, I intended the finished piece to be a painted artwork for entry into a Swancon fan art show. I don’t do Swancon any more, and I never got around to painting the work, so this plan is as close as I’ve ever come.

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SUBMITTED!

The Terrors pulled up three hundred metres outside the town. There were six soldiers left, only half the team that had left the Reclaimed Zone a month before. They’d known the risks—that was why Reclamation Bounties were so high. But a team is a team. The losses hit hard. Nerves were shredded. Reclamation was high stakes work, but there came a time when a team wanted to bug out, claim their R&R and spend their hard-won on the few comforts available in the Zone. The Terrors had reached that point. Even so, they’d barely relaxed before Sarge took out his scope and scanned the township at the bottom of the rise.

Into the Pit, a psychedelic, post-apocalyptic, military SF story,  is completed at 5220 words, and submitted.

Along with the picture book I submitted earlier this year, that marks my second submission for 2017. Sadly, this represents a high-watermark for the last couple of years. So onto the next project, to keep this momentum rolling. I’m sure I know what the next project is……

PRECIOUS THINGS: ADRIAN BEDFORD

I’ve known and admired Adrian Bedford for nigh on a decade. One of the gentlest people I know, he’s made a career of taking readers into uncomfortable places, and then rewarding them with endings that give hope and uplift. A multiple Aurealis Award-winner, his latest work, Black Light, is a crossover crime novel that mixes supernatural fantasy with a taut, tightly-plotted thriller. His genuine humility is revealed by the fact that his website is named Little Known Author, and he seems to truly believe it.

A good friend, it’s a pleasure to have him reveal his soul for you here.

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A DOZEN OF THE BEST

Today is my 12th wedding anniversary.

Twelve years married to this amazing, talented, wise, intelligent, stylish, caring, kind, wonderful woman:

who was told she was destined for nothing, so became an author and artist;

who was told she was stupid, so fought and scratched and refused to give up, and earned her degree;

who was denied years of family love and responded by nurturing and giving flight to two families’ of children;

who was told she had nothing to give and now prepares to give direction and education to hundreds of schoolchildren;

who is afraid of heights so abseiled;

who is afraid of snakes so held them and kissed them;

who illuminates and inspires and conquers and endures;

who qualified as a massage therapist;

who has travelled the country;

who has run distance races;

who has taken on every challenge and dismissal and marginalisation, and won;

who has potential in unlimited amounts;

who can do, and has done, anything she sets her mind to.

Who is the most interesting, complete, and endlessly fascinating person I have ever met.

Who loves, and is loved in return.

She persisted? She persists.

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Who has a quite unbelievable number of photos of her poking her tongue out…

5 for FRIDAY: TITLES, WITH MY BLESSING

You know how it is: you have an idea, and it sounds brilliant, so you write it down because, damn, man, this is the one. This is the one. And then, somehow, it never quite pans out that way. The zag never matches up with the zig. The yang never quite lives up to the ying. Or the zag and the yang elope when your back is turned, and there you are, propping up the end of a bar with poor, bereft zig and ying, bemoaning what could have been.

Or, you know, you just have an idea for a title and the story never quite comes.

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PRECIOUS THINGS: GERRY HUNTMAN

Gerry Huntman is one of the giant brains behind the truly excellent ezine SQ Mag. He’s also a writer in his own right, having published over 50 pieces of short fiction, mainly towards the dark end of spec fic. Like me, however, he has a tendency to wander all over the genre as his attention span takes him. His novel, Guardian of the Sky Realms (Cohesion Press), for example, is a young teen fantasy work. You can find more about him over at his Livejournal Blog.

He may also be the only other person besides me who remembers Willard Price’s Adventure novels.

 

Here he takes us on a journey through his development as a reader, and like all good stories, leaves us guessing until the final, climactic reveal of his Precious Thing.

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5 for FRIDAY: INK ME!

To further my descent from ordinary son of a bigoted, white, working class, English family to inexplicable arty-farty possible-poofter who ‘aint never been t’ same since ‘e went off to t’ Big City darn Sarf, I got me a tattoo for my most recent birthday.

tattoo

Honestly, I have no idea why, but tattoos are genuinely addictive. I cannot explain it– although I have confirmed it with others who have them– but having received my first one, all I can think about is how soon I can go back and get my second, and third, and eighth, and fifteenth.

Seriously. This is me. This is me, now.

So, for today’s 5 for Friday, here are 5 designs I’m determined to get.

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WELL, HOLY SHIT, I’VE WRIT!

It’s taken 6 weeks to write 5200 words, which for Past Lee is a somewhat glacial pace, but tonight I’ve finished the first draft of Into the Pit, my psychedelic, post-apocalyptic military SF submission for Cohesion Press’ upcoming anthology SNAFU: Judgement Day.

Why is that significant? Well, if you count the picture book manuscript Anthony the Ammonite, it’s the second work I’ve completed this year. And it’s been a ludicrously long time since I’ve finished two pieces of work in the first quarter of the year.

Here’s raising a glass to kicking onto number three.

Bo

PRECIOUS THINGS: ALAN BAXTER

I’ve known Alan Baxter for a while now, although the Australian SF scene being what it is, we’ve only been face to face on one occasion: a raucous evening at a Natcon a few years back that started with beer and ended with wandering the streets of Perth looking for a decent curry…. and then ended with more beer. It was that kind of Natcon.

Alan writes supernatural thrillers and urban horror, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, with his wife, son, dog and cat. He’s the multi-award-winning author of several novels and over seventy short stories and novellas. You can read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything. He says.

Sounds like a challenge to me….

In the meantime, settle back and enjoy as he lets us view a Precious Thing of real beauty.

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5 FOR FRIDAY: WELCOME, WELCOME!

I’ll do anything to avoid real writing.

A couple of years ago, I threw up a post in response to a Triple J segment in which Megan Washington listed 5 songs she wished she’d written. While avoiding life the other night, I decided to revisit the concept, and make it a regular feature of the blog, because why not?

So: 5 for Friday. Whet your appetite: travel back in time to read the original post, 5 Songs I Wish I’d Written.

Now, let’s journey to The WOOOOORLD OF….. well, today, with a the first entry that is actually the second entry of our brand new segment!

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IT’S THE RETURN OF THUMBNAIL THURSDAY!

It’s been a very long time since my last Thumbnail Thursday post. And just for laughs, the randometer has selected a thumb on the difficulties of cartooning.

Which, along with a total lack of talent, was the reason I stopped in the first place. Ooooooh, spoooooooky.

So, welcome back to the land of what I could have been had I spent the time I was practicing writing practicing the other art form I wish I could do for a living!

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PRECIOUS THINGS: TALITHA KALAGO

Talitha Kalago is an author with a deep love of the horror genre. She lives on the Sunshine Coast, surrounded by tanks of snakes and freshwater shrimp. Talitha loves entomology, rock climbing, reading, web design, photography and video gaming, and is found online at both her website, Traditional Evolution, and her blog.

As might be expected from such a damned cool sort of person, her Precious Thing is both gorgeous, and very, very cool.

Precious Things: Talitha Kalago

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BLOODY HELL, SOME ACTUAL WRITING!

One of the real issues with my day job is just how much of my energy and commitment it sucks up, often leaving me with very little when it comes time to taking care of the career I really care about. A decade ago, I was averaging ten sales a year. Now I’m lucky if I finish writing three stories in a year.

A case in point is the story I’m currently working on: Into the Pit is intended as a submission for SNAFU: Judgement Day, an anthology of post-apocalyptic military stories that closes on 30th April. I started at the turn of the year, full of piss and vinegar and story ideas. As of yesterday, I’d managed 2000 words. In terms of my previous writing efficiency, that’s not even glacial– it’s positively geological.

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