Homemade Gifts from Dad: Lego Picture Frame version 2.0

My son was momentarily very impressed by Lego picture frame version 1, but his first question was “can I break it?” Version 2.0 should last at least a day.

Lego picture frame
Version 2.0

Really, the Lego picture frame isn’t for kids. It belongs in a hipster’s retro-decor kitchen or bathroom, next to their abstract Super Mario artwork. A permanent Lego creation defeats the purpose of Legos. Like any construction toys, they’re made to be destroyed and rebuilt, over and over. And just as I’ve passed my Legos on to my children, they will pass them on to theirs, and so proceeds the Lego circle of life, the generations of Legos.

My buddy Tim-o recently told me that our planet has more Legos than people. Apparently (link), a few other species could be outnumbered as well:

More than 400 billion Lego bricks have been produced since 1958. There are about 62 Lego bricks per person of the Earth’s population.

That seems wrong, both statistically and morally. People are starving, right? Fifty Lego bricks aren’t going to do them any good, unless they’re the edible ones, but those are just candy. We need nutritious Legos.

They are an excellent toy, and brilliantly mass-marketed, but to be honest, and to destroy the chances that they ever sponsor my blog, I admit that I prefer not to support the endless production of more Legos. I also prefer the basic extensible blocks to the newfangled specialty pieces that have limited use. Call me old-fashioned.

As the ultimate homemade gift from dad I recommend getting some bulk pieces online (Craigslist usually has a hundred or so postings), building a sweet ship or castle, and leaving it under the tree, or outside their bedroom door.

Lego Adventures: Fishing, Saving Planets, Getting Bad Guys

My son made a laser flier digger booster without destroying the Lego picture frame:

Lego laser flier digger
Laser flier digger booster mobile

In his own words:

It’s called a convotomater, because it catches fish, and this robot machine that goes down on this thing actually catches sharks, because some people say that they want sharks, so that’s why they catch sharks. Do you know what the threetow is on this? It’s the thing that spins and shoots the fish out. And what do you think this one is? This sucks up fish and then shoots them all the way to the city so people can eat them. They land in front of their houses, in a bucket.

This one has little bugs on top and you push this button and it goes into the water and it’s poisonous so the fish eat it and die. And this one looks under the water and takes pictures of fish, so they know what kind of fish it is. It’s called a three-moto-headed skywalker.

Sounds like Deadliest Catch, only more inventive and more efficient. From the sea to your doorstep – genius!

The design is all his own, but we do try to balance out the destruction and bad guy getting, which seems to come innately to a 5-yr-old boy, with something constructive like space exploration or rescue missions. The laser flier digger booster, aka convotomater, does it all:

And it can turn into a ship. Actually, this is a space ship, it’s not a water ship. It fixes other ships if they break. And it has special tools and it can fix the planets, so if Zupiter broke they can put if back together with this robot. This one drains holes in the planets so they can put nails in them so fire can’t get in and break the whole planet and it would explode.

And this robot in space keeps electricity in this wire thing that spins around, and gives electricity to any rocket that doesn’t have electricity. And this bullet one shoots out of the front and goes and makes sure the planets aren’t chemicaled.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the best robot ever. This one on the side that has the rocket launcher on the bottom, it takes pictures of planets so they know which planet it is, and it knows how to spell it. So that’s how this spaceship works. Isn’t that cool?

The coolest. Of course, we’re always prepared for the bad guys:

And if bad guys come it will shoot this laser thing out, and it has cracking chemicals.

Winter Bicycling: Essential Gear

Earlier this week I posted a list of winter bicycling essential attire. Today, I’ll finish the ensemble with some essential winter biking gear.

All you really need is a bike, preferably a beater, one you wouldn’t mind leaving in a ditch or launching off a bridge just to see if it explodes. For the past two winters I rode Frankencycle – a beast of a bike, scrapped together from numerous bike corpses abandoned around our apartment complex.

frankencycle
frankencycle

Somehow the front wheel escaped before I took the picture… It was actually a sturdy and reliable bike, and yet I never had to lock it up. I guess a bike thief is a poor judge of character.

Here are a few additional components that some people find handy:

  1. Studded tires – helpful on ice, but pricey, slower, and still not crash proof. These come in all sizes, even for road bikes, though the fit might be snug.
  2. Snowboarding helmet – full-face makes it warm and dry, but also bulky and heavy.
  3. Lights – absolutely essential. Here in the north the sun throws in the towel around 4:30, and the bike lane turns into a slosh fest which forces you into the road, so the more candelas the better. Since both my light mountings have busted I’ve strapped the front to my helmet and the rear to my backpack, which is nice because I don’t have to detach them when I park.

Last year, completely cankered with rust, Frankencycle disappeared into the northern countries to live its final days in solitude. I’ve since assembled Bikenstien, a mountain bike that’s just as scrappy, though not as loyal.

bikenstien
bikenstien