Tuesday, May 23, 2006

So it turns out I'm staying in Berkeley

Yeah, I didn't even make one of the three contenders. To my surprise, though, when they read the last of the four names and it wasn't mine, I felt a little weak in the knees from relief -- I don't have to leave the Bay. My whole psychology of treating it like a win-win scenario turned out to be for real, who knew? I was feeling so confident at times I thought that not getting the top spot would have me all curled up in a ball.

I went for it, and I went for it hard, and oodles of friends gave me props from everywhere and I feel great. Sure, I'm bummed, but it's cool.

I've got a bunch more pictures to post, but it turns out I'm spending my final night in San Diego proper hanging out with friends, and not in the hotel with its fancy wireless internet. I'll spin a longer tale tomorrow, with pictures in glorious color, but for now, witness my final model, "Monstas from Space."

It was going to be "Monsters from Outer Space, but those damn letters took a real long time.

Day Two

Today we walked to the park from the hotel (which is across the street). We got rained on slightly. Our first stop was the Lego Clubhouse, where they house the gazillions of bricks we had to choose from to be our core supply for the build-off tomorrow. We had an hour, and most everyone spent the last half hour sitting at the little tables tinkering. It's what we do.

Then we had our interview and two building challenges. The interviews were conducted by HR staffers Kim and Heather (as a team), HR guy Marcus, and Pat the model shop boss. I got Kim and Heather, who were totally friendly. I talked about my career history and they wrote a lot of stuff down. When the big question came, "why should we pick you?" I opened with "I'm a lateral thinker," and while they were writing that down I froze for a second. Then, while they were still writing, the internal flywheel started spinning again and I rattled off the rest of the spiel that I'd been gathering in my head over the last week or two. I think I did that "selling myself" thing with more push than in any other job interview I've ever had. I even said "I get people to like me quickly" or something like that, which I had some post-interview mini qualms about. Buuut, what the heck, it's true. I'm charming, it's an asset. What can I say?

I went back to the little waiting room, thinking I still had to talk to Pat and Marcus. Then, in a bit of casual conversation I figured out everyone only got one interview, with one of the interviewers. My dawning relief was so bewildering, my confirmation of this came out "you blean we just must have one interview, to us?" Well, great! (Also good was my realization that I hadn't held anything back, thinking there was more to do. I was aiming to impress everyone equally).

The time limit for both building challenges was 55 minutes. The first building challenge was to make an egg. Everyone got to sit in front of this gorgeously organized set of bins. Plates, from 1x1 to 1x8, then 2x2 to 2x8, then the brick versions of the same pieces. I went for the green, cuz green is pretty. I asked if I could listen to my iPod, which I did. When I was worried I wasn't going to finish the egg, I thought "oh great, it's going to look like I was too busy fiddling with my iPod to do the task." I had a couple spots where I needed to pull stuff off and rethink. Then, as I was closing in on the top, I was certain each downward push was going to implode the whole thing. I reminded myself that I'd built animation props out of much flimsier materials, that I had the right touch if I just concentrated. (The guy next to me started his from the top first, which I wished I'd thought of.) But in the end I actually had enough time to sort the unused pieces back into their bins. Sorting, of course, is the other great joy of Lego freakery.

The second challenge was to make a face out of bricks, at least six inches high. This guy just makes it. We had a full range of yellow pieces and some selected black and white ones. Right away I decided to make him winking (or grimacing in pain, you decide), which was a good application of my "don't forget the hook" point I realized after going on KRON that time. Although I came up right against the time limit, this was a much more relaxed experience. (There's another pic of this guy in the last post, if you scroll down. I used the flash, so you can tell his teeth are white).

On my way back to the hotel I saw I had a message from the always delightful Tami, saying she was blowing off work to come hang out at the park with me. We scoped the place really good, making sure the thing I'm going to do for my build-off piece tomorrow wasn't represented anywhere. It isn't, but I can't tell you what it is yet. It turned out that one of Tami's ideas while we were brainstorming last night, to rep some works of fine art in Lego...they had that idea already. So obviously it was a good idea -- just shows you how good it is to have her brain on my side. You'll notice that blue light saber floating in space, that's so the kids can pose fighting the D-man. But Tami's a hugger, not a fighter.

It's been a full day. I took a nap, ate some steak, and now I'm going to practice for my piece tomorrow. Thank you so much for all the attention and good wishes, all of you. I can feel you sending me good vibes all the way from here, and it's the best thing ever, I mean it. I might not get the top spot tomorrow, but right now I feel like I can't lose.

Here's a few photos from my wanderings today and yesterday.

This is the first thing I want to copy when I get home. Big, beautiful bass. Or salmon. Trout?

If this ever actually happened in nature, it would be unstoppable.

Miniland's Embarcadero Center. This feels incomplete without a little Jonah and Marly running around in it.

The dinosaurs are heartbreakingly pretty. Fantastic colors.

Something about the bottom of this guy's jaw -- I love it!

The mini Smithsonian might be my favorite structure in all of miniland.

I love how this isn't just a big basilisk, it's a giant version of the toy of the basilisk. And he seems to be snaking out of the dirt. Sssss!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Interviews, tests

Done with the first hurdle! We had to make an egg and a face. My egg was touch and go for a bit there, I wasn't sure if I was gonna finish. And I was sure I was going to collapse the whole thing when I did the top.

The face is a little blocky, I admit, but he's winking. Get it?

Enough of that, what about the toys?

Picked up one of these for myself. The figs are great!

Day One

I'm too shagged to write much, but here are some highlights of the day.

Check me out! First time in a stretch limo. As good as advertised.

This kid was considering going Godzilla on DC, but his dad said "don't even think about it." Darn!

I am quite literally pressed against the glass for this one, longingly looking inside. That's the model shop. One wall is a big window, so the magic is viewable to the public. Just don't knock on the glass, the fish don't like it.

More super-coolness.


Monday is interviews and building tests. Tuesday is the final build-off. Two hours to do a "what would you add to the park" model. Hmmmm.

Winner and three contenders are announced at 1:30 pm California time on Tuesday.

Thanks for all the calls and support. My friends and family totally rule. That's you guys, you rule!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fingers of butter you have

Omigod, I was supposed to post this 4 thousand years ago.

From Rebelscum: "Darth Vader is in need of repairs… better operate quick! This classic Operation game is reborn with the addition of Darth Vader on the table! Dig deep into the Dark Lord of the Sith by removing his symbols of power: he's got Deflecting Palm, Ominous Breathing, Rebel Scum Detector, Deadly Duel, and many more! Don’t set off the buzzer, or the Dark Lord of the Sith's eyes will light up and you will hear him scream in pain! 'NNNOOOOOOOOOO!!'"

Well, that's great. We all know the "nooo" scream was the best part of the movie.

I can't even tell what all that stuff is. That knife, for instance, and that thing in his chest. On the flip side, I'm tickled pink by the fact that he's got a smaller Darth Vader head in his head. Sometimes I wonder if I've got a smaller version of my head in my head, too. And also maybe that's where the voices come from.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Legion of Super-Heroes character designs look awful

The Superman Homepage is pleased to present an exclusive first look at the actual completed character designs for the up-coming "Legion of Super-Heroes" animated series!
Look for the "Legion of Super-Heroes" animated series to hit the new CW network later this year.