Review: Lego: A Love Story by Jonathan Bender

Lego: A Love StoryLego: A Love Story by Jonathan Bender
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another audiobook finished courtesy of my recent slew of weekends driving to Boston- and a non-fiction piece, no less! I definitely found myself zoning out throughout various parts of the book, but overall, this is an informative glimpse into both the history of Lego(never Legos, the reader/listener learns quickly) and modern Lego culture. The author's personal Lego history provides many poignant anecdotes that color the story in a most pleasing manner.

Bender also weaves in his personal trials, such as his wife's repeated attempts to get pregnant, and it's very evident how Lego bricks are a stress reliever, therapy, and an escape for him, but also a social tool and a true love. His wife builds with him, and Bender draws parallels between their individual personalities and communication styles and their complementary building styles.

The author's occasionally self-deprecating tone and lack of self-confidence in his building abilities, especially creative free-building ones, definitely resonated with me on a personal level, and I found myself mentally encouraging him on several occasions.

Overall, a solid book, evoking lots of childhood memories and even awe at Lego's business model, which seems to basically boil down to brick perfection and compatibility. I'm motivated to go dig out the boxes in my parents' basement, and eternally grateful for a mother who kept such childhood treasures.

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Review: Jane Slayre: The Literary Classic with a Blood-Sucking Twist! by Sherri Browning Erwin, Charlotte Brontë

Jane Slayre: The Literary Classic with a Blood-Sucking TwistJane Slayre: The Literary Classic with a Blood-Sucking Twist by Sherri Browning Erwin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe it's the audiobook factor, but of all these classic-meets-iconic fantasy/horror demons, this is my least favorite so far. This is funny, considering this novel contains vampires, zombies, AND werewolves. I like vampires. I like that the vampires in this novel are generally self-serving, rude, dark, and very much un-sparkly. Sometimes they were a little too... human for me, though, and I found myself pitying a number of them. The werewolf was an important character to the plot resolution and the main stumbling block for the main character's romantic leanings, but is only vaguely referenced until the latter portion of the book. The zombies were definitely my favorite appearance in the book. Jane is a young girl away at boarding school, safe from the machinations of her vampiric extended family, but becomes an integral part in uncovering the zombie plots at her school in the most humorous way. The descriptions of the zombies, both their movements and actions, and the account of how they become transformed, are exceptionally detailed and captivating.

I'd probably give it more like a 3.75/5, but I don't feel like rounding up.

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Semi-Unplanned Hiatus

I haven't posted since February 27, 2012, Blogger tells me.

Something incredible happened right around then. Bear with me while I try to "use my words". :p

In January, Mike "Gabe" Krahulik of Penny Arcade, of whom I am a Twitter follower, sent out a request for "Enforcer" apps for PAX East 2012, a gaming convention in Boston. I attended this convention one out of the three days last year, and at PAX East, experienced immediate shock, awe, and love. Enforcers are the volunteers that help staff the convention and make sure things run smoothly. I wavered on whether or not to apply for about two weeks after his initial posting (mostly because of anxiety) and then assumed I was too late.

Fortunately, I was wrong, and he tweeted a second request the end of February, and I jumped. I waited impatiently for about a week, worrying and obsessing about how I'd be declined because I wasn't nerdy enough, or didn't have the right skills, or because I made the egregious error of spelling the Enforcer manager's last name wrong in the e-mail, which we all know is an excrutiatingly painful mistake for me. Luckily, my fears were unfounded, and I was accepted.

Accepted into an incredibly accepting and amazing community. Yes, that's a lot of "accepting", but it's true. This is like those little capsules that explode into sponge animals in water, but on a significantly larger and better scale. Worst analogy ever, I know. But the fact remains that I can't properly describe how wonderful this group of people is, so I'll have to rely on drawing terrible comparisons.

PAX East 2012 was April 6-8, 2012. I went out the week before for a party with these new friends and to help stuff "swag" bags for the convention attendees. The weekend before was great, but still couldn't have prepared me for the incredible, almost-week-long emotional high that would come once PAX drew nigh. I went out Wednesday night and helped briefly with setup in the computer section, then again on Thursday. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were probably the most chaotic days of my life, ever. Even more so than Black Friday at Best Buy in a $1M+ store. Chaotic days, but incredible nonetheless, even with the worst anxiety attack I've had in some time Saturday afternoon. I met so many amazing people face-to-face that I'd been able to converse with on IRC/forums and "see" via Google Hangouts. I met some others I'd never seen or spoken to before with whom I felt an instant rapport. Monday brought sleep, attempting to stave off sickness, and then the afterparty, an amazing evening full of adorable men snazzily suited up (a weakness of mine), ladies in pretty dresses, bowling, and drinking and bonding with new friends.

I crashed, hard, after getting home on Tuesday. I've basically spent most of my free time outside of work, since, on IRC trying to get as much Enforcer-time in as I can. I jumped on the opportunity to spend what I thought would be three of the next six weekends with Enforcers, and will actually end up being four out of six. I'm finally mostly out of my funk and ready to face life like a semi-responsible adult again- and that includes getting cracking on my reading goal for the year. 100 books seems incredibly daunting right about now, when I've only read one-fifth of those books. Goodreads tells me I'm nine books behind, and I feel like an unfortunately high percentage of what I have read has been "brain candy". I said I was going to try to read 1:1 fiction and non-fiction this year, too. At any rate, this is a very long-winded explanation for why I haven't been reading much at all lately.


Took a chance, scored one in the fight against anxiety, PAX East happened, I met amazing people, I didn't have time to read.

*For those of you not up on your Internet acronyms, TL;DR is Too Long; Didn't Read, which is followed by a very brief summary.