1) Drove up to Wheeling again in the morning. Last night on the drive back to Hyde Park I decided that I had to show some of my movies off and so I have put together a DVD and brought my laptop and a few supplemental legos along. This morning I began the process of trying to find space. I talked to the people running registration and they said that since all the tables were claimed the best approach was probably to go around and look for empty space and ask around to see if anyone was using it.
I scoped out a few potential spots and then began asking around. I asked Mark Larson about the empty space adjacent to his display and then I just ended up talking to him for the rest of the morning. He's an incredibly cool guy. This is his website, this is an interview with him in the AFOL publication BrickJournal and this is his profile on the AFOL community website he is an admin for. You'll hear more about him later.
2) Then I picked up Stephanie and we went off to Portillo's for a wonderful lunch. It's too bad this isn't something we could actually do on a weekly basis. It was really nice to steal her away from work for an hour these two days. I had a tasty burger.
3) When I got back to the hotel I decided I'd rather build my dirty buildster creation before I trying to find that table space. The end result was this: the Mobile Cat Pleasure Palace
Inside sits the cat upon its throne, surrounded by treasures and cat delights.
The palace is propeller by magic... well enslaved magical beings at least.
I had to get creative to make the back axle. It's a lightsaber blade and a magic wand along with a few support pieces. Not pretty, but funtional.
You can see more pictures on my flickr. This tag might be useful.
4) Then I returned to my search for space and in doing so met Shaun. He's into cars and had a whole display of functional replicas of existing cars set up. He also had about a quarter of a table that he wasn't using and which he was kind enough to lend to me to use to set up in.
5) At this point I felt triumphant, but I also had a headache (possibly from lack of sleep) and new that hunger would probably be imminent. I took advantage of the fact I had a car at my disposal and drove to the nearby Target to pick up Ibuprofen, fruit snacks, chewy bars, a new bathing suit, some plain white t-shirts and another plastic dividable tray for sorting Lego. What? I'm on vacation, I can make impulse purchases!
6) Then I returned to the hotel and set-up my laptop and the few characters I had brought with.
I was very excited to have a little place of my own to show off my stuff. It was also nice to have a home base where I could leave my stuff (aside from my car).
7) In the other room there was someone selling lego by the pound. She also had a huge bin full of minifigs which she was selling for a dollar a piece. There were lots of rare minifig pieces scattered throughout and I ended up buying 12. (What? I'm on vacation, I can make impulse purchases!) I focused on female heads first, because those are so rare.
Then I picked out minifigs that I had always though cool, but never owned, a hydronaut, the trans-orange UFO alien, a unitron guy. The guy on the end is just an amalgam of interesting pieces.
These guys I got mostly for their torsos. I really really like that shark shirt.
I also found another great bargain on a now defunct lego line.
8) I went back to where I was setup and showed Shaun my purchases and talked about his cars and other things lego. Other registered attendees were milling around and checking out the displays and some of them came and talked to us and watched my movies. My favorite was when a dad and his kid came over to watch them and then the kid walked away after one, but later when I was elsewhere in the convention hall I noticed that the Dad had come back and was watching through them all on his own.
9) Then there was the opening ceremony, which was a bit lengthy for my tastes, but at the end they unveiled the new Death Star set, which surprised maybe 30% of the people there, everyone else had seen it leaked on the internet a few days prior. And then they had a Q&A with employees from lego answering the many diverse and particular questions that the fans had.
10) I won this little set in the raffle.
11) Then I participated in Dirty Brickster.
I learned a very important lesson about playing this type of game. Always, always steal. Otherwise you end up with a dud. Even though there were sets out there that I would have liked, I made the foolish choice of opening up a package and got stuck with Lego Checkers. If you get the dud, noone is going to steal from you and you just have to sit there hoping that someone is crazy or very nice, but in the end you're stuck with it. I did my best to try and convince everyone of the merits of Lego Checkers and why they should steal it from me, but to no avail. It is now sitting in my closet, waiting for next year's Dirty Brickster, where I can foist it off on some poor unfortunate soul.
12) Then I went to get gas and I bought a sandwich at the convenience store and that served as my dinner. I think it was turkey w/ pepperjack cheese. I didn't pay much attention to it, I only ate because I remembered that that was something I was supposed to do, (unlike yesterday).
13) Then I went to the special event they were having at the NorthBrook Lego store. The store was jam packed full of people, with about a hundred more waiting to get in when I arrived. There were discounts based on how much you bought and there was a pile of damaged sets for 50% off and huge bins of pieces for pick a brick in addition to the wall they had in the back.
I decided that I should take advantage of the 20% discount and buy the sets I had been planning to buy anyway. This ended up being most of the new Batman line, this castle set I'd been craving for well over a year, the agents set I put together yesterday and this agents set I'd gotten before, just for another cyborg arm. What? I'm on vacation, I can make impulse purchases! Also, I used the gift cards I had built up from purchases at the Lego Store down town, so I ended up spending
under $100, which is a good deal. And then I used those sets to have a Lego party, so it's all good.
13) After I had emerged triumphant from the store I sat outside with Mark and Justin Carmien. We talked about our purchases and then about our thoughts on various Lego issues (e.g. the recent price drop in the Factory Space sets) and other things. I found out that Justin was the one with the awesome Wild West layout-
- and that he, like Mark and myself was interested in Lego as a medium for telling stories. We also talked about non-Lego things. Somehow we got onto the topic of Mark's previous job as a bouncer at a club up in Lakeview and the associated stories. It was cool hanging out with them for a while, then I realized it was getting late and I had an hour drive between me and my bed. (They were staying at the hotel) So I bid them farewell and was off.