Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brickworld 2009 - Thursday

Warning – The Brickworld posts are Long and Rambly and possibly don’t entirely make sense.

I was up very late on Wednesday night finishing “Out of Bonds” and set it to export/compress while I slept. I woke up on Thursday and started uploading it to youTube. The estimated upload time was 7 hours. I compressed a smaller version that had a more reasonable upload time of 4 hours. While it was uploading I finished packing, ate lunch, took a shower, went and picked up the Zip Car and loaded up all my legos and luggage. As soon as it was up I posted the link and then I was off to Brickworld.

I missed the morning/early afternoon workshops on Thursday, but I hadn’t been too excited for them anyway, so it wasn’t a big loss. I pulled up right as they were opening the main display halls, got registered and checked in to my room, dropped my legos off at my tables, dropped my luggage in my room and then went down to the River Ballroom for the WomenBuild Presentation.

WomenBuild is the brainchild of Asli Bilgin (who will be important later in the weekend). It’s a program that uses LEGO Serious Play to engage women in the software development industry. I had heard about LEGO Serious Play before, but only in a vague way. The most interesting thing I learned was that while the % of women in all other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines is rising, the % in computer science is drastically dwindling.

After that there was a session where we got to try out Serious Play and talk about the problems facing the online AFOL community. The first thing we had to do was take the bricks we were provided with and build a tower that represented some aspect of our personality. Mine of course had a camera and a little me (just two eyes and two arms) behind the camera moving the pieces in front. Then we had to build something that represented a problem/hurdle we saw in the lego fandom.

Me and most of the other people at my table, focused on the fragmented nature of the online AFOL community (space people don’t talk to castle people, train people don’t talk to pirate people, no one even realizes the lego animation community exists etc.) but what I thought was more interesting was the one woman at our table who thought the biggest challenge was in how the rest of the world views us. She is in her 40s and most of her friends don’t know about her life as a lego fan. She feels like she doesn’t have anyone to talk to about it. She is in the lego closet. In that moment I felt very glad to have this blog where I frequently post about legos without having to worry about who might see them and know how crazy I am.

The last challenge we had was to build a solution to the problem we had defined. Most of these involved a central site that acted as a portal to the various splinter sites. Then we had to arrange all of our table’s models together and explain the rationale to the whole group. I was the spokesperson for our group as can be seen here. It was a fun exercise, although I don’t know what will come of it, there was someone from LEGO there videotaping and apparently the tape was given to the owner of LEGO, but it’s one of those things where it’s very easy for people to talk about solutions and another thing entirely to implement them.

Then I ran to Potbellies for dinner. I came back and got my pieces for Dirty Buildster and then ran off to do more set-up on my display. Then I went back to the room for Dirty Brickster where I passed on Lego Checkers from last year (mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!) and picked up a new Agents set I’d wanted. Then I returned to the main event hall and finished setting up my display. Already that night I had people watching my videos and checking my stuff out. Then I turned in early since I hadn’t slept much the previous night.

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