Friday, March 4, 2016

Scattered Childhood Memories #8: The Snowflake Plate

You know those motivational posters that say things like "dare to be different" and "be your own person"? Nobody had to tell Kid Me that. From a very young age, I was thrilled by things that were different. If there were ten identical toys, but one toy had a scratch on it? Give me the scratched one! Different meant special, and I always wanted the thing that was special. I almost never cared what color of [insert item here] I got, as long as I got a color nobody else had.

That was me -- and yes, I was a little odd.

In early elementary school, we'd sometimes go visit my cousins, who lived a few hours away. My aunt had a bunch of these square-ish Tupperware plates, on which she'd serve lunch to us kids....

At some point, she'd collected just one (it seemed) of the Christmas Set of Tupperware Plates. On this one red plate, there was a simple snowflake in one corner....

I quickly became obsessed with that plate. Oh, the glorious snowflake, temporarily hidden by a baloney sandwich, then... aha... there it was! That special icon that adorned just one plate. Woe to the children who had to eat off the plain, snowflake-less plates!

Perhaps the Snowflake Plate was equally coveted by my brother and cousins, or maybe they noticed my obsession with it, and that increased its value. All I know is, it became my mission to get the Snowflake Plate at mealtimes, even if it meant sneaking into the kitchen as soon as I heard my aunt making lunch, and specifically asking her for it.

My aunt, wisely, often just gave us kids all plain plates, probably to avoid hearing us fight or complain. But what a disappointment that was. The Snowflake Plate shouldn't have to sit in a cupboard! It should be enjoyed by at least one of us kids... me, especially! I loved you, Snowflake Plate!

^Actual photo of me, age 6, asking my aunt if I could possibly have the Snowflake Plate for lunch that day. Her expression is one of "you have got to be kidding me."

^Alas, I did not get the Snowflake Plate at this meal.

I've since outgrown that need to covet things that are different and/or special. But I am reminded of the Snowflake Plate whenever my students fight over things I think are really petty. I try to be sensitive toward the kid who gets upset because she didn't get the sparkly sticker she wanted. It's not because, necessarily, my students are selfish Veruca Salt-wannabes that are going to grow up to be selfish adults. No, perhaps it's just a phase that a lot of us go through at that age.

At least I hope it's just a phase....

 * * *

ETA: After posting the above, my cousin Sarah (whose family owned the snowflake plate) reminded me that she had adored the plate, too. So now, considering that, I'm wondering if my love for the snowflake plate had less to do with wanting the thing that was different, and more to do with having the valuable object that my slightly-older, much-cooler cousin herself coveted?

The plot thickens!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Brickity (Bricks Cascade 2016)


The 5th Annual Bricks Cascade, Portland's LEGO convention, occurred last weekend. Three days of recovery later... and it's time to blog!

(See also: Bricks Cascades of the Past: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

For the second year in a row, I was a theme co-coordinator for Town & Train. Like last year, we had a huge showing of cool, lovely, creative, unique, and/or amazing creations. 

This year we had 3 regular trophies and 3 mini-trophies for honorable mentions to give out.

With over 60 creations in Town & Train altogether, giving trophies to only 6 of them was painful.

The main trophies were: 

Structurally Sound - "Awarded to an impressive and/or unique build." 

This trophy was awarded to Kristina R. for her Copacabana Beach Hotel. Kristina employed some dazzling detail on this building. I was impressed by the simplicity, yet effectiveness, of the color scheme. A beautiful creation.

Stellar Scene- "For a MOC that tells a story and/or is rich in interesting details."

This award went to Dorothy W. for her "Train Repair Workshop," which was a kind of LEGO building I'd never seen done before, so points for creativity. Inside and all around the shop there were these cool features and details. Obviously, a lot of thought went into this, and I really enjoyed looking in and around the workshop.

Classically Trained - "Awarded to a creation in Town & Train that best exemplifies this year's convention theme ('A Modern Classic.')"

Despite having the word "train" in the name, and the trophy having a train on it, this trophy could have gone to any MOC that fit the bill. But, it just so happens, it went to a train... Amtrak Cascades, by David H.

(That's the brown-green-and-white train, in case you're not familiar with the Amtrak Cascades.) 

I chose this one, first off, because of the nostalgia associated with train travel... I feel that train travel is both a modern way to travel (because it's better for the environment than driving) and classic (because it's been carting us around for almost 200 years). Plus, I've ridden on the A.C. a few dozen times. Ah, memories...

More importantly, the build itself was gorgeous and finely detailed... and the train was motorized and even ran around the tracks!

The 3 Honorable Mentions went to:

1. Copacabana Beach, by James R, full of lots of humorous details (and definite runner up for the second trophy above.)

 2. Abandoned House In The Forest, by Mark K., which was gorgeous, and makes me think we need a trophy for LEGO Landscaping next year.

And last but not least, Lori Clarke's "Little Brick Houses," a row of simple LEGO houses. Each one had a story to go with it, explaining the minor differences in the surrounding scenes. It was kind of a "What if my childhood had been different... like this... or like this...?" It was super creative, and it's a reminder that LEGO isn't just about building... it's about making us see the world in new ways. Great job!

There was SO many cool new creations in T&T this year. Here are a few more...

^I liked this one because it looked like it could have been an actual LEGO set, circa the 1980s or 90s (or even more recently.)

^A very well-built Safeco Field.  

^Classic-looking fire station.

^The Cafe Corner LEGO Set on a grand scale.

 ^Food carts! 

^A fun hotel.

^Ben K.'s Fairground setup. 

^Chickens rule!

Below are some other MOCs from around the convention hall that I enjoyed...

Now check out what I brought to the show... :)

^The Carousel Of Gladness (next to Ben K.'s Gravitron.)

^Kitchens through the ages

And finally, my little furry friend...

Another great (but exhausting!) year at Bricks Cascade. See you again in 2017!