Lego Tower version 1

Marica and Esther and I (Ben) have been playing with Lego on Saturdays. Marica’s built up a decent collection of small Lego sets over the past several birthdays and Christmases, and building things with them is one of my favourite inside things to do with the kids.

Marica loves building sets from instructions, I enjoy building more free form stuff, and Esther likes playing with the stuff that’s been made. Each to his own. :-)

Last weekend we made a 15-story skyscraper, using a good portion of the straight Lego pieces we have. The footprint was an 8×8 square, and our “rules” were that each story had to be of the same colour, have at least one window, have a floor, and be at least five bricks high. Here are some photos Franci took:

The following week we added 7 more stories out of mixed colors (and didn’t necessarily have great floors), but unfortunately we didn’t take any photos of version 2 before it crashed to the ground from a child-induced earthquake.

A hobbit comes of age

As everyone knows — well, at least everyone who’s a fan of Tolkien — a hobbit comes of age at 33. I turned this ripe old age the other day, and had a fabulous party, mostly organized by Franci, my lovely hobbit-wife.

No Admittance Except on Party Business

We had some great, down-to-earth hobbit food cooked by Franci with some help from Lillian: loads of mushrooms (fried in butter), homemade bread rolls with “Beorn’s” creamed honey and butter, Mum’s meatloaf (“dwarvish meatloaf”), punch (“Miruvor”), ale from The Green Dragon, “Sauron’s eyeballs” deviled eggs, and lots of other yummy things I’m forgetting.

I wrote a little speech that kind of paralleled Bilbo’s speech at his “eleventy-first” birthday party (and Frodo’s 33rd). There were a couple of Lord of the Rings-based games and riddles.

Gandalf quote

There was a small crowd of maybe 15 mostly from church and a couple from work. A few people even dressed up.

In true Hobbit-fashion, Franci and I organized and wrapped gifts for each of the guests (though there were no silver spoons).

Gifts for the guestsAll in all, a fun time! I highly recommend a Hobbit coming-of-age party for your next trend-setting event. :-)


Mr Rubik’s back

Marica and I went to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City last Saturday to see their new Rubik’s Cube exhibition, which was being opened by Ernő Rubik, the inventor of the cube. I own a cube, but still have no idea how to solve it…

Mr Rubik seemed like a fairly unassuming guy with a mild Eastern European accent. We are more or less celebrities by association now, as we got to see his back — he’s the guy in the blue shirt:

Erno Rubik's backFranci said, “At least you got a good photo of the paparazzi!” Well, I did also get this photo:

Erno Rubik's sideThe guy to the left of him is Anthony Brooks, a world-record “speedcuber”, who solved seven cubes in under a minute while we watched:

Anthony Brooks solving cubes

Reuters has a short article and video clip in case you’re interested in further info.

Marica wasn’t fussed on Mr Rubik and the crowds, but she did enjoy some of the rest of the exhibit, including “programming” a robot to follow a line:

Marica programming a robot

Marica by the fake cubeMarica in front of the giant cube