Anthony’s Birthday Helicopter And Some Creativity
Super Cool Rocket Plane made from recycled helicopter parts  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright  2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/100 sec, f/5, ISO 3200 — full exif
Super Cool Rocket Plane
made from recycled helicopter parts

I've been so busy of late that I haven't posted much from Anthony's birthday when he turned six years old, but since my primary intent for this blog is to give me something to remember when I finish going senile, I'll go ahead now and put some more memories from his birthday.

Anthony received a helicopter that he had picked form himself, but as an extra surprise, he received another helicopter from Mommy and Daddy, a Lego helicopter with a bazillion parts...

I have no idea why this shot is so grainy, but the blurriness is because I missed focus horrendously  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright  2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/125 sec, f/6.3, ISO 5000 — full exif
I have no idea why this shot is so grainy, but the blurriness is because I missed focus horrendously

During our trip to The States and back, Anthony received a number of small Lego car sets (like this) and impressed us with how he mixed and matched the parts and creatively made all kinds of new contraptions. We wanted to encourage that kind of exploring/imagination/building, so we got this huge, complex helicopter. (He seems to have added interest in helicopters since he rode in one last month.)

He started putting it together right away...

“Some Assembly Required”  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright  2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — full exif
“Some Assembly Required”

Lego products are pretty good (and should be for their ridiculous price), but the instructions.... really, I don't think I would be able to make instructions as bad as they do, even if I really really really tried to be evil. Their instructions are gratuitously bad. They show progressive views of the object being built, with an arrow or two pointing to the pieces that were added in the step. That's all fine and dandy except they point only to some of the added pieces. It's up to you to figure out everything that needs to be added in each step, so you have to stare at each pair of steps like one of those “find the differences” visual puzzles.

Every once in a while, you come to a point in the construction where you realize that you just can't complete the current step because your contraption is missing some piece that's suppose to already be there, so a bit of headache-inducing forensics ensues to try to find the step (or steps) that you missed something.

In the end, though, you'll have a few random pieces left over that you'll have no idea where they were supposed to have gone.

Anyway, so we finished building the helicopter the next day, and he played with it for a day, but I woke up one morning to find that the roter blades had been repurposed as a rocket jet's wings and fuselage....

Ready For Takeoff (Blastoff?)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright  2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/2.5, ISO 900 — full exif
Ready For Takeoff (Blastoff?)

When I first tried to take a picture of it, Anthony jumped to get into a position to peek at me while I did, as evidenced in the first picture above. He did that once before, but it'll lose its cuteness really quickly if he does it much more.

I went a bit overboard on the whole “thin depth of field” thing, so you can't actually see much of it. The best shot is this next one, I guess. I really just appreciate the detail in his imagination...

Details  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright  2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/100 sec, f/5, ISO 3600 — full exif
Details

And so ends Post #1,000.


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

What a wonderful time and a wonderful looking and happy young man. Very nice pictures you’ve made Jeff.

— comment by Tom on November 18th, 2008 at 12:12am JST (9 years ago) comment permalink

Has he seen pics of the SR-71. That’s what first came to my mind when I saw the pics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SR-71

It might be something interesting for him to learn more about….

I was fascinated by the SR-71 when I was a kid in the 70s. I once met an SR-71 pilot, the son of an elderly couple to whom I delivered a newspaper. They never knew where he was or what he was doing (because even his location was classified). He did visit home once, at which time his location was presumably not classified, so I don’t think I’m risking national security by recounting the event 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by mmk on November 18th, 2008 at 6:40am JST (9 years ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, I’m rather amused at your evaluation of Lego instructions. My brother and I grew up with Lego, and we never had any problems making the sets. Most kids are used to looking at “spot the difference” pictures anyway, and perhaps even find them fun. Once you get used to them they’re really very elegant in their simplicity and effectiveness.

Maybe I should scan some examples of modern Lego instructions, where the difference sometimes amounts to no more than what might be called a “dark smudge”. Really, how hard would it be to highlight each added piece (with an arrow, a glow, more saturated color… anything???)

The best thing about Lego is its amazing flexibility. And of course the more you have, the more you can do with it. Each little set adds to your overall pool, so that you slowly build up a massive collection of bricks of all shapes and colours. Yes, it’s rather expensive, but what you’re paying for is flexibility and reusability. I look forward to buying Lego sets for my own kids some day, and I can’t wait to see what they can come up with.

And it’s timeless. We had a hugebox of Lego when I was growing up, and it all still works with the modern stuff Anthony has. Back then the had few types of pieces, but they did have train rails that no longer seem to be available. Good times. —Jeffrey

— comment by Thorf on November 18th, 2008 at 12:54pm JST (9 years ago) comment permalink
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