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I love building sets with Legos.  Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few different sets.  However, I’m hardly creative enough (or have the time) to come up with unique creations from the pieces that I have.

So, let’s automate it.

I’d need to collect a mapping of piece inventory for each set.  I’m certain this exists somewhere, as inside every set you buy is a paper listing of each piece included (in a handy little visual guide at the end of the instruction manual).

Next, I’d need to find lots of third-party set designs.  This also exists (in fact, Lego even has a version on their site that aggregates creations from Lego Creator).

Mash the two together, and allow users to input what sets they own, and out pops a list of new creations they could make using the pieces they already own!

That would be killer.

Over the weekend, I completed my first day as a volunteer with Habitat For Humanity.  I had a great time.  If you’re not familiar with the organization (which I’m still learning about), it’s goal is to use volunteer and donor contributions to construct housing at the lowest possible expense.  These savings are then used to help combat homelessness.  It has chapters throughout the US, as well as several other countries around the world (though it looks like just the Western hemisphere).

The main reason for joining up, as strange as it probably sounds, isn’t really an altruistic one.  Instead, I’m a DIY’er and I enjoy building.  I’ve worked on quite a few projects in the past, ranging from furniture (the desk I’m sitting at is something I built myself) to porches and interior housing.  When I was younger, I was always fascinated by construction and considered on more than one occasion about going into the business.

What I like about a volunteer organization is the ability to work with others – including professionals, as they’re on site as supervisors – to learn new skills, get some exercise, and have a chance to really work with my hands.  My life is very cerebral and sedentary, and so I relish the chance to get outside and get to work.

I’m still learning about the organization, but I have a lot of enthusiasm for it.  The group I’m affiliated with meets once a month, but I’m wondering if I can volunteer more often.  For instance, I have this weekend free and I wouldn’t mind going back and putting in some more time.  Just not sure if that’s appropriate or not.

Anyway, I’ll keep this site updated on my experiences with the organization, and maybe some photos of a job site.  I had a lot of fun (and I’m a bit sore) and I’m looking forward to doing it again.

I was recently in a Lego retail store and noticed a collection of Lego products under the banner Lego Architecture.  Intrigued, I noticed several models, especially the Seattle Space Needle and the Guggenheim Museum.  I bought the Space Needle (mainly because it was the least expensive, at $20).

I built the model and it’s now sitting on my desk at work.  I figured I’d write down my impressions.

First, I’m very excited by the idea of an Architecture series.  I love Legos and I especially like the idea of creating a set specifically designed for an older generation.  Part of the problem with Lego sets is that they’re so geared towards children that it makes it difficult for older people (like myself) to seriously take part.  Even though I very much want to.

Second, I was a little disappointed with the Space Needle model.  It looks fantastic (albeit very simplistic), but the price seems way out of proportion.  At $20, it’s difficult to justify having put it together.  Further, one of the key elements of the Space Needle itself is the revolving observation deck.  The Lego representation, unfortunately, doesn’t spin.

I love the idea of Lego putting out more Architecture series models.  I’m definitely going to consider buying the Fallingwater model, and I’ll be watching for other models to come out in the future.  The Space Needle was a bit of a disappointment primarily because of the price.  But if paying a premium means Lego will continue with the series and continue to experiment by creating products designed for older builders, then I’ll consider it a big success.

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