Tag Archives: Lego

Gummy Lego!

You may recall the chocolate Lego that I posted about a number of months ago. Well, now there’s gummy Lego that you can actually build with!

Image: The King of Random

Image: The King of Random

Image: The King of Random

Image: The King of Random

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LEGO!!!

You may have noticed over my blog posts that I quite like Lego. I left it when I hit teenage years, but have now slowly fell in love with it again, partly thanks to my children being old enough to have Lego (which my two eldest did at Christmas). Well, last month I bought these off eBay:

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The Lego Book traces the history of the company from its origins making wooden toys, up until 2009, and covers the major themes and sets over the years, as well as other milestones in its history. This allowed me to indulge in a little nostalgia, as I was able to remind myself of all of the sets I used to have, as well as surprising myself with just how old some sets that I had were. It also reminded me of what was my favourite* minifigure from my childhood**:

The robot spy from the 'Spyrius' range of the early '90s. Image: http://www.1000steine.com/brickset/minifigs/large/sp041.jpg

The robot spy from the ‘Spyrius’ range of the early ’90s. Image: 1000steine.com

The other book, Standing Small: A Celebration of 30 Years of the LEGO Minifigure is pretty much what it says, and as such is an entertaining if information-lite (and error-strewn) volume. The section detailing the evolution of the minifigure is something of interest, however.

It’s a shame that the new ‘Minifigures’ weren’t out when the books were published, as these would have made a nice section, and indeed will warrant a blogpost to themselves at some point in the near future. If I had the money to indulge myself, I’d invest in all of the historic figures that have been done over the course of the 13 series. I also quite like the palaeontologist figure that is part of the most recent run:

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It is also nice to see that this is a woman, following on from the female palaeontologist in the Lego Ideas set of female scientists. Happily, our eldest managed to get this in his blind bag the other week, so I get to play with- I mean admire- the figure when he’s in bed.

Lastly, I’m quite excited by this image that appeared on Lego’s Facebook page recently:

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Image: facebook.com/lego


* I suppose that it is joint favourite with the original Lego Star Wars Boba Fett figure from the early ’00s, but I had one of the robot minifigures years before the Star Wars range brightened up all our lives.

** As I Googled for an image of the Spyrius robot, I case across the ultimate nerdgasm and the ultimate in COOL:

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New books: January

A bit late, but here’s January’s haul:

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  • Jerome K. Jerome –  Three Men in a Boat     £1.49
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn –  A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovic     99p
  • Angela Carter –  The Bloody Chamber     49p
  • Douglas Adams –  The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy     49p
  • Dante –  New Life     50p
  • Anthony Trollope –  The Warden     50p
  • Richard Adams –  Watership Down     50p
  • Edgar Allan Poe –  The Works of Edgar Allan Poe     25p

You may (or more likely) may not notice that I do already own copies of the Jerome and D. Adams books (seen on posts here and here), but these new copies are better: the first is an interesting Penguin Classics edition, with notes and an introduction, and the second is not the film tie-in edition with added photos and interviews, so is shorter and thus takes up less space.

Now, I also had two other books:

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I will expand upon these in my next post!

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Happy Halloween! / ‘Memento mori’ rings

Image: Flickr user Pascal, via Bones Don't Lie

Image: Flickr user Pascal, via Bones Don’t Lie

Happy Halloween! I’ve always thought that that is rather odd, wishing people a happy Halloween, considering that the day is all about death and fear. Not really very happy, is it?

However, I did think it as good a time as any to quickly say that I recently learnt about the past fashion of memento mori rings such as this one, dated 1740:

1868

Such rings, with a skeleton around the band, as well as the hourglass motif and hearts first came in in the mid-17th century (the earliest dated piece is from 1659), and were designed as a constant reminder of the wearer’s mortality. It was more common for such items to contain a crystal or piece of glass, under which may have been a piece of hair or a small skull design, and such examples as the one above or this nice piece from 1714 (below) that depict such a bold design are relatively rare.

Image: britishmuseum.org

Image: britishmuseum.org

I suppose that the modern skull ring is the closest that we have now, and a quick Google image search can throw up hundreds of varying designs and styles of these. However, all of these look as though they could be used to inflict a large amount of pain on someone else, whereas these historical examples are simple yet elegant and rather pretty in their design and execution. I’d quite like one, to be honest, even if they are a constant reminder that the end for all of us is nigh at some point or other, and looking on Etsy, it seems that modern examples in the style of those shown above are available. All very Halloween-like!

An example from 1740 showing a small skull design below a crystal or piece of glass.

An example from 1740 showing a small skull design below a crystal or piece of glass.

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Delicious Lego!

More Lego, but this time- made of chocolate! WOW!!!

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Sexist Lego and the power of Ideas

Image: David Horsey/Los Angeles Times

Image: David Horsey/Los Angeles Times

That’s something I’ve thought for a while, to be honest, and I know that I’m in no way the only one. I suppose a product that revolves around the use of bricks and involves building things would inevitably be geared more towards males due to our cultural association of construction with males, but it does seem somewhat unduly male-centric, especially considering that when Lego began there was nothing particularly gender-specific about any of the sets that they produced. They did produce a range with the rather dated title of ‘Homemaker’ between 1971 and 1982, and I remember playing as a child with this set that my Mum had:

lego homemaker living room

I can’t say that I ever saw this as particularly feminine, and even now can’t help but see it as still quite gender neutral. However, I remember growing up in the 1990s and seeing these rather gender-specific sets:

Untitled

 

They look incredibly crap now, but the thing to note from them is that Lego decided to make the people look like dolls rather than the standard yellow cubey people we all know and love. All of the sets were horribly stereotyped in their focus, looking very much like a pathetic attempt at Barbie rip-offs, and I was almost glad to not have to look at them any more when they vanished from our shelves. However, in a much-publicised move, Lego resurrected their female-friendly lines with Lego ‘Friends’ in 2012, which even though it is less shitty-looking, is still just as stereotyped, and seems to suggest that girls both don’t like to build a lot in their sets, and that all females do is swim and lounge on beaches, go to nail bars and cafes, or groom pets.

So, it has come as an enormous surprise to see one of Lego’s most recent sets in their ‘Ideas’ range:

lego female scientistsThis range is made up of designs submitted by and voted for by members of the public, and the set shows a female astronomer, palaeontologist and chemist. The set has won praise from many quarters, and personally I think that it’s fantastic not only for the profile of women in science and in scientific professions, but also for the professions depicted, too. However, I can’t help but think that really we shouldn’t be getting excited over this set. Does it not just depict three scientists? Do we need to specify that they are female? I don’t mean this in a dismissive way, but more that it should be something that we don’t need to comment on because it isn’t anything that we wouldn’t expect. Of course women can be astronomers, palaeontologists and chemists- what’s all the fuss about? Going back to the cartoon at the top, perhaps the whole idea of Lego producing this set shows that indeed it was and still is sexist in the way it operates.

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