2018 LSB Contest: Week 3 Wrap Up

The annual Lego Speeder Bike (LSB) contest has rounded the final turn and is staring down the final straightaway to the March 5th deadline.  As many constant readers know, I’m all about the numbers and week 3 of the showdown saw another impressive jump in total entries to 69 across all categories.  That number has gone from 7 to 36 to 69, which one might expect as a natural expansion curve, but the number I didn’t expect is the even distribution of bikes in each category.   Abide, Enforce and Rebel each have 22 entries at the time of this posting, and the Distcrict 18 category understandably lags way behind with only 3 entries dude to it’s elevated level of difficulty and requirements.  A slightly deeper dive into the numbers reveals that 33 builders have entered the arena, with the number of entries per builder breaking down like this.

10 players with 1 entry.

13 players with 2 entries

7 players with 3 entries

3 players with all 4 entries

Having reviewed every entry in the pool I feel pretty safe in saying that the overall quality of the entries has increased as well, as you might expect.  For most people, more time spent refining a bike means a better bike.  The only thing I find troubling about the numbers is the number of people sitting on 3 entries after 3 weeks.  When I competed last year there were also 4 categories and I allotted a weeks building time for each one.  While I realize not everyone would adopt this strategy I do think it takes most people about a week (or weekend) to conceptualize, build, photograph and post a bike.  Obviously the goal can be completed great deal quicker as the three guys who have posted in the District 18 thread prove, but the results of such a fast approach has proven to be less than stellar.  In fact, all 3 entries in the diorama category are forgettable and disappointing.  That may seem a harsh thing to say, but I feel a little better saying it because I left them all detail reviews days before this posting, so my objections are old news.  I would also point to the relatively low numbers of favorites and reviews.   All 3 entries are variations on the same theme: cop chases rebel while abider looks on.  The basic premise is about as interesting as the stock handlebars featured on 80% of the bikes.  Beyond the basic theme, the contestants are flat out not putting as much effort, respect or creativity into the background as they do the bikes…which while fine for the individual categories, is a poor decision for the District 18 category.  I’m obviously biased because diorama is my preferred genre of building, and it probably pains me more than it should to see people going through the motions instead of trying to break through the boilerplate and give the audience a show.  I want to see some dioramas like last year’s offerings from Carter, Zach, Jeff, and I’ll arrogantly attach my own name to that list.  Whether the image goes edge-to-edge like the examples I just showed you or not doesn’t matter to me, so let’s not rehash that old argument about which is the better approach.  The bottom line is that the 2018 competitors need to step up their diorama game, 2017 is laughing at them.

Before I get into the bike spotlights, I’d like to discuss a disturbing trend that is one example away from being the unofficial theme of the contest…poop.  Maybe the builder, Nick Poncelow is right, and that I’m just not down with toilette humor but his plumber bike from the abide category really put me off.  I just don’t get it…the plumber took a dump on the seat of his bike?  Is that the plumber you want walking around your house?  I think the idea of a toilette shaped seat is funny but a dookie?  Not so much.  As if that wasn’t enough, contestant GolPlaysWithLego sneaks a poop emoji into the presentation of his bike.  It’s a great bike, why tell me it’s a steaming pile of shite?  Am I old and out of touch with is issue?  If you have an opinion on this alarming and creeping issue in the contest, please leave your crappy takes in the comments.

Now it’s time for my favorite build in each category for week 3.  The ABIDE entries were a mixed bag but I really like the Downtown Ride by Faber Mandragore, especially after a couple of small but important revisions he made to both the bike and the base. I continue to be amazed by the percentage of people who are actually taking advantage of the feedback from the audience.  The camera angle on this official shot doesn’t really do the bike justice, so if you dig it, make sure to follow the link and take a look at the other photos.  I still think the base looks a bit generic, but it’s cut above most of the other entries who treat the vignette/stand as an afterthought.  I also dig the special effects, they’re noticeable without being overwhelming or distracting.


The ENFORCE category had a couple of good entries this week but my favorite is the L.E.V. 5 by oOger, whose name always make me think of the word booger, which is unfortunate because I’m a big fan of his work.  This entry checks all the boxes, clever parts use, exotic parts, good stickering and it looks cool from every angle.  Many builders tend to avoid developing the bottom of the bike, but oOger goes the extra mile.  If you’re going to go for the boilerplate highway-patrol pursuit bike look, you can’t do much better than this. It looks fast and aggressive and ready to intercept a rebel or an abider jacked up on meth.  I’m not a huge fan of the helmet (ant man?) but I like the way you can see his eyeball through the face-mask.  I’m still not completely sold on the base, although it is an unusual part choice.  Even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it ultimately looks pretty cool and I suppose that’s all that matters.  It certainly makes me want to see more, and I hope the builders incorporates it into his District 18 entry if he chooses to do one.


Rebel remains my least favorite category and it contains fewer bikes that I find interesting.  I admit to being burned out on the Mad Max, post apocalyptic vibe, which isn’t really fair to hold against a builder but I’m going to do it anyway.  This entry by F@bz was one of the exceptions, I can’t say enough good things about it, and he’s really the first competitor to take maximum advantage of the vignette/base.  With the Volkswagen badge and the banana-yellow color scheme, it seems like it would be better suited to the Abide category, but the context and choice of driver helps to move the needle towards rebellion.  I also appreciate the backwards cap on the driver, so many people use hair, which immediately robs the bike of any sense of movement.  The background may be of the boilerplate concrete urban variety, but it’s pretty sweet boilerplate.


If you’ve been reading this series of wrap-ups you’ll know by now that my favorite aspect of the contest this year is watching builders improve their entries based on the feedback provided by roaming critic gallery.  Week 3 brought so many examples of constructive criticism in action that it’s no longer noteworthy in terms of these wrap up posts.  It has almost become the norm.  Even if I didn’t see any more examples of builders using feedback from this point on I’m ready to call this contest a success in terms of spreading the gospel of the critical process.  The number of good quality comments is increasing each week as more people seem to be willing to offer suggestions and opinion even if it’s occasionally a negative one.

With one week to go I expect to see the veteran prize-snipers take their shots and the District 18 category to finally attract some great entries.  If you’re still on the fence about entering the contest you’ve still got time to get in on the action, and none of the categories have a clear winner yet.  Rutherford, get off your ass and build a bike already!

25 thoughts on “2018 LSB Contest: Week 3 Wrap Up

    1. Yeah I just missed that one, or I certainly would have included it in the write up. Maybe I will add it if get the chance tonight. It’s far and away the best of the four, although I still have some issues with it.


  1. I believe oOger’s real name is Oscar Cederwall if that helps you. His L.E.V. is definitely my favorite entry out of all the categories so far, and in one of the categories I found boring, no less. The base is great, and I must be one of the few who thinks that helmet choice is perfect. It matches the fierceness of the bike and its deviation from the norm adds to the intimidation.

    You’re right in saying that it’s still anyone’s game, but that’s largely because there haven’t been that many knock-out entries so far. I can count the greats on one hand, whereas last year it seemed every few days there was something stellar. Maybe it’s because there’s more fresh blood this year, which is a good thing especially considering the spirit of constructive criticism going around. But about that…

    A large portion of that C&C is coming from the same echo chamber. Keith and Mike, you two may have your “lover’s quarrels” once in a while, but by and large you guys tend to agree with each other. More than 85% of the time, I’d say. And I dunno what’s up with Wolff, but he seems to be playing “yes man” in those comments, simply reiterating whatever you and Mike say. I could be way off about Wolff, but in any case it’s leading to a circle jerk of people with the same sense of aesthetics acting as a proto-panel of proto-judges who have no say in the end. Obviously, that circle jerk could be broken by more outsiders chiming in, and I’ve tried to do so where I disagree with the rest of the “travelling critique troupe.” Once again, critique is great, but sometimes people should stick to their guns and I’d rather not see a bunch of MOCs designed by committee.


    1. I can’t control or be held responsible for what percentage of the feedback I represent or who agrees or disagrees with me. I encourage you to continue your deliberate pattern of disagreement, and I encourage any other observers who would make the time and effort to add an opinion, no matter what that opinion might be. Most people can’t be bothered. As I said in the second wrap up, I fully expect to run up against participants who are not interested in what I have to say but that hasn’t happened yet that I’m aware of. I think overall the response has been very positive and receptive from builders and I’m starting to see more new people offering feedback. What I have not heard is a direct complaint about my conduct or the frequency of my conduct. from either the players or the staff of the contest until now. If people have a problem I encourage them to say something, like you did. It’s not like I’m difficult to find or interact with. Perhaps Ted would like to chime in on your complaints.

      As for Rutherford and sharing the same viewpoint too often, I don’t know what to tell you dude, other than it’s honest and not orchestrated. As for Wolff, I can see how his youthful enthusiasm might come off like a “yes man” but I give him more slack than I would a veteran of the hobby. I bet his ability to critique and have his own nuanced opinion will develop quite a bit by the time the contest is over. Now that you’ve pointed out this shortcoming I would be willing to bet he considers it and tries to improve. He’s very open to critique himself.

      Let’s see, what’s next on your list, oh yeah I’ve become a proto judge. I can see where that might be a concern but again, I think I’m pretty clear to say frequently that I’m not a judge and that a builder should feel free to reject my jackassy opinion. And again I’d point out that if the guys running the contest are good with it, there is no reason to change the behavior just because it upsets a guy who is totally uninvested up to this point in time. Tell you what, if you enter, I won’t comment on yours.

      As much as I may appear dismissive of your analysis, I assure you I’m going to consider your viewpoint seriously and perhaps limit my frequency of critique. If nothing else I’ll be vigilant for any indication that your opinion is shared by actual participants. If it proves to be the case, or if Ted shares your position I’ll be happy to moderate my behavior.


    2. So, I thought I might as well throw in my 2 cents on this.

      I don’t think there’s much of actual problem with Keith & Co’s critique so far; I haven’t seen anyone’s differing artistic vision shouted down. The suggestions have mostly been fairly straightforward improvements, and I think every revision has come back better for it.

      There is definitely a risk in such critique, but I think the benefits outweigh the risk. A culture of honest feedback, which we virtually all seem to want, has to start somewhere. If the choice is between one strong homogeneous source of criticism and no criticism at all, I’ll take the former. Hopefully then that will inspire others to chime in, and we’ll get broader opinion. I can say for myself, Keith’s comments have inspired me to leave more meaningful feedback.

      However, you make good points. I think you’ve also suggested the solution. The roaming critic gallery needs to avoid nitpicking for the sake of it and avoid piling on and all pushing toward one suggestion, (at least when there is grounds for artistic difference). Most importantly I agree that we all need to speak up if we disagree with a critique, thus showing that differences of opinion are possible, and ensuring that the builder will be able to make their own decisions.


      1. Welcome to the blog man!

        Yes, by all means… leave the door open behind you and let some fresh air into this crypt of fools!

        Glad you decided to throw in your opinion here… as an entrant, your perspective in this discussion is absolute money.

        Hope you stick around… as we are obviously in need of new insights at every turn.



    3. G’day Chris. thanks for your critique on my…erm…critique 😀 Just thought I’d throw my hat into the ring in regards to what you’ve said about the echo chamber and my place in it. Honestly, I can see what you mean about being the yes man. However, my intention was never to simply repeat what Keith and Mike said in search of attention or approval. Honestly, my personal opinion on many of the bikes has just been very similar to Keith/Mikes, and because of timezones, I often comment after they do.

      That being said, I would like to point out that there are a number of bikes where I’ve commented first, with the other guys agreeing with me a bit later on. There have also been bikes where I’ve disagreed with certain opinions,.

      Still, I can totally see where you’re coming from. My critique probably has come across as a tad repetitive and enthusiastic rather than constructive. I will try to work on that, and thank you once again for you input.

      Oh, and my thoughts on critique. Pretty much already said better than I ever could, but it IS a tool that the builder can choose to use. It’s not a ‘you need to do this to make it better’, as if it was designed by committee. Rather, I see it as a ‘consider this alternative; it might work a bit better.’ And in the end, I haven’t really seen a bad bike in the contest so far. Some are definitely stronger than others, but I don’t really feel like any builders have made a bike that is in desperate need of the Critic Squad.

      In the end, I reckon critique should be heeded, considered, and followed if you (the builder) agrees with it.

      Cheers again for you comments mate! You’ve given me a few things to consider.


  2. To be fair I haven’t dug as deep into the comments sections as you have, so maybe I don’t have as clear a picture of what’s going on as I think I do.

    My issue is more with the lack of diverse opinions in general rather than a problem with yours or Rutherford’s advice in particular. Along with any stylistic homogeneity that may follow from the influence of the same 3 or 4 people. Not that I see that happening immediately; I’m just worried about the potential danger. I’m always skeptical of established styles, which is why I value the “outside artists” like Murmurdog when they emerge from the woods with their finger paints. (Oh god, did he really drag that old discussion out from under the rug?)

    Critique is definitely a matter of “can’t be bothered” for most people, which means the people who do bother have that much more influence. More of us here (myself included) should have heeded your call to action sooner. Maybe the better response would have been for me to egg people on in the smack thread to drown out some of the gasbaggery instead of complaining here. I understand that you and Rutherford have been tight for decades and didn’t mean to insinuate anything more than that you two may as well be the same person sometimes, which I would certainly hope isn’t intentional.

    At times I think you guys are grabbing at straws and nitpicking minor things that don’t matter, but that may just be a difference of my opinion. My fear of bikes “designed by committee” mostly comes from this guy, who I think took too much of that C&C to heart and I feel like he’s lost his vision of what he wants his bike to be, asking for advice on every minor detail. Feedback is vital to the process, but so is introspection. I feel kinda bad for singling him out here, but what the heck.

    Vector options - Windscreen

    Of course it’s the onus of the creator how they respond and adapt to criticism. But when a bunch of cronies are saying the same thing, those opinions can be harder to ignore especially for the impressionable green builders. I think now maybe it was Wolff who rubbed me the wrong way since his comments came across as less sincere to me. Again, sorry if I’m reading you wrong Wolff.

    If I do end up entering (or posting anything within the year, for that matter) you guys are more than welcome to rip it a new one. I’d appreciate it.


    1. So, I can see how my approach there could be problematic- art by committee is hardly ever a good thing. However, what’s going on there is not a democracy- it’s a dictatorship with an advisory council. 😉 No matter what, I’m not going to do something I don’t like myself with the bike, I was just attempting to get a sense of which among a number of options I thought were viable would be most competitive.

      The whole thing was something of an experiment, as I haven’t asked for critique in that way before, and this contest seems to be a good place to try it. Partly it was just an effort to engage with the community, as I don’t really have connections among sci-fi builders.

      Another factor is that this is not just a personal artistic endeavor, it’s an effort to win an extremely competitive contest. Under those circumstances, soliciting and listening to the advice of more experienced builders seems only prudent, especially as some of them have actually won that contest.

      So it was an experiment, and from the results I’d say it succeeded. Out of Keith’s suggestions alone have come two distinct improvements: the mirrors, which I did not think of myself but fit my vision for the bike perfectly, and using the rear rubber band to side mount the suitcases (not posted yet), which accomplishes something I’ve been trying to do all month but also didn’t think of. I had made it as good as I could with my own process before I posted it in the first place, and now due to critique I have something I like even better.
      Moreover, I don’t see that anyone was trying to push the bike in a different direction than I intended. Virtually everyone said no on the windscreen specifically because it didn’t really fit the original aesthetic, including Keith, whose idea it was in the first place.

      Anyway, the main reason this looks different from my side of the fence is that I know how much introspection was in fact involved. There’s a definite risk on the other side, where we don’t know the maturity of the builder in taking critique, but from my perspective we’re better off assuming it’s there.


      1. First off, thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s good to get an outside opinion on the issue and I’m happy to see you on the blog. I hope you stick around after the contest is over. What may be invisible to you is Hoffmann’s baggage with Rutherford and I that he’s decided to unpack into this argument. If it was anyone else giving criticism in the contest I very much doubt he would say a negative word about it. You’ll notice he uses phrases like “yes man”, “circle jerk”, “lovers quarrels” hes angry at the messenger, not the message. Hoffmann can’t even cite a single example where our conduct has had a negative impact on a builder or the contest at large. Again, I’ll point out that he’s not invested in the success of the contest, he’s not playing, judging or sponsoring, and he only seems to be offering critique to the participants as a opposition or reaction to our “circle jerk”. He even suggests that the builders who take our advice are too weak to stand up to us and reject the criticism or embrace their own creativity. I’m glad you found the feedback useful, I’m also one of those people who would rather get a quality piece of feedback rather than the commonplace “great!” or “you’ve done it again!”. Thanks again for chiming in, I hope to see more bikes from you before the dust settles.


      2. Welcome to the blog Kingdomview! Great to hear your voice in all of this! I agree in the fact that this is a dictatorship with advisers, a great analogy for the Critic Squad. Glad that you took something away from the advise we offered 🙂


    2. “My issue is more with the lack of diverse opinions in general rather than a problem with yours or Rutherford’s advice in particular.” I didn’t get that notion at all from reading your post, it seemed like you had a very specific problem and to your credit you gave it to us straight with no chaser. We’re a bunch of yes-man, circle jerking lovers who bully people into making nit-picky changes on their bikes while simultaneously compromising the judging process. What I’m confused about is your goal, did you want me to stop offering critique, slow it down…what’s the perfect solution in Hoffmann’s world?


  3. I’m all good with the critiques going round, and adjustments made. If through this contest “we” (spearheaded by Keith and Mike) can reinvigorate critique culture back into flickr (why many of us migrated there to begin with) that is quite an achievement; reprioritizing the “community” over the “photo pool”. I would be nice to see more voices, but that doesn’t mean Keith and Mike should back off on their efforts.

    What is being characterized as “design by committee” I would characterize as “refinement by committee”. The gaps are getting filled in, and the rough edges and studs are getting sanded down and polished, but the core of these bikes are still the vision of their builders. I am not seeing anyone diverging significantly in the before/after.

    The guy Christopher singled out is “Kingdomview”, and I actually met him at BW last year (and he chipped in with helping me rebuild the Steambug display). He’s one of the “quiet-type” younger builders (in highschool?), so the fact that he is reaching out and engaging is awesome to me. Not too concerned about his approach on his “green-machine”. I think he is try to get more people engaged… The only concern is if he gets “analysis paralysis” and looses any self confidence. I would have liked to have seen more bikes from him by now… But then again, he was one of the people last year that posted right at the deadline. He won’t have the luxury of waiting any “committee design” at that stage…


  4. First off, welcome Kingdomview. Definitely stick around, I think your perspective is delightfully healthy in this day and age and should be encouraged.

    I feel it necessary to point out that everyone here is right. And no, I’m not playing mediator as I am the one that would be the first to take bets on the outcome ’cause I’m a sadist. Waving the banner of critique is a good thing; however, Christopher is pointing out the downside that we should all be wary of. Critique is a tool, it can be used or not. And like all tools, it can also be misused. I think Kingdomview’s example was more of asking for advise on specifics more than the ambiguous generality of critique. The interpretation of outsiders can see this as lazy to an extent, those inside the conversation can see it as a brainstorming session. And with many views seeming similar, it can exaggerate that sense. As Carter pointed out in the comments there, it’s really up to the builder. But even with many eyes on a piece, having a similar voice repeated can cement the wrong direction by default. Wrong isn’t the best word, but if it veers away from the original vision then it is VERY bad. But that failing is entirely on the artist, not the critic. Blaming the tool for the poor vision is misguided. However, a tool used incorrectly can only make matters worse. Christopher isn’t being an asshole just to be an asshole, there’s no vindictiveness, he sees that the roaming critique cavalcade can have detrimental effects in spite of the good intentions. Technically, he’s critiquing the critique, which is not only completely valid but also correct. If the critiques echo each other, then there is validity in that as well; but delivery needs refinement in order to avoid the dangers Christopher is pointing out.

    Receiving critique requires an element of humility, so does giving it.


    1. Tool used incorrectly? So that means I’m using critique incorrectly? I’d like an example of that and how offering my honest opinion “only makes matters worse”. What has been made worse? What entry is worse from my critique? Where is the builder who has been bullied and brutalized? What and where is this “VERY bad” perversion of the artists vision? The artist should have enough confidence to reject some or all of a critique.

      Hoffmann brings up an interesting point and I’m glad he did, but it absolutely reads like an attack and I’m still waiting for the evidence of how my approach has been a bad thing. You guys complain there is no critique, then you complain when there is too much critique.


      1. Nothing has been made worse. But what Christopher has pointed out is that critique has a side to it that needs to be “moderated”, it’s only a warning that needs to be self tempered. Critiquing is good, but too much critique can have negative results as well (I’ve been told alcohol has the same sort of notion, I don’t believe it.) It all depends on the builder, not necessarily the critic. The confidence of the builder to throw out and receive critique is just an invitation. You don’t go in guns blazing and you don’t linger unnoticed around the edges of the room harrumphing.

        YOU are doing it correctly, but there is an element (Heisenbergian) of weight to your words that Christopher is pointing out that there is a level of bias inherent in and, if reiterated by others, can influence in a direction away from the vision. Your critiques are based, correctly, off of your own visions of what you see in front of you. As such, they should be taken as a single opinion formed by the artist’s vision that has directed them IN YOU. The responsibility of the builder is to understand the person giving the critique and if there are motives, good or bad, provenance, earned or given, and substance, worthy or worthless, in what is given. If you had told Kingdomview that his bike needed a Scala potty on the front, and everyone echoed that same sentiment because they followed suit or morbidly want to see a Scala potty used, then it would be a weighted notion planted into his, and everyone’s, vision not only directing away from its original purpose but also making it definitely worse. That’s extreme, but it’s essentially what Christopher is trying to say with the critiques simply saying the same or similar thing. It’s influence; and, Keith, my friend, you have a lot of that. Your words have gravitas, even to those also giving critique. You cast a wide shadow, Mike’s words do too, and anyone echoing is like an eclipse no one being critiqued can disregard. That can be dangerous.

        We all want honest critique because we are disgusted with the “Awesome job!” rubbish. But if the chance that critique parallels the same pattern of “Yeah, what he said.”, then it’s just as useless. And actually more cumulatively harmful.

        I’m not telling you to stop critiquing or change how you’re doing it, nor is Christopher. There is nothing that has resulted as worse because of it. And there is no bad here. All I see it as is a request to make sure that everyone’s critique is thoughtful and done with the purpose of driving the artist’s vision forward, not just to improve a speeder bike or make a noticeable change based on a single observation. The conversation always starts with the artist, if they want to continue it is entirely up to them.


      2. I’m out of my depth here, but have no fear, I shall dial back my commentary so as not to inhibit the artists ability to drive forward, and encourage both Rutherford and Werewolff to do the same. Hopefully you and Hoffmann can fill the void with the a properly coordinated and refined version of critique that doesn’t steal anyone’s gravitas or cause undue harm. Seriously guys I get your point that when we all hit the same note it can have an unintended consequence but I reserve the right to find that position annoying.


      3. Apologies my good dude, Rutherford pointed out offline that I made a reading comprehension error with your initial post. I thought you were talking about me and not the builder of the bike. I still don’t see the solution to this issue, it seems to reside mostly with the person on the receiving end of critique, but I (now) get what you’re saying. I guess the solution relies on the three of us not saying the same thing but I’m not sure I’m up for that level of coordination. When I have the time and motivation to comment I don’t typically think about the other commenters.


      4. As I said earlier, I agree that critique is merely a tool that can be used, and it’s up to the builder to discern which comments they agree with and may want to pursue further. Honestly, I’m loving the fact that that both you and Mike have been offering critiscm for me personally! I know my bikes have improved because of it, and it’s always good to hear a deeper opinion that a simple ‘Nice bike.’

        I don’t feel Hoffmann was trying to attack anything, but I can see how it came across as such. I think he was merely stating the thought that too much critique could influence certain builders into letting go of their original ideas due to criticism gathered.

        That being said though, I don’t think such a level of criticism had really been seen this contest, as there haven’t been any ‘bad’ entries so far. Each bike has had something positive to comment on, and the critique I’ve seen has always been helpful.

        All in all, it’s a list of comments that the builder heeds, not the readers. And no builder so far has bashed us for ‘perverting’ their designs.


  5. About the critique. It’s very important that people dare to criticize. It doesn’t even have to constructive as long it’s not plain mean. It has been pointed out before that Flickr is mostly just people faving images and writing “cool” “awesome” or “excellent”. If you don’t like something you just don’t fav it and don’t leave a comment. I’m somewhat guilty of this myself. But I wish it was otherwise. I try to leave a comments pointing out details that I like.

    I’m very impressed by the amount of constructive critique you produce Keith. It takes just a few minutes to analyze an image and put in to words what you do and don’t like, but most people don’t do it. I appreciate your feedback as well Christopher!


  6. Nice write-up Keith. I like the three speeders you highlighted a lot. It is good to see the number of speeders jump up.

    I had missed the poop bike. I’m not above toilet humor, but could have done without that.

    As far as the critiquing, I’ll say that I’ve appreciated all that I got. I’d guess that newer builders appreciated them even more. They have been pretty even, pointing out good things and things that could maybe be improved. That is good stuff.


  7. Jesus wept!
    I take my 50 year old frame to the hospital for a “New Perspective” on things… sort of a “bottoms up” look at the system… a sort of medical “candid camera” … checking for rust in the tail pipe… (it’s all in keeping with the new poop humor thats floating to the surface in LBC this year) and thats when you guys decide to have a good conversation?

    Circle Jerk. Unpleasant but actually the very same notion haunts me. Even as I make the rounds on LBC and comment on every entry… you cant help but see it. Goldman, Rutherford… Goldman, Rutherford… and the shared opinions only reinforce the cadence. There is no denying the appearance, or the “Harmonic resonance” it creates. Yep. Agree. And am troubled by it. But the comments are offered without coordination, and without any regard for maintaining alignment. We are both trying to be consistent between builders… focusing on the same aspects of Most MOCs… but not eyeballing the other guys comments for any reason relating to content. Still… it’s Goldman, Rutherford…

    But for me it’s a case of self imposed “Put up or shut up”. The other day, Here I think… I told Baldwin that he should comment more. Who the hell am I to tell anybody that they “Should” do anything? This is a pretty egalitarian environment, and nobody has any authority or position whatsoever… save that assigned to them by the audience. So… If I am going to despence advice regarding anybodies behavior… I better have my own ducks in a row… or I will have ZERO ethical credibility. I’ll just be a disinterested party blowing hot air (thank god I can blow hot air even when I am interested!).

    Point is, if I am going to stand on a soap box and proclaim “Critique!” like some robed jackass in the Parthenon… I better be leaving some critique my dam self. Ergo, 100% critique policy. Talky must equal walky.

    But the “goldman/rutherford effect” would be much less significant if there were more guys leaving comments. We would bleed into the background (happily even!). I consider the ease with which we can attain statistical significance (and therefor achieve influence over a specific population) to be a sad testament to the relatively low number of comments we are talking about here. We should both be lost in the roar of the crowd… not to old men whos raspy comments echo throughout a deserted Colosseum!

    As for Keith and I being the same person… Keith wishes he was me!

    Nailed it. We offer the critique and the artist does or doesn’t take it. But the artist is NEVER off the hook for the art. I like your exact phrasing: …if it veers away from the original vision then that is very bad, but that failing is entirely on the artist and not the critic. Yes! It’s a salad bar and nothing more. Take it, leave it, go back for more… but it’s your dam deal. First, last, always… the artist drives the boat!

    Also, again, excellent observation in that we are critiquing critique. This is the perfect platform for meta-critique… because NOBODY but NOBODY will read this shite… except for a relatively small self selecting group of people who give a rats ass!

    Critique is an art unto itself… and this conversation is an unsympathetic examination of “How we are doing” Like so many other things, our improvement will be iterative and based on uncompromising observation, comment, and discourse. Once that spirit is gone, we are truly jacked.


    Nobody is going to offer any thoughts on the whole poop issue? Is it a thing? In Utah, I saw a this “precious little genius, pasty faced, slightly pudgy kid wearing a poop emoji hat… walking past all the MOCs, decidedly non-responsive to his mothers repeated attempts to illicit an emotional respoce from him… his board eyes and slumped posture exuding disinterest… and I wanted to slap him so hard it would make my hand hurt… poop emoji hat… who wears that? Can anybody explain the “cool poop” deal to me? I oppose this notion. Poop is not cool.

    And the contest. I find the increasing rate of entry interesting, and I HOPE the big guns come out in this 11th hour. While the newer builders have done an admirable job of carrying the effort forward… we all wait for our favorites. And the dios… I’m not optimistic. The category is simply beyond the willingness of most entrants to complete. Not to hard… just beyond most entrants level of commitment.


    Last lap! Final entries, and then the announcements of the winners. Faster is always better, because of course, public interest begins to fade as soon as Elvis leaves the building ! Stay strong brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry I haven’t gotten around to replying to anything here. This weekend was a busy mess for me and the time difference never helps. It seems in my absence rowntRee has cleared up my position better than I could have myself and the dust has (mostly) settled and everyone has come to a mutual understanding, even if that understanding is just “agreeing to disagree.” That disagreement is healthy, though. My criticism was meant as a warning in the same vein as Rutherford’s FFE on consensus, if not as clearly and “thoroughly” worded. There may not be an immediately visible effect, but influence is a subtle and dangerous thing. As I said before, the solution is for more people to comment thoughtfully and level out the field. As it stands, the comments section is a triumvirate by default.

    It’s not that I think Keith’s or Rutherford’s or Wolff’s advice in particular is gonna lead to shit designs. It’s that if there are only three people talking with very similar and influential opinions then their sense of aesthetics start to spread throughout the community, and even if well-informed and valid there’s still overall less diversity in styles and creative choices as a result. Before you know it any speeder bike that uses the handlebar piece is objectively worse for it and the community starts to actively avoid using it.


    I’m sad to see things get so sharp-elbowed between you, me, and Absurde lately. I assure you nothing I said was meant as a personal attack as it would take a lot for me to feel any genuine animosity towards you or Rutherford at this point. It feels like you’ve been taking everything personally lately, an attitude which is so out of character for you that I’m suspicious something else is up. Maybe you’re still feeling jaded and cranky from Bricks LA. I dunno. As for my part, I admit I made a careless and hasty comment in last week’s wrap-up post and I can only apologize if it went too far. If that’s all sorted, I’m willing to move on. Disagreement is cool, but disdain I’ll leave at the door.


    1. It’s all good Christopher, I appreciate your comment and I too regret the tone of the last couple of exchanges we’ve had, to include Vitreolum as well. Both of you are good guys, you’re important contributors to the blog and I’ve always appreciated your point of view and willingness to give it, even when I disagree. Please continue to disagree when you’re so inclined, I’m frequently wrong and certainly not above a critique of any aspect of the blog or my behavior. I did, in fact, read your comment here and last week as being personal in nature which motivated my decidedly unfriendly counter-fire, so I’m glad to know you were not grinding an axe because you’ve seemed pretty frustrated lately too. It’s all water under the bridge as far as I’m concerned, I’m all about moving forward. It is quite possible that my tone has shifted since Bricks LA, it had more of an impact than I’d realized initially and I think I’ve developed a quicker trigger finger where my fellow hobbyists are concerned. . I think more than ever that going on hiatus from the blog is the right call and I’ll get back to it down the road when I’m not so quick to take out the rhetorical box cutter and start slashing. Thanks for reaching out!


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