Blog or Die!: Official Contest Results

THANK YOU!

Yes indeed!  Thank you, to everyone who participated in making the Manifesto’s first annual Blog or Die! writing contest a big success, to include the 11 participants, 3 interviewees and everyone who took the time to comment on the entries.  At it’s best, this blog is all about the conversation and you folks made this past month and a half one of the most talkative periods since we opened for business.  Since you know I love the numbers, at the time of this posting the contest generated 4,074 views and a staggering 425 comments.  In the beginning I set an informal, unspoken goal of twenty entries and even though it didn’t seem like we’d hit that mark until the very last day, we even managed to squeak past it.  The quality level was delightfully high, there wasn’t a bad entry in the group and I’m delighted we were able to feature a variety of new voices and topics on the blog.  The only superior outcome would be if some of you stick around in the coming weeks and months and keep delivering the goods that made this contest special  As I’ve said many times over, both publicly and privately to the writers: the Manifesto door is always open for your contributions. I’d like to offer a special salute to Caleb and LettuceBrick who entered all thee categories and everyone who had multiple submissions: Cameron (who had 4!), Aaron, Ted, and Jake.

Let’s get on with it already!  These are your official Blog or Die! results.

Continue reading “Blog or Die!: Official Contest Results”

Attack of the SWAG: Blog or Die! contest edition

I’m sorry to report that with just over two weeks to go, the Blog or Die! contest has fizzled out like a roman candle since that initial 8 day flurry of good quality entries.  In a shameless attempt to re-light the fuse I humbly present a picture of the bulging prize package that awaits the category winners.  The only thing missing are the three $50 E-gift certificates to Lego.com, I thought about scribbling out an I.O.U. with crayon but it looked pathetic, even by my low standards.  had no idea that getting people to commit and compose their thoughts would be such a challenge, I thought that by the midway point we’d have double the submissions, I mean who doesn’t want the chance to score 50 bones to spend on Lego in exchange for a relatively small investment in time and effort? Rutherford theorizes that I didn’t advertise the contest enough and although he’s right that I could have done more, the advertising we did post on a variety of platforms generated a lot of measurable interest in terms of hits, favorites, and comments indicating a desire to participate.  I think the time of year I chose to conduct business may have been a bad call, my thought was that people have time off of school and to a lesser extent work and would therefore be more likely to write two pages of material or assemble a simple comic but maybe the summer would have been the better call.

I”m hopeful that we’ll see a last minute flurry of entries like you tend to encounter in most contests involving the brick.  Some people look at the 45 day time frame and think, “that’s plenty of time to bang out a few pages” and then they look up and it’s almost too late.  So if you know anyone who’s got a strong opinion and a basic ability to string words together, please slap them on the back of the head and direct them this way, maybe you can inflame their passions with the magnificent SWAG.

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Besides complaining about nobody coming to my crappy house party, this is a friendly reminder that each of the 3 category winners will receive the following treasure and that the deadline will be strictly enforced.

+ A SWAG pack of Manifesto promotional materials including a T-shirt, stickers and Vegas-style poker chips.

+ A copy of Jordan Schwartz’s The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models, with chapter 12 personalized by yours truly.

+ A $50 e-gift card for use at LEGO.COM.

The deadline remains January 15, 2018, 11:55pm (Pacific Standard Time). Late entries will still be posted to the Manifesto, but they will not be eligible to win a prize.  That gives you over two weeks to submit an entry and get in on the action.  With only 8 entries to compete against (7 of them residing in a single category!), the odds of victory are prettydamn good, if you have the skill and the stones to throw down.

To the 6 brave souls who have stepped into the arena, The Manifesto thanks you, I’ve really enjoyed reading and re-reading your submissions.  In turns I’ve been inspired, educated, and above all entertained and I think the readership has responded well in the comments.  If nothing else the contest has met two of my goals even if it wasn’t to the degree I’d hoped. The first is a selfish one: to provide content for the blog while I try to get a big diorama ready for a convention, to help me keep the lights on while I can’t contribute as much as I’d like.  The second and more important goal was to bring some new voices to our self-aware echo chamber, and we’ve added Price, Wolff, Jake, Barrett and Primus.  That’s a victory because I’m not sure they would have bothered if not for the contest.
So let’s see some action these last two weeks!  I’d like to have at least one entry in each category.

While I’ve got your attention with shiny objects…you may have noticed that I’ve begun the review process, with each entry receiving a standard-format response. I have NOT decided on the winners yet, I only have an informal mental ranking that I do not share in the reviews.  I’m still hoping to see more entries to evaluate but I’m trying to keep the quality of each review high and the best way to ensure that is to not end up writing them all at once.  I’m a big fan of quick and decisive closeouts when it comes to contests and pushing the reviews out there now will hopefully facilitate a speedy resolution and provide the good folks that entered with a little entertainment and feedback in the meantime.  I do realize that some observers may see this as a way to gain a competitive advantage by seeing what I like and don’t like but I don’t see it having a big impact, you’ve still got to write a good article, build a good comic, or conduct a good interview.  I will post all the reviews again in a single article for easy comparison, after the January 15th deadline.

Talking to Myself (Blog or Die! Entry #6)

Accepted entry for the “Article” category.

Author: Primus (Cameron)

Word Count: 1,782

 

Talking to Myself

 

Hello again, constant reader. Remarkably, I’m still allowed to submit articles to this blog, so I’ve returned to write about a topic that I know fairly well. Inspired by some recent articles at our sister blog, the Brothers’ Brick, I feel compelled to write about an increasingly important part of this very community: Myself.

But before we get to that rousing topic, I’d like to provide some back story. I used to think that writing for a blog was about bringing attention to fantastic builds, highlighting a collaborative display, or inspiring discussion within our community. Apparently, however, I was wrong. I’ve found out that the biggest reason to write for a blog is to make sure people see my own MOCs! To make sure that my builds, especially ones that I thought were poorly received, can get more views and faves. To increase my follower count, as that apparently helps establish my “worth” as a builder. I’ve learned that the best part about writing for a blog is getting to ignore the fantastic builds other people are making and instead focus on my own!

So, after this revelation, I’ve decided that the best course of action is to follow their lead. I mean, they are the premier blog in the Lego community, they probably know what they are doing (and who they’re asking to write for them). I’m sure they understand how that looks to others (and hell, maybe it’s only me that really has noticed). Given the open nature of this platform (especially when Keith insists on not editing articles), this seems like my best opportunity, constant reader, to latch on to this bandwagon.

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(Banner credit: The Brothers Brick, est 2005-ish)

To begin, I’ll start with my background. Born in 1992 to my mother and father, I got involved in Lego at the ripe old age of 3. Probably. My dad gave me his Lego at some point during my childhood. Thinking about it, pretty sure my dad could be considered an FOL, as I remember him getting Technic sets at Christmas while I got Aquashark sets (as an aside, Lego, if you’re reading this, please bring back Aquazone). I continued to get Lego sets for Christmas and my birthday throughout my childhood until 2001. And in 2001, everything changed. I stopped getting Lego, and instead started to get Lego BIONICLE (which is apparently entirely different than regular Lego according to some people). As I amassed a collection of parts, I started to build my own Bionicle dudes, and I wanted to show people these sweet dudes I was building. I ended up joining BZPower (a Bionicle forum) and started to become pretty active at the end of 2007, thus beginning my perilous journey into the online community. By 2010, I had become one of the most prominent Bionicle builders (there weren’t that many of us), getting blogged multiple times at The Brothers Brick (important!) as well as many other things that somehow corroborate that claim (trust me, I was there). And by 2012 I had totally disappeared (college and moving a lot will do that to a man) and the community continued along unabated. At some point near the end of 2016 I got pulled back in, through a variety of factors which I’m not certain of (though I am certain alcohol was involved at some point). Now that you know all of that, I will continue with the really important part: my (underappreciated) MOCS!

First, let’s will start with HERAKLES. Yes, it’s supposed to be in all caps. It’s important to the character of the build. This build was my first in literal years, marking my return to the community and the end of my dark age. Pretty important stuff! And nobody blogged about it. How rude! I thought it was a very cool build, utilizing techniques and pieces in manners I hadn’t seen before to create a very bulky warrior robot.

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(Photo credit: myself)

I mean, look at those shapes! Look at how powerful he appears, ready to strike down a foe with those massive mitts. Not to mention the quality of the photography. Absolutely outstanding presentation, if I do say so myself. Pretty difficult to do with a MOC that’s practically 100% black. I mean, I’m impressed. Or at least, I was when I originally posted it. The lack of blogging made me reconsider that position, because obviously that’s what really matters when posting creations in this community.

Moving on! I’ll skip over the MOCs that have been blogged (by myself, I might add), and move on to KRUSHER. Again, the caps are really what sets this MOC apart. Aside from all of its other excellent qualities, clearly.

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(Photo credit: MYSELF)

KRUSHER is a hard-suit built around a TechnicFig, which is not something you see every day. People do still build hard-suits, right? Because if not, I guess it definitely wouldn’t be something you’d see very often. By any stretch, it’s pretty rare, and usually only happens when I do it (I think. I mean, I guess Sparkytron has made some too, but we’re not talking about him right now, are we?). I particularly like how the yellow and blue bits break up the black bits and also make it look more mechanical. I thought that was cool, but apparently no one at the Brothers Brick thought so. They probably weren’t impressed at my *ahem* seamless integration of multiple building systems in this MOC. I don’t blame them, it is a Bionicle MOC, after all. Maybe if I wrote for their blog or included a Star Wars minifig they would have blogged it…

MOVING ON, my next underappreciated MOC is a chummy little fellow named Vern Vermillious. I had to bust out the dictionary for that last name, a play on the word “vermillion.” Fitting for a red robot.

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(Photo credit: myself, again)

I thought, maybe, giving him a relatable name might improve his reception. I mean, hell, I made his legs out of train wheels, the contrast between him and the background is dynamic, the photo is very clear, and he’s got a very weird and disproportionate shape. And he’s pretty reminiscent of some of my older works. A home run, I thought! And again, I was wrong! I think that my first mistake was that it wasn’t built by someone at The Brothers Brick. My second mistake was making it out of Bionicle parts, and my third mistake was that silly glow around the edges. Turns out I’m a bit rusty with Photoshop. I’m sure I could have looked past that if I was a prestigious blogger who also happened to build the MOC, however.

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how many more underappreciated MOCs I have, constant reader. And I’d like to tell you that I have a lot. But that’d be a lie! And it would be uncouth of me to lie to you. The real answer is two. “Two?!” you say. Yes, two. Two more woefully un-blogged MOCs. That being said, I’ll move on to the next MOC, one which I thought would definitely get blogged. Meet Lich Lord Gvar Zhogvol (sweet name, right?).

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(Photo credit: Me, Myself, & I)

I made sure to reference something from pop-culture in the description (even though it was really an afterthought), I alluded to the style of another popular builder (Pat Biggs, btw. Nice guy.), and I even made sure to post it at a time when there wasn’t a lot of activity. All things I’ve been told help get MOCs blogged on the Brothers Brick. All things that were apparently WRONG. I think instead of “Build a great MOC” and “Take great photos” and “Have great ideas,” the best advice I could give to an aspiring builder to get featured is “Write for the Brothers Brick!”

Finally, there is my most recent MOC, which I probably can’t consider underappreciated yet, as I did just publish it a few days ago. However, I have a minimum word count that I have to hit and it would be a waste of this opportunity to not showcase it, so I present to you, constant reader, the friendly alien Ch’mm Tg’lk.

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(Photo credit: I think you know at this point)

Ch’mm is a decent departure from the other stuff I’ve built this year. First and foremost, he’s not made out of black pieces, while pretty much everything else I’ve made this year is (it’s a bit of a crutch, I’ve got a lot of sweet black bits). He’s also 80% face, while the rest has been faceless or had a pretty simplistic face. He was also a pretty quick build, being completed in under 24hrs, while all of the others stretched out over multiple weeks (as opposed to singular weeks). Again, a MOC I thought worthy of blogitude, full of character and great piece usage, presented in an easy to grok manner. But alas, as of this writing (approx. 9:09PM EST 12/13/17), the MOC had not yet been blogged at the Brothers Brick. Which I get. They’re pretty busy after all, having to dig through their own photostreams to find things to talk about as opposed to Flickr group pools and other places where people post photos (forums? Do people still use those?).

So many MOCs of mine and so little blogging. What a shame. I mean, I’m not entirely surprised truth be told. There are a lot of factors that affect the “blog-worthiness” of a MOC, after all, and I’m not sure that all of these MOCs hit all of the criterion. I would say that they hit a lot of them, though I think I’ve missed the most important one: you have to make sure the right people are seeing it, which is significantly easier when you right person to see it happens to be yourself.

To conclude, after reading this diatribe, you may be asking “Primus, aren’t you worried about the repercussions of taking the piss out of The Brothers Brick?” To which I say, “What repercussions?” The worse they can do is not blog about my stuff; which, if you’ve learned anything from this article, they aren’t doing anyway. And, being the institution that they are, you’d expect them to be able to take a light ribbing. Especially since my griping really only applies to one of the bloggers there (tho, I’ll leave the speculation up to the comment section). The rest of them at least seem to be trying to blog about others as much as they do themselves.

Oh, and since Rutherford thought it would improve my article last time, a parting video for your thoughts.

 

Blog or Die! The Manifesto’s First Contest

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Tell Your Story” image courtesy of Chris Maddison

Constant reader, the time has come for the Manifesto’s first ever writing contest.  So if you’ve been too shy, too busy or too lazy to join in on the action, now is the time to live your blogging dreams on this… the smallest and shabbiest stage in all AFOLdom.  Yes, this is your chance to join the vaunted brotherhood of Liu, Hoffmann, Andes, Rutherford, rountRee, Prasad and Oohlu.  Tell your story…blog or die!

Continue reading “Blog or Die! The Manifesto’s First Contest”