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.

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”

“I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.”

The appeal of Andy Warhol has always been somewhat baffling to me but I do think his quote works well within the context of this article.  You see constant reader, I’m jonesing for some Lego action, I love plastic and I want to be plastic surrounded by other like-minded plastic people.   I want to reconnect with old AFOL Pokemon and add some new cards to my deck.  For a variety of reasons I missed the convention scene entirely last year so I’m determined to kick off 2018 the right way with a short trip down Interstate 15 to check out the festivities at Bricks LA.  Growing up in southern California, I always thought of Los Angeles as my beloved San Diego’s older, chlamydia-riddled sister, but I’m willing to put all of that baggage aside for a weekend of questionable antics with the usual suspects. The convention is in it’s 3rd year and since it’s one of only two options within driving distance from Vegas,  I’m all out of excuses for not checking out the scene.  It might not be the big action like Chicago, Seattle or D.C., but when I consider the dozen or so cons I’ve attended over the years, more often than not the most memorable ones were the regional ones.  One big advantage of a smaller con is that you don’t have so many drive-by conversations “Hey, how are you, what did you bring?” and you really get to know people and have a chance to hang out.

Constant reader Matt rountRee will be joining me for the road trip and if we’re very lucky so will noted Manifesto columnist and all around gasbag Michael Rutherford.  When the stars are in the right alignment, we form a distinctly American power-trio with the mutant power of making even obscure conventions like the one in Orem Utah a blast.  So if you’re in the greater Los Angeles area between January 5-7 of 2018, you should absolutely stop by and join us for the biggest Manifesto gathering to date at the Pasadena Convention Center!

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I’ll be bringing along The Marcus Garvey, my SHIPtember offering from this year, along with a throwback from 2008, ChiefLUG’s oMICROn Weekend.  It is also my intent in the next 50 some days to create a modest diorama to showcase the Garvey, and I’ll likely document that process here on the Manifesto as it progresses.  Generally speaking I don’t keep models assembled for more time than it takes to photograph and post them, but I’ve held onto the Garvey to show some visiting AFOLs and it seems like a good opportunity to get a second use out of it.

God only knows what rountRee will be schlepping to L.A. besides a flask of Jamesons, his battered VLUG cap and a home-made shank, but I would imagine his contributions will include the infamous Bushmaster, and if we’re lucky his Speeder Bike Contest entry from the beginning of the year.  If you do make it out to LA, don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to walk the hall and critique models with rountRee, to see the hippy bullshit-artiste in action.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll never look at models the same way again.  If you play your cards right, you might even hear him imitate Rodan with broadcast clarity.  Don’t be put off by the fact that he looks like a cannibal (those teeth!), Matt is very approachable and pliable with liquor.

If Rutherford does make an appearance, it will probably be with his standard kit: some pocket lint, half a tube of Mentos (The Freshmaker) and this dusty relic from 2007 that he drags to every con but can’t be bothered to post in his own photostream…because he’s lame.  I’m sure he’ll even bring one of his cherished copies of Brick Journal’s sold out, first edition to prove how awesome the model is.   He won’t mention the fact that I built everything under and around that model, or that Ryan Rubino took the cover photo because Rutherford can’t handle technology…no, no, he’ll stand there grinning from ear to ear, basking in the nostalgic glow of his beloved VTOL ambulance.  I would assume Mike’s SHIPtember entry will also make the journey, reduced to the component level by baggage handlers and his own terrible packing skills.  At least the design is so very simple that reconstruction shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes tops.  Seek out Rutherford at your own peril, once you get him talking it’s very difficult to extract yourself without great effort.

If all that isn’t enough to convince you to come and hang out, I’ll also be judiciously doling out some prime Manifesto SWAG to constant readers, cronies and a small cadre of convention-goers who prove their worthiness over the course of the weekend.  So why not join us for Bricks L.A. in January, it’s not like you have anything better to do.   Quite frankly, if you read this blog you can’t be that busy.  Yes the timing is less than ideal, right after the holidays, but won’t you be ready for a break from your loved ones just about that time?  Don’t you want to be figured prominently in the after-action reports from the field?  Ponder these questions, in the small hours of a long winter’s night.