Brick by Brick

Before my teenage years hit, when playing with toys was deemed immature, my imagination pushed my play out into stories and adventures with plastic figures from Kenner and plastic bricks from Lego. The combination of both in scenarios, my brother and I would devise, was a defining influence over my childhood. So with over thirty years now passed, it’s almost ironic that this influence has now come full circle.

Brick therapy

click to enlarge

Rey’s Speeder 75099

After the rocky path of 2015, I made a promise to myself to engage in some new activities that would help reinforce my resolve; creative and therefore good for mental wellbeing. The first of these is building Lego kits.

I had toiled with the idea of modelling last year but it remained just an idea and got forgotten about. That is until I overheard a few work colleagues discussing their Lego collections. It fired my imagination and took me back to a happy place that I once enjoyed as a child. Before I knew it I was absorbed by how much Lego has changed since the 1970’s. Thoughts returned to how vehicles and ships were cobbled together with Lego for the Star Wars figures that my brother and I had in our collection(I still have a good number of these). Yet now there are all manner of vehicles, ships and buildings that come as official Lego kits.

So I’ve taken the plunge and what helped me in part on deciding where to begin came from one of the standout moments from Star Wars – The Force Awakens. Although not seen after the first third of the movie, Rey’s Speeder really stood out over all the other designs from the film. And so with the Lego model kit sitting in my Amazon wish list, I waited for a price drop. With a piece count of 193, I knew building this set wouldn’t take too long but would at least allow me to explore if the old childhood-feeling would be rekindled. That and at £14(yes the price did drop) it was affordable. You can view the final build above left by click on the photo.

Next bricks?

Safe to say building Rey’s Speeder was successful in juicing up the part of my brain that needs supporting. Importantly it also gives me time away from all things digital which is something that certainly needs to be kept in check. A bit more ‘analogue’ in my life is definitely needed.

Since the speeder I’ve completed the Imperial Shuttle Tydirium(75094) and have plans afoot to build the second most important ship(am waiting for the arguments here!) in the Star Wars universe, Slave 1(75060). At nearly 2000 pieces Boba Fett’s iconic ship should keep me busy for a little while and at twice the price of the Imperial Shuttle it will need to!

Fading Scale

Spent the last few days considering what may lay ahead in 2016. Much of the previous 12 months has been peppered with events and emotions I’d rather not repeat. That said, stargazing upon Mount Teide for my birthday was definitely the highlight of 2015. If you ever get the chance to visit Tenerife then I suggest you take a guided tour to this (currently) inactive volcano. What makes it a unique spot for stargazing? No air pollution! No aircraft are allowed to fly over this part of the island and there’s also no artificial light either. Vilaflor is the last settlement you will see on your way up at 1400 metres. I recommend stopping here for a hot drink and breath in the thinning air.

Last year also saw my reading mojo return, helped in part to the reading marathon I did in May supporting the Myaware charity. Thankfully this has carried over into this year and I no longer feel trapped into only reading books under the 250 page count. Although very little has changed over the years I have used it, GoodReads is a very useful tool for discovering and sharing the best and worst that reading has to offer. The challenge for 2016 is to read 20 books where I managed 17 in 2015.

Reality vs. Escapism

I like to be entertained. Too much reality in my day-to-day living makes me feel very dull. Escapism is protection from the dire monotony that can so easily creep into the veins and strangle the heart. I feel happy that I’ve kept the ‘child inside’ pretty healthy during my adult years. Things don’t always go to plan and maintaining a healthy balance of reality vs. escapism is my constantly evolving and shifting battleground.

Yet there is one area that has been in a progressive decline ever since it peaked during the early to mid ’90s. My appreciation of music seems to have waned severely over the decades since. I suppose this is a natural event due to friendships that I had, that were music-influenced, now no longer my core friendships. There are remnants of those ties but as the friends, that are left in these circles, no longer have that influence over me each day I really can’t expect too much. I find that kinda sad to say as there have been some great records over the last few years that I have loved(Arctic Monkeys & QOTSA) it’s just that these are far less than the glory days of the 1990’s.

Writing fanzines during my peak musical-influenced years to writing online, since 2006 has definitely shaped my outlook and allowed for some excellent reality/escapism balancing. I hope to continue this with during 2016(and onwards) with my journal writing.

The Importance of Wood

I don’t consider myself a complicated character and although new distractions can be refreshing, many don’t having a lasting influence. This is possibly why I don’t have a big pool of friendships to call upon.

Simple pleasures then? Maybe one example of this is the new piece of furniture I spent putting together last Saturday; a desk from IKEA and my first purely wooden desk.I’ve owned some truly horrible MDF excuses over the years and there’s a pleasure in owning a desk now that feels like it owns the room. Having a piece of furniture that gives that warmth of smell that (pine)wood does, is not to be underestimated.I had been torn over using the desk funds on a telescope instead but this idea quickly lost out. Cheaper telescopes don’t tend to offer the best results so, yeah that idea is binned.

With a new desk now in place, 2016 could be a far more proactive year(and not reactive impulse I had to 2015). At least I’ve given myself a good start to the year.