TexLug at SXSW

Co-op SXSW Dragon
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Austin has been invaded!

This year, as every year, the South by Southwest (SXSW) media frenzy visits Austin, TX. SXSW is a music and film and interactive extravaganza in which all the convention centers, bars, clubs, meeting rooms, hotel lobbies, pool halls, patios and theaters fill up with musicians, support staff, aficionados, hipsters, geeks, fanboys, reporters and fans.

I've always said I'd try to avoid downtown during this time. The film and interactive portions aren't bad, but the music festival literally shuts everything down within a 20 block radius of the capital for three days. Ms. A loves it and is going again to as many free shows as she can find.

This year was my first actual attendance to anything SXSW related and it was to see some Lego. The TexLug group had a exhibitor display in the Screenburn section in the convention center. Screenburn is basically showing design tools and games. TexLug had a big table with a lot of the MOCs (my own creation) that the group members have built. They ranged from a T-Rex skeleton display with visiting museum patrons, all the size of a matchbox, to a 10ft long replica of the 360 bridge over Town Lake. We took some pictures but it's not the same as being there and seeing the intricacies in person.

The best part was, off to one side was an area with a kiddie pool full of Lego. The idea was you build something and put it on the table nearby to show off what you built. It turned out to be a magnet for me and Tiger Lily. The kids hung out with us but were bored shortly after realizing we weren't moving until our dragon was finished. G-man took about 100 pictures, mostly of his tongue and Spongebob shirt. Rowan pleaded for popcorn that wasn't available. (Silly girl, hipster gadget dorks don't eat popcorn.)

As the TexLug group started to pack up all their models, we finally finished our dragon. It was really cute and well put together and we wanted to take it home. Someone was so impressed they took a picture of it. The TexLug group even included it on their media updates of the event. I wish we'd have done it on Friday, it may have been put in the main display with the other dragons and beasties. (Yeah, it was that good.) The best part is we did it together. TG made the head and wings and belly and I did the legs and tail and kind of the attaching of it all together. The kids helped us hunt down pieces.

LMA made a neat remote controlled boat vignette as well but she started later and wasn't able to finish before it was time to pack up. G-man was oddly not into it. I haven't figured out his Lego meter yet. He likes them, wants to play and build with mine, but doesn't much care for the ones I buy him. I see them in his room, on the floor, but when I ask him to build something he gets frustrated rather than excited. He wants me to build him things to play with. I'm not going to do that. I want him to use his imagination. I know it's there.

That way when the next TexLug meeting happens, we can both go and bring our builds.

Carry on.


Let's hope it's not the knee.

(this is not a scan of my knee, just an image I found online.)

I totally forgot to mention that I had an MRI done on my knee last week.  For a couple years now it's made a crunching, scraping sound when it bends, especially if I put weight on it.  It doesn't get any more or less stiff or sore than the other one, which is to say not much.  If I walk a lot from the bus or run or play ball it gets stiff but it's never hurt.

A friend of ours injured her knee at work and had to go through surgery to repair it.  It was your basic ACL repair and subsequent therapy.  I showed them (or made them listen to) my knee and everyone said I should have it checked out before it got really bad.

So I scheduled an appointment for the same orthopedic doctor that helped Ms. A get her knee fixed after her skiing accident blew out her ACL.  She was in recovery for about 2 months and then after that she was restricted to what she could do.  Now she skates roller derby so I consider that a success.  The doctor is really nice but I can tell he's busy.  He doesn't spend a lot of time with me.  In fact I think I probably talked to him for about three minutes.  He asked me about the knee, I told him there wasn't any pain but it's making a horrible sound.  He listened, agreed it was bad and I got an x-ray done.  The x-ray came back fine, no bone problems.  So he scheduled an MRI.

Now, I'd never had an MRI done before.  I figure, if the office visit is $xx.xx copay and the x-ray is covered, wouldn't the MRI?  Turns out, no it's not.  Well, it depends on your deductible.  My MRI ran me $375 and I was a little shocked at first.  I know the big Magnetotron (seriously, it was called that) is expensive to run and you have to pay the techs to run it.  MRI techs get paid pretty well.  On top of that, I wasn't injured, this was preventative at best.  It was my idea to go in.

I have a follow up this Monday and I think the doc is looking for a flap of cartilage.  He seems to think that physical therapy will help and wants to avoid surgery.  My thinking is that I'll take whatever is covered without having to meet my deductible first.  But I'll keep y'all apprised of the situation.

School is going fine.  I took, and I think passed, my first ethics test.  I've got another history test this next week for which I'm getting ready.  I love history but have never been a fan of American history.  Not this time, however.  I don't know if it's age or the material, but I'm fascinated by it.

I've also decided, and I don't remember if I said anything about this, that I'm going to try to turn my degree into something I can use to get a job with Lego.  I've talked with them and apparently their builders come from all kinds of fields; design, engineering, architecture, etc.  So I'm going to skew my studies toward that and hopefully take those skills and love of the brick and become a designer/builder.  It might mean eventually moving to Enfield, CT, so I don't know how crazy I am about the idea.  I guess I should pass history first.

That said, I'm trying to get into the community more and that means central Texas TexLug meetings, the first being this Saturday.  It's an early South By Southwest (SXSW) event at a toy shop where TexLug members gather and meet and talk.  I'm taking the kids because G-man loves Lego.  Hopefully I can get some pictures.

That's all for now.  Carry on.