Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Okay, so this post may be a little confusing to some, since I'm going to talk about Friends and Lego, and it's most of it isn't complaints. I'll explain as we go along.

"Friends? Didn't you refer to Friends as shit just recently? What's up, you fucking hypocrite?" Yes, Friends is shit. However, Friends was brilliant during its first season and a half. I fucking loved the show until Ross & Rachel got together. I know what you're saying; "Oh, you just got pissed because you're angry, bitter, and cold-hearted and don't like to see any of that romance stuff." Well, if you take a look at my anime shelf and all the romantic comedies I've got on there, you'd think different.

No, the problem with Ross & Rachel getting together is that the show started to take itself too seriously after that. They just seemed to take all the fun out of the show, making this weird shift towards comedy+drama. I don't mind drama and romance mixed in with my comedy; in fact I welcome it if they're done right. Friends did not do it right, and they ruined a great show.

I just got the first season on DVD, and was reminded as to how great a show it really was. Everybody is funny, even Ross, and Chandler is just the fucking best. Classic episodes, like the Blackout Thursday episode, which was just the best episode of any sitcom ever. Plus, I was remimded of why I had a huge crush on Jennifer Aniston when the show was first on, because man oh man was she a hot number back then. I'm pretty sure I had at least one or two foolproof schemes worked out where we ended up married. Foolproof because, clearly, that's what a hot up-and-coming actress wants, some pathetic high school kid.

Anyway, now on with the Lego portion. There's a Friends reference in it, but I wanted to make sure it was put in proper context first.

So you're saying "Lego? I thought Lego was dead to you? What's up, you fucking hypocrite?" Well, have you paid attention to the shit Lego has been putting on store shelves recently? Like those stupid fucking sports Legos? How about the fact that Duplo blocks are still being made, but they aren't called "Duplo" anymore? And don't even bring up that Bionicle shit, because I will kill someone.

Still, even though the Lego Empire has seriously declined from the days of the Black Seas Barracuda, they do surprise me from time to time. For the most part, it's been a decent Star Wars set every now and then. However, they switched it up, by coming out with the Space Shuttle Discovery set. And I've gotta tell you, this one is fucking bad-ass.

I've been looking at some Lego sets as of late, and looking at the number of pieces they claim it has, and saying "Bullshit. There aren't 445 pieces in there; that's like 12." They claim the Discovery is 826 pieces, and after putting it together, I'd buy that. Sure, lots of them are really small pieces, but this thing took me 15 episodes of Friends to build. Like 6-6.5 hours. That's a fucking fun kit right there. One that takes so long your legs and back are all cramped up because you don't sit with good posture, then you do it for hours on end without moving because there's no way you're going to stop.

The end result is pretty big, being around 15.5" long with a wingspan of about 10.6". I've gotta give them credit for the complexity of some of the sub-assemblies, like the landing gear or the engine mountings. Yes, the landing gear actually works. Some mechanical engineering actually went into this thing, which impresses me. Both the wings and the tailfin have movable flaps. The cargo bay doors open to reveal a manipulator arm and storage space for the satellite that you build as part of the kit. It is just fucking bad-ass.

There are a couple of things I took issue with, but nothing major. There are decals for this kit, which is understandable but I always hate. For one thing, my surgeon's hands have real trouble keeping steady to put stickers on straight. Of course, I want them exactly straight. I'm bound to fuck up, and always end up with several stickers where one corner is bent and peeling because I did a bad application and had to pull off and re-apply the decal. This kit was no exception. Also, even though the satellite is way cool, I couldn't get it to fit in the cargo bay with the robot arm and the bay doors closed unless I removed the solar panels. Again, not a big deal. I can get it all in there and close the doors cleanly, so it's all good.

Another weird thing was the following. You know how Lego kits always used to have the main kit on the front of the box, and a bunch of alternate stuff you could build with the pieces on the back? Well, I haven't paid attention to other sets that are out nowadays, but this set didn't have that. There's an "Inspirational Booklet" as advertised by the box cover, and I thought maybe that's where alternate ideas would be. No, that was just more pictures of and facts about the real shuttle, and more pictures of the Lego kit itself. I'll tolerate it here; this thing is so cool that I don't know why you'd want to build anything else anyway. Hopefully they aren't doing that with all their sets now, implicitly telling kids to not be creative and just follow the given instructions.

One other thing in the inspiration booklet was pictures of some other kits that are either available or going to be availble. Among them is the moon mission set, which I'm totally stoked for, because the main portion of it is a Saturn V rocket. I don't know why, but when we were studying the moon missions back in grade school, I had a total hard-on for Saturn V rockets. I don't know why; maybe it was just me pre-emptively trying to overcompensate for future inadequacy.

Overall, this was a neat set. It looks great, and was a blast to put together. I've got some pictures of it here in case you really care. Oh, and even though I normally wouldn't, I think I should apologize for the tasteless joke in the last pic. I couldn't help myself.

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