Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Winds of Winter: Total Click Bait Title #ASOIAF #GOT #LEGO

I finally finished photographing various scenes from season one of Game of Thrones, in LEGO. I try my best to recreate spoilery, cliffhangery, juicy scenes with cutesy plastic minifigures every Sunday on Instagram, until I've caught up with the series. Doing so actually bides the time waiting for both the next season of Game of Thrones as well as the next book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.

If you haven't seen the first part of my LEGO Game of Thrones spoiler scenes, click here.

The sixth episode of the first season is called "A Golden Crown." The spoiler in this photo is Khal Drogo giving Viserys Targaryen the "golden crown" that was promised. I wish I could have had more photos with the Khal Drogo minifigure, as it is probably the most badass plastic little dude I've ever cobbled together. My signature minifigure ("sigfig") makes a cameo appearance in this scene, as one of Drogo's Dothraki bloodriders:

The next episode is "You Win or You Die." It is the scene where Ned Stark confronts Cersei Lannister about the true father of her children. I greatly simplified the elaborate godswood garden and fountain in the show:

The next episode is "The Pointy End." This photo depicts the duel between Syrio Forel and Ser Meryn Trant. Did Trant kill Forel? Did Forel knock out Trant with his broken wooden sword, then casually walk away (because "the First Sword of Braavos does not run!")? We may never know the answer:

Every time I tag the actor who portrayed Syrio Forel on the show, Miltos Yerolemou, he is gracious enough to 'like' the photo on Instagram. This time, he commented some high praise for the photo: "Bloody briliant" --

I should try to include, as much as possible, guest stars and smaller roles for these spoilers. I usually tag the actors if they have Instagram accounts. If they have a relatively small following (thousands of fans vs. millions of fans), they just might actually see the photo, get a kick out of the tribute, and interact with me for a little bit. Thank you for the compliment, Miltos!

The penultimate episode of a Game of Thrones season almost always is a jawdropper. In this spoiler, Ned Stark is about to get his smiley plastic head removed from his LEGO Wolfpack torso, courtesy of Ser Ilyn Payne, swinging Stark's own zweihander Ice:

So far, I've made minifigures for Bran Stark, Ned Stark, Arya Stark, Catelyn (Tully) Stark, and Sansa Stark. Hopefully, I'll be able to cobble together smiley/angry/scared versions of Robb Stark, Rickon Stark, and Jon Snow in a future episode.

The final episode, "Fire and Blood," takes us back to the eastern continent of Essos, where Dany has just hatched some dragon eggs. Ser Jorah Mormont kneels in reverence:

Of all the LEGO hair color types to reflect real-life hair color, blonde is the trickiest. I think the range of blonde for LEGO goes from bright yellow to yellow to tan to dark tan to medium dark flesh. The actor Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont)'s hair has this distinctive golden glow that is otherwise impossible to replicate in monochromatic plastic. I wasn't going to use a bright yellow hairpiece for Jorah because I didn't want his and Daenerys' hair to match. My yellow LEGO hairpiece was too "long" for Jorah. Tan didn't seem vibrantly golden enough, and dark tan seemed too dark. Medium dark flesh, for some odd reason, was the most reasonable match for me ... unless I'm just colorblind or something.

As far as other LEGO hair color types go, the range of red hair goes from orange to earth orange to dark earth orange to red to dark red. The range of brown hair goes from reddish brown to brown to dark brown (and perhaps to dark flesh as well). Black hair is black plastic, and there are various shades of graying hair, from white to gray to bluish gray to dark gray to dark bluish gray. There are also various hairpieces in "dyed" colors.

Since I've written myself into a tangent about LEGO "genetics," I think I should summarize the range of LEGO skin color. There is ambiguous yellow, which is the color of most of the population in my LEGO Game of Thrones photos. From relatively palest to darkest, the range of human-representative colors are glow in the dark white (which will literally glow in the dark), white, light flesh (used for the Targaryens, above), flesh (used in the Syrio Forel minifigure, above), medium dark flesh (used in my sigfig), dark flesh, reddish brown, brown, and dark brown. There are a range of other colors for supernatural, extraterrestrial, and otherwise otherworldly minifigures.

In any case, I can't wait to see what season two of my LEGO Game of Thrones spoilers will bring! All this LEGO brick and minifigure variety would not have been possible without a site called Bricklink and the various sellers who buy all kinds of LEGO sets for their inventory, so I don't have to!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Make a Bootleg #Slurpee / #Icee with a #NutriBullet: Ice, Flat Soda, and Sugar

Over the course of the summer, I have refined my technique using the NutriBullet. Keep in mind that I do not use this blender for its intended use: Healthy shakes made with fruit, vegetables, and various nutritional supplement powder. Instead, I make nice, ice-blended goodness, with booze or no booze, but definitely cold and sweet to beat the summertime heat.

The basic formula is pretty simple: Blend about 12 ounces of liquid with two "glassfuls" (see recipe below for the photo) of ice cubes to the count of 30.

For a specific example, here is how to make a root beer slushie, similar to a 7-Eleven Slurpee or a fast food Icee. I'll provide some visual aids, err, photos:

1. One can of soda, usually 12 ounces, is good enough for two slushie servings. Pour as much as you want into fridge-friendly containers, and let the soda flatten for a few hours. You could always substitute this recipe with about 12 ounces of any blend of liquids, fluids, and beverages.

2. You'll need two "glassfuls" of ice to blend two slushie servings. I use a plastic tumbler that's about the same size as a travel coffee mug. I only use refrigerator machine "cubed" ice, and I have been satisfied with the results. I don't know if ice tray cubes will have similar results. I do know that crushed ice won't do, however.

3. Pour 12 ounces of flat root beer with two "glassfuls" of ice cubes into the NutriBullet container. Sprinkle some sugar to sweeten the ice; don't go overboard, though. You just want the sweetness level to remain on par with the original drink, if you're using flat soda.

4. Close the NutriBullet container with the six-blade cover and blend to the count of 30. If the mix is correct, the container should be packed to the blade but loose enough to have space to mix and blend. A good blend will continuously blend for the entire count of 30. A bad blend will have the blades blend nothing for some part of the count of 30. These proportions are not recommended by the manufacturer, so your results may vary. In other words, don't blame me for any NutriBullet-related accidents!

5. Scoop or pour carefully into two relatively large glasses (over 12 ounces), make more if needed, and enjoy!

The end. Cheers!