Sunday, January 31, 2016

Will #GameOfThrones Season 6 Air Before #TheWindsOfWinter Is Released? The Answer Is Not Here.

I wanted to write and publish a lot of posts in January, but life got in the way -- and this blog has once again been demoted to the bottom of the proverbial totem pole. I have a backlog of various ideas to type on about, such as local eats, simple chocolate making, and a semi-scientific comparison of smartphone/tablet technology, but all of that will have to wait for February ... or March or April ...

Before this month ends for my timezone, I will have to continue my series of LEGO photos, spoiling the ongoing television series Game of Thrones. This blog is now in the second half of the third season. My Instagram is a couple episodes into the fourth season because I post a new spoiler photo every Sunday.

I don't remember why I chose to depict this shot from "The Climb" with LEGO minifigures representing Samwell Tarly, Craster's daughter-wife Gilly, and her as-yet unnamed baby (Little Sam). Perhaps I was pressed for time that Sunday, and I needed to just assemble a couple of minifigures with a very minimalist background.

For "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," there was only one shot that I wanted to re-create -- a big bear versus Brienne (the maiden fair). Not counting the minifigures, there were basically about a dozen pieces to create the fighting pit. I have neither the time nor the skill to build detailed models in LEGO. I aim for effectiveness in relating the scene, though. Hopefully these photos are effective enough.

I guess this scene from "Second Sons" is the payoff from the simple photograph from a couple episodes back. Here, Samwell becomes Sam the Slayer by killing a White Walker to protect Gilly and the still-unnamed Little Sam. (Little Sam officially becomes Little Sam when they reach Castle Black.) A LEGO yeti makes for a decent White Walker, and I used a Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver to try to back light the scene.

Thus far, I have cobbled together minifigures to represent Ned, Catelyn, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon Stark. And Jon Snow. Even Hodor. I have yet to depict a living Robb Stark, and "The Rains of Castamere" (spoilers!) was last opportunity to do so. I depicted Roose Bolton with a Dracula-esque head to reference the speculation among A Song of Ice and Fire book readers that Roose is the equivalent to a vampire, in George R.R. Martin's fantasy world.

The third season finale, "Mhysa," continues my quest for simple, yet effective Game of Thrones scenes: Two minifigures (Jon Snow and Ygritte), two baseplates, and a horse.

Hopefully the writing bug will bite me so strongly in February, that I'll have to blog more often. If not, well, in about three weeks, I should at least have enough fourth season photos to blog more Game of Thrones ...

... spoilers.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

#SBStrong: Blogging About #InlandEmpire Places/Events in 2016?

My 2015 blogging experiment -- writing five to seven entries per month -- has been a success, mostly. I want to shift the direction of this blog a little bit in 2016, perhaps on more local matters -- relative to myself.

Earlier this month, there was a mass shooting at the San Bernardino County's health department holiday party in the City of San Bernardino. It was a doubly tragic mix of terrorism and workplace violence because one of the terrorists was a co-worker to most of the victims.

It was also such an odd target for the terrorists -- an office party that's about an hour away from any of the more "obvious," higher-profile targets for terrorism or any other violent crime. The mass shooting's location was in San Bernardino, the terrorists' home was nearby in Redlands, and the final confrontation between law enforcement and the terrorists happened in between. Geographically, this incident hit close to home.

Because of that, I plan to blog more about local matters, to be a small part of the San Bernardino Strong movement! The City of San Bernardino has been hit by hard times, and so has its namesake county. I just want to highlight what's good and positive in the area, including the surrounding communities like Loma Linda and Redlands. Perhaps these "local" posts will be as long as my usual ramblings; maybe they'll be shorter. In any case, here are two short blurbs about what's good in the Inland Empire:


The Loma Linda Family Health Fair usually takes place every year around Halloween, at the Loma Linda University's Drayson Center gym. They remove the gym equipment for the event, with information booths instead. Depending on the companies and sponsors, you might get some free, useless trinkets or useful coupons -- like any other community fair/festival.

There are basically four or five main draws to the event:

1. Free lunch, albeit vegan lunch. 2015 had vegan black bean burritos, and 2014 had vegan burgers. I don't think there were free lunches before 2014.

2. Free flu shots. In case you don't have a doctor's appointment before flu season, or if the local drug store flu shot doesn't accept your health insurance -- you can get a flu shot at this health fair. Or any other health fair. Or cultural festival with a flu shot booth.

3. Free or cheap blood screening/tests. With the passage of the ACA (Obamacare), you'd think low-cost preventative care at health fairs is unnecessary. Then again, there are flaws in any law (i.e., the incompetence of government), and no one should underestimate the greed of health insurance companies.

4. Free entry to a raffle for various prizes. The grand prize is usually Disneyland-related. There are usually other prize raffles in various booths. Long ago, there was a raffle booth at the kidney screening booth, with an awesome little kid as the exuberant raffle host. It's too bad he grew up; the kidney screening booth has never been the same since.

5. I suppose there are additional fun things for kids, like collecting stamps from booths to get a prize at the end ... or something like that. In any case, the Family Health Fair is a very good event in the Inland Empire.


In the month of December, depending on the town in the Inland Empire, local firefighters (and sometimes police) drive through various neighborhoods on various nights, with a couple of firetrucks, one pulling some "reindeer" pulling Santa's sleigh. Mrs. Claus joins her husband, throwing candy canes to people watching the parade. The firetrucks (and sometimes police cars) have their lights and sirens joyously ringing out for the occasion!

2015's parade went through various neighborhoods in the cities of Colton and Loma Linda. The parade schedule is a bit complicated, so a resident in the area would have to look up the city's website and/or Facebook page for more information. In other words, check again around November 2016. The local Christmas parade (or Holiday parade, since these routes don't happen on the 24th or 25th) is another very good event in the Inland Empire.

We'll see if I'll have more I.E. things to write about in 2016. In the meanwhile, I hope you all have an absolutely fun and relatively safe New Year's Eve ... and a very prosperous New Year 2016 for all! Happy New Year! Cheers!