update: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

custom-car-meet
“Yellow’s your favorite color, too?”

In truth, I didn’t plan on taking a months-long break from this blog. It just sort of… happened.

Several factors came together to make regular posting an impossibility. First, I had relatives come to visit from out of town earlier this summer: a couple of aunts, an uncle, a cousin, another cousin and her husband, and their young child, a son (my distant nephew?).¬†They arrived at roughly the same time but departed in waves. It has been over a decade since I’ve seen this branch of the family due to the fact that the vast distance between us makes regular visits impractical, and it was the very first time that my nephew and I met. I gradually grew accustomed to having these people in my home, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the first few days of their stay were a little uneasy.

pillowface
A rare photograph of the cryptozoological marvel, “Pillowface” (Homo ambiens)

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my nephew was also a Lego fan, and building sets gave us a way to bond. He didn’t have much use for instructions and preferred to build things using his imagination. It was clear that he had a mental vision of how things should be built and that it was different from what was pictured on the box.¬†Watching him build very much reminded me of myself at his age. It was bittersweet to have them leave, but it’s also nice to not have to tiptoe around the house in the morning while getting ready for work.

Which brings us to Reason Two of why I’ve been gone away: my job. Before I created this blog, I made a conscious decision to omit as many personal details as possible. I didn’t want it to become a record of the daily minutae of my life… but since we’ve already come this far, I may as well soldier on. To be brief, I began a new position at my workplace a few months ago. The work is more demanding in some ways than it was in my previous role. I find myself not possessing the strength to do much of anything when I get home at night, let alone put together cheap building block sets and then think up catty remarks about them. “The spirit is willing… ,” as the old saying goes.

We arrive at the final reason for my extended absence: it’s too darn hot! The photos that accompany my reviews are taken in a room that can get quite warm in the summer, and this summer has been exceptionally hot. My lighting setup isn’t anywhere near professional grade, but the additional heat from the lights can raise the temperature enough to make the room unbearable, and I would much rather put the energy that would power the lights to cooling the space. The temperature has been dropping as of late, and I expect that will have only beneficial effects on my productivity.

All of this isn’t to say that I haven’t touched a single plastic brick in these past few months. I still enjoy building for my own personal entertainment. I’ve recently been puttering with a couple of sets that I reviewed some time ago – Block Tech Fast & Furious Speed Racer and Kre-O Transformers Bumblebee Brick Box. The most overlooked advantage that budget brand building block sets sometimes have over their major retail competitors is often cited as their greatest weakness: it’s their shoddy design. They can’t help but disappoint, practically forcing builders to arrive at something satisfactory on their own. It can be a good creative exercise and a good way to develop new building techniques. With that said, I still would like to see better set design from them.

I hope this has served as adequate explanation for the site’s unannounced hiatus. If you’ve visited Building Up to Something in the past few months expecting a new review, then I apologize. Although the reviews may have come to a grinding halt, my backlog of sets continued growing over the summer thanks to numerous bargains found in-store and online. I’ve even got a package or two coming from China. Thanks again for following Building Up to Something! The best is yet to come!

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