Building a Lego Fidget Spinner

Posted by TechyDad on May 26, 2017 under JSL, Lego

IMG_20170524_194646783The fidget spinner craze is definitely burning hot right now. Everyone seems to want to be spinning some plastic between their fingers. Recently, NHL bought one for himself on a school trip to Montreal. JSL was a bit jealous and wanted one for himself, but no one seemed to have any in stock. What to do? Easy. Build our own!

After a bit of Googling, I found a blog post with instructions on building our own fidget spinner from Legos. One problem: Despite having a giant bin of Legos, we didn’t have most of the parts we needed.

So we improvised. We rooted through the bin for wheels and other pieces that would work. After a few minutes, both JSL and I had a working fidget spinner. JSL then went on to build two more.

At this point, I decided that I needed to share. I made a video and posted it on Instagram showing off my creation.

I made a #Lego fidget spinner.

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After I did this, JSL did his own video, narrating his creations. He was so happy when he heard that people were liking his video. (He thinks he’s famous because he had about a dozen likes. I’m not correcting him. Let him be happy with that.)

JSL presents the three fidget spinners that he made out of #Lego.

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I’ve since disassembled and reassembled my Lego fidget spinner so I can document the process. I leave it here, not as hard and fast instructions, but as a guide. The fun part about making a Lego fidget spinner is making it your own. Sure, it might not spin as fast or as much as the real thing, but half of the fun is building and customizing it.

IMG_20170525_213201505IMG_20170525_213218227IMG_20170525_213227049IMG_20170525_213237122IMG_20170525_213248702IMG_20170525_213257644IMG_20170525_213320383IMG_20170525_213330338IMG_20170525_213338075IMG_20170525_213354015IMG_20170525_213404247IMG_20170525_213413257IMG_20170525_213436266

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Happy 8th Birthday, JSL!

Posted by TechyDad on May 14, 2015 under Birthday, JSL

JSL-bday-boyYesterday was JSL’s birthday. My little guy is growing up so quickly. He’s constantly surprising me and delighting me. He’s turning into quite the little geek. He loves superheroes and plays with his Imaginext superhero sets constantly, making up new battles for them to engage in. Every week, we need to see the latest episodes of superhero/geeky shows like Teen Titans Go, Flash, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Doctor Who.

He also loves Star Wars. We watched the first season of Star Wars: Rebels together and he loved every moment. When I showed him the trailer, he was both excited and disappointed. He was excited to get a glimpse of the new Star Wars movie, but disappointed that he had to wait until December to see it.

JSL’s love of all things geeky doesn’t just limit itself to pre-made heroes, though. He has created his own superhero (“Brickman”) complete with a backstory, drawings, and super-villains to fight. He loves art in all forms and is constantly wanting to create new works of art.

He is also a voracious reader. Over the past year, I’ve lost count of the number of books he’s torn through. He will complain loudly if we leave the house and he doesn’t have a book to read. Even if it is just a short car trip, he can’t be without reading material to pass the time.

Lest you think that JSL is stuck in the house all day, he also loves playing outside. Since learning to ride his bike last year, he’s been a big fan of going on bike rides up and down our block. Now that I’ve got a bike of my own and the warmer weather is there, I think we’re going to go on some father-son bike rides together.

In the past, I’ve referred to JSL as my picky eater. I’ve said that he would live on macaroni and cheese and pizza if we let him. However, recently, he’s been expanding his menu options. He’s tried many vegetables and declared his love for them. (Including some Brussels sprouts that I was sure he’d hate.) He’s still somewhat picky, but hopefully that is falling by the wayside.

JSL is a very kind, patient sort of child. He lives for holding the door open for people – even if the line of people coming through is way too long. Whenever he has a question, he will raise his hand – even if class is over and he can just ask it.

JSL-fav-things

Happy birthday to my sweet and funny JSL. Here’s to many more geeky times spent together in the future.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Deleted Scenes And The Upcoming Marvel Movies

Posted by TechyDad on October 29, 2014 under Comics, Geeky Pursuits, Holidays, JSL, Movies, NHL

This past weekend, we found some deleted scenes from this summer’s hit Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Here is Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, spending some downtime between beating up bad guys trying to solve a Search-A-Word puzzle.  I’m unsure if his mask is helping him find the words.  No cheating!

Star-Lord_Word_Search

This is the scene where Star-Lord falls through a dimensional rift and winds up in the Angry Birds Star Wars universe.  He has to battle Lard Vader before making his way back to his own realm.

Star-Lord_And_Lard_Vader

Ok, so these were scenes from a weekend Halloween activity and not Guardians deleted scenes.  Still the boys had fun and are looking forward to Halloween.

Speaking of looking forward, I just read the “Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3” plan and neither I nor my boys can wait.  In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the rundown.

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (5/1/2015) – This one already has a great teaser trailer out. (Update: Right when I posted this, a “Special Look” went live also showing some of the heroes trying to lift Thor’s hammer.)
  • Ant-Man (7/17/2015) – It will be interesting to see what big adventure this little hero will have.
  • Captain America: Civil War (5/6/2016) – In the comics, the Civil War story arc started when Iron Man advocated for a law requiring all superheroes to register with the government (and have their secret identities exposed).  Captain America, meanwhile, was against this and the two (as well as the superheroes on both sides) clashed.  Sure enough, I’ve heard Iron Man/Tony Stark will be in this movie.
  • Doctor Strange (11/4/2016) – According to rumors, Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Sherlock Holmes from the BBC’s Sherlock) is being asked to become the Sorcerer Supreme.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (5/5/2017) – JSL is already asking about trailers for this and was disappointed that he’ll likely have to wait two years for one.
  • Thor: Ragnarok (7/28/2017) – Ragnarok is the Norse concept of the end of days, but in the comics (according to my Wikipedia search) it dealt with a cybernetic clone of Thor being made when the original was thought dead.  Will we see Thor and Evil-Cyborg-Thor duke it out on-screen?  And what will this mean for the state we left Asgard in at the end of Thor 2?
  • Black Panther (11/3/2017) – Another favorite superhero of ours.  He will be played by Chadwick Boseman (whose previous works I haven’t seen).  Interestingly enough, Chadwick’s IMDB page says he will also appear in the Captain America: Civil War movie.
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 (5/4/2018) – Finally, the Infinity Saga comes to a head.  We’ve been seeing the Infinity stones here and there and I’m sure we’ll see more before this movie comes out.  What really struck me is that this is Part 1.  They are going to do this right and take their time with the story.  My best is that Part 1 will conclude with Thanos getting the final Infinity Stone and the heroes looking like they’re beaten against his tremendous might.
  • Captain Marvel (7/6/2018) – There are many incarnations of Captain Marvel.  I’m hoping they opt for the Carol Danvers one.  It will be nice to see a powerful woman kicking some bad guy keister.
  • Inhumans (11/2/2018) – The Inhumans are a society of individuals with fantastic powers that keep hidden away from “normal” society.  They aren’t really fully human but aren’t mutants either.  Their leader, Black Bolt can’t speak.  Well, he can, but his voice is so powerful that a mere whisper of his could bring buildings crashing down.  He’s definitely the strong, silent type.
  • Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 (5/3/2019) – This is the conclusion to the Infinity Saga.  Expect heroes from many movies, not just Avengers, taking part in the final showdown against Thanos.  Just picture Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther fighting alongside Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot.  It will be quite the team up.

Where the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes from here, I don’t know.  On one hand, I can’t wait to see it all.  On the other hand, by the time Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 rolls its final credits, NHL will be almost 16 and JSL will be almost 12.  Maybe I can wait after all.

What upcoming Marvel movie are you most excited about?  What superhero would you love to see made into a movie?

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My Little Bike Rider

Posted by TechyDad on June 2, 2014 under JSL, Life, Parenting

our-new-bike-riderThey grow up so quickly.

Around his birthday, B’s parents told JSL that they wanted to buy him a new bike.  His current bicycle, a hand-me-down from his older brother, was getting too small for him so it was time to upgrade.  One problem:  The new bike would be too big to include training wheels.  That meant JSL would need to learn without them.  Since we wouldn’t want the new bike to be scratched from learning-to-ride falls, we decided to hold off on the new bike and just remove his training wheels on the current bike for now.

At first, JSL couldn’t get the hang of riding.  As I held onto him, he would lean towards me and then away from me.  Over the course of the first day, he began to get better and better.  Finally, I began letting go.  He would go for a second or two on his own before running into trouble.  The more practice he got that day, the better he got.  I would silently count and tell him what he got afterwards.  He got up to eight seconds and was so proud of himself.

The next day, we resumed his practicing and he got up to twelve seconds.  As every record was shattered, he’d scream out the new number.  I bet everyone on our block was wondering why he was shouting seemingly random numbers.

By Saturday, it became clear that JSL had mastered balance.  Unfortunately, his confidence was lacking.  He would be perfectly balanced with my hand on him (but not really supporting him), and yet the minute I let go he would veer towards the grass in an attempt to fall softly.

Thinking that perhaps our short up-and-down the block excursions were too short to build his confidence, I took JSL on a long bike ride a few blocks away from our house and back.  Though I held on to him most of the time, he balanced really well.

Awhile after we got back to our block, JSL was pedaling up our block and I let go of him.  As usual, he kept going.  But he didn’t stop.  He just kept going and going.  We have the "he’s got it" moment.  B was sitting outside the house when she saw him pedal past – followed by me running to keep up.  (He wore me out by making me run after him up and down the block.)

Our little baby was officially a bike rider.

Starting up still required mom or dad to push him off so he worked on that next and, by yesterday, had that figured out.  He’s growing up so quickly.  While I’m sad that he won’t need me to hold on to him as he rides anymore, I’m so proud of him for figuring out how to ride a bike.  I’m looking forward to going on some bike rides with him in the future.

Until then, I’d better get used to this view.

JSL-the-bike-rider

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Learning To Bike Ride

Posted by TechyDad on May 19, 2014 under JSL, Outside

bike-ridingBefore JSL’s birthday, we took him to a couple of stores looking for a new bike.  His old one, a hand-me-down from NHL, was getting small for him and B’s parents wanted to buy him a new one.

After looking for a few bikes, we came to the conclusion that we want JSL to learn to ride without training wheels before buying him a new bike.  This way, his current bike will get any dings and dents from learning-to-ride falls and the new bike will stay looking nice for as long as possible.

So, with the sun shining and the weather feeling nice and warm, I removed the training wheels from JSL’s bike and we went out to the sidewalk.  JSL nervously climbed atop his bike and I held him steady as he pedaled forward.  Soon, I was letting go more and more.  I could tell that he was on the brink of figuring out how to balance – even though he had just started.

It seemed as though he needed something to push him a bit (metaphorically speaking) and decided on a method of giving JSL some incentive.  Every so often, when I could tell that he was balancing well, I would let go of him and count silently.  Then, after he put his feet down to stop or I stepped in to prevent a fall, I would tell him how many seconds he stayed up.  JSL went from two second rides to four and then five.  Finally, he got an eleven second ride and went running up the block screaming it over and over to B.  The next day, he topped that and got to fourteen.  He seemed determined and well on his way to riding without training wheels.

Then, this weekend, we tried again.  This time, he was a lot less sure of himself.  I didn’t bother telling him how many seconds he stayed up because telling him "two seconds" would make him less confident – not more.

I did notice a pattern, though.  JSL’s balance was pretty good with me having to provide minimal guidance until I let go.  Then, suddenly, he would either begin veering towards the grass (to soften his fall but instead causing him to lose his balance) or would overcorrect and swerve his front wheel left and right until he lost his balance.  If he only had enough confidence in himself, he would likely just take off down the street.  Instead, fear is holding him back.

We’re now on the lookout for any way to help JSL learn to ride his bike.  B’s brother has been using a bike trainer handle (like this one) with his child and this might help JSL also.  Any suggestions are welcome, though.

What did you do to help your child learn to ride a bike?

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