LOTR

A Story of Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving Special!  (In which the story of the original thanksgiving is strangely and unothodoxly blended with Tolkien lore.)

For it was in the olden days that those known as the pilgrims were decided to travel to a new land. They were not seafaring folk, yet they determined to sail across the great ocean. The oppression of their king had grown too heavy, and the prospect of a new life was enticing. Upon their arrival in the new land, they encountered many strange and unknown things. The people of the land were known as Indians. The Indians were an ancient race, attuned with the woods and closely bound to nature. The Indians watched the pilgrims with trepidation, for the light-skins were not to be trusted.

The pilgrims made poorly through the winter, for they were unprepared for the inclement weather. The corn that they grew fed them barely; many died, and later, it became a symbol of remembrance for the pilgrims to place five kernels of corn on their plates, as this symbolized the lack of sustenance throughout the early years. Therefore, the strongest of them traveled to the rock known as Plymouth. There they forged in secret the kernels of power. Three they made for the Indians lords and nine for the kings of men, but one of the Pilgrims, the strongest of them all, forged in secret a kernel stronger still. Into this he poured all of his knowledge and self. Thus the one kernel was formed. One kernel to rule them all, one kernel to find them. One kernel to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

But the dark pilgrim waited, and the kernels of power brought prosperity to the land. The pilgrims and Indians feasted together and formed an uncertain alliance. Thus thanksgiving came to be, and the dark pilgrim waited.

Epilogue: Later, the Dark Pilgrim was killed in a fluke covered-wagon accident, and his kernel lay undiscovered, until Orville Redenbacher discovered it in the 1950s. He was able to harness the kernel’s power and bring about a revolution in corn popping. So, remember the pilgrims whenever you eat popcorn, and be thankful. 

~ XK

The 10 Most Awesome Things to Do With Legos

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I had three things that I really loved when I was a kid: my sock monkey, my Lab, and my Legos. As I got older, the sock monkey fell apart and the Lab got lazy. My Legos, though,  never failed me. Needless to say, I really like Legos. Even now that I’m in college, I have Legos sitting on my dorm room’s windowsill, and I’m super-excited about the upcoming release of the Lord of the Rings Legos. I must say that I’m proud of Lego for bringing back the old-style sets like City and Space. Here’s a list of the top ten things to do with Legos.

  1. Crasher Cars — This was one of my favorite games that I used to play with my friends (Jeff and Josh). The first step is for each player to build a vehicle of some sort. A Lego minifigure is placed in the car, but he has to be visible. The cars are then propelled towards each other with great force. The goal is to have your minifigure still attached to the largest chuck of Lego pieces, you get a bonus if your car doesn’t break. You get parent bonuses if you don’t break anything in the house.
  2. Ships/Boats — Lego has always had some really cool nautical sets with boats that actually float. Legos always improved any childhood bathing experience. I don’t recommend this for older children; college-aged student playing with Legos in the shower is a bit strange.
  3. Flying Devices — I must admit, the aerodynamics of the spaceships, planes, and other flying devices that I built were not always the greatest, but I had some cool looking spaceships! With guns. Lots and lots of guns. 
  4. Cranes — I had a thing for winches, pulleys, and rope. I really liked those little hand-cranked Lego winches; they have to be one of my favorite pieces. I was always making and improving crane designs.
  5. Minifigure Armies — Like any boy, I really loved playing war. My Legos didn’t often escape the conflicts that raged through my room and house. The minifigures were often conscripted into armies made up of all sorts of toys, imaginary and real. Unfortunately for me, my parents frowned upon the use of explosives–a rule my minifigures were most thankful for. 
  6. Star Wars — Star Wars Legos have to be some of the best Legos ever produced. From the tiny lightsaber duel sets to the massive “collector” level models of Blockade Runners and Star Destroyers, Lego really put a lot of effort into the plastic re-creations of the cult-classic film series. Join the dark side, we have awesome plastic stormtroopers. 
  7. Movie Reenactment — I never actually filmed any of the movies that we reenacted, but I know that we did recreate a lot of movie scenes with Legos. Sure, they might have featured divers as soldiers and police minifigures as shop owners, but I’m sure the critics over-looked those minor details.
  8. Castles/Buildings — I really like castles and medieval times, so castles were always a favorite construction project. Of course, the best part of building any castle is the destruction. Many different demolition methods were used, often consisting of catapults and rampant time-traveling motor vehicles.
  9. Lightsabers — I know I already mentioned Star Wars, but I think lightsabers are important enough to be in a category of their own. The multi-colored translucent rods are some of the simplest and best Lego weapons.
  10. Robotics — Finally, I have to mention Lego Mindstorms. Used even today in high schools and college engineering programs, these kits are really cool. My school uses them along with a professional data analysis program for introductory programming and data acquisition projects.

That’s just a taste of some of the things that you can do with Legos. I’d love to hear some of your favorite Lego-related stories. I’ll leave you with this video of an awesome Lego Rube-Goldberg machine.

May the Force Be With You,
~XK