Tag Archives: Legos

Pepper grinder, Poop, & Plastic bags: Lego Art

I’ve done P-word posts on Poop, Plastic, and Productivity thru Legos, but thanks to a fantastic illustrated column in today’s NY Times by graphic designer Christoph Niemann, I can bring them all together in one blog entry – and throw in Pepper grinders for good measure:

lego pepper grinder by Christoph Niemann

Totally captures the absurd sizes of the pepper grinders some waiters wield!

lego plastic bag by Christoph Niemann

I saw altogether too many of these in Cambodian trees last year (and everywhere else as well).

poop stepping by Christoph Niemann

One use for those plastic baggies – scooping poop.

Just one more example of why Legos are such a terrific toy. See the whole thing: I Lego NY.   Maybe he’ll use Play-Doh for his next contribution.

Precocious! 7-year-old political blogger

Precocious: adj. exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early age, from the Latin praecox = early ripening.

My kids were really really smart little whippersnappers. My grandkids are also RRSLWs. But this kid, Stanislaw Gunkel is a super RRRRRRSLW.

He isn’t blogging in pajamas in his mom’s basement; he’s in the family library. His blog is called Planet Stas (his nickname).

Now I don’t know how much his parents help him with his punctuation (quotation marks! parentheses!) and spelling, not to mention the sophistication of his thinking, but at this rate he will be taking over for Markos any day now.

He started the blog when he was in kindergarten, focussing on things of childhood like Legos. And it just expanded from there.  The more I think about it, the more I think letting a child blog is a fantastic educational experience – he has to formulate his ideas, spell out the words to articulate those ideas, and then as if by magic, get feedback from around the world.

Here is one tidbit:

My mom told me that I shouldn’t base my election analysis on “feelings” (I like him/her) or “beliefs” (I share his/her beliefs) but on logical arguments. She asked me to create my own rational explanations for my support of Obama. Here is one of my arguments:

McCain and Palin are not be qualified to be President / Vice President of the U.S. The President’s job is to do good for the country and the world. To do good for the country, the President must make smart decisions on important situations.

Governor Palin believes the world is 6000 years old. This is absurd. This is not a rational belief. This is a mistake. Scientists, experiments and evidence have shown this to be completely false. Therefore, she is not rational. If she is not rational, she should not be allowed to be President or Vice President.

Somehow word got to Obama about Stas, and he wrote him a letter a few days before the election:

Senator Obama’s advice to me:

“Dear Stas, Thank you for your kind words and for your support. I am impressed with your interest in politics, especially at your young age. I encourage you to visit my website kids.barackobama.com to learn more about everything we’re doing to make your family’s future even brighter.

I leave you with three bits of advice that will make your life more fulfilling: Look out for other people, even when it does not directly benefit you; strive to make a difference everywhere you go; and get back up every time you are knocked down.

Thanks again for writing to me. Seeing young people like you who care about making things better inspires me and gives me great hope about the future of our country and our world. Sincerely, Barack Obama”

Pity the poor political junkie! Play with productivity Legos instead

I am up to HERE with Republican perfidy and pugnacity.  I didn’t start 365 Words Beginning with P to write about POLITICs… though I am a political junkie. Unfortunately Politics and Palin and Putrid and Perfidy and Pugnacious and President all begin with P and when I’ve spent the past ten days watching two conventions (one inspiring, one frightening), I need to vent.

I’m over it…  at least till tomorrow.

Let’s talk instead about productivity, priorities and procrastination!

I stumbled on software developer Michael Hunger’s blog a couple of weeks ago in which he talked about his new method for keeping track of how he spends his time – his creative solution to the Time Log.

Why should we care about time logs?  Because most of us haven’t a clue where the minutes and hours go in the day.  “Where DID the time go????” we ask.  Taking a clue from the diet industry: if you’re trying to lose weight, the first and most crucial step in finding the unconsciously consumed calories is keeping a food diary — writing down every morsel you eat from dawn to dark.  Then it’s much harder to say, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”

It’s even harder to record the hours in the day, because it’s so easy to get side-tracked. Michael Hunger makes time-keeping tactile and truly fun by using colored Legos.  You could think of it as Lego Logs.

Here’s the set he uses (available online for about $25):

And here is what a week of work looks like:

He describes his technique:

I chose a time partitioning of a quarter of an hour (each bump = 15 minutes). So I can use the lengths 1,2,3,4 to build 15,30,45 and 60 minutes worth of time in a row representing an hour .

Stacking these hourly rows on top of each other builds up the whole day. I use the different colors for the projects I’m involved in (8 are just enough), putting them on the stack whenever I want and have time to do so (but mostly quite instantly).

I made up a single width column as ruler for the work hours (from at around 10 am up to 6 pm). So I can easily see whats missing and at what time I did something. For the days of the workweek I chose the rainbow color scheme (red, orange, yellow, green, blue – Monday to Friday) for the longer base row that I stack my hours on. So I can gather a whole week of time tracking until I have to enter them in some time sheet (software). I put the columns of a whole week on top of a green building plate to fix them.

You can easily see how much work you did for any given project as you recognize the colored areas rather than time ranges (8:45-11:15). Having the relative time shares as part of this setup helps as well.

You can even plan your work by pre-building your days on temporary bases with the planned amount of time for each activity (or putting at least the estimated amount of bricks aside).

The benefits are obvious:

  • it works (for about 4 months now)
  • I have something to play with while pondering stuff
  • it looks great
  • it’s incredibly fast with no overhead
  • planning is possible

The single disadvantage:

  • coworkers coming to your place and disassembling your time tracks
  • He figures for an 8 hour day you need  5x8x4 = 160 bumps (1×1) minimum to do all your hours. 70% of Lego pack 6177 are one-rowers, so you get plenty.

    One challenge for me is tracking the roving nature of my work. Some is at my desk, some is in the kitchen, some is in the yard, some is around town. I’d just have to carry Legos in my purse at all times.   What color  for household chores? What color for naval-gazing? What color for getting lost on the world wide web? When is dish-washing, naval-gazing or web-browsing part of writing preparation?  I’d need some in-between colors to record these nebulous states.