An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Legos' vast collection of stuff. Where in the heck can someone find a simple, plain, variety bucket of lego bricks!?!?! I'm sure they are out there, but I've tinkered on their website now for quite a while (by current American websurfing standards) and I've found everything from a Massively Multi-player Online Game and clothing to Bob the Builder and "AquaRaiders" (whatever that is).
My boy's are totally into the Star Wars sets and besides being expensive it seems to me these things are destroying our kids by denying them their imaginations. You get these kits with billions of microscopic and obscure pieces that only remotely appear like traditional legos. They are used once, lost, and I will later wonder what the heck is making so much noise inside the vacuum cleaner. Why bother having these things in the vague shape of legos, if in fact they are far more in the shape of a storm troopers helmet? Why bother having them be legos...especially those stupid tiny ones that often inbed themselves into my feet? I've had better luck getting shards of glass out.
Look, call me a traditionalist, but when I was a kid I built my OWN X-Wing fighter out of REGULAR old square lego blocks. And it looked pretty darn good...there were no instructions and yet I could rebuild that sucker anytime I wanted because the design was in my head. It wasn't exact and had no fancy moving parts - nor did it shoot anything and the pilot was a square (Thank God), but my imagination did the rest. Creative. Ingenuity. Planning. Design. Implementation. Heck, what do my boys get? An instruction manual to follow....ONCE. and then guess what? They lose half the pieces, I trail blood through the house or the vacuum is ruined, and they are left with a huge quantity of customized shaped psuedo-bricks (like Storm Trooper heads, X-Wing Laser canon, the tailfin of Anakin's Jedi Fighter, the lower segment of a spider-droid arm, and 1/2 of a nose cone from a Republic Fighter Tank) that are generally never to be used again.
What I DO find them using (once the original "model" pieces have been properly dispersed throughout the house and under my feet and in the vacuum brushes) are, by far and wide, those bricks that most resemble your good old fashioned and traditional lego brick. I've seen them have hours of fun with - I kid you not - a mere 3 different lego brick designs put together to represent infantry or cavalry. Battles of historic proportions have been waged on their floor time and time again. The overly-designed and complex exact replica models literally CANNOT get a fraction of this much use.
If this keeps up, you can expect very little creative designs coming out of our manufacturing. I see signs of this already...but in the future I expect it will be worse. Are we forgetting to teach our kids IMAGINATION? Everything is set before their eyes in near perfect form, whether TV or video games or legos. Thank God for books...they will be, I expect, the salvation of my kid's imagination...not to mention the fact that kids actually LIKE to use it and will do so if we let them.
LOL, I was having this EXACT discussion yesterday. The Republic Starfighter costs $120. For some reason, certain edges, parts, still have the traditional lego knobs, only to remind you that at one time there was something called legos: with standard 2x4 bricks that came in white, red, blue, yellow, maybe black. Green?
I doubt if there is a standard 2x4 brick anywhere in the Republic Starfighter. But my kid LOVES the Star Wars models. They're not about imagination, but about assembling a cool model without glue.
A couple years ago, I had the odd experience of being in the Lego aisle at Target, and seeing a little kid in awe at the selection. I almost started to say how much better it was back in my day -- I'm now 24 -- but realized what a geezer I was being. It is awfully depressing, though. I still build stuff out of lego (I'm working on a monastery) but there was a five-year gap starting during high school, when I didn't do much with lego, and the quality plummeted, what with sets being almost entirely special pieces, and movie tie-ins.
Well, here's the other side. Of course my boys (ages almost-12 and 6) L.O.V.E. Legos. I estimate we have well north of 10,000 pieces in our home, in several 14-gallon bins. B started playing with "big boy Legos" about 8 years ago.
So. We've purchased a few of the generic tubs (and yes, you can get them at ToysRUs for about $20). In addition, B has gotten a handful of "theme" sets for each gift giving occasion. And without fail, he disappears into his room, and emerges sometime later with his new creation. Most excellent! Then over the next several days/weeks, the creation begins to get modified in one way or another. And finally after a couple of weeks, it goes into one of the bins.
After this, he bats 0.000 for reassembly. But what he DOES do is use those wildly shaped pieces to create stuff out of his own imagination.
This trend has played out exactly the same with son #2.
Oh, and the one time we bought a $100 set was when B saved up and purchased it himself (every cent). He never quite finished it, and learned a lesson. But the parts are still being used.
James, I have one thing to say to you: hard soled slippers.
Huey Lewis. And they disappear around here too. I'm firmly convinced that they lie in wait in a hole in the space-time continuum. Kind of like socks in the dryer. Only these bad boys jump out at unsuspecting bare feet, which are padding to the loo at o-dark-thirty.
Did I say hard-soled slippers? Make that full steel shank work boots. And body armor.