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Shannon² . There can be only... um... two. . On his grand tour of the United States, including stops in L.A. and New York, Yellowstone National Park, and of course the Brickworld convention in Chicago, Shannon Ocean (AKA Shannon Sproule, AKA Smeagol, AKA The Other Shannon) was good enough to make a stop in the Pacific Northwest to visit with me. He could only spare a few hours, and was battling some kind of cold. He claimed to have picked it up in Los Angeles, but I suspect he's a sleeper agent carrying some genetically engineered deadly weaponized plague. (Coincidence that he's visiting our three biggest population centers?! I think not!) Anyway, in spite of all that, we had fun talking and playing Laygoes. It would be a bit overwhelming to be turned loose on someone else's collection, not knowing what pieces were available or how they were sorted. Where do you begin? I've seen pictures of Ocean's workspace, which seems to consist of a messy spread of loose pieces. So I took pity on him and brought out the to-be-sorted pile. Mr. Sproule was then confronted with this pile of odd pieces -- those castoff bits that accumulate in the course of building, half-built abandoned works, old models in various stages of deconstruction as they get cannibalized for parts, the odd tablescrap, that sort of thing. The Other Shannon is a master of abstraction, what I call a hit-and-run builder. By which I mean a lot of his builds suggest forms and shapes with relatively few parts, like quick sketches in Lego form. Someone like me would feel the need to expand on that basic form, flesh it out with greater detail, but he's already called it good and moved on to the next idea. So naturally I expected great things from Shannon Ocean when he began to dig through that pile. And he did not disappoint. It's a neat build regardless, but when you consider the limited palette, it's that much more impressive. And then you further consider that in the same time frame, with the home field advantage of knowing my own collection, all I was able to throw together was this thing. I am generally a slow builder, and my natural instinct is to make more elaborate, parts-intensive creations. Definitely outside my comfort zone with the "quick sketch" approach. I found it interesting though, that we both went monochrome -- Yin and Yang. This post would not be complete without an embarrassing shot of the good Mr. Sproule swooshing his creation. He didn't really want to, but I threatened to crack him over the head with a shovel and bury him in the garden if he didn't.

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