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My 1st Year on MOCpages . A look back at my first year on MOCpages. Enjoy! . Before I get into an overview of my favorite ‘MOCpages Era’ creations, I want to show you some old pictures of my earlier work that I just recently stumbled across… In 2007, my brothers and sisters entered the LEGO Magazine Clubhouse Building Challenge; we were tasked with building a LEGO Clubhouse where members of the LEGO Club could hang out. This was my first large-scale (and ironically, so-far only) collaboration build with my family; it was extremely difficult to agree on what kind of building we should make, and our miserable piece count at the time pushed us to the limits. But we muscled through it, and sent it in. We ended up being one of the five winners, and received a $100 worth of LEGO Exo-Force sets (Hey! Don’t mock! Exo-force was cool back then :) Sadly, I don’t have any more pics of it; the single picture doesn’t do it justice, as it was a very large creation loaded with cool features. The building has long since been dismantled, but I still have the giant ‘LEGO’ sign on my shelf. All in all, this is my most cherished creation, horrible design and all! To be frankly honest, I can’t remember what I called this creation; I do remember that I entered it into a LEGO Magazine ‘Alien/Humans Vehicle Mash-up’ competition or something like that. The front cockpit could split off from the body, along with a little alien escape pod from the back. I believe it was my first complicated build, utilizing several different techniques. It was a nifty little creation, but had no discernable impact on my LEGO interests: Space is definitely not my forte! This ugly-looking van was my first creation to be uploaded to MOCpages. At the time, I thought it quite good (ugh!). It is quite possibly my least favorite creation that I have put on MOCpages, shown by the fact that I have not re-uploaded it after the images were wiped out in “The Great Crash of ‘11”, as I like to call it. Still, it was a starting point… This blocky behemoth is my USS America MOC. I’m a massive history/military/geo-political buff, so it is quite natural for me to make military creations. The interior is pure garbage, and the outside isn’t too hot either, but it still brings back good memories; I was so proud of it at the time that I put a picture of me holding it into my yearbook. As a side note, it’s still my largest MOC. Ahhh, good ‘ol Milliways! This MOC was my first experimentation with BUUPs (Big Ugly Useless Pieces), and all in all, I think it turned out well; I’m especially proud of the light-up effect on the sign. I tried to make a little mini-series with the creation, but I just didn’t have enough time to complete it, so I took the unfinished series off the ‘Pages. Ironically, it was nominated for Best Mini Series for Connor Simpson’s Storyteller’s Group AFTER I decided not to complete it *face palms* My ideas for creations almost always hit me out of the blue; sometimes, an old memory or a strange looking object will set off a chain reaction of ideas flowing through my head, and I will begin building soon after. “Lift Up Thine Eyes” was no exception: I was sitting in church when I thought of this creation after I glanced at the large stained glass window behind my pastor’s head. I’m often complimented on the lovely arch-ways and simplicity of the message portrayed by the creation; in all my artistic creations since, I have done my best to follow this creation’s lead: keep it cleanly built, don’t say a lot, and let people take what they want from it. My most ‘liked’ MOC is my 3rd place entry for Ian Spacek’s FOTR contest, a big surprise to me since I hate building micro-scale creations and am not an insanely big LOTR fan. I am still proud of how it turned out, especially the Balrog; if I could change one thing about it, I would have put a hat on Gandalf. Switchfoot is one of my all-time favorite bands, the main reason being lead-singer Jon Foreman’s ability to put powerful, meaningful messages into poetic, well-written songs. Life, death, happiness, pain, money, sex, racism, suicide, depression, and God are all subjects Switchfoot delves into without hesitation. I wanted to try and capture that feeling by making “The Sound,” a creation dedicated to the fight against racism. While it is not as popular as some of my other creations, I still consider it some of my best work. I’m a very dry person when it comes to humor. However, I do like to see comedy in creations, so I thought I’d try my hand at it in LEGO form. What resulted was my “Best of the Worst” series, a quirky little take on Star Wars troops. It was well-received, and I have thrown around ideas for a Sith vs. Jedi series in my mind. It might interest some to note that this series is my only notable attempt at a Star Wars creation to date; while I am a die-hard LEGO Star Wars fan and own a very large collection of sets, I feel that the theme is too over-crowded for a newbie Star Wars builder such as myself to add to the mess (we get it, kids: you like clones!) “Waiting for the End” is a little table scrap that I made while I recovering from one of my frequent depressions. I was wrestling with a trivial issue in my life when I realized that I was being a self-conceited fool when there are people lying in hospital beds, living in fear that there next breath might be their last. It’s a good reminder of all that I have to be grateful for. As a series, my Olympia theme/saga might be considered a failure by some: it has fewer likes than my other creations and is not as flashy or showy as some other types of series. Nonetheless, it remains a pet project of mine; I spent several weeks tying the story together into a cohesive tale, and have a very precise plan of how the story will go. Although it may not seem like much at the moment (it is a slow-burn, I will admit), I am working on several new installments (and ever larger MOCs!) to breathe new life into it. “Selling the News” came to be after I decided to make another Switchfoot MOC. The song which it is based upon is not a condemnation (or endorsement) of one particular news outlet or political group; rather, it is a scathing look at the media in its entirety. I quickly decided that I wanted to make a creation in that same spirit. The highlights of the creation (for me, anyways) are the red, white, and blue coloring (mimicking the US flag), the lighting, and the half-forced perspective look the creation exudes, a completely unintentional move on my part. The popularity of this nonsensical creation caught me by surprise. I worried that I would insult all the fabulous UK builders out there with my poor-attempt at English accents, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about. As my second most popular MOC, it’s a pretty shoddy piece of work, but it does give me a smile now and then when I view it. Oh boy! Did this creation spin my head around! I knew I wanted to make a hard-hitting creation based on a relatively unknown Switchfoot song, but I was perplexed on how to make a creation dealing with this delicate subject and yet not inflame people’s sensitivity (or lack thereof). I chose a relatively safe route for “Easier than Love”, building a rather garish (but not vulgar, in my opinion) sign backed up by two smaller creations. I wrestled with myself about uploading this creation, but decided that I would do it anyways and let the chips fall where they may. I have always felt that the subject of sex is joked about, thrown about, and used with too little hesitation by the world at large. My hope is that this creation (and by extension, all my Switchfoot MOCs) make people (including myself) stop and think through things a little slower. “Fort Gulliable” was my second round entry for the “Out of Your Comfort Zone” contest by Christian Hansen. It’s special to me because it is one of my largest MOCs and is also my first attempt at the Pirates theme, which I am a massive fan of but have never built in previously before. This creation is currently tied for 1st place with Mr. Stuart Lucas’s fabulous entry; the judges are currently deciding how to break the tie. Whatever the outcome of the contest, all I know is that I’m happy to have made it this far. The Future: “So, what’s next?” you’re probably asking. Well, here’s a taste: new entries for my Olympia series (including 3 massive steam-punkesque creations!), four more Switchfoot MOCs, a few minor creations, and possibly a horror/murder-mystery MOC . After that, things get VERY hazy: I’m considering joining the National Guard in the summer or fall, and that means this might be the last year that I actively MOC. I will always love LEGO and the artistic freedom that it has brought me, but my real life and my career path in high-level law enforcement must come first. So far in my time on MOCpages, I haven’t gotten a MOC of the Day, been featured on Popular This Week, started a group, started a contest, won a contest, received 100 ‘likes’ for a creation, or even 50 ‘likes’ for a creation; I haven’t built a SHIP, created a gorgeous mosaic, been featured on The Brothers Brick, or attained the level of building skill that Nannen, Kelso, Leda Kat, Blake Baer, Alex Mac, El Barto, Thoy Bradley, Mr. Xenomurphy and so many other fabulous builders appear to have achieved. But it doesn't matter to me; as long as I’m having fun and making the creations that I want to, the rest of the world is already playing ‘catch-up’ in my mind… -Paul Romano

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