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Shannonia expanding northward - part 1 . "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here." . That's right, everyone's favorite micropolis is back for two more fun-filled installments! Unfortunately, to accommodate this latest expansion, that spiffy base with the giant crabs and killer parrots had to be scrapped. But not to worry, I have a feeling they'll be back in some form by the time BrickCon '08 rolls around in October. Shannonia should still be around by then -- I've decided to see how big I can actually grow this thing. I have some hazy plans for Shannonia's future, which all depend on whether I'll be able to afford the parts to do what I want, how much time I'll be able to devote to this obsession, and of course, my continued interest in this project. But right now, we have an actual MOC here to look at! This day just keeps getting better and better... Merrimac Bay National Park. Somewhere along this wooded stretch of beach, the pirate Captain Jack Merrimac first set foot on these shores. According to popular belief, somewhere in these woods the treasure he looted from the Spanish galleon Gallo de Oro still lies buried. According to somewhat less popular belief, the ghost of the Spanish viceroy's daughter, kidnapped by Captain Jack, still haunts this beach where he murdered her. The Emperor hotel, rectifying a terrible lapse on the Mayor's part -- until now there was not a single purple building in all of Shannonia. (Useless trivia: I own 17 purple grill tiles. This building uses them all.) Flounder's Fish 'n' Fries. Not Fish 'n' "Chips", this is America (it's also alliteration -- we like that here in Shannonia). See, what we Yanks call "fries," Brits call "chips." What we call "chips," they call "crisps." And you thought we spoke the same language. Jimi Ray Clapton's Air Guitar School. Teaching white guys how to not dance since 1976. Notice how I bent the coastline, thus quashing any temptation there might have been to keep extending the city northward into infinity. I'm not entirely stupid. The Institute. An extremely mysterious building, nobody is really sure if it's affiliated in some way with The Skunk Works, the government, both, or neither. They just know that weird sounds, odd smells, and strange lights emanate from it at all hours. The Institute Deli. Only those nerds in white lab coats who work at the Institute ever eat here. The rumor around town is that their sandwich meat is made from lab animals who've died in experiments or otherwise outlived their usefulness. After you win big in one of our casinos, stop by Legend Rentals. Choose from a wide selection of statusmobiles, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, and classic Detroit offerings from the 50's and 60's. Look like a high roller for a day! You know you want to. (Hourly rentals available for those who didn't win quite so big.) No, that is not more land you see across the water, it's a mirage, an optical illusion. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain screaming "Mayor! We're completely out of blue tiles!" The Donatello La Vinci monument. Painter, sculptor, architect, scientist, philosopher, inventor, Lego prodigy -- La Vinci is Shannonia's second-most well known renaissance man (after the Mayor, of course). Founded the Institute, and designed the building. That tetrahedral shape was his signature; if you see a building in town that looks anything like this, chances are La Vinci drew up the plans for it. The La Vinci Museum. Enjoy the exhibits, but be prepared to take some of the curator's claims with a grain of salt -- in one controversial display, La Vinci is said to have invented the Lego themes we now know as Classic Space and Classic Castle, along with the internet, peanut butter, and the cotton gin. Station #1, Shannonia fire department. Being a fireman in Shannonia is a pretty sweet deal -- chicks dig you, there's always a dalmatian around to play with, and you have no shortage of free time, since the whole town is plastic and not very flammable. If there's a fire station, then I guess we need a police station too. Not much is illegal here -- the one official law on the books says, "People are free to do whatever they want as long as they don't hurt anyone." Idiots caught breaking this law are tied to a chair with their eyelids taped open, and are forced to look at an endless stream of crappy online Halo MOCs until they beg for death. Hey, it may be cruel and unusual, but it's effective. Said punishment is inflicted here in the Ministry of Like (Minilike in Newspeak -- read 1984 if you're confused). Not quite as evil as the Ministry of Love, although I suppose that's open for debate -- there are some painful, painful Halo MOCs out there. This has nothing to do with anything, but are there any black AFOLs out there? I would almost bet money (if I had any) that of the ten thousand or so people who've signed up here for a MOCpage, not one has been black. Think about that for a minute. And somebody please prove me wrong. The Slopes hotel, featuring two short and easy indoor ski/snowboard runs. Room service provided by those St. Bernards with the barrel on their collar you see in old cartoons. Not only do the scientists and engineers at the Institute routinely put in 16-hour days there, they'll often stop by Eggheads for drinks afterwards to talk about work. Many breakthroughs in their quest for the Grand Unified Lego Theory (GULT -- the dream of a single simple equation that explains how one construction toy can encompass everything from brilliant, breathtaking, artistic creations to misshapen, multicolored Halo Warthogs with no wheels) began here as arcane equations scribbled on cocktail napkins. Merrimac Bay Supper Club -- Jacket and tie required, overpriced food, snooty waiters, a guy in the corner playing piano... so I've heard. Far too classy a place to let white trash like me in. Blueberry Hill hotel -- Come find your thrill! The ad exec who came up with that one was fired for lack of imagination. But no one came up with anything better in time, so they went with it anyway. The Vista condominiums. All the poor slobs working the service professions here in the city have to live somewhere... but it sure as hell isn't here! Right next to the National Park, with great views of the ocean, this is far from low-income housing. And then, without warning, I arbitrarily cut it off. To be continued...

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