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Shannonia expanding southward . Was this the place that launch'd a thousand quips / And earned the countless wows of millions? / Sweet Shannonia, make me chortle with a dis. . June 16, 2007: a little 16x16 square section of a microscale city called "Shannonia" debuts on MOCpages. From that point on, the world would never be the same. Yes, Shannonia is a year old -- Feel free to hold parades in its honor down the streets of your own microcity. ('Cause you know you built one, copycat!) Hard to believe, isn't it? Who'd have thought, one year ago, that it would still be around today, and sixteen times larger? That it would inspire other people to found their own microcities? Certainly not me. If you've been a regular visitor to our fair microcity over the past year, you should know how Shannonia celebrates its first anniversary... With yet another expansion, of course! No splitting it up into smaller parts this time, for this extra-special occasion the Chamber of Commerce is pulling out all the stops: a huge sprawling supersized expansion all on one page! Think of it as the Shannonia Pioneer Days Celebration. So grab a corndog, get your face painted, and enjoy the festivities... Dominating the new expansion, and of course the first thing you see after stepping off the plane, is Shannonia International Airport (SLY), so we'll start there. Having the tallest building in town at the end of your runway is probably not the wisest move in city planning... still, we've never had a crash. ARRIVALS Flight 298 from the banana republic known as Gongfujian. At one time we thought Gongfujian would grow and thrive, and be worthy of being considered as a sister-city someday, but apparently the ruling junta there is content to let the city stagnate and lapse into decay. Flight 404 from the studly chrome and neon wonderland of That one place, whose name I can't remember and don't even want to try to pronounce. And that's what their mayor calls it! The airport is boldly designed in the white and trans-blue Exploriens style. The Mayor wanted it in the UFOlien style, but the city council wisely overruled him. UFOliens had cool minifigs, but ugly UGLY ships. ARRIVALS We could have sworn there was a flight 421 from some place called NewLand, but it must have disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle or something. There's even a flight arriving from Rikko Metropolis, although diplomatic relations between the two cities have been quite frosty ever since their head of state mistook Shannonia's beloved Mayor for some Australian Gollum lookalike. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld came to the Mayor's office and tried to get him to invade on some trumped-up WMD pretext. They got the bitch-slapping they so richly deserved. I'm sure there are flights arriving from other microcities as well, but it's not as if anyone really cares, right? You're here to see Shannonia. You may also be asking if there are departing flights for any of these other microcities. Well, there would be, except for the fact that once people get a taste of the glory and splendor that is Shannonia, nobody ever wants to go back to any of those places. I'd like to take a moment here to explain the grass. I was having trouble fitting the 130-stud length of the entire city in my normal indoor photographic setup, and also we've had such miserable gray weather here the past few weeks that there was very little ambient light coming in through the windows. So when Mother Nature cooperated somewhat, I headed outside to try the comprehensive shots. I am not at all happy with how most of the pics for this expansion turned out, but I was on a deadline Blayton Cathedral. The radical offshoot sect of the Temple of the Brick is one of the fastest-growing religions in the Legoverse. This Sunday, guest pastor Mondaynoodle will lead the congregation in prayer for the recovery of pastor Nannan (still afflicted with the dread Black Fantasy Virus), and deliver one of his trademark fire and brimstone sermons about "ramming the bleeding edge of progress down the throats of the non-believers." Danger Island National Wildlife Refuge. Last surviving habitat of the severely endangered pygmy tiger panda, and the near-mythical elephino. (What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino? Elephino.) The ravenous scourge known as "homo sapiens" has long since wiped them out on the mainland. Uh-oh, Chongo! La Vinci's Enigma. No one is quite sure what this structure is -- the one thing known for certain is that it was built out of several-ton granite blocks by famed renaissance man Donatello La Vinci during his later "stark raving mad" period. According to local legend, La Vinci went inside after construction was complete and hasn't been seen since. However, no entrance has ever been found. This little tower apart from the main structure is the only section with an interior accessible by the public, and served as La Vinci's living quarters while the rest of the Enigma was planned. Now a tacky souvenir shop operated by his descendants. If the Enigma really is his grave, he's probably rolling over in it right now. It may not be the best expansion ever, but it's damn sure going to be the longest. Then again, maybe it is the best expansion ever. I'm open to that possibility. Headquarters of the Alex Eylar International Fan Club. If you are questioning why Alex Eylar has a fan club devoted to him, just go back to your Halo, you mouth-breathing troglodyte. Skippy Stadium parking garage. It's a disgusting concrete monstrosity, in full accordance with international parking garage design regulations. You know those public arts projects that no one really gets, but your tax money pays for anyway? Behold, the big green balls! Tell me, is this Art? Is it really? They're just big green balls. Millions of dollars in public funds went into them. Not even the highbrow artsy-fartsy types in the Alex Eylar Fan Club think much of them. Nowhere to expand to now but inland. Can you believe I want to double this in size for BrickCon in October? It took a year to reach these proportions, and I want to build as much again in a little more than three months? I don't know... There's something to be said for aiming high, but I think I'm setting myself up for a spectacular failure. Hotties. Been kicked out of the Red House? Can't afford the Red House? Cleanliness and a touch of understated class not really your thing? Then Hotties is the place for you. A gentleman's club for the gentleman of less discriminating taste. Jingo's. Because everyone sucks but us. USA! USA! USA! Try the sodium-encrusted saturated fat stuffed with high fructose corn syrup. Believe it or not, even I am now questioning the rampant overuse of grill tiles on Shannonian ground. However, it would be unbelievably troublesome to peel them all up and replace them -- never mind procuring the standard tiles to replace them all with. At this point I just say screw it, that's how the city looks. Last Chance casino, if you're the type who just can't resist throwing good money away while waiting for a flight. Or the type who's been banned from all the city's better gaming houses. Bubba's Liquor n' Guns. It just seemed like a great store to have right next to the airport. What am I saying, it would be a great store to have anywhere. Matching the proper liquor to your firearm can be as daunting as selecting the proper wine to go with your dinner. The fine folks at Bubba's will help you out. Lucky Number hotel. In western culture, most tall buildings don't have a 13th floor -- superstitious fools. Here, every floor is labeled the 13th. Sure, it can be difficult to find your room, but that's part of the fun. Any run of bad luck you may experience in the town's casinos is purely coincidental. The Lush Lounge revolving martini bar. Whoa, is the room going in circles, or am I just really really wasted? Both! (Tip -- if you face the right direction, your spins will be going the opposite direction of the building's, and they'll cancel each other out.) ( INTERMISSION ) Yes, it's a long expansion. Go ahead and take a bathroom break, get a snack, have a smoke, whatever you need to do. We'll be here when you get back. It's funny what you don't notice until you look at the pictures on a computer screen. The spire on the Shipwreck Museum (red dome, white antenna, from "Shannonia continued yet again") is crooked in every damn shot it managed to sneak into. Melons. Like Hooters, only dirtier and sleazier. MUCH dirtier and sleazier. With uglier waitresses. And worse food. Mimi's Spa and Boutique. You can tell it's geared towards women because of the pink thing on top. The decor is all rainbows and unicorns and fluffy white kittens, and Oprah or Sex and the City on TV at all times. The Basement bar and grill, where guys can wait while their wives or girlfriends are in Mimi's. The decor is all swimsuit calendars and dogs playing poker, and nonstop sports on their plentiful TVs at all times. This is at the north end, but so what -- it's a special occasion. "Shannie," our resident sea monster, is a familiar sight on posters all over town: "I don't dump trash in your house, so don't dump trash in mine." She's not kidding -- an entire tour boat was eaten last month when some idiot tossed a plastic water bottle overboard. Image courtesy of Google Earth (tm). Shannonia is now large enough to be visible from space. Econo-Box auto rental. Stump-jumping in a little three-cylinder hatchback? Why not? It's a rental, and you got all the insurance, right? South Bay Marine Research Center. Also houses the few biologists allowed to visit Danger Island. Most recent finding on the impact of human activity on our world's oceans: "Um, that depends... who funded that study again?" Ropa Robada used clothing store. Because the airline will inevitably lose your luggage. Many shoppers here are stunned to find clothes (and occasionally suitcases and other travel supplies) exactly like those they just lost, sometimes with their name already on the tag -- as if it was meant for them. South Bay Condominiums. Before the airport was built and the neighborhood began to decline, this was THE place to live for Shannonia's elite -- witness the private helipad on top. Now the unofficial official headquarters of the Scarpacci crime family. Number of "jumpers" from this building so far this year: Forty-seven. My Lego almost never goes outdoors, I really overprotect it. You can't believe how paranoid I was setting this thing outside. I was positive a bird would fly over and crap on it or something. Jacque's Scuba Supply. No matter how any times you tell a guy that the mermaids despise humans for polluting their home (and that even if they didn't their anatomy isn't really amenable to... you know), he'll still go chasing them down. "Ooh, I love a challenge!" Morons. Because the area immediately around any airport tends to be pretty rundown and scuzzy -- Airport Road wouldn't be complete without Spanky's adult theater. Now playing: Star Whores Episode IV - A New Grope. South Bay Amphitheater. Currently hosting the Battle of the First Year Elementary School Orchestras. Let's move on quickly -- kids still learning the violin always sound like they're torturing cats. Spare a thought for the poor parents forced to sit through this. The Sunset Hotel. Don't let the snazzy paint job on the exterior fool you -- this place is an absolute dump. The ambience in the Apollo Lounge, on the top floor, is best described as one of "quiet desperation." Valhalla Longhouse, not for the faint of heart. No silverware or plates here -- you get a knife, and a board. No cup for your mead -- you get a drinking horn, so the only way you can set it down is by draining it. Salads? Ha! Napkins? You're a long way from home, aren't you, college boy. I hope you liked it, because this one was a royal pain to produce. And before we go -- yes, hecklers in the peanut gallery, I'm well aware that the scale of the airport and runway is all out of whack compared to the rest of the town. If you came looking for realism, you came to the wrong place. Until next time then, if there is a next time. I know I've made several promises to quit before. But it has to end somewhere. Do I really want to try doubling this damn thing in three months? Do I really? Yes, I think I do. Shannonia® brand microcity provides more than 500 times the chuckles per square stud than our leading competitor. Why waste your time in other microcities, or worse, cheap clones pirating the fine Shannonia® name? Don't be fooled! If it doesn't say The Skunk Works on the package, then it isn't Shannonia®. Remember kids, always be sure to ask for 100% REAL Shannonia® brand microcity -- Accept no substitutes!

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