Saturday, December 01, 2007

greetings from LEGOLAND!

We had a fantastic day. The kids did an amazing job with their project and showing their robot design. The judges were impressed. We had a perfect practice run but luck was not on our side at the competition tables. A combination of challenge model malfunction and robot wonkiness kept us from getting our potential score. But I'm still very proud of my team. Everyone had a good time and took the performance issues in stride. No trophy this year, but we'll be back.

And to cap off a perfect day, Dianna surprised me with my anniversary present, the Millenium Falcon!

Great job team! And thanks to all the parents and mentors for helping make this day happen.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Game on!

We've spent every night this week preparing, we're ready.

Everyone really pulled it together. Our project is done and we went to the aquatic center yesterday to share what we've learned. We made a few small changes on the table last night and practiced. This morning we're packing up and tonight we'll all be in Carlsbad. LEGOLAND here we come.

Great work team, and best of luck tomorrow!

Monday, November 26, 2007


We're in the last week team, and we've still got a lot to do. Our last meeting saw just a little progress but overall the long weekend was fairly productive. Our pool model is pretty much done, we have all the challenges we plan to attempt worked out, we have almost everything built that needs to be built. We just need to practice, practice, practice. We also need to finish the project.

We're having meetings every night this week, Monday- Thursday (travel day Friday)

I hope to get home earlier than 7:30 every night but work has a way of seeing to it that I can't. Plan to go from 7:30-9:00ish. Get your homework done before you come over team members, FLL should not interfere with your school work.

See you tonight.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Less than 2 weeks!

We had another great meeting yesterday. We did several timed runs at the table and have shaved precious seconds off our time. We also crossed several things off the list only have a few things left.

Connor's mom Theresa was very helpful yesterday logging time and figuring out points. She also caught a mistake we have in our Wave Turbine mission. WE'VE BEEN DELIVERING TO THE WRONG PLACE!!! While we had our list knocked down to one critical and two minor tasks, we're going to have to re-think our strategy at the next meeting. We need to plan a new mission to get the wave turbine to the North West corner of the field. Dianna and I looked at the truck attachment this morning and it seems with the addition of a retaining arm on the A motor we could deliver the turbine on it and retrieve the truck after. Delivering the car with a simple fast push could be added as well.

Time is a fundamental problem, right now we barely have enough to finish the missions we have, let alone adding more. We need to shave time off of resetting, we need to consider combining more missions, we need to possibly alter the lower attachment area. I hope we can all spend a lot of time this week working on the challenge, I know I will. I've elected to skip the crew screening of The Mist on Wednesday, I think the meeting is more important.

See you all Wednesday, let's plan to go a little later than usual.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We has another fantastic meeting tonight. Connor and Rawley programmed the corn and uranium mission with little trouble. Austin and Morgan put some time in on the project and Dane and Austin worked on a truck retrieval solution. We just have a few more missions and we'll be set. It's looking like we may have to skip one or two missions because of time. This certainly seems more challenging than last year's table. Not so much from a complexity standpoint, but from a number of missions and combined missions standpoint. We just seem to have way more to do.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today's meeting went pretty well. Rawley programmed an awesome solution for the mine cart mission, we made several modifications and worked out the oil platform and also made some progress on the project. Connor also learned some basic programming.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Meeting tonight!

Did you do your homework?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fantastic meeting team!

We are finally making some real progress. We have good attachments for the wave turbine, the oil rig, the corn, the uranium, the satellite, the coal car and the power plant. We have good programs for the satellite and the power plant. Now that we have almost all the attachments, we can get to work on the programs. Great job tonight!

Remember your homework for the project, please do your part.

Also remember that we are adding Friday 7:00 - 8:30 to our regular meetings.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

We have got to get ourselves into gear team, we are running out of time. We'll probably have to got to 3 or 4 meetings a week very soon if we're going to make it.

We also need to get busy on our project, we need to put together our proposals for the Aquatic Center and present them. We need to make our project board and LEGO model of the building (if we can).

Regardless of how we do at the tournament we've already accomplished what we set out to do. We've learned about alternative power sources, we've learned teamwork, we've learned about robotics and technology. We've gotten excited about science and technology. I'm proud of you all and I hope we're all still having fun.

LEGOLAND here we come!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We had a fantastic meeting on Sunday. Despite running late and a member shy (glad you're feeling better Rawley) we made some great progress on the table. We successfully figured out an order for the challenges, organized our attachments (what we have of them) and did some dry runs with the clock running. I think everyone has a much better gauge on what we need to accomplish in just over a month.

We'll do some more timed runs at the table tonight, and hopefully get some more attachments built.

Team members and parents, please check the member page for your totals for LEGOLAND.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Meeting pushed to 5:00 today, we'll have Pizza.

I'm stuck at work, hopefully finishing this movie today.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We're going to LEGOLAND!

I just completed our registration with LEGOLAND for the Dec 1st tournament. Team members and parents can check the member blog for totals.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Meeting interupted.

Yesterday's meeting was cut short by a medical emergency. Dianna's dad went to the ER and we had to send everyone home. Sorry for the inconvenience team members.

I had hoped to get everyone's ticket requests for LEGOLAND, we need to take care of that. I'll be calling everyone to get their numbers hopefully today.

I'd also like to thank Dawn Williams for another generous donation to the team. We salute you!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We're in!!!

Just got the mail from LEGOLAND, we're going to compete there again! I'll give details at the next meeting (tomorrow night).

Congrats team, it's gonna be a blast!
Hey team!

Sorry for the lack of updates, I'm REALLY busy at work. We deliver this film on the 19th and I hope to join the land of the living soon after. Until then, bear with me.

We're making great progress, at least on the table. The robot is shaping up great and we can hopefully do some navigation tests this Wednesday. I'm still trying to find time to arrange a visit to the aquatic center. Perhaps I'll ask a mentor or parent from the team to arrange this.

Monday, October 01, 2007

We're registered for the LEGOLAND tournament, now we wait to see if we made the cut.
2 months left!

I'm registering for the LEGOLAND tournament today, and with this being the 1st of October, we officially have 2 months left!

We still have a LOT to do team, let's get busy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's been a while since I've updated. I've been really busy and work, then sick, then really busy at work again.

Things are moving right along with the team. We've worked out some pretty sound plans for several of the challenges but there are a few that still remain a mystery. The corn and uranium challenge was being over-thought, that's for sure. Rawley worked out the Dam mission with little trouble, and Morgan has a great solution for the Satellite. We can hopefully do some programming on Sunday for the Solar panel. The project however needs to get going. Like last year we're so excited and focussed on the table that we're ignoring the project, and we can't put it off as long as we did last year.

I also have some bad news, because of her commitments elsewhere Jamie has decided to drop out of FLL. We wish her the best and we'll miss her, and hope she returns next year.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hey Team,

I ordered a new book that will help us out when it comes to the more complex programming, it's also loaded with ideas for building with NXT. It's from the guys at The NXT Step blog and looks very cool.

I also ordered the 1.1 upgrade for Mindstorms and NXT-G, it should help with lots of bug fixes and better memory management (who can forget our last minute panic attack when we went to load all of our programs last year...OUT OF MEMORY!?!?!)

Thanks again to our sponsors for helping make these purchases possible!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Two great meetings in a row! We are so far ahead of where we were last year at this time. I think it was at least a month before we had anything resembling a capable robot. This year we're reconfigured it 3 times and all three have been usable. All the team members are getting into it (OK, some with a little more prodding than others) and everyone seems to be having a good time, myself included.

Remember team, this Sunday's meeting is canceled because we are having Connor's birthday party.

I'd also like to send a big shout out to Dawn Williams, our newest sponsor. Dawn is Rawley, Austin and Morgan's aunt. Thank you for your generous donation!

Friday, September 07, 2007

We had a good presentation for the Lompoc Rotary this morning. We arrived at 6:45 for breakfast and after the Rotary meeting we gave a presentation on FLL and our team. The Rotary members seemed to enjoy it and we had fun showing off our NXT and trophy from last year's tournament. I'd like to say thanks to Austin, Dane and Rawley for getting up so early to share our organization and to John and Eric for helping out.

After the meeting I spoke briefly with the president and he said we may be able to arrange some Rotary sponsorship next year, that would be awesome!

Thanks for having us Lompoc Rotary and thanks to Dick Jones for inviting us.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Great first meeting team. This year looks to be more challenging than last year but it also looks like it will be a lot of fun. Remember to visit the FLL website and read about the challenge and project so we can discuss it on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One of the best parts of the LEGOLAND trip was hanging out at the clubhouse. In addition to building birthday cakes, we took advantage of the buy one pound get 1/2 pound free Pick-A-Brick. We bought 3 POUNDS of bricks! Connor and Austin had fun picking a random assortment of bricks while I chose to get the bricks I would need to make this, my first mosaic (although it turned out I didn't get quite enough yellow 1 X 1 plates, doh!) We also had the pleasure of meeting and building with a LEGOLAND model designer and master builder, Gary McIntire.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I love LEGOLAND :-)

Took a break from my hectic delivery schedule on The Mist to take my family to LEGOLAND. We had a great time, the boys picked up their membership cards, we saw the new Vegas in miniland, built birthday cakes for the 20th anniversary of the LEGO club and Connor rode his first rollercoaster, the Coastersaurus!

With luck, we'll be walking through these gates in December to compete in Power Puzzle!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I've uploaded the model videos on YouTube

And we're off!

The season kick off and build party was fantastic. All team members we here and we had a great time. We finished ALL the models! This year is definitely going to be a challenge, that's for sure. not only can we not figure out what half the models are for, we don't even know where they go on the table. Many thanks to all the parents who came today and helped out.

Our first official meeting will be Sept 5 for the unveiling of the Power Puzzle challenge. But we may have another informal get-together once we get the garage transformed into FLL central.

Team members log into the member area to check it out. let me know what you think and feel free to make suggestions to make it better.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Let's get busy!

We're kicking off the season this sunday! From noon to 4 we'll have a pizza and build party. We'll start putting together the challenge models and talk about FLL.. Parents, please join us (at least for a little bit) to learn about what will expected of you and your child this season. If you want to bring something to share feel free.

See you sunday!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The links button works again, oops :-)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's here!

The 2007 challenge kit arrived today, and it looks very cool!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Got word from LEGO Education that the field setup kit shipped today! Earlier than I expected but no biggie, we'll have to plan a season kick-off/build party soon!

Still waiting to hear from some members, you know who you are.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hey FLL fans! It's been a bit quiet around here, but it is the off season after all. No real news to report, I'm busy at work and we just got back from our summer vacation. It's definitely getting close to time to ramp up though. Pretty soon the table will come out, the crates will open up and it's First LEGO League time again!

Team members and potential members, it's time to start thinking about committing to the team. Austin is in, I hear Morgan and Dane are in, I'm pretty sure Rawley is in, but I need to hear from you all. Give me a call, reply to this post just stop by the house and let me know you are ready for some frantic LEGO robotic action.

I'll also give you your username and password to the member's only page.

I'll also be updating the website over the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled for changes.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The history button now works and I've put together a synopsis of season 2006, NanoQuest. I've also added a sponsors page.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Members chime in!
I'm just curious if any team members of Bricks For Brains are checking the site from time to time. If you are, comment this post (click comment right below this)

I've spoken to a few of you, and new members are inquiring about joining, we should have a great team this year. Morgan has said she's in, Dane's in, Rawley's in, Austin will be in and I've spoken to "little" Austin and he's thinking about it. If you are interested or have any questions comment to this post.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Whoa, what happened?
As you can see, the site has gone through some changes. It's not at all done yet, in fact only two of the navigation buttons work. Stay tuned for more changes.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

We're back!

I registered for the 2007 season Power Puzzle on Friday. We are team 547. I'm sure most (if not all) members will be returning from last season and I know of at least one addition. We're also planning a JFLL team for some of the little brothers and sisters. If you have any questions get in touch with me. I'm looking forward to another exciting season of LEGO robotics!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Post season wrap up
Well, with our little party to close this season of FLL I am prepared to call this season over. We had a great little BBQ get-together at the Erland house (thanks for hosting Mimi and Eric!) the kids all got custom embroidered Bricks for Brains jackets and some little LEGO sets.

I want to say thanks to everyone for an excellent season. Eric, you were a great help and assistant coach. Alan, you were an excelent mentor. Dianna, thanks for letting us take over the garage. Austin, you helped write an fantastic project and always kept your team smiling. Dane, you have the mad building skills. Morgan, you were a great help to your team and an excellent operator. Jaime, your project idea was top notch and you were great programmer. Rawley, you have the right stuff, I'm pleased to name you MVP.

Special thanks to our sponsors Larry Perry and Double Density Software, John Lizarraga and Aceco, Hisel Brown, and Mike Fischer. Thank you all for helping our team out.

We'll see you at the next FLL challenge, Power Puzzle!

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