the internet makes it impossible to figure out

The Mysterious Miniature Highwayman

This month marks the arrival of the 21st (!!!) new set of LEGO Minifigures blind bags! These have been ridiculously popular all across the board, from kids looking to add a few citizens to their cities, to collectors who resemble Will Farrell from The LEGO Movie. I’m not typically a fan of blind bags myself (I don’t have enough cash to risk ending up with three of the same stupid figure), but even my stingy willpower is weakened by their allure.

This set comes with a few fun doozies, including a mohawked warrior dwarf, a totally tubular jazzercise gal, and a mustachioed man in a corn costume. Say what you want, but I live and breathe for little yellow people awkwardly dressed up as food.

For the past few months, however, this series has been getting a ton of attention for another reason. For the first time ever, LEGO kept the identity of one of these “minifigs” completely secret from the public. It’s been teased in other LEGO sets, and the internet exploded with theories. Even now, with the bags in stores across the globe, LEGO refuses to mutter its name.

There were oodles of guesses. Some people assumed it was a new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed figure, to coincide with the upcoming movie. Others thought there was a connection between the mystery figure and Kylo Ren’s new outfit in The Last Jedi. Others still had high hopes that it was going to be another impossibly-rare gold minifigure, and LEGO was trying to make the hunt more intense for adult collectors.

None of these hypotheses turned out to be true. The real identity of this silhouetted figure was at once more boring and more fascinating.

This is the Highwayman:

A highwayman was a type of robber in Elizabethan era Europe who stole from travelers while on horseback. They often worked alone, often resorted to violence to steal from the wealthy, and often got away with their crimes. As you can imagine, this raises at least three pretty big questions: Why call him “The Highwayman” if he doesn’t have a horse? What makes Highwayman so special that LEGO has to keep him secret from all advertising? Is it because he is such a threatening character?

I did some serious digging. There is no reference to anybody resembling the Highwayman in any of LEGO’s upcoming projects, including the Ninjago film or the LEGO Worlds video game. There are no sets coming out this year that would center around the time period in which highwaymen would make an appearance. And, no, nothing about this character has anything to do with Kylo Ren (unless I’m missing something really big concerning Kylo’s stance on tricorn hats).

I have no clue where this guy came from, or why, and that mystery is almost more intriguing than a hunt for another rare figure. I mean, Highwayman looks incredible. While every other character is either pleasant-looking or outlandish, Highwayman means business. His entire outfit consists of dark colors, including some really nice dark, muddy browns that we rarely see on minifigures. He’s got two flintlock pistols at the ready, and a face that looks like every twisted rendition of Jack the Ripper. In a pinch, this guy would make a great 18th century London serial killer if you swap out his guns for a knife or two. An officially-licensed LEGO slasher? If you can’t appreciate that, then we’re not even speaking the same blocky language.

I’m not the only one investigating this guy. Every single LEGO fan site has been asking the same question, and no one has a clue. My deduction is that this is LEGO issuing a new gritty reboot of the entire Minifigures line, featuring such life choices as drug dealers, prostitutes, alcoholics, and politicians.

Either that or they were just trying to hype people up. Who knows? All I’m hoping for now is the next “mystery figure” to be the Highwayman’s missing horse! 

5

The Time 100 Gala was last night and I am not entirely sure what it is but I assume it has to do with a list of 100 people Time will publish or has published.  100 People who what is the question.  Maybe most influential?  Maybe the 100 people most likely to get your to buy a magazine?  Boy, that’s would be a profitable list I bet.  I dunno, I do not and have not ever been a Time reader because once, long ago when studying political philosophy I was trying to figure out what publications to regularly read (because this was before the internet and you had to limit yourself in such ways) and my professor said Time was “a small step above a picture book.  It’s fully of shiny things to distract idiots,” and it’s impossible for me to not get that vibe now.  I mean, I do consider list making the lowest form of journalism).  But reader or not and whatever their list is I can’t take too much issue with it cause their Gala was jam packed with people who I was happy to see there.  Demi Lovato won though by being gorgeous and attractive and also wearing two different things because she performed.  I guess that’s like cheating but I don’t care.  Cheat to win I always say.  Every time I post Demi Lovato I am taken with just how striking she is and has become.  Not everyone matures into their beauty and it is the special, lucky person who becomes more beautiful as she ages.  Demi Lovato seems to be one of those people.  And it certainly makes sense.  I mean, recovery is a lot of work but it’s a fuck ton better for your health than what came before.  Of course, I am reminded sometimes by a long time friend that when forced to say which Disney star I found most attractive back in… whenever that was that Demi Lovato was a Diseny star, I said her hands down.  But I would point out saying, “If you put a gun to my head” is hardly high praise, where as now, as a woman fully into adulthood and maturity I find her to be remarkably attractive.  I dunno, I am rambling, my basic point is if you get your news from Time that’s ok, it’s better than getting it from your friends Facebook feeds but really, try to branch out.  There is still excellent journalism out there if you want it.  Today I want to fuck Demi Lovato.

NaNoWriMo Tips: How to Fight off Distraction

One of the hardest parts of NaNoWriMo is using your time effectively. It’s all about making the most of your time and having a good writing session. We all know that’s not always possible, but having multiple distractions can be a huge problem.

If you’re looking for ways to switch off distractions, consider these tips:

Find your designated writing space

Having a space you’re comfortable writing in can be a huge help. If you like to write before bed, pull on your PJs and get cozy. Make a cup of tea and get typing. If you can only write at a desk, tidy up your spot. Spend some time at the library, if that’s what you prefer. It all comes down to individual preference, so take some time to figure out what works best for you.

Log off the internet

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr…they can all be very distracting. One of the best things you can do is make it impossible for you to check all those things. Turn off the Wi-Fi and put your phone someplace away from where you are. You might want to use the internet for fact-checking, but maybe save that for later. Use your writing time for writing and you’ll make the biggest dent in your word count.

Learn how you like to write

Do you listen to music? Can you put on a TV show? If you find these things don’t distract you, go for it! Again, all of this depends on individual preference. If you like something, but you know it severely distracts you, maybe try writing without it. Get yourself comfortable and in the writing mode.

Enlist help

Ask people not to bother you during your writing times or maybe have someone give you a friendly push in the right direction. Maybe ask your Mom to remind you that after dinner is writing time or convince your roommate to participate by working on their own project. Get people involved in any way you can! Obviously you can’t get everyone to care about what you’re doing, but let the people close to you know what’s going on.

Participate in writing sprints

Start a Twitter account and be on the lookout for writing sprints! Some of them last for 10 minutes and others can last up to an hour. This might give you the motivation you need to reach your daily word count. Get involved with the community and feel good about your accomplishments!

-Kris Noel

9

I woke up early Monday morning, earlier than I have been up in years. I had a long drive ahead of me. Living in San Diego while most of my friends live up in the Inland Empire I didn’t really know what I had imagined I’d be doing getting up so early. Let’s back track a few weeks, news broke of the infamous “Nude Bowl” being dug out. There were plenty of posts on Instagram to back it up by larger or more trusted sources. While all the hoopla of this spot being resurrected was a buzz on the Internet and now an obvious blowout because let slip it was back in service I thought, how cool it would be to make a trip out? But with the fabled history of this pool I figured it’d be nearly impossible to track down the whereabouts let alone in time before it was all full with boulders and gravel again. In a complete serendipitous way, I got a text message from a friend showcasing a recent image of the nude bowl and very crude directions to it. This was my chance! I hit up my usual crew of friends and we made plans to make a trek out. It was about a three hour drive for me, maybe longer considering I had to detour to grab my friends in Riverside, which I why I wanted to hit the road north by 6 am. Had to beat traffic coming up the 15 freeway and account for me stopping and leaving my dog with my girlfriend while I went out to the desert. We weren’t particularly presses for time, but knew the desert heat, what time a day we’d be out there and the lack of shade would all be a factor on cutting a skate session short. After all, we were driving out to the desert in search of an oasis of sorts to quench our eager hearts and fulfill what he have dubbed in the past, Heat Stoke. I drive a 2004 Volkswagen Golf, a very dependable and gas efficient car, but not entirely one made for the unpaved bumpy trails left in the scorching California deserts. Luckily for us, after a few wrong turns and unnecessary off beat paths we found our way and eventually the coveted “Nude Bowl”. Not without a few heart stopping moments for the undercarriage of my car, it’s alignment, horrible inflated tires pressure and some nice long scratches to the passenger side. All worth it in the end just to put wheels down at a spot once thought to never see the light of day ever again.