Building the Wrong Taj Mahal

The original Taj Mahal

I saw a post on Reddit about aligning tile pieces. I hadn’t heard the credit card method before, but I might just have to try that. Smooth table surfaces seem to work well for me. Anyway – someone mentioned that the Taj Mahal gave them a headache. I remembered I used to build virtually – so why not try this infamously large set virtually! Alas – I built the wrong one!

Continue reading Building the Wrong Taj Mahal

It’s Game Day! – 2022 Holli Powell Dance Recital

While YouTube tries to figure out whether or not I’m a criminal for uploading a kids’ dance recital using commercial music, here is one attempt to share it with others!

Update! I finally have a version on YouTube that isn’t blocked; it has some songs muted, but if you struggle to play the versions on this post, go check out

Note – this is not like YouTube; if your internet isn’t fast enough, it just won’t work (i.e. don’t try to do this on mobile). The regular quality version is 6GB for a 2-hour show which translates to about 7mbps internet required to watch this. If you have troubles or just want to download either version, use one of the following links:

(One more caveat / apology – someone bumped the camera before act 2 while I was on-stage; I’m so sorry for the couple of dancers who got cut off!)

Regular Quality (7Mbps Internet Required)

High Quality (21Mbps Internet Required)

Copyright is Annoying

Three of my kids and I (yes, I, too) were in a dance recital this last Saturday. With my fancy new Galaxy S22Ultra, I recorded the whole thing in 4k on a tripod and told a few people that I was planning on sharing it on the studio’s Facebook page. Unfortunately that’s seeming less and less possible.

Last year, after livestreaming the recital when it was at a smaller theater, I learned that Facebook is aggressive and will just mute your stream if it detects any copyrighted material. I’ve shared several things to YouTube, though, and only received demonitization strikes (as if I’m actually making any money on these things), so I figured that’d be a better route this year.

After several hours of editing and encoding the 2 hour recital, I was ready to upload to YouTube. a 45-gig source file was no trouble for my municipal fiber connection, and it uploaded in just a few minutes. But then the strikes started rolling in.

First the typical “demonitization” strikes. Oh, no! The 10-20 views this video will ever see won’t earn me any fractions of pennies. But then I was notified that the video would be blocked in some countries. After checking, I discovered that no Russians could see the recital, which seems to be a restriction I can live with. But then came the heavy hammer. 7 of the strikes caused the entire video to be blocked throughout all of YouTube.

70 different copyright holders are fine with a kids’ dance recital being on YouTube and just extracting the pennies in ad revenue it’ll produce. 7 want to break kids (and this daddy’s) hearts. Look, I get that artists and publishers are entitled to compensation for their work. But being able to share home video of a dance recital with your friends shouldn’t require a team of lawyers, fancy audio manipulation, or complicated manual work-arounds.

In the meantime, I have the original file (and some lighter-weight encodes as I produce them) available at Additionally, it seems like YouTube will let me just mute the “offending” portions, but each one requires re-processing the video… which takes several hours. So maybe in a week, it’ll be available…. with 7 randomly scattered silences.

(P.S. I also wanted to share the original Bobby Fischer skit, but good luck ever finding SNL clips on YouTube that aren’t immediately taken down for similar reasons. I guess they figure their DVD sales…or these days Peacock Premium subscriptions…actually draw more revenue than the millions of views some of these sketches would pull on YouTube…. well, they didn’t get any revenue from me)

Arnold Flessner

Update 5/11 – funeral info, visitation details, and a place to share memories & photos can be found at It would be a welcome blessing to see any photos you have or to read any stories you share there. Thank you!

Update – 5/10 – Dad went to heaven this afternoon, peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family. We’ll have details about services hopefully by Wednesday afternoon.

Quick update – as of yesterday afternoon, my dad Arnold Flessner entered into hospice at Allen hospital. He’s been getting treatment for cancer for the last year and a half, but a couple of other conditions and an infection brought him to the hospital a week ago. One treatment after another failed to correct what was going on, and yesterday he was just ready to stop being poked and prodded. In his words – “I’m ready to go to heaven.”

Throughout the last week, he’s been bringing smiles and laughter to everyone coming to the room, from family and friends to the nursing and custodial staff. Stories and memories are shared with everyone. Winks, smiles, and nods communicate when words don’t. We’re sad to see him go, but we also know we’re not saying goodbye, just “see you later”.

We’re requesting only family try to visit, and please drop us a line first. We know Dad was well-loved by many, but our family time is precious right now. Thanks for understanding.

We’ll post updates here or at

Friend #2

Minifigure – 3723 – 2000 – 1850 parts

This guy was surprisingly easy – I had him done in a couple of hours. It helped that each layer was usually very square and symmetrical; I often didn’t need to even do the “hide previous layer” step I used on the dragon. Once again, though, I did miss a couple of pieces, but found and placed them pretty easily. I’m still a little nervous about the 2 1×8 bricks, but beyond that, all I have left in the inventory are 2 1×1 bricks. Not bad!

Continue reading Friend #2

I Made a Friend!

And now for something completely different! A Lego Dragon, set 3724 from 2001! After a few buildings, a couple attempts at the Death Star and even a vehicle, I thought I’d aim for something a little simpler. Actually, I did a search for 1000+ piece sets from prior to 2005 and there’s not a ton to choose from that aren’t big bins of bricks. There’s a creepy Darth Maul set that is probably built similarly to this guy, but I have zero interest in building him. but this fella looked like a fun distraction, and at 1,538 pieces, fit my search criteria quite well!

Continue reading I Made a Friend!

Death Star II

This is take 2 in a number of ways. Since I’m putting the massively Complex Death Star on the back-burner, I thought perhaps the intended-for-display Death Star II would be an easier/quicker build. Yikes – was I wrong on a couple of counts! At 3,460 pieces, it’s practically the same count as the UCS Death Star. And while it did not have an overly-detailed interior, it did have angles – tons of them – which stretched my Studio skills to the max.

Continue reading Death Star II

Old Fishing Store

To avoid finishing all the modular buildings by the end of the month, I was aiming for something different – building the iconic Death Star and making fairly decent progress – when Studio decided to die on me and take away 8 hours worth of building work (I swear, I do save, but apparently not enough). Being too uninterested in repeating steps I had just done, I went back to buildings. But I thought I’d aim for some character and attempt a highly-detailed set that has eluded me through a couple of sales and may simply be forever out of budget: the 2057-piece Fishing Store from 2017.

Continue reading Old Fishing Store

Virtual Building

After the post-Christmas deluge of new-set-building has worn down, I’ve been considering what I actually enjoy about Lego-construction. Perhaps it’s the uncontrolled dust in the house, but I’ve never been one for “displaying” models permanently. I certainly enjoy mechanical models and any type of unique movement. But many times the “spark of joy” moment in building a model comes from seeing what the designer came up with as a method for creating something unique. I’m watching my kids build Diagon Alley and enjoying all of the tiny details that go into the models even though I didn’t put them together. I realized that I might get just as much fun and as many “aha” moments by building models digitally, especially since I’ve enjoyed creating models in BrickLink’s Studio several times before.

So I did an experiment…. with gingerbread on the brain, I built the tiniest gingerbread house set I could find. It took about 5 minutes and sparked a little joy. For fun, I did a slightly larger gingerbread house. And another. Both also fun! I eventually worked my way up to 10267 – Gingerbread House from 2019. This obviously took a bit longer (and disappointingly, most of the minifigs weren’t supported) but was an absolute win. Not only did I get to see how a little rocking horse and snowblower were built, but I was challenged in getting all the odd angles of the roof segments to join (not to mention colorblind challenges with the roof colorings that I eventually gave up on – just make ’em look nice!).

Continue reading Virtual Building