Desktop Shelving Epic Continues: Notched Shelf Added in the Middle


What began as a simple shelf to raise some of my LEGO sets off the workspace of my desk and rose to incorporate a higher shelf to accommodate more sets that I brought back from my parents’ home is now a three tier Franken-shelf.

It quickly became evident that I needed more shelf space for a few more sets that I had assembled. Also, I noticed that the 16″ space between the lower and upper shelves of the second phase construction was more than necessary. It seemed that 8″ headspace was required for most of my LEGO sets. So, I set about adding a third shelf between the lower and top shelves.

I decided to notch this 1″ x 10″ x 4′ shelf and install it only with deck screws through the upper shelf supports. I measured 46 1/2″ between the two supports and the 1″ x 4″ supports are 3/4″ thick. This is where I made a mistake with my initial cut. My measurements were correct, but during the 5 seconds that it takes for me to talk from my closet (where the desk is) to the living room where I had left my handsaw, my mind misremembered the measurement as 46″ between the supports. This meant that I cut 1/4″ more than needed on each side of the shelf! Luckily, I had a scrap piece of 1″ x 4″ board that I cut 1/4″ fillers from and glued into the notch to fill the missing material.


The shelf is centered on a line at 8″ between the top of the bottom shelf and the bottom of the top shelf, which is a distance of 16″.


My deck screws extend through the supports and filler, and enter the shelf securely. They are spaced 1″ inside from either end and the third being in the middle (3/4″ from either end screw).


The new shelf easily accommodates a number of sets from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who.


If I had planned out the shelves better than I had, I would have built the entire thing using only wood and deck screws (my previous blog posts explain how I used metal brackets and braces). This would have lowered the cost and it would have had a better craft appearance than horribly kludge-like. Nevertheless, it gets the job done–I can see my sets above and continue building on my clearer workspace below.


ENGL1101 Sections G3 and L, Fall 2013, Project 2 Narrative Videos Based on John Medina’s Brain Rules

I revised my “Maximizing the Brain” Project 2 Assignment for my current ENGL1101 students at Georgia Tech. It is currently in its third iteration, and I have ideas for its fourth iteration with more radical changes.

In the meantime, my current students have delivered their unique takes on their chosen chapters from John Medina’s Brain Rules. I have included their YouTube-based videos below.

For each project, a team of 4-5 students collaboratively wrote an outline, a script, a revised script (after receiving feedback from another team whose members collaboratively wrote their suggestions/questions). Then, they all contributed to drawing a storyboard for shooting and editing the video, which was also revised with feedback from another team. Finally, they shot and edited their video using equipment from the Georgia Tech Library’s Gadgets Desk (run by Justin Ellis) and software on their computers or in the Library’s Multimedia Studio. Individually, each student completes the project by writing a reflection essay explaining the rhetorical decisions made during each phase of the project.

These are my students’ videos that teach us how to maximize our brain’s potential through lessons learned in Medina’s Brain Rules.

Section G3

Team 1: Survival

Team 2: Sleep

Team 3: Exercise

Team 4: Gender

Team 5: Sensory Integration

Section L

Team 1: Sleep

Team 2: Exploration

Team 3: Attention

Team 4: Gender

Team 5: Exercise

The Beginnings of a Major Lego Project


For the past couple of weeks, I have considered playing with Legos bricks again. I had a lot of fun assembling the Midi-scale Millennium Falcon, because during that build, I returned to a kind of concentration and elevation from worry that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. It is the same kind of joy that I felt when I was much younger and I would assemble my own space themed creations with the numerous sets that I had accumulated as a child.

In the past, I particularly enjoyed building and combining my Castle/Forestmen sets with Classic Space sets. The Forestmen hideouts were fantastic bases for my spacefaring heroes.

I don’t have those old sets any more–thrown away long ago when I was desperately trying to out grow myself. So, how do you figure out where to get back into the game, so to speak, without breaking the bank?

I decided that I should focus my Lego building to something that interests me now, but that I could rely on some Lego-made sets to supplement what I would like to build. After racking my brain for a week, I decided to build a much-scaled-down model of the operations side of Kennedy Space Center. The main objectives are to have the main launch pads, the vehicle assembly building, launch control, and an airstrip.

My project is beginning to come together. I got 6396 International Jetport and 1682 Space Shuttle Set for a very good price on, an auction/seller site exclusively for Lego products. This gives me one of my Space Shuttle orbiters and the airstrip with some ground crew and a control tower. I also won an auction for 6458 Satellite with Astronaut on ebay.

Today, I substantially added to my brick collection in preparation of constructing the vehicle assembly building. I answered a craigslist ad for a person selling Lego bricks by the pound for a very affordable $5/pound (much cheaper than ebay, and without the shipping). Granted, this friendly, retired autoworker lives an hour away from Kent, but I can confidently tell you that the trip was worth the time and fuel. My visit to his house was like going to a Lego museum. He must have had nearly every set from the 1990s including a number of very early sets still in the boxes, unopened. And spare bricks–whoa. I bought 13 pounds of white bricks, and 5 pounds of black, red, and blue bricks, too (see picture above). Also, I picked up 10 extra minifigs from the various space and system lines. He offered me very fair deals on two more Space Shuttles, but I told him that I will have to come back another time to get those. Next time, I will have to ask him if I can photograph his collection, at least in part.

Now the fun begins with building. I will take some time each day to de-stress with my Lego project. It is my hope that I can drag out the project for awhile and get a maximum amount of relaxation from building something tangible with my hands. I would do some work work, but I can’t think of anything that Yufang and I really need built at this time. However, I would jump at the chance to build a hefty set of bookcases for a friend if they supplied the materials!