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Greetings to all!

I'm fairly new to this site and these forums, and only started commenting in earnest about 4 months or so ago, after a period of more than a year lurking.

First off, Eurobricks is my "go-to" site for LEGO news and information - what a fantastic resource! I admire and appreciate all who take their time to post thoughts, instructions, solutions, creations, etc. It is all enormously inspiring.

A couple of things about me...

1) I got out of my "Dark Ages" around the time of the birth of my daughter in 2009. My first exposure to nouveau-LEGO was the release of the Emerald Night, which I saw in the windows of my local LEGO store. That train just caught my eye, and I couldn't stop thinking about it, I couldn't get that damned thing out of my head. A gracious mother-in-law, who assumed I had gone temporarily insane with the prospect of being a first-time dad, bought it jointly with my wife for my Christmas gift.

The Emerald Night has a solid hold on my #2 spot for "Best LEGO set ever" (#1 remains, and always will remain, the Black Seas Barracuda which I got for Christmas when I was 6).

2) I received the Black Seas Barracuda for Christmas in 1989. I got my Emerald Night in 2009, 20 years later.

3) In no particular order - my favorite themes are/have been: Town, Train, Pirates, Creator "Expert" (modulars) and the Collectible Minifigure series.

4) I've also made recent room for Alien Conquest (RIP), The LEGO Movie, and Friends for my daughter.

5) I am 30 yrs old and live in Portland, OR - USA.

6) In addition to LEGO, my hobbies include: cooking, illustration, all things comics and graphic novels, and movies. I'm a budding audiophile and woodworking enthusiast.

A couple of things I love about the LEGO hobby:

-It gives me time to bond with my kids. It's fun to share something we can all relate to and for different reasons/motives.

-The quality of the higher-end sets just boggles my mind.

-The increased color pallet over the past few years

-It may seem odd to say so, but I really like the direction of graphics team - the minifigures have so much personality and quality of printing has just gotten better and better

-Correlations to my own job. Substitute "plastic injected molds" for "sand-casted steel," and the companies I've worked for professionally are very similar to LEGO (down to the manufacturing processes, supply chains, etc.) In fact, we use LEGO Adult education products for some of our internal training courses.

Things I don't like about the LEGO hobby and wish would change:

-Stickers. Boo.

-Poorer quality manufacturing from overseas sources

-Designs that got pumped into market way too fast. I almost feel like LEGO is overheating a bit these days and almost needs to scale back number of themes or new products to market. Too many are half-baked (and don't give me the "target market" argument - a poorly-thought out set design is a poorly-thought out set design, be it geared to the 5-12 age group or the 12-16 age group)

-Pricing - especially for 2014.

-Recent changes to exclusives discount policies (booo!)

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