tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
This past weekend was a lazy one, like the New Year weekend before. (The Xmas weekend was stressful, with most of my Christmas Day trivia written on Christmas Eve.) [personal profile] temptingcuriosity and I went to LACMA on Saturday, avoiding the bigger events (Kubrick and Caravaggio) and indulging our own personal preferences (Surrealist Drawings and Maya artifacts). On Sunday we stayed in, made bacon pancakes, and lounged around because it was cold outside.

I asked her what she was looking for from the new year, but I already knew what her year looked like, when I thought about it. Really, I wanted her to ask me the question. I know I want to get hired permanently at this new job, but past that I wasn't sure. Talking about it, I realized that I wanted to create more in 2013. Not a particular thing, or a big thing, just lots of things.

Recently, I say a lot that I'm too much in my head. I talk to folks a bit more on Twitter, and I'm talking to people in person, but I'm not getting things out in non-conversational settings anymore. As a true geek, I worry about the narrow bandwidth of talking to people one-on-one; I just don't have enough time to tell things to everyone I would like to. Blog posts allow you, my friends and readers, to time-shift the Tablesaw experience to fit your schedule (something I know I appreciate).

But while blog posts are always things I need to do more often, to get into the habit of writing long things (or just short things that aren't twitter), what I want to do is just create more things that I can share. And saying it the other day made me excited and happy. A good sign, I think.

This year I don't just want to do things I love, I want to make new things to send out into the world with them, so that my experiences can travel beyond the horizon of my personal bubble. I want to write about at least one thing a week, TV, movie, game, what have you. I want to make some more puzzles, definitely at least one thing I can bring to the NPL convention in Austin. I want to finally hide a geocache in LA. I want to make some games, eventually, somewhere. There's a pre-Companions DW/AW game knocking around in my head that mostly needs a lot of research (that TemptingCuriosity is eager to help with).

My birthday is on Thursday, and I turn 35, a number that is a multiple of the amount of fingers on one hand, which means that I'll probably freak out sometime this year, though I'm successfully blocking it out for now. It's a good time to have a plan, and it's a good time to have a plan that focuses so much on simple joys. Last year was not a good one, this one will be better.
tablesaw: A man comes home frome work, his hat reads "Crossword Makers Inc" (Crossword Makers Inc)
It's day thirteen of Learned League Season 55. With 12 matches behind me, twelve before me, and one currently pending, I thought I'd take a look at what's been going on.

Learned League is an online trivia contest that features head-to-head competition: everybody gets the same questions on a given day, but you are matched up with a single player, and your success is measured solely against theirs. To make it more interesting, you decide on what points your opponent will receive for correct answers (and vice versa), so even if you answer fewer questions, you might still win on points, if the ones you got right were the ones your opponent thought were the hardest.

(More info: Learned League FAQ)

Normally, players are grouped into "rundles" based on performance in previous seasons, so you can expect that the folks you are facing are at about your same level of triviality. Rookies, however, get lumped together in a big groups, resulting in battles of widely different levels. And this year, I'm a rookie.

Numbers Racket


Here are the stats for my rundle (and here are my stats, registration required). I'm currently in 11th place of 30 with a record of 7 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie; but at my height a few days ago, I was in 4th. In the two matches since then, I've been really unlucky (on Friday, I could only get one answer right, and received zero points for it), but it looks like I'll be up against softer opponents for a little bit, so I should be able to make up more ground.

One thing that's been bugging me is that I've got a slightly-harder-than-average draw, especially in this first half. There are 25 matches, but 30 players in my rundle, leaving five people I won't face. And all five of those are currently ranked in the bottom half. And I've mostly been facing harder opponents thus far. (I am currently tied at #1 for "Correct Answers Allowed" which is a general indicator of how strong one's opponents have been.) You may notice I've been entranced by statistics, particular. Every day, I import the updated stats into an Excel sheet, so I can see my past and future matches color-coded against the median.

Similarly Erratic Results


After two days of competition, I tweeted:
My first [twitter.com profile] LearnedLeague 6 pack comes after a painful loss on day 1. I expect similarly erratic results from now on.
It's turned out to be a good prediction. A 6-pack is, of course, getting all the questions correct on a given day, a relatively rare occurrence in all but the higher echelons of the league. But beyond that, well, see above.

A lot of my success comes from managing to craft good guesses based on the context of clues, rather than being certain of particular knowledge. It can be frustrating, especially when a guess (or two! (or three!!)) goes slightly off. When I first played a live version of this game, it was against a group of pretty serious folks (the NPL), and I left feeling like nothing was in my control, which put me off of the league for a while. But the prospect of settling into a nice matched group is pretty appealing, so I'm eager to finish this season.

Play Along at Home


The LL website has been slowly developing, and now it's really well designed for playing along even if you're not registered. After the day's match is over, the website is updated with the questions and how well all the players did, with the answers concealed by a script. Here are the first day's questions (you can reach other days by using the "Match Day 2" arrow near the top of the page, or by choosing from the calendar on the main page). Individual questions have their own pages with detailed breakdowns of accuracy, the most common wrong answers, and the "best wrong answers." For example, here is Question 3 of Day 9:
The work of what 19th c. English engineer and mathematician on what he called a Difference Engine and Analytical Engine, which are considered today among the first mechanical computers, has earned him the moniker "Father of the Computer"?
Forty-eight percent of players answered correctly; the most common wrong answer was "Charles Turing" at 11%, and the best wrong answers were Charles Widmore, Dr. Emmett Brown, Sir William Computer, and Sir Nigel Speakandspell.

So far, some of my favorite questions have been:
Hey girl, who is the only former MMC (Mickey Mouse Club) Mouseketeer to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting? (Match Day 2, Question 6)

Identify this musical group. [Image] (Match Day 10, Question 2; be sure to look at the best wrong answers)

In the mid to late 1960s, author Arthur Hailey published two simply named novels, which each explored the operation and politics of a single specific location/establishment (different in each novel), and both of which inspired film adaptations (and one a television series). Name both novels. (Match Day 12, Question 6)
Previous seasons are available for review, too, though as you go back further, the display interface gets rougher. There are also themed "minileagues" and one-day competitions that go on between main seasons. One of the things that really excited me about joining the League was kibitzing on [livejournal.com profile] thedan's hilarious collection of Before & After trivia, where each question contains two parts that merge together. (Ex: "Name the 1960s comedian who was famously convicted for obscenity based on live performances in which he demonstrated his original martial art, Jeet Kune Do." Answer: "Lenny Bruce Lee.") And if you know the answer to this question, you are officially an awesome person:
Name the fictional game show on which the host (played by Bill Murray) asked contestants to determine which of Lorenzo Lamas and Ricardo Montalban is more like WNYX station owner Jimmy James (as portrayed in his poorly translated autobiography).
tablesaw: A man comes home frome work, his hat reads "Crossword Makers Inc" (Crossword Makers Inc)
When I started this temp gig, I threw myself at it with abandon. I'd been feeling sad and anxious and worried about not having work and maybe never having work again and being unwanted by everyone, and then there was some work. Yay! Everything fixed.

What actually happened is that instead of resolving the stress and anxiety of not being employed, it was transmuted into a laser-like focus on this new job (again, only a temp job) so that I wasn't paying attention to friends or anything else. It had a new commute long, which was new, but I still felt like at the end of the night I was tired and didn't have time to do or see much.

My friends have been waking me up out of that, and I'm talking with people again, but it’s a small circle of people on my chat, text, and social meetups. Going from talking to almost nobody to talking to a few people again is making me miss the nice broad sweep of broadcast information that a journal gives me. And though I keep reading DW and LJ and Tumblr, I don't interact even in comments, much.

But my schedule is really SNAFU, so I'm not going to make any promises about that. Last week, I only worked 2.8 days because of the U.S. holiday and an extra day I took to spend time with my family on the beach. This week, I'm getting prepared to go to Portland, Oregon for a week and a half for the National Puzzlers' League Convention, followed by a family wedding.

I mean, really; the Con is two days away. The pre-pre-con party is happening right now, I think. I am probably the least prepared for this con than I ever have been for any con ever. I am going to show up on Thursday and I probably still won't understand why all of these people I know happen to be at the hotel. The whole things just feels so weird.

More pressingly, I have no idea what I'm going to do for the three or four extra days that I'm in Portland. I may, in fact, spend them mostly in a hotel room reading actual books. Which will be okay too. But it's more vacation than I'm really used to ever taking in another city on my own.

Poll #11098 PORTLAND
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 5


What should I do with my free time in Portland, Oregon?



Rambly post is rambly. I defy editing.
tablesaw: Ration Hornblower, from the cast of Smile Time, peeks his horn nose out at you. (Ratio Hornblower)
So this week didn't work out so well.

After an initial flurry of activity filing for unemployment insurance and sending a few e-mails to staffing agencies, I fell into a funk of avoidance, leading to a mini freak out on Thursday. I talked with friends and family who reminded me that it's ok to be freaked out about being unemployed for the first time in over a decade, and that a few days of not doing anything productive is fine.

I'm going to try to set myself onto a daily working schedule come Monday. While it's nice to sleep in until 11 or noon, I'm not actually productive when I stay up late. Once it nears sunset, I start feeling like my work day is over, and I stop doing other things. I think that forcing myself to at least be awake by nine every morning will add a few hours to my "working" day, at the very least. More measures will probably be forthcoming.

I did manage to do a lot of nonproductive things, though. I entered a local crossword puzzle tournament and participated in a sudoku contest at Logic Masters India. boardgaming night (played Roll Through the Ages), role-playing-game night (beta-testing a game by Josh Robern), a party to read and mock Fifty Shades of Grey as a group, and an NPL party. And in addition to that, I saw a bunch of friends at different times. I joined the site Quora despite its "real names" policy, by hacking together a form of pseudonymity out of its nascent system. And I sauteed chicked without freaking out.

Starting Monday, I'm going to add DW to my list of daily things to do. For reals.
tablesaw: A man comes home frome work, his hat reads "Crossword Makers Inc" (Crossword Makers Inc)
Hey, Alyssa Bereznak, to paraphrase Ellen Ripstein, "What are you the best in the world at?"
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Hello, Google Profiles Team Member, and others!

There's not a whole lot I can do to talk to you as you go through this appeal, so I'm making this public post as the first informational link on my appeal, to help you get some context about what's going on here.

See, I was suspended on August 3rd. I appealed and was summarily rejected, but you asked me to send an e-mail for further review. The ticket number for that appeal was apparently #845437331. I sent an e-mail on August 4th. A public copy is here: http://tablesaw.dreamwidth.org/484324.html. Over the weekend, I waited to see if you'd respond or simply let it fall into the black hole of non-responses. But something different happened. My account went from having failed its appeal to having never had an appeal. At least, that's what it looked like from my profile page. I'm not sure; it's possible that my profile was reinstated and then re-rejected before anyone could see it. But I'm a little concerned that my last appeal, and the carefully considered words I sent you have been wiped clean from the last time.

But before we dicsuss theory, let's get to the links, shall we?

http://tablesaw.dreamwidth.org/profile

Dreamwidth is essentially my current base of operations on the Internet, where I am Tablesaw. This is a social network, where I am connected to hundreds of people who know me as Tablesaw. As you can see, I have archives for this name going back to 2002. Of course, many of those earlier entries are actually transferred from the previous iteration of this blog.

http://tablesaw.livejournal.com/profile

It was at Livejournal that I started the blog in 2002, and started to be known as Tablesaw to a wider web audience. Again, as a social network, LiveJournal introduced me to many people whom I now associate with offline as Tablesaw.

http://www.puzzlers.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=krewe:noms:tablesaw

Before that, I joined the National Puzzlers' League, an organization with over a century of experience using chosen names in "real life," as Tablesaw. Now, I know what you're thinking, Google Person. That website looks terrible and doesn't itself, vouch for my identity much. I'll admit, I don't use the website much either. But then, you've kind of placed yourself in a bind, asking me to prove things that happen in "real life" with links on the internet. You see, most of the NPL events happen off of the internet (where all of my friends call me Tablesaw), so the web presence is naturally still a bit sketchy. Of course, it's there where I met the woman who would become my fiancée as Tablesaw.

http://ifmud.port4000.com:4001/finger?user=Tablesaw

And before the NPL, I was on IFmud as Tablesaw. Again, an online space that translated into "real life" friends who call me Tablesaw. There was, for example, the time when a dozen or so of us got together and rented a house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, something that we managed without ever having to use anything but the handles from the MUD.

https://plus.google.com/110575895677561507998/posts/YHtqJ5AXeAF
http://tablesaw.dreamwidth.org/482794.html

I don't know if you can see my own posts on G+ while I'm suspended, because I know the technology is still new. The second link is a backup. This link tells the story of the history of being recoginzed as Tablesaw by a small company that you might have heard of called "Google." See, it's hard to document my seven years of using Tablesaw Tablesawsen on my Gmail account as a link, so the best I can do is to tell you about it and assume that you can look up the information on your own. As they say in the legal profession, the documents responsive to your request are already in your custody and control. I can't tell you how to look into the history of my e-mail account, or my web history account (which I've also used since it was brought online).

https://picasaweb.google.com/tablesaw

Though I can show you the place where I've been using a Google social service under the name Tablesaw for four years. (Though, of course, I can't leave comments on most of my friends' pages like I could last month, because they're on Google Plus, and I'm suspended.)

http://www.geocaching.com/profile/
http://forum.caravelgames.com/member.php?Action=viewprofile&username=Tablesaw
http://www.croco-puzzle.com/Ue-Raetsel/ratinggraph.php?id=2249&type=all
http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=1460
http://www.gamersquarter.com/forums/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=159

And a further assortment of links to places where I'm known by Tablesaw on line, and where I interact with people who call me Tablesaw offline. Some of those represent places I don't visit much anymore. In fact, one person I encircled was someone from one of those fora with whom I hadn't really had contact in years, and I was so glad that using the name Tablesaw on Google Plus allowed us to find each other. Of course, that connection's gone now.

https://plus.google.com/110575895677561507998/posts/4hyoVecgxux

Finally, one more post from Google Plus, where one of the people I meet with weekly tells someone mocking my name, in no uncertain terms, that Tablesaw's the name they know me by.

Ok, links done, let's talk about your policy.




See, as I mentioned in that letter I sent to you guys last week, despite suspending me a bunch of times and linking me to your progressively updated Names Policy, nobody's actually told me what it is that's wrong with my name.

I understand that you don't want my legal or government-recognized name. That's good, because I don't really want to give it to you. (Though it does raise the question of why you'd asked for a But you do want "the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you", and I've already given it to you—you've had it for over seven years.

Let's back up. Because, to be honest, there's a problem with your "Common Name" request, which is that I don't have just one common name. I've really got two. One of them I listed as my main profile name (in fact, as I said, I listed it as my main profile name seven years ago), the other I've listed as a nickname under privacy lock. I'm assuming that you can see that, with Google Profile powers, but I'm not going to mention it in this post, because it is, still, an open letter.

You're not really clear on what the difference is between a "common name" and a "nickname" really is. As far as I can tell, my two common names are also nicknames (since neither is, obviously, the name that my local government rigorously identifies me as). Now, I can see how helpful it is to have that other name in my nickname field, locked down under security so that only people whom I choose can see it, but beyond that, I don't see what your problem is with which common name I've placed where.

There's lots of reasons I don't want my other common name up in the big fancy spot on my profile. One reason is that the other nickname is rather close to the name by which the government rigorously identifies me. As you should be aware by now, what with the My Name Is Me campaign and other e-mails I know you're getting, is that making a name like that public opens one up to a lot of different forms of danger. And a lot of that ties into the circumstances I have two common names in the first place. Many people I know are aware of both names, and which they use at any given time is their business (and can switch in the same conversation sometimes). But the people who know me as Tablesaw (which includes a lot of people like my family (Hi, mom!)) have something in common: they are the people with whom I am more willing to share information about my life. And the people who know me only by my other common name are people whom I want to know as little about me as possible.

In other words, the social network that revolves around me as Tablesaw is far more valuable than the one that revolves around me as my other common name. More valuable to me, personally and emotionally, and more valuable to you because I'll be active in sharing with them.

And of course, there's the simple fact that I was here with this name long before Google Plus. When I went to initiate this appeal, the dialogue box that now appears eager to usher in a new name, wiping away years of history informs me that the name I change to is going to be changed in all Google products. Really? When just a month ago, it was perfectly fine for me to use all (and boy, do I mean all) Google products as Tablesaw, now you tell me that name's no good?

Well, maybe you do.

But you know—I know there's a lot of entitlement issues going around with Google Plus—but I do feel, after all this time, that I do deserve to be told why my name's not good enough for you anymore, if for no other reason than so that I can decide if I can change it for you.

Ok. I think that's it.

I hope you read all this, because I guarantee you, someone's going to.

And you know what? Depending on when you read this in relation to when other people read this, you can probably keep going down this page to see a bunch of my friends, friends in "real life"—and I guess I didn't even get to the part where somehow, "offline" is "real life," as though everything that happens on the Internet is somehow fictional (because, really, if online isn't "real life," then what does that make a web-based company like Google?)—tell you how they call me Tablesaw offline too.

I don't know if it even matters anymore.

After seven years, I'm starting to figure out what the cost will be of moving me e-mail address, simply because you think my name's not good enough for you and you won't tell me why.

Okay, it's late and I'm getting maudlin about this.

Best of luck with all this, Google Profiles Team Member. If you've read this far down, you deserve it.

And hell, you know what, I'm going to turn off IP logging, on the off chance that you want to leave a message. Anons get screened, and I won't reveal if you ask me not to.

Bed now. For reals.

Tablesaw out.
tablesaw: A twenty-sided die glows with the power of the Great Old Ones. (Cthulhu Icosahedron)
Leading up to the NPL Convention next month, I'm taking care of some business, like letting my regular RPG group know that I'm not going to be around. This reminded me of the time that I suggested bringing some RPGs to the next con. Of course, that was before the last con, but hey, I'm remembering now, okay!

So would people be interested in some RPGs after hours? I'd be thinking about some short low- or no-prep games like In a Wicked Age, Apocalypse World or Dungeon World, Inspectres, Fiasco, Leverage (can't link there from work, for some reason), or other things of interest.

But I'd want to know if there's interest, so that I can possibly print some materials and pack my dice.

This offer goes for folks I might be seeing in Boston or Providence outside the con too. And I guess I should post this to the NPL list too.
tablesaw: A man comes home frome work, his hat reads "Crossword Makers Inc" (Crossword Makers Inc)
This puzzle was posted by [livejournal.com profile] jangler_npl two weeks ago. I wanted to repost it for a larger audience, since the original was under a friends lock.
What unusual feature do all of these songs have in common? If you know the answer, feel free to show it by posting additional examples (if you can think of any). There's at least one other Paul Simon song which works. (And technically, the Pretenders song probably needs an asterisk.)

"1979"—Smashing Pumpkins
"Against All Odds"—Phil Collins
"American Tune"—Paul Simon
"Big Yellow Taxi"—Joni Mitchell
"Brass In Pocket"—The Pretenders
"No Rain"—Blind Melon
"Sloop John B"—The Beach Boys
The original post inspired several additions, some of which will be listed in the first comment to this post, as additional references.

Infodump

Jun. 5th, 2011 10:58 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Things done since ever.

  • Bought tickets for the NPL Convention in Providence. Will be flying into Boston on the 4th (5 p.m. EDT), looking to bum around before heading to the hotel on Wednesday afternoon, then flying out of Logan early on the 11th (7 a.m.). Who'll be around?
  • I also said, "Screw it!" and asked for the rest of that week off from work, so it's going to be a real vacation for me all through to the 15th. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. But it will not be working.
  • I'm coming out of a funk (well, came out of a funk a week or so ago). It's always hard to identify it when I'm in it, till my body rebels and says, "No, Tablesaw, you need to do things again. You're going to do those situps, and then you're going to go out and see people." I'm looking ahead to when the pushback happens, the time when I feel a little sick or a little tired, and I let my momentum slip, and I can't pick it up again. On the horizon, this is most likely to happen because . . .
  • I'm probably going into the dentist this week to get my other wisdom tooth looked at. I have a feeling it's going to need removal too. The last time that happened it took a lot out of me. If it happens again, I'm going to need to plan ahead so that I can remomentatize myself.
  • I planned to go geocaching with [personal profile] trinker, and then found out it was to happen on her birthday, so I went all out to be the birthday fairy. It turned out kind of okay.
  • All the TV shows ended, and everyone is pregnant, I guess.
  • My phone, my crappy-ass phone—that is only one step removed from a crappy assphone—has started losing its charge, so I'm actually getting a smartphone. Virgin Mobile, which I've been using to keep my cell-phone bill under $10/month, has an unlimited data plan for $25/month. It should arrive this week. So that'll be interesting.
  • The Portal 2 print is framed and gorgeous-looking. I'm also wrestling with framing these prints on the cheap, which would be easier if the United States and Canada hadn't decided that they wanted their own special paper sizes.
  • Oh, I got a haircut too. For me, it's super short. But then, my hair was getting kind of long. For a while, it looked way too young for my big, bearded, thirty-three-year-old face, but it's looking better with a beard trim.
  • I watched a friend run Dungeon World at Strategicon over the weekend, which got me rereading Apocalypse World. After playing through a campaign, the directives made a lot more sense. It's a fascinating game, which is probably why I keep talking about it to everyone I meet. Also, much like with Smallville, I'm seeing it in the shows I watch. Sons of Anarchy and Dexter are totally running on Apocalypse World.
  • Finished Dragon Age:Origins. Pablum is too exciting a word.
  • Visited the Museum of Death, knocking another item off of my bucket list (defined as things that are close enough for me to throw a bucket at). It was disappointing. I was hoping for a curatorial perspective beyond, "WOW ISN'T THIS COOOOOOOOL!? SERIAL KILLERS, MAN! FUCK SOCIETY!" There were some nice touches: a set of crime-scene photographs near (what I assume was) the brief mention of the murder-suicide. On the other hand, relics of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein were counterposed with "ads containing humorous depictions of cannibals." Yeah, that wasn't too pleasant.
Gotta go to bed now . . .
tablesaw: -- (Default)
After extensive Jedi NPL training, it's sometimes strange to play games with other people. Take yesterday's game of Pictionary using player-submitted clues.
Player:
OK, the category is historical event, but I don't even know anything about this.

Tablesaw:
The Defenestration of Prague!

Player:
...

Player:
We still get the point even though I didn't draw anything, right?
tablesaw: Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie from <cite>Labyrinth</cite> (Labyrinth)
Games:
Main Program:
  • Fair or Foul: Completed with Snackcakes (of DASH)
  • Three on a Match: 23/30
  • Vowelled Sets: 16/18
  • Flat-Solving Competition: 1st place in pairs solving (with [livejournal.com profile] cramerica)
  • Lots of Luck: 72/78, 2d in Pop Culture, possibly 2d overall (with Reign, Btnirn, [livejournal.com profile] jangler_npl, and Trick).
  • Cryptic Crossword Competition (Final Score): 100 pts in 62 minutes. 2d in California division (behind [livejournal.com profile] rpipuzzleguy) and 6th or 7th overall.

Walkarounds:
  • Experience Music Project & Science Fiction Museum with Wraavr and Ucaoimhu

Handouts:
  • Scandal by [livejournal.com profile] thedan: Took me far too long to understand what was going on.
  • Northwest Airlines by [livejournal.com profile] jangler_npl: Very nice finale.
  • 56-Across by Dandr: Solved on light rail.
  • Wonderland & Pacific Northwest by Ucaoimhu: Solved on plane.
  • Transsubstitutions by [livejournal.com profile] tahnan: Completed except for subtitution cipher (because the cipher is long)

Alcohol:
  • Something from Two Beers, I think.
  • Mac & Jack (imperial size!)

Stolen from Bar:
  • One beer glass

Sneaked Back into Bar:
  • One beer glass, plus tip

Con Photo:
The attendees of the National Puzzlers' League Convention in Seattle. The first two rows are very large and clear while the other hundred or so attendees look like tiny floating heads.
  • Five minutes late, way the hell in the back. Not really happy with the uneven composition of the picture.

Confiscated by TSA
  • 3 containers of yogurt

Listened to on iPod
  • 3 episodes of Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!
  • The Archandroid by Janelle Monáe on continuous loop about 15 times
tablesaw: A young Shawn Spencer learns proper saw technique from his dad. (Cartoon)
One of the most popular after-hours games at con this year was "Exquisite Fruit," a game received by [livejournal.com profile] tmcay in a dream, as befits any pastime of the surrealist vein. One person writes down an answer to be guessed, then seven people collaborate to form a clue for that answer in the style of Exquisite Corpse. The first person writes three words, then folds the paper so that the next person can see only the last word and the answer. The second player writes down two words and folds, and so on until the last person adds a single word and asks the question to the person next to them.

There'd been a massive game of Pyramid on Saturday night, and I hadn't thought to collect the categories for posterity. So I decided to grab the clues from a Sunday-night game of Exquisite Fruit when the opportunity arose. Players included Artistry, [livejournal.com profile] rubrick, [livejournal.com profile] toonhead_npl, [livejournal.com profile] jeffurrynpl, Eddy, /Jabberwock, Wraavr, [livejournal.com profile] hahathor, [livejournal.com profile] cramerica, [livejournal.com profile] tmcay and probably someone I'm forgetting. Some higlights:
  • What Kubrick film starring Malcolm McDowell singing in the Nadsat slang like "horrorshow" movie?
  • What Depression housing Green Acres pig Dahling presidential administration caused homeless in Annie Warbucks?
  • What tacky tartan man skirt has many male skirt Scottish Batman was from Scotland?
  • What porcine cocktail do goys drink tref and shaken not stirred not fried shaken?
  • What jagged building stepped pyramid in middle of Q-Bert’s block pyrmaid but low-resolution Jews?
  • What horror face-off between extraterrestrial against queen creature ultimate face-off between two creatures?
  • What underwater weapon energy based illogical Captain Skywalker used in Klingon killing weapon explodes?
  • What borough in Welcome Back in New York borough Welcome Back from Manhattan neighbor?
  • What snackalicious treat like tollhouse recipe is sweet black sweet drops with brown morsels?
  • Jerry Lewis’s partner nutty Jerry Lewis often sings "That's Amore" alcoholic not "G-schploing!" smarmy?
More clues with answers here

Always carry an exquisitefruit.

Tally

Jul. 3rd, 2010 01:35 pm
tablesaw: Close crop on Brock Samson's I'm-gonna-kill-you face. (Brock Samson)
Games:
Handouts:
Miniganzas:
  • Cold Storage: 5thish place with [livejournal.com profile] hahathor and Aleph.

Alcohol:
  • Alaskan Amber
  • Pyramid Heveweizen
  • Something in a jug from [livejournal.com profile] hahathor
  • Fruity hotel happy-hour drink

Main program:
  • Lexagon Mixer: 58(?)
  • True/False Trivia: Made into the finals once, advanced no further.
  • RighTangles by [livejournal.com profile] ericberlin: Completed
  • Cryptic crossword competition: Completed before time over (62 min?)
  • Whirled Cup: (Algeria) two wins, two losses.
  • Hidden Contest: Assisted completion (main work by [livejournal.com profile] tahnan, Qoz and Vroo)

Things Forgotten:
  • Camera
  • Earplugs
  • Clipboard

Con Is On

Jul. 1st, 2010 11:46 am
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
Safe in Seattle on hotel wifi. Napping now, tour later. Still need a puzzle icon.
tablesaw: Run Away (to the ocean, to the country, to the mountains . . .) (Runaway)
A post to say, among other things that I won't be posting for a while, as I'll be in Seattle for the National Puzzlers' League Convention following my recent tradition of going on even-numbered years.



Traveling always makes me anxious, and this is no exception. No major freak-outs, but [personal profile] ojouchan's been keeping me in check because she knows me and is awesome.

My flight leaves early tomorrow morning. Too early, really; I chose the flight based on getting into Seattle early and forgot about getting to the airport even earlier. Since I don't want to leave my car this time, it means getting a shuttle van for the ride there. Which means getting picked up stupid early. Bleah.



It also, then, may not have been a good idea to commit to GMing a game of Cortex K (aka the Smallville RPG), since it means I can't go to bed early. (Would I have been able to sleep? Probably not, but still.) In fact, it probably won't be worth it for me to go to sleep after gaming at all.

We're running our faux Vampire Diaries campaign, Darkwillow as a one-shot. I . . . didn't go into campaign creation with a good idea of what that would mean, so I was a bit stressed out early on trying to flesh out the world quickly. But as things started falling into place, it got progressively easier. I can see how, after a few games of regular play, GM prep goes down to almost nothing.

Josh has also given me a peak at some of his old prep materials for Shercroft Academy, and it's hilarious to see how some of his planned adventures went nowhere near where they were supposed to.



I'm apparently addicted to yogurt now. I was looking for something sweetish to use as an afternoon snack that wasn't a candy bar out of the vending machine, and started eating yogurt. I don't know that I actually like it, but it's just everything I need when I need it. Still, better than a Snickers bar.
tablesaw: Sketch of an antique tablesaw (Antigua)
This week's NY Times Sunday crossword was annoyingly twee, and I'm not just saying that because it took me 40 minutes.
Twee? Belle & Sebastian are twee. My crossword fucked your shit up. That is not twee. That is BAD-ASS.
(Source, includes spoilers for Sunday's puzzle.)
tablesaw: Run Away (to the ocean, to the country, to the mountains . . .) (Runaway)
Just got confirmation for the time off for the National Puzzlers' League Convention in Seattle on Fourth of July weekend, arriving Thursday and leaving Monday.

Better start planning...
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
On Sunday, I was wiped out and still a little off balance because of my gut. Still, [personal profile] ojouchan and I got up and out in time to meet Artistry, [livejournal.com profile] hahathor, [livejournal.com profile] tmcay, and QED at Olives at the Bellagio. Last week was Restaurant Week in Las Vegas, and a number of good restaurants were offering discounted prix fixe menus, with the proceeds going to charity. The lunch we had was three courses for only twenty dollars.

Twenty dollars and nine cents!!!!!!!

Yeah, nobody knew what was up with that.

Anyway, the food was good, and Ojou took pictures of it, so maybe we'll see it eventually.

After that, we took in parts of the strip. I got to see the inside of Planet Hollywood, which made me miss the Aladdin. We went to Coca-Cola World and M&M World. At M&M world, I got 3-D glasses that didn't work and had to run around the theater to watch the silly movie. I was starting to feel tired already, so we decided to split up at the MGM Grand. Ojou and I would head back to the hotel, while they continued Strip-searching.

We took the monorail, which was fun but expensive, walked back to the car, and drove back to the hotel, where I passed out for a little while.

When I woke up, we went to meet Artistry and Hathor at Carnevino at the Palazzo for more fancy food. By the time we got there, they'd already ordered two dishes of raw beef and a salad, which we helped them finish. We each ordered a dish ourselves, which arrived with their almost-raw filet mignon. QED and T McCay joined us as Artistry enjoyed a grappa.

Afterward, we walked across the street to the Wynn, where we went to Parasol Down to see the Lake of Dreams. A show was beginning as we took the curved escalator down, so we were "treated" to a giant frog lip-syncing to War's "Low Rider". Note scarequotes. It scar[r]ed me deeply. To take the pain away, I ordered una "flor de Jalisco," which was a very nice tequila-and-pomegranate cocktail.



Monday, Labor Day, I was still feeling tired, so I slept through the complementary breakfast. Ojou woke me up in time to pack up our luggage, check out, and head to the other hotel. We spent some time trying to solve [livejournal.com profile] zebraboy3's Labor Day puzzles (not making very significant progress) while Ojou and Artistry looked around the hotel, and compared the two Embassy Suiteses for a possibly mini-convention next year.

Eventually, we decided to hit a traditional Vegas buffet, so we headed out to the new casino/hotel/resort M for their magnificent buffet spread. We stuffed our faces for a while, and spent a long time just talking at the table before we left.

Ojou and I picked up a Hathor for our car and headed home. Unsurprisingly, there was some traffic going back down the 15, we passed two major accidents that caused major traffic. To pass the time, the three of us switched out our iPods with the car stereo, playing a song each in rotation the entire way.

Having stuffed our faces earlier that afternoon, and faced with a time deficit getting back to LA, we didn't bother stopping for food (though we did occasionally snack on the M&Ms we'd gotten at M&M World) until we got to [livejournal.com profile] cramerica's apartment, where Hathor would be spending the next two nights. I don't remember what we did; I think we just watched TV; I was kind of zoned. Ojou and I went home and got ready for work the next morning.



Tuesday, work was slow, which was good because there was practically nobody there. At home, Ojou cooked fish, and we watched TV that we'd been letting pile up.

No Con Do

Jul. 8th, 2009 05:14 pm
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
The NPL Convention is this weekend in Baltimore, and I'm not going. Instead, [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan and I will be taking part in my sister's wedding on Saturday, which is a midge more important.

Between now and then I have to get myself a haircut, and Ojou's got all manner of things she plans to do. We've also got to get started on planning our own wedding, which we will do by taking notes the entire weekend.

But it's always weird not going to Con. I was reminded the other day that the NPL Con is a defining fact of my life for many people, since it features so prominently in the story of how I met Ojou. Some friends had heard Will Shortz talk about it on NPR last week and were wondering when I was leaving. And there are still plenty of folks at the Con who probably expect me to show up.

Luckily, the internet has come a long way, and a number of the puzzles that are going to be in circulation will become available on the internet. I've already solved my first handout, a quick cryptic by [personal profile] canadianpuzzler.

And speaking of quick cryptics, National Puzzler's League Cryptic Crosswords is a brilliant collection of 45 crosswords from the NPL's magazine The Enigma. As the book has gone out of print, a PDF of the book has been made available for free download.

Enigmas

Jul. 21st, 2008 05:36 am
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
When I was looking at my budget last month, I made one seemingly insignificant cut that's had a huge effect. I ended my subscription to Nikoli.

It's not going to save a lot of money, 550 yen per month is not a whole lot. But it's given me backa lot of time. The kind of logic puzzle that Nikoli serves up so consistently and elegantly is like an anesthetic for my brain. And I have a tendency to fire up the nurikabe and let everything else fall away.

Without Nikoli, I've gone back to the NPL wordplay magazine, The Enigma. At the end of last month, I spent a few hours trying to solve May's issue, and turned out a respectable sixty-five out of seventy-five flats. For June's issue, I'm (mostly) one puzzle away from completing the entire issue.

If anyone wants to trade hints for June 29, I'm open to it. I'd also like to have some confirmations regarding #65 and F6. For the latter, I have an answer which is probably not intended, but which is perfectly defensible (the double edge of bad cluing), and for F6, I have no real way of confirming if my consonants for 5 Across are correct.

MonNYTX: 4:30.

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