Adventures in Geekdom: Puzzles

The Muttroxia family is into puzzles these days. Every few years we have a brief surge of puzzlemania. Puzzles takes some effort, but are relaxing enough to be able to talk to each other. At least that’s the idea. I have a hard time with that, I get involved in the puzzle too much. As we’ve recently upped the ante by not allowing ourselves to look at the picture on the box, it requires that much more concentration.

We had a 500 piece puzzle. As any normal people would do, we looked to connect the corners and sides. We finished the top row. While she was talking about someone’s mother who was in the hospital or something, I counted that the row was 31 pieces long.
I interrupted, “Something’s wrong, the top row is 31 pieces. That’s not right.”
“What?”
“It can’t be 31 pieces long. This puzzle is a grid and 31 doesn’t divide evenly into 500.”
“She had to go back to the hospital!! She’s going to be a in wheelchair the rest of her life!”
“Oh, right. Yeah, that’s really sad.” (said while I rearranged some pieces.)

Update: We finished the puzzle a couple days after I drafted the above. The final count was 18 rows and 28 columns. That’s 504 pieces. I am really annoyed. If a puzzle says 500 pieces it should be 500 pieces! First of all, the dimensions of the puzzle give you a clue – knowing that there have to be 10, 20, or 25 pieces in a row is a big clue. You can usually figure it out by counting the pieces and figuring out a perimeter that’s roughly in the golden ratio, but still. Second, it’s false advertising. The box should say what’s in it!

Links o’ Interest

The inauguration music was not actually live.

The inaugural photo. Zoom to your hearts delight, 1,474 gigabytes of picture.

Philadelphia Eagles trophy case

Tibbles the cat, history’s greatest killer.

That’s why they call him The Magician (pool shot). But I like this one’s tricks better.

Hacking programmable road signs

Street racer pwned by ticketing cop

How Not to be a Key Online Influencer

46 things that never happen on Star Trek

This looks like a very very very good movie

Google Maps rocks

Clever teenage hockey player: use camouflage

You can’t fight City Hall. Reduce waste to zero, get sued.

Cockpit of the Space Shuttle

Hover dogs

Yes, it’s flooding here also.

Pit Crew Fail

Class differences

Quality spam

The thumb man

10 sexual anomalies

Star Trek plot generator

Interactive Jacuzzi Girl. Awesome.

Very clever music video. I smiled the whole time.

Seig Fail

Funny graffiti

Coloring Love

Classic support ticket

The energy scale

New mathematics from Archimedes. Seriously.

This is just very sad

Frustrated with customer service? Use the “Get a Human” database.

Myron Rolle, a true student-athelete

John Thain’s greatest moments (worst CEO evah)

My Beatles .mp3 List

This is not my top Beatles songs in order. But it will give you some idea of the Beatles music I like. Here’s what currently on my playlist:

  • A Day in the Life
  • Across the Universe (two versions, plus a Rufus Wainwright cover)
  • Because
  • Day Tripper (plus a Jimi Hendrix cover and a ripping Oasis/Paul Weller cover)
  • Don’t Let me Down (plus a Black Crowes cover)
  • Fixing a Hole
  • Get Back (two versions)
  • Getting Better
  • Golden Slumbers (the Ben Folds cover)
  • Helter Skelter (the Aerosmith cover)
  • Hey Jude
  • I am the Walrus
  • I Feel Fine
  • I Should Have Known Better
  • I Want to Hold Your Hand
  • I’m so Tired
  • I’ve Got a Feeling
  • In my Life
  • Let it Be
  • Mean Mr. Mustard
  • Norwegian Wood
  • Penny Lane
  • Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)
  • She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
  • She Loves You
  • Something (plus a George Harrison/Eric Clapton live version)
  • Strawberry Fields Forever (Ben Harper version)
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Two of Us (soon to be deleted, plus an Aimee Mann/Michael Penn version)
  • When I’m Sixty Four
  • With a Little Help From my Friends
  • Yesterday (plus a Michael Hedges cover)
  • You Never Give me Your Money

Poker Update

Let’s get right into the hands o’ interest (not to be confused with the Links o’ Interest).

With 9-10, I limp as the big blind. The flop is 7-8-J giving me the nut straight. I check. I call a moderate sized bet. The turn is a Q. I check. He bets, I go all in. He calls with two pair (Q-7) and I double up. The river was 6, giving me a 7-card straight.

I gave a lot of that back in the next half-hour. I limped into a lot of pots with suited connecters, low pairs, K-6 in the small blind, hands like that. None of them connected. I think I was still right to play them each time, but after a while I stopped just to keep my stack at strength.

Blinds at 100-200. I’m dealt J-J in the big blind. There are three people in the pot. I want them out, I bet 4x at 800. Two of them call. The flop is K-x-x. Urgh. I feel like I have to bet again to see if anyone has a king. I throw another 800 in. The player to my left goes all-in, another 2100 to me. I grudgingly fold. Interestingly, no one can understand what I had to fold for a good 30 seconds, and then one of the players suddenly realizes, “High pocket pair, but below kings? Queens or jacks?” Guessing people’s hands is a good exercise.

We are now down to four-handed. The top three finish in the money. One player has an enormous stack, the rest of us are all fairly even. I get K-A with first action. I raise the 200-400 blinds to 1000. The other non-blind calls and both blinds fold. The flop is Q-x-x. I bet another 1000. He goes all in, another 3200 to me. This is a tough situation. I don’t have a made hand, plenty of hands beat me. If I lose I am essentially out (I have 3300) and finish just out of the money. He called me pre-flop, he probably has something.

And yet… I have a lot of outs. And this is the same guy who went all in with my J-J hand earlier. He pulled a similar move later. Maybe he just figures that he push me around with overbets post-flop. Maybe he thinks I am unwilling to risk my full stack at the bubble. Something doesn’t feel right. I don’t have a true tell I can point to, but something about his body language feels wrong. I call. He has A-10. My A-K holds up and I double up. I’m proud of that play. It was a gutsy call.

The third player falls soon after and I go to heads up. I am down 7-1 or so. The very first hand I get A-2. My all-in is called and he turns over A-7. I’m knocked out for a second place finish.

Tonight: $58
Running Total: $587

Notarizing Fun

I am a notary. (Why? Why not. It’s cheap and it’s kinda fun.) My commission is about to expire. I downloaded the forms I need for renewal. They’re very simple. Send in a check and a copy of your drivers license and this form. The form has two lines that need to be filled out. One is a spot for my signature. The other is a spot for another notary to affirm my signature.

I have to find a notary so I can renew my notary license. I wish I knew another notary. This is all vaguely ridiculous.

Towns in Massachusetts

One of my relatives in Massachusetts moved to a town called Milford. Filthbag that I am, this made me laugh. The town founders could never have imagined that “Milf” would ever come to mean what it does.

Massachusetts has a lot of towns with funny names. Some of them sound like dirty words (Athol). Some are peoples names (Shirley). Some are named for the founding country and now sound pretentious (Peru). And some are just great sounding names (Seekonk). For no particular reason, the list of names of Massachusetts towns that make me laugh.

Athol
Belchertown
Chester
Cummington
Dennis
Douglas
Dudley
Florida
Goshen
Holland
Lawrence
Littleton
Manchester-by-the-Sea
Milford
Norton
Otis
Pittsfield
Peru
Plainfield and Plainville
Sandwich
Sharon
Shirley
Stow
Swampscott
Wendell

Town names that are fun to say:
Agawam
Chicopee
Cohasset
Worcester
Holyoke
Hopkinton
Ipswich
Rehoboth
Saugus
Seekonk
Shrewsbury
Taunton
Wrentham
Yarmouth

Science Fair

Tuesday Mrs Muttrox told me that she have volunteered me to be in the Science Fair. “Come up with something sciency”. I was unclear exactly what was going on. But the kindergarten boy and I had done hovercraft once, so I went with that. This is not exactly high tech science. You cut a hole in the top of a shoebox lid, aim a blowdryer through the hole and you have yourself a hovercraft. It’s pretty neat.

I arrived early to set up. I hit the first roadblock. Apparently this was not a science demonstration by the parents, but a science demonstration for the children. The boy wasn’t even arriving for another hour. Every table around me had trifold cardboard backstops with elaborate explanations of how their experiment worked. I had a kinetic art marble contraption on one side, a potato battery on the other, and a rock tumbler behind me. I had a shoebox lid and a blow dryer. I foresaw the next two hours of humiliation for the overwhelming lameness of the exhibit. I called home and told Mrs Muttrox, “You owe me for this!”

Strangely enough, it turned out fine. Most kids could care less about a potato with some wires in them. Giving them the blowdryer to play with making something actually float? Big winner.