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Showing posts with label Da Yan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Da Yan. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guangzhou toys fair

Once again, I've been a lucky lady.  I had another 20 hours in Guangzhou last week with some great friends.

As usual Michael gave me very late notice but he did send me a message asking if I wanted to go to Guangzhou on 9 April.   He told me that Da Yan and Leslie and couple others would be there. I was very lucky because we've just effectively finished the semester and I didn't have classes on Tuesday or Wednesday so I left Tuesday morning and went to GZ by train.  on Wednesday morning I had a meeting so for me it was just one night GZ as usual lately.  but hopefully this summer we will be able to get together again a few more times and I can spend more time up there. I'm hoping as long as I get more notice Michael.

When I got to GZ mean my my dear friend picked me up at train station and we stopped and ate some breakfast and then we headed off towards the torture appetizer we met at the angel and one of the owners of cube twist.
Now I've been to the toy fair in Hong Kong many times. I think about 15 years 16 years now I've been going and in Hong Kong it's very active and it's very busy. There are thousands and thousands of vendors. The walkway is very thin you're constantly bumping into people so when I got to GZ I was very very surprised.  There are less booths. It only covered two floors of the building but it was a very large building. The walkways were very wide. As I was walking I didn't bump into anyone. There was a lot of activity; a lot of people walking around a lot of talking.

We were very lucky because Happy Angel had been to the toys fair before and he acted as to a guide for us. We went around not looking at toys but looking at puzzles and puzzle companies. Very interesting in GZ the companies that we on Tuesday puzzles consider copy companies were all their selling or showing their puzzles. 

We went to was SS and we met the owner and the designer of the puzzles.  Neither men spoke English but the owners son was there and we spent a great deal of time sitting down and talking. As is usually in China the first thing they did was give us tea and of course we drank 10 cups of tea. The designer gave me two puzzles that he had designed the first is a 3 x 3 that glows in the dark and it's a little bit different.  It is blue instead of the usual green glow-in-the-dark. He also gave me a mini version of the 7 x 7 that they have made it's probably a half an inch smaller than the other 7 x 7 that they have developed previously.

They've also come out with a new 4 x 4 puzzle and I asked them to look at the inside of it very interesting thing to me it still looks the same as the v-cubes, but they've added an additional piece inside it.   I kind of thing so it's slightly different but it still reminds me of the same.   

From here we went on and looked at a giant helicopter and the company was selling remote control helicopter toys but this one is a toy for kids but you can sit two people in it and fly around.  It look pretty cool but not for my house.  It's it's the size of my house, literally!  From there we went to YJ and I saw quite a few puzzles that are relatively new, but I've picked them all up at the Hong Kong toys fair in January. They had the the golden Chinese tael, they had the silver potato (the one they are calling an egg) and many others that are pretty standard that they've had for for many many years.  They did have a burr type puzzle which was very interesting.  I have never seen it before and very nicely they gave me a copy of it.  The designer at this company recognized me from Twisty Puzzles from my blog and from many trips to China and posts on Mf8 so he was very nice. I did want to leave the before the owner of the company recognize me because I had met him previously when I was working the toys fair with v-cubes and so we left there and headed out to see a couple more puzzles.

 Next we went to see was Ghosthand but that was just normal 3 x 3 cubes.  We also saw the Chinese company that the toys company that made the Chinese knot puzzle at the Chinese new year last year. They had some three by threes they have some 4 x 4 expect basically nothing new. From there we went to see LAN LAN.  This is the first time that I've met the people from LL. They were very nice as well.   They had two new diamond geared type puzzles, not the same as the one that Calvin has produced, but unfortunately they wouldn't give me a copy of it so I'm I'm still trying to find that somewhere.  I'll probably buy it online somewhere and again more tea more more photographs but nothing new at this booth either.

QJ is another company that we saw and QJ had a number of puzzles out but we didn't stay very long the fair was closing soon and we wanted to get over to Dian Sheng.  QJ also had nothing new that I hadn't seen already.

The final stop of the day was Dian Sheng and I was very surprised as we walked up I saw it some posters on the wall.  The posters had a couple of cubes that I had never seen before so I was hoping they would have these puzzles in their booth.   The booth was very very large and as we went and they did have these  new puzzles however they look very much like a Meffert's ball cube.  But he's just produced two of them.  The texture on the outside of the balls is slightly different but otherwise they're effectively the same.  He also has made a new 4 x 4 puzzle with a textured surface on it so it isn't for use in competitions.   but it does look nice Dian Sheng also produced a number of 3 x 3 and 4 x 4 puzzles that are made of colored plastic so no more painting on colors and no more tiles on their puzzles.  Their third different colored plastics put together much like Mf8  and Da Yan have been doing over the last year.

at 5 o'clock it was very interesting because there were security guards standing around with megaphones telling us to leave the fair.  The fair is closing leave leave leave!  In Hong Kong they don't do that to make an announcement but that's it. People take their good sweet time to get out here they turn off the lights on us and there was a mad rush to leave the building.

I think at the end of the day we saw something like 10 different manufactures. It was as always very interesting for me to go to the fair from the standpoint of non-buyer and to look at it from that perspective.  It's not very often that I get to do that usually I've been working the fair for different companies. They had nothing new but I did meet the guy from Dian Sheng and he's going to send me some but I've been asking for him to send me.

Santa Da Yan
When the fair was over we went over to the MF8 warehouse and we met with Mr. Faulk and Diane says they work with you then and Leslie and his wife so everybody except Tom had come back to for the couple of days. Da Yan pulled out his new puzzles that he made lots of photographs have been running around the Internet of these things and they're a lot of fun to a lot of fun to twist and to play with he passed out blue to buy two to all of the puzzlers.  That I didn't get that I got a remake of a Gem puzzle that he had made before he's retooling all of the puzzles to make them better so very nice he signed them for us after this we went to dinner and and of course the dinner it was puzzles the Plenti we had Diane's puzzles on the table no one else brought out puzzles no no new puzzles coming out I should say or none that I can talk about I brought along a number of IPP puzzles that I had received that I thought that the guys would be interested in.   A number of other people joined us in the evening later in the evening and I think it dinner we had about 15 people in total. Teacher  didn't come but I give about five puzzles for him to use in his classes in the coming weeks.  He teaches middle school middle, school mathematics and he enjoys the packing puzzles for using with his students.




One puzzle that was a big hit was again Stephen Chin's mouse house and I played with it with a lot of people I took it out at the toys there and showed it to couple of the designers or owners that I know just goofing around and let them photograph it or anything.  At dinner everyone  had to try and solve the puzzle. That one was  a big hit! Leslie brought his wife alone and she managed to solve the puzzle.  Very interestingly, Eric Fuller's topless box is still unsolved. We didn't get that one done and dinner as usual lasted about three hours.  After dinner we went back to Mr. Fox warehouse to pick up our bags and from there we headed out to karaoke.  Karaoke lasted a long long long time and yes I sang this time.


Afterwards it was breakfast as usual in the same little shop just across from the hotel and we headed back to the hotel around 4:30 5 o'clock.   Because I had a 10 o'clock meeting I had to leave GZ very early and Ming stayed with me.  We left for the train station at around seven and I managed to make it back in time for my meeting. I'm really glad that I made notes for myself the day before on the train on the way up or I would never would have managed to survive the two hours that I had to survive.  GZ is great fun I love the guys I love going up and spending time with them.  I love playing with the puzzles and I just have an amazing good time when I when I go up there. I'm hoping that this summer I'll have a chance to go couple more times.  My schedule is a bit  more flexible than it was during term time and I look forward to spending more than just 18 hours over 20 hours in GZ. I guess I need three or four days in a nice long session would be good again. I hope you enjoyed the photographs of the toys. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On the 3rd day of Christmas


On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
3 Da Yan's
2 Brian Young's
And Stickman in a pine tree.

Da Yan as the world knows him
Anyone who has followed this blog or my posts over on Twisty Puzzles knows I rank Da Yan up there as one of the best puzzle makers around.  I also am pleased to count him as a good friend.  I first met Da Yan in 2010 and I've adored him since day one.

Da Yan as I know and love him
I have many of his puzzles on my shelves.  Not all, because that would just be greedy.  The ones I do have are mostly signed and have been gifts from him since the very beginning.  I've bought a complete set of his 3x3x3's over the years but to be honest, I can't tell them apart (no one tell on me please!)  The Gems I absolutely love.  They are a puzzle that I can solve without much confusion.  I would have to guess that these are the ones that started me liking Da Yan so much.  A naive little puzzler offered to have Uwe look at them...

He's been around making puzzles for quite some time now, but it seems that the west only learned of him around 2009.  In that (in)famous photo of his (top left) you can see a corn puzzle.  He made that from a kids toy. It now resides in Kowloon Bay in a puzzle shop I also greatly enjoy going to.  If I remember right (and I'm sure I don't) he made that around 2006 or 2007...

When out hunting for a photo of Da Yan, I came across his website.  It seems to be very recently opened.  here's hoping he keeps it up.

If you haven't heard of him, or haven't got one of his twisties in your collection, go climb out from under your rock and get one!
A few of my signed gifts


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another successful puzzling weekend.

As always, it's a sad time when friends go their separate ways.  Sunday was the end of the event and it was doubly sad because it was time to say good bye to friends.  I always hate that part of the puzzle events.  Saying good by is painful even at the best of times.  This weekend it was extra hard because I know it might not be until after the first of the year that I see my friends again.

Because I'm so bored at these things, I first decided to go to my favorite shop and get a few puzzles for Otis.  Every time he comes over he brings me some so I decided to return the favor.  This time I picked him up a few classic puzzles, Make the letter: A, K, M, T.  A Hanayama (or maybe Beverly) soma cube type puzzle and a Lotte Crunky bar game/puzzle/toy.

When I got there, it was just bug and I for a short while, Michael came next and Da Yan.  It was a real treat because I enjoy watching all the kids faces when they realize who they are talking to.  When Uwe showed up, I think they were all in puzzle heaven.  I could give a more vivid description, but all I can think of right now is a tad bit vulgar so I'll pass.

After a while, a chap brought out some dice and showed us how to stack them using cups.  It was good fun and we all had a go.  Me?  I could get 4 to stand up.  Bug managed 3. I'm not sure about the rest of the guys.  Matt came around 7 to pick bug up as it was a school night and I took the opportunity to introduce him to Da Yan.  I've been going and spending weekends with the guys for around 3 years now, and this is the first one Matt has met.  See all you non believers, I'm such a good girl my husband trusts me. All I get up to is good clean fun.  Had to snap a photo with him in it just to make sure he was there.  It might have been a dream otherwise.



After Matt left, I had to take some photos for Uwe.  Turns out he pulled out some of the 4 layer pyraminx's and gave them out to a bunch of kids.  The deal was if they could solve them he would let them keep the puzzle, if not, they paid for it at a slightly reduced cost.  Good deal hey?  This was as close as they got on Sunday, but all were given a weeks grace period and trust to be honest.  Here's hoping one of them solves the puzzle.  

After Matt and bug left, the awards ceremony began.  Michael was up first, I followed as did Da Yan and Uwe.  There were a lot of awards and I bet this took over an hour to do. I think The Japanese ruled the day, but I could be wrong.  Remember, I don't take much interest in the competing bit so I take about as much in the awards.  All that won though were lovely kids and they had huge smiles and all wanted to shake hands with us.



When all was said and done, We took the time to snap a photo of the four of us in front of the stage.  And I enjoyed watching all the different countries competitors take photos in front of their flags.  I'm pretty sure they enjoyed it as well. The kid with Michael was the youngest competitor, the girl with me was a pyraminx winner, and the one with Uwe won on one of the Meffert's puzzles.  Gear cube I believe.   




Time to head out to dinner before removing all our puzzles and taking them home. Otis joined us and it was another first.  We had never all had dinner together before.  Michael pointed out that we have never been at the same place before so that makes perfect sense.  The food was good as was the beer. Even Uwe had a Stout with us.  But we did have a slight problem.  The photo on the right shows Otis and Uwe so engaged in conversation that you will notice, the rest of us had empty glasses--Otis was in charge of the pouring.  He got so engrossed in the conversation he forgot his beer duty.


Around 10:30 Otis took Uwe to the train so he could make the border crossing and we all went down stairs to pack up.  30 minutes later and we were in a taxi heading to Michael's shop to store the toys for the night.  As always, we ended up in a bar somewhere playing drinking games.  This time I joined in the fun and learned how to count to six in Mandarin. I still lost quite a lot even after learning because I had to count on my fingers.  A poker player I'll never be.  Otis at the end of the night was looking a bit forlorn at the cube I just stole.  Thank you Michael for talking Mf8 into letting me keep it!  It is just so pretty!  I've lusted after it for around 2 years now and can't wait until the rest of you get a chance to play with it. Brilliant puzzle it is.
As for other puzzles, well, Da Yan was his usual generous self and gave me a crazy pillowed three sided puzzle that he made, and another that I can't tell you about because it isn't out yet.  During dinner I pulled out TomZ's constrained cube (the Shapeway's version) and because we were discussing it, He made me another using the pieces of another cube he has made....And that one I"ll leave alone because it still isn't my place to say.  I gave him a copy of my pionir pyramid along with a bracelet puzzle I've put together and a copy of the square in a bag.  And no, I know he won't copy it!  He's too honest, and quite frankly, too bright to have to do that.  

All in all, it was a great weekend and as always I look forward to the next one. I hope Tom and Leslie and Ming and Aj and.....can all join us!  I'm thinking December when I head over for a conference. Boring English lecturer by day, not so boring puzzler by night.....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Friends and puzzles


One of the highlights of my year is the GZ meet in October. It usually happens over one of the weekends of the national day holiday. Mainly I guess because everyone can get there and we have time to spend together. This year there is no GZ meet. Instead, friends have come to HK for the Asian championships. Now I'm not a competitor or a speed cyber at all. But if my friends are there I'll go.

I've been busy working but last Sunday I managed lunch with Otis. Always a pleasure. Yesterday after work I ran to the venue and met Michael, Otis, DaYan, and a lad from Shenzhen whose name escapes me. We all had a nice hot pot dinner and some great puzzle and non puzzle chat. During dinner some great (non puzzle) news was delivered and I discovered DaYan and family were off to Disney on Saturday so I was volunteered to be the tour guide. We rode a few rides (Da Yan Managed to solve a puzzle while riding on Autopia!) and then headed for lunch at the Hollywood Hotel.   I was disappointed because there were no characters there. But the food was good and the kids played a bit in the game room. Then it was back to the park for a few more hours of play. Four rides and DaYan and his family went off to play some more. Bug and Miss N. went their separate way and I headed off to the competition to meet Uwe.


Now I'm going to be honest here and say that I find competitions incredibly boring.  I enjoy the company and the cubers though so I go along.  And even thought I say that, I found this year to be quite interesting as I met a bunch of people from different countries along the way. I walked around, snapped a few photos, chatted with Jing and Ulrich for a while and then we went to dinner.  I guess they were so far behind schedule that our disappearing for an hour or two didn't much matter.  We returned to the venue around 8:30 and waited some more....this is the way of competitions, lots and lots of waiting.

Uwe did a little thing with his ball cubes and the treasure chests.  The players were happy, they got free cubes.

Which brings me to question, what about the helpers.  I know they get the t-shirt and a pin, but does anyone ever think to give them cubes?  ha! I just did!  Lucky draw I guess.  This could be interesting.  :)  I'm feeling devilish!

Today is the finals and the presenting of awards and such.  The end of the competition and the end of the exhibition.  Time to bring my toys back home where they belong.  It was great to see others enjoy them, but it will be nice to see them back on their shelves.

Ok, me?  I'm off to go pick up a few toys for Otis and then head over to bore myself to tears yet again.....

Friday, January 27, 2012

Soduko ball and gem 4

Yet again Chinese new year holiday has come and gone.  From an outsider looking in, the holiday is similar to Christmas in the States.  Displaced/relocated families that need to travel sometimes great distances to visit family.  too many kids, in-laws you would rather do with out...too much food.  I guess the one major difference is this thought that only men drink alcohol and then, that it is only the 'mature' men. My holiday scene includes tv's blaring because one cannot hear it over the mahjong tiles rattling, which leads to shouting because you can't hear the person next to yup because of all the other noise in the small 300' living room filled with a family of 30 or so. 

So what's a girl to do then?  Why pull out a puzzle, pop in the earbuds, crank up the tunes and puzzle the night away (until the good brother-in-law realizes that you have yet to ave a drink 3 hours into the night).  And before you go getting bad ideas about me, no I'm not an alcoholic, I really don't drink at home, but alcohol sure helps when you really don't speak the local lingo. 

My puzzles of choice this year? Meffert's new soduko ball cube and a Da Yan gem.

The Soduko ball is quite the challenge and I'm embarrassed to say I still have not solved it.  The object like any soduko is to have 9 different colors on each of the six faces with no two colors being the same.  This was made with a bit of help from Geert Hellings.  There is a nice little write up over on Twisty Puzzles by Geert about it.  I know a lot of people don't like this one for its appearance, and while granted it doesn't look cube like, it is a nice design.  You see, not all puzzles are puzzles for puzzlers.  (say that three times fast I dare you!) Uwe is very excited about this as a toy/game/puzzle for seniors and very young children.  He is keen on making a puzzle that will keep the cerebral neurons firing and stay off the affects of aging.  Here's hoping he's right and playing with toys will make that happen.  I plan on spending at least a few years after I retire playing with these things.
My other puzzle of play this holiday was the toss off I got from Da Yan in January.  The Gem 4 to be exact (I had to just ask Otis to get the number on this one)  Now this one is still a doddle to solve.  If you can solve a helicopter, then you can solve this.  Or if you can solve a dino cube, then you can solve this.  Me?  Yeah. It's been solved and played with again and again.  This puzzle is the one that turns on the faces like a megaminx AND along the middles.  I've just been told it is a 'deep cut' puzzle.  Ok, I'll believe that. 

And now I had best get back to my company.  I've a friend from Beijing here going through boxes and boxes of puzzles.  I'm not at all sure what he's found, but he seems to be having fun.  


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mf8-8th anniversary dinner

So Da Yan had come from a factory in the south part of the country and had a bag full of goodies.  What they were is anyone's guess.  He pulled out these orange pillowed pyramidically shapped things that look well...orange.  I think initially he had around 11 of them and as the day went by his stack got smaller and smaller.

By the time we all got to dinner there were only 5 left.  I saw two that looked "normal" the rest were variations on the planet theme the duo have been producing.  After foolishly posting on TP that these had the normal 6-armed core, I was told else wise.  So I took mine apart during the video I did and yep, I was wrong.  It is only a 5-armed core.  I am pretty certain these are not the final color of this puzzle.  See, when they make samples, the molds are placed in the machine and whatever plastic is there already is what is used.   Da Yan and i had an interesting conversation about colored plastic puzzles vs. Solid colored puzzles.  This is a DejaVu thing for me now. Now I know I have written this else where but I will repeat myself.  For the "crazy/planet" puzzles, some of the pieces a just too small to sticker.  Remember, the stickers all go on by hand.  So it saves a lot of money and manpower to do the multi colored plastic.

As always happens at these things, one topic blends into another and we were next talking about how to sell the puzzles.  It seems that the planets-all 8 of them in what? a dozen different versions now? Don't sell as well as they would like them to.  When asked why I don't have all vsions of the Bermuda cubes for example, I just said it is pointless for me now.  I collect.  Not solve.  Too much money for just the same old shape, different solution. (see, I DO have some willpower and say NO on rare occasions)  I suggested a kit that can make all the versions at 3-4 times the price of an individual cube.  The company makes a bit if money, the customer/puzzler is pleased because they have variety at a slightly lower cost...to me, everyone wins.  We'll see.  If it happens, remember-my idea! :-)

 OKOk, so Da Yan showed his toys, and SmaZ pulled out. Time machine or two and some mini time machines.  I had my "springtime in Wisconsin" on the table and hard eight/easy eight out as well.  It was a rather puzzling lunch.  Then Tom pulled out a bunch of washer cylinders that were being passed out and the next thing I knew 3 hours had passed!  Back to the hotel to pick up the morning purchases, and over to another puzzle seller in GZ.  This stop was a quick in and out before heading back to the hotel and rushing off for the dinner.

Dinner.  I've not worked out why people eat the food they do.  I simply cannot stomach the idea of eating ofal.  There is just something not right with that.  But hey, to each his own right?   Now my friend SmaZ has worked out what I can and cannot (or will not) eat and every now and again he'll lean over and say dont eat that.  It's like having my own personal taster.  Ok, so why so much talk of food? Well because this was an anniversary DINNER! And I give you a montage of the food:

Ok, dinner wasn't all about the food.  It was more about the company and the puzzles.  The tables were full of food, but they were also full of toys! I think very person there brought at least one.  Most of us brought 5 or more to pass around.  We twisted and turned and placed and groaned and shouted for joy when we got it all worked out.  The reason for this get together was the 8th year of the Mf8 forum being live online.  AND 8 years worth of modified puzzles on that forum.  What happened next kind of surprised me.  I was expecting a competition of sorts, but rather it was an exchange.  Each of 8 builders names were put into a hat and Da Yan drew them in pairs.  The two builders then exchanged puzzles with each other.  A very nice thing to see happen.  Different, but nice. 

Next up were my puzzle monsters, and since SmaZ, Ming, and Mr. Fok had already seen them, they suggested we play a guessing game. I.e. Who is this one.  It was quite fun.  Leslie was guessed with the mini tuttminx; SmaZ with the hammer, and a wild stab was made at Mr. Fok's.  I explained the stories behind each as they were handed out, and the laughter I was looking for was had by all. 

We then went on to a give away.  Mf8, SmaZ, and Da Yan all chipped in puzzles and everyone who attended left with a new toy (in addition to a monster :-) ) the funny thing was, no one got a puzzle they already owned.  I drew 12 and got a Mercury bermuda cube.  AJ was sitting next to me and was pleased as punch to draw a 3x4x5.  Tom got a Bermuda, and to be frank, I was so far into my cups by that time that I can't remember who got what-and before you call me a lush-remember, I don't eat ofal and add to that seafood allergies and for me only the beer was really safe.  (it's nutritious isn't it?) well, that was it.  The next thing I knew, AJ was passing out the starfruit and we were all heading out the door. 

Next stop: karaoke. Now that was a laugh, and I'll just say they did it.  They finally got me to sing. (must have had more beer than I thought).  

We were kicked out at the 2:30 or there abouts closing time and it was off for a bit of late night eating China style.  Noodles, fish, seafood congee-and of course more beer!  Me? Well nuts, I was starving.  Alergies be damned, I ate the congee, took the shot and passed out.    Everyone has their breaking point and mine is definitely 4 a.m.  When I was called about a lost ticket-I wanted to kill my friend.  Yep 4 a.m. Is my cutoff point.

The next day I got a call from SmaZ to put my luggage in Da Yans room and off we went in search of toys for our children.  Seriously! The kids ended up with mire toys than the adults.  Tom bought squeaky things and stuffed things and flying things and dancing things for his daughter (and you thought bug was spoilt-toms little girl is only 3 months) a really cool transformer was purchased and a couple of helicopters.  Lunch was another three hours and then one last trip to say goodbye to Mr. Fok.  While there we decided to fly those helicopters we bought.  What fun! smaZ was able to get them to go very high.  And then, Leslie had a go....disaster.  It went high alright, right into a tree.  So now we have 5 adults staring up at this flashing light in the tree.  Da Yan is the tallest of us but he was still about 3 feet short.  After pondering a few more minutes some one said something silly and Tom and I lifted Leslie into the tree and we got the toy back.  (He is super tiny! He might have had a great career as a Jockey were he from HK). We said our good byes and went back to eat dinner and get the luggage. 

Now this next bit impressed me.  When I have been to other puzzle parties, you give a hug goodbye in the lobby of the hotel and be done with it.  Not so in Guangzhou. Over there, the entire party gets on the train with you and they deliver you to the main station!  It's always sad to say goodbye, but even sadder when your friends are on the opposite side of the gate waving at you...until next time!

(And no, I don't know the big man in the foreground-he wasn't with us.  Just some random person who ruined my photo.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pre-Mf8 8th anniversary MOD dinner

The 8th of January was the 8th anniversary of Mf8.  Now if you know anything about the Chinese, you will notice that the previous sentence had 3 8's in it. And that my friends is super lucky!  Well such an auspicious event needs celebrating, and that is exactly what we did!

My friend SmaZ and I met at the Hung Hom station around 7 pm and headed off to Guangzhou.  We stayed in the same hotel as usual, and once we dropped off the suitcases we headed out to meet Mf8 and Ming.  Over to the warehouse for a bit of a chat and then it was off to dinner.  When we entered the place, Mr. Fok very nicely (er....right-I should say very jokingly) handed me the new 3x4x5!  It's a nice puzzle.  I've just been chastised and told it shapeshifts, not jumbles and I knew that, I'm just still very tired. It's been one heck of a week for me!
Over dinner we got to discussing my exchange puzzle and I'm pleased to hear that Mr. Fok sees my vision exactly like I do.  Not like SmaZ who had a different thought in his head.  :-)  We didn't make a late night of it because we knew Da Yan and Tom would be in the next day.

Sunday morning saw us up and running to a very different shopping area than I had been to before.  (I hope that link will work) I told Michael (SmaZ) that every time we go I see something new and exciting.  This time we were hunting balls for something else, and I snagged a few packages of beads for the bug who has a new hobby.  We went from bead shops to man tool shops to hair dressing supplies to wooden bathtubs all on one street!

While out and about, Tom called to tell us he was waiting at the Train station and we ran over to pick him up. Upon entering the station, who should we see but Da Yan.  Now all that we needed was Leslie and we would be all set.

Next stop, Late lunch over near the hotel and drop off those morning purchases.  We got a bite to eat then went out to do a bit of shopping and finally ended up over at Mf8's warehouse again.  While there, the people started piling in. By the end of the night, I think we had 19-20.  It was a good gathering!  A lot of puzzle playing before dinner was done by all.  I brought along hard eight easy eight by Bob Hearn and that was a real hit.  A couple of packing puzzles (football and  triangle ) that I later was given were a great hit too.  It always tickles me when I see these "twisty people" enjoying a packing puzzle or some other non-twisty!  Spreading the puzzle bug I am. :-)


Ok, so an hour or so later and we headed off to dinner and loads more fun.  But that is for tomorrow because  even though it has been a week, I'm still very tired.  (HK toys and games fair followed immediately after and I worked the v-cubes booth a bit again this year)  There has been no time for real sleep!  Don't worry, by the time I'm done you'll have learned all there is to know about my past week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A lot of puzzles to solve...

If you read my blog, you'll realize I was in Guangzhou this past weekend for the 8th anniversary of the Mf8 forum.  While across the border I met up once again with friends old and new.  I really do love these guys.  We have so much fun! It's odd. Kevin from PuzzleMad once called me one of the guys.  Well, when I go over there, that is just exactly what I feel like.  I was explaining "he is my brother from another mother" to Tom, and after that, it was done.  I was called "my brother" the rest of the night.  Now most ladies would probably be upset by this, but for me it was a great pleasure.  It means that gender bias thing is gone! What a relief that I never again need to worry about that different gender thing. and I'm also very pleased to report that the guys were still gentlemenly enough to carry those super heavy bags for me.  (they also carried Michael's so that's not saying much!)

ENOUGH!  I'll write up a full trip report when I can find a bit of time in the next week.  In the mean time, I wanted to tease you all with some puzzle photos.  Normally when I go over there, I come back with upwards of 100 new toys.  this time?  I didn't really go do any shopping, and didn't see any toys in the stores that we did go to that caught my fancy.  That's not to say I came home empty handed. I did have a few toys by the end of the weekend.  I was very graciously given a number of puzzle gifts from my friends.  I was happy that I could return the gesture with my puzzle monsters (which by the way were a real hit!)

This trip netted a whopping 10 puzzles!  But each and everyone is very special.  They were gifts (all but that 8x8x8, but that's another story)  Yes, I know there are only 9 in the photo, but I also got a nine piece burr that was hiding in a box.

So what have we here?  I only know the names of a few.  The orange one is a upcoming release from Mf8 and Da Yan.  The silver one laying on the side is Wil Strijbos washer cylinder.  This one has been reviewed by Kevin, Oli, and Allard.  Unlike them, I haven't managed to open mine yet.  I will one of these days I swear I will!

A TomZ/Mf8 3x4x5 is in the bunch.  I told Tom if I didn't get one, I would have to kill him next time I saw him.  (see the prototype for my exchange puzzle was put on hold for TomZ's puzzle-but since it's a nice one, I'll forgive him!
Let's see, the green football puzzle and the wooden 4 piece are gifts from the teacher-I must go through my boxes and find a few for him.  The black and white 4x4x4 is actually an AJ's version of the camouflage 3x3x3.

The orange one is a 5 layer 6 armed core thing without a name :-)  I don't know what to call it, but it's from the Duo of Da Yan and Mf8.  As is the dino thing there. That was a hoot.  He just looked at me, said here Roxy and tossed it over.  In the bag it went! Yes, now I canfinally play with it.  The other one I have is signed so mucking is out of the question.

But it wasn't all fun.  I did have some puzzle causalties.  3 to be exact.  My Rattle box from Eric Fuller doesn't bounce.  It hit the floor in the hotel room and one piece snapped off.  The 5^5 Octahedron I got from CuberVietnam now needs a new core as somehow that got broke, and I lost my Leesho puzzle to SmaZ.  (Well, ok, he liked it so I gave it to him...but that's just semantics isn't it?)

Right, Those are the puzzles of the weekend.  Reviews of them may or may not come at a future date.   Trip report and Hong Kong toys fair update coming early next week!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The life of a puzzle gal

At times I feel lucky.  At other times I feel like a groupy.  Still other times I feel like a stalker.  But for the rest of this week, I'll be in puzzle heaven and seriously over imbibing.

This evening it's off to Guangzhou for what I have affectionately called my "boys and toys" weekends.  Want a funny?   That phraseology started because of a really dumb song with a catchy beat.  Bug was playing it non-stop when I came home from a weekend.  She started teasing a rather green mother and that song was doing my head in.  My tormenting here with Amy Winehouse didn't help any and the next thing I knew, in a 9-year-old kind of way she changed the words and it just fit.

So Guangzhou.  I'm really chuffed today.  I'm going through this training thing and then it's a run to the station to meet my pal SmaZ for the ride over.  See tomorrow is the 8th year that the Mf8 forum has been running so friends are coming in from all over the country to celebrate. (we don't need much of an excuse to get together and celebrate here)

SmaZ, Tom, DaYan, Rox. We also have AJ, Ming, Mr. Fok, Witeden, Cubetwist, and a few others that come along.  I'm not sure if there is a competition this weekend, or if it's just an excuse for all to get together and have a good time. I've been told there will be Karaoke and beer so YES I said.  There's nothing like watching DaYan sing, and I've heard tell that Tom is just as good....Seriously though, it's all business when we go. No fun, no games....(yeah right!)

We'll come back on Monday the 9th when we can crawl out of bed...or rather when we are rolled out...or tossed out whichever comes first.  And then it's straight to the HKTGF (Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair) It runs this year from the 9th through the 12th.  My dear friend Dr. Panda won't be there this year, but I've got V-cubes!  Who would turn down the opportunity to spend 3 days with Konstantinos?  Now THERE is a boy!  :-)  

The fair is great fun. I run around and look at what's available, grab a few puzzles for my collection, say hello to some old friends. Drop in and get the Annual Tangle...And work the v-cubes booth.  I enjoy Konstantinos' company.  He's a great lad to be around.  There's this twinkle in his eye that matches my inner imp perfectly.  With that combination, it's bound to be fun.

With that kind of a week, I just know I'm going to pay for it for the rest of the month.