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Showing posts with label Leslie Li. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leslie Li. 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. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Snow Mystery

Today's puzzle was made by Leslie Li at Very Puzzles.  It is a rather simple design and honestly not much of a challenge.  This one has two sides and 6 arms on the snow flake.  the disk in the center rotates around as do the 6 arms.  You mess up the puzzle by turning the arms and the middle disk around.  Eventually the arms will not match the colors along the center.  Then you simply put it back together. 


This is not a hard puzzle to solve, it's just a repetitive one.  To be honest, I think it's harder to mess it up than it is to solve it.  But the ease of puzzling is not what appeals in this case.  This time it's the look of the puzzle for me.  You have to admit it is very pretty!  I like the symmetry of the puzzle and the colors.  I mean it is pastel!  Now who doesn't like pastel puzzles?  
As this puzzle is a bit delicate  I wouldn't recommend it for younger puzzlers.  I have a feeling the arms would snap off.  I'm not sure what holds them in place, but I don't think it would stand the test of a child.  The puzzle itself is only 10.75mm thick.  
This puzzle reminds me a lot of the 'Magic Disk' puzzle I picked up from Hendrik a few years back. This one has a plate between the colors, and has two disks per color that spin.  Other than those minor differences, the basic principle of the two puzzles are the same.  Both are a nice addition to any collection, but remember. They are not at all difficult to solve, and both appear to be quite easy to break if mistreated-but then who would mistreat a poor puzzle!!!

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.)