Ecorider

Showing posts with label WCA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WCA. Show all posts

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.....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Press day

Today I got over to Plaza Hollywood at 10:45 as requested only to....you guessed it.  Wait!  This is getting to be a theme.  Oh well.  It's still good.  I got a run down on the order of events and then we sat around talking a bit and more waiting for things to begin.

Without warning the guy on stage started talking a mile a minute!  The show had started.  First up.  Kim.  He was talking about his mosaics.  And then he showed some local celebrity how to solve a cube.  She then am up and talked for 5 minutes or so about how if she learned to solve the cube her baby would be smart...Can you all imagine what I'm thinking here?  It's not pretty I'll tell you.  I've never had time for airheads, and to add celebrity status and giggles to it....Bah!  She doesn't even deserve a snap from me.  Although, I'm sure it wasn't her fault, she's there for the publicity as are the organizers.  But really?  What is the point of that?  It was very oddly done.  The organizers wanted press coverage for the event and what they got was a local who stole the show.  Once she left the stage, the media did too.  Only the organizers photographer stuck around.  The rest followed the pregnant star.  When I asked who she was, no one seemed to know.  We must not be star struck enough.

Michael and I were up next and we chatted a bit about our puzzles, not long at all.  We were then followed by someone from what I think was social services talking about how kids problems can be solved by puzzling.  A math teacher from a local secondary school came up next and he had one of his students along.

A bunch of the local puzzlers came on stage and puzzled away. 


 The whole event was followed by a grand finale with one of the guys solving with his feet!  


Fun ha?

The puzzles will be on display until 7 October and the competition is from 5-7 October.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

A bit of press

Along with those exhibitions comes a bit of press.  I've taken photos of it.  Michael has sent me more photos. I'm getting as much of it together as I can find.  I know I missed a few bits and pieces, but I thought I'd post what I've collected so far.  The photos at the top are added to the display cases for each of us displaying our toys.

Sunday we have another press release thing for the opening of the exhibition and for the competition so I'm sure there will be some after that as well.  In the mean time, here you go:



Now don't ask me what any of that means because 
I can't read it.  Chinese just isn't my language.  
These come out of local papers and a few local magazines as well.  There was also a nice little video coming out of a local paper that has an online edition.
A translation of that article is available here.
















Thursday, September 27, 2012

Exhibitions

This isn't the first I've done and it won't be the last. I enjoy them. But it's a bit of work.
Getting the information on the puzzles. Finding the puzzles. (in my house that's hard.) Setting up the cases. Leaving work early. Ouch! That's a hard one.

I sit here waiting for the people to arrive so we can set up. A nice young lad came over and introduced himself to me. Poor guy. He now has to put up with my security issues. See the puzzles they want me to put out are:
a) expensive
b) irreplaceable and
c) favorites and/or special in some way

No locks on the cabinets?!? HELLO!!! I've demanded that since day one. The boxes are plexiglass for heavens sake. Did they think I would just leave more than double my annual salary there for the taking? I guess when all you do is play with a 3x3x3 you don't care. Me? I care.

Let's see what happens. In the mean time I sit here and stew. It's a shame because unless something is fixed. I'll walk away. They didn't ask for your everyday puzzles. They want my grandfathers whiskey bottle, they want Gundam, they want the heads, they want Jumbo and my think like a man, they want Uwe's balls for crying out loud. In other words they want the best. Dilemma. What to do? Mark some papers and calm down. Then think.

Well that worked, and Michael did to. He's very calming. Maybe his voice is soothing, or maybe he just knows how to reassure me all will be ok. Or maybe it just goes to a long standing friendship and having resisted him on more than one occasion. Whatever the reason his heart or his shoes...(insert melodramatic cartoon screech) wrong movie! By eight o'clock we set about setting up. (I'll jump to the end here.). By midnight we finished. And you thought I was joking when I said it took a long time.

There was the usual in solved puzzle that needed to be fixed. There was the usual panic when we thought a piece was missing. The standard changing of the cabinets. In the end it all looks pretty and fits together nicely but to begin with it sure doesn't.

Michael finished his cabinets early. He had two and I'm guessing because they were his own design he was able to sort the order in his head nice and early. Me? I've had other (work!) things on my mind and thought I was doing good to find all but three of the puzzles they wanted to display. That only took Miss N and I an afternoon. Another four hours to be exact. Luckily for me the organizers had an idea. Not a great one, but all I needed was a start and I was off and running. It all worked for me after that.

In the end I put together five cabinets. Michael had two. And AJ and judochen had one. When I left there were 190 puzzles on display.

If you have nothing better to spend your time on and you happen to be in Hong Kong from 28 September through 7 October, come over to Plaza Hollywood in Diamond Hill and take a look at what  we put on display. Who knows, you might see something you've never seen before.

You can see a video of the puzzles on display on my YouTube channel.
More photos are available on Facebook.