Going Puzzling

When I was done wrapping Christmas presents, the kitchen table was completely clear for the first time in a long time, so I decided to start a puzzle that needs a lot of space. This is the biggest one I have, at 3000 pieces, so it should take a while. As it turns out, I also got a new puzzle for Christmas (1000 pieces with chickens on it, very cool), so now I have to finish this one so I can do that one.

A puzzle like this definitely requires the reading glasses at this point. And plenty of light.

One weird thing about puzzles that take a long time: when I walk away for hours or days and come back, I’ll usually find the place for some pieces right away, even if I couldn’t place them the last time I was working on it. The same thing happens with killer sudoku puzzles. There’s something about stepping away and coming back with fresh eyes that makes things suddenly fall into place.

There was a power surge here today that knocked down my UPS, thus powering off my workstation. Pretty annoying, but that’s better than having the surge come through and burn something out. It gave me an excuse to open the system up and blow out a couple years’ worth of dust. I also stuck in a spare hard drive I had lying around and made it all swap space, so now my system has almost 80GB of swap. That’s ridiculous, but at least I know it won’t ever run out of RAM/swap when it’s building a big package like Iridium (Chrome) anymore.

And it booted right back up, which is the main thing. I always hold my breath after any power outage like that, until things are back to normal.

I did some of my Christmas shopping at the calendar store at the mall, which has a lot of board games and puzzles. I only go to the mall once a year, so I don’t know if it’s permanent or a seasonal thing. I noticed they carried a reproduction of Mattel Electronic Football. I was tempted to buy one for nostalgia’s sake, although I didn’t have it as a kid. Some friends did, so I got to play theirs a few times. I suppose that was my first experience with a “computer” of sorts.

It’s amazing to see now how simple it was – just blips on a 3x9 grid, and you tried to move your flashing blip past the other blips. And we would play it for hours. Nowadays they pour millions of dollars into fancy 3D graphics and modeling, and don’t always end up with a game more enjoyable than blips on an LED screen were then. There might be a lesson in that.