Saturday, January 16, 2016

Looking back over 2015

It's that time again.

And I have to say, it's been a wonderful year of puzzling.  I started out in January with a Boys and Toys!  I mean does it get any better than that?  It was in close competition to the Toys fair.   The next month I saw my sweet AJ (he's got a nice a** y'all-runner that he is)!  We are both fools and signed up for the Standard Chartered Marathon.  A special couple of guests were in town.  Otis and Timur.  we met briefly before heading home for naps.

My boy Otis stayed through the new year and it was on to April flowers. And flowers there were! I finally had my Astronaut brought home and I had a young lad 'visit'.  Sadly I was remiss in my message reading and only got to meet him at the airport.

In May I got to celebrate with my boys in HK and our favorite prototyper!  I managed to end the month with yet another trip to Finland and the FPP.  (I love my job!)
August was a full month with George followed by The KPG.

October saw the annual Boys and Toys in GZ with all the usual suspects.  I had the joy of traveling to the DCD yet again.  I have a feeling this is going to be an annual trip for me.  November brought Otis to HK, and I met up with Ming and AJ in GZ.  December was a puzzling dinner with some of the boys after AJ and I ran in the GZ marathon.

Only 8 puzzle gatherings this year.  I'll have to do better in 2016.

Friday, January 15, 2016

It has been one heck of a week!
I had the treat of doing another trip for work this past month.  I had to go teach a PhD presentation and publication course.  Of course, when the offer came up I jumped on it.  The course was held in Suzhou and I realized I could go visit with my other brother Tom.  I headed out on Saturday morning and me up with Tom at the airport.  On the way to his house, we stopped and picked some fresh strawberries.  They had the most amazing taste and I had to pick up a crate to send bring back home with me.



Little did I realize that he was having a big family dinner that night.  As usual Tom and his family welcomed me with open arms.  Of course, there was a bit of drinking along with the good food and even better company.

Before the dinner, we went to Tom's house and played with a few puzzles.  He gifted me a couple, and I returned the favor.  It's always great to give and receive puzzles.  Throughout the dinner, we puzzled on and off, and just had a great time.

The next morning he brought me over for a big clan dinner.  There must have been at least 60 people there.  And yes, they welcomed me just like family yet again.  Sadly I had to be in Suzhou by 6 so around 2 I was taken to the train station. What a joy that was!  I bought the ticket, but wasn't leaving until 9:36 PM! So much for my meeting.

I arrived at my hotel around midnight and rose early the next day to do 4 days worth of teaching.  I ended up getting a terrible case of food poisoning and ended up spending an extra night to make sure the students got the full course.  Tom met me on Friday around noon, and we headed off to see his friend Mr. Wu.

We spent a couple of hours there looking at all of his wire puzzles, and I had the great pleasure of watching him make one.  It took about 40 minutes and because it was so long, I had to divide it into two videos.  The first can be seen here, and the second here.  I was so impressed with his work, I immediately asked him to produce my exchange puzzle for the next IPP. (For any that will be coming to HK in August, he has promised to join us with toys to sell.)

We returned to Nanjing and had a quick dinner at the hotel before calling it a night.  I had to return to HK on Saturday afternoon to go meet Hendrik for the upcoming toys fair.  All in all, it was a wonderful week. I can't wait to see Tom again.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Puzzling. Bits and bobs

After my return from DCD, I managed to get in a bit of puzzling before the holiday season.

On November 1st Otis came over from Beijing and we just had to get together.  Otis managed to put together a meeting with Wai over at his offices.  We got to see some very nifty puzzles that he has on display there along with a few he sells.  As usual, I'm not allowed to post photos.  We had a quick dinner together before he headed back to see his mom and is return to Beijing the next day.  This visit was way too short.  

I ended up in GZ for a conference a few weeks back and I simply not o there without seeing the boys.  Ming and AJ and I got together for dinner the night before and had me wonderful laughs in the hotel.  I brought along a few gifts for Ming and he handed over a puzzle or two for me as well.  Thanks for the Lock! Our met. Was very short lived Aisha's three days of conference ahead of me.  But it was not a total loss.  I said goodbye and we agreed to meet for dinner in a weeks time. 

Fast forward to 5 December.  I met AJ at the GZ train station and he took me to my hotel before we ran over to pick up our race numbers.  See, this was the GZ marathon weekend. It was pissing down rain and I was in no mood to do anything but get in a good nights sleep.  

We met again at 6:30 in the morning and ran our respective races.  AJ did the full, and I did the half.  We agreed to meet for dinner that night and ended up going back to home/hotel.  After a few hours sleep, we met Ming and Mr. Wang for dinner and a celebratory beer.  Dinner was altogether too much food and too little puzzling.  I didn't bring any because I had other things in mind.  Ming brought one, and we all had a go at it.  It was an early night though.  Both AJ and I were still tired.  Back to sleep again, and off for HK the next day.  

Our next meet? January in HK. Ming is coming for the toys fair, and the weekend after AJ and I are going to run another race around HK. Hendrik is coming again for the toys fair, and I'm heading up north for more work and to see my puzzling brother Tom. Should be an interesting month!




Sunday, December 20, 2015

DCD 2015

Again, I've managed to get bogged down with work and life. Puzzling comes later and blogging even later still. But hey, better late than never right?

DCD this year was planned for at IPP. I knew I was going. I knew I wouldn't last until spring before seeing friends again, and I really missed seeing Oskar and José. I've said it before, I don't really collect puzzles.  I collect people. Living half a world away, well...it's hard.  And some friends I only see at DCD so all the more reason to go.  

I arrived at the airport  on Wednesday morning, met up with a friend and headed into the city. The room wasn't ready yet so lunch first. Having flown through Charles de Gaul I was exhausted mentally. That has to be the worlds worst airport.  (And to think I need to use it again in a few years time is enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and cry.)

After a nice evening rest, I got up and wandered around the city for a while before meeting up with Oskar, José, and Guido for dinner.  George Miller was there for DCD and brought along some lovely wine.  All in all, it was a very lovely evening.  Good wine, good food, and even better company.  

Friday morning we took the train down to Eindhoven to visit the TNO offices there. Such a cool place! Sadly, everything is top secret and I can't post photos �� But I can say, we saw 3D printers a plenty.  They were making tiny little prints and food too! It was an eye opening experience for me.  From there we visited with Oskar's mother for dinner and went back to his house for a bit of chat before going to sleep.  

I received a very wonderful gift this year from Oskar and Jeff Bell. They know the way to my heart! These boys gave me a ring.  Such wonderful friends.  I now have three by this duo and highly recommend them.  

Saturday was great because once again Oskar opened his house to not only me, but other puzzlers as well.  He had a bunch of people over for an evening of puzzling.  First however, we went out for some marketing.  After returning to Oskar's, I decided a run was in order and went out for a nice jog around a beautiful neighborhood.  I'm very pleased with myself.  I didn't get lost and I didn't fall in any canals.  After my shower, guests started arriving, and one of the first was Laurie.  Now I was especially pleased to see him this year because he brought along my coffinetta! I bought it in February and had waited a very long time to get it.  I'm cheap. ���� I didn't want to pay shipping home. It's very heavy.  

Within an hour, many other guests had arrived and we all sat down to puzzle and talk.  The night was wonderful fun with friends aplenty.  The perfect way to spend an evening!  I jumped on Andreas when I saw him as per our customary greeting.  This year Konrad came along and it was wonderful to see him again.  The Berrocal was taken apart as were many of Oskar's puzzles.  Others were twisted, and some were packed.  After a few hours Oskar ordered pizza and now we munched and puzzled.  I hope I didn't get any oil on the puzzles.  I'm afraid I was a bit rude and went to bed without saying good-night to all.  Exhaustion and jet-lag caught up to me.  

The next morning saw us rising early to head over to DCD. My reason for this trip.  I love this puzzle party almost as much as I do IPP.  Friends from afar that I don't often see gather here.  Saying hello again to friends I haven't seen since August.  And of course puzzles! 

I spent a great deal of time speaking with Tony Fisher again, and even bought a nice little puzzle from him that I can wear.  Hendrik brought me a few puzzles I had pre-ordered, and I managed to share a beer with him in the afternoon.  I didn't purchase many puzzles this year.  My collection is getting rather large and needs trimming down as it is.  

In the afternoon, the talks were held, and I listened to Steve talk about designing and prototyping and producing a number of puzzles.  George talked about the cubigami series, and yours truly talked about the joys of visiting factories in Asia. After the talks it was more visiting with friends before heading off to dinner with a group of puzzlers.  

Chinese-oh the irony-and you can only imagine the look on the face of the girl at the counter when I asked for bathroom directions in Cantonese.  But hey, it's all part of the fun.  After dinner we returned to Oskar's for a bit more chat before turning in for the evening.  

The next morning I headed to the train to go up north for a bit of golf before heading home. All in all, it was anther great DCD.  And no, I can't wait for the next one. And thank you again to all who made this a special trip for me.  I love each and every one of you. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A long hiatus

I've not been busier in a long while.  Time seems to fly past and I don't seem to get anything done.  Writing on this blog has been put on the back burner and I seem to have trouble finding my way back to it.

I'm back though and thought I'd tell you all about our last boys and toys.  October 1st is Chinese National Day and as always, there was a gathering of puzzlers in GZ for the competition and just a good old time.

I had originally not planned to go up as Mr. Man  has been being funny about my travels (his job is dull and boring and he never leaves the office-poor man.) but when I told him how long I'd been going, he decided maybe it was a good idea if I didn't skip this year.  I ran over to Hung Hom right away and bought a ticket to GZ for Friday evening.  (I still had to get through 6 hours of classes first) I managed to arrive at the dinner around 8:30.  I'm very proud of myself because I managed the whole trip alone.  All the way up to the outside of the restaurant where I had to call and have Philip come rescue me.

We didn't stay long after I arrived.  It was off for karaoke as usual.  Interesting night it was. Since it's not rated PG I'll skip the details.  But I had Ming with me so all was well at the end of the night.  Stupid Rox forgot it was a holiday weekend and didn't book a hotel room.  Luckily I had Michael to rescue me and I spent the night with him.

The next day saw us up early walking around town to visit friends, and stopping by the competition.  If you've ever gone to one of these you know how not exciting they are, and we didn't stay long.  I think we are getting a bit long in the tooth, because Michael and Da Yan both wanted to take a nap and I thought that was a wonderful idea.  I passed out for about 3 hours and boy did my head need that extra bit of kip.

We ended up having dinner with a group of puzzlers, and as usual the drinking continued.  Me?  I've turned over a new leaf.  No boozing.  Honestly though, I just didn't feel good.  The guys went back to Karaoke again and I headed to the hotel.

The next morning we checked out and Michael went home, and I headed over to the competition.  It reminded me of that scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" when George Bailey turns Uncle Billie around and pushes him down the street towards home.

I watched a few twistings, visited with friends, had lunch with Uwe and Jet.  At the last solve of the day, the storm shut down all the power but it wasn't a big deal.  Philip had light and long arms.

All in all, it was a good day.  Jing, Adele and I ended up taking a train back to Shenzhen and I headed back to HK like a good little girl.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

TPC Puzzle Party

Ok, so maybe the human tornado isn't slowing down.  After landing in HK, we went home, emptied out the old dirty clothes, and filled the suitcase with clean clothes and a few puzzles.  The next evening we boarded a plane to Taiwan for yet another puzzle party!  I'll give you my view on this party later, but first I thought I'd give you my friend Otis' great write up of the events.



TPC Stands for “Taiwan Puzzle Community”. TPC Puzzle Party is an annual gathering of KPG. So What is KPG? KPG stands for “Kaosiung Puzzle Group”. They’re a group of people who like puzzles and living in Kaosiung city of Taiwan. The core members of KPG is John Lin. We consider him as the chairman of KPG, who is well known of his twistypuzzles modding work for years. Another core member Wu, is a puzzle lover and an artist as well. Huang, metagrobologist. Adn Shen, one of the greatest wood craftmen in Taiwan. Instead of Core members there’re more like Judochiou, dolimo, xb27 and David Guo. A TPC puzzle party was held at 17th of August. In the mean time, a group of puzzlers from Hong Kong and China, Smaz, Rox, Dayan, Ming, Kim and me are in Taiwan. So we attend the TPC puzzle party.
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I’ll show you a group photo first. Totally 20+ puzzlers here!
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Why are we in Taiwan? Actually there was a WCA competition named “Cross Strait Cubing exchange” held in Taiwan. So we go and join. Of course, Ming and Kim are here to help out. Rox, me, Smaz and Dayan are just visiting. The competition was held on 15th and 16th of August. Ming, as a WCA delegate, was briefing on the opening ceremony and also introduced some of us to Taiwan Cubers.
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The competition was held in Science Museum of Taichung city. The hall is good. In the middle of the hall there was a Mosaic graphic made from 1000+rubiks cube. Around the hall there were a few stands, explaining the origins of Rubik’s cube, history of Taiwan cubing, How to solve a 3x3x3 cube and some information of a few top competitors.
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There was a cube exhibition too. Around 7-8 cabinets were located in the hall. Each cabinet was showing different twistypuzzles, such as mass produced puzzles, competition cubes, cartoon head objects, and the dodecahedron series from mf8. The special thing is that there’were a few Taiwan local puzzles, such as Maru cubes, 3d printed, modded and even the well known proportional 7x7x7 cube. These puzzles we can only see in Taiwan.
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These cubes deserve special mention. The top left one is “Rhombic Dodecahedron in Cube” by judochiou. The outer part is a transparent 3x3x3, while the inner part is a dodecahedron. Hand crafted perfectly. I’m not sure about the top right one but it seems to be the famous 24 cube. A pity that I don’t know who made it. Both bottom puzzles are designed by dolimo. The left one is Crystal Dreidel, a deep cut FT dodecahedron. And the right one is Connerminx, a puzzle which allow corner and face turning stimulatiously. Both puzzles are 3d printed.
We divided into two groups at the beginning of the competition because some of us are not speedcubers. Ming and Kim were helping in the competition, Smaz, Rox and I just stay there for a while. At last Smaz & Rox gave out the prize for winners.
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The competition end on 16th. It came to 17th, the day of the TPC puzzle party. It started at 09:30 morning, so we went to the location: Ming Dao college very early. The collage is kinda big, we finally found the building which we should head to after a few hiding and seeking. We were on the third floor of the building, it is a literature room, a comfortable room for puzzle gathering.
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The first thing we did when we arrived: Paying the fees. 300 New Taiwan dollar. The fees is for the organizer to manage room, lunch and leaflet. We got our own card after paying the fees. The card indicated you name, where you from. There’s also an interesting math sclupture logo too. When all puzzlers arrived, John Lin spoke welcome speech to us and explained the schedule of the day.
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After the welcome speech there was an personal introduction part. Each person introduced themselves within 1-2 minutes. They expained where they are from, special skills and favorite type of puzzle. So everybody had an basic image of everybody.
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And it came to puzzle connection time. Everybody took out their puzzles and put them on table. Many different types of puzzle were shown because each puzzler they like different kinds of puzzle. Sometimes you play mine and vice versa. Each of us enjoy very much.
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Puzzlers of KPG mainly interested in wooden puzzles. The four different puzzles from the pic were shown by Tzy Hung Chein. The top right pic is a 42 pieces combination burr made by Wu. The top left burr is an interesting puzzle named “The Castle”. You’ll have to “rotate” some pieces during disassembling. The bottom left one is an intrique puzzle. I have 6 of this pieces and it requires me to form 3 connected cube. Sounds easy but actually quite hard for me.
Dolimo, aka Minh Sang Su, a famous puzzle designer in Taiwan, he attended the party as well. He is good at designing beautiful and challenging puzzles. Such as the Coner 3x3 II on the top left pic, it is a corner and face turning cube. The top right one is Helicopter Skewb, I’m not sure if he design this one himself or bought from shapeway. The bottom right is Flower Copter, his very first design. A beautiful cube which allow edge and corner turning at the same time. The bottom left one is the Flower Copter II. Similar to the I, but the corner pieces are hidden while the edges are divided into 3 parts. It’s a really great experience to try the real puzzles from Dolimo. That day I gave gim an Icosaix. It is a gift from mf8.
Smaz brought a few of his modded puzzles to the party. There were Time MachineInk CubeTruncated SQ-1,Luxor and Smaz Clock. He gifted his latest cube Curvy Metal to some puzzlers too. Everybody enjoy his creation very much.
John Lin brought many puzzles. There was a modded cube which seems like a combination of Mirrow cube and 3x3x4. But actually it is a bandaged 4x4x4 cube. quite interesting to solve. The bottom pic is a Burr set designed by him. Use any 6 of the pieces to form a burr. I didn’t try this one but admire of his work. He show me a few matching and packing puzzles too.
Shih is a Architecture Professor. He show us his creation. A cuboid. It’s kinda like a burr but I can’t find any angle to disassemble it. At last Shih show us how to disassemble: Twist! If you twist the cuboid it’ll become lose. And then there are more space enough to disassemble them one by one. And I finally realized what the puzzle is after disassemble. It is actually an assembly puzzle with only one element, meaning that every pieces are identical. You can form different shape with that pieces. Even some sculpture with hole.
Kao wen shan from Taipei city, is a great tangram designer. He brought two very big size tangram from Taipei to the party(that’s a bit far you know). The bottom left one is 18 pro tangram Octagonal Frame Puzzle. And the right one is the square version. The speciality of these tangram is that there are frame inside the frame. First you’ll have to fit the biggest frame with small frame, and then you’ll have to pack each smaller frame with many smallest pieces. During the party Kao share some experience of doing tangram puzzles. You may go to his webpage for further details. Kao wen shan from Taipei city, is a great tangram designer. He brought two very big size tangram from Taipei to the party(that’s a bit far you know). The bottom left one is 18 pro tangram Octagonal Frame Puzzle. And the right one is the square version. The speciality of these tangram is that there are frame inside the frame. First you’ll have to fit the biggest frame with small frame, and then you’ll have to pack each smaller frame with many smallest pieces. During the party Kao share some experience of doing tangram puzzles. You may go to his webpage for further details.
Liu Cheng Wei, aka xb27, is a teacher of Ming Dao college. Electronic enginnering is what he’s good at. He show us a display pack made of a plastic box. It can connect to stackmat as a bigger display. The inner structure are all combined and programmed by him. His engineering work really surprise me. Don’t forget he is the one who designed and made the proportional 7x7x7 cube! However that cube was showing in the competition showcase, a pity for me lost a chance to try the real thing. Liu Cheng Wei, aka xb27, is a teacher of Ming Dao college. Electronic enginnering is what he’s good at. He show us a display pack made of a plastic box. It can connect to stackmat as a bigger display. The inner structure are all combined and programmed by him. His engineering work really surprise me. Don’t forget he is the one who designed and made the proportional 7x7x7 cube! However that cube was showing in the competition showcase, a pity for me lost a chance to try the real thing.
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Instead of burr puzzles, Chein brought us a few wire puzzles as well. Through the card I see these wire puzzles are an cooperation of Chein and Wang Yulong. I know Wang for a few years. He is from China, should be quite close to the city I’m living. However we never met before. Wang did not join this puzzle party, but his creation is here! Somehow I feel the puzzle spirit~
Everytime I attend a puzzle party, I always brought the Houdini’s Torture Cell by Mr Puzzle. This is a sequtiential discovry puzzle. The aim is to take out a piece of wood inside the transparent tube. This puzzle is small, easy to carry, good looking enough to attract non-puzzlers, not too hard but challenging. So I think this is the best puzzle to show people. This time I brought it too. And I see they enjoy the puzzle very much!
Times came to noon, we had a quick lunch in the room. It wan’t something special but good enough for our brain to take a rest. The lunch arrangement is good. John Lin ask us what we don’t eat by email a week before the party. And the food arrived our room quietly when we were playing puzzles. What a great arrangment~
After lunch we had a few lectures. The first one is by David Guo. The title is “Filling grid and packing puzzles”. It’s about using math view to see packing puzzles. David is a university professor, so his spoke extremely well. Not too easy but not too boring as well. He took a few examples on filling in grid, showing us in what circumstance filling full grid with one piece is possible, in what circumstance is not. And he expalined very well about the impossible situation with a well demostrated ppt.
The second one was me speaking about puzzle circle thing in Hong Kong and China. As Taiwan people don’t go to China often, John in ask me to do a talk about the puzzle activities in China and Hong Kong. And I introduce a few things I known, such as some puzzle carnival in Hong Kong, the workflow of Beijing collectors group, Gathering for Gardner in Beijing, and the China cube day in Guangzhou. I talked about a few important puzzlersin Hong Kong and China too.
The last lecture was “Stories about KPG & TPC” by Huang. It’s about the origin of KPG. So it is Peter Rasmussen and Wei Zhang who named them as KPG, and help them to join the one IPP in Japan. KPG had a hard time before. Lot’s of members just lose their interest.So John Lin turn himself into twistypuzzles modding, and successfully recruit a few younger puzzlers into KPG. From then on KPG was once again very active, which lead to an annual puzzle party-TPC. Through this lecture we all know better about KPG.
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Puzzle connection again after 3 lectures. Everyone was playing different puzzles.
They even tried some puzzles which are not their type.
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A few puzzles which I think worth to mention. The top left is Nifty Fifty. A packing puzzle. There’re 4 different sticks which you’ll have to pakc them into the frame. Designed by Jean Claude Constantin, quite a hard puzzle. The top right is a puzzle designed by Simon Nightingale. I don’t know the name. The aim is to take out the coin from the barrel. Very great looking one. The bottom left is Two key 9 step Iron Padlock. This is a puzzle from india, bought from Mr Puzzle. You have to open the lock with the two keys provided. The bottom right one is the 24 cell puzzle by Bob Hearn. This is an assembly puzzle. First you’ll have to take it apart, which is very easy. But the hard part is to assemble the shape again. 24 Cell seems to be a math polytope but I can’t tell you more because I actually don’t understand it…...
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The top left is named Up Periscope. Assembly puzzle. It was an exchange puzzle by Laurie Brokenshire in IPP 34, made by Vinco. Each piece is shape like a periscope, but all of them are a bit different. The aim is to form a 1x2x2, 1x2x3 and 2x2x shape with 4, 6 and 8 pieces. The top right is Transparent Lock by Gary Foshee. Gary is a puzzle making master. The puzzle was available on IPP35 and Rox bought one to show us. It is a sequential discovery puzzle. Not too hard but the quality is just amazing. The bottom left is now a rare puzzle. Trillion, we consider it a 2d sliding puzzle. There are 3 different size tirning plate and one intersecting plugner to scramble the color pieces inside. The aim is of course to solve it. The bottom right is a set of hanayama chess puzzle. I just bougth them one day before I went to Taiwan. They’re not hard too, but I like the theme and hanayama’s quality.
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Lot’s of photo were taken during the party. We all know each member though internet but this might be the first time we see each other face to face. These photos will be a good memory for all of us.
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So the party end at 17:30, we don’t want to but still had to leave. Before leaving, XB27 brought us to the college’s enginnering room. He show us a 3d printing machine, a laser cutter, and even a 3d printer made by him! See the XB logo on the machine! I wonder how good the education environment of Taiwan is, to let a college having resources to teach student enginnering! They just impress me.
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And we took a group photo in front of the college. The college’s name is not showing due to construction though…...
That’s all about the TPC puzzle party. I hope you like it.
But one more thing…...
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Actually we got John Lin’s invitation to visit his home and his collection during the party. And of course we won’t say no~~so on 18th of August early morning, we took a train head to Kaosiung!
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John and fellow KPGers were ready to pick us up at the Train station. The first thing to do was lunch, thanks for buying John! After that we head to John’s home. We were shocked when we arrived this puzzle room, full of puzzles! There’re a few ring puzzles hanging on a wall, a table of packed puzzles inside papaer box at another wall. And the bast wall, you are watching it. Five big cabinet full of puzzles! We took some photos with John in front of his collection~
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John’s collection has many different variety. Usually a puzzler have his own interest of puzzle type. But you see from John’s collection, there’re Math sculpture, Origami, Burr and twistypuzzles. John can even told us a single puzzle’s origin, speciality and it’s interesting feature. He recommended a few puzzles to us. On twistypuzzles aspect, John is a very good solver too. Not to mention he is also a mafous twistypuzzles modder in Taiwan. His knowledge of puzzles just let me feel amazing.
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We stay in this room for a while, taking pictures, talking about puzzles. Smaz, another twistypuzzles modder, was very interest in John’s modded puzzles. He watched them very closely.
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The day we had another visitor. His name is Wu Cheng Han(pronounciation), let’s just call him Maru. Yes you’re right, he is man behind Maru Cube. We saw him during the competition a few days ago, but at that time there were too many people and he was working as photographer of the event. So we didn’t talk much before. It’s a surprise we met again in John’s house. Maru is a very nice young man. I even think he’s too young to manage a puzzle industry like Maru Cube. But I think he must be capable of it. He gave us a few Nano cube, the lastest product of Maru Cube, as a gift to each of us. He even invite us to visit his office in Tainan city. Thanks Maru, but a pity we already had some arrangement so we could only refuse with regret…..May be next time.
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We went to another room after watching John’s collection. I think this is John’s study room. There’re a few puzzle related books and another a few puzzles as well. So we sat down to play puzzles for a while. John recommended a few puzzles to us, had a conversation about the tools of puzzle modding with Smaz, and Rox was playing a dexterity puzzle. The aim is to put 3 pieces on the rod without falling.
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There were many twistypuzzles too. The top left and the bottom right are modded puzzles by John. The top left one is Squished Skewb which was already mass produced, and the bottom right seems like a 2x2x3, but actually a fake one. It is a bandaged 3x3x3 with some extended pieces. And two others are mass produced puzzles with John’s own stickers. John said that he like this kind of stickers and usually he’ll change a puzzle’s original stickers to his own stickers.
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John is good at making math Sculpture too. The two puzzles on the top row are made by plastic band or card by John. Quite good looking. The bottom left is a 9 pieces hexagonal rod burr. John said that it’s not a hard one, but so beautiful to be a decoration object. He wanted me to try disassemble it. Well as a burr idiot I think I better not…...The bottom right is a nice sculpture made by Wu, another KPG member. So artistic.
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I want to mention some special puzzles to you. The left one is named ODD puzzle. It is a packing puzzle. The aim is to pack all 3 pieces into the box. But as you see there’s only a rectangle hole to put them in, thus making it harder. I tried around 20 minutes but still fail to solve it. But Dayan solve it within 5 minutes…...OK I admit that you’re better than me…..The top right one is a very rare puzzle: original 4 color Dino cube! It’s a puzzle from 90s~Actually the puzzle is quite easy to solve, it just became rare because the manufacturer didn’t make many. Bottom left side is theRising Sun puzzle by Oskar Van Deventer. The aim is to take out the “sun” from the “cloud”. You’ll have to find a right sequence in order to solve it. The last one is a classic chair puzzle. we had 4 Isometric chair pieces in different size. The aim is to form a bigger chair with all 4 pieces. It’s quite hard as these 4 pieces don’t have the same length or width. But you’ll find it an intrique puzzle when you did it!
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After some enjoyable play time we head to our next destination. A farm with nice view?
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The fact is we were here to visit Wu’s workshop. Wu, as a teacher of Precise Machinery, drove himself into puzzle making after retirement of teaching. There’re many geometry objects in his workshop, wooden, metal, very tiny one, and even very big one. See the object is even bigger than Rox!
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Wu makes puzzles with lego cuboid as well. See these creations, they’re all built by lego pieces. I can’t be sure but it seems these object are made by one kind of piece only! Some of them like a burr, some like building, some like math sculpture. I saw object as big as a TV, also object small enough to hold with my hand.
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“I spent my whole life playing assembly puzzle” Wu said. His largest assembly object is a 6 pieces burr made of Truck Container! That’s a combine object by him and the city council. He make use of Lego pieces to build curve orject too. See the pic on the right, that’s a “Rubber band” made with only one type of lego piece! You can even bend it to make different shape! What an interesting creation~
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In another room, we saw a lot more usual wooden puzzles. The top left pic is one of two identical pieces to form a cube. Wu told us he glue those little cube pieces one by one. I admire how insist Wu is. From the top right pic there’re some more often seen burr puzzles. But they’re made by metal by CNC machine. And the last pic at the bottom, it is a 18 pieces burr. Wu said that nobody make this burr before. What even better is that this burr only consist of two type of pieces. I really want to disassemble it after I heard that but…...better not.
參觀工作坊完畢後已經到了晚飯的時間, KPG們帶我們去吃了一頓很不錯的海鮮. 高雄一天的Puzzle活動就此結束了.
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As a Hong Kong people working in mainland china, I consider myself quite familiar with puzzle circle and atmosphere in both HK and china. For puzzle circle of Taiwan, I only know a few persons. Some of them communicated before by internet, and more didn’t communicate before. So I see this journey to Taiwan a very precious chance, to meet the KPGers face to face. Not only me but with a few HK/China puzzlers as well! I hope that this will be a good starting point for the whole China’s puzzle circle!
I wanna thanks some people at last. Smaz, for telling me about this trip and ask me to join. Ming, for organizing such a great adventure. YC Lam, for helping me  to get some puzzle souvenirs gift. And finally John and KPG, for the TPC puzzle party! I hope we’ll join another puzzle party in Taiwan in the future! And it’ll be even better if KPG came to HK/China to have a party as well!