Friday, November 18, 2011

What's on your Christmas list?

Mine? Well, it's pretty big. But I won't be too sad if I don't get everything I ask Santa for. But as long as I get one or two I'll be more than happy. What? Christmas I hear you scream. It's not even thanksgiving yet. True....but, its never too early to write those Santa letters.

So I promised a twisty puzzle by a dear cyber friend and that is what you are going to get. A few actually. In fact, I have 5 to show you today. So who is the mystery cyber friend? Why Frank Schwartz of course. And before any one comments that this post is in bad form, please don't. It's meant to be a tribute to a great builder from early days, and a strong gentleman from later times.

I first contacted Frank in mid 2008 about a puzzle he had built. For the life of me I can't find the one I'm looking for. Doesn't matter. The prices Frank charged were reasonable and I bought a nice one from him. I'm sure it has a name. Rolex something or other. :-) I'm terrible with these things. Names I mean, not the puzzles.

This was the first of many puzzles I bought from Frank in the short time he was a member of TwistyPuzzles. It's basically a pyramorphix but bigger. I found the name: Reuleaux Mastermorphix. Is it solveable? Of course. But Like many of my puzzles, it has sat on my shelf for quite a few years now. When I took it down to photograph today, it was 'stuck' I bet you didn't know plastic puzzles did that. Oh, I guess I should mention that all Franks puzzles that I have are cast puzzles. I think he used that oomo stuff.

Well, we carried on a puzzle friendship via pm that later evolved into emails. Near the end of Frank's time with us it went to phone calls as well, but I promise not to make this a sad post so I'll just show you the next puzzle I saw this morning.

An axis cube. Now this one has been made by many before and after this point. I bought one of Franks early on, and then showed it to SmaZ who made me a cut and paste version, and now they are mass produced by some KO company in China. Franks version? It's cast.

A nice heavy puzzle that I really enjoyed playing with. This one is a 3x3x3 and I know it uses cube4you puzzles as a base. How do I know that you ask? Well, I'll tell you (even if you didn't ask). Frank and I were chatting about my intense hatred of high shipping costs. And he began lamenting the shipping cost out of China-ok, so it does go both ways. Well after a long while we brokered a deal. I wanted an egg he was making and a few other puzzles and he wanted 3x3x3's. Shipping to HK from Shanghi is cheap. Shipping from HK to USA is why gouge the buyer? A bit of reboxing and time, and Frank had his 3x3x3's (50 of them if I remember right) and I had my puzzles.

The egg won't be shown here today because I want to put all my eggs in one basket. (Yes, you can groan again)

This briings me to the end of this blog about Frank's puzzles that I had handy on the shelf today....I give you the last 3 puzzles I received from Frank. None of them have names that I know of. If you do, please post them in the comments for me.

The first is a start like thing he made. I thought it was pretty and asked to buy it off him in his last days before he left us. Again, this is a 3x3x3 but this time the core is a mini-diansheng. I sent Frank and David Calzone a boat load of these at the same time I shipped out the c4u puzzles. At that time they cost me a whole US$0.35 or some such. I picked up a gross from my local wholesaleshop and think I might have only one or two left now. I passed those things out to everyone who asked.

Well, when this box came in, Frank had also included a couple more puzzles I was asking over that he had unfinished on his shelf. (Romantic thing that I am, I really did believe that if I had some of Frank's unfinished puzzles he would stick around longer to finish them for me. Silly I know but that is me.)

The first one: the jr. barrel I think it's called, remained unfinished for a while and just sat in a ziplock bag. I took it over to show SmaZ after Frank passed, and SmaZ put it together for me. It doesnt' turn well at all. This is one puzzle that Frank didn't get quite right. The only one as far as I can tell. And I'm pretty sure that is why he always refused to sell it to me.

The last puzzle I have no name for. I do know it's a 3x3x3, but I have never played with it. That writing means so much more to me than the joy of playing. The fuzzy writing reads: "Rox, Thanks for being a friend, Frank." It has sat on my shelf since it came in. I might have taken it down one or two times for photographs, but that's about all. Sadly Frank left us for a better puzzle place in May 2010. But his work remains an integral part of my collection. He remains in my memory as one of hte best cyber friends I have ever had. I'm just saddened that I never got the chance to meet him.

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