Notes from Puzzle Palace

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Puzzle Advent Tree and more!

 It's that time again!  This year we have a total of 5 puzzle advent calendars in the house.  I'm not sure how that happened, but I'll not look a gift horse in the mouth-and in this case, it will be a lot of fun.

As with last year, I brought out the Puzzle Advent Tree© and filled it with gifts for both bug and George.  It's a little deformed this year because some of the gifts are oddly shaped in the boxes and had to be placed in strange areas.  Because of our upcoming round the world cruise, I didn't put the lights out on the tree this year-just the gifts.  I don't want to have to put it away when we return in summer.  Perhaps I'll just have the kid pre-fill it for me and we can have a Christmas in July.  

I also managed to get a Master Cube Store cubing advent calendar sent over from Denmark.  This was quite the ordeal, but as usual, I managed.

Next up is an advent calendar filled with puzzling toys.  I'm not sure what we will find each day as this one is mass-produced.  George has opened one of these at breakfast every year that we have lived in Boca and really seems to enjoy it.  I was surprised to find so many variations on Amazon this year.  

At the end of each day George and I will compete against each other on the New York Times Mini-crossword.  If you haven't done it, you should.  It shouldn't take too much time, and it's a fun way to end (or start) the day.  It usually shows up at 10 pm EST.  I of course usually win as I can type faster and let's face it, I'm just more verbose than he is.

We also were given a jigsaw a day advent calendar.  Each one is supposed to be less than 100 pieces.  We shall see how that goes. 

So this year, you will have lots of drooling to do.  The opening will come tomorrow morning and continue on through the 25th of December.

We had a lovely thanksgiving with a number of puzzle friends joining us.  This year our daughter decided to invite a puzzling couple for thanksgiving dinner over a drunken Boca Bash squid games honeycomb making attempt. No problem.  The more the merrier.  Our breakfast room table will hold 6 comfortably.  Fast forward a few weeks and another puzzler came for a weekend visit. George and I are so in tune with each other that without consultation, I invited him to join us for the holiday as I didn't want anyone alone.  And then we of course invited Tevin and Morgan as this has just turned into an impromptu puzzle party.  Next thing we knew, we had a table of 11 and I went hunting a bird a week before the holiday.  Now this might sound normal to you all, but remember, I came here from Hong Kong where turkeys were not a thing you could get at just any grocery store. There was a time when the bird had to be ordered a month in advance so just being able to walk in the store and pick up one for  the following week is nothing short of a miracle for me. Sadly, I didn't take any photographs that day, but suffice it to say all had a good time.

The G4G video is up and viewable now. Please go take a look.   And while I'm on G4G, give a thought to donating.  Because of covid, they have payments that need making, and funding that has not been met.  If you are in a good mood, and have watched any of the G4G online videos or joined any of the meetings, give a thought to giving a donation to keep it going each year. (No, I don't get a kickback, I've just recently realized how much work it takes to run an operation like this.)

On to museum news.  There is none :( I'm still waiting on glass table tops, I'm still waiting on workmen to install shelves, I'm still waiting on 'the kids' to move in, I'm still waiting on a shipment of puzzles, I'm still waiting fill in the rest.  We have not gotten the last batch of shelves installed yet. We've been so busy with holidays and guests that nothing is really happening over there. Perhaps after our luggage has been picked up we will go get some work done. 

Until tomorrow.  Stay safe, wear a mask, and happy puzzling!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Mercaba 3 ways

First and most importantly, we both got our Covid boosters this past week.  While we realize this doesn't prevent us from getting the disease, or carrying it to others, we do know it will help against serious complications. It also gives us more piece of mind when we are around others.  Florida has an insane governor who doesn't seem to care about peoples lives as much as he does about getting reelected.  He has signed into law a ban on mask and vaccine mandates.  With this comes a lack of social responsibility among the residents of the state.  It seems that the older population (our neighbors and friends) are mostly vaccinated, but not the community at large.  Everywhere we go, we see unmasked people around.  How can one be sure they have actually gotten the vaccine?  We are doing what we can to stay safe.  Masking up and vaccinations are a must for us. 

Second, I passed the first part of my Scuba certification and on Saturday morning we do the two final ocean dives required before I am fully certified.  George is one happy man.  We can now go diving when we are on our next trip.

Third, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday no matter who you spend it with.  This year, we will be having a group of local puzzlers over for an afternoon of feasting, puzzling, and conversation.  All fully vaccinated of course!

And now...Puzzles!

I've been doing a mad hunt to get together the  puzzles for George's Advent Puzzle Tree this year.  With everything else going on, I kind of dropped the ball on that one.  I'm pleased to report that I now have the puzzles in hand and he will be surprised as he should be.  The decorations will go on the advent tree on Friday.  We had a minor setback with a missing board, but George quickly remedied that by making a new one.  problem solved, tree filled. I look forward to his opening of the tree again this year.  Add to this an advent calendar from the Master Cube Store, a mini crossword one, and a small puzzling calendar and we are really in business.  We will be sure to share every mornings puzzle opening with you yet again.

This week's puzzle is one George made for the swimming pool.  It all started with a post on FaceBook  last year or so. Someone had a pool noodle puzzle made at some point and I wanted one.  Then came 3d printers and a purchase of 1/2 a dozen pool noodles and we were in business.  Or so I thought.  The Ultimaker would stop printing the corner posts we needed for some reason.  George attempted 3 runs to the same result.  He had all but given up and then Tanner arrived. (I need this guy around-unlike Mr. Man, he is a real Mr. Fix-it.) 

George and Tanner spent a few days last week assembling a 3D printer that I had purchased him off kickstarter. While Tanner was working on that, George was attempting to get the Ultimaker back up and running.  Turns out, the feeder box had some filament in it and was clogging up.  A little while later, it was opened and cleaned and we were back in business.  George printed up 20 of the main joints for the Mercaba puzzle.  

Fast forward a week and I got another puzzle delivery in the mail.  Sometimes you find a gem and this time we did.  Inside the box was an old Pacific Puzzle Works wooden Mercaba puzzle.  This of course gave George the kick in the pants he needed and while I was busy making a delicious vichyssoise for dinner he was in the workshop assembling the pool noodle version I'd asked for so long ago.  

First he put together a tetrahedron just to make sure it worked.

After this was completed he went on to assemble the rest of the puzzle.  If you look at it, you will see many flaws, but in fairness, he was assembling it using a photograph that wasn't spectacularly helpful for him.  

This morning as I lay in bed typing up this post, George remembered that Lee had brought us this puzzle in plastic.  He went up to the Circular room and brought it down.  Then came a moment. He realized that two colors need to be intertwined and when flipped are mirror opposites.  Now I'm not calling him silly, just saying he didn't realize it before-hence the oddly shaped version we see here.

I'm thrilled that he has done this for me.  I am sure he will get it done correctly now that he has a sample to follow.  And yes, there is another set of connectors on the printer to make one for the museum pool as well. One can not have too many geometric puzzling objects for the swimming pool. 

Finally we come to the museum update. This week we recieved another order of 200 glass shelves. If we have counted correctly, this should allow us to finish the garage.  That should be the last of the shelving.  I have still not recieved the glass tabletops for the tables we ordered.  This is getting frustrating beyond belief.  I don't know how many calls I need to make to that company before they send my glass over.  

We still have shadow boxes to mount, but I believe those will be done when we are on holiday.  I'm leaving it up to the contractor to decide when he wants to do the work.  For now, there are blue painters tape lines where the pieces belong.  

I've recently ordered 2 sets of tangram shelves for the museum and the workshop walls.  I think I'll use the classic man shape in the museum and a car in the garage.  

I had accidentally thrown away the plug unit for a light box so that has kept me from doing any photographic work.  Thank heavens for Amazon.  I was able to replace the unit and work will begin again next week.  George and I plan to move back to the museum for a few days to finish the shelves and some of the photography on the builders wall before our trip.  We are hopeful that Tevin and Morgan will be moving in within the next few weeks.  It will be nice to have someone there who enjoys the puzzles as much as we do.  Not only are they there for security, but also for the photographing of each piece.  We will have a dropbox set up so George can add puzzles to the database when we are on the ship.  Fingers crossed all goes well.

Until Next week.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Go get your boosters, and don't forget those masks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

A few puzzling guests and a rather large addition to the Museum

 Pardon me for week's hiatus.  I had a rather important set of Scuba lessons to take.  You see, this is my birthday gift to George.  I had to drop everything and take advantage of calm seas while I could.

This week we've had two visitors.  First Chris came down last Sunday to make us a lovely spaghetti lunch.  He's still in Ft. Lauderdale so we were thrilled to see him again.  He was being a bit evasive about something and went up to the metal room. I was busy packing for our upcoming trip so I just let him wander the house and puzzle.  After a bit of time, I smelt something funny and went in search of the odor.  He was in the Mirror Room polishing brass!  What a guy!  He polished up a Charles O'Perry and did an amazing job of it. Sadly, after his lunch, he got called into work and had to leave early.  The photo doesn't really do the piece justice. 

Our next guest is Tanner again.  He came to help George assemble some of the 3D printers.  He was so helpful assembling the SLS printer that we invited him back.  Of course he had to do a bit of puzzling as well.  His real reason for coming though was to bring us an addition to the Museum. You see, he had a monolith he wanted to part with and we had a room that needed one.  So after 3 days of driving, it arrived in Boca Raton.  That thing is massive and heavy!  I started to play and managed to find the first couple of moves, but George shooed me away and told me to play later.  

This week has been very good to us.  I won a box of junk on Puzzleparadise and it came in this week.  What a great win!  I absolutely love it.  You can see a video of it here. A prototype, a new puzzle, and a symmetry puzzle.  How wonderful!

George very kindly mounted a Berrocal that I purchased. This one was made in 2000 and is covered in 925 silver.  It's only the second piece of art on the walls of Puzzle Palace.

As for the museum, we are still waiting for Tevin and Morgan to move in.  We have ordered the glass tops for all of the tables we assembled, but are still waiting on those as well.  I've ordered another 200 glass shelves to be delivered on the 21st.  This will hopefully be the last set.  The remainder of the shadow boxes have arrived and will be installed sometime in the not so distant future.  For now, I spend my time packing for our upcoming world cruise.  

Now, if anyone has a cista chest....

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Shameless plug

We have been busy this past month with a wedding, a puzzle party, a virtual-talk at G4G our first holiday since the world went mad.  To this end, I'm being a very naughty girl this week and giving you all a few videos to watch instead of my regular blog post.  

The first is brought to you by my daughter.  She had a class project to interview someone and she chose  George and I.  My slide video is up and his will be coming shortly.  Not bad for a newby.  

Next up is an amazing video brought to you by Tanner from What Did I Get Myself Into?  He spent a week with us over Boca Bash and made a rather good video of our Puzzle Palace and the Puzzle Palace Museum.  Be warned, it is 53 minutes long so grab a beer, kick up your feet and settle down for a nice time.

Finally, we were invited to give a talk at a virtual G4G on the 24th of October and the video we produced of it can be found here.  This one is only 20 minutes of me droning on...Warning: George likes his music loud.

The museum waits.  Nothing is happening still.  As I said, it's been a busy few weeks for us.  But wait, I do have news.  This week we added just over 100 puzzles to the museum.  If that isn't a feat, nothing is.  We continue to purchase puzzles and have had some wonderful members of the community make a few donations.  This week Nothing Yet Designs donated 23 different puzzles!  I think that deserves a massive thank you and a small plug.  Go take a look at what he is making.  You won't be wasting your time.