Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 10 and 11. Leaving time.

Today was the hop on hop off bus tour.  I had enough.  I'll admit it, I was tired.  I wanted sleep.  I opted instead to stay in and nap, swim, and puzzle.

Sorry guys nothing to see here.

No, It was the last night and Rox wouldn't be Rox if she didn't puzzle on the last evening.  I met with Ken, Bob, George, Mark,  and Goetz.  We puzzled a bit and talked a lot more.

Early flights for some meant an early night.

The next morning it was a sorrowful goodbye to my friends and an afternoon of waiting around the lobby having a beer or two  and a bit of puzzling while waiting for the flight.  

For more on IPP please see Otis' posts over on Mf8. 

A big thanks to Ken Irvine for helping me get to my flight.  Those suitcases were heavy.  Next year I ship!

And thus ends another boys and toys.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 9 Puzzle Party

This is the puzzle sales event of the year.

We wake up Saturday morning.  Eat breakfast early and grab the cash.  Today is the puzzle party.  A big room full of people selling puzzles.  I know when I get in the room to make a bee-line for Marcel Gillen's table followed by heading over to Wil's table.  From there it is just walking around the room and finding what can be found.

Unlike in years past, I didn't leave with many purchases.  As it turns out, the longer you collect the less puzzles you need to find.  It's not that I have them all, but that I am more selective in my purchases.

Rather than babble on about this, I'll let the photos speak.

I know there were events in the afternoon, but as with yesterday, I wanted a nap before the awards dinner.  Later that night and rather than repost all of the winners I'll just send you over to the main page to read the results.  As usual, at the end of the dinner Rox got up and shouted for the puzzle forum groups to get their photos taken.  Yes, I did it without a microphone. Good lungs the girl has.  

Twisty Puzzlers


Facebook Puzzle Photography group

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Puzzle exchange. Day 8

Christmas in August.  Enough puzzles to take a year and then some to solve.  The solution to all your purchasing woes....

Day 8 of my trip was the puzzle exchange.  This is a truly amazing event.  Not in just that I exchanged 100 puzzles and brought a suitcase full home, but in the people I get the chance to hug and talk to.  This is why I go to IPP.  The people, and today was no exception.

I was first invited to IPP in 2010 and Pantazis Houlis asked me to be his exchange assistant that year.  Since then, I have tried to ask a first time IPPer to be my assistant and this year was no exception.  My good friend Otis from Beijing, via Hong Kong was invited for his first IPP and when I found out, he had no choice but to assist me.

I took great pleasure in watching the look on his face each time I made an exchange.  I gave Otis my list of exchanges to tick off and advised him to tick off any puzzles he would be interested in purchasing the next day.  He did that.  It tickled me when he tried to explain my puzzle a few times in the beginning.  But then he got into the groove of the exchange and I even stopped introducing him because he took over doing that himself.  You've come a long way baby!  When I first met you, you were a shy kid.  Now!  You did good!

Each puzzler must walk around the room exchanging one puzzle for another. In other words, you have to give your little puzzle talk 100 times.  Wow!  That's a lot of talking.  It took all of 6 hours to do it too.  That's a lot of talking.  By the end, my throat was dry and I was exhausted.  I'll admit, I'm slowing down now.  Ok.  Maybe not slowing down.  Maybe I'm just getting smarter.  If I take a nap during the day I can party all night and wake up again early in the morning and restart.  It is a boys and toys after all!

I've been asked to give my little talk so here goes.  (Sorry Friend. it was there and besides, no one reads this anyway.)

Allard being subjected to Rox
"As you know, I'm a bit of a twisty girl and wanted a twisty puzzle for my next exchange (2014).  On the way home from Tokyo (IPP33) I invented a puzzle and brought it to my good friend at Mf8 to mass produce.  He said sure Rox no problem and I left it in his hands.  Well round about January I got a call and Mr. Fok said 'Hey hun, we are so busy making all these crazy cubes and I can't make yours.'

Now, I'm desperate. The puzzle review is coming up and I've no puzzle.  Well, desperate times call for desperate measures.  In desperation, I called Wil and we all know Wil loves desperate women and he came to my rescue.  He found me a puzzle made by Jean Claude Constantine.

The puzzle is still a bit twisty because that's what I like. All you have to do is move the three pieces around and find my hole.  Now you know you've found my hole when your ball(s) fall out."

Tell that to a room of around 95 men.  :)  Total enjoyment for me.  Slightly risqué but not overly so.  Sorry Nick.  I just had to!

Find my hole

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 6 Romping about and day 7 Twisty puzzle meet up

Day 6 saw us arriving late in London.  We had planned to get there in time to join John Haché and Otis Cheng for a trip into the city to do some puzzle hunting, but as it turned out, we got a late start and that lead to a rather late arrival.  I did the best thing I could think of and called Otis and told them to go on ahead without me.

All my life I wanted to go to the Camden Locke puzzle shop and here I missed it.  But by the time I finally write about my last puzzle day, you will see that the puzzle shop wasn't the only thing I missed.

Anyway, the day was uneventful.  Well mostly.  I checked in and Laurie gave me a job to do. I was the first to receive the greenhorn hat.  oh what a responsibility!  I loved it and didn't want to give it up.  Mean old Allard made me though.  I had dinner in the hotel restaurant later in the evening with John and his Dad, Oskar, José, and George and then went on to have drinks in the bar as is normal for Rox.  Hugs all around because, lets face it, this is the first real day of IPP.

Day 7 saw us heading over to the Harry Potter experience and Windsor Castle.  Now, I'm a huge Disney Fan and have never really grown up, but once you've seen one of these things, you've seen them all.  Nope. I did not enjoy it all that much.  The castle was interesting in that I managed to get through it with Bram and Scott, clueless as to their conversation and completely missing the castle :)

OK.  On to the real fun.  That evening was the founders reception.  I ended up on door duty from 7-8, and then spent an hour walking around saying hello to one and all.  More hugs and kisses had to be passed out.
But the real fun came later at the Twisty Puzzle meetup.  We had a big crowd of us as usual.  Gus and Jack met at the pub across the street from the venue before we got there.  Of course they had to get a hug when I came in.  
We had some of the usual suspects and puzzled away for a few hours.  Andreas, Hendrik, Bob, Geert, Oskar, Carl, and Jose were all there.  This year we were joined by Otis, John and his dad Marc.
Drinks were bought and we got down to some serious puzzling.  I guess we stayed until we were kicked out of the bar at around mid night.  The party continued for some of us at the hotel bar until the wee hours.  Another great meet up.  

 One of the highlights for me?  Taking Bobs belt off and playing with his buckle!  Well done sir!  I'm thrilled that you brought it along for me to see.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Day 5-James Dalgety's

I can't think of a better way to wake up after such a perfect day than to know I'm headed off to see one of the largest puzzle collections in the world.  I was allowed into the Puzzle Museum!!

Berrocal Anvils
A quick shower and breakfast was wolfed down.  I couldn't tell you what it tasted like, it was gone in seconds.  And off I headed.  See, I made a mistake and was supposed to be there the day before, but the dates got messed up and well, it all turned out for the best.  I had a beautiful blissfilled day of sunny weather, woods and water, and the day I got to James' it was pissing down.  A great day to be looking at puzzles.  Although I did feel bad for leaving Lindsey to cook a meal and then not eat it.

Right.  On to the puzzle museum.  Because let's face it, that's what James' place is.  I spent 4 hours at James' walking around looking at puzzles and it was no where near enough time.  I was greeted at the door by James and his dogs.  Yappy little things.  Lindsey came in to greet me and the day began.

James took me around and showed me each of the cabinets.  He then started to open all the drawers for me. I saw Coffins, I saw puzzle boxes, I saw metal.  I saw so many different puzzles I don't know where to begin.  Four hours of walking through his rooms and I was over whelmed.  I didn't know where to to turn next.  I was in puzzle heaven.
an unknown Russian puzzle
An unknown automaton

I saw a Russian twisty puzzle that I've only seen in books. An automaton that was so intricate.  Something I had never seen before.  

Downstairs I came across this beautiful figure.  Until I looked from the side.  I love it!

I'm so glad James opened his house to me.  I was thrilled that he took the time to show me all the different puzzles he had.  After playing a bit on a pinball machine, I decided I had enough of the puzzle exploring and decided to take apart that Berrocal I had my eyes on. I asked James before I went to his house.

I'm afraid he was set up.  As I took Romeo and Juliet apart I handed James a piece and asked him what it was. Of course there was a camera ready and James with a quizzical look on his face explained to me that it was a penis.  He then proceeded to show me the very sensual move I missed.  I was thrilled and tucked into puzzle disassembly.  I carried on until lunch and wanted to continue after.  Sadly James had a presentation to write for IPP and I had to leave that beautiful couple disassembled.  Thank you James for reassembling it for me. I felt so bad for not having done so and thank you for allowing me to play!  I now know which my next purchase will be.

James has a page that is full of curiosities that he has been unable to identify.  Please go take a look and see if you recognize any of them.  The puzzle museum page is well worth the time it takes to go through.  There are just so many wonderful things to see, and if you ever make it to the area, I very strongly recommend a visit!  Thank you so much for the invitation James.  I hope the next time I'm in the UK that I have more time to visit with you and Lindsey.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Don't shout!

Hi Puzzle fans!
I take a break from my IPP posts to become a bit of a puzzle pusher. Phil Tomlinson has a few "Don't Shout" and "Always Empty" boxes up on ebay now.  I think these are fantastic puzzle boxs. I played with them over at Allard's and loved them!  In fact, He did too.  Read his blog post about them, then go take a look at the auctions and place a bid!

(Photos stolen  from Allard and Phil.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 4-relaxing

This was the only day I had that wasn't filled with puzzling activities on this entire trip.  A picnic, hike, a swim.

This girl went to bed very satisfied.  :) Thank you Poseidon.  You granted my wishes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 3-Top Secret Puzzle Hunt

Day 3 started off very early.  Breakfast at 7:30.  Which meant waking up even earlier because a girl needs a shower.
We met with Otis for breakfast and ate up quickly. Jumped in the car and set the GPS. What a wonder of modern technology that is! I've not driven in so many years, I was fascinated by it.  The drive over was around 2 1/2 hours.  We chatted as we drove. Otis played "The Room" for a while and then fell asleep.
After what seemed like a lifetime of driving we got close to the location but managed to get lost again. This seemed to be my lot on this trip. Lots of getting lost.  But That's part of the fun.  We finally gave in and called the organizer and realized that we had passed the location just a few minutes before.  Backtrack and we arrived at the secret nuclear bunker. 

Upon parking we ran into a bunch of other familiar faces.  Hugs were passed out all around!  After about half an hour we separated into teams and got ready to head into the bunker.  

The first thing we needed to do was to decode the puzzles.  I seem to have lost my book or maybe I gave it to Otis but no matter.  I remember many of the puzzles and the language has been burned into my brain.  6 people on the team and I was the only one who was fluent in squiggle. (I don't know if that's the name, but it's what I'm calling it).  It took me about 30 minutes to learn  it, and by the time we were finished with the hunt, I had one heck of a headache!
We weren't one of top three teams, and if truth be told, we were probably one of the last, but we did great work together. Sam made sure everyone had a chance to open a puzzle that they hadn't worked with before.  This was not only fair but great for me. I had the opportunity to play with a Dan Lock and as luck would have it, Peter had a spare and he sold it to me at IPP.  

The organizers had it set up rather nicely so that the teams were never in the same room at the same time.  We finished at least 14 rooms.  George asked what would happen if we went too fast.  The answer: we got a room that had nothing to do with the hunt. It really didn't matter because we had a fantastic time.  There were boxes, a wrap puzzle, a number of locks, a musicbox and another musical puzzle (Stairway to Heaven is Led Zeppelin guys-NOT Steppenwolf or what ever it was you said!)  There was a sideways burr that was a hoot!  Last puzzle of the day.  Rox read the line that told us where to start, but forgot how to read the English that told us to take the puzzle away with us.  

The entire day, we laughed until our sides hurt.  It was fantastic and if I lived in the UK I would beg the organizers to put together another one.

There were only 2 bad times during the day.  The first was when stupid Rox counted backwards and couldn't tell the difference between a bunch of pictures and a rebus. Doh!  Face palm!  Idiot!
 But hey, we managed to sort out our problem and carried on.  The other bad time?  I lost my sunglasses.  I know, who needs sunglasses in an underground bunker?  Rox of course!

We finished around 5, grabbed a sandwich and then watched a bit of the finals race before heading out.  There was a long drive ahead of us before we got to our final destination for the evening.  Next stop James Dalgety's!