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Month: June 2004

what a weekend

This past Saturday was a Microsoft intern event known as Puzzle Day. Basically at the beginning of the day some Microsoft employees set up this poorly acted story (that our Dean — Dean Bean — had his kidneys stolen) and we’re then given a bunch of puzzles to solve loosely tied to some central theme (urban legends).

A group of 12 of us formed a team, working against 30 other teams (of about 300 interns total). Some puzzles were pretty straight forward, others were a bit tricky. Some were incredibly tricky. Each answer goes to help you solve a ‘meta puzzle’, an uber puzzle you can solve only with the answers from the other puzzles you’ve solved. The metapuzzle gives an answer — in our case “Find kidneys in building 9 cafeteria” — telling you how to finish the quest.

Despite the fact that many of the team members got sick of puzzles in the middle of the day and more or less stopped working on them, our team did really well. We placed 5th and finished just about 15 minutes behind the 1st place team (I believe they were the Harvard team, and one of the other teams we lost to was the MIT team).

It was really cool looking at some random jibberish and suddenly saying “woah, this makes sense.” Or looking at a puzzle that 11 other rather smart people looked at and couldn’t figure out, and figuring it out in about 30 seconds.

All in all a really cool experience. And we even got a can of beans as a 5th place trophy (and a bag of cookies, too. Microsoft is cheap).

[Listening to: Wall of Voodoo / Mexican Radio – Various Artists – Alterno-Daze – 80’s Survival of the Fittest (4:10)]

crab legs!!!

Holy crap am I tired.

Another busy week (even though I had two days off of work…) It seems like I never have any free time anymore. Anytime I sit down to write up an entry, give someone a call, or just watch a little TV someone calls or knocks on my door and drags me away.

One thing I did this weekend was get a chance to play a game called Mafia. It’s a game for around 10-12 people that involves killing and lots of lying. It’s a unique experience playing a game that relies a lot on logic with a bunch of rather smart people. At one point another guy from UIUC was giving a 5 minute speech about why two people had to be Mafia, it seemed a very solid argument and he had a good proof but was horribly, horribly wrong.

I also saw Shrek 2, which was nowhere near as good as the first. Alas.

Also on the disappointing movie list was The Prisoner of Azkaban. Sure it was pretty, and a few scenes were done really well… but the combined dissapointments between the total slaughter of my favorite scene from the book and the terrible casting job of Professor Lupin just annoyed me.

Oh, yeah, and it also made no sense. So when everyone is fighting the boggart in the teacher’s lounge, Harry starts to take it on — it shifts to a dementor, then Lupin jumps in and it turns into an obvious moon (also stupid). In the book, he never even comes close to handling the boggart. So, later, when Harry asks why he didn’t get to take on the boggart, it makes sense that Lupin says he worried it would have turned into Voldemort. He still says this in the movie, despite the fact that it had already obviously turned into a dementor. Stupid.

Also new — I signed up for the local gym (apparently the largest gym in the nation). I go work out with a friend of mine from the complex, George (who also happens to be greek, he’s 100% though). Oh man do I hurt.