New: Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even the Void

Today at work, my main machine's monitors kept blanking out. I don't know what the problem is: bad video driver, bad video card, bad aetheric harmonic vibrations in the astral plane. At the risk of revealing my lack of hard-corosity, programmer-wise, I must admit that I did not say, "Wow, great, an opportunity to debug a video problem perhaps in some driver for which I don't have the source code!" Instead, I sat and stared at the blank monitors, thought about a great fire consuming all of the world's electronics, and reminded myself that smashing the monitors would not fix the video card.

I contemplated the void, sought calm. I thought about the comments I'd received. I'd sent around a first draft of a write-up of the Hogwarts Game. A couple of fast readers had sent back corrections and suggestions already.

Justin Ghan let me know that in Australia, they don't have Mathcamp. Being children of empire, they call their mathcamp "MathScamp" with an "s" in the middle. This was such a wrong-headed thing to call a mathcamp that I at first mis-read it as "math-scamp" and pictured a mischievous youth running away with with a stolen abelian group or something. (Or, as the Australians would spell it, "abelian grouup".) I wondered why scamps scamper, but campers camp.

My monitors were still blank.

I'd written about a member of team XX-Rated who had bellowingly mustered 16 wizards from the midst of a chaotic lunch and got them sufficiently synchronized to all cast a spell at the same time. I'd assumed she'd picked up this combination of leadership and lung-power as a cheerleader, but Curtis said that she'd told him that she had also been in the Israeli army. At the time, I'd thought, Note to self: Do not cross team XX-Rated. Staring at the blank screen, I thought, surely double-crossing team XX-Rated would be appropriate.

My monitors were still blank, but I was calm again. You can have your controlled breathing. I'll stick to wordplay.

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Posted 2006-10-23