Book Report: The Human Dilemma

Concrete is a superhero. He can withstand gunfire, climb mountains, lift cars. But what can he do against global overpopulation? Now he teams up with a pizza company executive in a campaign to convince America's youth to choose childlessness. If you're not familiar with Concrete comics, you might not want to start with "The Human Dilemma". You might want to start with the earlier collection "Depths" instead. But eventually, you'll want to pick up The Human Dilemma, because it is awesome.

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Except When Preempted

If you follow The Game/Bay Area puzzle hunt stuff, you might be surprised to see that I posted to this blog this afternoon. I should be with Team Mystic Fish at Menlo Park turning in an application for the Paparazzi game.

But Libby, a.k.a. Liberty Belle, a.k.a. that sweet dog of Alexandra Dixon's--Libby had a rough night last night. Libby's been sick with cancer for a while. Last night, she had a really rough night, staggering around, disoriented. Today, Alexandra drove Libby up to the emergency room at U.C. Davis.

Alexandra is Team Mystic Fish's captain. Our game application is in her apartment. If the rest of us Mystic Fishies were really hardcore, we'd break into her apartment, grab the application, and deliver it to Menlo Park. But we're not. At least I'm not. So instead of trying to break in to Alexandra's apartment, I'll sit here and type in the story I hoped to tell her on the way to Menlo Park today.


I know I shouldn't try to reverse-solve the Bay Area. In the weeks leading up to the Genome Game, I obsessed about gene- and DNA- themed locations in the Bay Area. If you have some idea of what a puzzle's solution looks like, sometimes that puzzle is easier to solve. So if you've noted the existence of a place named, say the DNA Lounge and you're solving a puzzle and have figured out it's something like ?NA??U?G?, you can make some good guesses. Maybe.

"Reverse-solving" is slang for figuring out a puzzle by having a pretty good guess of what the solution is going to look like.

The Bay Area is big, with many locations. Trying to use Bay Area Location Names as your solution set--well, it doesn't narrow things down that much. Thus, "Do not try to reverse-solve the Bay Area." I guess that's not precise language. Better to say "Do not use Bay Area Location Names to reverse-solve puzzles." But that's a mouthful. Anyhow.

I figured out I was being silly about the DNA Lounge, but not before I made some pronouncements which got me gently teased later.

I learned my lesson. But I did not learn it well. Last weekend, I was strolling in Oakland's Rockridge district, waiting for Zachary's to make me a pizza. I noticed I was crossing Taft Street. I could have kept walking, but I stopped.

In a few weeks, we will play in a game hosted by the team Taft on a Raft. This game is themed on the movie The Fifth Element, and has had some elementish punnery. And it makes fun of the TV show "The Apprentice".

If I had learned my lesson well, I would have walked past Taft Street. I would have strolled down to the Hudson Bay Cafe, sat, drank coffee, and anticipated pizza. But I didn't. I turned onto Taft. I couldn't help myself. I walked past houses, telling myself that I was being very silly.

Still, when I crossed Broadway and saw the sign saying The Element, a frisson went down my spine. Omigosh omigosh it was the most perfect puzzle site possible.

Until I noticed the rest of the sign. The Elementary School of Arts and Sciences. The frisson stopped running down my spine and slunk off to... wherever frissons go when they're not on duty.

Do not attempt to reverse-solve the Bay Area. There are a lot of oddball coincidences here, and you can drive yourself to distraction.

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Site Update: New York Travelog

I went to New York for a couple of weeks. I didn't emerge with any exciting anecdotes. But you can read the travelog anyhow. The main thing I got out of the trip: the best New York pizza is not so great, but there are rumors of greatness in New Haven.

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Book Report: Zachary's Chicago Pizza Newsletter vol. 5 Winter/Spring 2005

I have nothing original to say about the unfolding disaster in New Orleans. All I know how to do is point out interesting reading material.

One more reason to free Tibet: We can make it easier for her citizens to go elsewhere and make great pizza.

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site update: New Zealand 2004 Travelog

Waaaay back in December, I went to New Zealand. I caught glimpses of puzzle hunts, looked at giant ferns, paddled kayaks, talked about old telegraph equipment, snapped lots of photos, rode a train full of Japanese tourists, ferried a strait, ate pizza, visited museums, went sailing for a few days, rode buses, got rained on, got hailed on, caught cold, and came back.

Then I got busy with other stuff, forgot most of what happened, tried to recall it, and finally typed up what I remembered. The result is Larry Hosken's New Zealand 2004 Travelog. Enjoy.

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