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01/24/2005 Archived Entry: "an exhausting weekend"
Posted by CKL @ 10:29 AM PST

im too tired to capitalize or use proper punctuation

Just kidding. But it was a busy couple of days. On Saturday morning, Team Ferromagnetic Snout gathered to create puzzles for the first-ever Iron Puzzler. The three ingredients (Pipe, The Queen of Spades, and Twenty-Seven) were announced online at 9am, and Jeff made crepes for breakfast at 11am. We spent the next six hours brainstorming and building.

A white limo picked up DeeAnn around noon and ferried her off to her bachelorette party. Gerry had to leave at 5pm for a gig, but we were done with puzzles by then. I changed into my tux, Jeff drove me to Palo Alto to meet the rest of The Richter Scales, and at 7pm, we all went up to the penthouse of the Garden Court Hotel to sing a few songs at DeeAnn's party. She was totally surprised and very happy.

After the party, the Scales (plus Jeff and James' wife, Trina) retired to Gordon Biersch for dinner, where we also sang for another bachelorette and a birthday party. I tried their Schwarzbier, which was similar to Guinness but didn't quite have the same bite. After dinner, we walked over to the Creamery and sang a couple of songs for the patrons there. It was pretty crowded, so no table-dancing opportunities for Nolan this time.

Early Sunday morning, Jeff and I headed up to Oakland for the second half of Iron Puzzler. DeeAnn decided to pass on the event so she could hang out with Karin, her best friend and bachelorette party organizer, who had to catch a plane at 6pm. When Team Ferromagnetic Snout arrived at Endgame, we realized that we had neglected to bring several important supplies, including scratch paper and a semaphore code sheet. Fortunately, our neighbors, Team Iron M(aid)en, were kind enough to lend us some paper, and Gerry still had his wheel-of-semaphore reference card that he'd drawn up when creating one of our puzzles. We decided that our goal for the day would be to finish "not last."

After four hours of grueling and often frustrating puzzle-solving, we ended up with a prize for the best application (I'm telling you, it's all about packaging)-- a $10 gift certificate for Endgame-- quite a few things to laugh about, and several "WTF?" revelations about puzzles we hadn't solved. The whole thing was very much like a playtesting party, except we didn't have DeeAnn's good food and we weren't able to call for hints when we got stuck. The latter really sucked sometimes.

That was all over by a little after 4pm. Gerry had to leave for another gig, but Jeff, Karl, Cary, and I retired to a nearby pub to get some food. I debated the wisdom of imbibing when I was already feeling so run-down, but ordered a Guinness anyway. The kitchen was being remodeled, so all our food came on plastic plates. We left a halfway decent tip anyway.

Cary and Karl headed home, and Jeff drove me down to Chabot College in Hayward so I could meet up with the Scales for the 7pm show of a benefit concert for Asian tsunami victims. Several other a cappella groups were performing, mostly barbershop and similar men's choruses, and I was pretty much sleepwalking by the time we got on stage-- we were the second act after intermission. The crowd wasn't huge, and apparently smaller than the 2pm show, when the house was about half full. I guess there's a reason most theaters only do matinees on Sunday.

Jeff had headed back to the peninsula after dropping me off, so I caught a ride with Loren and got home after 10pm. It was at least another hour before I actually went to bed, because I have a bad habit of screwing around online when I should be doing other things. Like sleeping.

Exhausting, but a lot of fun.

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Additional content copyright © 2005 by Loren A. Cheng