Sunday, July 17, 2005

Dorky ways to spend a weekend.

The secrecy in my new marriage is officially at an end: yesterday was Puzzle Safari 2005. Our team (which had Ryan, Alex, and Brian in addition to me), The Ratio of People to Cake, finished 9th out of about 60 teams. Chris, who helped organize it, can now talk to me about puzzles again. Despite goading from Martyn, I managed to avoid blogging during the event itself. Somehow.

So the deal with Puzzle Safari is that the answers to puzzles are locations on the Microsoft campus, and you have to visit these locations on foot -- no cars, bikes, rollerblades, whatever -- to retrieve stamps for your logbook. I spent a couple of hours solving puzzles and about three and a half hours solving the traveling salesman problem plotting out the most efficient course around campus while running as fast as I could. The task of the runner is harder than it seems like it should be -- it's pretty hard to optimize your route in light of new solutions that your team is phoning in to you all the time and in light of the fact that you're finding challenges en route that you need to go complete for extra points (and in light of the fact that you're doing this all while running) and still hit the time deadlines that you need to hit each round for turning in your logbook. My quads and lower back are begging for mercy today. It was really fun, though.

It was a fun day, and I haven't even mentioned the fact that the new Harry Potter arrived yesterday!


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