Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Podcasts and Puzzles

Me and my mate Elmo (both fine denizens of rllmukforum.com - link's over there on the right - have finally got ourselves together and done a podcast! It's about games and stuff, and really should carry some sort of language warning. Lots of people seem to like it - perhaps you will too. Download the new episode at http://perplexorum.com/tpwnn/Episode2.mp3. And cheers to the mighty skenmy for doing the hosting thing - next one should be up and about in a couple of weeks .

As for the puzzle in my last post, a couple of people managed to solve it (after a couple of hints!). One fine poster on Perplexorum even did a shiny multi-coloured picture to show his workings (cheers Rob) which you can see below...

That's the first step. I'll post the answer in whited-out text so you can keep trying if you wish... ready?
-> If you read the words on the board, you should see the instruction to "find question, need discover missing tiles". The missing ones are scribbled up there in the top corner of the image. Anagram them up and you'll (hopefully) get MY CREATOR. And who was the creator of Scrabble? Why... Alfred Mosher Butts, of course! <-

Well done Typhin on solving it first. A pint is yours!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Slaying of the Boredom Monsters

Half term, day two - and I'm bored already. That's probably a good sign, means I want to get back to school and do more teaching. Anyhow, to kill some time, I've been designing some new puzzles. I'll fire them up here over the next few days... if I remember, of course.

Here's your first one! First correct solve wins a pint! You can give me your answer (do) in the comments, by email (idlemichael@gmail.com), or harrassment in #perplexorum on IRC.

Good luck - I think it's a stinker!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It All Ovah!

Two big things in my life have ended over the last week or so, which make me feel a bit odd. It's a nice odd feeling though, because it means that even though they are now a thing of the past, they've been two major contributing factors to Who I Am. Let me babble on about them for a bit, then I'll shut up.

First off, the school thing. I've spent the last six weeks working in my Cross-phase School - basically experiencing life in a different Key Stage (in my case, I'm usually in KS2, though since January I've been in Foundation and KS1). Initially I found it *incredibly* difficult, completely out of my comfort zone; after all, controlling a group of 26 six- and seven-year-olds is a whole different barrel of monkeys to a similar sized group of children even a couple of years older. They're much more dependent on you. Every single point that you try to teach them has to be spelled out in baby-steps - as a teacher, you cannot assume that they know even the most basic things. Hell, the Lower Ability group I was working with struggled with reading even basic sentences and doing simple addition. And because of that, for the first couple of weeks, I felt really out of my depth.

This was not an easy few weeks. Hitting the ground running was tricky, trying not to step on any of the established staff's toes, learning all the children's names... and then trying to plan lessons (and teach them while under constant scrutiny!) on top of that. However, about halfway through the second week, it all just seemed to click - somehow, I became organised... my lessons seemed to be getting through to the kids... my observation scores rose from mediocre 4s to actually pretty good 2s (even a couple of godlike 1s crept in there towards the end!). And for the first time since I started this course, I finally feel like a proper teacher. Last Friday was my final day with them, and (for once) I even got a bit emotional; the whole class made me a fantastic card - with a picture of each one of them inside. I'm going to miss those little buggers... though I have promised I'll go back and visit :D

The other big thing that has concluded is (if you've been following) the first season of Perplex City. Those who have no idea who Scarlett, Violet, Sente and company are, I'd suggest skipping to the next bit... Anyway, the missing Receda Cube was retrieved from a forest just outside Corby, here in the UK (which I happened to have been in the day before after recieving a 7am alarm call last Saturday!). One very lucky player will be presented with a rather splendid £100,000 at a party in That London on the 24th, at which - of course - I shall be in attendance. Of course, now that the whole thing is over (for a couple of weeks, anyway, until Season Two kicks in), it seemed like a perfect time to think back on the whole thing and how much impact it's had on my life over the last two years...

It's not the cards. It's not the fact that I *nearly* got a completely insane job at the company behind the whole shebang (in fact, I think if I did get that job, I wouldn't be the same person I am now). It's not the story, even... the best thing I've got out of the whole Perplex City thing is the people I've met through it. The live events are obviously a lot of fun, but there's also the online stuff too. The fact that a whole bunch of us talk for hours on the interwebs all night makes me happy - even if there's bugger all happening in the story - and I'm proud and happy to call these people my friends. Some I may never even meet in Real Life, and obviously there are a few people to whom I am closer than others, but we're still a team, and I would like to say thank you to them all. Cheers guys. Roll on Season Two!

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