l33tminion: (L33t)
The MIT Mystery Hunt was last weekend, this time themed after 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was an unusually good year for my team, we came in second (only 50 minutes after the winning team), so I finally got to go on the runaround at the end of hunt (which this year involved a sequence of challenges that took us from half-past-midnight Sunday until nearly 6AM, including a puzzle involving a giant word-search of previous puzzle answers and an awesome game of human pictionary in Lobby 7). I also helped solve some very clever meta-puzzles, a text adventure time travel puzzle, and a puzzle consisting entirely of anagrams of the word "random".

Spent the rest of the weekend severely hunt-lagged.

Still playing a lot of Ingress. Just reached level 8 (the end of the base level progression in the game). I never got into playing World of Warcraft because I figured any MMO would become a terrible time-sink, so should have seen that coming. At least a game that involves wandering around outside won't be as bad for my health.

I've recovered from last week's winter cold, but Julie still has a persistent cough.
l33tminion: (L33t zombie)
I continue to fail to write.

Last weekend was the MIT Mystery Hunt. This year was Alice in Wonderland themed, surprisingly a Hunt theme that hadn't been done before. I wasn't able to focus on hunt as much as in past years, but I participated some. My team had their best performance yet, actually finishing all of hunt this time and coming in fifth place. Puzzles and solutions are here, my favorite puzzles included:My work continues to be busy, but I'm finally seeing some positive results on my project of the last few weeks. The reading group at work is now reading Joel on Software.

Watched The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki, which was everything I expected from Mamoru Hosoda (the director). A good, moving story, and some really well-done animation.

Went out to a concert on Wednesday, saw Elizabeth and the Catapault at Brighton Music Hall. Good stuff. Opening band was Neulore.

This weekend, Melissa (my sister) is in town and we're taking some time to visit extended family.

It continues to be super-cold in Boston, but this week's snowstorm wasn't nearly as bad as anticipated.

This all seems pretty fragmentary, which is yet another reminder to write things I want to write when they're fresh in my head.
l33tminion: (Caffeine)
This year's Mystery Hunt (themed after financial shenanigans and heist movies) was amazing and crazy, lasting slightly over 73 hours despite hunt organizers' (Manic Sages') attempt to speed things along (increasing the rate of free puzzle solutions, adding hints, a late-game decision to require only that five of the six rounds be solved instead of all six, and a foreshortened runaround at the end). The longest MIT Mystery Hunt yet, and probably the hardest. Certainly one of the most complex. I wasn't of much help to my team this time except very early in the game. On one puzzle the solution was staring me in the face for hours and I didn't realize until shortly after hunt was completed.

Only two teams completed five rounds: The winner, the team whose team name was the entire text of Atlas Shrugged (evidently the sign-up website had no limit on the length of team names), and Palindrome. My team, Death from Above (going by the name "Death & Mayhem" after merging with the team named Mayhem) was among six more teams approximately tied for both places, and might have done even better if not for technical glitches (everywhere, including MIT's email system being flaky) and late-game slip-ups on the part of the organizers.

Solutions aren't up until hunt organizers have recovered from their ordeal, so I'll try to point to a few of the more interesting puzzles then.
l33tminion: (Default)
The MIT Mystery Hunt was this weekend. It was fun. This year's Hunt was themed after "The Producers"; Max and Leo are up to their usual schemes and require the teams' help to make their new scam plays into sure-fire box-office flops (included rounds of puzzles like "A Circus Line" (meta-puzzle solution: ELEPHANT IN A TUTU), "Okla-Holmes-a" (CORNY CLUES), and "Into the Woodstock" (RAPUNZEL HAS AFRO)).

Puzzles and solutions are here. Cool puzzles I helped on:
Pure and Simple (figured out the form when the Muse struck, helped solve the rest)
Zugzwaang (someone pointed out the misspelling, I figured out the form from that plus Wikipedia and helped solve)
Tax... In... Space... (this is a straightforward(ish) puzzle)
Winning Condtions (someone else figure out the form, I wrote a program to help solve it)
Sounds Good to Me (Xave figured out the form, I helped solve)

The above are all pretty decent puzzles to try if you like puzzles (the answer to Hunt puzzles is always a word or short phrase), or just to look at the solutions if you're curious how such things are designed.

In unrelated Boston news, it is now COLD.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Mystery Hunt was fun. The full hunt is here, and the answers are all up (clicking "call in answer" will now take you to the page with the solution). My team didn't do very well this year, we solved a few meta-puzzles from each round but only completed one super-meta. I wish we'd gotten Cut and Paste (got off on the wrong track and never figured it out) and the Megaman meta-puzzle (we never got on the right track on this one, though that shouldn't have been so hard) and the third solution for Making the Possible Impossible (all the puzzles that round had three solutions and we got the first two). Wasn't the best year for hunt, since I was sick (among other people). But still was fun.

The rest of the weekend was good, too. Had a Monday brunch date with someone I met off of OKC.

My shirts arrived from Daswani. And my worries about the color of the shirts have been largely dispelled, they all look good. If the fit isn't perfect, I'll just get some alterations on those as well.

The weather today was crazy. Hopefully I won't slip and fall on my way to work tomorrow.
l33tminion: (Microbes)
Hunt is on, with a Mario (or video games in general) theme this year. Unfortunately, I can't brain today, due to a cold. Hopefully once some helpful medicine kicks in, I'll be up and running.

Xave's Dresden Files tabletop game is starting, which looks like it should be fun. I'm still not a big fan of Fate, though, it requires more fiction-writing-type creativity than I actually have.

There's other stuff I should comment on, but I've been behind on everything this week.


May. 15th, 2010 02:40 am
l33tminion: (Microbes)
Tough week. Busy at work. Missed work Tuesday and Wednesday because I was struck flat by some sort of virus. Still trying to shake off the last bit of sore throat and cough from that. Hopefully will be able to have a useful workout tomorrow?

Interesting watching the markets crash this week. Seems like everyone's dropping everything to buy gold. Oil is back down close to $70 on decreased expectations for the actually doing things sector of the economy.

Obama's picked a nominee for the Supreme Court, with rather divided reactions. Lawrence Lessig likes her, Brad Hicks is so fed up that he's ready to slap on the Palin '12 bumper sticker and stock up on riot supplies.

MIT Anime Club is closing their events to non-student outsiders and alumni starting next semester, so that's one thing knocked off my schedule.
l33tminion: (Default)
SIPB talk today by Keith Winstein about "The Non-Conflict Between Bayesians and Frequentists" was interesting.

Basically, the two approaches to probability are as follows: Bayesians use prior probability (which may involve assumptions) to calculate the probability of a result given a new piece of data. Frequentists determine what answer they can give that will be right a given percentage of the time.

There's no real conflict, mathematically, it's just a matter of looking at different things. Bayesians look at the error rate among positive results, Frequentists look at the rate of false positives. Alternately, Bayesians focus on giving the best answer for every possible input, Frequentists focus on being most reliable overall for every possible output.

Less flatteringly: Bayesians use all of the information they have, but also some of the information they don't. Frequentists are reliable overall, but are willing to tell you manifestly untrue things so long as they only do so a small percentage of the time.

Frequentist vs. Bayesian is far from the only issue, which specific statistical test you use matters. Then again, the difference between reasonable statistical tests (even ones overly permissive for some values) might not be that significant in numerical terms, even if the difference can be quite substantial in financial terms.

Still, the conflict has some relevance to science. If you assume that people are studying a wide variety of hypotheses, only a tiny portion of which is likely to actually reflect the real world, then you might only have to admit a small percentage of false positives before the false positives overwhelm the true results.
l33tminion: (L33t zombie)
Mystery hunt: Worked on a few cool puzzles, including quite possibly the greatest knights and knaves puzzle of all time.

Arisia: Attended a few panels, went to a few parties (Barfleet and the Pi-Con Preregistration Party), ran into old friends, wandered, was amazed by some of the costumes. Perhaps Arisia is a bit too crowded for me, though...

Despite the good bits, my sanity levels are low. The weekend is a huge setback on my diet, I can't communicate with Anna sanely (evidently), and someone making fun of me for being persistently unable to remember the name of someone I see at the Diesel meetup sent me into an emotional meltdown for no good reason (that doesn't happen as much as it used to back in the day, but I still have a few annoyingly sore spots).

I also shoveled a lot of snow.
l33tminion: (Conga!)
Started the long weekend today, alternating time between Arisia and Mystery Hunt.

Mystery Hunt: Kickoff was great, great bunch of puzzles this year, I solved one with a small team of hunters and was a minor help on a few others.

Arisia: The panels didn't really draw me in, although there are some more interesting ones later in the weekend. It was great to see Anna again, and I also ran into a bunch of other people I haven't seen in a while. Really a great crowd. Looking forward to some of the parties tomorrow night.

Decided to walk home in the freezing wind rather than trying to crash on a couch, since I sleep miserably in suboptimal conditions. I wish I could just skip it, but I know from experience that a proper night's sleep is the way to go if I want to maximize my fun overall.
l33tminion: (L33t zombie)
Still sick. Recovering, but my cold has started to move from my throat and nose to my ears and sinuses, which makes me feel real out of it. I was feeling okay at noon, but I was pretty dead by six, and I headed for home at seven. The Mystery Hunt (murder mystery themed this time) puzzles are hard this year, and being sick really limited my enjoyment and effectiveness.

I stopped by Toscanini's on my way home, thinking that some ice cream might brighten my day, but it was closed, with big signs plastered on the windows reading "SEIZED for nonpayment of taxes". :-/

Maybe tomorrow will be better.
l33tminion: (Squee!)
Today is National Hug Day. I was informed of this fact by a jubilant reveler offering passerby free hugs in Lobby 7. (An offer I gleefully accepted.)

*hugs* for all who want one! Have you hugged someone today?
l33tminion: (Train)
Yesterday: Spent 3:30AM-7:50PM on trains and in train stations. Woo. Don't know if Amtrak beats flying (it's cheaper, more comfortable hour for hour, probably better for the environment) but it's always late and much slower (why oh why don't we have bullet trains here yet?). It's better than Greyhound in almost every way, though. After arriving in Boston, I crashed at Xave's. Thanks to Markos for the ride to the Amtrak station and to Xave for putting up with my job-search-in-Boston-related shenanigans.

Today: Job interview with Karmaloop. Bottom line: The interview went well, except the timeframe doesn't work out. Their IT dude is going on a month-long vacation in a week. I donned ye olde interview suit for the first time, but that was way too formal for that company. Still might have been a good decision, as my suit is also far more stylish than anything else I wear. I picked up an application for work at the Starbucks near the Common on my way back to MIT.

Currently: I'm mystery hunting with team Death From Above. The puzzles this year are fiendish indeed, but it's good times.
l33tminion: (Junpei)
Today was initially pretty blah. However, I went swing dancing at MIT in the evening (at the urging of some Oliners). That completely turned my mood around. It was really wonderful. I wasn't the only beginner there, and people generally switched around, so I had no problem finding people to dance with.

After that, the rest of the evening went great. It's amazing how wonderful things are when I'm in a good mood.

(One random thing: Walking near Davis square at night, I heard loud birdcalls, with the type of call changing completely every three or four repetitions. Perhaps a very loud mockingbird was confused by the street lights and low-hanging clouds? Or maybe someone has a birds of the world car alarm...)
l33tminion: (L33t zombie)
Today was a pretty good day, except this cold is still killing me.

I went to anime club in the evening, which was interesting because of Campus Priview Weekend at MIT. I saw Jack giving directions to a large group of PreFrosh (which was certainly nice of him; I understand that PreFrosh easily get lost and end up in the oddest places). Also, MIT has placed a new decoration between the Great Sail and the Green Building, but it seems a little out of place (extra props for the use of puns that involve archaic pronunciations of typographical marks).

Melissa will be arriving tomorrow.
l33tminion: (Default)
Heading into town on Friday, getting off the train, I saw a girl wearing a blue Naruto-style ninja headband with a musical note on it. This led to the following conversation:
Me: "Hey, I've seen you somewhere before, haven't I?"
Ninja: "Possibly."
*awkward silence*
Me: *realizing that there was really no point to saying that in the first place* "Er... sorry to bother you..."

As it turns out (not entirely unexpectedly), this person was one of the other regulars at anime club. She showed a little after I arrived:
Me: "I knew I recognized you from somewhere. Then again, there can't be that many people running around Boston wearing ninja headbands."
Ninja: "I've run into other people wearing those on the train before."
Me: o_O

So, apparently Boston has a relatively (compared to zero) high number of ninja-filker-Naruto-fans. How interesting.

What else... I've been working on my midterm paper for linear algebra this weekend.

Also, today (yesterday) was t3h K4t's 20th birthday, so there was a party for that. Happy birthday, K4tz0r (although I doubt you're reading this; no matter, I told you in person, too).
l33tminion: (Default)
Friday afternoon was anime club. Watched Memories, which was really awesome.

I spent Saturday afternoon playing DDR with other Anime Club members, then we went and got sushi. In the evening was Orange Tours, which I frobbed myself into on the pretense of being a frosh. The tour was to mostly places I'd already been, but the Jacks did a very good job, and the stories were pretty entertaining. I ate breakfast at Random at about 3:30 in the morning and was asleep before dawn.

I spent most of today sleeping. Spent some time in the arcade in the evening.

In the news, Katrina is coming on strong, a change from earlier predictions which stated that gulf oil production would be left high and dry. Oil is hovering around $70. More alarmingly, New Orleans may be facing massive destruction. (The city is currently being evacuated. I hope everyone gets out okay...)
l33tminion: (Default)
I saw the dentist today. The street didn't blow up this time.

I played a bunch of DDR, worked on faster songs, beat Senorita, La Senorita Virtual, and Speed Over Beethoven on Heavy.

I went hacking with Xave and Phaeton, then watched some Cowboy Bebop.
l33tminion: (Default)
I went to the movies near Boston Common today. I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which was well done, although, nothing exceptional.

The Common was pretty busy because Boston Pride was today, so the park was filled with teh ghei and a general carnival-like atmosphere (music, overpriced food (yay lemonade and fried dough!), gaudy clothing). Some other Oliners were there, too, so I ended up walking around with them.

In the evening, I went into town and then went hacking with Xave, Patti, and Phaeton.


May. 7th, 2005 11:21 pm
l33tminion: (Default)
This weekend has been quite fun. On Friday was the LARP Snaf U, which featured a ghost killed by three different people at different times for unrelated reasons, the Scottish mafia, incompetent idiots secret triple agents, Donald MacDonald Snaf, and the Loch Ness monster.

Today there was DnD and the Time Traveler convention. DnD was fun, although I'll post about that once the plot has advanced a bit more. The Time Traveler convention was too packed for me to attend, but I got to see some of the pre-convention madness, including anti-time-travel protesters, chanting ("Carpe Diem, / Seize the day! / Future people, / Go away!") and shouting slogans ("The present is NOW!"), and a dude with white hair impeccably dressed in a dark purple shirt, black and white stripped tie, and brown suit with white pinstripes.

My commuter rail ride home was also made more interesting by the large and clearly wasted group of baseball fans also on the train. Didn't find out if the Sox won or lost, though...

In economics, S+P has reduced bonds issued by GM and Ford to junk status.

Finally, I'd like to share this post from the [livejournal.com profile] daily_kos.
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