Another Hobby Blog

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thank You, SP8ee!

(this thank-you is a little bit belated, actually... but every bit sincere!)

My wonderful spoilee for SP8 sent me (for my recovery-from-surgery phase) a wonderful pair of books!

Aunt Erma's Cope Book -- a great read, good for keeping the spirits up when there's no way possible to get everything done that needs doing. :)

and a puzzlebook of Sudoku! I love puzzle books.. and I am very good at Sudoku (and other logical/mathematical solution-style puzzles), so this was a much appreciated choice! In fact, there are still enough unsolved puzzles in the book to make it worth bringing with on the current round of holiday travel! :)

I did discover an interesting fact when the puzzle book arrived-- A fundamental difference in the approaches toward life between my mother and I...

I like to start at the back of the puzzle book (or the text book or the craft how-to book), pick the most challenging puzzle (or project) and do my level best to solve it with little to no idea of *how*. I don't read the step-by-step instructions in the introduction chapter-- I only read the overview on the puzzle concept. In Sudoku, for example, I know there are 9 digits in each of three directions (horizontal line, vertical line, within the square), and that's sufficient to get me going. The rest of the process is a matter of straining my logical circuits until I find the solution, make a wrong choice (and end up with a non-solution situation), or can't press any further and get stuck for awhile. A good puzzle can take me several weeks of 10-minute bursts, and I am always surprised when I pick it up again (after finding myself stuck and abandoning it in frustration) and find that I can still push it forward with the solution skills I already have. I always wonder why I get to these block-points wherein I can't see what to do next? Especially since the next time I pick it up it is so obvious what I can still do! Why can't I see the entire solution set all at once? why do I need to take a break and come back, see things from a new perspective? .. but it's part of the fun to push as hard as I can at something that is a bit (maybe a little bit, maybe a huge significant bit) above my capacity level. I enjoy the challenge, I enjoy the breakthroughs, the "Aha!"s, the laboring over what I know should be solvable. .. and if I chance to get something wrong, I can accept that, because when one is working beyond one's capacity, one is bound to occassionally fail. Easy success does not make me happy--I want reward for my investment.

My mother, on the opposing side, starts at the beginning. She reads the introduction thoroughly (several times if needed), goes through all the practice steps, and starts with the easiest puzzle. She gets her sense of accomplishment from conquering each step independently, understanding thoroughly the workings of each independent process before complicating the situation with an additional factor. She draws enjoyment from working the easy solution and being "graduated" to an incrementally more difficult challenge.

I suppose there is hope that, some day, if we keep to our patterns, we might both meet in the middle.

Thank You, Juli! They've been great fun, and I think of you each time I work on a puzzle!! :)


  • At Tue Dec 05, 04:10:00 AM PST, Blogger Armando Shen said…

    For everybody who wants to try out something new in sudoku, try shendoku, using the sudoku rules but playing two people, one against the other, like battleshipps. They have a free version to download at . Anything else they are bringing out or they are working on you can find at or at they´r blog . Have fun, I am. I specially like one slogan I heard about Shendoku: SUDOKU is like masturbation (one person)…. SHENDOKU is like sex (it takes two).


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