Puzzles are reportedly selling better across the world than they do at Christmas time.
They are made by pasting images onto cardboard (images that evoke a sense of ‘coziness’ are always popular).
An elaborate cookie-cutter machine then applies 1,000 metric tonnes of pressure to cut the pieces.
The cutting tool for a 1,000-piece puzzle uses up to 230 feet of steel.
The edges of the tool dull eventually, and can be sharpened once before it has to be discarded.
[Information obtained from the New York Times].
Check out the amazing one-color puzzle below, though – from Japan.
The Japanese name for it translates to Pure White Hell Daio.
I have decided to improve my cryptic crossword skills, and so I printed out a few that I had found in online issues of The Irish Times.
I am not allowed to use Google too directly. (Shockingly, many of the clue phrases and their solutions can be found online).
I do use Google to look up synonyms, or the odd word or phrases that I do not understand.
Example: I think you need to be an Irishman or a Brit, to know that C of E stands for Church of England.
Here’s a sneak peek at my current LEGO project.
I call it ‘The Doon Drive House’. It’s a replica of the house that I grew up in, in South Africa — in a town called Vereeniging, and on Doon Drive, of course.
I had photos of the outside of the house to help me with the dimensions. As for the inside: I still recall every nook and cranny, down to the furniture and appliances that were installed.
So it’s quite a trip down memory lane for me, with the little bricks from Denmark. I used to play with them in that very house, all of 6 years old.
I went bowling with my family on Friday night.
The bowling alley looks and feels much the same — almost identical! — as the old Imperial Lanes bowling alley off Rainier Ave in Seattle. (Sadly, it closed down in 2015).
Check out my form in the ‘action sequence’ below. Not bad, but I have work to do: not a single strike in the ten frames*. I did clean up the spares that had remained after the first ball, on several frames. *It’s a strike when all ten pins are knocked down with the first ball rolled.
I found these stuffed animals in the Whole Foods grocery store (it’s Amazon-owned) on Westlake Ave. I liked the stuffed alpaca* best, Peruvian blanket on its back and all. The T-rexes at the back, are nice, as well. I’m just not sure they make the same excellent cuddle material as the alpaca. (Scary teeth).
*Llamas have long, banana-shaped ears, so this is not a llama.
Young people are now flocking to the social media app called Tik Tok. (It is used to create video clips set to snappy music: clowning for the camera, falling down on your skateboard, shooting hoops, driving golf carts, stuff like that).
Trouble is, the servers are based in China, and regulators fear that the app could pose a national security risk (used to spy on American citizens, used in political influence campaigns, or even used by ISIS terrorists for propaganda).
Anyway – let’s see what the fuss is about, I thought. My initial take: yes, as easy as YouTube to waste a lot of time on it. I stumbled onto a few cute animal videos (stills below), and I like those the best.
I saw this Grimm’s Fairy Tales book in Hamburg and loved the pictures in it .. but it was so heavy, and a little pricey.
Luckily, Amazon had a used one for me that I could order (from a book dealer in England; shipping only $4), and earlier this week, it landed on my porch.
My friend and I went on a second-hand bookstore treasure hunt on Saturday.
I am looking for a few out-of-print Afrikaans books from my childhood.
It looks like I will have better luck scouring the offerings of local online booksellers – but it is still fun to browse through the shelf inventory of second-hand booksellers!
Here’s an internet meme to celebrate National Pet Day (even though it was yesterday).
The feline is Julian Assange*’s cat Michi, pictured in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2016. After Assange’s arrest on Thursday, Ecuador threatened to put Michi in an animal shelter – but the kitty kat is now reportedly with Assange’s family.
*Assange is an Australian journalist, computer programmer and the founder and director of WikiLeaks [Source: Wikipedia].
‘There is an end to everything, to good things as well’.
Proverb that dates back to about 1374 (Geoffrey Chaucer, poet).
We learned yesterday that the reason the Rolling Stones had to postpone their upcoming concert in May in Seattle, was for Mick Jagger (75) to undergo heart surgery (a heart valve replacement). Yikes. Apparently surgeons can work new wonders these days with a much less invasive procedure, but even so.
Is this not a sign for Mick and the Stones to finally, just pack it up, and call it quits?
Alright .. I’m done for now with my iTunes tune-up. It was a lot of fun. In some cases I broke the ‘rules’: uploaded a singles album cover from online, if I had only imported the hit song from a full CD, and I did not like the CD cover much. In other cases where I had multiple CDs for one artist or group (ABBA), I could upload several cool old vinyl covers or CD covers.
It’s just about 2019 here in Hong Kong.
Cheers! Happy New Year!
By 9 pm, the Hong Kong Police Dept. were out in full force in the small square of streets called Lan Kwai Fong in the Central District (party central for expats and locals alike). The surrounding streets were closed for traffic.
Also: the Yung Kee Restaurant nearby had posted a sign by the entrance ‘Our Signature Charcoal Cooked Goose Has Been Sold Out’. (Aw. Out of goose on New Year’s Eve. And I guess wait staff could no longer announce ‘Your goose is cooked, sir!’, as they put the goose on the table).
The Seattle Mariners baseball field – south of downtown – is set up as a Christmas light maze (the Seattle ‘Enchant’ Christmas market and festival). So that’s where we went after beers & dinner tonight. There were forests of light trees, a scavenger hunt for Santa’s reindeer in the maze, and a little ice rink as well.
‘President Trump’ was again featured in this Saturday’s SNL cold open, portraying him and other world leaders at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires. Hmm. Is this really funny? I thought. In this case, Putin and Mohammed Bin Salman are – by all credible accounts in the real world – savages, directly responsible for murdering their political enemies. They should be persona non grata at the G20 (and maybe they are). So is it cool to ‘celebrate’ and poke fun at them?
I guess I’m too serious. This is simply an offer to the audience to escape the horrors of the real universe, and jump into a parallel one of parody, for a little while. Another problem could be that I only have one beer on a Saturday night, and not three or four, as I’m sure most in the studio audience must have had!
We ran out to the movie theater today to go see the just-released Freddie Mercury/ Queen biopic called ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. It had gotten mixed reviews from the critics – but as it turned out: what do they know? I thought it was very, very well done.
American actor Rami Malek worked hard to undergo a stunning transformation to portray Freddie Mercury’s flamboyance and human side. The filmmakers collaborated with Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor (71) and lead guitarist Brian May (69). (Bass guitarist John Deacon (67) retired from the band’s activities a few years after Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991).
The movie ends with an amazing recreation of Bob Geldof’s Live Aid concert that was held in 1985 at Wembley Stadium in London (worldwide rock concert organized to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans).