A Quick Puzzle Before Christmas

Despite being the king (oops, I meant jack) of all hobbies, I have to admit, I haven ‘t done a lot of hobby related things lately.  I could blame the weather, or I could blame myself and the fall TV schedule.  Either way, I haven’t had a lot to write about.

I have been writing my other blog, whose links you can find on the right side of this page under the title “cool blogs”.  Mine is called Today’s Perfect Moment.  I have been putting a lot of energy there and have grown a rather large community in a short time.  There seems to be a lot more cross blogging done there and the page is set up to encourage followers.


While I haven’t done a lot, I have done some things.  Most recently, I got the itch to do a puzzle.  Maybe it is because I associate puzzles with Christmas.  I am surprised that no one gives these things as stocking stuffers anymore.  Knowing how addicting that can be, I really wasn’t in the mood to tackle a monster 5000 piece puzzle.  I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  What was my answer…the dollar store of course.

I found a couple of decent puzzles at the dollar store (Dollar Tree in this case) and purchased them for $1.25 each.  Even with Canadian tax, that still brought in two puzzles for less than $3.

I spent a couple of nights on the first one.  There seems to be no deterioration in my puzzle building skills and I was able to do it rather quickly.  Of course, that first night, I did the usual “just one more piece before I go to bed” thing, and wound up spending a hour or more when I should have been sleeping.  This probably was to the detriment of my students but I didn’t actually yawn while teaching.

The puzzle wasn’t the best quality.  The fit was a little loose and it came apart a couple of times.  Some pieces still had untrimmed edges (there seemed to be extra paper at the bottom layer of some of the pieces) and one was a little crumpled.  However, it only cost $1.25, so I can’t get tremendously angry about that.

When I lived in Japan, I bought frames and puzzle glue for the puzzles.  However, these days, now that I have finished, I will probably take it apart and give it to someone else to do.

The Number 5 Hobby I Would Take up

I have really enjoyed blogging, and I have often contemplated doing more blogs.  I figure if I offer a large enough choice, maybe I will gather a huge audience for at least one of my blogs.  Actually, it is more about finding a good niche, than about attracting a huge audience.  I appreciate the people who read this one, and I certainly appreciate the few who leave comments.

When I started blogging, someone told me that sustaining a blog is the hardest part.  At the time, I thought coming up with something to blog about was difficult (and finding a good title was a close second).  However, months later, I understand how valid that someone’s idea was.

Though I have a good idea for another blog, and several people are urging me to follow through on the idea, I am not sure I could sustain it.  It sounds like a good idea, but letting people down certainly isn’t.

Presently, I spend a bit of time per week blogging.  I think I should spend more, but I need time for commuting, reading, general housework, social events, and hobbies.  I like blogging, but I am not sure I should sacrifice any more of my hobby time to it.

B-2–The BINGO Chronicles

There I sat, dabber clinched in a my right hand, one eye on my meagre collection of three cards, one eye on the game program and my ears attuned to the caller.  A dab of sweat on my forehead testified that this was more than a contest, more than a diversion, this was BINGO.

I can’t say that I play bingo a lot.  I can count the number of times I have done this on one hand.  Usually I only go because my mother wants someone to go with.  Normally I decline, but occasionally I give in to the temptation and go.

This most recent occasion was partly to celebrate my vacation, and partly because they refused to hear my refusals.  I think they asked me more than ten times.  I said NO nine of those times, and they claimed they understood.  Then they asked me again.  I can’t blame them, I made the decision to go.  They tried to tempt me with visions of winning back the money I spent on my vacation–but I never thought that realistic, BINGO is a game of luck after all.

Taking a look at my family, you would think that BINGO is hereditary.  My grandmother, as legend has it, could still play 24 or more cards of BINGO despite being somewhat diminished by Alzheimer’s.  She couldn’t remember who you were, but she could play and win at BINGO.  My mother is also a formidable player who seems to be able to play more than 24 cards–she has to watch mine after all.

Once I did venture to playing 12 cards, but I nearly had a nervous fit.  I could barely keep up with the dabbing, let alone figure out if I got the “magic square” or “mystery X” or the “postage stamp” (if you fail to recognize any of these, then you probably aren’t a BINGO player) I vowed that night to never play BINGO again.  However, who can say no to their mother.

My most recent BINGO outing pitted me against a small group of two handed BINGO dabbing enthusiasts.  I hazard to guess that, as a man in his forties,  I was probably the second or third youngest person in the room, without counting the bingo caller, who I was too busy to get a look at.  Thankfully for me, smoking is no longer allowed at BINGO.  I imagine that there was a time when the haze of smoke was so thick that you really had to be on top of your cards.

In the old days BINGO players had to lug around a bag of chips that rattled and clinked like poker chips, as well as lucky troll dolls.  I didn’t see to many of those, but again, I was too busy concentrating to look very hard.

In the end, I didn’t win anything, and three cards weren’t too many.  I probably could have handled six. but certainly no more.  I would vow to never go again, but I am sure my mother will ask me the next time she visits, and reluctantly I will go with her.