The Chinese party’s over. In my little place anyways.

Look fast!

Now you see it!

Chinesepuz1

Now you don’t!

Chinesepuz1a

Like I’ve said, I don’t keep completed puzzles around. The pleasure’s in the process, not in gazing at it when it’s done. That 500-piecer freebie from the library is titled “China Town Festival.”

It was OK. Neither the highlight of my life nor puzzling world. Overall rating: 3 stars. My notes:

* It was made sucky because the entire puzzle was not represented on the box.

About 1 inch of the puzzle perimeter is absent from the box picture. For a puzzle 14″ x 18,” that’s significant missing acreage. 64 inches to be exact.

Anyone who does puzzles, especially detailed ones, which this is, relies heavily on the box graphic. When the box picture is incomplete — i.e., absent, covered by stickers, scratched up, you lose! You stumble, fumble, guess and second guess through the areas missing.

* Pieces are small. That’s not a hinderance unless your eyesight and/or hands are challenged. That’s a nickel; have a look-see:

Chinesepuz4

Was my first with pieces sized between standard and the super tiny ones of mini-puzzles (which I won’t do). Wasn’t sure how I’d like it but I’m game to try anything once. Verdict: 1-1. Win: They take up less space on my limited-size table. Loss: Tiny details are hard to spot.

* “Fun puzzle but one piece missing — circled on box lid. 2nd window up from the ‘Food Co’ over the Sun Win Food Co. sign. Found it!! Oh joy! Complete as of 1/1/2015”

That was a note inside the box.

That person lies!

There ARE pieces missing! Two, in fact! And one a border piece! Sucks. Any puzzler knows the importance of the border. It sets the foundation for the puzzle. Establish border, then fill.

Can you spot the missing pieces? Okay, I’m making it waaaay easy with close-ups!

Chinesepuz2

Chinesepuz3

So that lying note’s going into the trash, to be replaced by an accurate one. Plus I circled their locations on the box. Because I’m thoughtful and helpful.

Here’s a point. Missing pieces are to be expected when doing puzzles from a public pool, I suppose. Still, it’s irksome. And rude. It’s irksome that people are careless and careless about pieces of puzzles NOT THEIRS. They’re puzzles intended for all. Carelessness in general is profoundly irksome to me.

Head’s-up notes in boxes for future puzzlers are thus much appreciated and in my view necessary. They’re courtesy. Ooops, there I go again. Using the c-word! Courtesy. Courtesy has gone the way of the Edsel. However, I’m guilty of being both courteous and very thoughtful. I’ll have to work on ridding myself of those traits if I hope to become a member of the American culture.

* I’ve oft said I’m an Asian trapped in a Western body. Chinese New Year’s means as much if not more to me as Western New Year’s.

This year Chinese New Year’s falls on Feb. 19. Theirs is by the lunar not Gregorian calendar, you know.

I chose this puzzle in the spirit of Chinese New Year’s and aspired to complete it by the 19th. Which I did. With weeks to spare! I’m now ready to embrace the new year!

So China Town Festival is over. In my little place on the hill behind the library, that is.

Back into the library pool it goes. In keeping with the New Year’s spirit, a special celebratory sendoff seems appropriate so …

Sayonara China Town Festival!

Sayonara China Town Festival!

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Later, Lansing and buh-bye, Bonobo Baby

S’long, Lansing. I hardly knew ye.

Actually, I’ve never even been to Lansing, Michigan. However, did just complete this puzzle:

Lansingpuzzle

Lansing Remembered. 550 pieces. Took some time. Partly ’cause my puzzle time was in sporadic bursts rather than long dedicated hours that’d keep me up ’til 4 or 5 a.m. Partly because of these:

Lansingpiece1

Lansingpiece2

Note the extensive slight shading gradations. Most of the puzzle was like that. A microscope alongside wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

While I’m patient, meticulous and have otherworldly love of detail, details like barely perceptible shifts in shadings do make for slow going. Plus a tedium that only a patient person with exceptional love of detail might enjoy!

But it’s done. Always a sense of a accomplishment in one finished. Once it’s done, it’s done. Doesn’t lie around on my table. The joy and satisfaction don’t lie in a puzzle completed. They rest in the process. Long hours, sometimes painstaking, of testing, linking pieces. Therein is the gratification. It’s in the process. The endeavor. The work.

Sidenote: I’m fully aware I’m a freak in modern America of Entitlers and No-Wanna-Work under the Obama Socialist regime. I LOVE to work! Become deeply depressed if I’m not being productive and contributing. FREAK!

And work a puzzle is. Pleasurable work. Work nonetheless.

Once it’s completed, I enjoy it for about a day. Then box it up and move it on to the next “puzzler.”

Note: I always break up the pieces 100%. Don’t like used puzzles with pieces attached. Even if it’s just two. Matter of fact, saw today a used puzzle with huge blocks still intact. Rankles me. I separate attached pieces before starting. The purity and beauty of a puzzle are in starting from scratch, with a clean slate. Availing one’s self of pieces linked is cheating.

So s’long Lansing Remembered. Back into the pool of free library puzzles you go.

Had the next one all lined up.

chimppuzzle

Bonobo Baby. Cute, nest pas?

Got started around midnight after work. Laid out the 500 pieces. Even grouped ’em by colors to assist workflow. Cordoned off straight edges for the framing. Got a portion of framing done and kept thinking: I’m not enjoying this.

It’s different. Keep going.

So I did. Again: not enjoying this. Doing just half the frame was drudgery. I’m not one to bow out easily. On the contrary. My problem’s that I endure. Stick around far too long in situations abusive, hurtful, destructive, ruinous.

I AM growing past those childhood means of survival. Growing beyond deep suffering into ease of life. In that light: No. Not enjoying this puzzle now. {surveying the landscape} Won’t enjoy it any more later.

So an hour later, back into the box went Bonobo Baby.

Reason? Have a look.

chimppieces

A keen observer will notice instantly. Pieces are angular. Only the piece in upper left corner is a true straight-edged frame piece. All the others have edges straight or nearly so. Differences in shapes are minute. Needed my metaphorical magnifying eyepiece to examine whether edges that seemed to line up truly did. Over and over. Ugh.

Limited color scheme didn’t help matters. Varying shades of blacks and greens and little more. All around the puzzle sucked. Yup, I gave it go. Recognized the challenge of all angular pieces. Went for it. Tried my best. Ultimately decided that it not only ruined the pleasure of puzzling, it bored me.

Learned though that I LIKE (and need) the nuances and variations of pieces. It’s FUN to study, discern and test what piece may link with another based on shape, color, peculiarities of details! Variety: good! Sameness: Dull & uninspiring.

So it was buh-bye Bonobo Baby. Back into the box you go. Sorry, baby. Don’t take it hard. We just weren’t meant to be.

Exchanged Lansing and Bonobo for two at the library. None with angular edges, I checked. Learned my lesson. You’ll just have to remain patiently in a state of suspended puzzlement until I air what’s on tap. 🙂

Addendum: No animals were harmed in the return of Bonobo Baby.

 

Lovely sky & trees! Until it’s a puzzle.

It’d be a novel way to make money, that’s for sure!

Doing puzzles.

I love puzzles! Seriously, if I could get paid doing ’em, well, I’m sure I’d go punchy, cross-eyed and stir-crazy after eight hours of staring at ‘n’ puttin’ together the pieces day after day.

But I do love ’em!

Been a long time since I’ve been in a place and had the space for puzzles. Now that I just purchased a table — a thrift store workbench, actually, an interesting story, that — the space & place are arrived!

I was all excited for my first puzzle in a few years. Soon after finding none of any appeal at the Goodwill, I was told the most amazing thing by someone:

You can get ’em at the library!

Don’t even need a library card. Though of course I have one. Whenever I move (a lot!!), I arrange for a new library card way before the driver’s license!

A sign at the puzzles shelves reads: “Take One Leave One.” So I did. Had none to leave; no worries, I’ll return whatever I borrow.

Details. Colors. Things happening. A scene with appeal.

My keywords for a puzzle.

Oh, and size. Size matters. My table isn’t all that large. A 550-piece puzzle exceeds my table’s limits. After crammin’ ’em side by side like sardines, I was layin’ ’em on the window sill off to the side! Pieces were dropping to the floor. Not ergonomically comfortable or relaxing “puzzling.”

 

A 500-piece puzzle is about right. It engages and challenges the brain for a good while but doesn’t commit ya for life.

A 300-piecer would be my minimum. One day, with the right table, I’d go up to 1,000. A girl can dream. 🙂

Since it’s the season and I do loooooove detail, I went with a lively Christmas scene. A 550-piecer. Which I completed in two days! With two work shifts thrown in there!

How’s that possible, you wonder?

You don’t sleep! haha

Seriously. As a nocturnal creature, being up ’til 3-ish is par for the course unless there’s reason to be up early. Once I start puzzling, though, I can’t stop! I think one more piece. Plug it in. Just one more piece. Then I’m gonna stop. Really.  Plug in another. Then another. 

Hours later, I’m lookin’ at the clock, wincing. It’s 5 in the morning.

Hence while puzzling, it behooves me to recite: Just walk away.

So with no further ado, the Christmas Time puzzle done in two days:

Xmaspuzzle

I quite like the scene but it was a bitch, uncomfortable ergonomics and window sill aside. How so?

See all that foliage? Foilage is tedious.

See the sky? Tedious.

Minute differences in shading especially in upper right corner made it a bear. Is this black? Royal blue? So subtle were the shading differences that I was like a scientist in a microbiology lab, under a bright light, peering into a microscope discerning different pathogenic forms of Escherichia coli.

Anyhow,  it was fun (though I wasn’t as charmed by it as other puzzles). It’s ready to go back to the library:

xmaspuzzlepile

 

And a new one begun. Maybe one with a little less microbiology lab, a little more buzzing pub!