28 June 1996

Lee has a good week (and a riddle)

On Thursday, 27 June 1996, I correctly answered the following riddle, sent to Riddle du Jour by Doug Mattox of Rolla, MO:

Decapitate me and all becomes equal. Then terminate me and I become second. Cut me front and back and I become two less than I started. What am I?

The answer is below, but here's something to make up some spoiler space. I won a 1996 Parrothead Club Caribbean Soul T-shirt for my trouble. And my home page was linked from the "Previous Riddles" section for a week and the "Sphinx's Hall of Fame" for who knows how long. I've been answering their riddles (or at least attempting to) for several months now. I probably get the correct answer about 30-40% of the time, but I was never selected as a winner. This time I was one of 93 people to answer correctly (out of 1316 who guessed). I don't always pay attention, but I'm pretty sure there has usually been more people with the correct answer when I've gotten it right before.

I'm sure this page will seem silly in a few weeks, but I'm writing it shortly after I found out I won, so I'm still excited. It's been a good week, as my (Useless) Super-Hero Generator was selected as a Surfers' Pick by Tony over at Yahoo! on Monday, 24 June 1996. I don't know how he found it since I haven't gone out of my way to advertise it, but I'm not complaining. 8)

Okay, I've wasted enough of your time. The answer is the word "seven."

What, you don't get it? Okay, here's the progression:

even (equal)
eve (2nd person, according to the Bible)
v (Roman numeral five; two less than seven)

Gee, do you suppose my (Useless) Roman Numeral Convertor gave me an advantage? :-)

[This is an early example of what one would later call a blog post. This was posted as two separate pages -- one for the question, one for the answer -- to my personal web site back on 28 Jun 1996. Now I'm putting here, therefore saving a whopping 3 Kb by removing it from my site after twelve years. And yes, it does seem a bit silly now. Oh, and the Riddle du Jour and Yahoo! destinations are long since gone, but the links are maintained for posterity. — 8 Oct 2008]

20 June 1996

Tip of the Moment (washing machine hoses)

Tip of the moment: Replace both washing machine hoses at the same time.

I came home from lunch one day to find water coming out from under the door. One of the washing machine hoses had burst and been shooting water out for up to three hours. Two days later, the other hose did the exact same thing. We had to replace the floors in three rooms. If I had been thinking straight when the plumber was there the first time, I would have had him replace both hoses. It's hard to think straight while you're trying to clean up a flooded house.

[From my "Past Tips of the Moment and Past Thoughts" page. This was the fourth tip and eighth post overall. At least we got some nice hardwood floors out of it. — 28 May 2009]

[A more complete account can now be found in the 14 May 1996 entry. — 17 June 2010]

18 June 1996

Pong found

[Originally posted to rec.games.video.arcade.collecting as "Pong found & help needed."]

Well, I'm *this* (| |) far away from being able to join VAPS. Today I finally bought a copy of Atari's Pong. (I figured I'd start at the beginning. 8)

I collect Atari 2600 cartridges. This is the only extent to which my finances have allowed me to collect video games. (Otherwise, I'd have a house full of coin-ops.) When looking at a local thrift store, I saw Pong standing there. I looked closer, and it said "Atari" and "Syzygy Engineered" on it. Wow, an original Pong! It was $40 and the electronics guy said it worked. I didn't have the money right then, knew my wife would kill me if I just brought it home, and didn't have a way of getting it home by myself anyway.

That evening I discussed it with my wife and we (okay, she) decided I could get it if the money didn't come out of the bank accounts. (This was incentive for me to finally sell my old computer.) A week and a bit later, the computer was sold, but I hadn't cleared out a space for the coin-op yet. Monday evening, she asked if I'd bought it yet and I said no, but took that as a go ahead. 8)

Today I went back to buy it with a coworker to help. We started to look around, and discovered they'd removed the TV and taken the cabinet outside! Aiiigghh! It didn't look like it had been outside long enough to get rained on, thank goodness. Unfortunately, one of the paddle knobs, which I'd noticed had been loose before, was

I went inside and talked to the people there (and found out their electronics guy was "no longer with them"). They said they'd tested it and it didn't work. Further discussion revealed that the TV didn't work. We went back and examined it. We came to the conclusion that it didn't seem to be missing any pieces, it was just empty because there wasn't much to it. I got it for $25 and we hauled it home.

[VAPS is the Video Arcade Preservation Society. It was a group of people owning arcade video games at home. They established a web site in the early days of the Internet. Being able to join it seemed like a big and unattainable honor at the time.

This post was originally made to ask a bunch of questions of coin-op collectors about my new acquisition. For the sake of the blog, I've edited them out. —11 June 2009]