Monday, January 22, 2007

blog for choice

It's Blog for Choice Day. The task is simply to blog about why I'm pro-choice.

I grew up Catholic and pro-life, and many people who know me have heard my story about being in First Friday mass in first grade when Fr. Salmon defined abortion. He hit a tiny plastic baby with a baseball bat, and explained that that is what abortion is. This is the image I lived with throughout my formative years and continue to live with as a gruesome, hyperbolic statement of hatemongering for wicked women. Upon letting go of Catholicism, the associated guilt, and ultimately religion altogether, I came to know what it really means to be a compassionate citizen of this world. It is a much better place when women can decide whether they're equipped to have a child, or to be a mother.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Happy new year and all that jazz. This past weekend I participated in my first ever Mystery Hunt, so I figured I'd blog a little feedback for the folks I figure may be searching for this kind of thing...

I'm not a super seasoned puzzler, might even say I'm a n00b, so I'll keep my comments brief. I'm certainly glad I did the Hunt this year, and I had a lot of fun. I'm super excited for the winning team, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they have to offer. The puzzles this year were slick and well done, and everything (modulo round 8 perhaps?) was so smooth. Unfortunately I didn't get to work on a ton of puzzles because it seems that there were never a ton of puzzles open to my team at any one time. The ones I had the least amount of fun on were the ones in which I just googled stuff. Not the most satisfying task. The ones I had the most fun on were the ones for which the primary task of the puzzle was actually fun to complete. This, for me, often means word puzzles. Word puzzles!

To the new writing team: I have some advice. What I say is not referring to what I thought of this Hunt, just my general puzzle philosophy as I've been immersing myself more in the worlds of both solving and writing. I think the canonical rule of puzzle writing should be to make delight the priority. Cleverness without delight is just self-indulgence. The object of a puzzle is to have another mind match yours through this particular medium. The object is not to show off how smart you are. The best puzzles are the ones that would be fun to solve even if there were instructions telling how to solve them. There are some puzzles for which the "aha!" moment is so fantastic that the aforementioned rule doesn't really apply, or maybe it applies in that the "aha!" moment is sufficiently delightful to counteract anything else about the puzzle that may be tedious or mundane. So yeah, keep delight in mind as you're writing the puzzles for next year's hunt. I eagerly await them.