13 August 2008

Brain Teaser

One of the cool things about my job is that once in a while, my boss will throw some sort of ridiculous brain teaser my way, just to keep me sharp. I was digging through some old stuff because I recently switched offices (movin' on up...) and found this one, which I remembered thinking about for days before solving it drunk on over-sized mudslides at a Dallas BBQ. So I looked at it again, and for the life of me couldn't remember where to start for another day. This shit is hard.
Working alone, Holmes puts two coats of paint on a wall, one before lunch and one after lunch. One day, Holmes began at the usual time, and two hours before lunch he was joined by Watson, who paints at the rate of 600 square meters per day, and who left when they finished the first coat. Holmes promptly began the second coat, and then he broke for lunch at the usual time. One hour before his normal quitting time, Holmes had painted a second coat everywhere except where Watson had painted that morning. If each man works at a constant rate, what was the area of the wall, in square meters?
Have at it, if you dare.

07 August 2008

Can anything stop The Animal?

When I lived in Queens (coming up on 2 years ago now), the street parking market was so competitive that I would have nightmares about it. I would also end up settling very often for a spot that would allow me to get a few quick hours of sleep at the end of a long work day, knowing that I would have to wake up and move my car to another spot that surely would not exist before 7:30 AM due to the unfortunate timing of my neighborhood's street cleaning schedule.

Last night, for reasons I'm not sure I understand yet, I decided to park in the one place in my current Brooklyn neighborhood that would require me to have life prior to the hour of 7 AM: a school zone. And so here I am, wide awake at 6:45, an hour wondering who I am and what I've done with the Mike that I used to know and sort of like.

And since my early rising has me nostalgic, I happened across a familiar face the other night, one I figured I'd never see again as long as I lived. Which is funny, because I hadn't realized that I'd thought such a morbid thought until I actually saw her, and thought to myself, "Okay, I guess I'll really never see her again after this." Anyway, I'm not sure if she saw me too, but I like to think that she did, so that I can sleep soundly under the blanket of assumption that despite us both ending up in the same place at the same time against all odds, I wasn't the only one who (out of debilitating social awkwardness, not malice) couldn't muster a hello.

My relationship with Fantastic Contraption started slow, but has quickly devolved into borderline obsession. I played it until 2 AM last night even though I knew I would be waking up at 6 to move my car, and went to bed still thinking about it. My designs are -- generally speaking -- quick, dirty, and unimpressive, but I did pat myself on the shoulder briefly for this one, inspired by the fantasy toy of anyone who was 6 years old in 1987 and ever dared to dream: The Animal. Sing it with me now: The Animal, The Animal, Can anything stop, The ANIMALLLL?