Sunday, March 19, 2006

Filling time hazily

I mentioned I haven’t been reading at all since I’ve gotten back to Malaysia.

So, what *have* I been doing with my copious amounts of free time?

You mean, apart from meeting up with ex-colleagues and schoolmates from the days of yore?


I like to think of it as Sudoku: The Next Generation. It’s called Kakuro, or Cross Sums. Same principle of having non-repeatable numbers from 1 – 9, but within each column/row the total of the numbers is provided, and you need to figure out which numbers go where, based on clues provided by the totals.

It’s helped me improve a bit on my mental math (which is VERY sloppy, heehehehe!), and I suppose it’s also helped take the rust off some patches of my math geekiness: I’m not sure whether anyone else would think it’s “cool” that, among other things,
  • 45 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9
  • 23 = 6 + 8 + 9; 24 = 7 + 8 + 9
  • 15 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5; 16 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 6

No worries, no need to memorise all the possible permutations: the list is given at the front page of the book I have. And yes, one needs to flip to that page very often to figure out whether that "33 in 5 digits" is 3+6+7+8+9 or 4+5+7+8+9, for example.

And unlike Sudoku, where once I got the hang of it I whizzed right up to “Expert” puzzles and got stumped only by a few really good ones, for Kakuro I’m fine with the “Easy” levels, am starting to be able to finish off “Medium” levels after extended effort, but the “Hard” and “Expert” levels are, well, haaarrrrrdddddd!!!!

. . . Back to books, though: I now have one to add to my year-end book report for March readings: Piers Anthony’s Currant Events, book 28 of the Xanth series, or book 1 of the next “cubed Xanth trilogy”. Yes, devoured it in less than a day :D It was choc-full of puns as usual, some of them REALLY groan-worthy. Then, I almost LOL'd at the appearance of a stinky fruit being eaten by a Thai girl who's crossed over to Xanth, the fruit being called the "duran" in the tale. Close enough :-) Nice to have a (slightly-misspelt) piece of this region appear in the book :-)

HAZE WATCH: the usual finger-pointing was in the newspapers this week, the haze is starting to appear again. And I suppose it's only going to get worse! Imagine, it rains heavily almost every evening/night nowadays, and yet the sky's still all hazy afterwards. It's still just very light lah... but still... if the rains can't "wash the particles out" now while it's light haze and heavy rain, imagine when it's thick haze and no rain?? Sigh.


  1. Another haze over KL? Probably another forest fire somewhere. How many times do this thing happen in a year anyway?

  2. haze: last year it hit bad in august, i think... the finger pointing I mentioned is always at Indonesia, and *their* forest fires - regardless of the state of pollution in Malaysia :p typical shifting of blame!!


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