Friday, August 26, 2005

Hooked on Sudoku

Normally I'm the last person on earth to discover new fads and cool gadgets, so many of you have probably already heard of this logic puzzle called Sudoku. Apparently, several newspapers around the country have started running the puzzle in their daily editions recently. (My local paper, the Raleigh News & Observer has been teasing their weekend premier of the puzzle all week.) So curiosity killed the proverbial cat and I decided to give on online version of the puzzle a try.

The puzzle consists of a grid made up of 9-by-9 squares. The larger grid is subdivided into 9 smaller 3-by-3 grids. The object of the puzzle is to complete the grid so that each row, column and 3-by-3 box contains every number from 1 through 9. There's no arithmetic involved (thankfully for me)...It's just a fun logic puzzle. After only a couple of tries I and several of my coworkers are hooked.

USA Today has some puzzles online, and you can also access and work earlier puzzles. Go ahead...give it a try. You'll be hooked, too.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Say it with Flowers

"Flowers always work."

"Not if the guy's a loser. It doesn't change anything."

The dialogue above is an exchange between Chris North and Hilary Duff's characters in the movie The Perfect Man, which I checked out last night for $1.50 at the second-run theater in town.

In The Perfect Man, Holly Hamilton (Duff) attempts to rescue her divorced mother Jean (played by Heather Locklear) from the latest in a series of dead-end relationship choices by making her mom think she has a secret admirer in Ben (North), the classy owner of a Brooklyn, N.Y. bistro. While posing as Ben, Holly sends her mother flowers, love letters and e-mail and basks in her mom's newfound happiness, but Holly is eventually caught up in her own web of deception and must resort to desperate measures to keep the virtual romance alive.

The flowers comment above is one that sparked the secret admirer idea in Holly, and is one that resonated with me. You see, I too once believed in Ben's "flowers always work" mantra until I quickly discovered Holly's "not if the guy's a loser" qualifier to be true.

A few years back while living in Atlanta, I decided to send a girl I was secretly interested in flowers anonymously thinking (like Ben would), "What girl wouldn't like to receive flowers?" What a perfect way to proclaim my interest, I thought. Well, things didn't go according to plan.

The girl was a bit freaked out rather than flattered about getting flowers from a secret admirer, and needless to say, things were a bit awkward when I fessed up to being the one who sent them. I let things cool a bit and asked her out some time later only to be rebuffed again. (I crashed and burned on a similar "can't miss" idea to catch a young lady's eye earlier this year, but that's another story.)

So with apologies to Ben, who is supposedly the perfect man for which the film is titled, flowers don't always work, especially if the guy's a loser like myself. Besides, who other than a loser goes to see a romantic comedy at the theater by himself?