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Civil engineering at its finest

The Great Turkey Hunt

Steve —  11.29.2010 — 2 Comments

I LOVE puzzles and this year, I decided to spice up the Thanksgiving holiday by creating a modern-day treasure hunt. Everyone was coming to our house and it was all coming together quite nicely.

It all started with a delivery by my neighbor that had a box with a letter and a bag of items inside. He relayed a story of how he came into possession of the box (great job BTW) that was very Indiana Jones/Men in Black-ish. The kids were in awe and as soon as the door was closed, they were in the box.

The letter outlined the game and had one hint on it that led to a map where 12 plastic bottles were hidden. On the back, it had what looked like notes from someone who had been tracking the treasure for some time (ala Myst). Included were GPS coordinates to the bottles and the plan was to walk the neighborhood and find these bottles, but the weather had a different idea as it rained the entire day. So, we loaded up the van and a follow car and headed out.

It was quite a sight to see – me and three little boys running around in the rain looking for little plastic bottles with only the GPS unit guiding the way. After crossing back and forth over the one square mile that made up the playing field, we finally had all 12 bottles in hand. Now it was back home to find out what they contained.

Inside each bottle was a multiple-choice Thanksgiving trivia question and each was marked with a roman numeral from 1 to 12.

I had the best time designing the game and the treasure was worth the effort and we now have a memory that will last a lifetime, which is the point of holidays I have to say. Good luck and post a comment on how you did.

Yes, it’s true, I have a love affair with the big paper clip that goes back a very long time. First, paper clips are incredible devices and the history is quite interesting (if you are a geerd mostly geek with a sprinkle of nerd – like me). For me, there is no better source of high-quality wire on the planet and wire is the core ingredient of some of the most useful custom tools in my world.

From time to time, I’ll post info on how the mighty paper clip is enhancing my life and this blog will serve as a place of homage to the grossly under-appreciated paper clip – especially the big ones. Here’s the most recent save that can be attributed to the awesome Biggie, as I like to call it.

Sunglasses temple structural reinforcement
The temple on my sunglasses failed recently. The metal part inserts into a plastic piece that goes over my ear. The glue that held the plastic piece on the metal frame failed and the two pieces came apart.

I tried Super Glue – didn’t work because of the finish on the metal and because it didn’t, the plastic piece became stressed and the socket finally broke wide open making the glasses completely useless.

Next came Gorilla tape – the stuff is amazing and puts Duct Tape to shame and I though, “Surely this will hold.” And it did, but it still allowed the plastic piece to twist around the metal as the tape didn’t provide enough rigidity to hold it firmly in place. It wasn’t coming off, but it moved around too much.

Enter the large paper clip. With a pair of needle-nose pliers, I was able to create what is best described as a “splint/tie rod” to not only keep the plastic piece and the metal piece joined properly, but keep the plastic piece from twisting.

I’ve got to say, I’m completely impressed with the solution. Not because I doubted the paper clip, but because I doubted my skill to employ the mighty tool in such a way as to achieve such an elegant solution. Judge for yourself.

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