Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Tournament Update

Not much time for me to blog between now and June.  Eight projects to get out the door before I head to the Indy 500 next weekend.  The Code of the Cardboard Gods contest will restart in June as well.  My sounding board on the story is taking a 9 day cruise tomorrow, I wish I was in her shoes.  Not literally, heels pinch my toes and make my calves hurt.

I bet the Dodgers wish they had made it out of the first round...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Contest: Code of the Cardboard Gods - Part I

Code of the Cardboard Gods 
Part I - The Starting Nine

Setting: National Baseball Hall of Fame – Cooperstown, NY
Players: Museum curator and YOU
Puzzle Difficulty: 3½ stars
Points Possible: 20

It is a brisk autumn evening at your upstate New York farmhouse.  You have just finished a long session of working on your newest cryptology book about the Mayan calendar when your phone unexpectedly rings.  You contemplate not taking the call due to the late hour, but, suspecting it may be your publisher, you decide to answer.  You pick up the receiver, expecting your old friend, but hear an unknown voice asking your name.

“Yes, that is me,” you say, and then you ask, “Who is this?”

There is a brief pause, and then the voice replies, “I am a curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and I need your help.  There has been a break-in, and I found an envelope addressed with your name and phone number, along with a curious code.  It is like nothing I have ever seen before.”

You ask, “Have you called the authorities?”

“No,” the curator replies, “Nothing has been stolen, and I’d like to avoid any… unpleasantness.  I am familiar with your work and judging by this envelope, you are somehow involved or are intended to be involved with this mystery.  You must understand. I need your help solving this code.  Money is no object, and I will pay whatever fee you require.”

Feeling the tug of greed, you inquire, “Can you send me a picture of the code?”

“No, you must see this in person,” he replies.

Your curiosity is piqued.  What better opportunity to combine your lifelong work of cryptology and your favorite pastime?

You agree, “I’m only 45 minutes from Cooperstown, I’ll be there within an hour.”

After an almost breathless drive as your mind is racing, greasing the gears for the puzzle that waits, you pull into the parking lot and notice a security guard vehicle and two non-descript sedans.  You grab your satchel and head for the grand front entrance.  As you approach, you see a balding man of middle age with a clean shaven face holding the door open.

“Are you the curator?” you ask.

“Yes, yes,” he briskly replies.  “Please, come this way. Quickly.”

You enter the atrium and immediately your eyes dart around, looking for the code that requires your interpretation.  You try and calm your nerves, remembering there is an envelope that will likely provide precious information.

“On the phone you mentioned an envelope.  What does it contain?” you question.

He answers, “I do not know.  It is sealed with wax.”

You take the envelope and examine the wax seal, and see the initials “OCG” emblazoned on the red paraffin.

“OCG,” you mutter.

“What does that mean?” he asks.

You reply, “It means Order of Cardboard Gods.”

Your mind races even faster over this new development.  Could it be?  You’re actually holding a letter from the mysterious Order of Cardboard Gods?

The curator shifts nervously and asks, “Order of what?”

“Cardboard Gods,” you distantly answer.

“Who are they?” he asks.

You ignore his question; your mind is drifting.  You break the wax seal, revealing a coded letter:

Click picture to enlarge

You smile at the simplicity of the code.  To the untrained eye, it looks like gibberish, but to you, the words shine through.


[ANSWER: "Evil has infiltrated the order. I fear the other members of the council are dead, and I may soon be next. You must learn the code and guard it with your life. The fate of the hobby is in your hands. Trust no one. UC" - Carrie from an unknown blog]

The last line gnaws at you.

The curator peers over your shoulder and brashly asks, “What does it say?  Who are the Cardboard Gods?”

You turn your head and flatly say, “Take me to the code.  I will tell you later about The Order and this letter.”

The curator backs away, and begins to lead you down the long hallway into the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery.

Midway down the Gallery, you see the code ahead of you, basking in bright moonlight.  The plaques of the Class of 1936 have been removed, and placed at the foot of the wall now bearing a mysterious puzzle.

You approach the coded puzzle in awe.  A puzzle you have never seen before, a new challenge for your restless mind.

A wry smile crosses your face, and you think to yourself, “Oh, this will be so much fun!”


Click picture to enlarge

[ANSWER – "Dead men tell no tales" - Shahekee of Collecting the Wizard of Oz]

[Author’s Note: You must provide the correct answer and your logic to receive the points – See rules for full details.  First correct answer with logic in the comment section gets the points.]

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Contest Rules and Prize

The name of the game is Code of the Cardboard Gods, and it is a ten part treasure hunt starring you, the reader, as the main character.  Each part will contain at least one puzzle, and the reader with the most puzzle points will win the game.

Each part will include a setting and a list of characters, or players, participating in the story with you.  Your character is a world renowned cryptologist that mysteriously becomes involved with The Order of Cardboard Gods.  To aid in solving the puzzle and to move the story along, I will provide background information and dialogue. 

All of the puzzles are baseball or baseball card related (in some form or fashion), and will be presented to you in a visual format.  Answers to the puzzles may be posted in the comment section, but be wary, make sure your answer is correct, or others may use your answer to find the correct answer.  If a puzzle goes unanswered or incorrectly answered for three days, I will edit the story to provide clues.  The first person to provide the correct answer based on the comment section time stamp will receive the stated points.

Most importantly, your answer MUST include the logic used to solve the puzzle.  In essence, just like school, you must show your work.  In the age of the internet, it is all too easy to find the right answer, so to get the points, you must prove your logic.

Finally, the overall winner will get a prize.  Every horse needs a carrot, right?

At the end of the game, the overall puzzle point leader will get a free pass through their want list.  That’s right, I’ll search your want list and mail you any and all cards I can reasonably part with to help fill your want lists.  If for some reason your want list does not jive with my collection, I will take your want list to our local big card show at the end of July and beginning of August and try to get as many cards off that list as I affordably can.

So, in recap:
•    First to correctly answer the puzzle wins the points.
•    No partial credit.
•    You MUST provide your logic behind solving the puzzle.
•    Clues will be edited into each part if no correct answer is provided after three days of posting.
•    Grand prize is me taking a walk through your want list.

Finally, I do not want anything in return for undertaking this project, however, if you really enjoy the contest, I will take donations to give to the grand prize winner.

Good luck!
Doc T

Tuesday Tournament Update

Not every team has played the required 32 games, but the Sweet 16 has been set.  The National League had a surprising amount of upsets, and I can hear the analysts now, "Look at all the parity!"  Most surprising of all was the Nationals beating the #1 LA Dodger seed.  I did not see that coming, but that proves the mantra of "pitching and defense" win games.

Other upsets were the Padres over the Marlins, Reds over the Braves and Mets over the Rockies.  The AL pretty much went to form, and the "southern bracket" has a monster foursome of Texas, Minnesota, Tampa and New York.  I think the AL representative will be coming from this bracket.

Contestants still in the running include:
Plungerhoo's Nationals
Dan the Sticker Man's Phillies
GCRL's Twins
Play at the Plate's Rangers
Troll's Rays

Contestants out are:
Night Owl's Dodgers
Canuck's Braves
WSC's White Sox

Rod of Padrograph fame has been assigned the home town favorite Padres, after a surprise package of Gwynn-awesomeness this past weekend.

Good luck to all!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Epic Fail

We have all witnessed a good idea, person, movie or team that was well intentioned and carefully planned, but somehow thudded to the ground like a brick of lead.  Let’s stroll through memory lane to remember a few gems from our collective past.

#10 – Buffalo Bills
Not exactly a failure, but definitely not a success.  Recipients of the 2nd place red ribbon for a record 4 straight Super Bowls (err, Big Games).  Wide right!
#9 – Coors Sparkling Water
Coors sold bottled water?  They should have just changed the label on their beer cans.  Like the saying goes, “What does having sex in a canoe and American Macro Brews have in common?  They’re both $#@%-ing close to water.”
# 8 – 2007 New York Mets
Up seven with 17 to play, and Glavine’s seven runs given up in the first of the last game sealed the Metropolitans fate.

 #7 – Windows Vista
A platform hyped to no end that has essentially turned my home computer into one very large digital photo disk.

#6 – Michael Dukakis
Remember this guy?  Didn’t think so.  Oh think of how the 2000 election would have been so much different if he just hadn’t sat in that damn tank.

#5 – Any movie with Eddie Murphy after Coming to America in which he physically appears
Pluto Nash, BHC3, Vampire in Brooklyn, The Nutty Professor I & II, Doctor Doolittle, I Spy, Daddy Day Care, The Haunted Mansion, Norbit, Meet Dave, Pluto Nash (I had to include that one twice).  Party All the Time, Eddie!

#4 – Chris Gaines 
Garth Brooks alter-EGO.  Stick to the twang my friend.
#3 – New Coke
I remember this abomination when I had my first taste as a kid at a McDonalds.  I did not like, but I liked Like!

#2 – E.T. The Video Game
A horrific mash-up of bad programming and a plot that nowhere near resembled the original movie plot.  The game essentially killed Atari, but did make for an excellent episode of Code Monkeys.  A massive inventory of unsold games was crushed and buried in an Alamogordo landfill.  At least they didn’t bury them at sea, ahem, Sy Berger!

#1 – Yesterday’s Post
The new Ishtar of the baseball card blogosphere…  Yeah, me!  I will soldier on though.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Code of the Cardboard Gods Trailer!!!!

Here is a little something to whet your appetite. The Code of the Cardboard Gods puzzle game is slated to begin sometime next week. Hopefully I will have a "preface" post up at the end of this week to help explain the concept, etc.

As it stands now, this will be a 10 part story with each story's puzzle leading to the next puzzle. For the inspiration of where this game is coming from, and for a little enlightenment as to what this is all about, read one of my previous posts.

Without further ado, grab your popcorn, sit back and relax!

Click play!

If you'd like a higher resolution version of the trailer, ple
ase send your requests to: uncle_docs_closet(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Also, please pass this along if you like the idea. I am hoping for any form of participation.

Enjoy and HAVE FUN!
Doc T

Tuesday Tournament Update

The Rays and Twins have made it official by mathematically eliminating the White Sox and Indians, respectively. Therefore, the Collective Troll and GCRL move on to the second round, and the Rays have a much too soon showdown with the dreaded Yankees. On the flip side, White Sox Cards has bowed from the tournament...

Also, expect a treat today if you're interested in solving puzzles...
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