Monthly Archives: October 2013

Pudding Excellence

Beware iOS game recommendations. Beware any game recommendation. Remember when someone recommended Tetris or Snood? It’s fun they said. Like a drug dealer, they never tell you the about the darkside: the addiction, the sleepless nights, and the regret.* Pudding Monsters is not like that. Pudding Monsters has an ending. See for yourself:

How do you complete Pudding Monsters? By finishing every puzzle with all possible configuration of stars: no stars, one star, two stars, and three stars. Do that, and the game actually and truly ends. Sure, there is that note about achievements, but finishing the game is achievement enough for me.

How long does it take to complete Pudding Monsters? For a couple of nights, my family was in Minnesota and I had the whole house to myself. Rather than do something productive, I spent my free time watching Breaking Bad on Netflix and playing Pudding Monsters on my eye phone. Those two days were enough to complete all the levels. To complete all the levels in every configuration took me another two and a half months of playing every now and then. 

Pudding Monsters will give you a hand and sell you solutions for each level. Or as my wife suggests, you can look up the solutions on YouTube. I will have none of that! If I have to look up the solution on YouTube, I might as well not bother playing the game. Yet, there was one aggravatingly difficult level and my finger brushed up agaisnt the hint button. Much like the aforementioned drug dealers, Pudding Monsters will give you one free hit, er, hint. Here is that dastardly level and the means of solving it in each possible configuration:

hardest level 3 stars

hardest level no stars

The no stars solution is actually the harder one. Pudding Monsters is a great puzzler for thinking outside the box. The entire game teachings you that flinging puddings to the outside of the screen is wrong. In step 4, because the pudding is half in the magnetic zone and have nestled up agaisnt the building, flinging it to the outside of the screen seems unnatural. Many of the solutions defy linear thinking, and my best solutions were made the next day, with fresh eyes.

* Full disclosure, a friend in law school did warn me about Snood. Kids, don’t play Snood.


First Stadium Football Game

The title is true. In all my decades I have been to only one stadium game, last Thursday’s game between Iowa State University and Texas University.

The sound of a stadium is a lot like a dance club. The Iowa State crowd was deafening in and of themselves, but when you add the techno beats from the stadium speakers, you can forget about conversation. 

Watching the action from the stands is as confusing as election night on Fox News. Each penalty flag was followed by a discussion among the crowd as to the meaning and outcome. The stadium announcers and giant screen were little help. Eventually the score board will update and the crowd has to figure out what happened in reverse.

The game itself was thrilling. Very quickly, Texas scored a touchdown. I texted my wife and told her it was going to be a long game. But then Iowa tied it, only to have Texas score a touchdown with only 4 seconds left in the first quarter. I saw many odd things, such as 12 penalties against Iowa State and balls bouncing all over the field. The game was exciting up to the last point, literally. Texas won 21 to 20.

The last touchdown by Texas brought waves of boos for the officials. There was a been a fumble and a dispute over whether Iowa State grabbed the ball before Texas quartback hit the ground (something called forward motion). We could all see the replay on the giant screen though you could make little sense of it. All those cameras and screens did more to rile up he crowd than resolve the dispute. The post game talk was dominated by discussion of that one bad call. In my opinion, Iowa State should have let Texas run the ball in and then use the remaining 3 minutes to get into field goal range. Strategerie!

The outcome notwithstanding, conditions for the game were unbelievably perfect: mid 70s in October in Iowa. The stadium in Ames is open on the corners and fans have 4 grassy hills to enjoy. For the second half, a long time attendee showed me some good spots to hang out. The area is open enough that you can walk from one end to the other and follow the plays downfield. Unlike the crowded bleachers, you can keep up a conversation on the quieter grassy hills. The grassy areas are also the cheapest tickets. I recommend them.