06 September 2006

Sweating it out with Sudoku

I accompanied my wife to Baguio last Sunday because she had a lot of books that we still bought from the Book Fair from different booths but each order was not bulky enough to request for delivery, so these had to be hand carried. So I was not able to report for work last Monday. Instead, we used the time to renew my passport, and my wife applied for hers and Jo-Lo as well.

The early morning saw us riding a bus enroute to La Union where the nearest Department of Foreign Affairs is. As with other government offices, this place was very modest in terms of facilities, and for instructions you need to ask the help of the security guard, or an occasional employee who were quite burdened with the workload. I rather think workload is inversely proportional to courtesy because the more work being handled by the employee, the more direct with a hint of sarcasm they tend to be with the applicants. Good thing we came dressed rather different from the others, for we did not encounter such a treatment. At any rate, kudos to the employees there who were obviously doing their best to do crowd control and at the same time efficiently serve the most number of applications they can handle.

We also had to drop by the National Statistics Office to have Jo-Lo's birth certificate authenticated. At the counter were signs where you can get certificates for birth, marriage, death, and cenomar. Uh, what's cenomar?

So there we were in this hall with no electric fan or airconditioning. It was a warm day, and we found ourselves sweating in our clothes. My wife whipped out her fan while I fished around in my bag for some books. I took the Kwentong Tambay by BatJay and gave it to my wife while I swapped between Newsweek and Reader's Digest. Yep, I have anticipated the long waits in this kind of transactions.
Mga Kwento ng Isang Sira-Ulong Overseas Filipino Worker
Soon enough, my wife was giggling as she showed me random parts of the book. That's BatJay for you. Humor in anything under the sun. If you are familiar with his blog, then you know his antics. Humor for mature audience included! We bought the book at the Book Fair and was available only in that event. It's not out in stores yet. It only has limited print so buy one when you do get the chance! It's well worth the 100 pesos.

BatJay adds:
"Karamihan ng material sa book ay galing sa blog ko - in particular, our singapore years. however, the book contains "exclusive entries" that you will not find in my blog."

So, as Manuel L. Quezon III exclaimed: "Buy na! Now na!"

And then I remembered I also brought along the Sudoku book and thought I'd try my hand in it. Basically, it's a grid with 9 squares each side, with these numbers grouped into 9s. Some of the squares are filled. It's up to you to write the missing numbers from 1-9, making sure that the number is not repeated in a row or a column, or in a group of 9. Sounds tricky? Yes it is. But when you get the hang of it, solving the puzzle is fun!

It's rather difficult to concentrate there though, due to the heat, and you have to occasionally leave your chair and join the crowd when they shout the names of those who has passed stage 1. My first set of attempts ended up in erasures and errors. But by Puzzle 5 (we were no longer in DFA), I was finally getting the hang of it and enjoyed Sudoku immensely.

Sudoku is a logic puzzle that has been popular in Japan for about 20 years already but was just introduced in our shores late last year. Sudoku means "single number".

Visit your favorite bookstore and buy a Sudoku puzzle book today. It's inexpensive, and best of all, it's fun! People unfamiliar with this will even wonder what a math genius you are as you go through the grid. But there's no mathematical computation required!
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