Friday, March 30, 2012


This topic was brought to the Loose Blogger Consortium this Friday by Ramana, aka Rummuser, aka Iron Man.


I think most of us are acquainted with Van Gogh’s Starry Night. During his time, no one really bought into his vision, but since then we have been fascinated with a man seeing what we cannot.  Madness or unfettered vision?  Hard to say.

However, one thing we can say is that when puzzle makers take a portion of it (the art officianados will immediately see that the above which was used for the puzzle cuts out numerous stars and the top of what we can only surmise is a tree) and then turn it into 1,000 pieces … well, it is a real bear to put together!

Enter team family while on vacation.  They are working on this puzzle as I speak.  Lafawnda Fossil, Lady Fossil and Flash Fossil.  The Old Fossil, yours truly has been the weakest link on this team from the very beginning.

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Here is Flash at the beginning of the week pointing out the state of the puzzle as the week begins.

Note that there is a LOT of puzzle to go.  He and Lafawnda have started it and most of their time has been spent establishing a border and completing the tree.

Lady Fossil does detail work for a living.  You can see how intent she is examining the challenge!  She’ll be good!



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Here are Flash and the Lady F attacking a couple of nights later while Lafawnda works on her new computer.  The original crapped out the first day we were there, fortunate timing, because we were able to get the new on as she needed.  But look at the concentration of the other two!



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Here they are working away at another time while I am reading The Hunger Games on my Kindle.

The Lady F is persistent.  But, it becomes clear that the real talent lies with Flash!  More about that in a bit.




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the next night, these two are on a mission!  Look how much more of the puzzle is in place.  That represents major accomplishment!

Flash finds pieces at least five times as fast as anyone else.  He is amazing the speed at which he processes!







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Here is was last night. It’s the sky that remains – the part everyone dreads!  However, notice that the participants have taken the pieces and separated them by category:

Shoulders only, one arm, turtle head, lizard.  They have developed their own language to defeat this monster!

Tonight they try to finish.  But, the topic was Effectiveness.  What exactly is it that makes me, the worst of the crowd so awful and Flash, the best of the crowd so effective?  Well, age is part of it.  I am now designed to be fossilosophical in ways I could never have managed in earlier years, but it comes at the price of processing speed.  It also, I find, comes at the price of strategy when this type of task is being done.  I concentrate on one piece, determining in detail in my mind what the attibutes of that piece are and then obsess about filling that one space until the cows come home.

Flash, on the other hand, scans an area for color patterns, scans pieces for approximations, homes in on candidates, starts placing them in configurations on the board, discarding, trying others.  He works at it from a lower, much more effective level.  This isn’t any deep understanding of any kind we are looking for, we are looking to get pieces on the board!

Every day I have a new admiration for you, Flash!

Stay tuned, because next week you will get a follow up on the ultimate outcome and a little video of all of us working at it!


  1. I adore Van Gogh's work! My family loves to do puzzles together too, and sometimes one of them will hide a piece so that they can be the one to put in the last piece. :)

    By the way, how are you liking "The Hunger Games"? I loved it! I read all three books, but I think the first one is the best. We went to the movie last weekend. I think it did a really good job of sticking to the feeling of the book. Of course, I haven't read it in awhile, so I can't remember everything about it. They may have left some things out, but if they did, I can't remember what it was.

    1. I LOVE "The Hunger Games" and I'm almost finshed.

  2. Don't give up all hope TOF. You were effective in providing the right atmosphere, material and a non interfering style of management! I wish that you had been my boss during my working days!

    1. Rummuser, it is a matter of no concern and laughter inside me. I have my moments. In truth, it delights me for Flash.

      Maybe that IS a positive non-interference.

  3. My sister is an avid jigsaw person. She always seems to have one on the go. I often sit opposite her and therefore see the picture upsidedown. That way I often reach over and put a couple of pieces in place. The proper way round I fast lose interest. Don't tell her.... she sent me home with four.

    1. GM, this is like a great suspense, mystery novel. Wait until you hear the outcome!

  4. Methinks Fossil is more interested in that apparent adult beverage to the left of his kindle but he has been effective in guaranteeing I never attempt that particular puzzle :-)

  5. Van Gogh's Starry Night. There a song about a Starry Night. I can't get it out of my head now.

    My psychology daughter says I'm ADD; they don't finish jobs. So why can I never do ANYTHING ELSE but finish any jigsaw puzzle I start? I don't start ones with little pieces. And I like the picture to see. Some don't want to see the puzzle picture & even want the cardboard underneath/ go for the shape only. I'd rather sew. Then I have a dress & not jig pieces back in the box. Am looking forward to how your Starry Night puzzle goes though.


    1. Well anonymous bikehikebabe, I am in the same camp as you - I want to see the picture. And, in this case, it was necessary. Very many of the 1,000 pieces had the same shape, which would have made it impossible to do just looking at the cardboard side.

      Suspense. I still have to tell you whether we made it or not ...


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