MIT Mystery Hunt – WE WON!!

by Christine on January 16th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Annual Mystery Hunt

Whew!  What a couple of hours!

So we were up late last night, about 1:30 a.m., and I was tired as all hell. We knew at that point that our team was really close to finishing; HQ stopped unlocking new puzzles for us, so we just had to finish what was in front of ourselves. I was soooo tired though, so I went to bed with the intention of just getting a little bit of sleep. Sometime around 3 a.m. someone came into the sleeping room and yelled, “The run-around is about to begin! Everyone wake up!”  So the lights came on and people were frantically jumping out of their sleeping bags and getting shoes and coats on.  This year there were, oh I don’t know, 50 people on our team (in-person, in the classroom) and maybe half of us were asleep at 3 a.m. That means that the remaining 25-or-so players were solving the hardest, super-meta puzzles on their own. (They’re way smart!)

The run-around began as a virtual run-around. The theme was Super Mario Brothers, so we had Mario on the phone and he was guiding us through each level, just like in the game, just by describing where he was at and what powers he had on hand. We would say, “Can you jump on the box and throw your boomarang at the bombs, Mario?” and he might say yes and he might say, “I can’t do that; the bombs are too far away for me to reach” or something like that.

Eventually we made it through all the levels of the virtual video game successfully (that took about 45 minutes) and they said, “Meet us at Classroom 451 in Building 5.”  So all 50 of us ran out the door to the classroom.  When we got there, Mario and Princess Peach were there with our final instructions.  Basically we had to portal through one door (which we had to find scavenger-hunt style) and come out a portal somewhere else on the MIT campus.  Our portals were **ME** (someone with an orange Tshirt on) and some other guy with a blue tshirt on, so I suddenly became an important member of the team just by proxy of what color tshirt I was wearing! ha!  We knew we were doing well because we were running down a hallway and all the members of headquarters were outside clapping as we ran by. We thought that was pretty cute!   We ran around the campus for an hour or more, “portaling” from one door to another, until we found ourselves inside an empty classroom. There was an arrow taped to the garbage bin, arrow pointing up.  We found a ladder, climbed on top, and found the hidden coin on top of a light fixture!

Game over! We win!

That means that our team gets to make the puzzles for next year.  It’s a good thing we have so many members of our team to help out. Making the puzzles will be so much fun! I can’t wait to run the hunt!

We found the coin at 5:58 a.m.  We went back and packed up all our stuff and immediately got on the road. I think I’m going to enjoy a nap today, a shower, and a nice home-cooked meal.

Oh yeah, and last night at 8 pm, the Board of Directors members for Wikipedia that were on our team held a 10th anniversary party for Wikipedia. They got delicious cake and champagne and shared with everyone, and they had tshirts and pins to pass out to everyone too. It was mayhem with all the puzzle-geeks trying to get the free food and swag, but I managed to snare a tshirt, hooray! That celebration was  anticlimatic, but I told Sammie congrats for his organization’s anniversary.

Foodwise, it was a suck-fest. I had ramen noodles, some salad (wasn’t very good), some soup at the student union, some sweet tarts, vitamin water, etc etc.  junk foodage!

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Maintaining while on the go!

by Christine on January 11th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

It’s my second week of work, and all is well so far, if you don’t count me being exhausted all the time. I’m tired ALL the time!  Last night I was in bed and asleep by 9 pm. Waking up at such an early time is going to take some getting used to, I think!

My weight is holding constant at 123.5 or so. While this is good and I’m thrilled that this whole “maintenance” thing is working out for me, I know that I could do a better job with my eating. I need to fit in more snacks throughout the day, even if it’s something small.  I’ve gotten into the habit of going to a local restaurant on my own and ordering either soup or a small salad (a few times, like today, I’ve just had a can of soup here at my desk).  This is all good, but if I eat at restaurants often I will need to watch that my portion sizes stay in check. Even if I order the small, lunch-sized portions, it’s still way more food than anyone should eat, so I will need to keep an eye on my portion sizes. The gastric band will help me regulate that, I think.

On a downside, the anxiety and stress of starting a new job is getting to me physically.  I have had a hard time keeping any food down this last week….I’ve been barfing a lot of stuff up.  I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I feel like my band is somehow tighter with my anxiety levels increased. Is that possible, or just in my head? It’s probably a simple case of not chewing well enough. I’ve also been really constipated, and sleepy/tired all the time, so I know that the stress is messing with me a little bit.

If there’s any readers out there that enjoy really, super-duper hard puzzles, this week is the annual MIT Mystery Hunt!  I will be out in Boston helping Team Codex try to win for the first time! Our team is comprised of my husband’s gaming-geek friends, some Harvard professors, some Microsoft and Google employees, and some Wikipedia employees and Board of Directors members. It’s an interesting mix of people, and I enjoy trying to help out with the hunt. You can check out some of past years’ puzzles on this website if you’re interested in learning more.  Note: These puzzles are not for the weak of heart or for the easily frustrated.

Here’s a fun video of a past hunt! The theme was ACME, and a puzzle asked for each team to create a song. Here is our team’s song that year (and yes, that’s my husband in the video, SINGING, heavens help us all):

One of my husband’s good friends is the producer of G4’s “Attack of the Show.” Two years ago G4 attended our team on the hunt and gave an overview about the event. And yes, my hubby is interviewed and is in this video, too!  (For astute viewers, you can see Jeffrey in

Yeah it’s a serious geek fest, but it’s fun and a good time! And…it’s free!

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