Archive for January, 2007

The Tarlainian Children

“Ha Ha Ha Ha! Let’s see if you can catch me, Rauzs!”
“*Pant* *Pant*. You know I can’t run that fast, Yojiniq.”
Yojiniq, Rauzs, and Jeshinmin Lliemen were extraordinary kids. They had special talents of their own. Yojiniq could read, speak, and write super fast in Greek, Chinese (all dialects), Latin, German, Vietnamese, English, and Tarlainian, the country’s language. He also could run extraordinarily fast. Rauzs was very slow in running, but he had remarkable memory. He recently remembered how to create the Trilenmentshai, a potion made to force the truth out of someone, and a list of phobias from A to Z, all in seven minutes. And as for Jeshinmin, she could play the Harp (all kinds), Piano, Violin, Cello, Trumpet, Tuba, Flute, Recorder, and French Horn very well.
When you hear the word “potion”, you might think of a wizard or witch. It just came to be that all of them had a special drop of witch ancestry in their blood, for they were the great-great-great-great-great grandchildren of Yaenhiz Larntondos, a brave and famous wizard. The trio was playing Sneak-Seek-Stun, a wizard game where it’s like hide and seek, except you have to stun them before you win. It was a very fun game, though it could only be played once a month, for you will be stunned permanently if you do it too much.
They were just about finished when their mother came home. She was a stout, pompous lady which you would expect her voice to be a croak. She would be extremely cruel to her triplets. Worst of all, she hated magic, which meant she hated them. She married a wizard because he never said about him being a wizard until after they married, and it was illegal to divorce in their world. “Time for dinner!!” she yelled. Spaghetti and meatballs for the triplets. Always. Never different. When they finished eating, their friendly dad would come home to a welcoming meal. You see, their mom never revealed the secret of the food, for she thought that the father would get rid of her in some way, like turning her in to a hot dog or a pack of fries to give to the poor. She acted very sweet to him.
Several years later, their mom could hold it no longer. She sent them to the beach, killed her husband, and got sent to jail all in one quick move. While they were at the beach, a police gave them a note. It read:

To Yojiniq, Rauzs, and Jeshinmin,

It has been faithfully and truthfully told that your Father was killed and your Mother, sent to jail. Your new supervisor will henceforth be known as Dr. Stephen R. Lectortz, Aquanaut, Off the Florida keys, Florida, U.S.A., N. America, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Local Group, Universe 72. He will be teaching you all he knows, and will give you food and everything else you need.

Police #90874532

The children sat dumbstruck and shocked at the message. Father killed? New supervisor? Milky Way? Soon, the police, who Rauzs thought looked suspiciously like their mother slowly walked to the police car, noted, “Made specially for Police #90874532, Martinda Larkshon.” She quickly vroomed away. Jeshinmin doubted the message. “I can’t belive it.” she cried. “Where do you think he is?” “Maybe he’s still in the house.” Yojiniq said. When they got back, the house was a total mess. Tables were flipped over, and lamp toppers were upside down on statues’ heads. Their father lay in a corner of the room, his face ashy gray. His chest had a hole on the left side, probably from a X900 laser. There was something bulging in his pocket. Yojiniq slowly took it out, shivering out of his skin. “The fla-”Suddenly, an arrow shot it and the item disappeared. Stuck on the arrow was a note. This one, done in scribbly writing, read:

run away at once you hav touced some thing toop seret do not go to earth

“Wait! I’m remembering something weird!” Rauzs shouted. “Police #90874531, often known as ‘The Last Policeman’, was bad a-”
“Isn’t ‘Martina Larkon’ or something one number after?” Yojiniq interrupted.
“Why do I always get interrupted? It’s Martinda Larkshon and you’re right, but the police station doesn’t not let any new police come in. And, The Last Policeman was bad at spelling. Wait. I just saw a man-or rather, woman looking into the window. See, that window.” He pointed to the window at his right. “You can see the woman’s hair!”
“You shhhh!”
Everybody wondered who she was, but Rauzs remembered the hairdo from Martinda Larkshon. Everyone was thinking of something, at least. Rauzs wondered if they should still go to Earth. Jeshinmin pondered about the strange hairdo and how much it seemed like, well, someone familiar. And Yojiniq thought about the strange note and the item in his father’s pocket. While they were sitting and staring into space, the woman disappeared.
It took a few minutes until Jeshinmin finally gathered her spirits. She woke the others up and they ran from the crime scene. They reached a broad shopping street full of people and Yojiniq finally asked, “Should we still go to Earth? I mean, we didn’t get the money, but Rauzs could maybe assemble an aircraft to shoot us there.” Rauzs gave him a serious look. “What?” he asked. Yojiniq gave him an unassuming smile. “Let’s go to the fitting rooms, where it’s more private.” Jeshinmin said. “Anyone can hear us now.”
In the end, Rauzs finally objected to building a spacecraft from a book he had read from the library six years ago. They hurriedly rented a free apartment when there was space and started building. They traveled far with their sinuous bodies to get the strange ingredients for the flexible material. Soon, it was ready, and it looked like a standing octopus.
“Hmmm… this needs to be started in water at extreme speed, then it will take off. There will be no gravity helpers, and it will shoot us straight to Earth! Now, how are we going to shoot it through the water?” Everyone looked at Yojiniq, who was dancing around. But the Lleimens were looking because of a different reason. His feet could kick terribly fast, which would propel them through the water. So, they carried the aircraft to Kalmias Beach, and set off for the daring journey. At first, it was all calm waters, but an enormous wave swept them away, just before liftoff. They flew out in a different angle, and they had reached the point of no return. Trying desperately to shift slowly to the right to be on the road to earth, Rauzs succeeded. But he forgot to include the control for going left when he was a bit too much on the right, so he whimpered.
Suddenly, a strange shape overlooked them. It was mostly a circular shape with a pinkish-bluish-orangish gooey-looking substance in the middle. There were small details on the bottom and top, and when Yojiniq saw it, he thought it looked like a bubble blower, and Jeshinmin thought it looked like a metallic hula-hoop with soap in the middle. But the worst thing was that they were headed toward the middle!

To be continued…


Queen’s Game

In David’s chess class, the instructor asked students to arrange “8 queens” on a chess board, without any queens attacking each other.

In other words, it is a game of positioning 8 pieces on a 8 by 8 board. On any row, any column, and any diagnals, there should have at most one piece. (If more than one piece, they are fighting with each other.)

You can try it to see if you can find any such positions. If you can find one or two such positions, you are pretty good. But if you want to figure out how many possible positions there can be, that is for sure very challenging. You must be a genius if you can figure it out by pure analysis.

I has coded a program which can tell you all the possible positions in a second. You can download the zip file It will show you a total of 92 positions.