The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Iowa / Odyssey of the Mind report

First, I haven’t stayed in a dorm in a long long time, but here we were in the penthouse of Willow Hall at Iowa State University. Well not exactly a penthouse but the top floor, the eightth. This was a Spartan experience to be sure. And no wireless. There was access via wire so’s eventually I made it over to the Book Store and bought an ethernet cable. The official Odyssey id and passwd didn’t work, but luckily a new friend loaned me his sign-in for our visit. Since we spent some time visiting his lab etc, it was even fair to have done so.

A dorm full of K-12 kids and their coaches is quite an experience. Our room was right outside the only women’s showers on our floor. At 5:30 am, a bunch of 3 – 5 graders were having it out in the showers. They had set their clocks up an hour instead of back an hour and were really excited about being at the World competition. Our dorm life was very different than say that at MIT. Elevators were always fun and unpredictable.

[add later]

Pictures that Sally took at Ames and the Competition here.
Official pix of Competition here. The Great Parade by Smith Middle School in the first two pictures here.
Two short movies of the Smith Middle School team destroying their vehicle as taken by Tucker are here and here.

The Smith Team finished 6th in their division.


  1. Congrats to the Smith Team. Just checked out Sally’s photos and realized how much Tucker has grown – his hair too. You’ll have to have him elected to the luxuriate flowing hair club or whatever the hell it’s called. He’s a chip off the old block after all, but some of the photos look a lot like Sally. Good that you could go and support him in this latest competition and enjoy the luxuries of Dorm life again.

  2. Very interesting. I have always wondered why the Iowa State Cyclone looks so much like the very common songbird known as the cardinal. There must be some sort of ancient myth involving a bird which got caught up in a whirlwind and emerged looking like that. Or maybe not.

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