Cubing Through China (A Preview)

No, no, no. I haven’t forgotten about the blog. I haven’t given up cubing. I haven’t stopped making videos. I just got, well, uh, busy. And I had that whole surgery thing. And then I got sick. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Excuses excuses.

And while 8 days in China didn’t exactly free up a ton of time, I did manage to get some fun and unique footage of solves throughout my journey. Here’s a preview:

Planes, trains (a very very fast one, in fact), airports, balconies, offices on a fiftieth floor, 11th Century towns, 21st Century streets, and one very humble courthouse. Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. Exhausting trip. Fun footage. And now jetlag hung around my neck like a 50 lb weight!?!

L-Shape OLLs (##47-50, 53-54)

My last tutorial focussed on the Frying Pan OLLs, which I described as the two L-shape patterns with a bar on the side. A youtube commenter quickly pointed out that there were, in fact, four L-shape OLLs with a bar on the side– the two Frying Pan ones (##53-54) and the two Squeezy ones (##49-50). I promised to do a new tutorial that added the Squeezies. Then I realized that there are a total of only six L-shape cases. So, why not add the Breaknecks (##47-48), too, and make it a comprehensive L-shape OLL tutorial?

The video below does just that. While the algorithms are not necessarily hard to execute — for the Squeezies, it’s just about finding the right finger-tricks and flow — the six cases are easy to confuse. Below the video are the algs and some simple rules to help distinguish and orient the cases.

(puzzle: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)

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Dual Commentary with TazzVidz

stick-figuresAbout a month ago, TazzVidz approached me about doing a dual commentary on his channel. I was a bit skeptical at first. But then I decided that it might be refreshing to do a humble, earnest dual commentary.

I’ve written here ad nauseam that I think I’m a good cuber, but a mediocre speedsolver — dubbing this site a blog for the mediocre. It was in that vein that I did the interview/commentary. He layered the commentary over a video of *him* doing a 4×4 Ao5. I think it came out great:

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Excuses…Excuses — (0:39) Ao5 with a Cast

Here’s a dirty little (not-so-)secret fact: I’m a mediocre cuber. Indeed, mediocrity is, in a sense, the raison d’être of this blog.

me·di·o·cre [mee-dee-oh-ker]
of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate
     synonyms: undistinguished, commonplace, pedestrian, everyday; run-of-the-mill
     antonyms: extraordinary, superior, uncommon, incomparable

More accurately, I’d say that I’m a pretty good cuber, but a very mediocre speedsolver. My technique is decent. I know all PLLs and can execute them efficiently. I understand intuitive F2L very well, and have learned a lot of tricks for more complicated cases. And I’ve got about 60% of the OLLs under my belt. But when it comes to putting them all together into full solves, I’m just not that great. My cross stinks. My look-ahead is non-existent. And, under the pressure of the clock, I tend to confuse F2L cases and forget OLL cases. That’s why I average just under 30 seconds.

And that’s why I very rarely record full solves and, even more rarely, averages. Well, after my surgery and with this damn cast still on my arm (¡au voir mañana!), I thought I could record an average of 5 (Ao5) with a built-in excuse. And so I did. Here’s the video with a 39 second Ao5 (and with BIG apologies for so much of it being out of frame!):

(puzzle: Dayan Zhanchi w/ Cube Specialists fitted bright stickers; music: String Cheese Incident performing “Galactic > So What?” on 7.30.03)

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Frying Pan OLLs (##53-54)

Here’s a quick follow-up to my C-Shape OLL tutorial, this one focussed on the “Frying Pan” OLLs (##53-54). Why “Frying Pan”? I have no idea. Leave a comment if you know.

I filmed this at the same time as the C-Shape one, trying to squeeze in as much production before my wrist surgery. It follows the same multi-cam approach:

(puzzle: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)

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C-Shape OLLs (##34, 46)

My Two-Look OLL post inspired me to keep pushing along with learning more OLLs. I had started learning the C-shapes (##34 and 46), but got distracted when I couldn’t find a decent flow for the latter. Now, I finally found an alternate algorithm for it. Here’s a video tutorial, followed by further explanation:

(puzzle: Maru CX3 w/ stock stickers)

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Prose for the Cyst

(A Seuss-ified Tale, Based on Actual Events)**
On his wrist, on wrist…
There’s a cyst on his wrist

I insist, I insist!
There’s a cyst on his wrist

Announced Bartholomew Griffinelbist
Yelling and pounding the air with his fist

Oh dear, what a shame, I just can’t resist
To ask who it is with cyst in his wrist

It is he of the cube, said Griffinelbist,
The one dubbed the cubing adventurer-ist

‘Tis a shame that his wrist seems so badly kissed
Under the skin a boulder from ole Sisyphus

Through pain and discomfort and a drive through the mist
To the surgeon he went, seeking help to enlist

Any method to erase all that seemed to exist
In connection with the giant cyst in his wrist

Excise it, we’ll do, the surgeon he hissed
With the help of a good anesthesiologist

On Thursday upcoming au revoir to the cyst
To that bump that surely will never be missed

Concluded Bartholomew Griffinelbist

** Written in 10 minutes, without editing, as part of a creative writing exercise.
In other words, excuse the metering anomalies, contrivedness, and clunkiness.