One Year In: Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang

‘Twas exactly a year ago today that I first solved a 3×3 cube. It was a Rubik’s brand cube — barely worn in, and totally un-lubed. I spent the morning watching RobH0629’s fantastic tutorials, scribbled a few notes, practiced a dozen times, and, finally, just before leaving for Thanksgiving dinner, got my first cheat-sheet-free solve. On video, to boot. At the time, I was quite proud of myself. Proud enough to have the chutzpah to record it and send it around to friends and family.

At the time, I had no expectation of diving more deeply into things. I figured I’d speed up a bit and occasionally could keep myself busy on the couch. That I could solve a cube at all seemed like quite an accomplishment, and one that I fancied as a parlor trick of sorts. I had no idea how bad that name-brand cube was. Nor did I recognize the inefficiencies of the Beginner’s Method. I laugh still at that final algorithm (F2 U R’ L F2 R L’ U F2) — which I now realize is a just a horribly clunky U Perm.

Fast forward a year, and I have dived much deeply. I bought a few fancy speed cubes (or 20); I started this blog (for reasons that still probably seem a little bizarre) and frequently waxed verbose about this hobby and my self-consciousness surrounding it; I beat the Bieber; and I started replacing the Beginner’s Method steps one at a time — fancying up my cross technique, learning F2L, and memorizing some OLLs and PLLs. Last month, I posted a (partial) PLL attack video demonstrating that I had learned 17 of the 21 PLL cases. My execution was far from masterful, and speed far from snappy. Still, it felt like an accomplishment. Only the G’s remained, intimidating as they were.

No longer. Today, on my Cubeiversary, I can say that I know all 21 PLLs. The G’s, they are to muscle memory committed! Picking up where the attack video left off, here is my execution of the four G variations:

(music: Stems’ dubstep remix of Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang”)

The production isn’t quite as good as the first video’s. I opted for my camcorder, which is less clunky, but also far less wide. The POV of the first video used a 10-22mm wide angle lens. Jettisoning that, I had to back up the camera — moving it to the side and allowing my scruffy face to sneak into the frame a bit. Between my custom G stickers, the featured G Perms rounding off the year, and a bit of (admittedly overstated and exaggerated) pride making me feel like a little bit of a cubing “G”, I thought the soundtrack fit. My hope was that the remixed version would dodge Youtube’s audio-match sniffers. We’ll see….

With a year under my belt, my best time on a 3×3 is 28.2 seconds, with an on-camera best of 36.10. I’m under no illusion that 30 seconds is earth-shattering. There are hundreds of folks on Youtube who regularly halve that. But, for a mid-thirties professional with a demanding job and family that he prioritizes over hobbies, it’s definitely not terrible. My brain is not as spongy as the ones of the teenage cubers, and my free time is substantially more wanting than for the collegiate ones. As I concluded a couple months ago, I was destined for mediocrity, with this being a blog dedicated to it.

Certainly, I never would have predicted a sub-30 time a year ago. Nor would I have anticipated 70 blog posts or nearly 40 Youtube videos on my channel. I’ve tried to produce good content on both, inspired by the high production of first-rate Youtubers such as CrazyBadCuber, Cyoubx, and RedKB.

As for next year’s goals? For this blog and my Youtube channel, I hope that I can keep up (and even improve) the quality of my content. For cubing, I’d like to see consistent sub-30 averages evidencing much smoother F2L (better look-ahead, fewer cube rotations, more efficient inserts, etc.).

This has been a more addictive and consuming, yet far more enjoyable, hobby than I would have predicted a year ago. There is always something new to learn, which keeps it fresh and interesting. It’s been a really fun year. Thanks for following along!