‘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:
So, at about 10 months into this thing, I feel like I’m starting to really hit a groove. My ability to learn new algorithms has accelerated dramatically, my fluidity has really increased, and my average speeds continue to fall steadily (if not quickly). At the same time, this blog is starting to gain some traction. Having done absolutely nothing to market or cultivate it — no twitter account, no facebook account, not even sharing it with many friends and family — site visits have really increased lately, my videos have gotten more views, a few folks have subscribed, and I’ve even got a dialogue going (via my youtube inbox) with a few followers.
As I wrote in my inaugural post (and then reiterated in my second and third posts), this blog was never about showing off. I was never going to be as good as the very fast cubers — for want of time, ambition, youth, and (probably) ability. I knew that going in, and know it even more today. But I sensed early on that this would be a fun adventure. Of my many hobbies, this felt like the one most easily chronicled — the one with milestones that lent themselves to tracking, with small accomplishments susceptible of tip-giving, and with enough jargony in-crowd patois the strategic sprinkle of which would give the appearance of skill and achievement. I was correct on all fronts.
Since launching this blog a couple weeks ago, I’ve grown a bit more self-conscious about it. Not so much because of the mockery – I can endure that, especially when dished by anonymous web denizens. But more a fear that having a cubing-themed blog might project a self-deluded, misplaced belief that I’m actually pretty good at this whole cubing thing. There’s a sort of hubris that attends launching a hobby blog, a sort of “look at me, and look what I can do.” It requires a lot of chutzpah in the face of the dozens of other really good cubing blogs run by folks that can solve a cube 4 times faster than I can. Continue reading
Ridicule ( rid·i·cule/ˈridiˌkyo͞ol/) The subjection of someone or something to mockery and derision.
Yes, ridicule. I expect it. To those who will mock, I respond, “Well deserved, but it is not to you that I owe an explanation.” Owed that explanation is my conscience and my wife. Hope you’re both reading.
I interpret “why” as relating to two things: (1) cubing and (2) documenting it. Continue reading
Against my better judgment — and fully anticipating ridicule, mockery, and outright bullying — we begin. A blog is born. It generally takes me over 100 hours to properly birth a blog. I’m a perfectionist. I fiddle with every pixel of spacing in CSS, get crazy with jquery and php switches, and tinker in Photoshop until my eyes glaze over. Not this time. This blog gestated for just over an hour. Why the short shrift? Mostly because I have time for this, and should be quartered by my bosses, wife, and children for even contemplating it. But also because I’m not confident this will go anywhere. So, a hosted blog, free theme, 20 lines of CSS, and we’re off…. Continue reading