Cross Training

It’s time to come clean: My cross skills suck.

It’s been 14 months since I wrote about more advanced cross techniques, which is only slightly less long than I’ve been at this cubing thing altogether. At the time, I was thrilled just to move on from the beginner’s method of forming a daisy on top. Memorizing the cube’s color scheme seemed like an accomplishment.

A year-plus later, I’m stuck at around 35 seconds. I’ve learned all 21 PLLs, have gotten pretty fast at two-look OLL (with a handful of OLLs one-lookable), and am competent with F2L (fast, but with lots of hunting still). But my crosses are still really clunky. Time to start focusing on the cross.

To set a benchmark, I did 5 Ao12s of just crosses. I spread out the sessions to make sure they were pretty accurate representations. Although there are a few stray bests, the 60-cross average was 6.75: Continue reading


Happy New Year!

happy-new-year-champagne-clinkingSo, it’s that time of the year when people reflect. Resolutions and what not. I’ve been doing my own reflecting and have lots of thoughts. But I already have plenty of long, dense posts on this blog. So, I’m going to keep it really simple:

My first video solve of 2012 came in this post, in which a 34-year-old with two months of cubing experience and a GoPro sample sitting in his office was proud to capture on video two 69 second solves:


Continue reading

Double M’ Flicks

I’ve been working on double (ring-to-middle finger) M’ flicks for H Perm, rather than the paired single (ring finger) flicks that I’m used to. This wasn’t so much about speed as smoothness; at about 2.2 seconds, H is already one of my fastest PLLs. But I did pick up speed. With just a few minutes of practice, I got H Perm down to about 1.75 seconds. Here’s a quick video (my first edited in Final Cut Pro X), showing both approaches.

(music: “Cissy Strut” by The Meters)

Transferring this to Z Perm is going to take some work. It’s easy in H Perm to just go double-double-double-double. Much harder in Z Perm to go double-double-single-double-single. Working on it, though. More helpful, still, would be double U flicks. I’ve been having a hard time with those (these stumpy fingers of mine!). Maybe I’ll get the smaller 55mm Zhanchi to try to work on mechanics.

As for the Camcuber Zhanchi popping montage at the end: That might have been a little too (indirectly) critical of a cube that I’ve come to like even more since reviewing it last week. More than anything, I was just surprised to have so many pops on it — especially since I almost never pop a Zhanchi. I suppose I was pretty rough on it when I was learning the double-flicks….

36 seconds (on-video PB)

I just got my fastest recorded (on video) 3×3 solve of 36 seconds. I’ll cut to the chase, and put the long-winded commentary below the media content for once. Here’s the video:

(music: “The War” from the Duplicity soundtrack; cube: properly Lubixed white 57mm Dayan Zhanchi with Cube Depot light matte sticker set)

At 36.10, this was not my fastest 3×3 solve; Continue reading

(Partial) PLL Speed (of Tortoise) Attack

There are 21 PLL algorithms, with an average of 15 moves (QTM) each. Those are enormously intimidating figures for someone new to cubing — especially if that someone is, say, in his mid-thirties, has a demanding job, two kids, and, therefore, limited time and energy. And even more so if, as the four readers who occasionally glance at this blog’s carefully produced and curated content already know about me, that someone is just plain bad at memorizing. That’s why, when I began this curious adventure a little bit more than ten months ago, I did so with appropriate humility. I had no illusions of being a 10-second solver, and nary a thought of even consistently approaching 45 seconds. This would be a fun distraction — something I could do interstitially. A low overhead, low footprint hobby. For it to become anything more, I figured, I’d have to do all this memorizing. Perish the thought.

And now this. A video of my version of a PLL speed attack (explanation below), showing my timed execution of the 17 PLLs I know.

Continue reading