‘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:
It started innocuously enough: “Okay—since you always need a challenge…”, along with a video of Justin Bieber solving a Rubik’s cube in what seemed at the time to be a VERY fast solve. I was intrigued by the commentary of my challenger (your blogmeister): “Bieber is in the zone. Look at his face. He is absolutely focused. Any way you look at it, 1:20 is incredibly fast.” And so it began.
My Christmas stocking included a cube at my request, and a book by Dan Harris called “Speedsolving the Cube“. I became anti-social during the holiday season as a result, tending to my familial obligations only as obligated, but always returning to the puzzle that is the Cube. The algorithms were mind-boggling, Continue reading →
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 →
Peruse YouTube for a couple minutes, and you’ll find hundreds of videos showcasing sub-20-second speedsolving. You may even stumble onto Feliks setting his 5.66 second world record. Crazy impressive on all sorts of differents levels. Good for him. Not the least bit of enmity or jealousy on my end.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find, as I did, something more sinister: a clip of Justin Bieber on Spanish TV solving a cube in 1:26. While I find his music beyond abhorrent, I can at least appreciate that the kid has some singing and dancing talent. Good for you, Justin. But I simply could not allow myself to be out-cubed by the pretty-boy. Not competitive by nature, I succumbed to an unusual, embarrasing, almost preternatural drive to beat him. Then, after two weeks of further practice, I did: