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)

Continue reading


DIY Panshi — FAIL!

video-setupI had grand plans for this post. I figured I’d say how excited I was to get the new DaYan Panshi DIY kit; that I put together a highly sped-up video of me assembling, lubing, tensioning, and stickering it; that it’s a very good cube but not necessarily better than a Zhanchi or Guhong v2; yadda yadda yadda. My posts are always so verbose; for once, I figured, this one could be video-driven.

Well, things didn’t quite work out as expected.

I did setup my video camera and assembled the Panshi as planned. And the resulting video is below. But instead of ending by showing H and F and U perm executions on a new cube, it ends with a 42mm Zhanchi sacrificed for its (now-ruined) core and a defunct Panshi with a broken core, four broken torpedoes, and one broken corner stem. All the result of a badly-made screw.

(music: String Cheese Incident performing “Galactic” on 7.30.03)

What happened? Continue reading

F-II Restickering

Reviews for many cubes are riddled with complaints about sticker quality. And, like clockwork, every time someone complains about the quality, someone snarks, “Who cares? You’ll replace it with Cubesmith stickers in a month anyway.” Having taken a recent liking to my ShengEn Type F-II, I wore through the stickers quite quickly. As Cubesmith seems to be the go-to vendor for replacement stickers, I grabbed a couple different sets, includung a lexan textured “tiles” set. It took about 30 minutes to remove the old stickers with a Scrape-Rite plastic blade and replace them with the tiles. Continue reading

Two 1:09 Solves

So, I just recorded two 1:09 solves in a row using a GoPro HelmetCam that I borrowed from my company. These are among my fastest solves (I got a 1:03 the other day), and definitely my fastest recorded ones.

Apologies for the jarring difference in the soundtrack, with String Cheese Incident covering Weather Report’s “Birdland” on 9.5.03 for the first solve and Skrillex’ “Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites” for the second. I probably ought to have chosen from less extreme poles of my music collection when trying to find fast/anthemic/inspiration tunes.

REVISIONIST HISTORY: Although I posted this after my inaugural post, I’ve pre-dated it to keep things chronological.

first on-camera solve

So, I’ve been at this cubing thing for about a couple days now, having started Thanksgiving morning. What compelled me to give it a go is a bit of a mystery. But, if I had to, I suppose I’d blame the confluence of (1) the sudden surfacing of a cube from the back of a drawer, (2) an extra couple days off work, and (3) a fair bit of escapism (from the craziness that becomes Thanksgiving get-togethers). I’ve always enjoyed intellectual challenges, and this struck me as the challenge par excellence. No longer the owner of one of those spongy pre-adolescent brains that absorbs languages in the blink of an eye, I figured my hardened post-college, post-law school, post-kids brain could benefit from some unusual exercise.

I assumed there would be dozens of good tutorials on the internet. Dozens the net does indeed boast, but most aren’t that great. Frustrated, I finally stumbled onto a fantastic set of youtube videos by RobH0629. It took a couple hours of viewing and practicing to get down the basics and to scribble the algorithms into a cheat sheet that “made them my own.” Then, after a detour to help cook the bird, I managed this first on-camera solve — in a mere six-minutes! (Don’t worry: I sped up the video).

(tune: String Cheese Incident covering Weather Report’s “Birdland” on 9.5.03, with John Medeski guesting on keys; cube: OEM Rubik’s-brand 3×3)

As I write this post a couple months later, I scoff at six minutes. But, gee, did I feel proud of myself that day!

REVISIONIST HISTORY: Although I posted this after my inaugural post, I’ve pre-dated it to keep things chronological.