Tag Archives: puzzles

The Day I Conquered the Rubik’s Cube

20 Sep

For today’s display of splendor, I set about solving a Rubik’s cube for the first time.

I’m tired of being mocked by them.  I see them in movies, on tv shows, and in social circles being solved rapidly by seemingly huge nerdy nerds and I envy their dexterity and wit.  I wonder how it is that one acquires such a skill as I stare longingly at the dusty, creeky, plastic cube sitting on my bedroom shelf.  I rotate and rotate but it is of no use: my mind is feeble.

I will no longer be mocked.  Happy Lollipop Tuesday, folks.

If you’re new to these parts (welcome, vagabond!), check out the link at the top of this page labeled “What’s Lollipop Tuesday?”.  If you know the day, you’re familiar with the oncoming suck fest, and you’re as excited as I am, here we go:

For the record, I followed Dan Brown’s super fantastic tutorial on the Rubik’s Cube.  He has an incredibly famous tutorial at 21 million hits on YouTube, but I much prefer his updated, most recent version here. He has just enough enthusiasm to make you play the video over again when you massively fail.  And there were times I was in dire need. 

10:15pm – Began.  Hopeful. Assisted by a pack of caramels.  I can do anything that a YouTube tutorial can walk me through.

10:33pm – Out of caramels.  Also, completely frustrated by all this “R Prime, L2” talk.  I am so incredibly frustrated in just over 15 minutes.  I literally yell out loud in my apartment “HOW?! HOW DO I GET IT TO THE DOWNSIDE?! YOU AREN’T TELLING ME ANYTHING.”

10:45pm – I have created my first color cross on one of the faces.  I actually understand what the heck he’s talking about.  I get it! I really get it!

10:48pm – He’s moved on to the corner pieces.  He’s lost me.  He’s entirely lost me.    It’s been 3 minutes and I already have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.  It’s okay.  I take note of my state at  10:33pm and hope that I have a Eureka moment like I did at 10:45pm.

11:04pm – I’m doing what he tells me to do, but it’s not working.  I swear, I’ve done what he’s told me to do exactly as he’s told me to do it and it isn’t working.  Whaaaaaaaaaat?

11:13pm – I watched it about 10 times.  Just a tiny little 15 second segment 10 times.  Turns out I was turning D prime the wrong way all along.  Stupid stupid stupid.

11:25pm – I have an entirely green side. BALLAAAAH.

11:28pm – He just revealed that if I’ve done it correctly so far, I should have an entire layer that is correct, not just a green side.  I’m devastated.

11:29pm – Youtube Commenters had the same problem.  Apparently he missed a step.  Sonuva….

11:37pm – Everyone notes that I have to start over from here.  So… that’s awesome.  Starting over. And crying.

11:44pm – Hey I have a green cross again.  And in less than half the time as the first time around! Woot!

11:52pm – Okay.  Top layer solved.  Double woot.

12:12am – Hey.  I have two layers solved.  I ONLY HAVE ONE MORE LAYER!!!

12:14am – He says the last layer is the most complicated to solve.  This was to be expected, I suppose.  I’m nervous.  

12:17am – I’m having trouble distinguishing yellow from white.  Warning: Rubik’s Cubes may cause colorblindness.

12:22am – Just got to skip a step.  I completed the cross in the third layer and everything was perfect.  He says that doesn’t happen unless you’re “incredibly lucky”.  Score. 

12:42am – Wow. No updates during that time because I just kind of blacked out.  I was in a Rubik’s Cube frenzy.  I was also incredibly frightened that I would make a wrong move and undo all this work. 2 hours and 27 minutes worth of work, to be specific.  But in front of me, I currently have A SOOOOOLVED RUBIK’S CUBE!

Poor neglected filth cube. Chin up: all your sides finally match after years of fumbling.

I didn’t take it apart, and I didn’t reassign the stickers.  Which means I’ve come a long way since I was ten.

Here’s to small, satisfying accomplishments.  And hey – maybe I’ll work on getting my ~2.5 hours down to something more reasonable and human-trick worthy.  Because I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that are all like “Yeah man, I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 2 minutes.  Watch this.”

It is there, after the “watch this” that I will insert a startling display of awesomeness, wherein I solve the Rubik’s cube before their very unbelieving eyes.

Watch out world: I’m acquiring human tricks at an alarming rate.  Prepare to be amazed. 

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