Rubik’s Cube (304th new thing).
April 7, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Murphy gave me a Rubik’s Cube for Christmas. Actually, I bought it and wrapped it and added a little tag that said it was from my dog. I figured it could be a new thing on a rainy day. On Day Three Hundred Four I pulled the plastic cube out of its packaging and set to work.
As a kid I would attempt to unscramble the puzzle, but inevitably would “solve” it by peeling off all the colored squares and replacing them on another block to form a wall of color on each side. I was a cheater. This time I vowed I would be victorious without resorting to such juvenile tactics.
I began by quickly mixing up the squares, twisting and turning until there was no discernible pattern on any face. After I felt I had mixed everything up enough, I began to recreate the original formation. I was terrible. I couldn’t even manage to get one face of the cube a solid color, although I came close. I had an all blue side minus one irritating green square, smack dab in the middle. Knowing if I didn’t seek help I would most likely take out my frustration on anyone in my line of site, I turned to the internet.
I found a popular YouTube video from a guy named Dan Brown that detailed how to solve a Rubik’s cube in a step-by-step process. Although his high energy attitude did little to endear him to me and my plight, I figured with over twenty million views and a positive rating, he had something going for his tutorial. He uses a series of algorithms to create a solid wall of color on each side of the cube. I shutter thinking of the hours spent figuring this out.
I managed to follow along easily enough for the first part of the series, only stumbling a few times and having return to the beginning steps.
And then I reached the final step, the one where Dan tells me that although it may seem like I am messing everything up, the cube will magically come together in the end. Right Inverted, Down Inverted, Right, Down. That’s the algorithm sequence in the code he establishes in the beginning of the two part tutorial. It seemed easy enough after the three hours I had already spent on the “simple steps.” However, every time I tried to finish the puzzle, nothing would magically come together. And worse, once the blocks were all jumbled again, I had to go back to square one (ha ha) in order to get back to the beginning of that final treacherous step. I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. The time arrived where I had spent nearly seven hours on and off attempting to solve the blasted Rubik’s Cube and I was tempted to give up.
I looked at various websites and other video tutorials online trying to find some sort of secret gateway to the answer. I finally watched Dan Brown’s newer tutorial which had been advertised all over the two part series I had been glued to all day. His smug face and floppy hair with nineties highlights popped up on the screen and I wanted to smack him through the computer. I gripped the colorful puzzle in my hand in exasperation and scrolled to the end of the video, only to find that this series had multiple parts which I had to scroll through before reaching my finishing step destination. I still wanted to smack Dan. How can he be so cheerful while I want to pull my hair out?!
Finally, I made it to the last three minute video I needed. I watched it three times before I felt confident enough that I understood what was going on. I watched it again, following the algorithm, pausing every so often to catch up.
And before the ever chipper guy on my screen could say voila, I looked in my hands and I had a fully solved Rubik’s Cube. Relief!