Day 11 – Why am I a Cuber? Aka life lessons some plastic and screws taught me

Hopefully this gets posted successfully.

I’ll edit and add in the fancy stuff like photos, tags and links later since I am trying to conserve the amount of data I use on my phone due to the wifi being down and can’t really do that stuff on the app. (See day 10 and the post about the app)
To the topic at hand, why am I a cuber and how did I get started?

So when I was in 3rd grade (Primary 4 for the British system people, mid 2000’s for future historians) there was a bit of a “Cubing revival” at our school. Everyone had one on the corner of their desk, even though only one guy in our class knew how to solve one.

And to fit in and be “cool” I got one as well (hint: didn’t work).

It was my first cube, Rubik’s branded one (how was I supposed to know better?) with karate guys on the white face of the cube (I did martial arts at the time).

I proceeded to scramble it… then tried to solve it without a guide or help. After all, how hard could it be? That kid in class does it all the time, starting with the cross, then working his way up. I totally got this! (I also may have had a tiny crush on the guy and wanted to one up him at his own game, so never asked… yup)

Eventually, (and predictably) I gave up.

And so, the scrambled cube stayed on my desk, then moved to the book shelf, slowly collecting dust, until one day in a quest to “clean” my room as quickly as possible, I threw everything that wasn’t necessary into a garbage bag and chucked it in the garage (since my mom would check closets :P)

It stayed there in that bag for years, watching me take out other items I needed, but never being chosen itself…

Until THAT summer, when I was about to pack up everything and fly thousands of miles away to a new country, a new home and… most daunting of all… a new school (DUN DUN DUUUUUUN!)

Being the “new kid” was a terrifying prospect for me. After all, in kindergarten and 6th grade (Year 7) Middle school, I was never alone in being the “awkward kid who had no idea what they were doing”. But now? That was about to change. I was going to be “that kid” now. *Gasp in horror*

So to prepare myself and make a good first impression, I googled “How to look intelligent”. I know, a bit self-righteous, but hey, I was 12.

On that list, next to being well read/speed reading (check) and knowing another language (sorta, kinda check?) was solving a Rubik’s cube. Since I had one, a free summer and the internet (more specifically google and youtube).

And while it didn’t exactly make me look smarter to my classmates, it was a conversation starter that helped me connect with others, and become friends with some amazing people.

After that one thing lead to another… and several cubes later, here I am today!
So what did life lessons learn (need to answer that click-baity title after all)?

Well for one, don’t be afraid to ask for help when learning or trying something new. You are going to suck at stuff when you first start, that is kinda the nature of starting something new. Trying to reinvent the wheel is not just a foolish endeavor, it is an exhausting and time consuming one as well.

Also, don’t just give up because something seems impossible or difficult, persevere through it! Feliks Zemdegs started in 2008. I picked up my first cube in end of 2006, early 2007… could’ve had a head-start on the guy, just sayin’ XP
But perhaps more philosophically

I think we as people all too often focus on the “How to’s” of the world: How to choose a major in university? How to be rich? How to choose become an Olympic athlete? Or in this case, How to solve a Rubik’s cube? We try to strip down goal or achievements to their bare essence, to tasks with clear “steps to success” with clearly defined numerical metrics of success: your GPA, your net worth, your medal count, your solving time etc.
But in doing so, we blatantly ignore the real human stories behind each personal endeavor to try, learn and improve.

We pretend that we live in a world where doing XYZ leads to success, as if we are characters in an MMORPG, with skill trees to complete and levels to gain. But that is just plain false!

To evoke Charlote Bronte’s Jane Eyre: We are not antomations – machines without feeling!

Thus, everyone has their own unique story to tell, their own way of viewing the world 

In the end, WHY do I solve the cube?

Why do I spend time out of my day to mess up the pattern on a plastic cube, just to fix it a few seconds later?

For me, it is impossible to pin point down, because the reasons are so varied and nuanced, that it is just easier to lay the entire story before you. 

  • A bit of pride plus a fear of the unknown? 
  • A constant reminder of self improvement?
  • Or it is just fun?
  • All of the above? 
  • Or I am pondering this question too much, who knows?

So remember: “How to” is the simple question to ask, but will give you a dry, cookie cutter answer. Instead, ask go out and ask yourself “Why?” to get a more personal perspective and the opportunity to learn something new!

Fellow cubers out there, what’s your cubing story? Non cubers, what are some lessons that unassuming things have taught you? Feel free to post below!

Stay curious and see you tomorrow with another post!



Day 5- Recap (of sorts)

Like the Fates of Greek mythology, this post comes to you in three parts which constitutes a whole ( with each recap being vaguely related to the three’s roles in the myths)

( keep in mind that my Greek mythology knowledge comes from what I can remember from Percy Jackson and the Olympians + what I can google in 5 minutes, so it is probably very inaccurate and making a professor on the subject somewhere cringe… provided this blog ever gets that kind of traction, which is unlikely, but hey crazier things have happened this year, so I’m not ruling it out yet)

Clotho / Nona (“the spinner”)

aka the maiden that creates the string of life or in this case, creates the posts and on the projects I have

I’ve discovered tagging today. Well, not so much discovered as I have actually gotten around to doing it.

During that process I found one called postaday which pretty much compiles all the blogs posting every day, so I’ll be using that for this month of blogging.

I’m thinking about adding pictures in one way or another to this blog, since so far it suffers from the whole “wall o’text” thing, which makes for difficult reading (not that anyone at the moment is reading it, my view counter is still at 0)

Another group of things I’ve always meant to get started on in programming, OLL on the cube and  learning T-line short hand. Perhaps I should add it to my daily ritual, since this blogging thing seems to be going pretty decently? I’ll see..

If I do though, progress reports will probably go on this blog, since that seems to be a thing that gets me to start projects (think CAS blog in IB)

Lachesis / Decuma (“the apportioner”)

aka the matron that measures out and portions out the string of life, for me – the one that starts planning ahead for the upcoming uni semesters & figures out her direction in life

So far, I’m planning double majoring in History (B.A.) and Ecology & Biodiversity (B.S.) in university, while also going on exchange in year 3 and abroad at some time to work on my German. Which is a lot of stuff, but hey I’m going to try and take advantage of all I can here.

Still waiting for my grades for this semester since I need to know them to see where I can apply for exchange… Should be decent but it seems like it is taking forever…

There was a bug a few days ago that allowed some people to see their scores ahead of time, but by the time I got online they had patched it.

Different faculties have started posting course lists for next semester, and I am thinking about choosing:

  • History- Eating History: Food Culture from the 19th Century to the Present (HIST2077) and The United States before 1900 (HIST2015) for semester 2. Not sure about semester 1.
  • Biology – Though the list isn’t out yet it is easier since I still need to complete the pre-recs for it. Thinking about also adding a Biochemistry lab course, even though it isn’t required for this major
  • Common Core – Again this depends on the schedule so will probably be chosen last for me, but I still need a CCST and CCGL class here.

Not really sure what I will be doing after college, since while at first I was thinking about going into teaching, I’m not sure I want to spend all of my career there + from what I have read online, it is  a much tougher career than it is often made out to be with pay that isn’t that great.

Ideally, I’d be in a career that allows of flexible hours and travel, but I’ve yet to find one yet. Perhaps grad school, though again depends on GPA

Atropos / Morta (“the inevitable”)

aka the crone who cuts the thread of life, or my view on some of the characters House of Cards so far

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but currently mararthon-ing House of Cards. Currently I am on Season 2 Episode 5 (Chapter 18)

I’ll probably go in more depth later, but again we are running close to the deadline so quick rapid fire thoughts on just random things.

Frank – Gosh he is entertaining and manipulative AF. That train scene with Zoe + the recent quorum scene stand out to me… Man it is awesome to see him at work, whether

Claire – She and Frank are perfect for each other, both are manipulative and cunning in their own way that is just great to see unfold.

Blythe – love this guy, might be my favorite character, probably the only one so far that has stood up to Frank and notices his BS

Sharp – (not sure if this is correct but the new dem. party whip) I like her and see why Frank backed her, she has a can do spirit and while she whips votes in a very different way to Frank, she is just as persuasive. will be interesting to see where this character goes (hopefully

Tusk – Frank’s match for president Walker’s attention. Liked him in the earlier episodes when you could see his observant nature (Frank’s knocking on table etc), now he seems pushed aside a bit for Feng…

Feng – He’s not a native Chinese speaker… seriously it has a really thick accent and really noticeable that kinda takes me out of the moment. His assistant’s Chinese is great, but Feng himself… lets just say its for the best he sticks almost exclusively to English in his scenes

Lucas & Rachel – not sure what is going on with these, their plots seem forgettable at times, though sure they will become more interesting as season goes on.

Doug – stay away from Rachel man, just leave her alone to live out her life…

Meechum & Freddy – They are getting way to much time in the spotlight to not be key players later on

So that is all for now (this is probably the longest post I’ve written ever, I’m quite impressed!)

Until tomorrow,