Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Rubik's Cubes

It all started at a previous job.

We were going through a slump (one that occurred every year). In fact, there were so few calls coming into the call center that they had started sending people home early—I would hold out as long as I could (they would send home volunteers first, and when they ran out of volunteers, they were forced to send people home based on schedule).

So I had this co-worker that decided to learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube. Shortly after he had it down, I decided that if he could do it, I could. No, I didn't figure it out myself, the internet is a wonderful thing.

I can solve a 3x3x3 cube in about two minutes, a 4x4x4 in about ten if I don't forget one of the moves, fifteen to twenty if I have to jog my memory. I'm pretty sure I could solve the 5x5x5 if I ever got my hands on one. The same goes for the puzzle cube based on the Rubik's Cube engineered in recent years by a Greek Engineer that allows for cubes from 5x5x5 to 11x11x11.

When I got tired of borrowing my coworkers cube, I bought my own. Then I got a 4x4x4. The 3x3x3 got lost, and I played with the 4x4x4 so much it was falling apart. Then Walmart started selling cubes in cheaper packaging and at a much better price and I ended up with a new 3x3x3 and 4x4x4. At one point I went to buy a cube at Walgreens since they had an advertised price of $5 combined with buy one get one free—I went to three stores and then asked for a rain-check.

I found that rain-check two years later and they still honored it.

I found an old cube from when I was a kid (you know, the first time these things were popular) and decided to combine my unhealthy obsession with Dice and my enjoyment of Rubik's Original Puzzle. I took all the stickers off and used white electricians tape to make it look like a pipped six sided die. An acquaintance at work borrowed it and he brought it back in pieces—the old plastic had disintegrated around one of the screws and the thing had just fallen apart in his hands. I was upset, but I also had a cube with stickers that were wearing out.

So I rubbed all the color off the stickers, and had myself an all white cube. Then I colored loose leaf paper reinforcements black with a Sharpie and applied 14 of them to the cube. It was much easier than the electrical tape version and looks a lot better as well. At first it seems that it's harder to solve, but once I wrapped my head around it; I realized that unlike a standard cube you only have to solve ten of the twenty pieces—the rest of the pieces are all Identical. All you have to solve is the eight corners and two edges.

My Wife and Kids got me a Disneyland Rubik's Cube when they went to Disneyland. My sister got me an All Spark Cube (i.e. Transformers) for my birthday. I bought a Rubik's Ice Cube recently—it's a 2x2x2 cube made of transparent plastic and has a cool stand that looks like it's made of polar ice.

I have one more—which is what prompted me to write this post. A co-worker came to me yesterday morning and gave me a cube that I think was swag at a recent company event. You must understand that although my job is in computers, I work for the division of my company that is essentially a construction company. One of the companies that we contract with had a "Safety" BBQ and Equipment Rodeo. I didn't attend, because it was held at another location in the middle of the day. This Cube is a promotional tchotchke for Komatsu. It has Bulldozers, Excavators, and Dump Trucks on it.


  1. That is so cool. I would have liked to see a picture of your polar ice one. My brother was huge into "the cube" but I am not sure he ever solved it. I will have to look up online on how to do it and amaze him.

  2. You and your obsessions! = )
    I like your new cube!