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The Incurable Hobbyist Two: Rubik's Cube Gratitude

Posted by Christine / July 31, 2011

20110731-rubik's.jpgThe Incurable Hobbyist is a highly subjective monthly series that examines various hobbies and the areas of the city that offer means to facilitate their practice. The goal is to inspire curious readers to develop hobbies they'll grow to love dearly, filling their hearts with the singular joy that comes with learning something special, something new.

I fiddle, I doodle while I'm speaking on the phone, I restlessly take out, write in and put away my notebook, I play drumbeats on tables, I make origami out of bar napkins, I rip my beer labels to shreds, I'm a general nuisance to anyone looking to relax.

Many people have the same affliction. I lock eyes with that man across the restaurant whose wearing a sensible suit and a tasteful, subdued tie, but he's making structurally sound towers out of his sushi rolls, and I know. I just know.

It's probably general anxiety, but I'd like to think it's because there's too much life to fit into one day. If I'm multi-tasking or just keeping my hands occupied, somehow it feels like I'm living more. It's just like that.

Over two years ago, I found a better way to make use of this habit. I mastered the Rubik's Cube.

Fun facts:

Over 350 million cubes have sold worldwide, making it the international top selling puzzle game.

The record for speedcubing is held by Feliks Zem, solving the cube in 5.66 seconds at the Melbourne Winter Open 2011.

There are 43 quintillion ways to arrange a Rubik's Cube. To put this into perspective, if one had as many 57 millimeter cubes as there are permutations, one could cover the Earth's surface with a layer 275 cubes thick.


But hey, don't let that discourage you. It is quite simple to learn.

This is a particularly helpful video, narrated by a charming fellow with a visibly unshakable joie-de-vivre. It outlines the various steps to complete the cube and provides a list of the required algorithms.

Learning on one's own is more difficult, but if you have a considerable understanding of math, it is possible.

After I learned to solve the cube, I frequently brought it on bus rides, long walks and lunch breaks at work. Of course, it would be taken out at parties and bars to amuse friends and strangers alike. It was always in my purse.

I was challenged and timed to completed the cube in under x-seconds. I was asked to teach others. I was stopped in the street. Once, someone took it, disassembled it by removing the cubes individually and placed them back in the solved position. I was not impressed.

Over time, I was simply known to some as "Rubik's".

So listen up, toss out your dog-eared, tear stained copy of How To Win Friends And Influence People, get your grubby friendless hands on a Rubik's Cube and you'll be an instant party sensation (at least in your own mind, good enough kiddo)!

You can acquire your Rubik's Cube at several areas around the city. I would recommend Tour de Jeux, which is where I bought my first standard 3 x 3 cube. Another option is Valet D'Coeur, which has the added benefit of possibly witnessing a game of Dungeons and Dragons happening at the back of the store.

For all you Habs fans, why not pick up a Montreal Canadians Rubik's Cube? As advertised, this "incredibly addictive, multi-dimensional challenge has fascinated puzzle fans around the world since 1980." You can order your very own at Rubik's Official Website.

So said the maestro:

"I wanted nothing else than to make the object as perfect as possible"

-Erno Rubik

Cropped photograph of yours truly (in costume no less) by the talented Julie Nicole



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