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Went to Arizona Mills for the first time in a long time. They had a board games store right across from GameStop that had Rubik's cubes and higher-order twisty puzzles for sale, including the Megaminx. I bought one because the one I have is popping tiles and won't last forever.

It turns out they sell the genuine Meffert brand Megaminx, which turns smoothly and has stickers. It's more expensive than the Chinese ones I'd been buying, but it seems to be a higher quality. My only complaint is that there are two adjacent sides that are very close in color. If anyone's looking to buy one of these, I suggest you buy them here. They also sell V-Cubes from 5x5x5 to 7x7x7.

I also have one of those RC helicopters.
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That new Dayan Guhong cube arrived today. It's the slipperiest cube I've ever handled. I started looking up algorithms online because the way I'd been solving it no longer seemed worthy of such a fast cube.

Over Thanksgiving weekend I'll probably have learned 2-Look OLL.
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My 3x3x5 arrived today and I of course went straight to YouTube to learn how to solve it. But what really caught my eye were the 2-look PLL and OLL algorithms printed on the box, makes me think I should learn them. I already can solve a 3-cube in a minute; I wonder how much faster I can go...
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another cube arrived from dealextreme. this time, after 5 months. Apparently it was out of stock.

it's a dodecahedron with a 6-sided core.

everything

Oct. 1st, 2009 07:26 pm
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So I went to Orlando last weekend. Spent too much money on tourist traps. The Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum is way better than Wonder World.

Sea World was neat but maybe not quite worth $75, but it was pretty close, thanks to the penguin and puffin exhibits. I didn't even know puffins existed; it turns out they are arctic birds that evolved convergently with penguins on the opposite pole. Like penguins, they have a black and white color scheme and can dive underwater. Unlike penguins, they can also fly. James Bond doesn't even have vehicles that can do both those things. They are also cuter, although that might owe partially to the jaunty 16-bit Level Map music they were playing in the puffin room. Also, when puffins dive, they beat their wings underwater, as if they're flying, which looks really badass because they have very angular-looking wings.

When I got home, I got some new toys from Cube4You: a new Rubik's cube, a 5-cube from Eastsheen, and a Gigaminx. I haven't solved the Gigaminx yet, but I've figured out how to gain a bit of territory on it. It's going to get much harder as I solve more sides and have less freedom of movement in the unsolved space. I put it away early for tonight not because I was stuck, but because my hands were getting tired.

I've ordered some more wall decals, one of which will go in my bedroom, and perhaps make it presentable enough that I'll bother keeping it clean. Pictures if I succeed.
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a review of various brands of Megaminx puzzles. I just got a QJ from DealExtreme, and am heartened to hear that it will loosen up after a bit.

cubes

Sep. 9th, 2009 12:21 am
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I can kinda sorta solve a 4x4x4 cube, known at the Fry's Marketplace as "Rubik's Revenge".

The most common way to do it is to solve the centers and then pair up the edges, and then solve like a 3x3x3, but there's a good chance you'll end up with parity problems that take a long time to solve, and I haven't memorized the ways to get out of those yet.

There seem to be alternate ways of solving it slightly differently, and some of them apply to the 5x5x5 cube as well. If I can figure that one out, then... the Gigaminx, perhaps?
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Much thanks to [livejournal.com profile] tamtrible for keeping me sane over recent weeks.

And I congratulate her on having solved the Megaminx by herself for the first time today.
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well, the sneezing fit is gone, and I managed to get in a half-day of work...

and in other news, I can solve a Rubik's cube in an average of two minutes, 20 seconds. I might be able to improve on that if I lubricate my cube.
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So, last night a tile broke off my Megaminx. I couldn't find my super glue, but I bought some Mighty Mendit at the drugstore recently, and while I was rubber-cementing my old jeans back together, I thought maybe I could use this to bond the tile back on. It's held up so far.

I can solve it in 26:30.
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A tile already broke off.

But I think I have a super glue pen around here somewhere.
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This Megaminx is a Chinese model, as opposed to a Mefferts. It's slower but less likely to have tiles break off. It has twelve colors, but some of those colors are extremely close to each other in hue, though they are on opposite sides of the puzzle, so as long as I solve the distinct colors first, I'm OK.

The solution isn't quite as rote as a simple 3x3x3 cube. You have to plan a little bit. I had a few problems where I solved the wrong part, and ended up splitting the unsolved area to the point where I had to scramble what I'd just solved. But there were a few times when I solve four tiles in a row without any algorithms, and that's very satisfying.
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well, I solved it in 67 minutes.

It was kind of joyless, though, as those trolls in the stickam chat kind of got to me. It turns out I'm seeing my uncle this weekend for the air show anyway, so I didn't need to go through all that.

The troll was right; I'm a 31-year-old spending my Thursday night playing with a toy.
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My Megaminx arrived in the mail today.

But before I scramble and solve it, I have to answer some work emails and have dinner.

Then I'm scrambling it, then I'm solving it. You can watch. I scrapped the stickam idea because while I'm waiting for my uncle to get on an watch, there are a bunch of trolls stumbling in typing insults.

I think the real challenge will be turning the faces without making the thing fall apart.

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