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## JWSmythe's Journal: New Job, Rubik's Cube, and Big Bada Boom

Journal by JWSmythe

So I started back at one of my previous employers, I am once again employed. :)

But, I'm waiting to get my access again to all the servers, so I'm gainfully trying to keep myself occupied, without thinking about recent life events.

So, I come to you, to share the magic of the Rubik's cube.

Back in the 80's, when it was popular, I was annoyed by the whole thing. Twist, turn, damn. Twist, turn, turn, damn. Ya, that's how I want to spend my day. So, I considered the other options to solve the puzzle. It's kinda like anything else, you have to be smarter than the device you're using.

So, when I was a kid, I figured out how to take Rubik's cube apart. The next day I figured out how to put it together.

After the early 90's, I thought I'd never use this fine skill again, until a few days ago. A friend has a couple boys, aged 10-ish and 13-ish. :) Ya, I'm still great at remembering ages and birthdays. The younger one says "Have you ever solved a Rubik's cube?" Ahhhh, he asked the right question. Sure, I've "solved" a cube.

He tosses me the cube. This one is a 2x2x2 (4 tiles on each face). I've never seen one of these, mostly because I never cared to. I gave it a quick look, and gave a little tug to the blocks. "Sure, I can solve it, but you won't like how I do it." He asked how, and I explained that "This is an engineering puzzle, not a logical one."

We went back and forth on that for about 10 minutes, so finally, I took it, twisted one side 45 degrees, and popped a block off.

There's something you should know about the 2x2x2 Rubik's cubes. They're not like the 3x3x3 cubes. Besides having 8 blocks, there are also about a dozen sliders, 6 rotators, and a center hub. All this very carefully assembled by some of the highest paid workers in China, who I'm sure can build 10 a minute. :)

With the one block off, it's now lost the integrity to stay as a single unit, and the whole thing crumbles in my hands, a couple dozen little tiny plastic parts, that I've never in my life seen before.. Ahh! A new puzzle. I like these. I spent about 10 more minutes standing at a kitchen counter, trying to put it back together. It seems easy enough, but I ended up with 2 extra pieces, and it wouldn't hold itself together.

Ahh! an impossible puzzle, I like these even more!

I took a baggie full of Rubik's parts home with me that night, and in the middle of yet another sleepless night, I sat at my desk solving the ENGINEERING challenge of the 2x2x2 Rubik's cube. (Actually called the Rubik's Jr., I believe).

I won't give the secret away, but look at YouTube. :) It's not the perfect solution, but it got me close enough, after I was really really close.

I sent it back home to the kids, in perfect condition. "Solved!" I even spent part of the day just spinning sides to see that everything moved ok.

It came back to me the next day, as a bag full of pieces. Ahhh, the mighty children have learned the magic of an Engineering Challenge. They just haven't found how to solve it. They insisted that it just "came apart". I've seen some of their other fine works, that just "happened" and they claim to have had absolutely no influence on.

I put it back together in perfect condition again, and my wife grabs it from me. "How hard could this be?" She's been playing with it for a week, without solving the logical puzzle. I'm tempted to take it as an engineering puzzle again one night, so she can think I solved the logical problem too. :)

When I was job hunting, I found a position for someone working large fireworks for large presentations.. If there's something I like more than taking stuff apart and putting it back together, it's blowing stuff up. I'm like a kid at Christmas, on New Years and the 4th of July. I come home with my presents all wrapped in clear plastic, just ready to set up the mortar tubes, and start launching lovely packages of explosive goodness high into the sky. Wheeeee!

I didn't even get a call on that job though. Oh well.

{sigh} I have to wait 3 more months before I can blow up more stuff. I'm not enough of a pyro to do it any other time. Well, I'm usually not rich enough either. :) In good years, I'll spend about \$300 to blow up in a night. Ahhhh.. Big Bada Boom

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