Saturday, July 22, 2017


I went for my third day in a row solving with my eyes closed but messed up. Not sure where. I do know that the first time I messed up I had a flying something buzzing around my ear at one point. I don't know if that is when I messed up or not as I kept my eyes closed. I tried again later and failed again. This time it was when the family was outside playing in the water. Did it have something to do with it? Maybe. At any rate, I would like to be able to solve consistently even in the midst of distractions.

Now I am just working through the solve little by little checking as I go. When I got down to the last three edges I saw it was a 4-cycle. So when I am down to the last two edges, it would be a 3-cycle. I should take advantage of this whenever possible.

Flip P and STwist F and H
Yolandax-dines ongrapesRay
1 (Juan)understandslemons
Breanninsists ondoughnuts

In other words, I could have done Juan understands lemons, Breann. And then finished the edges with a 3-cycle instead of two swaps. And on the corners I could have done Breann gets 2, Vic. And then finished the solve with a 3-cycle.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Two Days in a Row!

Today marks the first time ever I have had two successful solves in a row on two consecutive scrambles solving on my first attempt with my eyes closed.

Breanninsists onveggieseveryJuly
Wally insists on2
Twist 1 anti

The actual solve was done in the car on the way back from Krumlov where we met up with Cousin Carl and Phyllis, and their friends Blake and Kathleen. They were sweet people and fun to meet.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fun Times

I brought a Fire, a Flip, and an iPhone with me on this trip. And a new bigger Fire to Raymond. He gave me one of his old ones. I will probably leave it here as I don't really need two, but am enjoying it for now. I have loaded some kid stuff on it that all three children enjoy. This morning Annie had a turn on it then Alex and David were enjoying it together.IMG_2721

The kids have some really cool magnet toys that they can build and design with. I made a wheel this morning. It is a fun toy.IMG_2722



Here they are enjoying music on Grammy's iPad.

During nap time I went out back to see if I could solve the Cube with my eyes closed. This is the view of the yard from the comfy camp chair I was sitting in.

The cube started like this.IMG_2727

And ended like this.IMG_2728

And it was my first attempt on this scramble. It involved the one-by-one swapper on the edges, finishing the edges up with a 3-cycle. Then the one-by-one swapper was used to do all of the corners. I didn't have any trouble remembering the edges, but when I got to the corners my mind went blank. It took a bit of just sitting there with my eyes closed thinking about it to remember how the corners started. Then once I had the first sentence done, I had trouble remembering the second one. But I finally did and it was great to mentally work through it and get it solved on my first try.

David, Daddy and Papa Go Out

We had a nice trip to the mall. One of the stores is Globus, and that is the family name for the whole place.

When we got there I saw some birds in the parking lot that caught my attention. A little research reveal they were Rooks.


First stop, a little car ride. Of all the things David rode, I think this was his favorite.

It definitely had the most to it.IMG_2695

Next stop the little train.IMG_2696


There was a big locomotive in Sparky.IMG_2700



Going into the tunnel of the locomotive.IMG_2704



There was a display in Sparky for Rubik's Cube Brand puzzles, including keychains, 2x2x2, 3x3x3, 4x4x4, Magics, Snakes, and some electronicky thing. There was a QJ Skewb Ultimate there too. Raymond says the cost is around $7. Wow! I doubt I could find a price that good online. I looked a little and this was by far the best price and available here and now. I have one at home and I think it is too complex for the kiddos otherwise I would have jumped at the chance to get it.

IMG_2710Life is like QJ Magic Cube—
Made in China
no no no. Lots but not all.

Life is like QJ Magic Cube—
Choking Hazard!
no no no. That is not what it means.

After Sparky we went back to the train. Notice the guy in the background. He did not look like he was enjoying life at all.IMG_2712

One more ride before dinner.IMG_2713

The juice seemed to be the highlight of the day! He relished every last drop.

And of course the special day out would not have been complete without a new toy.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

New Scramblers

I have been using a scrambler from At least I thought it was. This morning I looked for it and found a different one at their site. I don't know why but today I wondered if there was a better one out there anywhere. I found one at Sounds pretty official. I got a scramble from there this morning. I don't know if it is different in some way or if it is simply coincidence, but this one doesn't have any 3-cycles in the edges or corners. The edges are a 12-cycle and the corners have one solved, a swap, and a 5-cycle. So the whole solve will be using the one-by-one swapper. Here it is.

L' D' R2 B F2 D L2 R2 U' L2 R2 U2 F' L2 U2 L2 U2 R2 B2 F2 U' F2 L2
Stevevaluesice cream

July 17, 2017
I put the scramble on a couple cubes and then we went on a road trip / train ride adventure. Took tons of pictures and I haven't even blogged former sets of pictures yet. I have trouble keeping up with more than one thing at a time and right now I am trying to master the skill of solving a Rubik's Cube with my eyes closed. On the train ride home I figured it was time to try this one. I recruited Annie's help in memorizing the story. Marae and Alex were also in the seat. Part way through the solve Marae tells me I messed up and it was getting more and more scrambled. I opened my eyes. Nope. I hadn't messed up. I don't know what she saw that made her think that but I do believe she honestly thought I had messed up. I continued. A minute or so later Alex started telling me it was solved and I could open my eyes. I knew it wasn't. He was just trying to be funny.

I just noticed the plan above. It is wrong. As I was memorizing I realized that there were an odd number of edge swaps so the corner plan was not correct. I had to redo it.


Commutators Rock

R2 D' B D B2 D' R2 B U2 B R B' R' B' R2 F' L B R' D2 B' U' F' R2 B'
D then roll red to top. 3-cycle L U2 D
Papa likes 4 cookies
Roll Yellow to front and do an edge 3-cycle of Vic juices beans
Twist S clockFlip B

This one was able to be done with a mix of a commutator along with the one-by-one swapper on both the corners and the edges! On my first attempt I did not include the final twist and flip but otherwise was good. On my second attempt I got it.

I am learning more about mastering 3-cycles. I like.

BLD goals? Be able to solve a scramble on my first try again. Be able to solve on my first try twice in a row. And an ultimate, down-the-line goal is to be able to do it without the spreadsheet—just all in my head.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Finally! I put a scramble on it, analyzed it, memorized it, and solved it. And got it right on my first try. The bad thing about it though was that during most of the solve I had a sense of impending doom worrying that I had messed up and would have another fail.

D L B' L' U B U R F D' L' F2 R D F2 L F' U' L D2 L' B U' L B2 D L' B' L F'
(Red F Blue D) R U2 D; Pc Ra; E G H all anti
Flip edges E and G

Several scrambles in a row have lent themselves to solving the corners without the one by one swapper.

So Close! But Not Quite.

I still have not succeeded in solving a cube from start to finish on the first try of a scramble with my eyes closed. This time I ended up with all pieces in place, all edges solved, but 4 twisted corners. Here is the scramble and my initial analysis.

U' R2 B L' F' D B R U R F R2 F' R' D B2 L' F U' L D' L' F U' L2
O down W front L U' D2
FL setup; double swap R; Twist A (c) and B (a); L'F'; Twist D (c) and C (a)
Twist S (c) and R (a)
Flip I and K edges

So since I messed up on the initial try I may as well see what I can learn. Let's try again with eyes open. OK, here is something I missed in my initial analysis. D needs to go anti and C clock. And both A and B need to go anti.

Here is the solution revised.

U' R2 B L' F' D B R U R F R2 F' R' D B2 L' F U' L D' L' F U' L2
O down W front L U' D2
FL setup; double swap R; Twist A (c) and B (a); Twist J (a) and K (c); LiFi
Twist W (c) and X (a)
Flip I and K edges

Victory! Solved it on my second try. I think that is the best I have done so far. But now I need to put the scramble back on and make sense of it.

Friday, July 14, 2017

I Want to Scream! But I didn't.

R' D B L - U F R D - B' D2 F R - D R U B - R U' L' D'
swap corners O and R, and U and W with the triple-Move.
then twist A, B, and C clock before putting W and R back.
3-cycle L'U' D'
twist A anti D clock

This scramble was quite an adventure. Having previously experimented with a new system that used commutators, working through various memory methods I came up with, and finally deciding it was better to use the tedious method because it was easier to memorize and easier to follow once I closed my eyes, I worked out the moves for this scramble. But then as I started memorizing the corners I realized that there were two pairs of corners that needed to swap, one already permuted, and one 3-cycle. I experimented with a solved cube to make sure I knew what would happen with the 3-cycle and finally came up with the solution above.

I solved the corners and checked to see that it worked. It did. Then I solved the edges little by little with my eyes closed. Got it. Then I tried the whole thing eyes closed and failed. I wanted to scream! 

Putting the scramble on three cubes I was determined to get it. I went very slowly on the first couple making sure I didn't make any accidental twists. Then I tried to speed it up somewhat on the carbon fiber cube. Nailed it. I'm ready for a new scramble.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Frustrations of BLD Solving

I haven't been able to do it yet. One day I tried different memory words. Spiritual ones instead of food. It was hard to implement though and I went back to food. Then recently I thought of a way to replace some of the huge number of twists and turns I use with relatively few using commutators that I am already familiar with to solve three pieces at a time. But it takes longer to figure out and there is more to memorize and I haven't quite gotten it down correctly. When I try it is great being able to solve it more quickly with many fewer moves but corners are twisted wonky at the end. I don't know. I want to keep working through it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

BLD Solving—A Little More Understanding

Ivanx-baked1 banana

When there are an even number of swaps to solve the edges you can go seamlessly into the corners, but lately I haven't had an even number of edge swaps. In this latest scramble there are 11 edge swaps so the corner that starts at 2 is loaded at 3 when the edges are done. So during analysis I have to start with the corner at 2 instead of 3. In this scramble it swaps with the piece at 4 which happens to live at 3. So after the first corner, I have to start a new cycle. I was having trouble seeing it on the scrambled cube so solved the edges so I could get a clearer idea of what was happening. It still took me a while but I finally came up with the above solution and noticed something.

4 solves 4 and does not load another piece to solve.
doughnuts loads a piece into 3 that starts a 3-cycle, namely, 2 to A to I.
baked loads a piece into 3 that starts a swap, namely, 1 and B.

So 4 swaps are used to do a corner 3-cycle that could, in this case, be done with an 8-move commutator. hmmm...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

BLD—Still Learning


I have had two scrambles in the last couple days that had attempted solves that were not even close. It is like I had the cube in the wrong orientation and just spent time scrambling it. Finally I moved on to a new scramble. The one above on the left. The cube on the right shows my first attempt at solving it. During the analysis stage I felt pretty strongly that the solve was not complete but I couldn't figure out what was missing. Maybe I can figure it out now and try the solve again. Maybe it will help me know how to complete the analysis on future scrambles.

One thing I learned on a recent previous solve is that Kevin 1 at the end can be done by flipping the edges at 1 and 3 instead of going through the setup and swap thing twice. I used the idea to flip F and 3 at the end of the edges in this solve and it worked.

Flip FL

Of course! I should have gone Kevin bakes at the end to complete it. I should have known that.

Argh! I don't know why sometimes it ends up all scrambled! I could quit and chalk it up to being one more failure in my life. No! Solve it. Put the scramble back on. Try it again.

Friday, July 7, 2017

BLD Lesson of the Day

So, I did a scramble on a couple cubes. I analyzed it and came up with this solution:

David3melons :)

I memorized it and while the kiddos were napping I went out back, got comfy in a lawn chair, closed my eyes and slowly and carefully talked my way through it. When I was finished I opened my eyes and...

No! Two edges were swapped. 1 and 3. And two corners were swapped. A and B. Huh!?! Well, I looked at the solution I had worked out and counted how many swaps there were in the edges part. 13. An odd number. So it made sense that something should be amiss. On the 13th edge swap the corners at spots 2 and 3 swapped. And so when I started solving the corners the piece at corner 3 was A and not B, so when I did Breann I was really putting piece A where piece B should have been.

OK, so I know where I went wrong, but how to fix it? Well, during the analysis part I need to count how many edge swaps there are before I start analyzing the corners. If there are an odd number then I should mentally swap corners 2 and 3 and record how it would work from there. I think the following is what I should have done for the corners. I've yet to actually try it.


July 8, 2017
Did it! Start to finish with my eyes closed and I even had to shush Annie and Alex part way through when they came out and talked to me. Again I talked my way through it. Hopefully the more solves I do the less verbal I will have to be and the quicker they will go. If I could put a scramble on it, analyze it, memorize it, and solve it in less than 20 minutes total I'd be thrilled!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

BLD Solve!

I finally did it! I solved a Rubik's Cube from start to finish without looking at it once! It isn't totally satisfying though because it was about the 4th or 5th attempt on exactly the same scramble. But it is a milestone.

Hopefully next scramble it won't take as many attempts.

BLD Adventure and Scrambler

Yesterday we went to the zoo. Before we went I scrambled a cube, analyzed it, made another cube look like it. I took one to the zoo. On the way to and from I tried to solve the edges. Messed up. I forgot the order.

This morning I reviewed the notes for the edges and tried again on the other cube with the same scramble. Actually I started by just looking at the notes for the edges. Then I went out to the garden, sat down, closed my eyes and did the edges. When I was finished there were two that needed flipped. Oh yeah, I remember that from yesterday.

So then I reviewed the notes for the corners and closed my eyes and finished the edges then did all the corners. That means it just took two looks at the notes to get it. Once at the beginning and once after the edges. I want to solve the edges without looking several times then add maybe 3 corners and do that several times. I wonder if I do better with eyes closed than I do just not looking.

I also wonder if it would be good to find a scramble generator so I could more easily scramble two or three cubes the same. Yep. Here is a LINK and a widget.


Have I mentioned how fun it is to see 2-year old David "solve" a cube? He starts with a solved cube, puts a couple twists on it, then solves it. Then he joyously announces his accomplishment! Precious.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hluboka Zoo 2017

I uploaded 120 photos into Flickr. LINK

Marae looked at the pictures but then looked back on other zoo pictures I had taken. I feel inspired to post some comparisons.















Around the House

One of the things the kiddos like to do is listen to the books I've loaded onto one of my Fires. You know Amazon Underground? I got some Dr. Suess, Little Critter, and Berenstain Bear collections.


Out and About in České Budějovice

Whether we are in town or out in the country many of the roads are uncomfortably (for me) narrow. I'm glad I don't have to drive here.


We had a meal together at Brio. The burger I had was very messy but very yummy!


We rode the bus home. I could get used to using busses if I lived here, on the rare times I had to go out.


After church we walked to Hadog for lunch. I had another messy but yummy burger.




David found a feather on the sidewalk, and of course had to pick it up.


Alex brought a straw and a flag back from Hadog.

Sooner or later it had to happen. The next two pictures were taken from the same spot just seconds apart. The first was taken without zooming. Can you see Raymond, Breann, and David in the distance? The second was taken using the camera's zoom.