Life, lately (Rubix’s cubes & New York Times & March for Life)

I solved the Rubix’s cube for the first time(!!!!!!).

I’ve wanted to learn how to solve a Rubix’s cube for a really long time, but it didn’t happen until last month. It was one of my goals last year, and I even borrowed Jonathan’s cube as preparation, but nope. Nothing came to fruition. It just sat on my side desk for months.

I still have it too. He’s not worried about getting it back, and honestly, I might just keep it. His is what I’ve learned is called a speed cube. Each little cube piece isn’t a complete square. Instead there’s little spaces so that it’s much smoother than the classic version. I didn’t put the cause and effect of that together until someone pointed it out. I was hoping cubes got better with wear, like some decks of cards, but that’s it’s permanent state.

Then at the end of the year before Christmas break, my computer science class did white elephant, and I got a Rubix’s cube of my own. Well, at first, I got sparkly slime, but afterwards I asked to trade with someone else for the cube, and he very nicely said yes. Over the course of 2018, I collected two Rubix’s cubes and no knowledge about how to solve them.

What finally lead to me solving the Rubix’s cube was Jocelyn Ma (the person to whom this website is credited to at the bottom). She randomly got into solving them and recommended me a good Youtube video to watch. It’s thirty-seven minutes long, but that is not how long it took me to figure it out. The video is very clear, but the “algorithms” seem really complicated at first and the hand movements feel jerky and slow. I think I messed with it maybe twenty-five minutes a week in January before solving it my first time. At that point I would say it took me around fifteen minutes to solve it- if I didn’t mess up, that is.

Then she showed me how to do a fast righty-alg (short for righty-algorithm, which probably clears up things zero percent), and that was really helpful. She also recommended to me this second Rubix’s cube solving video whose last two steps are much shorter. Now I can solve it in around five minutes. Five minutes! I astound myself.

Also, two things that took me so long to realize about Rubix’s cubes:
1. The center square of a side determines what color side it is. So on whatever side the center square is red, that’s the red side.
2. Every little cube has exactly one spot it can be in for it to be correct. The cube that has green and yellow can only go on the side edge between green and yellow.

Sidenote: In sixth grade, a group of guys in my grade really learned how to solve Rubix’s cubes. They were nicknamed “the cubers” by everyone else. One of them could solve it in ten seconds or something crazy like that and even had a cool professional time-board thing. This same friend group has gone on to do parkour (think doing flips at school before school, after lunch, randomly), knife (plastic ones) and nunchuck flipping, and card tricks. They’re pretty cool.

I went to March for Life in Dallas.

In a post last year, I talked about how my parents said no about going to March for Life. This year, it happened! What convinced my dad was him learning about the main March for Life in Washington D.C. from the radio. He realized it was going to be a nationwide event and not just a couple of random people showing up on a Saturday in downtown Dallas. Like with most things, he just needed more information in order to feel safe. Very enneagram 5 of him.

Before the march, I made a Pinterest board (as you do) of poster inspiration, and this was my finished product.

The actual day of the march was cold and extremely windy. The wind was so strong that when the woman in charge spoke, she kept having to flip her head every few seconds to keep her bangs out of her face. One of the guest speakers was Eric Metaxas, and that was a great surprise because I had heard of him before. In seventh grade, I had to read one of his books. Surprisingly, people at school also remembered his name when I told them about it.

During the march, two people took pictures of my poster, which was cool. One lady came up directly, snapped a picture, said it was one of her favorite posters she had seen so far, and walked away. The other was a younger girl who was taking photos more incognito, but my dad noticed her and angled the poster more towards her camera. She gave us a smile and then hurried ahead to capture another person’s costume.

One moment that really stuck out to me from the march was at one point, we were walking when a firetruck came through with its sirens on. Without any direction or communication, everybody let it pass. It was a small thing, but it made me feel almost proud inside. There was something about it, something about being apart of a group of people that did the right thing collectively like it was second nature.

Update on the movie club: unfortunately, that meeting was not the first of many more to come. It was more of a first and last time sort of deal.

I applied to a New York Times student competition.

The first time I heard about any of the New York Times’ student competitions was when a friend at school told me about the review contest because she thought I might be interested. She was right about that, but it’s taken maybe two years(?) for that interest to turn into something.

I didn’t apply to the review contest, but I did enter the vocabulary video contest where you have fifteen seconds or less to portray a word out of this huge list of options. I choose polyglot, someone who can speak multiple languages.

I asked two of my friends from church (one of them being Jocelyn above and the other being the person who inspired this great post) to help me. They thought the whole thing was weird and that it didn’t make sense there wasn’t a prize, but they still went along with it and helped me make the video.

Last year there were ten winners, fifteen runner-ups, and around thirty honorable mentions, which is a total of fifty-five videos. As of right now, there’s almost 1500 submissions, but I truly think that we’re going to win. There are some things that I am randomly very optimistic about, (like how over Christmas, I lost my phone in a hotel but I just knew I was going to find it even though all my friends did not feel the same way), and this is one of them. I have a good feeling about our video. I will update you on what happens.

The deadline is the day this post comes out, but if you’re interested, I think there’s a really good chance they will be doing this challenge again next year. Also, here are some more student competitions the New York Times has coming up.

What is your history with the Rubix’s cube?
Have you ever been to a march?
Do you read any online newspapers?

P.P.S. I didn’t realize this until I was writing about the vocabulary video, but this whole post has the accidental theme of ideas taking their sweet time to break through the soil and actually become something. Hm, interesting. Do you have any ideas that you’ve either just planted or have recently seen sprout?

13 thoughts on “Life, lately (Rubix’s cubes & New York Times & March for Life)”

  1. I’m so happy you solved the Rubix cube! That is a great life accomplishment, and it’s cool that for the rest of your life you’ll always be able to say “I can!” when asked who can solve a Rubix cube. 🙂 I don’t have the dedication to learn but maybe someday…
    I haven’t ever been to a march! I have been to a walk-out at my school last year, but it was very controlled so I don’t know how much it exactly counts. There were news cameras and posters and things like that, but the school dictated when it was going to be. I’m glad, because that meant I felt safe attending it, but I’m still not sure if it counts?
    I love your video! I have now learned what the word polyglot is. I hope you win! I understand the feeling of being randomly optimistic about very precise things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! Hahaha, thank you. Wait, I feel like I remember hearing about walkouts. What was it for? But I don’t remember the ones I heard about being organized about the school. I think that counts because walk-outs, marches, and strikes are all ways of peacefully showing your support for something by moving in large groups.
      Thank you! It’s a fun word. And haha unfortunately the video did not win anything, but it’s cool watching all the other videos.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was on National School Walkout day and it was in response to gun violence and gun control laws. It wasn’t organized by the school, it was more just the school knew it was happening and allowed it to occur without giving any of the students detentions. You’re right- then I guess it does count!
        Aww, I’m sorry it didn’t win, I think it definitely deserved to. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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