The Rubik’s Cube Solving Machine Saga

Rubik's Cube

Image via Wikipedia

The Rubik’s Cube.  If it were a woman, my husband would have left me for her.

I had never seen a person in real life actually solve a Rubik’s cube until I met Jonny.  (Will Smith aka Fresh Prince of Bel Air doesn’t count, people.)  Let me tell you, I was impressed. Clearly, if a man can solve a Rubik’s cube, he will be a good provider.  It’s your basic caveman logic for the 21st century and it works.

When Jon and I were working on our post-secondary educations (while we were living in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment, before we had kids), Jonny, together with a friend, built a Rubik’s Cube solving machine for their fourth year project to achieve their Bachelors of Engineering.  It was built out of a couple pieces of plywood, spare parts purchased with the change from under the couch cushions, some random photocopier machine parts, and blood, sweat and tears.  That’s not a joke, that’s fact.  And the damn thing worked… well, most of the time, anyway…. well, some of the time, anyway.  It was a labour of love.

This machine was quite literally almost the death of our relationship.  It’s basically a miracle that “we” survived since for almost half a year, the only time my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I saw each other was while he was programming or otherwise working on the project at our apartment.  I remember hittin’ the bottle more than I normally would in those months.

But, there were a few good times as well…

Bluesfest 2003.  That was good times.  For those of you outside the Ottawa area, Bluesfest is, erm… a Blues Festival (well, it’s become a blues/jazz/folk/world/pop/rock/etc. festival in recent years).  Picture a mildly intoxicated Jonathan and Erin stumbling walking the 2 miles home from the festival through the back-streets of Ottawa at some ungodly hour.  We passed a random office building, and what does my clever boy find but an old photocopier machine on the side of the road.  He poked at it, appraising its usefulness for a few minutes while I stood watching, gradually becoming more and more irritable at the lack of progress toward my head hitting a pillow. I suggested we push it home, so at least we’re going somewhere.  So we did.  It was painful and required a lot of cursing, but we did it.  By the time we made it to his house (almost a mile away), the wheels had literally melted off the bottom of the machine.  It was such a ridiculous thing to do that we ended up giggling like lunatics, high on adrenaline for most of the rest of the night.

One of my proudest moments was watching the boys show off their machine for the students and staff and Carleton university.  It was such a relief on so many levels.  The boys got an A+ (of course) on the project and report.  I got my boyfriend back.  We had weathered that particular storm.

Then, only a couple months later we had the surprise of our lives.

Our sweet little James prompted us to buy a new car, a house and all those things people need for babies.  What we didn’t put on the priority list was a freaking table to put the Machine on, so it sat in our office on the floor.  One sad day, our little ninja son found his way into that office and I found him happily pulling out wires from the machine.  R.I.P. Rubik’s cube machine.

Then for the next 4 years, the bones of the machine sat in my In-laws crawlspace basement since we had no good place to store it.  It was pulled out a couple weeks ago, and now sits in our crawlspace basement.

Jon, in a desperate attempt to instill his own affection for the cube in his son, is going to refurbish it.  James wants to help.  This must be the nerdy version of overhauling a car.  I like it!

Here’s a video of the Rubik’s Cube solving machine in action.  Jonny was so cute back then with his giant mutton chops and ‘fro!

http://www.sce.carleton.ca/faculty/schwartz/rubikscube.MPG

2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Rubik’s Cube Solving Machine Saga

  1. That is the epitome of geek awesomeness!!! I LOVE IT!

  2. Pingback: Father’s Day | creatinglittlemonsters

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