Illusions and Puzzles

The biggest puzzle of my life at the moment is where does time go? I struggle to fit in all those things we are supposed to do and all the things you must do and all the things that you want to do. I do believe that technology has made this worse for us and in 2 ways. Firstly because things are so much quicker and easier than they used to be we are expected to do more – I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be an accountant 40 years ago, I bet they had a lot less clients to look after for a start! And secondly, you see so much more than in the past that you are exposed to what more people are doing (not just your family, friends and local community) – sometimes this is a good thing, as you get lots of wonderful ideas, but other times you just wonder if you are doing it right.

I follow this Facebook page called The Organised Housewife – it gives you great ideas about how to keep your house cleanNeverending Story Laundry and organised. She also gives you a weekly declutter challenge that I like to do. Every now and then she also posts a ‘Reader Question’ and someone asked how often people wash the linen. The common answer was weekly, some twice a week, others were honest like me and said less often especially in winter. Some people said they washed their towels daily! Seriously? I cannot keep up with washing the clothes (for 2 people!), let alone washing sheets weekly and towels daily? And when I am on top of the washing of clothes, that doesn’t mean they get folded – it just means they are clean. Depending on what we are doing (work-wise and socially), if we are particularly busy we are rummaging through the clean clothes piles for undies! So if is wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t think I am doing something wrong! (Although I would know rummaging for undies isn’t the norm!)

Now I know I said time seems to disappear, so you’ll think I am a bit crazy about what I say next… but last week I made it my mission to solve the Rubik’s Cube. On the 19th of May 2014 it was Rubik’s Cube 40th anniversary. Beside the fact that it makes me feel old, seeing it mentioned on the news (or firstly as Google’s homepage picture) I wondered if there would be YouTube videos on how to solve it. Well everything is on YouTube nowadays! So I made it my project to finally solve my Rubik’s Cube (that I have had since I was 10!) – and I just want to add here that I had a pretty bad chest cold so being rugged up with a Rubik’s Cube seemed like the best thing to do :)Michelle's Labyrinth - The Labyrinth 13th hour

I found this YouTube video that is pretty good by Techtopia Tutorials. I watched the beginning (up to 1:50 mins) a couple of times while he explained the basics of the cube. Now he mentions that there are algorithms that solve the Rubik’s Cube and don’t get scared by that word and nor what an algorithm may look like (example: F F U L R’ F F L’ R U F F ) because he breaks it down and explains it all. He also explains that an algorithm is a “Sequence of moves used to solve a specific portion of the Rubik’s Cube.” I had my Rubik’s Cube and I followed along with him until around the 8:50 minute mark and that’s where I got stuck. I couldn’t believe it, I was cheating at solving the Rubik’s Cube and I still couldn’t get it. It made me think of 2 people I know that can solve the Rubik’s Cube. I met both of them during University years. One mentioned that he got the Rubik’s Cube for Christmas one year (when he was around 12) and took it off to his bedroom and mathematically solved it… This guy did have a pretty high IQ, but at 12 years old he solved it? How inadequate did that thought make me feel when I couldn’t solve it with help!

So I started thinking – I have had this Rubik’s Cube since I was 10, what if I did swap a square sticker or two when I was young, or if one of my sisters did. The cube was also getting hard to turn certain ways so I Googled how to clean it (click here for instructions on how to clean it). I figured if I put it back together the correct way, then I would know if I had changed some stickers! So I took it apart and it was DISGUSTING inside!

Michelle's Labyrinth That's Disgusting Michelle's Labyrinth Rubik's in piecesMichelle's Labyrinth Rubik's middle

27 years of filth! I sprayed some CRC and put it back together and it worked fine. So I was a failure at cheating! (I thought you would like to see what the inside of the Rubik’s Cube looks like. I read a little bit about Ernő Rubik and he is chuffed that the mechanism he invented is still what is used today).

But I wasn’t about the give up. I found thisMichelle's Labyrinth Rubik's Cube Solved other website that showed a picture tutorial of You CAN Do The Rubik’s Cube! It was extremely helpful and I worked out I was at Stage 5 and guess what? I SOLVED THE RUBIK’S CUBE!  I know I did it with help, but it has been on my radar to work it out for 27 years, so I am quite pleased with myself. And I couldn’t just stop there, I had Rubik’s Octagon Barrel which hadn’t been in the right shaped for about 14 years – this is where my other friend from University years comes in. I learnt at a party at his place that he could do the Rubik’s Cube, so when he came over my place for grape picking (that is a whole other blog post!) I handed him my Octagon Barrel and you know what, he solved it! How did he do that?!

Michelle's Labyrinth Octagon Barrel - UnsolvedI found yet another YouTube by IntellivisionDude that showed a guy solving the barrel. It wasn’t a step by step tutorial though, he pretty much says that it has the same principles as the Rubik’s Cube – with a couple of exceptions which he does go into detail about. So I went back to my first YouTube and started solving the Octagon Barrel and you’ll never guess what? It worked!

I now have my own written instructions that I have used a few times to solve the Rubik’s Cube and Octagon Barrel – so I am pretty happy that I have got this crossed off the bucket list! If anyone wants me to show them how to do it, I would be more than happy to show you and give you my instructions! :) Just for the record, I can not solve it quickly nor remember all the steps – there 7 stages and about 12 different algorithms to use, and my memory is just not what it used to be! And I am not sure I believe that “The current world record for single time on a 3×3×3 Rubik’s Cube was set by Mats Valk of the Netherlands in March 2013 with a time of 5.55 seconds” – per Wikipedia. It takes me well over 5 minutes to do it now!Michelle's Labyrinth Octagon Barrel Solved

I thought I would pop a cake in at the end of this post – and there are three reasons why this cake fits this post – first off I saw this cake and read the tutorial and just wanted to do it (like I wanted to do the Rubik’s Cube); secondly it is made up of pieces and cubes (just like the… you get it? Okay!); and thirdly it ended up being very time sensitive… never enough time…

The cake I saw was this Optical Illusion Cake by Wicked Goodies Optical Illusion Cakeand I just wanted to make it. It seemed quite simple, yet so effective. I ended up making a version for my father-in-law for his 70th birthday. We held a 12 person dinner party for him and we cooked all of his favourite foods – oysters, mushrooms, bread rolls & butter, lamb and apple pie! Since I was cooking for 12 people and we wanted to do 4 courses, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make a cake – that was until I saw this Optical Illusion cake! Then I thought I would give it a go.

Of course I didn’t give myself enough time and when the guests started arriving my bench was covered in blue diamonds! But while we were waiting for everyone to arrive, and the guests that were there were having their first drink, I quickly put all the diamonds on the cake! I was quite chuffed when they saw the cubes appearing in the design and made excited comments :) One thing I did learn when making this cake was I should have covered the diamonds while they were waiting for me to put them on the cake, by the time I got half way through the diamonds were starting to dry out, so they where hard to mould into the design and also cracked a little bit. You live and learn right?

Michelle's Labyrinth 70th Party 1Michelle's Labyrinth 70th Party 2

I hope you can see the optical illusion effect on the cake – it does look better from a distance. Until next time – I hope you all have a wonderful weekend (and it is yet another long weekend in Western Australia, but it is our second last :( until Christmas – which is 30 weeks away!!! :) )

Michelle's Labyrinth Cutting Illusion Cake Michelle's Labyrinth Illusion Cake





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