– Mystery Breeds Interest: The Rubik’s Magic-

First class of the day was cancelled due to the grotesque weather outside my window.  It would be a treat of the rest of the day was some free time off, but I guess that is still yet to be seen.  I have 45 minutes before next class, hopefully it’ll be cancelled too.  But I am still a student of CNA for the moment anyway, the meeting is later today… wish me luck.

I’m writing here because of something I noticed.  As human beings I notice that we are fascinated by what we do not truly understand.  A whiz kid that can crunch paragraph long equations in his head without the aid of any technological assistance would floor us, even though it seems easy to him.  The child prodigy that picks up a guitar for the first time ever and bangs out a sick solo that would put Jimi Hendrix to shame will have us chatting for days… and yet to him it’s just natural.

My Rubik's cube sitting on my computer desk at 9:35am

Here it is, this is the inspiration to this entry. The brainchild of the Hungarian entrepreneur Ernő Rubik.  This simple, yet perplexing contraption.  As a kid I played with these things all the time and always thought that I would one day stumble across a way to solve it.  Alas, that did not happen.  The Rubik’s cube is something that has always piqued my interest, because it struck me as a very complex puzzle to which if someone could solve it they would be considered of above average intelligence.

When I heard stories of people solving these things I never truly believed them.  I assumed they either took it apart and put it back together the right way, removed stickers, or just bought a new one and never really messed it up beyond what they could fix.  It baffled me when I would see people doing it on television or on YouTube.  But the thought of learning how to do it myself never really was a thought.  I never fathomed it could happen.

Then something very random happened.  I was in the computer lab at the college waiting for class to start and I stumbled across a video that shows how to solve a Rubik’s cube by just repeating two moves over and over again.  It completely floored me, and instantly I headed to Wal-Mart with two classmates and purchased a cube to try it.

After careful deliberation and about 2 hours of repeating the same move over and over again it became painfully clear that I just wasted two hours of my life for no reason.  It was a frustrating conclusion… but an epiphany came to me.  There are a lot of people in this world that actually have the ability to solve this cube.  I would consider myself to be of an above average intelligence, my comprehension skill when it comes to math or language is pretty up there.  So maybe… I could learn how to solve one.

 

The same Rubik's cube... at 9:38am in my hand.

It actually didn’t take very long at all.  There is about 9 algorithms that one must learn to solve the cube.  Once you understand what each algorithm does, you will know when to use what one.

 

It was not even 24 hours after the purchase of the cube that I was able to solve it without the aid of the algorithms.  I remembered them, and now I am actually able to solve the cube within approximately 5 minutes.  This is a skill I would not mind demonstrated for anyone that does not believe this to be true…  although I am also aware that the people reading this that already know how to solve this puzzle for themselves are probably thinking… this is NOT that big of an accomplishment.  Well to me it is.

That’s what I meant by mystery breeds interest.  I was intrigued by the Rubik’s cube since I was a kid, but not because of the enjoyment of moving the pieces around, or because it was colorful.. it was a symbol.  It was a very difficult puzzle that I could not wrap my head around, and I would psychologically be astonished by someone who could do it on command… imagine placing his kind of status on a puzzle that took me no more than a day to truly figure out.

So I guess the moral of this story is that as intriguing as something is because of how complex it may seem to you.  Sometimes its the mystery behind it that prompts that interest.  In the end the cube was actually not that difficult of an idea to grasp, and I’m beginning to think that the same kind discovery can be found in a lot of things that fascinated me, at least the things that I didn’t bother trying to figure out.

Is it really a bad thing?  I wouldn’t say so.  It’s a little like believing in Santa Claus…  once you realize that it is just your mom or dad putting gifts under the tree the magic is gone.  For me, the cube has gone the way of Santa Claus, it has lost its magic.  But just like the tradition of old St. Nick lives on by keeping up the facade when it is time for your own kids to start celebrating Christmas….  I’m sure that one of these days it is possible some kid will see me with my cube, and have the same fascination that I did when I first saw someone solve it…

Wow, did I really compare Santa Claus to a Rubik’s cube?  Yeah, it’s time to try to go to CNA for class. Hopefully, this isn’t the last day I”m going to say that. Later.

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– If This Is It: A Farewell To Education –

It’s 4:00am and I just can’t sleep.  I know this blog usually deals with some kind of insight into some aspect of life or some kind of advice I want to bestow upon my you, the reader.  Lately I have been branching off into more Journalistic pieces like the review of Big Bang Theory and the opinion piece of Cameron’s dive into the Mariana Trench.

But I can’t help but write this blog entry as if it were a page in a personal journal.  This is a throw back to the original purpose of blog’s and what made them so popular in their infancy.  Before the days of Perez Hilton and citizen journalists blogs were essentially an online diary and it is through that approach that I write this entry.

There is a very real possibility that tomorrow afternoon will be my final days in the journalism program.  I may very well be leaving the course.  It’s important to me to get this entry out while I am still technically a student of the College of the North Atlantic.  If the worst happens and I am no longer enrolled this time tomorrow then this night will be my last night spent as a student for the rest of my life.

Do you want to know what the worst part about this really is though? Not that I may not be able to finish the course when I only have a few months left to completion.  The true tragedy that is giving me this insomnia is that I am finally feeling the repercussions of my early life.  The last three semesters and my time in Grenfell is finally coming back to bite me in the ass…. but I am getting the consequences long after the lesson was learned.

I missed classes this week.  January 22nd would have been the birthday of one of the most important people who have ever touched my life.  It would have been her birthday if she didn’t pass away almost a decade ago.  This time is always rough for me, and I don’t feel overly social.  I stayed home, but I did stay on top of my work.  I will be ready to present my story on Tuesday on time.  I didn’t miss any deadlines or due dates… I didn’t mouth off to an instructor… in fact, I did near 100% of the editing for a class project that I am not sure if it was even seen yet.

Tomorrow at 1:30pm I have a meeting with the campus administrator Chris Dohaney, Frank himself, and Nadine the counsellor to “discuss my conduct in the program”… a.k.a.  CNA wants me to tell them why exactly I should stay in the course.  I feel like I wasn’t even given the chance to fall this time around. Nothing has been due yet, I have been working on my projects, and yet this meeting exists because we were coming ever closer to the birthday of the first girl I ever loved and the first person I ever had to say goodbye too… she was way too young to pass away….*sigh*

I planned on using this semester to finally make the right impression on my instructors.  The impression based on my ability and competence to complete this course and excel throughout.  It is crushing me that at the moment it would seem that I am not even going to get an opportunity to do so because of classes that were missed.  I understand that given my history they have grounds to do this even this early in the semester, but, I always thought I would’ve had a shot at proving myself.

Anyway, if this really is my last night as a student than I want to say a few things.  First goes to our former instructor, Fred Campbell.  I want to thank him for everything he’s done for me in the course and I stand by statements made earlier that if not for Fred I would not have lasted this long.  Things were rough last year and he helped me through it without treating me like a child.  I know there are some of you that would cast doubt on his methods, but I still stand by my belief that although Frank taught us and significant amount more about technique and grammar, I think Fred taught me a lot more about social interaction and just in life in general.  Skills that I know would help garner employment in the field.

The current second year class, You guys just got a few months left.  Keep your heads up and just get through it.  You survived this long, no sense giving up now.

To the first years… well.  I’ve made some friends, Megan comes to mind.  Linda, Carol, Lynn, Jess, and almost everyone else.  I wish you guys the best of luck in the course.  I haven’t talked a lot to Mitchel, but the conversations are usually pretty vibrant, and Melanie has by far I think the best natural flare for this course as I’ve seen in anyone.

Two first years I really want to single out by far is James and Mandy.  James completely dumbfounded me with his camera work at Potluck, he was like a seasoned vet and I’m sure the guy is going to be just fine in this course.  And Mandy, well not sure what to really say since she’s probably the most likely of anyone mentioned to actually read this post.  Hah I’ll say it anyway.  Not that I’ve been entrenched in first year work to make this generalization, but just seeing your writing and photography especially… I thinking Mandy is going to end up being a very viable candidate to be incredibly successful in the field.

Gage and Steph, best of luck with The Buzz when it gets back up and running.  Wildman may not be back, and I could very well be gone, but the show is still worth enduring.

Anyway, this is sounding more like a goodbye forever, semi-suicidal letter to everyone.  But, I just want to make sure that I say this while I’m still a classmate of you all.  I want to make sure that you all do well there and keep your heads up even as the course gets increasingly redundant and frustrating.  I am not a fan of the mentality that the current CNA Journalism program instills in the students.  I feel as though by graduating it is not an accomplishment of, “Oh Sweet! I have a journalism diploma”… but it’s more of, “Damn, I Survived CNA Journalism”… but that paper will go a long way for some of you.

Best of luck in all your future endeavors, and my fingers are crossed that this final farewell is a bit premature and that I’ll leave my meeting tomorrow with Chris Dohaney with my enrollment still secure and I’ll still be able to call myself of student of Journalism.