Scrabulous? Perhaps

Though I was pulled kicking and screaming into the Facebook world by my two younger sisters (Thanks, both of you, for the giant GAPS on my Myspace Top 12), I have found my permanent niche there. That niche is online Scrabble. I love it, I’m addicted, and I’m half-torn between admitting I have a problem and dancing with joy at the thought of procrastination which may actually sharpen my mind. And while it’s probably not so good to be constantly online checking on the multiple games I have going at once, it is nice to have a little brain bender to turn to when I need a little break. Call it the World Wide Water Cooler.

In addition I have recently encountered a new type of Scrabble that makes clear what I love about Facebook’s online version, Scrabulous. It’s called Scrabble Scramble. In some unknown way it differs from Scrabble Express, which I have no experience with. Anyway, the point of this game is speed.  No more waiting for the slow one to tediously spell out three letter words. No more dancing around the room hoping that your perfect bingo is not destroyed before you can play it. It’s a roll-and-go game that forces you to think on your feet and adapt to changing situations under pressure.

While I do still love and cherish the online dictionary of Scrabulous, some have said that checking your words in such dictionaries is tantamount to cheating. I prefer to think of such use as a way to learn new words and expand my mind, but I will say it’s rare for me to actually look up the words I’ve discovered. Still, what really draws me to both Scrabulous and Scrabble Scramble is the flexibility of the game. Both take up just a little bit of time, are portable or readily accessible from multiple locations, and demand flexible thinking as well as game strategy and a large vocabulary. Where could you go wrong with that?

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There is no I in Tame

One of the notable parts of going to a private upper-tier school for college is that most of the the people there think they’re smart. Other notable parts include lots of female athletes and Jews, but the first thing that really smacks you in the face as a freshman is the way even the dumb ones think they’re smart.

Take that guy on my freshman floor, who we’ll call ‘John’. I’m sure he had good memorization skills, and maybe a scientific mind. He was a perfectly nice guy, too, he just didn’t really understand basic social interaction. He did, however, know how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. I looked at him make a few quick turns and have the thing solved, and I knew I should be able to do the same. I’m spatial, I’m an architect. I get how the cube is suppose to revolve, how you have to move things around in conjunction with other colors and sides of the cube.

In the ending months of 2007 I was finally ready to fulfill this lifelong dream. I had a Rubik’s Cube. I had my dazzling intellect. I had plenty of spare time at my job. What more did I need?

Alas, as of the turn of the year, I’m still stuck. I’ve got the four top corners easily, and I can get the whole of one side complete, but everything breaks down beyond that. The Cube keeps sitting on my desk, taunting me. I keep wondering if it would come out better if I just twisted the sides without looking, random chance guiding the steps. Occasionally co-workers who know my predilection for puzzles point and laugh. And most unfortunately, this particular cube has the melted-plastic colors rather than stickers, so no cheating. Although I have considered snapping the thing apart in order to suitably rearrange the sides.

Instead, to tame this little tangle, I’m turning to my old friend, the interweb. And, lo and behold, step-by-step instructions from the pros. Best of all, they teach you the strategy behind the thing, rather than just giving you a simple solution. Reading just a bit I’ve discovered there are multiple solutions and people actually went out and found bunches of them. Way to go, math brainiacs who can actually communicate effectively.

So I am going over this silly cube square face by square face just as soon as I finish typing. And this time (with the help of a few dozen others) I will succeed!