Alex’s latest obsession is the Rubik’s Cube. Here are some hints for you, Alex:

Rubik’s Cube – how to solve the Cube or cheat. There are many sites around the Web that can give you detailed steps for solving Rubik’s cube, and many are very good. However, if you want a quick run down of the approach so you can still solve it yourself, our tips are included below. For more detailed solutions, use the meta search engine at the end of this page. By using the entered keywords, most of the sites in the top results offer excellent and diverse ways of solving the puzzle.

# Step 1: pick any of the sides and then get all the coloured squares on that face. Most beginners should have little problem with this step. Tip – in many combinations, one of the faces will have better positioned squares than the others. This is generally a good one to start with.
# Step 2: After the first face is complete, manipulate the top squares so that the first layer of colours matches the centre colour of the four adjacent sides. After completing the top layer for all 4 adjacent sides, you will have a cube that is starting to take shape. Counting the center square, each adjacent side will have at least 4 correctly positioned squares.
# Step 3: Solving the next layer is very quick and easy. Once you have learnt a few quick moves, you can flip all the edges into the right place.
# Step 4: Now you are down to the last layer. You will need the formulas for moving around the squares without disturbing the rest of the solved cube. In most Rubik’s Cube challenges, this layer takes longer than the rest of the cube. Many sites offer formulas for edge flips, corner twirls and other complex manoeuvres, so we are not going to repeat them here. BUT there is always one other option..

Here is a more advance tutorial from someone who won a championship named “Lars”:http://lar5.com/cube/:

The basic problem with the layer method is a big one, and it’s obvious once you realize it. When you have completed the first layer, you can do nothing without breaking it up. So you break it, do something useful, then restore it. Break it, do something, restore it. Again and again. In a good solution you do something useful all the time. The first layer is in the way of the solution, not a part of it!

* Step 1 – Build a 2x2x2 corner
* Step 2 – Expand to 2x2x3
* Step 3 – Twist the edges — 2, 4 or 6 bad edges
* Step 4 – Finish 2 layers — Step 4b tricks
* Step 5 – Position the corners — Complete Step 5+6 index
* Step 6 – Twist the corners — Complete Step 6+7 index
* Step 7 – Position the edges
* Practice – 13 example solutions

Riding with Dad

Tandems and Kids. “Steve”:http://scbhooper.com rode with his son when he was eleven. Almost time for Alex to ride 200 miles with Dad.

Here’s a great piece on how to do it on a tandem. Here are some good models:

* “Co-motion”:http://www.co-motion.com/tandemenu.html. They have a racing aluminum one that looks wonderful called the Roadster
* “Precision Tandem”:http://www.precisiontandems.com/. A huge selection of Tandems from this reseller here.

Picky, Picky…

Alex is incredibly picky about his shoes. We’ve been to lots of stores and he doesn’t like anything.

But, a little searching online reveals the shoe that looks the most like the one he has. He’s like Dad. Dad has been wearing the same brand, same style, same shape running shoe for 20 years. Why switch from a good thing. BTW, if you’re interested, they are Asic Gel Lites, half size larger than normal works great for Dad’s ordinary size footies.

For Alex, the new NORDSTROM.com – Nike ?Terra Sebec VI? Running Shoe (Big Kid) – Kids looks like the winner. Just need to find it in 3.5M and try it now.

Armadillo Song

LONDON HOMESICK BLUES
. One of my favorite songs to sing to Alex when he is a little baby. I’m sure he never understood the words, but all the kids loved it.

Has always brought back memories of me growing up and hanging out with a next-door neighbor, Mark Fraser, who would play cowboy and listen on his Teac Reel-to-reel for hours Viva Terlingua. He’s the guy who taught me how to shoot, drive a tractor, ride a dirt bike and run a chipper. All around red neck in New Jersey ­čÖé Looking back on it, its amazing I even hung out with the dude. What was he thinking?

LONDON HOMESICK BLUES
Album : Viva Terlingua
Jerry Jeff Walker

Well, when you’re down on your luck,
and you ain’t got a buck,
in London you’re a goner.
Even London Bridge has fallen down,
and moved to Arizona,
now I know why.
And I’ll substantiate the rumor
that the English sense of humor
is drier than the Texas sand.
You can put up your dukes,
and you can bet your boots,
that I’m leavin’ just as fast as I can.

CHORUS
I wanna go home with the armadillo.
Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene.
The friendliest people and the prettiest women
you’ve ever seen.

Well it’s cold over here, and I swear,
I wish they’d turn the heat on.
And where in the world is that English girl,
I promised I would meet on the third floor.
And of the whole damn lot, the only friend I got,
is a smoke and a cheap guitar.
My mind keeps roamin’, my heart keeps longin’
to be home in a Texas bar.

CHORUS

Well, I decided that, I’d get my cowboy hat
and go down to Marble Arch Station.
‘Cause when a Texan fancies, he’ll take his chances,
and chances will be takin, now that’s for sure.
And them Limey eyes, they were eyein’ a prize,
that some people call manly footwear.
And they said you’re from down South,
and when you open your mouth,
you always seem to put your foot there.

CHORUS

CHORUS

Barrow Alaska Research Notes

Here are some links for things that happened in Alaska around 1987, Barrow Alaska and whaling there:

* “Bowheads in Alaska”:http://alaska.bp.com/alaska/environment/EnvStudies/pdf/3MAMMALS/gBowhead_Whales.pdf. A note about Bowheads

What happened around 1987:

* “Exxon Valdez”:http://gurukul.ucc.american.edu/ted/exxon.htm. Crashed into Bligh Reef 11M gallons. March 24, 1989.
* “Wikipedia 1986”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986. It’s hard to access Encyclopedias or other things, this wiki is pretty good though.

* “Whaling History”:http://www.explorenorth.com/library/yafeatures/bl-whaling.htm. The history of commercial whaling
* “Bowhead Whaling History”:http://www.highnorth.no/Library/Hunts/Other/al-es-wh.htm. Story of how Alaskan Bowheads were conserved.
* “Technology of whaling and global history”:http://www.whalecraft.net/History.html. Includes the invention of the bomb lance, shoulder guns, etc.
* “Bowhead Protection Status”:http://www.nature.ca/notebooks/english/bowhead.htm. Bowheads were protected in 1938. Commercial whaling began in 1600s, First People have whaled for thousands of years.
* “Snowmobile Inventor”:http://www.occdsb.on.ca/~sel/cahero/bombardier.htm. Bombardier invented it in 1937.
* “Barrow History”:http://reference.allrefer.com/gazetteer/B/B02553-barrow.html. Recent history in short form
* “Inupiat History”:http://www.co.north-slope.ak.us/ihlc/. More depth on the history of Barrow and the Inupiat
* “Alaska History”:http://www.alaska.edu/creatingalaska/calendar/. A larger chronology.

Magic, Magic, Magic everywhere

“Magic”:http://www.wizards.com/magic/ has become Alex’s favorite game. I have to say, I can see why, it certainly is addicting. The fact there are so many different decks means that the games are really totally different. Pretty different from other games where they get to be more or less the same. Right now he’s a magician with the Storm Deck, but I see now there’s a site to learn more like “Londes”:http://www.londes.com/ for instance!

Cool!