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15 11 / 2011
Quinjet Conversations: Nova
Space was more beautiful than I could imagine. My time as an Avenger meant that I had been to space quite a few times, but the view of Earth from way up there never ceases to amaze me. We were testing out one of Iron Man’s newest Quinjet models - one with spaceflight capabilities - when I decided to get acquainted with our newest teammate, Nova. He’s quite the odd fellow, but he has the coolest costume. I wish I could try it out. I wonder…
Calvin Le has been on the Avengers radar for some time now and we have only just recently inducted him into our ranks. He’s an interesting specimen who is still climbing the rankings. Calvin also harbors some deep secrets that are unearthed in morse code during the following interview so pay close attention.
How are you enjoying your newfound status as an active member of the world’s team of mightiest heroes, Calvin?
I think this is one of the most honored positions I have ever been in. I met the Avengers in early 2010 and have been friends with many of the members ever since. To be part of the group is mind-blowing! I think that the Avengers set the best example of what the speedcubing community should be. I remember asking one day, as a joke, and Dan jokingly said no. At every meet-up and competition, I would be a tiny bit more serious and ask. The day Dan sent me a Facebook message inviting me equals one of the best days ever. Top five. Not that I keep track.
We’re glad to have you aboard. Frankly, it’s been a long time coming and we should have had you in sooner. You’ve been a great friend and we are very sure that you will make an even better Avenger. With your first competition as an Avenger coming up - Caltech Fall 2011 - how do you feel about your current abilities as a speedcuber and what, if anything, do you hope to achieve at this next competition?
Thanks for having me on board! :D So awesome. Have me in sooner? Aw, shucks. Thanks, though! To know that I’ve been a great friend is nice, as I don’t get told that too often.
As with Caltech Fall 2011, I’m super-excited for this because it’s been a long time since I’ve competed. It’s been…what, six months? But luckily, between those six months, I’ve gotten to meet, talk, and have fun with the Avengers at meet-ups! In addition, between those six months, I’ve been practicing a lot lately and hoping to aim at a 19.xy Average in 3x3, make cut-offs for 4x4, do better in 5x5, get pwned in OH by Dan, get a 5.xy Avg in 2x2 and get pwned by Ste, etc, etc.
Since this is my first competition as an Avenger, I want/need to set a better/good example for younger cubers, as the Speedsolving community is growing rapidly from people typing in “How to solve a rubix cube” in the Youtube Search Bar.
Another thing I plan to do at Caltech Fall 2011 is cut Cameron Brown’s pinky again. Nah, just kidding, inside joke about what happened last year. (Long story short, he yanked some headphones off my head, cut himself, and blamed me for both the cut and his horrible times.) But really, though, I got a brand new camera (Canon PowerShot SX40 HS) and will be shooting a special video there involving my solves, a little vlogging, and the Avengers. Then I’ll manufacture the video in a format I haven’t done before, and am hoping it’ll come to a success.
It did not start out this way, but the Avengers have since developed a set of unwritten values. A couple of these core values is to respect and always help others. The speedcubing community, these days, seems to cheer on those who chastise “noobs” - jumping on anyone that does not have an all-knowing understanding of what they are doing seems to be common practice. That’s probably a giant can of worms to open up, so we will save a deeper discussion of that for another day, but, in your experience, how do you feel about the way the community reacts towards newcomers?
Well, the place where I’ve seen newcomers introduce themselves is in the Speedsolving forum. New members would post a thread introducing themselves and what status they are in cubing. In reading these, most of the replies they get are nice, most of the time. Of course, there is always a troll or few, and that’s what it’s going to be. It’s fine most of the time, but overdoing it is just… bleh. When a new-cuber posts a thread asking a simple question, they seem to always get flamed and told to go to the “One Answer Question Thread”. Which kind of doesn’t make sense, since it’s not shown up front to be seen. But, at competitions, I find that the community is amazing. At least, in South California. Everyone is nice. There’s no jerks, and I hope that it is like that everywhere. I find that groups of newcomers become friends with each other quite easy. Everyone was a newcomer at some point, and making friends is essential to have fun. It keeps someone from being too competitive and ruining the positive atmosphere.
As a newcomer myself, I made my first friend literally instantly. By a guy named Dashel who averaged the same as me and was quite friendly. I met Daniel, Steven, and I think Lennon, right after and have been friends with them ever since. They reacted to newcomer-me in a positive way and I hope every newcomer is treated the same.
Speaking of newcomers to speedcubing, how did you first get into this crazy hobby?
Oh, man that goes way back. Okay, maybe not as far back as Data. Fifth grade, late 2008. Friend of mine brought a cube to school. At the time, I wanted to be like him. So I bought one, had difficulty, and he helped. From then on, I’d always carry a piece of paper with the LBL [layer-by-layer -Daniel] algorithms on it. I also learned from pogobat/Dan Brown. Throughout sixth grade, I used a Rubik’s brand and LBL. I also had an Easthseen 4x4 and was averaging 4 minutes. In 7th grade, I got my first DIY [cube] (Type A I) and started learning Fridrich. And, after that, I learned the PLLs, currently know half the OLLs, and worked on my F2L a lot. When SpeedCubeShop opened up, it gave me super-easy access to a lot of other cubes I wanted to try out, like 4x4, 5x5, 2x2, etc. I got practice those puzzles as well. And up to today, I am practicing everyday.
What about speedcubing keeps you attracted to it?
The ladies. Nah, just kiddin’. The challenge of getting faster and beating my records, the dexterity, the practice of muscle memory, the different types of puzzles to solve, and best of all, the community. The friends I’ve made like Daniel Chan, Steven Turner, Lorenzo Gutierrez, Cameron Brown, just to name a few, are some of the most awesome people I’ve met.
It also keeps me entertained, as I have short attention span problems. It pretty much does the same as a game controller (finger-exercise wise), except it’s wireless, doesn’t require batteries, TV, a game console, an electrical output, and is cheaper. Eeyup. Oh yeah, and fan-comics of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic have involved the cube in it. Which is just awesome.
Do you have a favorite event to compete in?
Kind of. I usually compete in all of the events because I’m interested to and I usually don’t have to because I help out at competitions. The one I practice and compete in is 3x3, obviously, because it is the main events. The main events I compete in are 2x2 through to 5x5 (I would compete in 6x6 and 7x7, but I can’t get V-Cubes). I can’t do BLD [blindfolded solving] because of my short attention span. Go Ste/Marco/etc?!
More like Andrew a.k.a. Iron Man. He’s the blindfolded solving master around these parts. Is there any place in particular you want to take cubing in terms of goals?
That’s a good question. No, not really. I do solve it for speed and, the closer to sub-15 [seconds] I get, the more determined I’m going to go for a national record. And whatever the equivalent for sub-15 is for 4x4. Other than that, I’d just cube for my own free time and social interaction (Wolverine taught me that. Don’t get too competitive, or it might cloud over the fun). Throughout life, I wouldn’t mind teaching my children to solve the cube either.
Apparently you are quite the dancer. Could you tell us a bit about that?
Well, I started dancing to Michael Jackson’s songs about a year after his death. I would watch his live performances frame-by-frame and practice every darn day (that resulted in several sores, stiff back, and a headache every few days). I got myself some decent dancing shoes at some point and I started posting videos on YouTube. I mostly danced to “Dangerous.” My first dance video was bad, so I deleted it and put up a new one, which was less bad. I repeated that cycle about three more times, until I stopped. My first performance was at my school’s promotion dance, and it was a great first performance! I post my dance videos on my Youtube channel FirefoxFreeze and PhoenixDeathZ.
Is your passion for dancing as great as your passion for cubing? Perhaps even moreso?
I would say they are both the same. Whenever I am asked what I do as a hobby/talent, I always have those two up on the list. But if I really had to say, I dance a lot more than I cube.
Let’s leave off with something existential and deeply meaningful: boxers or briefs?
I wear neither.
Too much information. Thanks for your time, Calvin, and welcome to the Avengers.
Thanks! It’s an honor.
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