I finally got my own Rubik's Cube! The things were initially marketed the year I was born, and though I adore puzzles of the sort I never did get one. I hinted and hinted but friends and family never got me one. They must've assumed that I already had one or something.
Thing is -- I can't figure the stupid thing out. I have refused to learn the tricks all these years and won't be starting now, so don't even bother mentioning that to me.
After messing with it by hand I've decided that it is OK to cheat -- so I've put together a few programs to do some simulations and test some theories. No luck yet... I feel like I still haven't found a succinct notation for the thing.