Amoeba’s Lorica: Solitaire Confinement

Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba has spent some time lately (he’d, ah, rather not specify just how much time) trying his damnedest to lose. And no, he’s not on a diet. That kind of loss he gave up on, a powerful long time ago.

Y’see, it’s like this.

For some decades now, when absolutely too stonkered to accomplish anything else (like completing overdue work tasks, or following the news about useless Presidential impeachment sideshows), but a nap is out of the question or it’s too early to go to bed, YFNA has turned to playing solitaire. Usually the solitaire, commonly known, in the USA anyway, as Klondike. He has been known to play solitaire in bed so that he could fall asleep. He has, um, also been known to spend hours investigating whether the game he was playing was properly called Klondike or Canfield, the originator of which called his game Klondike …

Back when elephants had fur, YFNA played analog Klondike. Using actual playing cards. Yes, Gen Z folk, there was a time when pasteboard playing cards existed, and cell phones did not. Then, he found a free Klondike software program, which he downloaded and guarded through several generations of computer hardware and operating systems. Alas, it didn’t survive attempts to install it on the computer he’s using now.


So he went looking for a new free download. And discovered that downloads were no longer necessary. He could play Klondike for free online! Open a webpage and shuffle cards for as long as it took to detox from that ridiculous argument or lay down and dozzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …

Well, almost free. There’s that intrusive sidebar with the ads. Judging from the companies featured on those ads, either the perpetrators of this particular online Klondike are particularly effective sellers, or there’s enough people playing it to catch the attention of Big Business. YFNA guesses that he’s not alone in being alone, so to speak, and he’s not at all sure that that’s comforting news.

But those sidebar ads don’t interrupt the game playing. The full-screen videos that pop up from time to time do interrupt the game playing, and were annoying enough to induce YFNA to consider corrective action. Especially when they were ads for ammunition dealers. Actions, like ditching this game and finding another. Which probably would have fatal quirks of its own, which he would have to spend time finding and dealing with somehow. Or, working out whether there was any way to play the game and not have to put up with the popup ads.

So, he played the game. And discovered, over time, the algorithm that the game uses to decide when to deploy one of those full-metal popup ads. It proved to be trés simple. Every third time the victim player wins a game, presto, a popup appears, and the game does not continue until the popup finishes.

In other words, the player is penalized for winning. To which, the only appropriate response is, don’t win! The player usually knows when a game is won before the final card is turned, and the game offers no prizes, or running points tally, or other incentive to prove to the game that the player is competent.

So YFNA has spent much of his undisclosed amount of time lately honing his skills for detecting a won game, and moving to the next hand before play on the previous one has formally been completed. And his reward has been the ability to play for long stretches, uninterrupted by popup ads – and, sometimes, even without the sidebar ads. This can’t be good for the game owners (though the Big Businesses occupying the sidebar don’t seem to mind, yet), but it suits YFNA down to the ground.

Yes, this is pathetic, this wasting of allegedly precious hours on a meaningless pastime.

But from what YFNA has seen during these seasons of floods and high temperature records, of the ubiquity of masks and the dearth of hugs, of snakes on flags and an insurrection that was simultaneously existentially terrifying and breathlessly incompetent, a focus on Klondike beats a focus on the futility of phony words to bring humanity back from the brink of the precipice on which it stands, and on the stark necessity (and doubtful outcome, White Rose fans) of self-sacrificial action needed to effect real change.

And yes, YFNA has been known to count flowers on the wall.

Counting flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playing solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothing to do.

Lew DeWitt

This entry was posted in Amoeba's Lorica, current events, personal thoughts, We the People and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Amoeba’s Lorica: Solitaire Confinement

  1. Tora says:

    You come up with such good subjects. There was a way to read newspaper posts for ever without the annoying pop up coming along, “I have used up my monthly allotment”- my game for several years was to not allow the pop up to ever come. It worked for many years

    However, they must have figured it out.

    By the way I enjoy Freecell.
    I enjoy your humor. Thanks

Comments are closed.