Friday, May 1, 2020

Addiction, Obsession ~ Freecell Card game


In a Cricket crazy Nation, the word obsession may not need any lengthy elaboration. I do not have an answer for the Q – whether  the obsession for Cinema is more ?

Beyond the hype, this contest can perhaps be best viewed through the prism of the two captains. Shahid Afridi is the passionate, exhibitionist leader who doesn't mind showing his emotions on the field.  MS Dhoni is the uber-cool captain and, while he can be vocal while dealing with the press, he is almost invisible on the field. Silent nods of appreciation, a quiet word in the ear, calm instructions, a shrug of the shoulder is all you will get from him. And again, it's what this star-heavy team needs. Someone who can be calm and remind them of the basics of the game… so a great India Vs Pakistan match ? -  wondering what ?  - on this day 30.3.2011 occurred the 2nd Semi Finals of WC 2011 between India and Pakistan at Mohali ~ and Espn Cricinfo is brining it ‘retrolive’ .. ..

For those who cannot live without reading on Cricket -  BCCI along with its affiliated state associations will contribute INR 51 crore (USD 6.8 million approx.) towards the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) fund to help India fight the coronavirus pandemic,  a BCCI release said on Saturday.

Leave aside Cricket or Cinema – how does your day start ?  - for most South Indians, it starts with a steaming hot tumbler of ‘filter coffee’  -  coffee is a comforting ritual that signifies the start of a new day and gives them energy to start that new day.  About 75 to 80 percent of people in the world drink caffeinated beverages regularly. In the United States, the amount of caffeine intake increases by age, peaking in the 50 to 64 age group. Coffee is the main source of caffeine, followed by carbonated soft drinks and teas.


Our neighbouring State is a different mix.  The alcohol ban in Kerala seems to be killing more people than the virus itself in the state, which has one of India’s highest per capita liquor consumption. The state, like the rest of India, was forced to go dry in the wake of the ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown. In the past week, seven people committed suicide out of depression over not being able to buy alcohol in Kerala, while the virus has resulted in one casualty so far ! Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government was mulling the possibility of supplying liquor to alcohol addicts as the closure of bars and state-run beverage outlets during the lockdown period was creating social problems.

Before you ridicule it as addiction – think of your addiction or obsession.  When the average person thinks about addiction, most think about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and maybe shopping or gambling. When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they are chemically dependent on the drug. People who suffer from addiction many times also have other co-occurring disorders, such as obsessive/compulsive disorder. There is a strong correlation between addiction and obsessions.  An obsession is a ritualistic routine that becomes part of your normal life. Medically speaking it is a persistent preoccupation of a feeling or idea, which can be accompanied by anxiety. Obsessions can include excessive hand washing or repetitive counting.

An obsession and an addiction can look the same but the root is different.  For instance, if one is in the habit of playing cards for stakes every week spending approx. Rs. 2000 – is this addictive or obsessive could be the Q ?  - if he cannot remain without playing even for a week and if on a holiday he has the itch of playing and starts quarrelling with everyone when not allowed to – it is addiction.  A gambler would keep playing irrespective of whether he is winning, whether the partners are changing, whether there is change in venue or whatsoever.  If he wants to play every day at the same place and cannot remain without going to that place, perhaps that is obsession.  Addicts will slowly start dreaming on  how the money will be spent, what will be bought, and who will benefit from the winnings.  The dreaming is active, enticing, exciting, and consuming an entire day of thinking about the possibilities.

The adjective ‘obsessed’  would mean :  unable to stop thinking about something; too interested in or worried about something.  One of the common definitions of an obsession is “a idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.” A person can be obsessed with an activity, a thought, a story, another person; the list is almost endless. This can become problematic in some instances when a person only wants to think or talk about one thing.

A diamond solitaire refers to any piece of jewelry with a single diamond. Diamond solitaires can be a ring, necklace, earring or even men's jewelry. This is not on diamond solitaire, but my obsession on a Card game Solitaire –‘freecell’.

Be it a marriage, function, cinema hall, cricket match, office, lecture room, class room or what .. .. people are obsessively involved in touching their mobile screens – checking for social media and playing games ! ~ I claim that I can live without mobile for a day or two – though me too have great obsession for social media.  We also see, people madly playing various computer games, especially on their smart phones -   their impulse control isn’t as strong.   It’s rather humiliating, since I’ve always been someone who adapted well to a disciplined schedule.  Me too am addicted to one particular game ‘Freecell’ – I played almost all the time I open my Computer at home and when I close it ! ~ for sure, have never played it on office machine or on office laptop.   The card games are no doubt interesting and challenging too !

While Cards offer various probabilities – here it is 52! (i.e., 52 factorial), or approximately 8×1067, distinct deals. However, some games are effectively identical to others because suits assigned to cards are arbitrary or columns can be swapped. After taking these factors into account, there are approximately 1.75×1064 distinct games, is how the challenge is described.

For those uninitiated - Freecell game - one standard 52 card deck – there are 4 open cells and 4 open foundations – there are some alternates too.  Cards are dealt face-up into eight cascades, four of which comprise seven cards each and four of which comprise six cards each.

The lure of FreeCell, a highly strategic solitaire game that can be summoned with just a click or two on the desktop is very seductive challenging you to win the deck.  It is winnable but could be challenging.  To me, the challenge is one last single click that arranges all the remaining cards – so of the 52 at what stage do you get that single click possibility is the fantasizing Q.  Today I got it at 46 i.e., only 6 cards stacked  – 46 cards remaining and putting 5 Spades (attached 4 dice)  into 6 possible places, (4 empty top space or below 6 hearts or first empty stack ends the game on a victory note !. 


            FreeCell can be traced back to the mid-1970's, when a version was written by Paul Alfille in Tutor, a programming language designed for the University of Illinois's computer system. Until it was included with Windows 95 as a game accessory within the operating system, it remained relatively obscure. Now it is an integral part of Microsoft operating system. Microsoft has included a FreeCell computer game with every release of the Windows operating system since 1995, greatly contributing to the game's popularity. Nearly every FreeCell game can be won. Only one of the 32,000 deals in the Microsoft Windows version has been deemed impossible: No.11,982 is one bad trip.  Using the basic deal numbering system that virtually all FreeCell games use, game #11982 is the first unwinnable game of FreeCell. ... After that only the games #146692, #186216, #455889, #495505, #512118, #517776, and #781948 are unsolvable out of the first million games. Therefore, unsolvable games of FreeCell are literally eight out of a million.

So how obsessed are you ? after my  #metoo confession !  .. .. Obsession is a 1976 psychological thriller film directed by Brian De Palma, starring Cliff Robertson, Geneviève Bujold.   The story is about a New Orleans businessman who is haunted by guilt following the death of his wife and daughter during a kidnapping-rescue attempt. Years after the tragedy, he meets and falls in love with a young woman who is the exact look-alike of his long dead wife.

Obsession ~ Freecell and .. .. ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30.3.2020.


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