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Solitaire-y Confinement - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Solitaire-y Confinement [Dec. 29th, 2007|11:43 am]
[Current Mood |worriedtrepidatious]

It's that time of year: the arbitrary "fresh start." People make a ton of resolutions of how they are going to improve themselves in the coming year, resolutions that are generally discarded within a month, with the accompanying vague guilt that fades for the next 10.5 months and reemerges just before it's time to make another resolution. It's completely silly.

Of course, I have to participate. But I didn't want to commit to some long, vague list. I wanted something that would be easily measured and effective.

Yesterday, while driving to Borders, I realized what that thing should be. And it shook me right down to my toes. After mulling it over for a little bit, I turned to Ferrett. "I think that my New Year's resolution will be to give up playing solitaire games on the computer."

"Does that include Minesweeper?" he asked.

"Yes. Minsweeper, Freecell, Cubis, all those games."

"I think that's a really good resolution," he said.

Now, when the guy who is a total gamer geek agrees that ceasing to play a game is a good idea, you know that you're in trouble.

And his assessment is correct. My default activity at the end of a long day is to play one of these games. My current statistics on Freecell are 1,297 games won, 118 lost. And I clear the statistics on a fairly regular basis. If I don't have Freecell to eat up those, "I'm done working but kinda tired and it's easier just to sit here than rouse myself and get on to some other project," I will have a much easier time transitioning to reading or working out or quilting or writing. Overcoming the inertia that makes Freecell or Minesweeper such a time trap will definitely translate into more productive time use, since I am not good at just sitting around if there is nothing to do.

Even so, I still said to him yesterday, "Well, I'm still just thinking about it."

"If you're serious," he replied, "at midnight on December 31 you should delete them off your computer."

From the laugh he gave me, I think I visibly paled at the notion. Which tells me how much of a junky I truly am.

So, I'm committing. My New Year's Resolution is to stop playing Solitaire games on the computer. I'm still on the fence bout deleting them, but knowing me, having them on the computer will be the same as an alcoholic having whiskey on the kitchen table - "just one game" will be a continual temptation. So I'm inclined to go ahead and delete them.

Then we'll see how many more things I get done with life.

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[User Picture]From: jfargo
2007-12-29 05:15 pm (UTC)
Good luck! That's a huge thing.

For the record, I'm on the "delete them" side, but that's going off of my own reactions and the way I know I would play them again if the temptation were there.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-29 05:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of, too.

But my other fear is, what if it turns out that I mentally need that brain-dead, alpha wave time? Then if they are gone, what will I do??!

I also know that the answer is, "Adapt stupid. You lived without them for years."
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2007-12-29 05:17 pm (UTC)
My solitaire playing was reduced drastically by getting a new and fast computer--I used to start games while waiting for pages to load (!) and then realize half an hour later that I was still doing the solitaire and had completely forgotten what I was actually doing on the computer.

Not that I don't still find plenty of other ways to waste time, like superfluous LJ commenting...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-29 05:58 pm (UTC)
I consider LJ as one of the things I'll have more time for if I stop playing Freecell!
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[User Picture]From: zissue
2007-12-29 05:27 pm (UTC)
I have no idea if this applies to you or not (we're all different, and have different motivators, which of course you know!), but as an ADDer I feel kind of obligated to point out the following:

Some of us have substandard neurotransmitters, and it can take us 3-4 times as much mental effort as a regular person to work on things that don't stimulate us. As a result, sometimes the only way we get as much done as our co-workers is to push at a pace that simply can't be maintained for very long, and then our brains lock up in protest and refuse to work anymore. It's not an issue of willpower; it's that you can't create dopamine out of nothing. Just can't happen. We -need- something mindless to do while we get back to center.

The more disciplined of us would use a timer for these mindless activities (so as not to get caught up in the whole hyperfocus thing), and maybe that could work for you. It seems like it would be an easier transition for most people in any case; whether or not you've got a form of ADD.

I can see your point that if these games are a real addiction then even just a little bit will be dangerous, but if this is actually your brain's way of recuperating between energy-binges, going Cold Turkey could mean you're just going to end up replacing one so-called unproductive activity with another. I've found that in my own life, sometimes it's better to just redefine what "productive" means. I -need- my stupid downtime activities, or I can't be productive later. So I goof off and "waste time", and maybe it really IS a waste of time, but I think the time I save not feeling guilty anymore more than makes up for it. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-29 06:03 pm (UTC)
I do wonder a bit about that, which is why I am a little hesitant to actually delete them off the computer. Maybe I'll have Ferrett hide them from me and see how I do.
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[User Picture]From: raylenetaskoski
2007-12-29 06:04 pm (UTC)
I know the feeling. When my old boss called to offer me my old job to cover the sick employee, I was so relieved. I had played over 1,100 games of webkinz tile towers over the course of the month. I've already promised myself that I wish not spend hours on computer games when this job ends.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-29 07:08 pm (UTC)
Good to know I'm not alone!
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2007-12-29 06:23 pm (UTC)
I play spider solitaire, or backgammon, or parchesi, or dominoes every night to wind my brain down before I go to bed. It's mindless, and relaxing, and that's why I enjoy it.

Of course, I could be meditating. hmmm
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-29 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, exactly.
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[User Picture]From: redherring
2007-12-29 07:05 pm (UTC)
That's a really good resolution idea. When I think of the amount of time I've spent playing stuff like Snood, Zuma, Freecell, etc, it's just sad. Yet I have a sweater that I started knitting years ago and have yet to finish.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-29 07:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's a very concrete thing out of which many other good things can develop.
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[User Picture]From: thestalkycop
2007-12-29 08:08 pm (UTC)
About three computers ago, I deleted them to free up some space (this was a computer so small that when I ripped a DVD for vidding, I had to move everything else on the computer onto a back-up CD. Just the one, that was all I needed for space).

I ended up downloading about seven different versions of Othello (or Reversi, as it appears to be known online), and became addicted to that instead.

However, I have faith in you! I say delete 'em. Remove the temptation.

If it all goes wrong, If you want to test your resolve at a later date, you can always download them again.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-30 05:07 pm (UTC)
I can't tell you how glad I am that I never realized that Reversi was Othello - I would really never come up for air if I started playing that on the computer!

And thanks!
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[User Picture]From: cyan_blue
2007-12-29 10:18 pm (UTC)
Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-30 06:07 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: reynai
2007-12-29 10:49 pm (UTC)
One potential idea, since some of them you've actually paid for, is tucking them away safely someplace it's a hassle to get to. As in, putting them all together, zipping them up, and deleting the originals... so if you want to play, you have to unzip, reinstall, and all that jazz.

And I think you're self-aware enough that you'd figure out that something was wrong during that multi-step process.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-30 06:08 am (UTC)
LOL! That probably is a good idea.
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[User Picture]From: peterchayward
2007-12-30 12:20 am (UTC)

I realise that your "sitch" is different, but this is mine!

I need those solitaire games - I can only write when I'm jumping between things. If it's the right time of day, I can jump between writing and livejournal (with consistent new updates), or even writing and MSN.

But when I'm up late at night and writing, I jump between writing and Everett Kaser games - particularly Knarly Mazes.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-30 06:09 am (UTC)

Re: I realise that your "sitch" is different, but this is mine!

My problem is that I don't jump back - I start playing and that's it.

It's bad to combine ADD with OCD, that's all I'm sayin'

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[User Picture]From: mariness
2007-12-30 02:52 am (UTC)
You are so much braver and wiser than I am :)

In my defense, I frequently combine Spider Solitaire with television viewing or online chatting/social interaction.
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[User Picture]From: idic_writer
2007-12-30 02:58 am (UTC)

I think you're very brave :)

And as SpongeBob might say, "Good luck with that!" :D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-30 06:10 am (UTC)

Re: I think you're very brave :)

LOL! Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: blazepoet
2007-12-30 12:17 pm (UTC)

War on Solitare

This is the time of year when Americans once again declare war on their failings.

I think one of the big reasons we all fall off the good intention bandwagon is we just love to go cold turkey and from sinner to saint overnight.

Trying to go soliteetotalling is going to be next to impossible. Oh sure some people have iron wills and such or the ability to guilt themselves into doing it. Those are the people that make it on Oprah and chicken-soup books to make the rest of us feel like failures when we can’t give up whatever it is that has been sustaining us the last 10 years.

It is an admirable goal to deal with something that you feel is out of control. I think trying to manage it is a better and more sustainable course of action than throwing it away.

Get a timer…. Set it for an hour a day.

Let yourself play as long as you want… one day a week.

The other nice thing about weaning yourself off of it, is you can modify the level of use. Perhaps the correct level of solitaire is somewhere between “never” and “full-time job”.

Either way good luck with your quest. Those damn games are addictive as sin for some people.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-30 04:25 pm (UTC)

Re: War on Solitare

While that is good advice for some people, I know me. I am not good at moderation. I have tried to set limits and it just doesn't work. So at least for a while it's gotta be cold turkey.
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[User Picture]From: mommeeof9
2007-12-30 03:21 pm (UTC)
There is a reason there are no games on the version of XP professional we run at work. Youtube and flicker are also blocked by the servers. There are many ways to waste time that are more productive and semi mindless. I can knit or crochet without watching every stitch.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-30 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yup; I can hand-quilt and watch a movie, or read a book instead. The solitaire games are massive time sinks.
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[User Picture]From: emohdee
2007-12-30 04:59 pm (UTC)
I'm right there with you, except the games that I play aren't necessarily solitaire ones. Like Diablo II - I lost about three years of free time to that damn game.

I got a Mac not only because I needed it for school, but also so I couldn't install games on it. And though my friends keep pressuring me, I flat-out refuse to play World of Warcraft with them. I told my friend, "I'm like your alcoholic mom and booze. She can't have just one drink, and I can't play just one hour."

So in short, I am right there with you, and I wish you much success.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-12-30 05:10 pm (UTC)
In a weird way, I am very fortunate that I can't play any game with a 3-D moving map. Diablo II is okay (and yeah, I've devoured many life-hours playing it), but Evercrack and its offspring are impossible for me.

I could play games like Civilization, but I have avoided getting caught up in them. Caesar II devoured many, many hours when I played it.
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