An eternal game of solitaire?

Went to Trattorie for lunch with Lytteltonwitch yesterday. Actually, technically it was a meetup for the Cross-stitch meetup group I’m trying to resurrect (I wanted to join a new meetup group,in the hope of expanding my circle of friends outside of Bookcrossing a bit (not that there’s anything wrong with Bookcrossers, I just don’t want my entire life to be dominated by one sphere of interest), and chose cross-stitch as being the most interesting. Only trouble was, it didn’t have an organiser, so had been languishing without any meetups for several months. So I did the obvious, and volunteered my services). Yesterday was the first meetup I’d organised for the group, and Lytteltonwitch had offered to come along because I was worried nobody would turn up, and I’d end up sitting in a cafe by myself looking sad. As it turned out I was right (although I did get an email from one group member thanking me for setting up the meetup, and appologising that she couldn’t make it this month, but would try in the future, so I haven’t given up all hope yet), but Lytteltonwitch and I had a nice meal anyway, and spent the time trying to figure out ways of attracting more New Zealanders to the NZBC Convention, which is now only 5 weeks away, and looking like NZers are going to be outnumbered by the Australians!

I’d brought a couple of embroidery books along (Needlepoint Techniques and Projects by Diane Petricia Tapscott and A Key to Embroidery by Beverley Shore Bennett) just in case anyone did turn up for the meetup, so I left them in the OBCZ shelf, a browse of which unearthed a few interesting books to add to the TBR pile:

I also passed The Cat Who Moved a Mountain by Lilian Jackson Braun on to Lytteltonwitch, so I came out pretty even on the books caught/released stakes.

Talking of cross-stitch, progress is continuing (albeit slowly) on the “wedding sampler” project:
[album 128913 knight5.JPG]
Not much more to do on this section, and then I’ll be quarter of the way through it.

And now for something altogether stranger: I often entertain myself while waiting for pages to download by playing a few games of solitaire (no, that’s not the strange bit (although I suppose the fact that we’re not on broad-band yet is a bit strange)). Solitaire being such a compulsive, once you pop you can’t stop, sort of game, I usually set myself a limit when I’ll stop playing it. I’ve usually got it on the Vegas score system (where each game “costs” you $52, and you win $5 for each card you move up to the top, so getting the whole deck out wins you $260), with cumulative scoring, and because of the probabilities involved in solitaire, I usually lose many more games than I win, so that my score always ends up negative after a few hands (I once recorded my scores for a few hundred games (yes, I was bored!), and worked out I lost about $20 per game on average). So my usual rule is that I stop when I get to -$300, or, if I happen to have won in the first couple of hands so that I actually get a positive score, then I stop when the score drops back below zero. Anyway, the other day I was playing a quick game, and won the first hand. It was pretty late at night, so I said to myself “I’ll stop when I get below zero”… and won the next hand. And then, for the next hour or so I won just often enough to keep increasing my score, so that by the time I gave up and went to bed my score was over $1000 positive! I didn’t exit the game, and told MrPloppy that under no account was he to exit it, or shut down the computer, and over the last few days I’ve continued to play a hand here and there, and my winning streak has continued, with the score continuing to creep upwards. Every so often, I’ll have a long string of losses, and I’ll think “that’s it, the winning streak is over, everything’s back to normal”, and then I’ll start winning again, and end up with an even higher score than before. I took a screenshot when I went over $3000 for the first time, thinking it couldn’t possibly get any higher, and wanting to have proof of this weird run of luck (and it is just luck – I’m not playing any differently than I ever have before) before it ended:
[album 128913 solitaire.JPG]
Of course, it did get higher. The lowest I’ve reached since that first night is about $800, and the highest is $3714!!! At the moment I’m back down to $3001, and winning just often enough to stay around the $3000-mark. At this rate, I’ll never finish this game…

I have never had such a run of luck playing solitaire before (obviously, or I wouldn’t be making such a fuss about it now!), so much so that I actually wondered if there was something wrong with the computer (though I’ve never heard of a bug or virus that just makes you win at solitaire!) Of course, now I suppose everyone’s going to tell me they win all the time, and it’s just that I was always useless at solitaire before (though I doubt that, because I grew up with a father who loved playing solitaire (with actual physical cards, before Microsoft came up with the oh so much more addictive version), and if I was playing would look over my shoulder and say “check” every time I seemed to have missed something – I quickly learnt to play very accurately and never miss a potential move!)

But what’s really weird is that I’ve managed to leave the programme (and the computer) running for several days now, opening and closing other programmes on top of it, and the computer hasn’t crashed yet! (Touch wood…)

Currently reading: Swimming Pool Sunday by Madeleine Wickham

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