Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chess: Board games for smart people.

I have overcome my computer solitaire addiction by replacing it with a more complicated and painful addiction called computer chess. The chess board I have is a computer and you follow the readout and put the computer's pieces where it wants them to go. You push down on the space to activate it and register that you have acted as the computer's arms. It's like playing a very very smart and quiet handicapped person.
The computer has 73 skill levels. I started out playing against 15 and would lose in a maximum of 11 moves. It was an absolute slaughter. Many many times at night I would scratch my head and look at the boards and mumble, "You dirty motherfucker. You think you're so smart. Never any mistakes for you. So superior. Oh, one day..."

so I finally figured out about the level thing and I put it on level 1 and the computer would just randomly move the rook back and forth for no reason. I beat his ass all over the place. Then up to level 2. He was a little more strategic but I still won every game.
then to level 3. It took some work to win but I could do it and I felt so good when the screen said "I lose"
I'd celebrate with a little dance.
then to level 4 which is actually a perfect pairing. I have to play my absolute best to beat him. If I make one or two mistakes I lose. But once I won two or three times in a row (without using the 'take back' feature) I moved up to level 5.
Level 5 has me weeping like a little child. My blood pressure goes up when seemingly by magic EVERY SQUARE I WANT TO MOVE TO IS COVERED. That's the dirty trick. The computer won't put you in jeopardy every move, but it will work it so you can't move without a rain of terror falling on your head. So then I think, "I'll just move this innocent pawn. Nothing bad will happen then. There is no...wha? What the fuck. You moved THERE? Why? I'll just...wha??? No!!!! THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO!
See, it's like after the first 5 opening move I am completely assaulted and attacked. I'm on the defense and nothing I can do stops the attack.
This last game I held on until I had a king and a pawn and he had a king and a knight and a pawn. I lost. That was as close as it got.
When I beat level 5 straight up it will be a miracle. Chess is such a weird thing because how do you get better? I can't get any smarter but there are so many options to choose from and the computer always pics the right one and I always pick the wrong one. How do I get better? Lately, I just mirror the moves the computer makes...and I still lose. I'll play again in a minute. I can't be afraid. Level 73 must be hard.

Of course, moments after I typed that I decided to give level 73 a try. And I must've channeled Bobby Fisher because about 50 minutes later I queened a pawn and cornered the king. I think the battery was weak so it wasn't thinking clearly but I still had to play phenomenal chess. The trick was to be aggressive and take the pieces that he ordinarily abuses me with. But take them strategically. I might have used the take back button once. That's a good game of chess. I wonder if this has a replay function so I can post my win on a chess forum. grandmasters would probably say, what the hell kind of strategy is this? It's the man in the van strategy. I verbally abused the computer and played it when the battery was low. The X factor wins again!

I beat level 5 too! The computer's ego has been bruised.

midnight rant

A pointless rant that I thought had more of an uplifting message when I started. I keep thinking I'm going to look in the mirror and see no more grey in my beard. I mean, who doesn't do this? I think, today is the day I will wake up from this horrible nightmare that has me getting progressively, insidiously older and more frail. So I go to the bathroom and look and instead of less grey, I see more grey. I see grey beard hair, head hair (what's left of it) and chest hair. I found some white hair on my pillow. What skanky old woman was sleeping here? I thought... Wait, it's mine!
Oh, Christ!
So I thought, since this is unstoppable and everyone from Gary Cooper to Gandhi ended up dead I had better get fit and stay fit for as long as I can. Not because I think that will stave off death's cold hand, but because it is the only way to make life tolerable. God, I hate resembling characters in American Beauty. I'm sure having children is the best way to distract yourself from the crumbling infrastructure that is your body.
Am I the only one who has a hard time getting off the floor? Or am I the only one who falls down for no reason?
I sometimes think that I'll exert less energy and thus slow down the aging process. Like I'll meditate for the remainder of my life and thus stay young. Has anyone give this a try?
I guess listening to Kai Winding and Bert Kaempfert instrumentals from 1963 doesn't help. They're just so good! Someone go listen to Spanish Flea by Herb Alpert and keep their face from not smiling. Here, just try not smiling...

Since the music has no video you can read while you listen. Here's some inappropriate content to go along with the upbeat trumpet tune that summons another era...

The five popularized stages of death are:

Dabda is the Acronym. What's a good mnemonic?
Doesn't Anyone Buy Dildos Anymore?
Don't Ask Bobby Dylan Anything.
Dentists Are Better Drinking Anise
Death Always Beats Down Alcoholics

Make your own one up, it's fun!
So help me figure out what stage I'm in? I hear you say, "Oggy, you aren't dying." Then I would say you are in Denial. You are telling me that I'm not dying because you don't want to believe that YOU are dying. Then you would get Angry. Then you would try to reason with me (Bargaining). Then you'd get Depressed. Then you would Accept that we are both dying. I mean, seriously, look at yourself in the mirror. Take a good look. Does that look like someone who isn't dying? I didn't think so. ACCEPT IT.
I think my new get fit plan is really Bargaining. I'm trying to cheat death. "No, look. I'm serious about living now. Please. I want Mary back!" So I should just be a fat bastard? No! But I'm past the anger phase. And I'm not in denial like you.

Does anyone want to do radio theater with me? It's perfect for non actors or camera shy folk like myself. No improve, we'll just write out a script. Heck, we can start with my workday story. Or we'll do a funny one about death.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.