Monday, April 20, 2009

Summit, Peak, Pinnacle, Apex or Zenith. Call it What You Will: I'm There.

I was unaware that I was starting a journey as I sat in the Nashville airport on November 22nd 2008. I was waiting for a connecting flight from Baltimore to Seattle and I had time to kill. I ate, I talked to Inky on the phone and I watched "The Notorious Bettie Page" on my laptop, but I still had more time to kill. Not wanting to start another movie, I clicked open the solitaire game and set to work. I played a few games and then I got into a rhythm. Then it happened: I finished a game in what seemed like an impossibly fast time. The score was 4454 in 184 seconds. 'That's almost less than 3 minutes!' I thought to myself, and so I jotted the score and time down. Shortly there after I set a goal for myself of finishing a game in half that time: 90 Seconds.

Late last night it finally happened. I was getting ready to watch a Hamish and Andy clip on YouTube, but I wanted to let it download a bit before I started it. So, I popped a playlist on iTunes and opened solitaire. I won the first game in 133 seconds, which would have seemed amazing to me in November, but I had bigger fish to fry. As I listened to "The River" by Missy Higgins I played the game of my life, or at least of the last 5 months of my life. Everything fell into place so quickly that I even snuck a look at the timer at one point and saw it was on 57 seconds. I knew I was close and after a few more clicks I had met my ultimate goal.

A minute and a half. 90 seconds. That was all, and the game was over. I had hit my self imposed goal of a 90 second game right on the nose, also posting a new high score of 8442 points. Now, my three best scores are all 100 seconds or less, and don't get me wrong, that's great, but what do I do now? Should I hang a banner in my office that says mission accomplished or should I set my sights on an even more ambitious goal? An 80 second game, or maybe a cool one minute?

I think I'll take a little time off to contemplate my success and then make my mind up after that. Plus, I don't know if I'm going to have a lot of time to play while I make the rounds of the Talk Show circuit. It may be best to wait till I can focus on the task 100%. Yeah, that sounds good.

Anatomy of a record, the time line of my achievement:

11/22/08: I post my first "fastest game" with a score of 4454 in 184 seconds. The Quest begins.

1/27/09: After a few weeks shaving chunks off my P.B. I finally play a sub 2 minute game, posting a score of 6576 in 119 seconds. My previous best was 6081/129. There is much rejoicing.

2/15/09: I begin to think I'll never be able to finish faster than 2 minutes as I rack up yet another 119 second win, this time yielding 6538 points.

2/28/09: Now fully in the solitaire doldrums, the best I have done is to shave 2 more seconds off my P.B. as I hit 6633/117. Just for a second, I allow myself to think it can't be done.

3/15/09: Out of nowhere I post my first game over 7k points and under 110 seconds with a 7175/107. Some are shocked after I shed 10 full seconds from by previous best, but I never had any doubts.

3/29/09: 7 more seconds fall by the wayside, and my P.B. now stands at an even 100 seconds, with a score of 7660. I've made 10 second jumps before and I know I am on the verge. I am starting to become pretty full of myself around the house.

4/5/09: I am so focused on the task at hand that I begin to think of myself as a kind of solitaire ninja. I play my first double digit game, racking up a score of 8092 in 94 seconds. Inky is now getting pretty sick of hearing about my quest and I realize I have to finish this up before she shivs me in the shower.

4/19/09: Like all great achievements I didn't even see it coming, but I get my just desserts. 8442 points in 90 seconds and I now a solitaire god. Not the God, but a god. Feel free to worship me.

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