Monday, October 16, 2017

Texas Rules

OK - This might not be your cup of tea (or coffee) or whatever.  But down in the Republic of Texas (yes, we were a Republic from 1835 to 1845 before we joined the USA) we live a different sort of life.  Most folks who have lived all of their lives in Europe, NY and CA do not understand it, but we have a lot of open land.  Unfortunately, not everyone you meet is a friend out there. 

Most of us older folks learned to quit fighting with our hands (too many broken/bruised knuckles) and now have legal, concealed-carry permits.  You do not need a CHP for a fire arm in your home.  So, here goes nothing.  This is usually called, "Texas Gunfight Rules".  Please don't send me any emails nor comments calling me a "gun nut" nor a "right wing nut" nor anything like that. Just some common-sense rules for living in the plains of west of the Mississippi River:

The “unwritten rule” of Gunfight Rules is, of course, always have a gun.  What is locked up and away from you is of no use.  What is unloaded and cannot be loaded in 1 or 2 seconds is of no use in a panic situation.

A: Guns have only three enemies: rust, liberal politicians, and unthinking spouses.

B: It is always better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

 (This from "Blue Bloods.")

C: Cops carry guns to protect themselves, not you.

D: Never let someone or something that threatens you get inside arm's length

.  (Actually, if the threat is deadly, keep them at least 20 feet away - studies have shown that a highly-trained attacker can move in for a kill with only a knife before a trained police person can draw and shoot.)

E: Never say, "I've got a gun!", without being prepared to use it.   If you need to use deadly force, the next sound that they hear should be the safety on your gun clicking off.  My Dear Old Dad always taught me, “If you pull the gun you had better be pulling the trigger.  Otherwise do not pull the gun.  Never pull a gun just to threaten someone.  It doesn’t work.”

F: The average response time of a 911 call is 24 minutes; the BEST response times are about 10 minutes.  Response time where I live is about two hours depending on the time-of-night.  The response time of a .357 is 1400 feet per second or 1150 fps for a 9mm.

G: The most important rule in a gunfight is: If you absolutely can't avoid it, Always Win!

H: Make your attacker advance through a wall of bullets. . .  You may get killed with your own gun, but he'll have to beat you to death with it because it'll be empty

I: If and when you are in a gun fight:  If you are not shooting, you should be loading.  If you are not loading, you should be moving, If you are not moving, you're probably dead.

J: In a life and death situation, do something. . .  Liberals may argue, but do something!

K: If you carry a gun, some people might call you paranoid.  Nonsense!  If you have a gun, what do you have to be paranoid about?

L: You can say 'stop' or 'alto' or any other word, but a large bore muzzle pointed at someone's head is pretty much a universal language.

M: You cannot save the planet, but you must do everything you can do to responsibly save yourself and your family.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Spider Solitaire Strategy

[updated 15 Oct 2017]
[updated 16 Oct 2017]

A friend of mine complained a while back that I never publish anything technical any more.  OK - this is kind of technical.  Kind of.  Sort of.

After playing Spider Solitaire from Branium for many years now, I have finally come up with a (somewhat) fairly successful strategy for a two-suit game.  (Single-suit game is for children and I have NEVER beaten the four-suit game. Just never took the time and brain power to attack it.)  The following rules are not absolute but if followed them they might give you a somewhat better than average increased advantage.  Just for fun, look at your statistics now, reset them and then check them again about 500 or 1K games later.  (Yeah, well, I play it a lot when waiting for a taxi or bus or for meetings to start.)

Before I started this strategy, my percentage of winning was around 4.2% but then it climbed to 19.4% after about 450 games.  I have now gotten up to 17.3% after 1100 games.  (Well, I did have a couple of 100+ losing-game runs.)  This has been over about six months of playing so it takes a while to get any meaningful results.  Anyway, this is just a set of general rules and not meant to be a hard-and-fast guide to winning.  You still have to plot your way around the board and use some brain power.
  1. The first objective is to turn over the hidden cards.  Give that a priority of 100.
  2. The next priority is to get long runs of the same suit - give that a priority of 90.
  3. The next priority is to make King->Ace runs a quickly as possible.  Try to make at least two runs before you have the last two stacks left to play.  If you have not done that, probably you will not win the game.  Probably.  I have won a couple of times but not normally. Priority of 80.
  4. Given a choice, always play a card from the smallest stack.  That means that you should start from one of the six cards on the right before playing one of the four cards on the left when first starting the game.  After that, if you have choice of two or three cards to play, pick the one on the smallest stack of cards.  Priority of 70.
  5. NEVER EVER make a cross-play (defined elsewhere) on a same-suit run of four cards or more UNLESS you can immediately uncover that mistake and correct it by playing that card elsewhere.  OK - I have done it sometimes just to get a card uncovered near the end of the game when all else seemed lost but it never has worked out well for me.
  6. If the cards to pick to play are all the same, pick the play with the largest card.  i.e., pick a Queen over a Jack or an 8 over a 5.  Why?  Just because...
  7. If at all possible, try to get an empty slot so that you have a choice of which card or stack of cards to put there so that you can have an option of playing a better suit of cards.
  8. If you have a choice of playing a card on a different suit (a cross-play, 5-of-heards on the 6-of-spades) or a same-suit play (5-of-hearts on the 6-of-hearts), ALWAYS play the same-suit play unless you can make the same-suit play in the next play or so.
  9. Set the  options so that the game can pick the play for you.  Meaning that you can just click on the card and the game will make the move for you.  You can always pick "go back" to reverse the move it the game makes the wrong move but (usually) it makes a better move than you would have made.
  1. Try to keep long runs of the same suit if possible 
  2. As the game progresses, during a play, keep one leg open as long as possible for "transportation."  This will become increasingly important in the later stages of the game.  You will have put "something" in there before proceeding to the next stage so try to put something that has little importance to your overall goals.
Anyway, these are just some general guide-lines that seem to work for me.  No real logic to them.  They just seem to work.  I may add some later as I think of them.  Check back from time-to-time and add some comments if you like.  I usually publish comments with credits to the person(s).  TTFN