Archive for May 2nd, 2009

My brain is getting fuzzy!

Posted on May 2, 2009. Filed under: Games, Health, Music, Musings, Philosophy |

energybrain …or something. I like to watch YouTube videos of classical choral performances. Or, more to the point, I like to listen to them, and it’s easier for me to find pieces I want to hear on YouTube than on ITunes. I don’t know why. I’ll watch the chorus and the orchestra and the conductor, and unless I know some of those people, it gets kind of boring after a while. Most choruses are not very animated, in spite of conductors admonishing them to be so…So, at some point, I’ll usually open up another tab and start playing a game, like Free Cell or Spider Solitaire.

I like those, because I don’t have to think too much and can still listen to the good music. But, those games, especially the Spider one, come with their own sets of noises. I’m the kind of person who leaves their speakers off most of the time, unless I’m watching a video or the news or something. So, when I play these games, on their own, my computer is usually mercifully silent. And that’s another thing. For someone who is a musician, I like silence a lot more than you’d think!

So, it’s kind of weird to be listening to a very serious sacred piece and have my game make a strange carnival type noise. It does this when it’s not pleased with me or my move, so it makes it that much more disconcerting. Usually, the game noises conflict horribly with the nice music I’m listening to, but, tonight, I played Spider Solitaire while listening to Haydn’s “Little Organ Mass”. {Go ahead; snicker, but that’s really the nickname of this work.} I found myself clicking on “Show an available move” in the game menus, because the “Ta-da” sound it made was a chord in the same key as the Haydn! They were perfectly in tune. So I asked the game for help even when I didn’t need it.

Anyway, here’s the fuzzy brain part (or was that already it?) I’ve played Spider Solitaire a lot, lately, letting it act as one diversion or another. And I play the “easy” version, with only one suit (spades) because that way I win most of the time. I get grumbly if I don’t win most of the time. I’d played so much Free Cell, that I just needed a break. At first, it was strange putting a black card on a black card, as in most other Solitaire games I’ve played one must alternate the colors. I got used to it, though.

Tonight, after playing the Haydn-Spider combo long enough for the novelty to cease to amuse me, I went back—after probably ten days—to Free Cell. I felt disoriented! Just seeing all those red cards mixed up with the black ones felt as if I’d slipped into another dimension. As perhaps I had.

You know how if you look at something like a black and white spiral design for several minutes, and then look at a white wall you’ll see an “after image” of the colors opposite to what they originally were? It was like looking at something like that, but also like I was playing a brand new game. I could hardly remember where to put the cards. I forgot how many I could move at a time! My brain felt fuzzy!

It seems to me, from this unintentional experiment upon myself, that intense focus on a specific over time can begin to make one lose ones broader perceptual abilities. I’ve always played my share of computer card games, but on this occasion, I felt a little seasick. It felt as if someone had plucked me out of the Sonoran Desert and plunked me on a beach in Hawaii (hmm, not a bad idea) but without any warning or travel time. Have you ever felt this way? And if so, what caused it? I’d really like to know!

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