Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I can travel the world once more

Yes, I'm all sorted for passport until 2030, an impossibly distant year that's clearly never going to happen. They've changed since last time round - the photo page is at the front now, and there's a whole page next to it headed "This page is reserved for official observations". And under that, it says "There are no official observations."

I want an official observation! Couldn't they have observed "This is a fine-looking fellow, and still impressively youthful-looking for 43"?

Well, now I just need to get some new stamps in it. Where should I go first?

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Mental Marvel

Or should that be "the mental DC"? Last year, at the exact time when I took a week off work to use up my remaining holidays, someone had the brilliant idea to start a Facebook group dedicated to charting the progress of the DC superhero universe a month at a time since 1938. We're up to 1946 now, and it's given me a good reason to track down and read all kind of obscure gems, like this one here! In Real Fact Comics #5, DC's "educational" comic that mainly existed to counteract the growing belief that comics were turning American kids into crooks and delinquents, there's the story of Dr Bruno Furst!

Unlike a lot of the 'real facts' in the comic, it's very nicely written - citing the important memory principles and techniques and even giving a namecheck to Simonides! If any American kids of 1946 actually read it, maybe it started a few people on the road to a career in memory!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The march of time

Long-time bloglings may recall that ten years ago I had to renew my passport, and expressed the firm belief that I was never going to be 43. Just look at those Young Zoomies, receding ever further into the mists of distant memory! To be fair, I haven't changed all that much in the past ten years, have I? It just looks like someone's dusted my face liberally with flour - maybe I'll just tell people I work as a baker, and haven't actually aged a day since 2010! And I'm most definitely going to ignore the possibility that I might one day be renewing my passport again, at the age of 53! That's something that will DEFINITELY never happen!

What I should have done before posting my old passport back to the passport people (you can take digital photos now and apply for the renewal online, but you still have to physically post your old one to them from the post office, thereby saving no time at all unless you're the person who had to stick the photos onto the passports) was going through it like I did ten years ago, and reminiscing about all the places I've been on that passport in the last ten years. Maybe I'll do that when I get it back. Lots of Chinese visas in this one, since they take up a whole page each time, rather than just a little stamp! How am I going to top what I've done from 2010 to 2019? It's safe to say my career as an international memory man is winding down... I need to find a new reason for globetrotting!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

And while I'm being all retrospective...

25 years of the national lottery? Wow. I bought seven tickets for the first draw, I'm embarrassed to admit. I was an 18-year-old student with no money. One of them won £10, so with hindsight I really should have quit while I was ahead, invested the £3 profit and been a millionaire by now.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Sonic Twosday

I bought Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Mega Drive at 1:27pm on Saturday February 6th, 1993, at Dixons in Boston, Lincolnshire. The assistant's name was David. See, I told you I've got a good memory!

Actually, my memory is obviously a lot worse than people say it is, because I just found tonight that the till receipt is still in the box, tucked inside the free poster! And I really don't remember it being there, although logically I must have noticed it now and then in all the time I've spent playing that game cartridge in the last nearly 27 years!

It all makes me try to reconstruct what my 16-year-old self was doing buying it in February. I guess it must have been a case of saving up my leftover Christmas money and pocket money until I could afford the discounted bargain price of £35 (Mega Drive games normally cost £40) that Dixons were selling the world's coolest game for. I'm glad to say the month-and-a-half of waiting was well worth it, because I've had a whole lot of fun with that game over the years!

(And since I was in Boston, we would have been at our mother's house that weekend, so I would have had to wait till we went home on Sunday to actually plug it into the Mega Drive - I tell you, the waiting must have been well nigh unendurable!)

I'd only got a Mega Drive for Christmas in 1992, so when Sonic 2 first came out in November that year, we'd had to be content with the (luckily, equally wonderful) Master System version. I've still got that, too, naturally, but I didn't keep the receipt for that one, or indeed anything else I've ever bought, as far as I can recall.

I'm not sure whether I put the receipt in the box in an uncharacteristic moment of caution in case the game didn't work when I eventually got it home, or if David put it in there when he sold it to me. Probably David.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Triangular football

Quite literally eight times out of ten, the last match days of the European championship qualifying tournament are a waste of everyone's time, since it's already been settled who will qualify. But then you occasionally get a wonderfully cool arrangement like Wales vs Hungary, where the winner qualifies, but if it's a draw, it's Slovakia! I really hope there's an army of travelling Slovakian fans attending that game in Cardiff tonight (instead of, say, their own game, in Slovakia), enthusiastically cheering for a stalemate and urging both teams not to score any goals. I'd go along and do it myself, but it's cold outside.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Our Pathetic Age

Do you know what happened eight years ago this coming Saturday? That was the day I recorded the single coolest and best illustration of the kind of thing memory people visualise when they're memorising a pack of cards! Actually, a surprising number (ie greater than zero) of people do remember that, and it's currently being discussed on the Art of Memory forum, which is always nice to see! Let's share it with the world again, in case anyone hasn't seen it in this pathetic age of ours.

DJ Shadow "Scale It Back" from Ewan Jones Morris on Vimeo.

DJ Shadow has a new album out on the 15th, which nobody has asked me to make a music video for, but I'm sure it's wonderful. As a thank-you to the man who bought this bizarre concept for a video in 2011 from the visionary directors Ewan Jones Morris and Casey Redmond, please everyone go out and buy "Our Pathetic Age" next Friday!