Thursday, November 15, 2018

This guy Pridmore

If you like podcasts, there's apparently one called No Such Thing As A Fish, where QI researchers talk about the interesting things they've recently found out about. And when someone (thanks, Mike!) told me I'm on the latest edition, episode 242, I was particularly pleased to see that I'm actually the first thing they talk about - I was shuddering at the thought of having to sit through 54 minutes of talk about subjects other than me, but you can safely turn the thing off after ten minutes if you don't care about anything other than memory.

They cover all the basics very nicely, mentioning pretty much everything about me that it's possible to find on Google, and correctly point out that memory championship winners aren't especially clever, which is nice (no, really, it is - better than the whole 'natural-born genius savant' thing that most people like to say), although they do buy in wholly to the Daniel Tammet legend without question. But most unforgivably, they say I'm on my fourth lucky hat, after leaving at least one previous one on a train. That comes from some 2014 press release that must have been trying to be nice to me - I lost count a while ago, but I'm actually on the tenth or eleventh, with all of the previous ones having been left on trains. Let's set the record straight about that.

Monday, November 12, 2018

On the way home again

Well, I suppose I have to go back to England now. All this international travel gets tiring, you know. Still, it was a fantastic memory championship! I found myself in close competition with Konsti - I ended up with 14 packs of cards, which is good enough that maybe I'll attempt 18 next time, then a solid 174 words, a decent enough 93 spoken numbers and an acceptable 74 dates, plus 816 in 30-minute numbers, attempting 936. The two of us were neck and neck most of the way, building up to speed cards - my first pack was a surprising disaster when I couldn't remember one of my images (or rather, I remembered it fine, then thought 'no, that's not right... what is that image? Oh, no, hang on, it was right all along, why did I think it wasn't?' and so forth, and so entirely forgot the various other images I'd been supposed to be memorising while that whole thought process was going on), and then the second pack I went very slowly and got 36.36 seconds. Konsti, though, did a 50.78; just enough to retain third place.

So I end up with a medal announcing that I came 4th, instead of a nice little trophy for 3rd, but hey, I've got plenty of trophies already. The two big trophies (one permanent European Championship trophy and one one-off) went to Simon, but he was pushed all the way by Sylvain, who came second with some excellent scores. There was also a very closely-matched struggle for fifth place between Tobiasz, Norbert, Martin and Susanne. It was exciting all round!

Also, for the entertainment of people who insist that my nickname is Big Ben rather than Zoomy, this sweet shop was just outside the door of the venue:

Saturday, November 10, 2018

This is what it's all about

I couldn't help feeling during the recall for 30-minute cards "it really doesn't get any better than this..."

I do like memory competitions. Especially the cards events - the lack of practice doesn't really affect them as much as the other disciplines, for whatever reason. After a day of mediocre performances in everything else, but knowing I've done 12 decks with consummate ease the last couple of times I've tried it, I decided I had to go for 15 this time, and see what would happen. And I finished the recall with a luxurious ten minutes to spare, although I've probably made a couple of mistakes here and there in the order of images.

We've got sixteen competitors from nine European countries, with the usual nice mix of new and old, and a first-rate organising team headed by Idriz and Daniel, using the all-new online recall system (which can also be used by people at home to keep track of the competition scores and/or do some training yourselves). It's mostly working great, I'm sure it's saved the arbiters a lot of hassle, and the fact that the championship ran a couple of hours late as usual really wasn't very much down to the technology so much as the much-loved memory-competition traditions.

Will Simon hold off the fierce challenge of Sylvain to claim a third European Championship? We'll see, tomorrow.

How very European

I'm in the competition room at the IAM European Memory Championship, in a very nice room in the Skovlunde library in Copenhagen. Competitors whose faces I should recognise by now but don't: Sylvain, Norbert, Konsti, Yves, Tobiasz, various others. People who I do recognise without needing to look at the name on their table: Simon. Also, Idriz, who's running the show, and I'll definitely know Lars when he arrives.

I might be a millionaire - I've got one of those "news about your ticket" emails from last night's Euromillions, but the national lottery website won't let you log on from a foreign country, so I'll just have to wait till I get home on Monday to know whether I'm fabulously rich or the lucky winner of £2.70 from my £2.50 ticket. I'll buy a top hat, monocle and cigar, just in case.

I haven't done any training, or particularly thought about memory, since the last competition I went to (which, off the top of my head, I think was in Germany or something). This is probably a good omen, and I'm sure the whole thing will be a great success.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Big numbers

This is, apparently, my 2700th post on this blog! Which, considering I don't post more than once a day, is pretty good going, isn't it? Of course, the really important number to commemorate in some way is 2704, being the number of images in my memory system, so I'll have to write something really spectacular and memorable for that!

Since I'm going to Copenhagen at the weekend, that should provide something memory-related to write about...

Thursday, November 01, 2018

On the subject of catchy tunes

In the office today, someone observed that everyone knows the Jurassic Park music. I said that I don't think I do, upon which everybody chorused "Der der der der der, der der der der der", and I had to admit I did vaguely remember it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Less talk, more whistling

I had to do an unusual amount of talking at work today, and it's given me a sore throat. Do I really talk so little that it does me harm when I do it? I need to talk more.

Also, what is with that Colgate toothpaste advert I just saw on TV that uses the Caillou theme tune as background music? Also, why do I immediately recognise the Caillou theme tune when I hear it on telly? It's an American pre-school cartoon that I've never watched with any kind of regularity, even though I watch a lot more American pre-school cartoons than normal people. It's obviously really catchy.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Fresh air and exercise

Living practically next door to the office is nice, but I can't help thinking that, especially with winter coming up, I'm not really doing any kind of physical activity any more now that I don't cycle to work. I should join a gym, but I really don't want to. On the other hand, I have got stairs now. I climb stairs at least once a day. That counts as exercise.