Saturday, April 15, 2006

Bonus drunken post about a giant spider

I'm at Crispy's house, after a barbecue and watching of Buck Rogers (1953 compilation of the 1930s series). Dialogue during setting up folding chairs in the garden:

Crispy: Here's the chairs, they're a bit cobwebby.
Me: Well, the spiders seem to like them if they've been sitting on them.
Crispy: But they're not sitting on them any more...
Me: That's true, maybe they AARGH! [as a spider roughly the size of a small cat crawled out from the folds and glared at me.]

I should go there more often

I went to Burton today to get a new bike, since that was as quick as walking to Halfords in Derby, and while I was waiting for it to be ready I had a wander around the shops. And found a really great haul of old cartoons on video in the charity shops and on the market - four of them, costing a total of £3.47!

They're from various video producers of the eighties, and all seem to be made up of basically whichever old cartoons they could lay their hands on when they wanted to make a bit of extra cash - the four tapes claim to be collections of Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and jointly Woody Woodpecker and Felix the Cat, but the first one, which I've just watched over dinner, has three Betty cartoons (Musical Mountaineers, Betty Boop and Grampy and Betty In Blunderland) from the 30s, the Porky Pig cartoon Notes To You from 1941, a Little Audrey cartoon, of all things, from 1950 (Tarts And Flowers), and a great Ub Iwerks toon from 1934, Jack Frost.

And having peeled off the sticker that the charity shop stuck on top of the list of cartoons on the Daffy Duck video to find a title I didn't recognise, it turns out that it's Reducing Creme, another Iwerks from 1934, this time starring Willie Whopper. It's also got Daffy The Commando. I love finds like this!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good weather this Friday

What a lovely, sunny day! It was even quite warm if you were in the direct sunlight - too hot to go around in a leather jacket, if not quite hot enough to be entirely comfortable in a T-shirt. Which was a shame, because a T-shirt and jacket was all I had with me today. Well, there was probably something on the lower half of my body too, since nobody was running away screaming, but you know what I mean.

Went round to see my grandma today, and it occurred to me that I should write something about her on this blog, as I seem to have failed to do that ever since I started the thing, and she's really a great person. Although I haven't got the time or inclination right now for a big long post. Suffice to say she's just turned 86, is one of the world's great talkers and has a lot of life experience to talk about. And a really great mind - the good parts of my brain definitely owe a lot to her.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I've got a great job

My boss bought everyone in the department a Cadbury's creme egg! It's the little things that impress me, you see. I'd rather have a creme egg every now and then than a pay rise and more responsibility.

One thing that does bug me, though - our accounting system allocates a sequential number to each journal entry processed, and I really wanted to be the one to post batch number 300000, but I just missed it. Ah well, I'll aim for 333333 in however many months it will take to get up to that number...

In the world of memory, we've just got the dates confirmed for the German championship - July 14-15, in a place I've never heard of called Heilbronn. If memory serves, last year's championship was the first thing of note that I wrote about in this here blog, so maybe I can celebrate my first anniversary by winning it. Well, maybe I won't win it, since they don't do translations of the words and things, but I want to put in a good performance this time round - the last two years I've done very badly in Germany, and I'd hate it to become a tradition. And this is the major preparation for the world championship as a rule, although there might be a British championship this year in August if we're lucky. But the German championship is where I get to see how much the likes of Clemens and Gunther have improved since last year, and start to formulate strategies for how good I'll have to be to beat them.

They're both coming to Cambridge, of course, and they'll probably be in one of the regional German championships too, but those are too short and throwaway to really give a measure of the kind of form they're in. Besides, Cambridge is sure to be a complete disaster.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rejoice and Celebrate!

It's a four-day weekend coming up! And I'm really, really looking forward to it. I feel like I could spend the whole of Easter in bed, to be honest.

So what I'm going to do, of course, is run around doing no end of things all weekend. Grandma's on Friday, Crispy and Sleepy's on Saturday, then I feel like shopping in London or Nottingham or somewhere exotic like that. I need to catch up with comics, and Forbidden Planet in Derby's always selling out of things if I skip a week like I did last weekend. Not that there were any really good comics out last week, they're all in this week's shipping list.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My printer's broken!

And the flaming thing's practically brand new, and I have a feeling it came with a guarantee, which I almost certainly threw away along with the packaging. It's just not taking paper into the works like it should, and I bet it's really easy to fix if you know anything about printers. Which I don't. And I need to print out some random numbers because I haven't got any left. Damn it. Maybe I'll sneakily print some out at work when nobody's looking.

In lighter news, James Jorasch has updated his memory website with various videos of me. Scroll down the list and watch the last one, "Ben Pridmore on memory systems", especially. That was meant to be a couple of minutes of me running through a pack of cards and describing the images I associate with them, and it turned into a half-hour interview, completely unplanned! I think I come across unusually well, by my standards. It's funny to watch myself, though - I'm constantly looking around the room, or twiddling my fingers, adjusting my hat, or some other nervous twitch.

The footage on the other video clip of me memorising a pack of cards is fraudulent, by the way. I'd already looked through the pack a couple of times during our earlier conversation, so I was already familiar with it. It actually looks like I could have been cleverly cheating - I slide each card out from the pack before naming it and turning it over, in a way that suggests I might be looking at the reflection in the shiny table. I wasn't, but that would be a really cool way for a stage magician to simulate memorising cards in this kind of interview.

Monday, April 10, 2006


My mind's a blank. I was going to write about something specific, too. Well, I'll write about it tomorrow.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

If you're going to give yourself food poisoning... least have the sense to do it on a work day. I've been suffering from half a tin of tuna today. I assume it was the tuna, anyway. I eat half a tin and keep the other half in the fridge with the lid sort of balanced on top in order to keep out germs and things. It obviously didn't work so well with last night's portion. What I could do with is a tupperware container of some kind, but I've only got one and it's about the size of a house. And anyway, my brother borrowed it at Christmas and he's still got it.

So that kind of put me off the activities I had planned for today, like visiting my grandma, buying a new bike and memory training. The bike I'll try to arrange during the week - walking to work is not fun, and last week has caused my work shoes to pretty much completely disintegrate (admittedly they weren't in perfect condition to start with, the soles were already more holey than righteous, as Grandma likes to say). There are bike shops in Burton, although the one I tried to call today wasn't answering the phone to tell me when they're open. I wish these places had websites, don't they know I hate talking on the phone?

Grandma I'm going to visit and play bingo with on Friday, seeing as it's the Good kind. Memory training I've been letting slide a little during the past couple of weeks, for obvious reasons, but I need to get back into it now. Still a lot of sorting-out needed for the Cambridge competition, and I need to get back to the woman from the BBC about that programme, and to Phil Chambers with comments on his new abstract image samples so he can unveil them before the competition. And check that he's still going to come and be arbiter, because I'm still short of volunteers. Although I haven't yet asked some of the people who are likely to say yes, so it's just a matter of getting my act together and doing it.

I'll be happy when the whole thing's over and the real memory season gets started. I'm itching to get back into competitions.