Saturday, May 06, 2006


Wireless internet access in my hotel room! A laptop with the ability to connect to wireless internet access in my hotel room! I'm not used to such technology. Actually, I didn't see anything in the hotel information about this, so possibly I'm hacking into a neighbour's bandwidth, but never mind. Anyway, for those hanging on my every word, I did find a hotel (you've probably worked that out by now by yourselves, I suppose). It's literally miles away from the venue - four and a half miles to be precise, but it was the only one not fully booked and with online booking facilities. Also, the buses don't run early on Sunday mornings, so I'll have to either walk with an EXTREMELY heavy bag full of laptop, cards and papers, or get a taxi. And I hate getting taxis, it's so non-working-class, I feel bad about it.

Anyway, I did unbelievably badly at the othello tournament today. I did win one game out of seven, but that wasn't exactly my greatest performance ever. I'm out of practice and steadily getting worse, which annoys me. Imre won, various interesting things happened, but even though I know a lot of othello players actually read this thing and I'd hate to disappoint them, I haven't got the time to write about it right now. I've got lots of packs of German cards to shuffle in preparation for tomorrow. And I'm all nervous now - I'm thinking of the competition in terms of a friendly get-together in the spirit of fun, and certain German doctors who will remain nameless are clearly taking the whole thing very seriously indeed and will look down his nose at the unprofessional organisation of the whole thing. Ah well.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Laugh about it, shout about it, when you've got to choose...

Local council election day, and despite my self-imposed ban on talking politics, I just wanted to record that I'm pleased with myself for remembering to vote, considering how busy I've been both at work and sorting out all the things for Sunday that I forgot to sort out earlier (little details like the spreadsheet for calculating scores, vitally important things like that...) So I can rest safe in the knowledge that I've contributed towards making the not-as-pretty-as-it-sounds Arboretum ward of Derby the democratic paradise that it is.

And it's hot! I'm not used to this kind of temperature. But apparently it's not going to last, so that's okay. I wouldn't want to be outside a building made predominantly of glass during our occasional outbreaks of nice weather, after all. It was seriously uncomfortable in the office today.

No time to go on at length, still haven't found a hotel so might be sleeping on the streets of Cambridge over the weekend.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Oh yes, and...

Well, I did say tonight's blogging would be long and boring. I just remembered something else I was going to talk about that I feel the need to record for posterity. Since I was talking the other night about dream analysis, I felt it worth mentioning that I had a dream about Daffy Duck last night. It occurs to me that this is the first time I can remember him making an appearance in my dreams, although Sylvester's popped up two or three times that I can recall. What this might mean, I couldn't say, but I just thought it was interesting.

Butterscotchy Goodness

Looking through a file of old invoices at work today, I flicked past one for the nurseries that said 'Butterscotch, Dry Goods', among other things. I misread it as 'butterscotchy goodness' and had to go back and see what it really said. It set my brain spiralling off on a spirally train of thought, and reminded me in turn that Bart Simpson is allergic to butterscotch and imitation butterscotch; that butterscotch flavour angel delight is quite nice; that butterscotch is a really weird word and I have no idea how it originated; and that the first time I had a butterscotch flavoured sweet was at Tumby Woodside Primary School when I was four or five years old at most (it closed down in 1982).

This kind of thing fascinates me. I'm pretty sure I've thought about butterscotch before without dredging up this early childhood memory, so what caused me to unlock that particular filing cabinet in the back of my brain today? I'm fond of talking about filing cabinets when people ask me technical questions about memory - my theory is that we remember everything we've ever experienced, but it's filed away very bady, associated with other things we were experienced at the same time and cross-referenced randomly so we can't dig it out easily. And the trick to memory skills is to file away information efficiently so that it can all be dug out of the filing cabinet in order and neatly stapled together with colourful dividers and everything.

I'm wondering if it's something to do with the big windows in reception at Nord House - I was coming downstairs at the moment that I recalled that twenty-something-years-ago boiled sweet. Our building was a car showroom at some point in its history, and has a lot of glass. The reception area has a very, very high roof (something like 30 feet) with windows all the way up. This made it unbearably hot, so they've recently put opaque plastic over the glass above head height. It doesn't look nearly as pretty, but then I don't have to sit there. Anyway, the point of this rambling is that Tumby Woodside school also had high ceilings (granted, I was nearer to the ground in those days, but even so) and big tall windows. Maybe the similarity there combined with the thought of butterscotch to dig up that useless chunk of memory.

While I'm talking memory, I had a call from another TV researcher who's interested in filming Cambridge today. (Yes, I'm still giving my number freely to these people! Aren't I good? Although I've just remembered now that I never replied to that Mexican. Oops. Tomorrow.) Anyway, I think I've put her off the idea of filming memory competitions for life - you could just hear her getting less and less enthusiastic about the project as I told her what actually happens there. She was thinking in terms of people standing up and reciting exciting and lengthy speeches.

And I know I'm vain, but I much prefer the kind of media person who says it's really great that I was the world champion and stuff (even if they're transparently just saying that so I'll do what they want) to the kind who ask me 'do you ever compete in these things yourself, or just organise them?' It's hard to lament about being a semi-celebrity when nobody in the world has heard of you.

Tomorrow night I've got to pack everything for the weekend - I'll need to dash off fairly promptly on Friday night to get to Cambridge at a reasonable time of night, assuming I've found a hotel (had a look at lunchtime, but they're all either miles away from the venue or fully booked, or both. Or else don't have an online booking facility. I hate phone calls, but I'm going to have to make some, I can tell.) So for those of you who hang on my every word, tomorrow will be my last blog entry until Monday night. I'm sure you'll survive.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I have nothing to say

I've been waiting for inspiration to strike, but it's time for bed and I can't think of anything interesting to write about, so I won't. Tell you what, to make up for it I'll do a really long and boring blog entry tomorrow night.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mike Teevee

Okay, we've got sound files for spoken numbers, historic events translated acceptably into German, abstract images, sheets of numbers coming out of the wazoo, everything you could possibly need for a memory competition! Now all I have to do is find a place to stay in Cambridge and remember to take everything with me when I go.

Not bad, considering Boomerang have been showing nothing but Warner Bros cartoons all day. From Kitty Kornered to Catty Cornered, I've had at least one square eye on the screen pretty much non-stop. Apart from the occasional trip out for essentials like sweets. I spent a long time racked with indecision over whether to get murray mints or mintoes. I'm pretty sure they're the same thing, but I normally have murray mints, so I thought I should probably get mintoes to see if they're noticeably different after all. But I chickened out in the end in case they were nasty. I fear change, you see.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Heavy workload

Who would have thought organising a memory competition was so much hassle? Still, it's nearly all finished now, so assuming I can find a hotel in Cambridge, everything should go all right. I've been trying to think of all the worst-case scenarios that could happen and prepare for them, but I bet something drastic and unexpected happens, like a shark attack, and everyone blames me for not having provided shark-proof cards to memorise.

I had a weird dream last night where I was a newspaper reporter (except for one sequence where I was Archduke Ferdinand) travelling by taxi to cover some distant news story, but in order to get there I'd told the taxi driver that I was going to cover the taxi drivers' convention in a town slightly further away in the same direction.

And another dream in which I was a football player for Burton Albion, which is quite cool - I quite often dream that I play for Boston United, but this is the first time my subconscious has caught up with where I'm living nowadays. That dream also involved travelling to a distant game, come to think of it. There's probably a deeper meaning behind the whole long-journey motif there, maybe I should see a psychiatrist about it. Or about my many, many other mental problems, perhaps.