Friday, June 16, 2006

Egad! I am such a genius!

I've made a really amazingly cool 7-Zark-7 mask. If I had a camera I'd post a picture of it here, because I'm extremely proud of my handiwork. I'll try to get someone to take a picture tomorrow, before it gets ruined (this is likely to happen, because of a minor design flaw that means I can't see at all when I'm wearing the thing).

But I've talked more than enough about 7-Zark-7 costumes over the last couple of weeks. I have definite plans for tomorrow, and I'm going to write them down so that I've got no excuse for not doing them. I'm going to get up early, sevenish if I can manage it, realistically more like eightish. Do a 30-minute binary practice starting around 8:30, watch a few cartoons on TV from 10am while wrapping presents, writing card, dealing with a few other things I can do without properly thinking. Circa 11 o'clock go out into town, get some euros for the trip to Germany next weekend, buy some comics and things. Come back, have lunch, read comics and things, practice speed numbers a bit (I'm having mad theories about possibly attempting 468 digits in five minutes and I want to see just how mad they are), then get the train to Nottingham to meet my brother at four. Which would be a busy and productive first half of the day that I could feel entirely proud of. I'll let you know what really happens, but you should probably expect it to mainly involve lying around eating sweets and watching cartoons.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I need some self-discipline

Too much football-watching, not enough memory training. Not any memory training at all for the last few days, actually. But it's just so hard to turn the TV off right now!

Never mind, there's still plenty of time before the world championship. And I'm still in better shape than I was last year. I think.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Smack Street

Had a really cool letter in the post today:

Dear Ben,

My name's Owain and I am a Researcher for The Jeremy Kyle show at ITV. I'm writing to you with regard to an article that appeared in The Sun on June 9th 2006 concerning the problems in your area which is now dubbed "Smack Street" and how we may be able to help you with your nuisance neighbours.
I'm extremely interested in hearing your side of the story as I'd love to learn more about the situation as we may be able to help you in some way.
If you could please give me a call on the number below I would be more than happy to explain more.
Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.

I haven't seen the Sun article, but a bit of research tonight suggests it's based on the same press release as this one from the Telegraph (I don't read a daily newspaper unless you count the Metro, so I miss out on the juicy stories.

I didn't realise until I read that page, incidentally, that the local pensioner refusing to pay her council tax and insisting that she gets a mention in every newspaper is that woman in the picture - I see her around a lot, and she once tried to collar me and make me sign a petition insisting that the council return the boar statue to the Arboretum (long story behind that one - original statue was destroyed during the war, some bright spark had the idea of using Lottery money to make a replacement, local Muslim busybodies objected on the grounds that they find pig statues offensive, local non-Muslim busybodies like Miss Rooney counter-objected on the grounds of tradition, you know the kind of thing. I refused to sign any petitions either way. But the new statue did go up eventually, if you were wondering).

Anyway, back to the main story, this is not a bad neighbourhood! I have lived here for two and a half years now, and it's not just cheap but quiet and friendly! I've never even had a problem with neighbours playing music too loud at nights, let alone selling me drugs as I go about my daily business. Yes, there's a fair amount of drug dealing and use goes on, but not in what I'd call any serious way, and it's not something I notice on a regular basis.

And I don't appreciate my locality being characterised as some kind of hellhole. I could comfortably afford to move to the 'nice' part of town, but I don't want to. I like my little flat, and I like the neighbourhood. So stick that in your crack pipe and smoke it!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Money grows on trees

Well, my internet connection's all fixed, and I had a day off to go into Nottingham and waste money on bits and pieces that I don't really want or need. I seem to be spending a lot of money just lately. I don't know why, because I've spent the last several years being quite careful about spending money (I realised that I was routinely spending quite a lot more than I earned every month, and decided that life would be more fun if I did things the other way around), but I've got out of the habit just lately.

And talking about money, I need to decide soon whether to join the company pension scheme. I'm still inclining towards not, because I really doubt whether I'm ever going to be in a position where I'm wanting to retire and needing this money I've put aside. There's just way too much that can happen in the next thirty-odd years and I hate wasting money on something that quite possibly isn't going to happen.

In other news, I've decided to believe that all people who share the same name are in fact the same person. I realised that this was a fun kind of philosophy to adopt when following the football yesterday and thinking it quite impressive that Tim Cahill has the time to play for Australia and Everton as well as writing mediocre cartoons in America. This way, of course, Andi Bell isn't just the three-times world memory champion, he's also a member of two different pop groups. With his name spelt differently.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hanging by a thread

I wasn't planning to do a blog entry tonight, but my broadband's just come back on, so maybe I'll be able to post something quickly before it goes off again (engineer coming tomorrow morning and then with any luck I'll be back hooked up 24/7 again).

Although the thing I really want to blog about is a present I got for my brother's birthday, but I can't write about that yet in case he reads it and it spoils the surprise. So I'll save it for next week. There, that's got his hopes up, now he'll be extra thrilled with his £1 Smiths voucher.

So instead, I'll jinx the most exciting prospect of fame and fortune I've had for ages by mentioning that there's a sporting chance I'll be appearing on Brazilian TV in July or August, with them paying for my plane tickets and hotel and everything! I can't really say no to an offer like that (assuming I get an offer like that - I've currently only got an offer of a possible offer like that), but I do have my worries.

It's an issue that most people can't seem to get their heads around - I'm a memory champion, in the sense that I do well in memory competitions with their exam-style format, but I'm not a performer. I've never done a Memory Man stage show, and that's what they're looking for here. My memory techniques are designed specifically for the memory championships - more than any other competitor's systems, their sole function is to let me memorise the most information in the particular rules of each competition discipline. I struggle to flick through a pack of cards in thirty seconds and then recite it, because that's not what my system is designed for - the two-cards-to-an-image thing works great if you get to recall by sorting an unshuffled pack afterwards, but for verbal recall you probably need to stick to one image per card. So I'm not sure what to do on this live TV show in front of the Brazilian equivalent of Ant and Dec and an audience of millions.

Also, I don't speak a word of Portuguese, and I hate going to a country where I don't speak the language. It's just so rude.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Apologies for absence

Sorry I didn't write anything yesterday - my internet connection, which I mentioned recently was playing up, had stopped working altogether. So I have called someone out to look at it after all, and he's coming on Tuesday. So as I could have predicted, it's been more or less okay all day today. Never mind.

I'm annoyed with myself today - I was practicing hour numbers for the first time in much too long, and not concentrating properly a bit less than 30 minutes into it. I memorise numbers in groups of nine, and they're presented in rows of 40, which means that every ninth row the last digit is the last of a group of nine. On the fourth row of the third page I found that that happened, and thought to myself "that's not right, this is row 44, not row 45." I decided to go back and see where I'd gone wrong (which I NEVER do, I have set procedures about how to deal with it when I've made a mistake somewhere, and I should have carried on to the end of the journey then kept an eye out for the problem while reviewing it. But as I said, my mind wasn't properly on it), and couldn't find the problem. This distracted me so much that I couldn't remember any numbers at all, so I gave up. Afterwards I realised that the fourth row on the third page is row 54, not 44, and I hadn't made a mistake at all. This annoys me a lot.

I blame the temperature - it's scorching today. I've been out for the last couple of days in my unflattering shorts and tattiest T-shirt. And I need air conditioning in my flat. Or at least something over my windows to stop the flies getting in - I'm feeling terribly guilty about the number of them I've offed with chemical warfare just lately.