Thursday, February 15, 2007

Darling, I am growing older...

I've just seen a trailer for Channel 5's tenth anniversary celebrations. Surely it can't be ten years already? I can remember Channel 4 starting, when I was tiny, and I wouldn't object to them commemorating that, but Channel 5? It's still brand new! Gah, I can't be thirty years old, it just isn't scientifically possible.

Ah well, I'll just cover my ears and sing 'la la la I'm not listening' whenever the subject comes up again. That'll sort everything out. Meanwhile, another thing I've noticed lately is a new and exciting magazine in the shops - Harry Potter chess! It's one of those magazines that give away a free gift, in this case a chess piece, with every issue, with the idea being that you gradually build up a complete collection as you buy the informative magazine, in this case a guide to how to play chess. The Harry Potter connection here comes from a couple of photos of Daniel Radcliffe and co liberally pasted all over it, and the fact that the chess pieces do exciting things! The rooks have got magnets in them so you can move them by 'waving a magic wand', the knights make a noise when you pick them up, the bishops make a slightly different noise when you pick them up, the pawns, um, fall apart, and the king and queen presumably do something fun too, but I stopped reading at that point.

The first issue is a mere £1.99 (normally £3.99), and comes with a rook, so presumably over the next 32 weeks enthusiastic Potter fans can spend well over a hundred pounds on a chess set and what must be a pretty exhaustive guide to chess play and strategy. Unless, of course, the series gets cancelled after three issues like these things always, without exception, are. Of course, since you won't be able to play chess until you've bought the final issue with that last piece, your learning will have to be strictly theoretical over the next seven months.

Off to sunny Cambridge tomorrow! Emmanuel Caspard gives what my limited understanding of French tells me is a very entertaining account of what makes the event so much fun in his blog, I might possibly write about it when I get back, if you're lucky.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I found it on YouTube

Happy Valentine's Day, again. I'd like to credit the writer, but I'm not sure who did it - the credits of the episode list lots of people with vaguely musical-sounding descriptions. Sung by Katie Leigh, who always deserved extra praise for striking a balance between doing the Rowlf voice and being able to sing.

You're Special To Me

What's the greatest piece of Valentine's Day poetry ever composed? Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls? Ophelia's song in Hamlet? No, the correct answer is in fact Rowlf's song from an episode of Muppet Babies. Or at least that's the one that comes first to my mind every time, anyway. Happy Valentine's Day to you all, anyway, love and kisses.

I've been looking back at last February's blog posts, because someone added a comment to the one about The Armstrongs today, to see what I was doing at this time last year. It turns out that I was getting better results at memory training than I currently am, observing that I was nearly a hundred places higher on the French othello rating list than I am right now (because they're rating more people nowadays, rather than because I'm getting worse at the game, but it's still annoying), appearing on BBC TV rather than just being tentatively filmed for a prospective Channel 4 documentary and organising the Cambridge memory championship rather more seriously than I'm currently doing. That's rather annoying. But on the other hand, this time last year the Uefa cup game I was watching was a dull 0-0 draw, and the one I'm watching tonight is 3-2 and quite exciting. AND there's an FA Cup replay later tonight too. So all things considered, I win in the achievement stakes over my year-younger self.

Another thing I did last year, although not in February, was enthuse over Life On Mars. Well, the second series is possibly even better than the first - I watched the first two episodes last night. They're putting more emphasis on the time-travel aspect this time round, but that's probably necessary because they're finishing it after this series and need to provide some kind of explanation. And it still doesn't get in the way of a brilliant police drama. The second episode was particularly enthralling - there really isn't a lot of stuff on telly these days that grips me in that way.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The sound of silence

I'm racked with indecision. I did a half-hour binary practice today using my 'new' method of linking all my groups of images together and scored 3660. Doing it the old way last week I got 3555. But I know I can do better than that with my usual approach, but then I'm also pretty sure I could do better with the new one too. It's just a matter of deciding which is the best way to go, if I want to get the maximum possible score. I'm going to try an hour cards new-style tomorrow (if I have the time and inclination) and see what happens there. I should go into more detail of what I'm talking about here, I know, but it would take hours and nobody would really be all that interested, so I'll leave it for another time.

This whole thing raises another existential dilemma - I'm doing lots of memory practice lately and that's all well and good, but when I left my job it was in order to experiment with ways of making money from being a memory guy (okay, if I'm honest it was in order to leave a job I didn't particularly like, but the making-money-from-memory thing was the justification for it), and I'm never going to make a living just by winning memory competitions, more's the pity. I should be writing that book that I'm all writer's-blocked on, I should be preparing an impressive pi-memory performance and getting it ready for Ulrich's pi-day festival next month, and I should be forcing people to make documentaries about me in much greater quantities than they currently are. If I'm to have any hope of not going back to accountancy when I run out of money, I need to do something other than mess about with infinitesimally increasing my score in half-hour binary, which I'm already the best in the world at and which nobody's going to throw money at me for doing.

Life is hard. I spend my days doing stuff I enjoy and having fun doing it, and I'm still complaining. I don't know.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Moral: always look at the bits of shops you don't normally look at

I had been thinking about buying the Order Of The Stick prequel book (containing stuff that isn't on the internet), and probably would have done already, but I assumed that buying it would mean ordering it from America over the internet. And I don't have any problem with that, but I generally think 'I should buy such-and-such' when I'm not sitting in front of my computer, and then I see a butterfly or some other distracting insect, and forget about it. But then on Saturday my brother and I went into Forbidden Planet here in Derby, and he happened to stand in front of the RPG section and talk to me, and I noticed that they had the book sitting on the shelf right in front of me! Which just goes to show something, doesn't it?

I decided to take an extra day off from 'work' today, because I woke up with a headache and a lazy attitude, and thought some fresh air and healthy exercise might help. The headache cleared up immediately, but the laziness didn't, and so I found myself in a bookshop. I sneezed in the foreign languages section, and a man across the other side of the room said 'Gesundheit'. I'm not sure if there is a distance limit for acknowledging a complete stranger's sneeze in public. Perhaps there are different rules for 'bless you'.

I also had my hair cut this morning. I was thinking of trying to grow it long, but it never works. It just gets down to collar length and then doesn't go any further. It's very frustrating when you've got the soul of a hippy trapped in the body of an accountant. I've also toyed with the idea of shaving off my beard (I had a dream the other day that I did, and it took me a while the following morning to remember that I was still hairy about the face). I seem to have almost more white hairs than black/brown/whatever-colour-they-should-be ones lately. Growing up sucks.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Never apologise, never explain

I would explain that I haven't posted anything for a couple of days because, as regular readers know, I don't like blogging when I've got guests. But I've said that two or three times before, and I don't like to repeat myself. Besides, I expect everyone who reads this blog to go through the entire archive and learn everything there is to know about me, so if you didn't know already that I wasn't going to post anything, it's your own fault. And besides, I'd be surprised if anyone really noticed, since practically everyone who reads this thing seems to read it at work on weekday mornings. I sometimes feel guilty about the amount of man-hours I'm costing British and international industry. And I'll be skipping a day or two next weekend too, because I'm going to Cambridge for the othello EGP.

I watched the Ireland/France rugby game today. I don't particularly like rugby, but for some reason I always end up tuning into a game or two during the Six Nations. Perhaps it's the way the BBC promote it excessively during their coverage of football and everything else I like to watch. I'm annoyed with the BBC because they deliberately showed Shrek last night at 7:15 in order to make people forget they were going to watch the new thing with the dinosaurs on ITV at 7:45, and I fell for it. I'm sure the dinosaur thing was rubbish ("Walking With Dinosaurs" was rubbish, and this is just the same sub-Jurassic-Park CGI dinosaurs with an added plot about time travel and a maverick scientist hero), and Shrek is great, but that's not the point. The rugby was also a good game, but that's not the point either. I'm not sure what the point is, but it almost certainly involves the licence fee.

My TV licence is actually in the name of Mr G Bridmore. I keep meaning to change it.