Saturday, March 21, 2009


Well, I did a tiny bit of memory training today. By which I mean a words practice, a binary practice and a names and faces practice, five minutes for each. Which isn't exactly a busy day full of training, but never mind. I'm sort of relying on the competition next week (and the accompanying chats with fellow competitors) to kick-start my interest in memory sports again. There's no denying it, it really is hard to stay motivated when you're the world champion.

I'm not going to do any practice tomorrow, either, because I'm going to spend the day watching cartoons with my brother. This kind of activity was described as 'preparation' in The Mentalists, so who am I to argue?

Friday, March 20, 2009


That's weird. I've just found an old 50p coin on the floor of my living room - one of the reasonably-rare 1973 coins with the ring of hands instead of Britannia on the reverse, that look like this. It must have come from the carrier bag of copper coins, miscellaneous old motorbike keys and similarly-sized objects, which has been lying on the floor since I moved in (really need to find a cupboard or maybe a bank to put it in) and has recently been accidentally ripped open by my sofa and spread its contents all over the floor. But I wasn't aware there was a 50p in there. I must have saved it, years ago, when the old-style 50ps were being phased out, but I don't remember doing it.

I like surprises! I must make a point of concealing other little trinkets among my old junk, so my future self can find them! What with the old 10p I got from Roel last month, I'm indulging in pleasant memories of the halcyon days when money was quite a bit bigger than it is now. Ahh, wasn't life great then?

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Have you seen the 'Street View' feature on Google Maps? You can see right in my living room window! What if I'd been dancing naked when they took the picture? Actually, you can't really see anything past the reflection of the glass, and anyway the picture must have been taken before I moved in, because there's no curtains, but even so! This is a wonderful piece of technology, and I'm all in favour!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A letter to the council

I have a rule that I don't talk politics in this blog, but since my post today consisted of a glossy leaflet from my MP (who, despite being acquainted with Chris, isn't someone I've formed a good impression of during my time in his constituency) and a council tax bill, and since I can't think of anything else to talk about, let's poke fun at the stupidness of the booklet that comes with it.

Council tax around here ("around here" meaning I'm pointing fingers at Nottinghamshire County Council and Broxtowe Borough Council, specifically, just so everybody knows who I'm deriding. Wouldn't want to offend any neighbouring councils) is extremely high, so it's fun to see how they try to justify it. The best part is a section called "Setting the record straight", a summary of the complaints that a 'Citizens Panel' came up with, and the Council's answer to them.

The consultation exercise gave rise to a number of comments, we would like everyone to know the real situation:

"Our roads are in a poor state"

Compared to other counties, the condition of our major roads is amongst the best in the country and our minor roads are above average condition.

"You have too many people on high salaries."

75% of our non-school staff are paid less than the national average. A few years ago we reviewed our senior management structures and saved £1 million.

It goes on in this vein. I just love that kind of "if you don't like it, go and live in Russia" response! It is of course true that the roads around here are awful and the top-pay-grade council staff are vastly overpaid, and I suppose it's nice that they're not denying it, but are they really implying that because the situation is arguably worse elsewhere, they don't need to do anything about it?

Really, it's this kind of hypocrisy that someone ought to do something about. Come the revolution, brothers, they'll be the first against the wall. Meanwhile, I'll just go back to not reading these stupid council pamphlets and watching cartoons instead.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Traditionally built

I was meaning to write about the BBC adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which started a six-episode series on Sunday. I'm quite a fan of the books, but I didn't see the one-off special a while ago. I normally avoid TV and film versions of good books, because they invariably ruin them (I might still go and see Watchmen if I get a chance, though - I've heard vaguely encouraging things). But this one was actually really good! Particularly the casting - all the characters look exactly like they should (with the possible exception of Mr J L B Matekoni, who I thought would be taller and thinner), and the conversion from book to screen is done very nicely. I approve! It's nice to have something to watch on the telly of a Sunday evening for once.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Throw those curtains wide!

We're officially at the point where, even if I'm starting early or finishing late, I'm going to and from work in broad daylight. Words can't describe how great this is. Quite apart from the savings I make on batteries for my bike lights, there's nothing more depressing than spending every daylight hour in the office.

Well, it's also quite depressing to have to be in the office while it's so lovely and warm and sunny. Ideally, in non-depressive terms, it's best not to go to the office at all. Well, maybe when it rains. Really heavily.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I don't remember

It's the Welsh Memory Championship the weekend after next, and I've done no training for it. I'm probably going to do really really badly, like in France last year. But at least that competition put me more in the memory-training mood, and I went on to win some other competitions (as far as I can recall).

I should spend next weekend practicing for it, but then I should have spent this weekend doing that too, and I didn't. I'm still really struggling with the motivation.