Saturday, April 18, 2009

Capital fun

When the weekend brings such lovely, warm, sunny spring weather, what better way to spend the day than sitting in a room above a pub in London, playing othello with thirteen other enthusiasts?

Othello returned to its regular London home of the Bath House, just off Oxford Street, and we had a very big turnout for a regional - just about all the regulars and semi-regulars, including the likes of Steve MacGuire and Jeremy Dyer (whose rhyming names make me want to turn this blog entry into a poem), who haven't been to a tournament for quite some time. And a brand-new player (new to real-life othello, anyway, but not to playing on the internet) by the name of Stephen Spencer, too! I've mentioned it on other forums before, but the point is worth mentioning - Stephen Rowe was also at the Bath House today, and I went to primary school with a boy originally called Stephen Roe who changed his name (for some reason I don't recall) to Stephen Spencer. As you all know, I have a history of getting othello players' names mixed up, and this kind of thing really doesn't help me!

Still, the tournament went surprisingly well for me - I lost to David Beck, but he squished everyone he played today, and I also lost to Ian Turner (I did beat Kali in my first game, which was a relief), but Ian then lost to Geoff Hubbard and I finished the day by beating Geoff, so the three of us ended up jointly in second place!

Since David, Geoff and Ian all didn't come to the first regional of the year, and since Iain Barrass, who came second in Oadby, had a bad day today and ended up joint eighth, this gives me a big impressive lead in the British Grand Prix standings! It probably won't last, of course, with three regionals to go and there being so many people who are better than me, and me probably not going to the last one since it's down in Farnborough and getting there is a hassle and it's my brother's birthday the next day, but still, yay for me!

And although it's true that the BGP has a tendency to be a prize for the player who turns up to the most tournaments, the winner does get to play in the World Championship! (If it doesn't clash with the memory one, of course - it's normally in November, and the WMC is currently scheduled for that kind of time...) And there's even a trophy now! It made its debut today, all gleaming and shiny, the George Greaves Memorial Plate, and was presented to last year's BGP winner Iain.

It would be extremely groovy to see my name engraved on it (I've never had my name engraved on a trophy before - the WMC used to have a trophy like that, but hasn't for years now, it's a long story) and who knows, if I get another couple of flukey wins or second places, it's possible...

Also, since I dissed the local Labour/Lib Dem council in my blog recently, I feel I should record that I got a leaflet through the door today from the Conservatives that spells 'sincerely' wrong. Bunch of illiterates, I'm not voting for them...

Friday, April 17, 2009


I do watch the Simpsons quite a lot. It's just that it's always on in the evenings when I'm sitting around and feeling lazy. But somehow, even though season one seems to be repeated over and over again and they never show season 2 or 3, I don't seem to have seen "Homer's Odyssey" for years and years, until tonight. And it's quite good, actually! Maybe I'll get the DVDs and watch all five million episodes in one sitting...

I realise I should probably be spending my evenings memorising numbers instead of watching the Simpsons. But, you see, I just can't be bothered. It's Friday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh Canada

I was feeling really productive and fired-up at work today for some reason, and considering staying late even though I didn't need to, just to get lots of stuff done. This isn't the kind of mood I'm often in - I do do a good job as an analyst, but I don't generally get so into it that I want to be in the office all night when there's football on telly - so it's probably a good thing that I snapped out of it with remembering that I'd agreed to do a phone interview with a Canadian journalist tonight.

If you're Canadian, and read newspapers (I don't know which ones - any or all of the publications printed by Sun Media), make sure to check it out, sometime in the next couple of months, probably. It's not going to contain anything I haven't said in dozens of other interviews before, but I'll be saying them in a different order, probably, so you'll want to read it anyway.

In other news, I notice that there's a programme on BBC1 tonight called "The Narnia Code" in which, according to the Radio Times, a Dr Michael Ward claims to have discovered a "profound subtext" to "the books' ostensibly fairy-tale events". Um, is that really a new and shocking idea? Perhaps poor Dr Ward is the only person in the world who's never noticed the subtext before, and thought it was just a story about a magic land with a talking lion?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Things I don't own but which people seem to think I should own

A mobile phone
Hammers, nails, screwdrivers, electric drills, basically anything you can buy from B&Q
A microwave
A car
A frying pan
A razor
More than one pair of shoes
A DVD player that isn't my laptop
Paper tissues
An ipod, or for that matter a CD player that isn't my laptop
Basic cooking ingredients like eggs, flour, spices etc
A wig.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Big city othello

London regional this weekend, and I've been playing online a bit to see if practice helps me or hinders me. I can't quite understand my othello-playing ability. Some days I have a run of great games where I spot all the clever little moves and plan ingenious strategies far in advance, other times (and against the same opponents in the same positions) I find that I have no idea what's going on and I just make really stupid moves. Possibly there's some kind of loose connection in my brain. I need some kind of brain scan. Actually, there is some kind of neurologist or something who wants to talk to me, maybe I'll get round to emailing him back and have him check my wiring...

Monday, April 13, 2009


Well, it's back to work tomorrow after four days off, and naturally this puts me in the mood to plan not going to work again at some point in the near future. It's a new financial year, you see, I've got 25 days between now and the end of March next year, and I'd quite like to plan it out properly for once, instead of taking them all whenever I feel like it and ending up with no holidays left for the second half of the year. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd sit down and work out how much time I'd need for each memory competition, including recovery time afterwards, then plan a couple of other little breaks at appropriate times in between them. I'm not going to, but it's definitely a step in the right direction for me to acknowledge that it's a good idea to do it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I've got worryingly addicted to playing Arkanoid since I discovered it online yesterday. It's a very compelling game that I haven't played since the BBC Micro version when I was still at school. Although I have got the extremely similar Breakout on the Master System, and had a good long game on that tonight, too, in an attempt to get it out of my system. In fact, I'm pretty sure I got further than I ever have before, in the whole history of me playing video games - perhaps it's all the memory training and discipline that I've instilled in myself since the days when I was regularly playing it!

Tomorrow, I'll finish creating the memorisation papers for Cambridge (just need to write all those historic dates...) and send that long-overdue email to all the definite and possible competitors.