Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Old Queen's Head

That was the venue of the Sheffield Regional - it's another pub with a long history, dating back to 1503 according to the rather cool stained-glass thing upstairs in the function room we were occupying. Which makes it older than the Queen it's named after, unless the sign with its picture of Elizabeth I was lying to us, now I come to think of it. Anyway, the room was nice, but would have been better as an othello tournament location if there'd been a door separating it from the noisy pub below. Still, I happened to have a pair of earplugs, left over from some memory competition, in my bag, so I was fine.

Well, fine in the sense of having some of the background noise muffled, anyway. My othello-playing varied from okay to not-okay, though. I started (before finding the earplugs) with a very groovy 55-9 win over Iain, who's much better at othello than me, but was then outclassed entirely by Aidan and Steve, who normally don't pose me too much trouble. Aidan, actually, had a really great tournament all round, and ended up joint second with Iain, after Geoff, who beat everyone without any apparent problems.

I was fourth, which leaves me 50 points clear of Geoff in the BGP with one regional to go. Farnborough on June 13th, and I'm still fairly probably not going to go. It's a very long way, after all, and I'm not sure I'd want to win the BGP by virtue of turning up to more regionals than my rivals. Also, what if I did decide to go along, and ended up losing? That would really annoy me.

Anyway, we had a new player today as well - a stratego player I've met once before at the MSO. Stratego is a really cool game that I haven't had enough opportunity to play in the course of my life so far (I practically never managed to fit it into my schedule at the MSO, somehow - just twice in ten years). I need to make an effort to get into the stratego tournament circuit, if I can fit it in around othello, memory and general laziness.

A few further non-othello-related observations I think are worth mentioning:

Did you know that Men's Health magazine comes in two different sizes? I noticed in W H Smith's in the train station today that there's a full-size, A4 kind of version, and also a smaller version, sort of half-way between A4 and A5, with all the same content, but worse quality paper. And the funny thing is the smaller one costs the same as the big one. The complimentary copy I got was the big one, by the way. As is only right.

Also, the Npower advert with Wallace and Gromit, in which the Npower representative apparently barges into their house uninvited and installs a new boiler, certainly seems to be an accurate portrayal of Npower's sales policies.

One more thing I forgot to mention yesterday - in the course of a general conversation at work about how old people look I mentioned that people always think I'm about ten years older than I am. To which the boss's PA replied "No, I wouldn't say that, you've got a young face. I'd say you look about late-thirties, early-forties." I need to dye my beard. Or scalp.

Friday, May 22, 2009


And I have to say, it's been a pretty successful week all round. I've got lots of clever stuff done at work, I've refrained entirely from eating anything between meals, despite Colin bringing a box of doughnuts into the office today, I've done a proper memory training session every evening, and I've watched every episode of Bagpuss!

Now it's a three-day weekend, and I'm going to win lots of games of othello, memorise lots of numbers (both decimal and binary) and cards, and catch up with lots of friends who I've been sort of neglecting lately.

Or else stay in bed all weekend doing nothing. We'll see how I feel.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sheffield again

Othello again on Saturday. And I'm in such a memorising mood at the moment that I'm going to take my abstract images images (pieces of paper with the 'abstract images' patterns on one side and the name of the image they represent on the other) with my on the train and bone up on them in preparation for some more heavy-duty training on Sunday and Monday.

It's great to be back in the routine of doing an hour or so of memory every evening, seeing my times get a bit faster and my scores get a bit higher every time. I'm still some way away from the level I was at last time I was seriously training, but I know there's the potential to be better than ever before by the time of the world championship. Which is a nice thing to aim for, even if I don't win the thing.

I suppose it wouldn't hurt to practice my othello a bit, too - it really would be nice to win the BGP and go to the world championship and lose all my games there against the best in the world. But on the other hand, I often find myself playing quite well when I haven't so much as thought about the game for a couple of weeks, so maybe I'll follow that strategy again...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My brain doesn't work

I just thought to myself "Hmm, I'll look that up on Google while I'm sitting here at my computer..." and then by the time I'd clicked onto Google I'd completely forgotten what I was going to type into it. All those articles about me are right when they say I always walk into a room and forget what I was going to do there. And when they say a chimp beat me in a memory test.

I do realise, incidentally, that my blog entries for the last week or so have been a bit lacking in length and substance. I just never seem to remember to write anything until last thing at night, and then I can't think of anything cool to write about. I'll make up for it tomorrow with some big long essay about something exciting. Like whatever it was I was planning to look for on Google.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

World champion standard

I'm really back into the swing of memory training, it's great! And what's more, I'd forgotten it's a bank holiday weekend coming up, so I get an extra day to do all sorts of useful and productive things! Furthermore, I've cut down on snacking in between meals and I feel extremely slender and healthy for a change! And the weather's relatively nice, in between rainstorms! And the recession and swine flu don't seem to have been in the news lately, so I assume somebody's sorted them out! Life is great.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I've got Bagpuss

Here's something I forgot to mention about the weekend - in a charity shop I found the complete Bagpuss on video! For 50p! Well, I wasn't going to pass up that kind of opportunity, so I'm watching it right now. It's the ship in a bottle one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A little bit more memory

I did manage to remember the Online Memory Challenge today, which pleased me. I didn't perform terribly well in it, of course, but I'm sure with a bit of practice I can catch up with all these really good Germans who dominate it at the moment. I want to get back in the habit of doing a bit of speed memory every night when I get in from work. That'll have a knock-on effect in improving my results in the long disciplines too.

Anyway, enough memory training minutiae. From tomorrow I'll be back to blogging about whatever drivel pops into my head...