Saturday, June 12, 2010


This is what comes of playing Emile Heskey. Why has Fabio Capello not listened to my constant moaning in private conversations with friends? He's only got himself to blame.

Anyway, this morning, I went into the Oxfam shop where I found that Bobby Bear annual a few weeks ago, and what do you know, now they've got Teddy Tail's Annual 1934! I'm quite certain that wasn't there the last time. But it's come from the same person - the Bobby Bear had 'David Hill, Xmas 1932' written by an adult on the inside front cover, this one has 'David Hill, 6, Xmas 1933' written presumably by David himself. He'd also grown out of the habit of scribbling on his books with pencil over the course of the year. He might have been disappointed with his 1933 Xmas present, though - it's nowhere near as much fun as the Bobby Bear. I know Teddy had slightly more history and prestige behind him, but his adventures aren't as interesting.

Anyway, I need to track down David Hill or the relatives who are posthumously giving his books to Oxfam - I have visions of a whole house full of classic comics that are being chucked in the recycling bin as we speak...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Congratulations!! You are the master of othello game!

You can play the 1988 NES othello video game here, if you want. It's very complimentary to you if you beat it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I haven't really got the time to talk at length about the Mental Calculation World Cup, but I should just make it clear that it was an excellent competition, very well organised and a lot of fun. And the fact that a whole lot of grown men were hugely outclassed by an eleven-year-old girl makes it all the more fun! It's interesting that the best overall score in the events that all the competitors (except for me) had prepared for in advance was by the aforementioned youngest competitor, and the best score in the 'surprise tasks' was by the oldest. That probably says something about age or educational standards or something like that.

Anyway, I need to practice mental calculation some more. But more urgently, I need to practice memory. Starting next week, I'm going back to posting daily training scores on my blog. It worked for a fortnight or so, let's see if it can work again.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

German Gehirn

Okay, lots of exciting adventures to describe, not much time (I've got a busy schedule of doing nothing planned), I'll just summarise things tonight. Firstly, it was the South German Memory Championship in Stuttgart, and I did more or less reasonably well. Only got a fairly lousy sub-300 score in speed numbers, and then a not-quite-my-best 870 in speed binary, something tolerable but not as good as I should be getting in abstract images, and perfectly reasonable scores in the German-language versions of names, words and dates.

Just as an aside, memorising words in a language you don't understand is an interesting process - I tend to make up meanings for all the words I don't recognise, which in some ways is more conducive to creating a memorable mental story than a list of randome words I do understand. It takes longer, though. And I would have got a better score if not for the internet, too. While recalling, I wrote down the word 'abbrechen', and thought to myself "Is that right? Doesn't feel right, but if it's not, where would I have got the word 'abbrechen' from? I have no idea what that means. It must be right!" Actually, it wasn't - the word was 'abschlagen'. So how did 'abbrechen' get into my head? From the internet cafe I popped into on my way to the competition, of course. When German computers ask you to confirm something, they don't say 'OK' or 'Cancel', they say 'OK' or 'Abbrechen', of course. Stupid internet.

Still, I got to have fun with other weird words - three in a row were 'Laborantin', 'Entwurf' and 'Mäuler'. I guessed (rightly, as it turns out), that the first is a female lab technician, but had no idea about the next two. However, I did happen to know that 'Ente' means 'duck', and 'Maulwurf' means 'mole', so obviously this mad Laborantin has created two unholy mixtures of mole and duck, which can both swim and burrow and so might possibly be the most advanced species on Earth.

Anyway, I was talking about the competition in general, wasn't I? I finished off with a fairly good 29.71 seconds in speed cards, which would have been just about enough to (unofficially, since I'm not South-German) "win" the championship if Simon hadn't managed to record a time. So I wandered over to see how he'd done, just in time to see him successfully recalling his pack, and revealing a staggering time of 21.90 seconds! For crying out loud! That was my favourite world record! And it's going to be really hard to get back, too! I have beaten that time in practice, but only by basically running super-fast through the cards, naming the 26 images and hoping they stuck in my brain. It works maybe one time in ten, so I can't really do it in a competition...

Anyway, apart from that, it was a great championship! The number of great German memorisers involved in organising or just hanging around was quite staggering - MemoryXL is an awesome organisation and we really need to get together and create a British equivalent. If only I wasn't so lazy.

Still, I didn't have time to stick around, I had to scurry up north to Magdeburg for the Mental Calculation World Cup, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow - this 'summarise' thing has turned into a bit of an essay. I didn't win that one either, if you were wondering.