Saturday, July 03, 2010

The books on my bookcase

That new bookcase I bought a couple of weeks ago had a tendency to tilt wildly to the side and make all the books piled on top of it (I've still got more books than shelves) fall off. I could prevent it doing that by propping a vacuum cleaner against it and making sure all the shelves were packed tightly with books, but that only worked until you took a book out. So there was nothing else for it, I had to buy a hammer today to nail the back panels on and finish putting it together. So, now it's fixed and I've got my books piled into and on top of it, in a random order (the only people who alphabetise their books are the ones who never read them), and the second shelf down struck me as being an extremely groovy cross-section of my tastes in reading. So I thought I'd list all the books here, for the entertainment of my blog-readers.

I mean, I could have spent this evening writing the article for the othello newsletter that I promised faithfully to write today but still haven't, but I thought this was more important.

Adolf: Days of Infamy - Osamu Tezuka (translated by Yuji Oniki, edited by Annette Roman)
Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
The Four Immigrants Manga - Henry Kiyama (translated and edited by Frederik L. Schodt)
The Riverside Chaucer (complete works) - Geoffrey Chaucer (edited by various, general editor Larry D. Benson)
Elidor - Alan Garner
Voyage of the Dawntreader - C.S. Lewis
Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
The Last Hero - Terry Pratchett (illustrated by Paul Kidby)
Four Tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth) - William Shakespeare (edited by various)
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish - Dr. Seuss
The Decameron - Giovanni Boccaccio (illustrated by Louis Chalon, translated by J. M. Rigg)
A Dark Horn Blowing - Dahlov Ipcar
The Beatles Diary volume 1: The Beatles Years - Barry Miles
Who Really Killed Cock Robin? - Norman Iles
The Journey of Self-Discovery - His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Lustiges Taschenbuch 350 - (various writers and artists - it's a collection of German Donald Duck comics)
Time Trap - Nicholas Fisk
The Twits - Roald Dahl (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
The Witches - Roald Dahl (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
Whatever Love Means - David Baddiel
Discworld's Unseen University Diary 1998 - Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs (illustrated by Paul Kidby)
Hard Times - Charles Dickens
Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
Curiosities of Literature - John Sutherland
Doctor Who The Handbook: The Fourth Doctor - David J. Howe, Mark Stammers, Stephen James Walker
The Illustrated Guide to Blackjack - Dennis Purdy
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë
Abbott's New Card Games - Robert Abbott
A Treasury of Royal Scandals - Michael Farquhar
Dragon's Egg: The Complete Guide to Rearing Your Dragon - Claire Hawcock and Niroot Puttapipat
Dreamcatcher - Stephen King
Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and other stories (The Canterville Ghost, The Sphinx without a Secret, The Model Millionaire, The Portrait of Mr. W.H.) - Oscar Wilde

So there you have it, my second shelf down. Go and read them all, and I'll be testing you later. Except on the couple of books on that list that I bought but never finished. I don't really recommend all of them, but at least they look good on the shelf.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

... that hadde ylad of dong ful many a fother

A day spent pushing wheelbarrows full of compost up a really quite steep hill really does make a refreshing change from sitting at a computer all day, playing with spreadsheets. Actually, 'refreshing' isn't quite the word, now I come to think of it. Still, it was fun, and almost certainly good for me.

The only trouble is, it was sunnier than I thought at the time, considering it was raining on and off all day, and I've got sunburnt on my face and arms. This wouldn't be a huge problem, I get sunburn all the time and it just turns into a really nice tan - but I was wearing my stylish bandana on my head, and now I've got a really visible tan line across my forehead. I look, to put it as nicely as possible, like a complete weirdo. I'm going to have to wear a hat or bandana constantly. Not a terrible hardship for me, obviously, but it's going to look weird at the office.

Hey, I know what I'll do! I'll wear a wig! It'll look very professional, and stylish!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Working time

It's our department's now-annual Business In The Community day tomorrow, so we're all trekking out to a field behind a school to haul loads of compost up a hill and plant things in a garden. At least the weather will be nice, hopefully.

And then, well, after a normal working day on Friday, I've got three days' holiday at the start of next week. The plan is to jump-start my memory training and/or find something else exciting to do with my life (I haven't decided yet), although I'm also going to do an interview on Radio Nottingham on Monday morning, since they asked nicely. Still, five days off, I can do no end of productive things in that time! I won't, of course, but it's theoretically possible!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Memory Gym

A couple of people have asked me what I use to practice memorising spoken numbers. And since I seem to be too lazy to reply to emails at the moment, here's a public plug for The Memory Gym, as created long ago by Australian memory men Tansel Ali and Metin Hassan. There's more than just spoken numbers on the website, but that's a good place to start, it's a quick and convenient way to do a bit of training. Have fun!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Silver lining

If anyone's keeping track, you might have noticed that not only did England lose to Germany, but Switzerland are also out of the World Cup, meaning that not only will I not win the office sweepstake (another £2 down the drain - gambling will be the ruin of me), but also I won't win the World Memory Championship unless I can find another omen to put my faith in.

What with Germany winning the Eurovision Song Contest and Britain coming last, it seems clear that I need to find some kind of international competition that Britain can beat Germany at, just to prove that it's still possible. Luckily, it turns out that it's still Wimbledon fortnight, and the entire nation of Germany has been completely rubbish at tennis ever since Boris Becker and Steffi Graf retired. Consequently, I can say with great confidence that as long as Andy Murray refrains from being knocked out until after the remaining Germans in the doubles competitions have made their exit, Britain will have been proved to be the best after all, and the WMC is mine all mine!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

And it's entirely the referee's fault!

It would have been so much more thematically appropriate if England had lost 4-2 to Germany, with one of England's goals being a controversial one that hit the crossbar and bounced just behind the line. Bad refereeing and a lack of hawkeye technology on the goalline has ruined a resoundingly ironic scoreline. Bad drama.

Anyway, I got a Whoopee Annual 1985 for 50p today (most of the pages are detached from the spine, but they're all in there), so I'm happy. Ah, the Bumpkin Billionaires. Now that's skillful writing - every strip had a plot of "the family try to get rid of all their money but somehow end up richer than ever", and they produced one a week for something like twenty years, and they were usually very funny too! And Fun Fear and 'Orrible Hole and Evil Eye... it's been said before but it's still true, kids these days are terribly deprived, growing up without entertainment like this.