Saturday, September 22, 2012

Right, this looks like the button that fixes everything

It is good to have Doctor Who back on our screens - it really needs to be on at least 26 weeks a year, preferably more, and when I'm the director general of the BBC that'll be the first (and probably only) thing I do. And it's been pretty good, all in all. But I do wish they'd put a bit more effort into the plots of episodes like tonight's. Okay, you want to do one that focuses on the characters rather than the story, which is fine (especially with Amy and Rory, who continue to be the best companions ever - isn't this kind of episode with them so very much better than the sub-soap-opera stuff Rose and Mickey occasionally indulged in?), but really, another episode with a weird alien invasion that attacks people all over the world but which the Doctor solves by pressing the 'put everything back the way it was' button? They're not even trying. The ending was so perfunctory, it almost-but-not-quite got in the way of the episode being really a lot of fun!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My minds are ganging up on me

I've had dreams about memory competitions (or at least about memorising things in a competition-like format) for the last two nights. And what with having said yesterday that I should be practicing more, it's clear that my conscious and subconscious minds want me to do some serious memory training. So that's the plan for this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I've been reading Frankenstein on the train journey to work in the morning - awesome book, and puts me in the mood to write a big long essay about it at the weekend, but I can't help feeling that I should be doing memory stuff. The whole me-being-good-at-memory-competitions thing came about because I spent long train journeys to and from work learning my original Ben-system list of images, way back in 2003. I should be doing the same thing again. But, much like Victor Frankenstein found, creating the first monster when you're all enthusiastic about something that's never been done before is much easier than creating the second one, when you're all horrified by your own creation and fearful for the fate of the entire human race.

Well, I wouldn't go that far, but I'm not as motivated any more. Maybe I should get a new hobby instead.

Monday, September 17, 2012

One more othello post

I didn't mention that I came either fifth or sixth, depending on whether Pierluigi had a better BQ than me, which he probably had. Well above the half-way mark that I normally aim for, although not high enough to get me to the world championship unless practically everyone else doesn't want to go - and since it's in Holland this year, everyone does.

For the benefit of people who don't know much about othello, yes, it's the one that sort of looks like Go, only with discs that are black on one side and white on the other. More people call it reversi nowadays, which is the older, non-trademarked name. There's a world championship every year which three people from each country qualify for - in this country it's the top two in the nationals, plus the winner of the British Grand Prix, a series of smaller tournaments that I hardly went to any of this year, for one reason or another.

As for "BQ", that stands for Brightwell Quotient, the tie-breaking calculation for people who finish a tournament with the same number of wins. It's complicated, and made a teensy bit more so by the long-standing tradition that all that kind of thing at the nationals is done by Adelaide with pencil and paper, rather than one of those new-fangled computer things. This year it was necessary to work out the BQ for the three women who finished equal on points, so as to decide which two of them played-off for the spot on the women's team at the world championship - I double-checked Adelaide's calculations, with the aid of numerous people looking over my shoulder and pointing out my basic arithmetical errors (I multiplied 41 by 7 and got 288 at one point). A hard day-and-a-half's othelloing is very tiring and brain-draining.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Othello amongst the ducks

It was a great Nationals, all in all! Which is good, because I was organising it, and I'd hate everyone to blame me when things go wrong. Of course, 'organising' in this case just means finding a venue and picking somewhere for us to eat on Saturday night, but that bit all went okay, more or less - we went to the Victoria, which turns out to disapprove of under-18s being there after 8pm (I'd never noticed that before), and also has trains going past noisily at frequent intervals, which scared the bejabers out of Imre the first couple of times it happened. But a good time was had by all, and that's what matters.

As for my performance, it was surprisingly good! I won five games out of nine, including a rather good one against Iain Barrass, and wasn't completely thrashed in any of the four I lost, except the one against Borja Moreno - and he went on to win the championship without losing a game, so I don't mind that much.

And, with the Nationals being on my doorstep this year, I'm at home already and it's five o'clock! Yay!