Saturday, June 30, 2018

Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man

It's the othello nationals, in the scenic location of the confusingly-named Newcastle Castle. Which is, of course, a very old castle.

You can see how it must have happened, obviously. "Why-aye, man," one of the founders of Newcastle must have said, for that is how people from Newcastle invariably start a conversation, "let's name our 'toon' [for that is how people in Newcastle pronounce the word 'town'] after this lovely new castle of ours!"

"Jolly good idea!" the other founder of Newcastle must have replied, "for while the castle will inevitably grow old in time, it won't be until long after the pair o'wers [meaning 'the two of us'] are dead and gone, so it won't be US who get jeered at for living in a 'toon' called Newcastle with a very old castle!"

In any case, the whole thing's gone on for about a thousand years too long for them to change the name now, so we're stuck with it. As for the othello playing, interesting features included a pre-competition excursion to see a were-rabbit that lurks nearby, and me generally playing badly but getting more discs than I really deserved. We have nine players overall, a nice number for a nine-round competition (though ten would be even better), and played the first four games of the round-robin this afternoon.

I started out against David Stephenson, playing his first tournament for about 25 years, and lost 34-30, then in the second round lost 33-31 to Roy. But I regained the momentum by scoring a point in the third round against that perpetual loser, 'bye', and finished the day off with a (rather fortunate) 36-28 win over Bruce.

And it's finely poised on the leaderboard, with Imre and Iain on 4 out of 4, then a whole five other people on 2, including me. So if I was to somehow win all my games tomorrow, I'd be entirely possibly in the top two, who contest the grand final! But I'd probably have to remember how to play the game first.

We had dinner this evening in the Herb Garden restaurant, notable for having a giant horse statue, wearing roller-skates and leg-warmers, outside the door. It just needs a horn, and you've got Marigold Heavenly Nostrils.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


What I really want from the World Cup is for England to beat Brazil in the final, because that would just be really cool. So it would make more sense for us to deliberately lose to Belgium tomorrow in order to end up in the bottom half of the draw, rather than getting the less-impressive quarter-final match-up with Brazil.

But then, on the other hand, we'll inevitably lose to Spain in the semis if we end up in their half of the draw, so we'd probably better just beat Belgium and get it over with.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Another place I'm going

Newcastle, this weekend! For the national othello championship! The nationals are always cleverly arranged so that they start after lunch on Saturday, giving people time to get an early train, so I've got no excuse for not going. I really should play more othello online; the only times I play the game nowadays are when I go to actual competitions...

Monday, June 25, 2018

Around the world

Should I go to Korea in August? I think I should, actually - there's a memory competition in Seoul on August 25-26, and I like the idea of going to it. It clashes with the MSO, but I wasn't all that enthusiastic about going there this year, and I've already got the week off work - I could run the MSO memory competition at the weekend, then fly straight from London to Seoul, and be back again to go back to work on the Tuesday. It all works quite nicely.

I mean, it'll cost a lot of money, but I could do the whole thing for not much more than a thousand pounds, and it's nice to travel. It's not completely 100% in line with my resolution not to spend money to excess until I've paid off my remaining debts, but, you know, it'll only be two intercontinental holidays in the year, and I really have been good at not spending money unnecessarily when it comes to small things...

They pay me too much at work, that's the trouble. I keep telling them.

Another thing I would like to spend money on, but I'm really not going to, is Sonic Mania Plus - it looks like the coolest video game since the 'real' Sonic games back in the early nineties. Almost enough to convince me to buy a PlayStation, or whatever the cool kids are buying these days. But I won't do that, I'll just go to Korea and otherwise be frugal with my money.