Saturday, October 29, 2005

Anthology of Interest

Okay, it seems everyone wants me to do this documentary. Fine. If he does turn out to be evil, it'll be your fault. So, having decided that, I'd better get on with writing my books, so they can be launched to tie in with the theatrical release of this oscar-winning masterpiece.

I haven't really talked about my literary aspirations here before except very vaguely, so for want of anything better to write about, I'll describe 'How To Be Clever', so that anyone reading this can steal the idea and write it first before I get round to it.

The basic idea of the book is that, unlike some others that promise to increase your intelligence, aptitude, intrinsic moral worth, all that kind of thing, HTBC shows you how to make other people think you're clever, while actually remaining just as thick as you naturally are. This is an art that I've cultivated over the years.

It will include lessons in things like how to memorise a pack of cards (actually quite easy, with just a little bit of practice and the right technique), how to get into Mensa (there are actually very few different kinds of puzzles in IQ tests, so if you know what to look out for, and practice them a bit, you can increase your "IQ" a few notches), how to work out square roots without a calculator (they don't teach that in schools any more, so anyone who knows how to do it must be a real genius, right?), how not to play chess (trust me, once people think you're clever, they'll automatically assume you're a great chess player. The trick is to avoid actually playing a game, at any cost) and much more.

There'll also be lots and lots of useful random facts that you can slip into conversations, encouragement to be more creative and spontaneous (if you're going to be a genius, you have to be eccentric) and probably pictures too, just in case the book gets bought by the kind of person who doesn't like reading.

I've been writing little bits of it every six months or so for the last couple of years, and one of these days soon I'm really going to sit down and put metaphorical pen to paper, then try to get the thing in print. I don't want to approach publishers until I've actually written the whole thing, in draft form at least, because I'd hate to have to meet a deadline. I'm very bad with those.

Of course, I also resolved recently to write another book, didn't I? I've got ideas, but I think in the end I'll just sit down and write the first thing that comes into my head, and see what happens. It might be a masterpiece. It might be the complete works of Shakespeare. It might be about a terrapin called Dean. We'll just have to see.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Baby You're A Rich Fag Jew

I've got money! Lots and lots and lots of it! Ooh, and so many things shouting out at me to buy them. We finished work at lunchtime today (the Select people came and kicked us all out of the office, so they obviously couldn't wait to get rid of us), so we did the farewell drinking session this afternoon and early evening. So I can still get up earlyish tomorrow morning and go to see Grandma without feeling terrible - see, I'm just fine when I stop drinking Stellas after three pints and move on to something else.

So, unemployment until Tuesday, and then I'll be a normal wage-slave again. I'll have to stop talking here about the delights of not working and find something else (the life of an accountant probably doesn't qualify as interesting enough).

I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but I taped 'The 5000 Fingers Of Dr T' this morning. An absolutely wonderful film, that surprisingly few people have heard of, it's a live-action version of a Dr Seuss book - a concept which should be completely impossible, but somehow works in this case. It captures the Dr Seuss look perfectly, and that's an amazingly difficult thing to do. Dr Seuss himself isn't as appreciated in some quarters as he should be, but the fantastic imagination that goes into his drawings is something that's unmatched in all of history. He's one of my all-time heroes.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Is it too late to call off this whole documentary thing? Today's filming session had more telling me what to do than I like to have in my average day. Which makes me wonder again why I'm doing this if it's only going to get on my wick, when the end result is going to be people sitting and watching me going about my everyday life and talking about memory stuff. None of which is something I really like. So should I call Nick and tell him I don't want to do it, or just put up with it so as not to hurt his feelings?

Also, I've got a sort of reputation in memory circles as the kind of person who's down-to-earth, and doesn't go in for self-promotion. If there's an award-winning documentary about how great I am, it might damage that reputation.

I think I'll just do nothing and hope he realises what a dull documentary this would be. Anyway, officially the last day of work tomorrow! Got my P45 and final payslip today, the money's in the bank tomorrow, I would imagine there's going to be a fair amount of drinking too. Which might be a problem seeing as I'm taking my grandma out to lunch on Saturday. Ah well, I'm sure I'll be fine as long as I keep off the Stella.

Ross and Joey are drinking midori on Friends at the moment. Or several years ago when they filmed the episode, anyway. And it's probably coloured water, to be fair. Still, it's good to see.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I will not celebrate meaningless milestones

I don't want to leave my job and start a scary new one! Someone arrange things so I don't have to, please. Tomorrow is sort of my last proper day of work - not only do I have something to do (showing Kim from Luton the wonders of the bank reconciliations) but I'll be filmed either working or pretending to work. I'll wear my Parkhouse t-shirt as a sort of private joke. After that I doubt we'll be doing anything on Friday, and we certainly won't on Monday (officially our last day) because I don't think anyone's going to come in. We get paid on Friday, you see.

And then on Tuesday I start at the new place. This brings with it all kinds of anxieties. Can I still remember how to do management accounts after all this time doing financial analysis? Will the people there like me? Will I like the people there? Will I get lost on the way there on my first morning? I tend to do things like that when I'm nervous.

I got my new glasses at lunchtime. I was sceptical about their claims that they wouldn't be in before Thursday, so I went and checked on my lunch break, and they were there. Both pairs - the ones with normal lenses and the ones with the extra-thin ones which the people there assured me would take a couple of weeks. I don't know why I asked for the extra-thin lenses anyway - I didn't particularly want them, but I can never resist a sales pitch. I'm wearing the normal-lens ones at the moment, because I think they look better.

The new glasses are a lot less obvious than my old ones, if you see what I mean. A particularly short-sighted or unobservant person might not notice that I'm wearing specs at all, because they're quite small and less ostentatious. I think it's as close as you can get to contacts without the ickiness of sticking things in your eyes. I'd still rather not have glasses that look like everyone else's, though. Maybe when I've got a bit of money to spare I'll splash out on some Timmy Mallett ones. Or Jan Formann's ones, with an L on one side and a K on the other so he's got 'LOOK' written across his face. Then again, two of us wearing those at memory competitions would just look strange...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Zoom - it's part of my name

On the way back from Luton today, I saw the strangest company slogan I've ever seen, written on the side of a van. The company in question are called Huntleigh Healthcare, or something along those lines, and the slogan was "Healthcare - it's part of our name."

They either deserve applause for coming up with a brilliantly ironic swipe at senseless advertising, or else public derision for putting something so mindlessly stupid on their vans. Either way, this blog is dedicated to Huntleigh Healthcare, or Something-beginning-with-H-and-ending-with-something-like-leigh Healthcare, anyway.

In other news, if I'm going to get back into the habit of watching EastEnders, I'm going to need reminders. Addiction has always been something I've needed to work at. But I'd resolved to watch it this week just because I've always loved the Mitchells. Don't ask me why. I might catch the repeat on BBC3 tonight, if I can be bothered.

Also, I've been practicing speed cards for the last couple of nights, three packs a night, and I've made mistakes in all six packs. And they were all over 35 seconds, too. I really need to get back in training on a regular basis.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Okay, I've got one now!

My mistake, obviously, was to decide to do my blog before taking my washing out of the machine. Which is still working more or less fine, incidentally. Positive reinforcement always does the trick.

When I won the WMC back in August 2004, the local news came round to film me at work. Marketing director David, never one to miss a chance to promote the company, strategically placed Parkhouse Recruitment logos around the office (including an enormous triangular toblerone-shaped thing intended to be displayed at rugby matches that happened to be in head office at the time because nobody had remembered to send it wherever it was meant to be), and produced from somewhere a T-shirt with the Parkhouse logo for me to wear on the interview.

I kept the shirt around in my desk for a couple of other photo shoots that week, and then basically left it there and forgot about it, until I was clearing out my desk last week and finally took the shirt home with me. Now, this shirt is either black or very dark blue, I'm not quite sure. Sort of navy blue, if the navy had been taken over by goths or vampires. I put it in the wash without considering the consequences, and now I find that all my white things that were in there tonight are now a sort of greyish-blue colour. Or maybe bluish-grey, I'm not quite sure.

If you were wondering, I don't do that separating-whites-and-colours thing when I do my washing. That's always struck me as the kind of thing that you'd only do if you deeply care about your clothing being whiter than white, and spend hours agonising about the different brands of washing powder, or nasty liquid-filled plastic bubbles, and fabric conditioners, and little bags that you put little cubes of washing stuff in the machine with, because using washing machines the way they were designed to be used and putting the stuff in the drawer just isn't good enough. No, I refuse to conform to what these profiteering companies want me to do, and just buy the first box that comes to hand from the supermarket, and bung everything in together. This doesn't lead to nearly as many disasters as you would think.

It has tonight, though. Although it's a very mild kind of disaster. My white jeans are now greyish-blue, which is a shame, and a towel, a couple of hankies, and some pants and socks, but the only work shirt in there was the one that was grey already, and the work trousers seem to be exactly the same shade of brown that they were when they went in, so obviously they're immune to dyeing somehow. I remember the last time this happened, years and years ago and involving socks, all my work shirts went a uniform shade of dull grey, so I've been quite lucky here. And the jeans look quite cool, really. It would have been nicer if they'd had a sort of tie-dyed look, but it's all one smooth shade. Maybe it'll wash out. Or half-wash out. Or maybe I'll try washing everything with something bright red and see what that does.

Zoom's 97 varieties

Getting close to my hundredth blog entry. Who would have thought I'd still be finding things to talk about after all this time? You'd think I'd be reduced by now to counting the number of entries I've made and trying to get away with filling a whole page with talking about it, but no, I manage to come up with ways to keep this thing so fresh and interesting, you'd swear I was just starting out on this thrilling adventure that is bloggery!

Sigh. I hate running out of ideas.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I need a holiday

Which is a strange thing to say, really, since I haven't been doing proper work for months. But I just feel like I need a break from the sort-of-but-not-quite work routine I'm in at the moment. Maybe starting my new job next week will feel like a refreshing change.

Actually, what I need is an adventure, preferably involving magic, dragons and an assorted cast of friends and enemies with unusual and charming personality quirks. I must sit down and write it some time. I've just got back from seeing Howl's Moving Castle, and while I maybe wouldn't recommend it to anyone who likes their plots to make sense, it's very atmospheric, and I left the cinema feeling all magical, which is always a good thing. It also sort of inspired me to sort of combine two of the unwritten stories that have been circling in my imagination for absolutely ages now, with added bits and pieces arising from that idea. Trouble is, I have a feeling it needs to be a graphic novel, or at least profusely illustrated with the pictures interacting with the words at important points. If only I could draw, this kind of thing would be so much easier.

Back to work tomorrow. On Tuesday I've got to go down to Luton to show the assorted eejits there how to do the handful of things I do that they've decided are worth doing in future. They've left it much too late to take over these things, so I'm quite certain they're going to just drop it - it's not vitally important information, it's just presenting a few figures they already have, but in ways that make sense, which comes in handy if you want to plan for the future. I'm sure people will miss them once I've stopped doing them, but I've never felt that they were essential to the smooth running of a company.

I'm thinking of bowing to the inevitable and getting a DVD player. I've always tried to resist it, because I know what I'd do is get lots of cartoon DVDs that you can't get on video and spend all my time watching them. But while wandering through the auctions on eBay today, I found a complete collection of Bosko cartoons that I'd really quite like to have. And if I'm going to achieve that back-burner ambition of mine to watch every WB cartoon ever made, it's going to be a lot easier to collect them on DVD rather than VHS. And yes, lots of them, Bosko included, are public domain and I could get them from various other sources, but I much prefer to track down obscure ancient video releases. Finding them is half the fun. More than half if they're not very good cartoons.

Ooh, less than a week and I get all that money! Which reminds me, I had a call from my dad this morning about getting together with grandma and my brother on Saturday - he's going to bring my Christmas presents along with him. He probably bought them last year some time. I sometimes wonder if his internal clock is just wound up too fast. At least he's meeting me at Attenborough on Saturday, not coming round to pick me up here, so for once I don't have to get woken up by him knocking on my door three hours before the time we agreed...