Friday, February 10, 2006

My Own Genie

The Dandy isn't generally worth reading. It never has been, really, although it's had its moments over the years, it's always been second best to the Beano somehow. But there's a strip in it nowadays called My Own Genie which is absolutely freaking hysterical every single week. It outshines everything else in there by a long way, with its genuine wit and perfectly-timed comedy. The artwork's unconventional, in keeping with modern Dandy policy, but in this case it still manages to put the point across like it should. And the writing is in a class of its own.

I just thought I ought to mention that. No time to say anything else, off to Cambridge. I'll be back on Sunday, bloglings!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Good grief

The US Memory Championship has just announced (at rather short notice) that it will be adopting a radical new format, with different events and a focus on things that look good on TV. I'm all in favour of this kind of thing if it gets a bit of publicity for the event, even if it is completely different to the way the big memory championships work.

Gunther, on the other hand, has suggested that the World Memory Sports Council might like to take legal action against the organisers of the US Championship to stop them doing it. It takes me back to the summer of 2004, when he was suggesting similar sanctions against Andi's Memory World Cup (although Andi was the first one to threaten other people with lawyers there). I don't see why anyone takes the whole thing so seriously, I really don't. It's just a bit of fun, for crying out loud!

Still, Dominic made the very valid point that some of the budding American memorisers would probably want to get onto the world ranking list, for which we need standardised competitions all over the world (something they've never yet had in the USA, preferring a shrunk-down version in the previous years). Not that there even is a world ranking list at the moment, because the WMSC haven't got round to working one out yet, but still. It is cool to be able to say "I'm Number X in the world!". It's even cooler to be able to say you're the number one in the world, of course, so I hope I end up on top again when they do release the new list, however they work it out (I have my own world ranking list based on past WMC performances, and I'm number two on that, after Andi).

After the 2002 world championship, I really enjoyed going around telling people I was number sixteen in the world of memory competitions. Of course, there were so few people taking part in those days that it was really easy to get into the world's top twenty, not like today. But you didn't have to tell people that, did you? For some reason, I was less inclined to boast about it when I got up to number four, and then number one - probably because I'm just completely unable to boast without turning it into self-mockery of some kind, and it's hard to do that when you've got an achievement you're genuinely proud of.

What I do like telling people is my position on the othello ranking list. If only someone would manage to put together a proper world ranking list including all those great players from Japan and elsewhere, it would be even better, but Number 141 with a bullet on the French European Rating List is still pretty cool. I had to look it up to see where I was, by the way. I was thinking 142, so now I'm quite happy with myself. But I notice I'm one place behind Joel Blackmur, on 1708 points to his 1709. I'll have to do something about that this weekend...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Why I'm not a good accountant

I really don't care whether the company I work for makes a profit or not. I care about accurately reporting how much profit or loss it's made, as a matter of professional pride, but I don't give a monkey's whether it's making millions or going bust. The really good accountants genuinely do care about that kind of thing.

Also, I don't feel more than a tiny bit guilty about leaving on time tonight while my underlings work late (one of them's on holiday for the next few days, the other was late in because she had to pick up a bag she left on the bus, and anyway I'm going to have to start early and finish late tomorrow to get everything done, I just couldn't be bothered with it tonight).

Anyway, I've got Friday afternoon off work, which is nice. Only because I had half a day's holiday accrued that I need to take before the end of the month, but it'll let me get an early start going down to Cambridge for the weekend othello tournament. I have a tradition at the Cambridge International in February every year of going down there on Friday night and writing a diary entry in my room in Sleeperz. Of course, now I've got a blog and write about my life every day, that's kind of redundant. But on the other hand, I tend to get more into deep introspection than I do here for the world to read, so it's probably still beneficial, psychologically speaking. I don't know why, but it's fun to sit down at a prearranged time every year and write down what's happened to you in the twelve months previously, and what the heck you think is going to happen in the year to come.

Having written this essay every year, incidentally, I keep the bit of paper in my bag for a couple of weeks, then lose it or throw it away. That's probably psychologically beneficial too.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Work sucks

Actually, it really doesn't. I've just spent the day doing the most complex, tedious part of my regular monthly job, and I still quite enjoyed it. I feel kind of guilty about enjoying being an accountant, sometimes.

Of course, doing nothing but work does leave me without much to write about in this blog. A main reason for doing this thing is so that I can look back on it in years to come and see what I was doing. Do I want to see that I was doing nothing but work, all week, every week? I should skive off occasionally and do something exciting instead.

I'm definitely, absolutely, thinking about finding a flat in Burton now. Just as soon as I get round to it. Also on the getting-round-to-it-eventually list is getting some dollars for my trip to New York. Hey, maybe I could fill the blog with things I haven't done yet but really intend to!

Monday, February 06, 2006


I know I didn't want anybody to see me on telly, but I'm a bit annoyed by the fact that nobody saw me on telly. Doesn't anyone in the whole company watch Child Of Our Time? Sheesh.

Never mind. What's more annoying is that I'm listening to Virgin Radio and it's just the idiot DJ Geoff talking. They don't normally do that - I turn the radio on if I want to listen to music, and Virgin are normally quite obliging like that. Can't be bothered with skipping around the stations until I find something I like, I've just turned it off. Time I was in bed, anyway.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I'm never going to be a TV personality

I wasn't going to watch it, but in the end I couldn't resist it. Could have been worse, I suppose - it could have gone on longer than the couple of minutes it was. But that was more than enough of me shyly mumbling about impwoving your memowy to put me off doing anything like that again. Apart from the thing like that that I'm still doing at the moment, with Nick. And I had no idea I rolled my eyes up into my head in such a scary way while I'm memorising. I'll have to watch that, it makes me look really weird.

Anyway, this Child Of Our Time is a funny kind of series. I've never watched it before, and probably won't again, but it's quite fun in its way. Although one of the bits involved giving one group of children a new toy and another group nothing, which seems a bit on the cruel side, and they actually made one little girl cry in another bit when she and her family got a test wrong. That's just nasty. Isn't there a law about being mean to small people in the name of entertainment?

A cool bit on now about gaze aversion, though. I've always found that fascinating, seeing as I have real trouble looking at people's faces at all. This is why I'm so bad at the names and faces discipline at the WMC (well, that and the mental conditioning I've given myself by going around saying I'm so bad at it - my scores in that one event have got progressively worse over the years, because I've convinced myself I can't do it. I really need to break that habit). And if you look at me on that bit on today's programme, I keep averting my eyes and looking around the room while I'm talking. I do that all the time when I'm nervous.

Anyway, enough science stuff. Topped 2000 in hour numbers today for the first time. I think I really am better now at the memory stuff than I ever have been. If I don't win the world championship this year, it'll be because someone else has got even better, not because I haven't done my best. So I'm going to be happy whatever happens.