Thursday, February 16, 2006

Come on everybody, let's clean up the house

I'm trying to motivate myself to tidy up a bit around here. I think it's a losing battle, but it does need doing. I've washed my bed sheets tonight for the first time in about... well, it must be four months at least. People tend to find that a quite unpleasant detail, for some reason. It's not like the Queen's coming round, it's just my brother, but it's nice to clean up every once in a while - for one thing, if I end up moving out of here it'll be less of a job to pack up and get the flat more or less into the kind of condition I got it in. Not that I think I have any hope of getting my deposit back, it's just not in me to clean things that thoroughly.

I'm feeling under pressure to write something entertaining at the moment, because Jeremy Dyer has kindly posted a link to this blog on the British Othello mailing list. I hate the idea of people I know actually reading this thing, for some reason. Which makes you wonder why I'm writing it at all, but hey, I'm a complex character. Or completely insane, one or the other. I can only write interesting entries when I'm not imagining anyone reading the end product.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The ice beam

Watching an unexceptional game of football tonight, Bolton v Marseille in the Uefa Cup (the European competition for teams not good enough to play in the Champions League), which has been enlivened by the commentators' efforts to find something interesting to talk about. In the first half, a Marseille player went down injured, and the physio treated him with a strange-looking device that caused some extensive debate between Colin Murray and Pat Nevin:

"What is that, some kind of machine gun?"
"It looks like something out of Doctor Who, doesn't it?"
"I mean, what is it, what does it look like, I've never seen anything like it before..."
"Looks a bit like one of those speed guns."
"Oh no, he's not going to get a ticket, is he?"

And so on for quite some time, even after the game had resumed. It turns out it's some sort of contraption for spraying cold stuff onto someone's injury. The Channel 5 commentators, being people who aren't good enough to get jobs on the BBC, are always fun to listen to. Tonight's game also included the disclaimer "Of course, we try not to be biased. We do want the British team to win, obviously..." Makes a dull, bad-tempered 0-0 draw quite entertaining, really.

Back in the real world, the office is nearly finished. We'll be able to move downstairs from the mezzanine level where we're occupying unfinished boardrooms and corridors, and into the actual office space soon. It looks quite pretty now, all new flatscreen monitors and shiny new phones. I don't really like open-plan offices, though, I prefer each little department to have its own little office - makes it much easier to play on the internet or have a quiet nap without anyone noticing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What's in the mail today?

Well, since nobody thought to send me a card or present (shame on you all), I've been trying to decide what the most romantic thing anybody's ever said to me is. And the conclusion I came to is that nobody's ever going to beat "Want to come and kill humans and bathe in their blood with me?" Wolf can be such a sweetie when he wants to be.

What I did get today, on the other hand, is fan mail, which is always nice. It happens about once a month, somebody who I've never heard of looks me up on the internet to ask me something about memorising playing cards. The latest guy actually describes himself as a 'huge fan', which is great for the ego. I just have to avoid disillusioning him somehow (possibly by relocating to Antarctica before he notices how bad I am at giving memory advice). Still, he even praised the chapter of "How To Be Clever" that I sent him, and encouraged me to write the rest of the thing, which is cool. I'm almost in the mood to sit down and do it, too.

But before I do, and even though I seem to have been talking about othello much more than usual just lately, I should mention that the French ranking list has been updated, not including last weekend's tournament, but counting a couple of foreign ones before it. I've dropped down from 141st to 143rd, but only because of the unfairness of alphabetical order. The two people on the same number of points as me are listed as 141 and 142. Now, normally I'd just get around the problem by changing my name to Aaron A. Aardvark, but even that wouldn't work this time, because the current number 141 is Jens Aagaard-Hansen, who I bet just made that name up in case this situation ever happens. I need to rename myself something starting with a number, or possibly a punctuation mark of some kind.

Hey, maybe I could call myself ?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Winning othello strategies

I've just been looking at my games from the weekend, using Zebra the othello program. Oh, and hey, it's called Zebra because it's about black and white, I suppose. I never thought of that before. Anyway, I'm still none the wiser as to why I did so terribly on Sunday and so comparatively well on Saturday (I beat Josbert van der Zande, Elisabetta Vecchi, Roman Kraczyk and Roel Hobo, who are all better than me). I tend to just make moves up as I go along - there's some kind of analysis going on in my mind, but it's generally a pretty subconscious kind of thing. When I sit down and go through a game, I generally have no idea why I made a particular series of moves, whether the computer says it's genius or insanity.

I'm still planning to try memorising oodles of positions and correct moves, but I have no idea when I'm going to fit that into my busy schedule. Training for the WMC comes first until September at least. Unless I get bored with it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Less beer, more sleep

That seems to be a recipe for success in othello tournaments. Although that's based on a very dodgy premise, assuming that I would have done better today had I not been hungover and tired. But I did really quite well on day one, winning four out of seven and not losing the others too spectacularly.

But I'm too tired to write about it now, and Father Ted's on telly (Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep), so I'll write more tomorrow. Unless I write an extensive critique of Bear In The Big Blue House instead, I'll see how I feel.