Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bless me

I have got a terrible cold. But despite that, I'm feeling more or less pleased with myself, because I've done a full day's memory practice even though I really had to force myself at metaphorical gunpoint to sit down and do it. Got 960 in 5-minute binary, which is a personal best, but fairly unexceptional scores in everything else. I'm faced with a dilemma about ten-minute cards - I can do six packs comfortably in that time, it's exactly the length of time I need to run through each pack three times, with a few seconds left over at the end to check anything I'm not sure on, so I get them all correct nine times out of ten. So the last couple of times in practice, I've just done that - six packs is a very good score in that discipline. But I have a feeling that I should be stretching myself a bit more in training, if not in competitions - should I go for nine packs and just look at each one twice? That leads to much more difficulty recalling them, and it seems unnecessary to try so many when I can get a good score safely. But I think I'll try it next time, anyway. So there.

Over on James Kemp's blog, he's inventing new systems, which makes me all nostalgic. I've been using the same memory techniques for a good three years now without any more than the most infinitesimal modifications. It's not that I feel I've attained perfection, but I can't really think of anything I could do to improve the systems I'm using - I can certainly win the world championship again with them if I get my act together. But it would be nice to have a moment of inspiration and discover something new and exciting I could to to suddenly improve my results. That might get me more in the mood that I was in back in 2003 and 2004.

You can ignore this last little bit if you want. To the extent that this blog of mine is about anything, it's not about finding something funny on YouTube every single day and linking to it, and I seem to have been doing that kind of thing quite a lot lately. I'll give it a rest after today, I promise. But I stumbled across this one tonight somehow, and it's filled me with a whole new level of respect for the things you can find on the internet. I don't even like Backyardigans, it's uninspired, generic-children's-cartoon stuff that just screams out with unrealised potential. But that someone would go through all the episodes and compile a montage of Pablo's crises like that is awesome. This is the kind of thing that just wasn't done before the 21st century. It's great to be at the forefront of a revolution like this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

New job, same as the old job

And I had to work late today, on a Friday, and my first day back at work! And not for any sensible reason either - my boss had arranged an interview with someone for my job, forgotten about it and then taken a day off to move house, so I had to interview the poor guy myself.

But still, it's the weekend now, so I'll stop complaining and share something fun - Clemens has got a website!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

You people have held me back long enough

I'm getting another hat. I've decided. The world expects a certain amount of hat-wearing from me, and I've been a sad disappointment this last couple of months. I did think about remaining hatless and looking vaguely like a normal person for once, but I've changed my mind. I'm no good at looking normal, but I'm great at looking eccentric, even when I'm not trying to. Besides, without a hat I haven't found anything that can prop my stopwatch up reliably while I'm memorising things.

I did go to Lincoln yesterday, by the way. It's hardly changed at all since the last time I was there. I found an excellent video in a charity shop too, which highlights exactly what I find so entertaining about these old public-domain-cartoon collections. This one clearly contained cartoons that had come to the packagers second-hand, with the title cards already removed, so the people making the packaging had to invent titles! They mainly stick to simple titles based on what's happening in the cartoon (although coming up with "Pussy Cat In Boots" to describe a cartoon originally called "Puss In Boots" made me giggle), but how do you get "Something For The Birds" from "Inki and the Minah Bird", which despite the name is mainly about Inki hunting a lion, with the Minah Bird carrying on in its usual inscrutable way in the background. There aren't any other birds in it.

Also, I need to move to a bigger flat. I've got the longest maze book in the world (thanks James!) to find my way through, and it opens up to 20 feet in length. Which is longer than my flat from one end to the other. I really want to see the whole extent of it stretched out in front of me, so I'm going to have to move to some kind of mansion.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Coronation Street

Richard Rutherford is in the living room icing a cake. His boyfriend, Peter, is frying chips in the kitchen, and his accountant, Donaldson, is putting on her makeup in front of the television.

Richard Rutherford: That's not a mirror, you know. It's Huw Edwards, reading the news.

Donaldson: I know, but I look startlingly like Huw Edwards, so it's the same as looking in a mirror.

Richard Rutherford: Oh, blast it all, we've run out of honey! Peter, quick, go down to the corner shop, buy all the packets of Lockets they've got, crack them open and pour the honey into this pot. And hurry, she'll be here in three minutes.

Peter: They sell honey at the corner shop, too. Couldn't I just buy a pot of honey?

Richard Rutherford: No, I think my way's better. Now chop-chop, it's not every day the Queen comes for dinner.

Peter: No, but it's at least every second day. Four times a week on average. And even when she was away on a diplomatic visit to Bulgaria last week she phoned us at three o'clock in the morning and woke us all up, just to say hello.

Richard Rutherford: Two minutes. Get those Lockets, quick.

Donaldson: You can't afford more than seven packets.

Peter departs.

Richard Rutherford: I hope he doesn't take too long.

Peter returns.

Peter: They only sell Tunes. I got seven packets.

Richard Rutherford stuffs the packets of Tunes into the honey pot, just as the Queen walks in, carrying a large pie.

The Queen: There was a cat outside, so I killed it and baked it into a pie for you.

Peter: Tiddles?

The Queen: I prefer to be called Elizabeth.

Donaldson: How did you bake a pie outside on our doorstep?

The Queen: I'm the Queen. I can do whatever I want.

Richard Rutherford: Cake?

The Queen: I prefer to be called Elizabeth.

Peter: Look, I was quite attached to that cat.

Donaldson: Well, Tunes cost more than Lockets at the corner shop, so you wouldn't have been able to afford cat food this week anyway.

Richard Rutherford: Well, don't just stand around chatting, everyone, sit down and I'll pour the tea.

Peter: It used to bite my foot affectionately in the morning.

The Queen: Shut up about your stupid cat, you filthy little commoner. Where's my tea?

Richard Rutherford: There, in the cup right in front of you.

The Queen: Well I don't like it. Put some honey in it.

Richard Rutherford: One Tune or two?

The Queen: I prefer to be called Elizabeth.

Peter: Look, I'm sorry, Elizabeth, I know you enjoy coming here to visit Richard Rutherford on a regular basis, but that was my pet cat you baked into a pie there, and I'm upset about it. I only bought Tiddles two days ago, after you baked my previous cat into a pie last week. You could at least apologise.

The Queen: How dare you call me Elizabeth, you horrid proletarian? Address me as Your Majesty, or I'll have you thrown in prison!

Peter: But you said...

Richard Rutherford: Stop being rude, Peter. Eat your pie.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

They're taking over the house

My cuddly toy collection, that is. I acquired two more at the weekend - a green dinosaur who seems to have been living in Ace's parents' house since time immemorial, who I've decided to call Denver, and a beanie baby red dragon, a birthday present from Jack, who I'm calling Siadwel. That makes nine stuffed toys and a plastic clockwork lobster sitting in my armchair right now.

Anyway, so far today I've practised all six number or card events that'll be in the German championship and got reasonable scores in all of them, read the entire archive of Mynarski Forest and I'm now watching the second football game of the evening. I could get used to this not-going-to-work thing. If I wasn't going back to work on Friday, that is. Still, I have a strange urge to go to Lincoln tomorrow - it came up in conversation over the weekend, and I realised I haven't been there for yonks, although it used to be a favourite hangout. I've never gone there by train before, and it turns out it's just as inconvenient to get to from Derby as it was from Boston (everywhere's inconvenient to get to from Boston), but it'll probably be fun just as a one-off.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy

Okay, I didn't post anything last night. I was still recovering from the party. For that matter, I'm still recovering from the party now. It was great!

Could it possibly be described as a party of geeks when you do something like this - Jack got dropped off by a taxi at number 49 instead of number 429, and to get her to the right place involved co-ordinating maps and directions using two laptops and at least three mobile phones. It was like mission control at NASA. Although all the technology also came in handy when we urgently needed to track down an off licence that sold midori.

We also spent quite a long period of time tracking down an old friend of ours who we suspected might be dead. It turned out he probably isn't, or at least that if he is, nobody's changed his answering machine message.

This has been my first official day of not working, but it doesn't technically count as such, because this was a recovering-from-party day that it was quite legitimately okay to spend mostly in bed. Tomorrow is the real start of the big adventure.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Best present ever

Crispy has bought me a Zoom-Zoom T-shirt! From eBay! You know, like my favourite shirt that I've worn so much over the past seven years that it's all full of holes and a dingy grey colour and almost unwearable even by my standards. And somebody out there has acquired one of these things that you had to spend £30 on pocket dragon figurines to get and kept it in its original packaging for all this time, just so I could have it for a birthday present this year. Yay!

It's about quarter past midnight and I'm drunk. But it turns out this house has wireless internet access, presumably stolen from the neighbour. I'll go into more detail tomorrow, by which I mean today, when I'll probably be more sober and able to write correctly-spelt words first time without going back and correcting myself.