Saturday, February 24, 2007

A conversation, or "Sorry, it's late and I'm in the middle of an othello tournament and I can't be bothered to write a real entry tonight"

Have you ever considered horses, Thatcher?

I'm not sure I really understand the question, Devereaux.

Horses, Thatcher. Have you ever considered them?

Well, if you put it like that, I suppose I haven't.

They have legs, you know, Thatcher. Legs. Four of them, I believe, although I haven't ever counted the things, of course.

Really, Devereaux? I didn't know that.

Ah, well, you're a country boy, aren't you? Not so many horses where you come from. Not like round our way.


Barnsley, yes, that's right. A lot of horses in Barnsley.

Trees too, I would imagine.

Horses, Thatcher. We're talking about horses, not trees.

I thought perhaps you might have both horses and trees.

Do stop interrupting me, Thatcher. Listen to what I'm saying about horses.

I did in fact wait for you to finish your...

Horses, Thatcher, and their legs. Just bear that in mind.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bedtime For Sniffles

Last time I went to Las Vegas, two years ago, I got the flu and spent most of the holiday in bed all feverish and delirious. Which was fun, in its own way, but it meant I missed out on a lot of the stuff I was meaning to do while I was there. So I haven't really had a proper Vegas experience since November 2002, which was the last time I decided to give up working and be an unemployed layabout. That time I saw Siegfried and Roy, before Roy's tiger-mauling (which I heard about on the plane back from the WMC in Malaysia a year later), and was completely amazed by it. Yet another of the things I'd love to be is a magician, but I've never really been good at magic tricks. I never had the patience to get the sleight of hand right. It would be good to do a memory/magic show, so maybe I'll force myself to make more of an effort some time.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

And so, once again, the day is saved...

Thanks to the ability to memorise long numbers!

From this week's Civil War #7, which was okay if you like that kind of thing. The series as a whole has been very entertaining, although it's been more interested in big fight scenes than exploring the possibilities of the very original storyline. I would have preferred a better artist, too. But it's done its job of establishing a new status quo for the Marvel Universe, and some of the upcoming series spinning off from Civil War look like being fun (Dan Slott writing "Initiative" is sure to be brilliant). Almost makes up for Thunderbolts, Exiles and Runaways losing their writers and becoming in two cases at least (Joss Whedon's Runaways hasn't started yet) absolute rubbish. I'm a bit disillusioned with Marvel comics as a whole at the moment.

But more importantly, it makes me giggle to think that we're supposed to take his recall of a 69-digit number as further proof of the Black Panther's genius. Any old eejit can memorise 69 digits with a bit of practice! Really, boasting about something like that just shows what an insecure person he is (although you could maybe have guessed he's a bit strange by the way he wears a mask with little cat-ears on top).

Anyway, I've had enough of rain and not writing books. I've decided to have a holiday in Las Vegas after all. I really do think the change of scene will help me churn out a bit of writing, and I want to see that Cirque show with Beatles music.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I remember

I came tantalisingly close to a perfect 200 in spoken numbers today - just two digits wrong, and both of those were memorised wrongly (ie the digit was 0 and I memorised the image involving a 1 instead) rather than recalled wrongly. Of course, the first mistake was on the 35th digit, meaning a score of 34, which is rubbish, but this is still a good result for me, because it's the first time I've attempted 200 and got the recall spot-on without any problems. Now I just have to sort out this problem of memorising mistakes, which I think is caused more than anything by anticipation - I hear the first couple of digits in a group of three and I'm already thinking of a three-digit group that makes an image that fits in nicely with the story I'm creating. I need to make sure I listen to all three digits rather than making them up as I go along. But I'm definitely hopeful of getting a good score in the spoken numbers at the WMC this year. Of course, this probably just means it'll all go wrong for me in another event...

As mentioned previously, though, while the memory training is going fine, the book-writing and stuff really isn't. I'm having great difficulty sitting down to do it. I need some kind of slavedriver to stand over me with a whip.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fight! Fight! Fight!

I've just been watching Man Utd playing Lille, a bad-tempered kind of match in which the Lille players threatened to walk off the pitch after a couple of very dubious refereeing decisions went against them. I think there's a part of me, my inner hooligan if you will, that always really wants trouble like this to flare up at sporting occasions - it really is exciting to watch an unexpected mass brawl break out in the middle of gentlemanly athletic pursuits. At moments like this I almost understand why people like ice hockey.

This is the 'round of 16' of the Champions League, and I have issues with that name. First off, it's not a league when it gets down to the knockout stages. A league is when each team plays all the others. And secondly, what's a round of 16 when it's at home? We've got by in football competitions for decades just by calling them 'first round' or whatever until it gets to the quarter-finals. It's just silly.

I must apologise for the preceding paragraph. It's psychological - after admitting to wild bloodlust, I find myself reverting to pedantic nerdiness. And then I feel the need to apologise for that. And I could go on saying things and then saying that I've said them all night, but Life On Mars is on.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Puckles the Cuckold

Well, this is the funniest thing I've ever seen - Knife & Wife! It was written by Paul "Mr Biffo" Rose, and the version of it that did appear on TV in 2001 completely passed me by somehow. It also seems to be the only television programme ever made that not even a snippet of is to be found on YouTube. I don't suppose anyone taped it?

I know I sort of promised to write about the weekend's othello activities, and I do have a lengthy and entertaining essay about it written in my head, but because I composed it on the way home yesterday, it feels like I've already written it, and I lack the motivation to rehash it. Maybe I'll do it another time, when I can't think of anything better to say. Meanwhile, I'll talk about what's on telly instead. "Heroes" starts tonight on the Sci-Fi channel. I've heard good things from American superhero-likers, and apparently it was a hit over there with normal people, too. Which makes it strange that the Sci-Fi channel have got first dibs on it, because that means that real channels like Sky and the BBC didn't want to spend money on it. Still, they spend money on all kinds of rubbish, so I'm not sure what that proves.

Also, Channel 4 are showing Studio Ghibli films every morning this week (except Wednesday, when for some reason they're showing The Brave Little Toaster), although I didn't notice that until Kiki's Delivery Service had finished today. Still, yay!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Young people today, I don't know

The British othello scene has been overrun lately by trendy young people who are better at the game than me. It's quite disturbing - I don't mind losing to old people like most British othello regulars (how's that for an off-hand comment guaranteed to offend no end of people?), they've been playing since the dark ages and have the wisdom that comes with their advanced years. Some of them are over forty, you know. But when I'm being comprehensively thrashed on a regular basis by youthful-looking twenty-somethings who can wear one of those hooded sweaters and get away with it and started playing the game more recently than I did, it makes me think I should start learning how to play properly. It's embarrassing being so bad and so old.

What's even more psychologically disturbing about this horde of new young players is that they're both called David, and I always get confused by their surnames. There's a story behind this, as there is with all of my weirdnesses. You see, as many of my friends know all too well, I automatically file people away in my brain by the name with which they were introduced to me. If for any reason they change their name thereafter, or if they were using a nickname or alias when I first encountered them, I find it impossible to remember to call them by their preferred monicker. Except for Kitty, who seems to have become fixed in my mind as such, even though he was SA when I first met him and seems to be mainly SumerianHaze these days, but that's another story.

So the thing with the Davids started at the nationals last year - I'd heard in advance that a player called David Beck, whom I'd never met, was going to be there, so when a newcomer introduced himself to me as David, I naturally assumed that was him. As it transpired, David Beck wasn't there after all, and this other guy was David Hand. But I didn't realise this for about an hour, and the mental damage was done. So now whenever I see David Hand, my brain automatically calls him David Beck. And when I see David Beck, my brain calls him... David Gray.

No, not David Hand. I know he's not David Hand. I'm not stupid. But I think that since I know, deep down, that he can't be David Beck, my subconscious trawls around for another likely-sounding name to pin on him, and comes up with David Gray. Who I believe is a pop singer of some kind, probably also younger than me and better at pop singing than I am, but who I otherwise don't know anything about.

When I started this post, it was with the intention of describing what I've been doing this weekend, but I think I'll do that tomorrow. This whole Beck/Hand thing has gone on too long already. And it's just this minute occurred to me that "David Beck/Hand" sounds surprisingly like "David Beckham". Maybe they're all related.