Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wedding belles

Yes, I said Sunday. Consider this a bonus. The civil partnership ceremony and subsequent festivities finished early enough that I decided to get the train home today rather than staying another night in Norwich like I'd been planning to. This way, you see, I can do lots of serious work tomorrow. (I don't know who I think I'm fooling when I write something like that, I really don't.)

I could have been back even earlier, actually - the trains from Norwich to Nottingham leave at 57 minutes past the hour, every hour, except the 15:52 which for some mad reason is five minutes earlier. And I got to the station just in time to see it leaving. Still, that did give me time to go and look around the charity shops, although Norwich's selection of cartoon videos was frankly terrible.

Enough complaining, anyway. The do itself was wonderful, and the crowd of people attending were all fun. I had a surprisingly good time, all in all. Everyone reading this now has to chorus congratulations to my mum and Pam, the happy newlyweds who've been together for 24 years.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I'm on the road again

Norwich this weekend! Never been there and have no idea what it's like. Still, hopefully I'll have time to poke around the charity shops and see what cartoon videos people have been getting rid of lately. Judging by Derby at least, the official period you have to keep an unwanted video you got for Christmas is just under four months, because the shops are full of second-rate Christmas cartoons on VHS at the moment. That said, in Ashford after the othello I found one excellent tape - a W H Smith exclusive from the mid-nineties that I'd never heard of before, with three hours of Looney Tunes including some quite obscure ones I still needed to collect.

So no more blogs until Sunday night from me. I hope you'll survive. I did consider taking my laptop with me and using it in the hotel, if it had internet access. I could pretend to be a businessman on an important trip. But then it probably does me good to get away from the internet every once in a while.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I want to be an artist!

I've been trying to draw a comic strip. I sometimes get the impression that if I sit down and try to draw things I'll acquire great artistic ability in the space of a couple of minutes. Then when I don't, I get all annoyed and discouraged and vow never to pick up or even look at a pencil again. It's very frustrating. One of these days I'll do the sensible thing and go on a course to learn to draw halfway properly.

I just have a mental block on the whole subject of art, though. It, like most of the great wrongs in the world, is entirely my brother's fault, because he was always better at drawing than me even when we were little, and it gave me a lifelong complex. If he'd had a good memory I would now be completely unable to memorise a one-digit number. Although come to think of it, he also always had a better memory for things like Transformers' mottos when we were young. Oh dear, I feel a complex developing...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A further example of my uselessness with computers

I had a phone call yesterday saying "hello, this is the Maid's Head hotel, we had you booked in to stay with us last Friday...". I thought to myself, what the heck? That's not the hotel I stayed in in Ashford. Did I book another hotel and forget about it? Am I quite that forgetful? Then it struck me that that's the hotel in Norwich that I'm staying in this coming Friday. A short conversation later, it turned out that I'd booked it for the wrong weekend over the internet. Good thing they called, really. If I was a hotel, I would just have charged my credit card and thought no more about it.

I'm sorry, I thought the above anecdote was interesting when I started to write it. Now I come to look at it, I realise it's the dullest thing you could ever possibly want to read. I do apologise.

Anyway, I'm busy with "historic dates" for the Cambridge competition. Have you any idea how difficult it is to dream up one hundred and ten one-to-five-word phrases describing ficticious historical happenings along the lines of "peace treaty signed"? Well, once you've got your head around how difficult that is, double it, because I've also got to use phrases that I didn't use when dreaming up the previous year's dates. And then after I've composed this list of fake events, I still need to ask the only Russian of my acquaintance whether he can help me translate them - I've got a Russian competitor coming! Okay, he's a student in Germany, where everyone seems to be mad about memory, but he's still Russian, which counts as a whole new territory for 'memory sports'!

Also, yay, they're repeating Ripping Yarns on BBC4!

Monday, April 16, 2007


I did a pack of cards in 25.98 seconds today, which I think is possibly a new personal best. That I can't remember for certain whether it is or not bothers me a little. You'd think I'd keep track of this kind of thing, seeing as memorising cards as quickly as possible is basically my sole purpose in life. Still, I'm sure I've never beaten 25 seconds before, and I'd really like to achieve that some time. Or maybe I should be focussing on finally beating 30 seconds in a competition, so that that stops being the holy grail of card-memorising? But then what would we do without a nice round number of seconds to aim towards. I suppose we could all start aiming for 25 seconds, but that's not as catchy as exactly half a minute, somehow.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pins and needles, needles and pins

The hotel I was staying at in Ashford is a swanky enough place to have a sewing kit in each room, sitting on top of the Corby trouser press for guests to avail themselves of. At first glance I thought, as I always do in this kind of situation, "What kind of person comes to a hotel and sews things?" I'm more the kind of person who allows clothes to remain buttonless if a button falls off, you see. But then it occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to try to fix the increasingly noticeable hole in the crotch of my jeans, so I did. And then, while I was on a roll, sewed up the hole in the pocket too. That'll save me a fair bit of money that would otherwise end up down my trouser leg, out the end and down a drain when I forget not to use that pocket. And then for a coup de grace, I sewed a button back on my shirt. Using the pink thread since I'd used up all the blue and white on the jeans (it's a blue shirt with white buttons, so the pink stands out in what I think is a quite stylish way).

It's been middle-of-summer hot around here today. I might just have to break out my unflattering shorts from their winter hibernation and appall the people of Derby. This also raises the question of what to wear to the wedding on Saturday - I was planning to wear my "smart casual" outfit, which consists of all the more or less presentable clothing I own, all of which is black. I'm pretty sure black still looks stylish, and people won't think I'm going to a funeral instead, but it'll be a bit uncomfortable if the weather's like this. Maybe I'll wear the shorts instead.