Saturday, May 19, 2007

I think this is a yay

I came third in the othello today, which is still a very good result by my usual standards - I won five games out of seven, and my two losses were 33-31 to Geoff and 34-30 against David, which is so close that it practically counts as winning. But after all my heroics in Cambridge, I was kind of disappointed by that. Still, it was a fun day, eight of us squeezed into Phil's living room in Mansfield playing othello all day in preference to watching the FA Cup final (I still haven't seen the result, so don't tell me before I watch the highlights).

And just to prove I don't just list the latest BGP standings here when I'm winning, the top of the table looks like this now:

David 590
Me 530
Phil 460
Geoff 460
Jeremy 410

I'd have to do something extremely heroic and unlikely at the last regional in London to win it now. Or nobble David before the competition, whichever seems easier. It goes 200 points for a win, 160 for second, 120 for third, then 100, 80, 60, 40, 20, 10, but the problem with London is that the likes of Graham will probably be there, making winning it extremely unlikely. And since finishing ahead of David in the first place is an unlikely feat in itself, well, I'm not booking my plane tickets to Greece just yet. I'll save it for when I win the nationals.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Something memorable I forgot

Last Sunday, the man in charge of the Bristol expo, I forget his name (it was something similar to, but not, Mike Allred), when we were introduced said "Have I seen you on TV? Your name sounded familiar." I suggested that he might have seen me on Child Of Our Time, the most prestigious non-Brazilian TV appearance on my sparse celebrity CV, and he said "Yes, with him with the moustache! I watch that!"

This very nearly counts as someone recognising me without being told who I am. I'm practically famous!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Trade secrets

I can't believe that I'm taking Saturday's othello tournament seriously enough that I'm a) preparing strategies for it, and b) reluctant to write about these strategies in my blog because I know that some or all of my opponents are going to be reading it. But it's a constant source of annoyance to me when certain players insist on playing the comp'oth opening against me, because I have some kind of irrational hatred of it and never play well when someone does that to me. So I've been working on it lately in an attempt to fix up this achilles heel of mine. 'Fix up' is the wrong phrase there. Shield it? Buy a proper armoured boot for it? Refrain from going into battle in such a way that my heel can be attacked? That can't be too hard to do, surely? Achilles must have been pretty useless.

Anyway, I was saying. So having done some proper opening analysis and learned the best way to deal with any eventuality if my opponent plays comp'oth, I thought it would be fun to blog about it (it was either that or talk about memory training again, because I haven't done anything else today). But if I do that, everyone eagerly reading this blog will analyse my analysis and find a way to beat me! So I'm not going to. Although I've already rather spoiled the surprise, haven't I? But this way, nobody knows whether I'm genuinely an expert on comp'oth now, or just saying so in a sort of cunning bluff to persuade them to play a different opening that I like better. Hopefully, now all my opponents on Saturday will be so confused that they won't play any moves at all, and I'll win on time!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

May showers

I'm racking my brains for something to write about tonight, and the only thing I can think of to say is that it's been raining for the last week pretty much constantly. And what kind of blog talks about the weather? A very dull one, that's what kind. Or even worse, a very dull, ignorant and opinionated kind of blog that goes on to say that I bet there'll still be hosepipe bans and the government trying to stop me using my lawn sprinkler, because the government devotes its life to personally inconveniencing Daily Mail readers like me by lying about water shortages. So I'll stop now and just not say anything. That'll be much more fun to read.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New card smell

My new cards have arrived! I didn't get them from the people I ordered them from in the first place - they emailed me to say they'd run out of the Stratus cards, but could offer me 144 packs of the cheaper ones for the same price. I turned them down. I like Stratus, I'm not sure I could memorise anything else. Besides, the thinner cards just can't stand up to being repeatedly flicked over so well. So I got 36 packs of Stratus cards for about the same price from a bridge supplies website. They probably think I'm hosting a bridge club and making intellectual conversation about bidding systems. But I do really love the smell of new cards. It's hard to define exactly what they smell like, but it's nice in a hopefully non-addictive way.

Another significant landmark today - I got my ironing board out. I haven't ironed any clothes for six months now, but I took the iron to a work shirt and trousers. I feel horribly domestic. SF Group are setting me up with an interview at the industrial park down the road, although in contrast to what I said recruitment agencies always do, they seem to want to put me in an assistant accountant position, which is a step down from what I was before. I'm not sure whether I should be pleased or offended.

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's a working man I am

I'm meeting with the woman from the accountancy recruitment agency tomorrow, and I can't remember the name of the accounting software we used at my last job. That's the first thing anyone's going to ask at an interview. I'm going to either have to phone them up and ask, or just look like a complete idiot. You'd think I would have mentioned it in this blog, but even the time it stopped working, I just wrote "the accounting software". So it's official, this blog is completely useless as a chronicle of my life. I always suspected as much.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Shipshape, Bristol fashion

I'll start with the coolest bit rather than going chronologically, because I want the memory people to read it and they'll get bored with it if they have to wade through a lot of talk about a comic convention. So, talking with Kurt Busiek (wooo!) this afternoon about memory techniques, and he said "I do something like that, actually. Say if I want to remember the number 2083, I'll think 'well, Avengers #20 had Power Man and #83 was the first appearance of the Valkyrie', so I'll remember it as Power Man and the Valkyrie." How cool is that? He uses memory techniques based on his encyclopaedic knowledge of Avengers comics from the sixties! See, this is how you get to be my hero.

By the way, that was a paraphrase. I thought I shouldn't use the actual number he quoted to me, in case he was inadvertently using his PIN number or something. I'm sure he wasn't (you don't get to be my hero by being stupid), but just in case.

Anyway, it's been a very fun weekend. I didn't take my laptop with me, only to find that my stupid hotel had internet access via the telly and one of those infa-red keyboard things. At three quid an hour. But I nobly refrained from using it too much, and £6 isn't anything I'm really going to miss. Anyway, I did manage to leave the hotel room for extended periods in order to check out the expo. It was extremely cool in every way. I spent rather more money than I probably should have done on cool comics that I saw or that were forced on me by pushy creators. I got a signed copy of a book by someone I've never heard of that really isn't very good, I saw Jamie Smart and told him at unnecessary length that I think he's great. I got the latest Y: The Last Man collection signed by Brian K Vaughan AND Pia Guerra. There were expo staff people dressed as storm troopers, biker scouts, a tie-fighter pilot and Boba Fett. There were normal people dressed as Batman, the Silver Surfer, Rorshach and others.

Then today I had Ravinder filming me hanging out with Kurt Busiek at length. Seriously cool. We were walking up and down between the dealers' tables in front of the camera, exchanging conversation (not very sparkling from me, as I predicted, but I did get more coherent as the day went on). When someone stopped to talk to him, I took the opportunity to say to another passer-by "I'm walking around with Kurt Busiek!"

I also took in an audience with Brian K Vaughan, in which he was brilliantly witty and entertaining in answering questions from the crowd. I asked the last one - who would win in a fight between Agent 355 (from Y: The Last Man) and Old Lace (the telepathic dinosaur from the future from Runaways), and he replied, after some thought, that it would be a draw. And then they'd make out.

Then I had a lengthy private chat on camera with Kurt, encompassing a wide range of topics. And I got him to sign my copy of Thunderbolts #1. And just as he was leaving, he mentioned that he'd read my blog post of the other day. Seems that since he's got an unusual name, he puts it into search engines to see what people are saying about him. Very cool guy.