Saturday, June 30, 2007

Doctor, doctor, I'm feeling a little hoarse

I've got a sore throat from talking too much. This is what happens when I get chatting about memory to someone who knows nothing about it but is keen to learn. Actually, the most fun idea to come from talking to director Nick was the suggestion that we could come up with Team Britain shirts for the UK and world championships. Wouldn't that be cool? We could compete with all those Germans in their MemoryXL T-shirts!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Aren't you him off the telly?

Nobody has ever said that to me on the street. I wish they would. Well, I did use to get "Hey, it's Adrian Mole!" shouted at me when I was younger and had hair and no beard, but that's not the kind of thing I'm looking for. But, as I mentioned, the channel 5 documentary is definitely all systems go, and the director is coming round here tomorrow afternoon, so maybe in a few months' time I'll be able to deny being that weird memory guy when total strangers ask me if I'm him. Since my phone's still broken (repair man coming on Monday), I've been arranging things by email, which is probably a recipe for disaster, because he'll get lost on his way here and won't be able to call me. But never mind, what annoys me more is that I'll have to spend the morning tidying up my flat to improve its status from 'filthy' to 'eccentrically untidy'. I hate cleaning.

I also need to establish who Dave is. Ravinder, the, um, person in charge of the project (I'm not sure if he's a producer or something else) told me he'd found a director for the film, and then I got an email from this Dave person talking about working with me on it and sounding very directorial. But then he told me he'd passed my details onto the director, Nick, who's coming to see me. So I have no idea what purpose Dave serves in the whole food chain. It all seems very complicated.

I also want to spend a lot of weekend time practicing for the upcoming competitions, so I'd rather not spend too much time in front of the cameras. Some time this weekend or next, I need to do a half-hour binary, half-hour cards and half-hour numbers, all in the space of six hours, like you have to do on the first day of the German championship, so I can fix in my mind exactly what I'm going to attempt there. I don't want to do that the weekend before Germany (which is the weekend after Highley), because memorising so much in a short space of time sort of makes your brain blow up, and I wouldn't be fully recovered by the day of the championship. And I also want to do a last full practice run of the UK championship next weekend, spread over two days so as not to destroy too many brain cells. You know, in many ways, planning memory training is even more fun than actually doing it. I'm weird.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stop the presses

Until ten minutes ago, I had a definite plan for this blog entry. In fact, I had the whole thing just about written in my head, and I was just waiting till I'd finished the othello tournament on kurnik to type it out. It was going to be about how for the last month or so, I've been really, really terrible at playing othello. I keep losing games stupidly, and basically seem to have forgotten how to play. But then after a tournament with lots of examples of that, I won my last two games in ways that I thought were rather clever, so that rather scuppers my plans to lament about my inabilities.

I suppose I could talk about how great I am, but that would be pushing it a bit. And anyway, I do that practically every day. No, tell you what, here's a subject - I saw an advert on telly the other day for a thing you put into your washing machine to stop colours running. Or rather, and I have no idea how this is supposed to work, to soak up all the running colours so that they don't dye your other clothes accidentally. Since all my clothes are a dingy shade of grey thanks to some black socks and my inability to sort them out from my whites, this is an invention that appeals to me. But their slogan at the end of the advert, displaying this little white sheet of whatever-it-is now a pink colour, is "the proof's on the sheet!" (or words to that effect). How in the name of sanity is that supposed to be impressive? I could get any old bit of white fabric, stick it in the wash with my socks and demonstrate that it's changed colour. That's what running colours do! I ask you. Pfah. Go along with you. The world is full of fools.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Everything I had to know, I heard it on my radio

Ah, now I'm really in the memory-championship-season mood! Radio 4 want to interview me! I assume it's because they know the UK championship is only a fortnight away, although it might be that they stumbled across my name somewhere and haven't the faintest idea. They asked the Alzheimer's Society for my details, which seems to be a popular way of getting in touch with me for BBC radio these days. You'd think they'd know my contact details already, anyway - I turned them down for an interview a few years ago (I had to work that day) and then more recently they turned me down for one, having originally planned to talk to me but then decided James would be more interesting (can't really argue with that).

Hopefully this one will actually happen - it's a good time for a bit of publicity, it might just help with Team Britain's efforts to get someone to pay for our plane tickets to Bahrain. Not to mention the possibility of getting a few more British people interested in competitive memory - I'm still determined to outnumber the Germans one of these days. Oh, and I nearly forgot, Ravinder's documentary is definitely going ahead, there's a director eager to, um, direct me who I need to get in touch with (they tried to call me, but my phone's still dead - repair man coming on Monday evening). Ah, fame and fortune. If only I could do this all year round. And if only some of these people would pay me. And if only I had a stunt double who could go and pretend to be me and do the interviews when I don't feel like it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

That's very personal!

I really can't think of anything to write about. Or rather, I can, but the one observation I want to make is an extremely rude and offensive and unnecessary comment about the appearance of a famous tennis player, and I like to think I'm above that kind of thing.

Anyway, I always preferred playing badminton, back in the days when I was almost capable of playing any kind of active game. I don't see why nobody watches badminton and everyone turns out in the rain for two weeks every year in the hope of seeing a couple of minutes of tennis between downpours at Wimbledon. They're essentially the same game, after all. I think the badminton authorities just need to get some PR guru to help them out and make the game more popular with the masses.

I was actually quite good at badminton. At least, that's my recollection. I wasn't terrible, anyway.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Do you want the good news or the bad news?

By which I mean that I've got several things I want to grumble about, and also something to enthuse about that I think is just great. I'll start with the grumbles, because nobody wants to end with a downer.

My phone's not working. I'm trying to cast my mind back to remember when I last used it - I know I unplugged it at the weekend while I was memorising, but I didn't pick it up and hear a dialtone before or after doing so. And yes, I did plug it back in again. I probably had a call some time last week from Hays the accountancy agency, but then again perhaps I didn't, since they mostly email me like I always ask people to do. It might have been not working for a week or so, at a pinch. So if anyone has tried to call me, sorry. But if you did, why didn't you email me? You know I prefer emails. You've only got yourself to blame.

I noticed the phone wasn't working when I tried to call in sick for work today. I've either got the mythical kind of stomach bug that people claim to have when they want a day off work, or food poisoning. I'm feeling better now, but I was decidedly indisposed this morning, ever since waking up at half past five.

Still, at least that meant not having to cycle to work in the atrocious weather. It's blowing a gale out there and it's been pouring down most of the day. All in all, today has been out to get me. It's just plain picking on me, is what it is, and I need a cuddle.

But on the other hand, Simon Reinhard won the South German Memory Championship, beating Clemens into second place! This is great, because it's the first time Clemens has been beaten since about 1736, and I think all of us (possibly excepting Clemens himself) were getting a bit bored with it. Even though it was a competition with only three quick "technique" memory disciplines (four if you count historic dates, which I normally don't), Simon has clearly been practicing - he got a 320 in speed numbers, which is fantastic, and without looking it up possibly better than anyone other than me has ever done before. (Just had to get a plug in for my own abilities there, I feel better now, thanks).

So it's going to be fun to see what happens in terms of the big German championship in a month's time. With any luck there'll be a battle royal between Simon, Clemens, Gunther, Boris, Cornelia and many more - hopefully Clemens will be all fired up and determined to get back on top, because I've been worried that he'd suffer the same been-there-done-that lack of motivation that I did, and I'd end up finally beating him when he was somewhere short of his best. Which would be much less fun than beating him when he's better than ever. Ooh, even though I didn't go to Munich, it's put me in memory-championship mood! Roll on Bastille Day!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Is it me, or

... has it started raining all the time just when I've started having to cycle to and from work on a daily basis? Actually, that's one of at least two reasons why I'm regretting taking the temp job. For another, it gets in the way of looking for something permanent - I've never had a temporary position before without the prospect of it becoming a long-term thing, and it's inconvenient when it comes to interviews and things. I know I wanted to get back to working fast, but it was a bit silly to go and take this one, I think. Still, I'm not sure whether to quit (which would probably look bad) or carry on and assume I'll still be able to find a real job (it doesn't really take that much effort).