Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm drunk. I agreed to let my brother write my blog tonight.

Yer is my turn ter write blog, am moderately drunk but w'd like ter make couple of points. Firstly, m' brother is splendid, with being the world champion and all. Second, watch our televison programme as will have us singing. We were splendid at that too. Forthly, I would just like to add to ALICIA that your unique flat-faced beatuy has quite won my heart, and though I will be leaving Blaze Publishing soon for life of penury I would like you to join me in it. If its a deal-breaker, would add that preferred Lucy in sales before yer started but have gone off that harridan in preference f'r y'r. Lastly, m'brother does good Cher impersonation and is not bad at puling youthful second vocal in Shoop Shoop Song either. That's it, am done. One more thing, has great falsetto voice and will do so in Bahrain.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cleaning is bad

I might have mentioned that I tidied up my flat recently. This is, of course, a terrible thing to do, and only brings sadness and complications to everyone's life. The major complication here is that I lost a bit of paper with legs scribbled on it. I'm still trying to work on drawing when I have a spare moment, and recently in a spare moment I was trying to get the hang of drawing someone running. And one of these doodles looked EXACTLY right, so I thought "well, I'm keeping this, so that when I have a bit more spare time and feel like drawing the upper half of a running person, I'll just copy these legs and I'll be sorted". But now I've lost the bit of paper, so I'm back to square one. I'm never going to be an artist at this rate.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I really haven't done enough training

What with being ill and/or lazy, I've really skimped on the all-important last-week-before-the-world-championship memory practice. And with my brother and the TV people coming round this weekend, I'll have to be really disciplined on the bank holiday Monday and do a whole solid day of non-stop cramming numbers and cards and things into my brain, just to get myself up to match fitness. Then it's give-the-poor-brain-a-rest time until the competition starts next Friday. Woo! And by give the brain a rest, I mean maybe spend some time working on a better system for abstract images, because I can do that without cluttering up my memory banks and it really needs doing.

Wow, only a week and a bit, and this whole memory mania of the last couple of months will be all over. No more competitions planned for months and months and months. It's sad...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sartorial elegance

I found my old leather waistcoat recently, and I think I'm going to have to start wearing it again. It always looked cool, and since I seem unlikely to find a new hat before the world championships, and the cloak is too big and bulky to cart to Bahrain with me, I need some item of stupid-looking clothing to make me stand out from the crowd.

I'm also being forced to the conclusion that I'm going to have to take my big rucksack to Bahrain. I hate travelling with a big bag, but I've got a lot of cards and clothes and things to ship over there, and there really is the possibility of me having to take a trophy home with me (although I hate to leave space for that, because it jinxes the whole thing), and there's no way I can manage it with my little bag. Drat.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Snotty follow-up

For some reason, last night's brief post got lots of comments that I wanted to reply to, so, as an alternative to thinking of something else to write, because I still feel rotten and I think I'm going to have an early night, I'll reply here.

Jemfy: Hugs!

Gregory: As I said in the comments section, you (and anyone else interested in learning about my memory systems or just wanting to chat with other memory competitors) should check out the memorysports yahoo group. I can't remember now why I called it memorysports, when I think the phrase 'memory sports' is silly and never use it myself, but I did, and it's too late to do anything about it now. You'll find answers to all your questions (or failing that, a place to ask your questions and subsequently get answers) there.

But in brief - I have a single object for each pair of two cards, I place three of these in each location, and thus use only nine locations for each pack of cards. I'm all in favour of squishing as much information as possible into each location, others aren't, I think everyone should use the system that works best for them. Play around and see what feels good. I go through the deck by turning over two cards at a time and putting them in a pile in front of me. This is monstrously inefficient, although I've practiced enough over the years that I can do it really, really, REALLY fast, and I'm planning after the WMC to switch to fanning through the pack with the whole thing in my hand. I think that'll be faster.

And when you say "I started doing this in July and I am completely stuck at 1:45", do you mean you're under two minutes for a pack of cards and you've only been doing it for a month? If so, that's pretty darn impressive and I don't think you've got anything to worry about. These things take time and practice. You'll get faster.

Anonymous person whose comment I deleted: I'm flattered that you think I deserve more publicity than another well-known memory man who's on TV a lot, but you could have conveyed the point without launching into a foul-mouthed tirade of personal abuse against this other guy, followed by a surprising and equally passionate digression on the subject of the media's anti-Serbian bias. This blog really isn't a place for insulting other people (unless I think they really deserve it), sexual swearwords (unless it's in a context that makes me giggle) or politics (unless I want to say nasty things about the Daily Mail in return for them giving me lots of free publicity - and the whole Daily Mail thing, I should make clear, is more of a private joke between me and a Mail-reading but otherwise sensible friend than something I deeply believe in).

Katy: Shnuzzles! And I postponed the interview on Friday, went to it on Monday morning instead when I was less busy at my current job. It went quite well, but I don't think they're going to offer me the job - mainly because it'll involve frequent trips to their other office in Windsor, and I don't drive. Shame, but such is life.

Simon: Did you tell me that you've started using a two-card-image system? If so, I forgot about it. Good luck with it! It's a lot of work to get it fixed in your head, but I really think it's worth it.

Everybody who couldn't be bothered to comment: Just to show there's no hard feelings, I'll answer an imaginary question of yours too. What's my favourite unusual snack that would make most people go yuck, you say? Well, I like cheese and jam sandwiches. It's something I picked up from my dad, it's a strange taste but I really like it. I just had one for tea, and while it's made me feel sick, that's probably more to do with me not being well than the sandwich itself.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Ugh, I really am feeling rotten today. Just thought I should let you know, in case anyone wants to give me a hug to make me feel better, or something. Hope I get rid of this cold before the world championships. But speaking of which, the Sunday Times want to talk to me now! That's definitely a step in the right direction from the Daily Mail! Although what with work and needing some last-minute practice, I could do without the distraction...

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I've got a bad cold, I haven't done nearly as much memory training as I intended to do this weekend, I'm fed up with it raining all the time and I think I'm getting arthritis in my right thumb. Also, I've got to go to work tomorrow. And I bought a lottery ticket yesterday and didn't get a single number.

Still, to look on the bright side, I can get Nick Jr 2 on my telly now, so I get to watch Maggie and the Ferocious Beast every evening!

Also, I currently hold seven of the seventeen memory competition world records (eighteen if you count the poem), including four of the ten world championship ones, and I'm wondering how many more I can get. I'd really like to have more than half of them some day - that'd be something cool to boast about to the general public, who wouldn't have a clue what I was on about. I can maybe get the speed numbers record back if it all goes well in Bahrain, hour numbers is a lot less likely (Gunther will probably beat his own record and go over 2000 this year), spoken numbers is within the realms of possibility, but only just. Words, names and abstract images, no chance at all. But on the other hand, I would hope that the four records I hold already are pretty safe, even if I don't beat them this time out.

Another claim to fame I'm after is winning the world championship more than three times in a row. I realised yesterday in the course of the Mail interview that nobody's ever done that before. Of course, that's a goal that it's going to take me until 2010 to achieve (by which time it will be the future and we'll be holding the space world memory championships on the moon), so we're talking long-term ambitions here. So that ought to keep me still interested, even if I do win it again this time!