Saturday, March 08, 2008

Every second counts

You know, there was a time, I can remember it well, when I knew how to play othello. Those days are gone.

I got up this morning at a reasonable time, knowing the tournament was just down the road in Leicester, so there was no need to rush around. I actually relaxed rather too much, and ended up having to hurry down to the train station after all, but I caught it in time. I realised along the way that I'd forgotten to bring my clock, but didn't think it would really matter, seeing as David was bringing the BOF supply of clocks, and we'd only be short if there was a huge number of competitors. I decided to take my bike, as I said yesterday, which may have been a mistake - I managed to get lost navigating the single, long, straight road between Leicester station and the venue.

Nonetheless, when I got there twenty minutes late, it was to find Steve, Iain and Jeremy standing around aimlessly in the church foyer, traditional venue for the tournament, with boards but no clocks. A little internet research turned up an apology from David for having overslept and being still in Colchester. With the clocks. Steve and Iain had also thought about bringing their own clocks, but neglected to do so. I suggested that we improvise an ingenious timing system using my stopwatch, Jeremy's digital watch and the clock on the wall - it would have worked just fine, but the others were sceptical. We ended up playing without clocks at all, and with plenty of discussion as to whether the tournament would count for the BGP. It probably will.

Still, my performance deserves rotten vegetables throwing at me - I lost five and drew the other, and that was a completely undeserved draw too, because Steve had a win at move 58 but somehow didn't see it. I have no idea why I'm so rubbish all of a sudden. It's depressing.

But still, in other news, I got home in time to see Barnsley demolish Chelsea in the Cup! It's slightly annoying in that I used to be the only person who knew that Barnsley won the Cup in 1912, and that there's a line in How To Be Clever about how that was the most boring F A Cup in history - now everyone will think I only picked up this knowledge because there's all this hoopla about them beating two of the big four, instead of having known it since I first started memorising cup final results last December.

But isn't it cool that the big guns are all out before the semi-finals? Just somebody knock Bristol Rovers out, please, so as not to confuse me (as explained in a previous blog). I'm not sure whether to cheer for Barnsley (who were actually the better team today and really deserve the trophy after all their giant-killing) or Portsmouth (who I generally cheer for because the last couple of years they've been playing so much better than they have any right to). On the other hand, I dislike Harry Redknapp, so I think I'll buy a Barnsley scarf. Or turn Welsh like James and support Cardiff.

Friday, March 07, 2008


I've been cycling all week, but I suspect I'm still a bit fatter than I should be. Maybe I should have liposuction. It'd have to be the do-it-yourself sort involving a vacuum cleaner, because I've still got no money, but the alternative is stopping eating so much, and I'm fairly certain that's not going to happen.

I might take my bike on the train to Leicester tomorrow and cycle out to Oadby. Partly because of the health benefits, and partly because the alternative is taking the bus, and that requires me to remember what the venue looks like, spot it from the bus window and stop the bus in time to walk back to it. Which is complicated and I worry that I'd end up in Bognor Regis, or wherever the local bus that passes through Oadby ends up.

The other alternative is taking a taxi, but you all know how I feel about taxis.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Nearly the weekend!

I've really missed being able to make a distinction between the weekend and the rest of the week. It makes you appreciate Saturday and Sunday so much more if you're spending the previous five days in an office (even if it is an office all to yourself). And woo, in a couple of weeks' time, it's Easter! A four-day weekend! Woohoo! I would have hated to be not working around that!

This weekend, incidentally, it's the first othello regional of the season, in Oadby. I wrote quite lengthy blogs about each of the tournaments last year, if memory serves. Perhaps that means I shouldn't do it again, in case I get repetitive, and should write about something else entirely. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Competition time

It was the first of our university competitions today, up at Preston, and I didn't get to go and oversee things, seeing as the second day in a new job is generally considered a bit early to take a day off. Still, I'm sure it all went fine - I handed over my speed cards timers to James at the train station on my way to work this morning, even the one I would otherwise have used this evening to practice with. See the sacrifices I make? I had to do my practice the old-fashioned way, with my stopwatch, and so that's my excuse for not doing very well at it.

Having a job does get in the way of these extracurricular activities, though. I mean, having money and being able to buy food and things is always an advantage, but it would be nice if I could split myself into two like the guy in a book I read once, and do both.

I can't remember what that book's called, but the central character was called Gordon, he called his duplicate of himself George and they developed a great juggling act. Anybody know it? Because that's going to bug me now. Why didn't I just say 'split myself into two like the superhero the Multiple Man'? I know all about him.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Office Boy

You know, there's nothing like having a job for inspiring me to do more with my leisure time. I've been memory-training and doing things around the house and emailing and all kinds of stuff this evening. Whereas when I'm at home all day, I sit around doing nothing.

Also cool about my new job is that it's quite fun to do, and I get my own office. I've never had an office all to myself before - it's rather frowned-upon in these modern days of open-plan office spaces, but the building I'm working in now is ancient and harks back to the days when people got their own little room if they were suitably important. And the toilets are really amazingly 19th-century in decor, they have to be seen to be believed.

Monday, March 03, 2008

My job is very boring, I'm an office clerk

The second interview at Gardner went pretty well, I thought. They'll be making a decision by the end of the week, and I'm quite hopeful. Which makes me feel guilty about the job at Saint-Gobain I'm starting tomorrow, because it's a bit rude to quit a job after only working there for a week or so. But maybe I'll be super-efficient and get all those payments reconciled within a day or two - I am really great, after all.

In order to get there, I've decided to take my bike on the train to Long Eaton and cycle the nearly five miles there. It'll give me lots of healthy fresh air and exercise, and perhaps after this month-long contract is over (being pessimistic now and assuming the Gardner job doesn't work out) I'll be able to look that Woolworth's weighing machine in the electronic eye.

Anyway, I'm back in the routine of the working man - I've ironed a pile of shirts, I just need to make some sandwiches for tomorrow and I'll be all set.

Meanwhile, I have made an effort to bring my book to the attention of publishers - only a couple of them, so as not to have a flood of rejection letters all at once, and with Carlton Books I accidentally sent them the same covering letter I'd sent to the other publisher, the appropriate-sounding How To Books, so they'll just sneer at the complimentary references to their rival publisher and put me on their enemies list. So really, I've only properly submitted my book to one publisher. When they tell me to get stuffed, I'll try someone else.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I respectfully disagree

The film of The Green Mile is on ITV tonight, and I see that the Radio Times only gives it three stars, and feels that it's 'overlong' and 'sentimental'. And they give four stars to all kinds of rubbish. I saw the film in the cinema when it first came out for some reason (I practically never go to the cinema, so why I went to see this one when I normally avoid adaptations of books I like, I can't imagine) and thought it was really pretty good.

I should be the Radio Times movie critic. I'd be a good one, except that I wouldn't want to give any film a bad review in case the director read it and got upset.

And yes, I know I promised a long and interesting blog tonight, but I can't really think of anything to write. Tomorrow's entry will be three times as long as usual, and so fascinating, your head will explode. Twice.