Saturday, June 07, 2008


The first game could easily have been a draw if not for one lucky goal, and Portugal did indeed win easily. See, I'm great at predicting football results. I'm a little less good at making lunch, possibly, having filled the flat with thick, acrid smoke while cooking chicken kievs, but I think the place is mostly aired out now, and the damage to my lungs probably wasn't too severe.

Oh, and Doctor Who tonight was complete gibberish. Complete gibberish that looked on the surface like intelligent, thoughtful and different semi-thriller drama, but think about any element of the plot for more than five seconds and it all falls apart.

Gambolling in the fields

An extra early-afternoon pre-kickoff blog today. In a probably vain attempt to make the England-free European Championship in some way interesting to me, and since I haven't had a bet on a football game since leaving Adams six years ago, and since gambling is the last refuge of the unemployed layabout, I've decided to have a flutter on the first three days of games. My picks are as follows:

Switzerland - Czech Republic draw (all sane logic suggests that the Czechs should win this one without any trouble, but it's the first game, the home fans will be excitable and it'll probably be an anticlimactic 0-0)

Portugal to beat Turkey (they could win this one with their eyes closed, barring any kind of injury to Ronaldo)

Croatia to beat Austria (Austria are hopeless and should lose every game without too much difficulty)

Germany to beat Poland (Poland aren't that bad, actually, but Germany should overwhelm them in the end. I'm thinking a late goal just when the Germans are starting to panic)

Romania to beat France (France have an amazing ability to mess up games like this, and I'm confident they can do it again)

Holland - Italy draw (another game that'll have lots of hype and very little action)

So now you can all follow along and see how wildly inaccurate my predictions are, as a substitute for getting excited about England's failure to win the championship. Yay!

Also, my tip to win - Greece. Nobody thought they had a chance four years ago, and strangely enough, nobody thinks they've got a chance this time either, although they're playing really well, they've still got the same great manager and a lot of the same great team, and they're looking like they could go far.

Friday, June 06, 2008


I unpacked my big box of important papers and stuff the other day, and now the contents are sitting in the middle of my living room in a big, densely packed pile at least three times the size of the box they came out of. It's magic. I did find lots of cool stuff while failing to find what I was looking for in the first place - the posh photos I had taken in 2003, so now I can send one to that guy who wanted an autographed picture of me; my copy of Othello Brief & Basic that I thought I must have lent to someone else and lost long ago (maybe I'll donate it back to the BOF, we're running out of copies and can't get any new ones); lots of wild-west-themed cardboard accessories left over from that party many years ago (fun party, we need to have another one); and even my CIMA certificate so that any prospective employer who demands proof that I'm qualified won't have to just take my word for it. All these discoveries are well worth the inconvenience of no longer being able to see my living room floor.

Anyway, a weekend of memory training is coming up. I'm trying to get into the kind of training schedule I would be following if I was working (as, with any luck, I will be before too long - another interview on Tuesday, out Nottingham way this time), and that means long-discipline practice sessions every weekend I haven't got anything better to do. And there aren't many such weekends between now and Tuttlingen - next weekend I have the delights of my brother's fancy-dress thirtieth-birthday party (transvestism encouraged) and then, if I do end up having the money, there are other appointments for at least two of the weekends between now and the end of July. So it's important to get a good bit of training in this weekend in the 30-minute events and also in abstract images, trying to get that system up and running effectively. Let's make 2008 the year of me winning memory competitions, instead of coming second!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My stars!

On the train this morning I read my horoscope in the free paper, and it said something along the lines of "everything's topsy-turvy today, people you expect to be nice to you are nasty, and vice versa". And funnily enough, after I got back home I got a call from the bank - not the department of complaining about people who exceed their overdraft limit (which is apparently outsourced to India) who called me the other day, but the department of calling for a friendly chat and offering long-term customers credit cards and increased overdrafts (based at the local branch) who call once a year or so. I'd sorted out the overdraft miscalculation with some transfer of funds from that credit card I never use, and the guy who called me seemed blissfully unaware that I'd gone over the limit in the first place, calling me a valued and reliable customer and things like that. I didn't take him up on the offer of another credit card or a bigger overdraft or anything-else-we-can-do-to-make-your-banking-experience-more-satisfactory, but he still wasn't unpleasant about it.

So I've had the niceness from people I expect to be nasty (also a cheque from my mother, but if I list her as 'people I expect to be nasty' it would make me seem like a horribly ungrateful son, so I won't - thanks, Mum!) but I'm still waiting for the nastiness from people I expect to be nice to me. The interview today went fine, without any nastiness, so who's going to be mean to me? It's going to be the person I least expect, according to the horoscope. I'm a nervous wreck with anticipation...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Plans for the future

Interview tomorrow morning in, funnily enough, Oadby, just down the road from the church where I've lost many an othello game. Really good job for a company that I couldn't say anything bad about even if I didn't have this self-imposed ban on talking about companies I potentially work for - smallish family company that has a super-professional-looking website with perfect spelling, grammar and punctuation! What more could a friendly and pedantic accountant want in life?

So let's talk memory instead. I did a practice 30-minute cards this evening, attempting 21 packs and getting 14 right. But I really wasn't far off with the other seven, and I'm contemplating trying 21 at the German championship in just under two months' time. Now, some might say that would be unnecessarily risky (and others might describe it as 'ludicrously stupid') when I can attempt 18 and be reasonably confident of only making one or two mistakes and beating everyone else by some margin... but I wanna break records and it's pretty unlikely I'm going to break my new record of 17 if I only attempt 18.

Maybe I'll do a bit more practice and see how it goes. I'd hate to get even more of a reputation as the kind of person who loses big championships by trying to show off...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I've been extremely unhappy ever since Drifter chocolate-toffee-wafer bars stopped being available, so I was absolutely delighted to find them on sale in a newsagent's in Derby today. I think they were new ones, too, rather than leftover stock from last year, so I'm hopeful of seeing a new influx of my favourite unhealthy snack in the shops soon!

Really, I couldn't be happier - unless of course I had a job and money to put in the bank and stop them complaining about me going over my overdraft limit. Anyone got a bit of spare change that you might want to lend me until I'm back on my feet?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Job advertisements I considered

Dog Congratulator
Salary: £50k + car + donkey
Location: Biggleswade
Start date: June 2009

An experienced Dog Congratulator is required for a busy company located directly above Biggleswade town centre. Applicants should have at least three years' experience, preferably of congratulating dogs although experienced metalworkers will also be considered. The successful applicant will be between five foot eight and five foot eleven in height, admire the works of Chopin and disapprove of radio. Holders of a degree in dog congratulation need not apply.

Salary: 3
Location: Biggleswade
Start date: Last week

A man is required to perform certain duties at a hockey stick and artificial dolphin factory in western Biggleswade. No experience necessary, but applicants must have a minimum of three GCSEs grade G or above. Five days holiday per year, uniform provided on Tuesdays. We are an equal opportunities employer, but no applications from women will be accepted.

Salary: oats
Location: Biggleswade
Start date: December 2037

A horse, a horse, our kingdom for a horse. Needed by a small company of financial consultants/dressmakers in Biggleswade. Duties include eating grass, swatting flies with tail and neighing. Applicants must have legs, tail, eyes and be a horse.

Management Accountant
Salary: none
Location: Giggleswick
Start date: immediate

A qualified and experienced Management Accountant is required for a friendly family company, not located in Biggleswade. Part-qualified CIMA preferred, good Excel skills and knowledge of Sage Line 50 essential. Good package except for lack of monetary payment. The successful applicant will be remorselessly flogged by a cruel slavedriver while attempting to perform his/her duties. All applications must be made by carrier pigeon or via a trained gorilla-impersonator. This job requires the wearing of clothes.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Right, job-hunting time

I've had more than enough of being unemployed. I'm going to spend tomorrow applying for jobs left, right and centre. I don't care how vaguely related to management accounts they are, if it's a job, anywhere in the country, it's going to get my CV. I'll probably end up as a window cleaner by accident and discover that it's the perfect job I've always been looking for.