Friday, March 06, 2009

I still heart NY

Yep, New York is still a cool place to be. And just like every time I go to America, the weather has been lovely, warm and sunny all day, even though the city's still blanketed in snow! In many, many ways I'm the exact opposite of the Selfish Giant - spring follows me around everywhere I go (except in Britain)!

Just briefly dropping by internet land to see if any of the people I've arranged to meet up with over the next couple of days have sent me a last-minute message. They haven't, so you get a quick bonus blog before my net-cafe time runs out. Itinerary for the weekend: tomorrow morning, meet scary internet acquaintance I've never met in real life before, who's bringing along an equally scary-sounding friend too. Afternoon, meet a different but also scary internet acquaintance I've never met in real life before. If I'm still alive at that point, evening dinner with a memory man I have met before and who isn't scary at all (accompanied by a 'memory researcher' who probably is a bit scary). Saturday, hang out with numerous non-scary (mostly) American memory championship competitors, and hopefully a meet-up with another "internet acquaintance" who I've known for the best part of ten years now and have almost stopped being scared of - funnily enough, Crispy's in New York right now too.

Sunday morning, back home. Monday, work. I'm going to be asleep at my desk.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Miscellaneous babblings

My GOD, Excel 2007 is rubbish! Who the heck invented it? I've got it on my new laptop, and I'm going to have to download 2003, or better yet whichever version it was before that. Have you tried drawing a graph with 2007? It's the stupidest system I've ever seen!

Still, to compensate for that annoyance, I have got an old-style 10p coin, courtesy of Roel Hobo at the weekend (I swapped it for a legal-tender new-style one). It was minted in 1968, one of the first batch that were made as 10p rather than two shillings. I've added it to my collection of vaguely interesting coins!

Andre who posted a question as a comment to my blog entry of a few days ago: Yes, my memory system is the same as the one described here. And I've never used photos to keep track of my mental images. That seems to me like it would be very limiting - the images in my head have changed and developed as I've got used to them, and I don't think that would have worked so well if there'd been a real picture in my head rather than a vague idea.

New York! Getting the train down to London tomorrow evening after work, flying out early on Thursday morning. Woohoo!

And before I go, you could listen to Radio Nottingham tomorrow morning, at nine o'clockish. It probably won't be the worst thing in the world if you miss it, but they're interviewing me. Record it and play it in the evenings for the next few days, it'll make up for not having my blog to read!

Monday, March 02, 2009

A few more things that happened at the weekend

It's a bit more difficult to get to Cambridge from Beeston than it is from Derby. And even Derby was somewhat difficult - Cambridge boasts about its frequent and fast service to and from London, but tries to discourage northerners from being able to reach the city. They set the wrong tone, you know. Nonetheless, I was able to work out how to get there and wasn't delayed too much by a train breaking down in Nottingham station. However, it was while getting off that train and on to a new one that I noticed someone wearing a nice T-shirt, and idly thought to myself "Which T-shirts did I bring with me for the weekend? Oh, drat, I forgot to bring any. The only things I packed were my pyjamas and a change of pants and socks."

This still left me with at least options for the othello championship - go there dressed in the clothes I'd travelled down to Cambridge in (my work trousers and shirt, which look horribly like the kind of thing an accountant would wear and were also somewhat sweaty from cycling); go there dressed in my pyjamas, which are stylish but uncoordinated (it's the trousers from one pair and the top from another, so as to maximise the amount of remaining buttons on the ones I'm wearing); go there dressed only in my underwear and hat (it was a bit cold, unfortunately); or buy some cheap and stylish clothes from a charity shop.

I went for option four, and got myself a very groovy shirt with lots of pink on it. It got a fair few comments. As for the competition itself, I mostly played very badly, as I said yesterday. Bintsa Andriani played staggeringly well, beating everybody in the eleven rounds of swiss only to lose to David Hand on disc count in the final when they drew the last game. Epic stuff. Despite not achieving very much of note beyond losing to Kali Turner (who's 15 now, so it's entirely acceptable to lose to her), I was able to retain my 100% win record against Takuji Kashiwabara, which dates all the way back to 2003. I beat him that year and have always avoided playing him again ever since.

It's Oadby in two weeks - clearly I'm never going to have a free weekend to practice memory, but never mind. I'd love to mount a serious challenge for the BGP this year, but I don't think I'm going to without a lot more preparation. And I just don't seem to have the time to do anything these days, what with having to go to New York for a fun sightseeing and friend-hanging-out-with holiday and everything...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Ol' hotel

CityRoomz, formerly known as Sleeperz, is a really nice little hotel right next to the train station in Cambridge. I always stay there for othello tournaments, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who might want to come to an othello tournament or any of the other things that happen in Cambridge.

Anyway, fun weekend. As I predicted, I played pretty terribly, apart from a quite nice win over Phil. I did develop a new theory about othello games, though, which I'll write in more detail if I really can't think of anything else to talk about tomorrow.