Saturday, July 18, 2009

Old Ben Morris

Watching 59-year-old Tom Watson embarrassing all the young golfers after three days of the Open makes me hope I can do something like that at the World Memory Championship, if it still exists, thirty years or so into the future. I'd like to think that by then memory competitions will be the world's most popular sport (especially on the Martian colonies and among robots), with thousands of memorisers struggling to qualify every year for the big event (held in Simpson's on the Strand after a last-minute rescheduling caused by a power failure on Space Station 23B). But there'll be a rule that former champions qualify automatically, so I'll be there every year and people will point me out and say "There's old Ben, he was one of the greatest memorisers of history, particularly noted for his performance in the 2009 world championship when he finished a valiant second behind Ayumu the chimp..." But then, long story short, I'll win in magnificent style and everybody will say "Wow, that certainly destroyed my deep-seated prejudices against the elderly and bald." It'll be great.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jack's back!

I missed the latest series of Torchwood first time round, but I happened to be idly flicking through the Radio Times tonight about thirty seconds before the first episode was repeated on BBC3, so I had it on, and wowee, it's good! People criticise Torchwood, but I've always loved it. They just need a way to stop John Barrowman aging so visibly, so it can run for years and years...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hamburgers for all!

Yes, I've booked my flights and hotel in Hamburg, and now I'm all set for the competition. Except I was feeling too tired tonight to do any training, so I'm probably going to fail to memorise anything at all when I get to the competition.

I'm also going to fail to remember any German words, because it's been two years since I last visited the country or made any attempt to speak the language. I haven't even written a comically-ungrammatical post on a German internet forum for ages. Perhaps I should buy a phrasebook.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's infectious

I do have a rule about not using this blog to comment on internet news stories, I know, but I couldn't resist pointing out that Yahoo News had a story today headlined "Parademic Accused Of Murder". They've fixed it now so that it says 'paramedic' instead, but it did make me giggle that all those 'pandemic' stories are contaminating unrelated articles (with no underlying health problems).

I'm not sure what a 'parademic' would be. 'Para' comes from the Greek meaning 'alongside' or something like that. A sort of secondary disease that makes the main epidemic even worse? But then again, 'demic' is only the Greek for 'people', it doesn't necessarily have any kind of medical connotation. Perhaps a parademic is some kind of similar but creepily different species that lives alongside humanity and occasionally gets accused of murder?

Actually, there's a film coming out soon along those lines that sounds cool. It's called "District 9", and I must try to remember to go and see it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I've been asked to put a link to the Major memory system trainer, created to help you learn probably the best system for remembering numbers. I'm nothing to do with this website, and I haven't given it more than a quick glance, so I take no responsibility for the contents, I'm just endorsing it because the creator asked me to. But hey, I'm sure it's very helpful if you want to learn the Major system! Check it out!

While I'm throwing links around, beginner memorisers should also be keeping up with, which has lots and lots of helpful hints and advice!

And here's something I was meaning to blog about last week, but I was on holiday. It's day 40008 today, you know. If you didn't know, Microsoft Excel processes dates as a number, starting from January 1st 1900, and last Monday was equivalent to the number 40000! I like big round numbers, and I want to share them with the world.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A year passes like nothing

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of me starting my new job (I probably shouldn't call it my 'new' job any more after today - from tomorrow onwards it will officially be my boring old job), and as regular readers will know, me having the same job for a whole year isn't something that's happened very much just lately. It's good to be boring.

I'm going to spend the day still catching up with all the stuff that didn't get done because I was late coming back from my holiday, and also I'm going to be coming in late because the local newspaper are interviewing me. It really is a mystery to me why I'm still employed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I've got a new stopwatch, alarm clock and comb to replace all the things I've lost/broken in the last few weeks, so now I'm all set to go to the German championships, memorise things within the appropriate time limits, wake up in time for the start of the competition and make sure that my remaining hairs are all pointing in the right direction. All I need to do is some training!

A week of evening practicing, followed by next weekend a full run-through of the competition, should set me up nicely. It's going to be a great competition!