Saturday, October 10, 2009

Come on you reds!

Bahrain could only manage to draw 0-0 with New Zealand in the first leg of their play-off today. So it all comes down to the game in Wellington on November 14th, with a place in the World Cup at stake. I might skive off the World Memory Championship to watch it - we'll probably have finished everything but the speed cards by the time they kick off, and I always mess that up at the WMC anyway.

Friday, October 09, 2009


This weekend, I'm planning to do a huuuuuge amount of memory training, and also learn to speak and read fluent Japanese. And get my central heating fixed, and read some books and buy a new comb and cheese-grater (might make a good musical instrument, now I come to think of it). It's going to be a very busy weekend and I expect you people out there to give me no end of grief if it turns out that I don't do anything after all.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Someone needs to reinvent the Japanese alphabet

I'm a busy man, and it takes much too long to learn how to tell the difference between シ and ツ. Maybe I'll just be one of those tourists who go around shouting loudly in English instead.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Speaking of beards

I can't believe I didn't notice Aubrey was on telly yesterday, on a brand new BBC4 series, "It's Only A Theory". Luckily, it's available on BBCi, and if you hate and fear the internet, it's also on real TV again tonight at 10:30. Check it out, he's very convincing and also rather a lot more funny than the people on the show who are supposed to be making the jokes.

Also, you're very lucky I don't blog about politics, because I got the most infuriatingly hypocritical and dishonest 'newsletter' from my MP pushed through my letterbox today. Really, it annoys me so much that I'm inclined to send it back with a note threatening to put it in some painful part of his body if he's planning to send this kind of stuff to me constantly for the next seven months. Someone should do something about politicians. I'll write to my MP about it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Has he a beard, Mr Godot?

There's no denying that my beard is more white than black these days, at the sides at least. I suppose I could disguise it by shaving the side bits and just having one of those annoying semi-beards that trendy people have, but I'm not going to do that. I've never understood people who grow beards but still shave certain parts of their face every morning. What's the point of having a beard if not to save you the hassle of shaving? It's not as if the silly little things look good. There's nothing more stylish and attractive than a full beard. Particularly on bald, chubby, short men. With big noses, and glasses. Really, I'm extremely handsome, if you come to think about it.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Do you think...?

... that I could learn Japanese in the course of the next couple of weeks? If I made a proper effort and didn't do anything else in the evenings? I think probably not, but it's probably worth giving it a go. I hate visiting another country and not being able to make some token attempt to speak the language.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Back from Blackwater

My presentation was quite fun, considering it was essentially written in the 45-minute period immediately before I had to go on stage. As it turned out, I didn't get to most of my carefully-prepared enlightenment on the subject of memory competitions, since the surprisingly large audience of Mensa members (I was on immediately after the discussion forum with the committee, and the only entertainment available at that time for those who didn't want to pay £20 for a trip out to see Concorde or £8 for a trip out to see Bath) bombarded me with questions after I'd recited the first thousand digits of pi almost flawlessly as a thrilling opener. Despite the fact that I forgot to bring my lucky hat, the whole thing seemed to be well-received (very few people walked out halfway through, although again this might be because there wasn't anything else to do and the seats were quite comfortable), although I don't think I really persuaded anyone to take up memory competitions. And since that was essentially my only purpose in doing this presentation, you might argue that the whole weekend was wasted, if you were really the pessimistic type. Luckily, I'm not.

The person solely responsible for my last-second preparation, my hat-forgetting and my general failure to do anything productive on Saturday morning is, of course, Wilkie Collins. The big-bearded, compelling-book-writing, Victorian scoundrel. I've been so completely wrapped up in The Woman In White this weekend that I've ignored everything else as much as possible. Still, it was well worth it, it's a fantastic piece of work and I can see why it was such a sensation back in 1860. Although I was hoping Walter would ditch Laura and just marry Marian. Still, having finished the book, I'll now refrain from buying any more cheap classics until after the WMC. That way I might actually get some training done.

Oh, and remember me mentioning that I ordered some books from Amazon that I thought had got lost in the post? I checked, and actually they were sent to my old address in Derby because I forgot to change it. The punchline to this should probably be that they were books on how to improve your memory, but of course I never read books like that. They were actually the awesomely-illustrated "Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten" and a couple of its sensational sequels. It occurs to me that I have quite a wide range of tastes in literature.