Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Evil Genius

If by 'evil', we're talking in terms of the sin of sloth, and by 'genius' we mean the kind of person who can remember things, then yes. I've spent the whole day reading "The Evil Genius", by Wilkie Collins, rather than doing anything I was intending to do.

Friday, February 05, 2010

In BATE, TO Runnymede, John with Charter goes

Remember this blog post last month, when I couldn't think of a plausible way to fill the missing line in that poem? The above line came to me out of the blue today, so I thought I should record it, just to give a sense of closure to the whole thing. 'Bate' as in 'bad temper'.

Also, it gives me an interesting title for today's blog entry. I like to have a title that is in some way clever and funny, and I don't always achieve it. Often I have a subject I want to write about, but can't think of a title, and equally often I think of a fun title and have to come up with something to write that would fit with it. And sometimes I think of a phrase that would make a perfect title, but know I'm never going to get a chance to use it.

For example, I would love to write a blog with the title "The Spiders Immediately Become Timid", and start it with this wonderful picture of a timid giant spider monster:

(I've recently been introduced to the awesome works of Fletcher Hanks)

But the only circumstances in which I could use this title and picture would be in a blog chronicling my attempts to rid my flat of spiders or insects - and I really quite like spiders, and I'm probably never going to get any kind of bug infestation problem. I never have any luck like that. So that blog title was just going to sit in my head, unused, if I hadn't brought it out tonight.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Weekend - memory. Lots of it. Until I've memorised so much that I can't remember anything ever again, up to and including my own name. I've got it written down somewhere, it really wouldn't be a problem. And no watching all those cheap cartoon DVDs I bought last weekend until I'm back in World Memory Champion form.

Also, research some way to get around jetlag, because if we do end up going to China for the WMC, that time difference is really going to kill me. Ideally, I'd like to go out there a week early to get properly synchronised, but I don't think I'm going to have the holiday time or the money to do that.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Numbers, numbers, numbers

What am I going to do about my system for memorising decimal numbers? It's not a bad system, but it's not better than everybody else's. And "better than everybody else's" is the kind of thing I strive for. But however I play around with possibilities, I can't think up a clever way to move to a four-digit-image system. I may have to come up with a non-clever way, and just memorise ten thousand images by sheer brute force. It has to be done, if I'm going to break records...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Ooh Ecc

My ambition to not be fat really isn't helped by the fact that the little shop at the office has started selling eccles cakes. I can't resist eccles cakes, and whenever I notice that they're on sale, I just have to buy one. And then, obviously, eat it. It's not good for my waistline. I also got somewhat addicted to ecclefechan tarts over Christmas, ever since Sainsbury's listed them on their top Christmas lines list for my memory stunt, and I had to look up what they were, and think "Oh yeah, those things! I love those things!" What is it with pastries that start with 'ecc'? I must just be eccentric.

To illustrate this point, here's the picture of Wee Eck that I used in my Sainsbury's presentation to demonstrate associating characters with things like ecclefechan tarts:

Although nobody had heard of him, so the point didn't go across very well. This is probably why my memory talks are generally rubbish - I'm talking to the wrong audience. The entire Class 3 at the primary school where I do my reading volunteering call me "Ben 10", and they're enormously impressed by my miming of activating the Omnitrix and turning into Fourarms. Never work with adults.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Snooker or darts?

I harbour vague ambitions to become good at both snooker and darts. And what with the memory thing and everything else, I probably haven't got the time to get good at both of them before I'm forty years old and too fat to play either (have you noticed how the fat players never win at snooker or darts any more?). I might just invent a new game that's a combination of the two, and call it 'snarts' (because 'dooker' just sounds silly). It would be a great game, but spectators would frequently be injured by the very sharp balls when they hit a wire and bounced off the table.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


My beard's got to the kind of bushiness-level where I always agonize over whether to let it grow a bit longer or just chop it short. I sometimes think it looks quite good very full, but the moustache is definitely too long (it gets in the way when I drink) and trimming the moustache but leaving the rest intact sends me plummetting headlong into the territory of 'looking like I care what I look like', which really isn't somewhere I want to go.

I'll probably just leave it another few days before taking the scissors to it.