Saturday, January 01, 2011

Two thousand and eleven

I'm not calling it "twenty-eleven" because that sounds like a silly made-up number. Anyway, I'm very resolute about this new year. I'm going to follow a realistic schedule of memory training, and I'm going to cut cherry coke out of my diet. So by the end of 2011, I'll be the world memory champion again and I'll be painfully thin, and so I'll have to resolve to not do any more training and to gorge myself with delicious unhealthy drinks!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More news from China

Dear Ben

Mr.Guo would like to explain to you why they hold the prize money, New Mind need to pay media publicity, for the hotel, for volunteers, ...etc a lot after the competition
they are really facing a cash flow problem now
but he guarantee as soon as the situation not that difficult, they will transmit the prize money to you
thanks for your understanding and i am really sorry for that

Sounds like it might be a while before I get to roll around in my huge pile of prize money. All those Ferraris and helicopters I bought on credit might end up being reposessed, which would probably be a good thing all in all - they're really cluttering up my spare room.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The lurgey

I'm off work today because I'm not well, and it's really annoying. Not just because I've just had four days off work and have done everything that there is to be done while lying around the house in your pyjamas, but because I like to think of myself as someone who never gets ill, and it's hard to maintain that belief when you're poorly. I'm probably going to have to register with a GP and everything, and that's a horrible inconvenience.

It's probably China's fault - I haven't been feeling 100% ever since I was out there. It'll be malaria. The blood donor people wouldn't let me give blood last week, because I'd been to what they call the 'danger zone'. That sounds rather groovy, like I've been trekking across a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, but if I've been to a danger zone I expect to mutate into a horrific monstrosity with superpowers, not just get an ear infection and diarrhoea.

Anyway, I've got New Year Resolutions that I'm just itching to put into effect, one of which is to write a proper blog entry every day and keep my many fans happy (if they're wanting a critique of Christmas television, an essay about the potential for a sequel to 'The Woman In White', diatribes about cartoons and not so much about memory competitions, anyway), so you'll be hearing more from me in 2011. If I'm feeling better.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A few football observations

I love this Premier League season! I particularly like the way that public sympathies have shifted over the last few years, so that a lot of people are now saying 'Yay, Man Utd are winning!', as opposed to 'Bah, Man Utd are winning again!'

Chelsea are really struggling to escape the gypsy curse that Ray Wilkins inflicted them with. When they sacked their assistant coach on November 11th (probably at 11:11 in the morning), they were in a dominant position on the top of the table. Now, with only one win in the eight games they've played since then (and that one being an irrelevant European game against MSK Zilina), they're languishing in fourth and have the ignominy of Bolton Wanderers nipping at their heels.

Bolton travel to Chelsea on Wednesday night, knowing that a win at Stamford Bridge would move them ahead of Chelsea in the league. Yes, they've played a game more, but nobody cares about that when they're getting excited about league positions. This would be an ideal time for Chelsea to record a convincing win (as all logic says they should) and break the curse, giving themselves a bit of renewed confidence going into the new year. If they lose, though...

If they lose, they might well end up in sixth, with Tottenham Hotspur also moving ahead of them if they can beat Newcastle (something which they historically tend not to do). This is another of the great things about this year - Spurs have spent outrageously large sums of money in building up their squad to potential-top-four standard, but because they haven't spent quite as much money as Manchester City, everyone's still cheering them on as the plucky underdogs. It's a great position to be in.

The money thing is interesting, too - at the start of the season, everyone was hoping that Spurs would once again pip City to the all-important fourth place in the league table. Everyone was resigned to the fact that equally wealthy Chelsea were sure to end up in the top four. But now everyone's seized on the possibility of Chelsea not making it, and if the pendulum swings just a little bit farther, soon the masses will be celebrating Man City's triumph over the rich boys. Mob psychology is awesome.

And poor old Liverpool have drifted into obscurity. Their poor run of form has gone on long enough that it's no longer a story that they're languishing in mid-table. Unless they do something dramatic, they've turned into Aston Villa.

Aston Villa, of course, have turned into relegation-strugglers, but nobody cares about that.

The thing about new year resolutions

Is that you have to make them significant. Consequently, to add weight to the resolution I'm going to make in a couple of days, I'm currently lying around drinking cherry coke by the gallon and scoffing toffee crisp clusters. I'm going to miss these things...