Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Memory champion

Talking with my brother while looking through our collection of old toys (or, in most cases, small pieces of old toys that fell apart long ago):

I: For crying out loud! I'm the three-time world memory champion, you're putting me to shame by picking up a thirty-year-old scrap of plastic and saying "Ah, yes, we bought this at 10:07am on July 3rd 1982 in Ashley's toyshop in Boston, third shelf on the left..."

He: Yes, but my memory can only remember completely useless things like that, not anything remotely useful.

I: That's my line.

Seriously, I thank my lucky stars repeatedly that my brother has never seen fit to learn memory techniques, because he comes closer than anyone I've ever met to the fabled "photographic memory". It's scary. He's got synaesthesia too, you know.

Monday, July 25, 2011

One long whirl

I don't remember ever being as busy as I have been for the last month or so. I'm running around from place to place doing one thing after another without a moment's rest. Being an unemployed layabout isn't all it's cracked up to be. Anyway, the Cambridge Memory Championship (not in Cambridge) is almost upon us, and the next couple of days promise all the fun of printing things out. Hooray. With the additional thrill of putting the printouts in envelopes and keeping them safe until the competition. But then there's the optional-extra fun part of creating powerpoint slideshows, because the competition room comes with a projector and it'd be a shame not to make use of it. Just as long as I have time, and all my important procrastination doesn't get in the way.

And just as a footnote, can I just quote a comment from an anonymouse:
I enjoy your blog but I can’t help feeling that you are wasting your powers. Why don’t you teach yourself half a dozen languages and then write a book on mnemonics and language learning. I’m sure you can take it further than Linkword, O’Brien, etc.

I get this a lot. Please try to understand, people, I don't have "powers". Just because I can memorise a pack of cards quite quickly and only get the recall wrong 50% of the time, it doesn't necessarily follow that I could solve all the world's problems if I put my mind to it. I can't learn half a dozen languages, nor teach them to other people. Nor can I win millions in a casino. Believe me, I'm getting the maximum possible use out of my amazing abilities at the moment. So please stop telling me I could do other things if I wasn't so lazy. Thank you!