Saturday, December 10, 2011


Some might say that the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry is an appropriate place for a dozen or so people who like to memorise long numbers and things to get together. Some others might say that it's on Kraepelinstrasse, which is just around the corner from Bummstrasse, and giggle at the silly name, but frankly if you expect more classy blogging, you should just go elsewhere.

Also, it's been snowing all day, but not in a severe kind of way, which is good because I considered bringing my uncomfortable but much better gripping work shoes with me, only to decide against it because my rucksack was too full, so I would have been annoyed if I'd slipped on ice and killed myself.

As it is, I'm still alive, and still good at memorising cards even if I haven't really been practicing - ten minutes of flicking cards at top speed from one hand to the other gives you a sort of writer's cramp if you haven't done it much lately! Another good reason not to do all your training on computers! I'm relatively rubbish at numbers and binaries, but at least this will help keep my hand in before the next real memory competition...

Friday, December 09, 2011

It's like magically stepping into the past!

There's a Woolworth's in the shopping centre in Munich! I've missed that red and white colour scheme and wide range of cheap tat!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

This is probably a new experience

I don't think I've been to Munich before. I'm not one hundred percent sure about that, though, because all day I've had the idea that maybe I have been here before, and have been hoping I'd see something familiar, but I've checked in my blog for the past six years or so, and I've never mentioned visiting, so maybe I haven't.

I've not been to the city centre yet, though, so I might see something there to change my mind. I just have a feeling that I had a day trip here, long ago, when I was somewhere else in Germany for some reason.

Anyway, I'm here now, in a nice hotel, and I'm planning to spend tomorrow aimlessly wandering around the shops, like I always like to do in a place I probably haven't been to before. I haven't done that for ages, with one thing and another.

And here's another thing - I bought a Terry Pratchett book at the airport, and I notice that Commander Vimes on the covers of Discworld books doesn't look even remotely like the person I envisage whenever I see the number 883 or the eight of hearts followed by the three of diamonds. I'm not sure where I got my mental picture from, but it's stuck there now.

And while we're talking about memorising, I've been practicing on Memocamp just lately. Just for a change - I still stick to my principles that it's important to practice for paper-based memory competitions with paper-based memory training, but it's nice to vary the routine now and then. And while Memocamp does have a few flaws, it's also good fun and a way to compare your scores against lots and lots of other eager memorisers. The top Germans seem to get higher scores on there than they do in competitions, leaving me somewhat in the dust at the moment, but I have already got the top score in ten-minute cards with a measly six and a half packs...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


"He's 38 years old, but the intelligence is still there..." a football commentator observed about Ryan Giggs tonight. Miraculous, isn't it? Anyway, despite my advanced age, I'm jetting off to Munich tomorrow for a fun impromptu memory championship with my fellow Bavarian boycotters. I do still wish I was at the world championship, but there's always next year (hopefully).

I should have asked Bayern Munich to give me a lift, actually - they're in Manchester tonight. But they'd probably have asked me why we call them Bayern Munich, and not Bayern München or Bavaria Munich, and I wouldn't have a good answer.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Oops stacks

As usual, I turned on to Sky 1 at half past six to watch the Simpsons only to find that that stupid show Oops TV was still on. However, today, instead of saying "bah, that stupid show Oops TV is still on," I said "ooh, hey, Speed Stacks timer! Is it a memory thing?"

It wasn't, it was a girl doing blindfold rubik's cube solving, timed on a Speed Stacks timer. But then the stupid narrator said "And at number one..." and introduced a clip of a boy doing speed stacking, also timed on a Speed Stacks timer. And then the stupid show ended and the good one came on.

But the thing is, the only three competitions that use Speed Stacks timers are cubing, stacking and card-memorising. Was there a memory clip before the cube? If not, why the heck not? If so, who was it and did anyone see it?

In unrelated news, someone found this blog today by googling "how to tell the difference between シ and ツ" My blog won't have been terribly helpful on this point, since the only time I've mentioned the subject was to whine that I'm a busy man and have better things to do than learn the difference. So I thought I should probably share the way I did learn to tell them apart:

シ is 'shi', and ツ is 'tsu', and shi-tsu is nearly the name of a breed of dog. So I imagine a dog lying down (for the more horizontal 'shi') and then sitting up (for the more vertical 'tsu'). Simple! And then if you want to distinguish ン and ソ ('n' and 'so'), just remember that it's the same basic thing, only with the meaningless sound n-so, instead of the dog. Okay, that's not such a great mnemonic, but it works for me.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Tennis is great!

I remember I wrote a blog entry a couple of years ago, asserting that tennis is rubbish. So just to counteract that, I feel I should say that this year's tennis has been really great, all round. The year-end finals and the slightly-after-year-end Davis Cup final were both really fantastic fun to watch! Even del Potro, who was a big part of that former rubbishness before his injury, being basically just a big giant super-fast-serving machine, was really great!

I'd be a tennis player myself if I wasn't rubbish. I'll stick with the memory, and when I get round to it, I'll write a good long blog about memory and computers and competitions and things.