Thursday, December 15, 2011

The importance of feeding the squirrels

I accidentally knocked my laptop off my coffee table this morning and it dropped dead on the spot - instantly shut down completely and wouldn't turn back on when I pressed the on button. I assumed that something had come loose somewhere and could possibly be fixed by dropping it again, the other way up, but I didn't have time because I was on my way out to the blood donor place.

On the way there, I saw that men in a van had been gathering up all the leaves piled up at the side of that road with all the trees on it (it's probably got a name, but I don't know what it is) and left a long strip of bare ground on which well over a dozen squirrels were digging around for nuts. I know a lot of people would describe squirrels as annoying vermin, but I think they're awesome, and I was worried that some of their nuts had been scooped up by the workers, so on the way back from having blood sucked out of me I bought a big bag of nuts and scattered them around the squirrel zone for them to find and eat or bury according to taste.

I took the long way round to check whether the shop that used to be SAS Furniture actually does fix computers (I thought it did, but it might have been my imagination), and found that it does, but when I got home my laptop had fixed itself and was working fine again. I suspect it was fixed by a grateful computer hardware expert squirrel.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scale It Back even further

The video to "Scale It Back" has been up on Vimeo for a month now, and it looks like the last couple of days have seen an upsurge in the number of views! People are still watching the thing!

There's also a version on YouTube that I actually prefer - it cuts my bit at the start down from sixty seconds to ten, while still adequately explaining what I'm doing.

I want to make another one of these videos now! I've already forgotten how tedious the day of filming was! Come on, movie producers, it only takes me thirty seconds to 'write' a story, does anyone want one?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

That's it. No more cherry coke.

It gives me terrible heartburn, makes me fat and is almost certainly really really bad for me. It's back to a healthy diet of water and occasional lager, at least as far as drinks are concerned.

So let's all clink our mugs of tap water and toast the extraordinarily groovy news that they've rediscovered two lost episodes of Doctor Who from the sixties! "The Underwater Menace" is generally considered to be terrible, although there's a body of opinion that episode 3, the only previously-known-to-still-exist one, was the worst of them. And I actually thought episode 3 was a lot of fun and I don't know what everyone else is complaining about, so I'm sure episode 2 will be even better! It's got Ben and Polly in it, and they're awesome!

And as for Galaxy 4, episode 3... well, nobody ever really talks about Galaxy 4 except to say "it's a shame that the entire serial was destroyed without so much as a telesnap, seeing as it involves a race of evil blonde women from space," so the fans who wrote fanfics about themselves being captured by the Drahvins will be a little disappointed that they don't look quite like the hand-drawn illustrations that accompanied their story, but everyone else will be pleased to see it at last after 46 years of non-existence.

When I invent a magic camcorder that can record the past, the first thing I'll do will be to tape the 106 episodes of Doctor Who that remain lost. The second thing will be solving the JFK assassination, and the third will be Ancient Greece. Or maybe Livy's history of Rome, I'm not sure which one first. Then the first season of The Avengers.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

They'll be wanting to dissect it next

I didn't mention that an added bonus of this trip to Munich was having my brain MRI-scanned by Boris and his team of German mad scientists. They've now added my brainwaves to their collection of memory athletes, and I'm sure it's just a matter of time before they successfully create a super-brain that will take over the planet Earth.

If anyone's keeping track, this means that my brain has now been scanned by scientists in Japan, the USA and Germany. Does nobody in Britain care what's inside my head? It's quite fascinating in there, I'm sure.

Anyway, the sideshow to this science was the second day of our friendly gathering to test our memories - or, rather, to see how out of practice we all were, because it's safe to say that nobody was setting the world alight with amazing feats here. I did do a pack of cards in 26.53 seconds and, more importantly, recall it with great ease - most of the time when I'm under 30 seconds it's a huge mental struggle. Hopefully this will happen more often in real memory competitions, although actually it might be more rewarding if I'm racking my brains for five minutes and only sorting the last cards into order in the last half-second.

The time (measured in the old-fashioned way with arbiters with stopwatches, since we hadn't brought enough speed stacks timers) was too slow, though - I got mentally 'stuck' on at least one image for a couple of all-important seconds, aiming for a time a bit under 25. This meant, for what it's worth, that Hannes won with a score of 6060 and I came second with 5999. By way of comparison, Wang Feng just amply demonstrated why he's the world champion with a score of something like 8477. That's what happens when you're at a real world championship instead of a last-minute unofficial get-together, as well as when you're much better at memorising things than I am. Congratulations to him, and here's hoping that next year I'll be in a position to challenge him (there's no point putting it off any more - I've got to create that 10,000 image system for numbers. I don't think I'm ever going to get over 2000 with my current one, and scores way above 2500 are rapidly becoming the norm...)