Friday, May 24, 2013

Okay, I think we're all set

All I need to do is clear a few piles of rubbish out of my living room, and I'm ready for people to come round for the weekend's memorising!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hold off! Unhand me, grey-beard loon!

I have an increasing number of white hairs in the moustache and goatee bit of my beard that have resisted the all-over whitening of the rest of my facial hair so far. I fondly remember, not ten years ago, pulling out the couple of white hairs in my otherwise uniformly dark brown/black beard, to make sure it looked good on some special occasion. Now I'm pretty sure it'll only be a few more years before I can fulfil my ambition to grow a big bushy Santa beard in time for Christmas. Which is wonderful, but on the other hand TV adverts keep telling me that all men want to cure their baldness and disguise their white hairs, so perhaps I'm just not right in the head.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Not your biggest fan, but maybe your medium-sizedest

I don't recall mentioning it for a while, but I really love Stephen King's books from around the mid-90s to the mid-00s. I don't really get on with his earliest stuff, or the more recent ones, but in that era, he really strikes a chord with me. Situations like this always make me wonder what I would say if I met someone like that - "I really love certain of your works"? "Aside from those books that I don't particularly like, I greatly admire your writings"? Not that the situation's likely to arise, but I think it's important to be prepared for this kind of thing with some sort of snappy phrase.

Actually, I always hope that when I meet someone super-famous and awesome, they'll have heard of me. Never happened yet...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

World Wide

Hello to the person, people or robot in Antigua and/or Barbuda who's given this blog 41 pageviews in the last 24 hours. I do love the stats page, but I wish there was a way to tell which visitors are evil mechanoids and which are people with a genuine interest in vague and largely meaningless drivel about memory competitions. It would just be nice to know just how many people stumble across this page searching for drivel, that's all.

Anyway, while I'm rambling, let me confess that I've very much let the memory training slide for the last couple of months, after being all enthusiastic about it earlier in the year. Maybe the people at the Friendly competition this weekend can encourage me to get back into it? It would probably help if you all jeer at me for not being able to remember things.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Friendly factoids

Sunday's competition will be the eighth Friendly/Cambridge Memory Championship! Interestingly, nobody has ever won the competition twice. This goes hand-in-hand with the other interesting fact that nobody who has won the championship has ever come back to it, ever. That's... kind of worrying, isn't it? Do I not applaud the winner enough? Well, Jonas von Essen is hopefully going to buck that trend and come back to defend his title this year, so maybe there'll be a new page in the history books...

Here's a memory memory that occurs to me - At the first Cambridge championship in 2006, one of the names in the Names & Faces discipline was the wonderfully evocative surname “Catchpole”. One of the German competitors remembered it as “Polegrab”, while one of the English memorisers (who didn’t have such a good excuse; it’s not that uncommon a name in England), rendered it as “Grabpole”.

It’s a natural mistake to make - poles, as a rule, don’t move, so if you picture someone ‘catching’ one, it will usually be a mental image of a hand grabbing a stationary pole. And when you come to translate it back from pictures into words, ‘grab pole’ is what will come to mind...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Ba Ni Bi

I don't watch the Eurovision Song Contest. And I mean that in the way that some people say they don't smoke, because they only have three or four cigarettes a day, ten at most. As usual this year, I saw that it was on, decided I wasn't going to bother watching it, sort of left it on in the background while not actually watching it as such, and saw the whole thing.

The songs were pretty uniformly awful, as usual, but there's always one that I like, and that usually finishes somewhere low down in the top half - this year it was Hungary, with the very catchy "Kedvesem", by ByeAlex. I'd vote for it, if I watched Eurovision.