Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Online Memory League Championship

An ongoing football-league-style competition for Memory League starts soon! It will work like this...
Competitors are divided into divisions of twelve players. For the first season, they are allocated to divisions based on their average position on the leaderboard (as at 18:00 GMT on 31 July 2017) and in the online Swiss tournament that ran from May to the start of July. Players who didn't compete in the Swiss are based solely on their leaderboard position.
In a season, each competitor will play each of the others in the division once, with one match per week, on a schedule drawn randomly at the start of the season. Players can be flexible about when they play their matches, depending on availability and circumstances, but should try to stick to the schedule as much as possible.
Matches will consist of six games - each player chooses three different disciplines, with the choice alternating. The first player on the scheduled match list chooses the first discipline; the schedule will be arranged so that each player gets a roughly equal distribution of 'home' and 'away' matches. Draws are possible, both in individual disciplines and in the match as a whole.
If the match is a 3:3 draw, the players can (if they both agree to it) play a one-game 'decider', which can be any discipline they choose. If they don't both agree to play the decider, then the match is a draw.
The league table gives two points for a match won, one for a match drawn. Players on the same number of points are ranked by number of disciplines won.
At the end of the season, the bottom two in each division are related to the division below, and the top two in each division are promoted to the division above. There are play-offs between the 10th-place in the upper division versus 3rd-place in the lower, and 9th-place in the upper versus 4th-place in the lower to determine promotion and relegation.
The top four in the first division go into play-offs for the grand title. 1st versus 4th and 2nd versus 3rd, followed by a grand final to determine the League Champion!
Play-offs and semi-finals are best of 9 games - players still can't choose the same discipline twice, so if it gets to 4-4, the final discipline will be the one discipline that Player A (the higher-ranked in the league, who gets the first choice of discipline) hasn't yet chosen.
The Grand Final will be best of 11 - the first game will be a Surprise Task! The loser of that game gets the first choice of discipline for the second, and once more the players can't choose the same discipline twice.
Seasons will last three months - the schedule for the first season (Autumn Season 2017) looks like this:
Match week 1 05/08/2017
Match week 2 12/08/2017
Match week 3 19/08/2017
Match week 4 26/08/2017
Match week 5 02/09/2017
Match week 6 09/09/2017
Match week 7 16/09/2017
Match week 8 23/09/2017
Match week 9 30/09/2017
Match week 10 07/10/2017
Match week 11 14/10/2017
Playoffs and semi-finals 21/10/2017
Grand Final 28/10/2017
Then the Winter Season starts on 04/11/2017!
If you want to join up, post a comment on the Art of Memory thread here or on the Facebook thread.

Here are a couple of examples of how matches will work:

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Speaking of hundred-year-olds

It occurred to me that June Foray, cartoon voice actor extraordinaire, will be turning 100 on September 18th this year, and still going strong. Here's Hazel the witch in 1952 - possibly the secret to a long life is to specialise in voicing old ladies (and witches) in your youth.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Happy birthday, Johnny Thunder!

Flash Comics #1, dated January 1940 but first published in late 1939, had among its backup strips the first adventure of "Johnny Thunderbolt". A normal guy who spent the next eight years having entertaining mishaps caused by his magical powers, activated whenever he accidentally says the magic words "say you". He's fondly remembered and often still referenced today. And his first story is very specific about his date of birth - 7am on the 7th of July, 1917. He's 100 years old today!

Well, probably - four pages later, the narrator tells us the story is set "in 1939, when Johnny is 23", because it wasn't the kind of comic that makes a big fuss over little details like that, but I think it's still worth celebrating!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017


Drat it, I've got a puncture on my bike, just as I was getting home tonight. Now, for want of owning a puncture repair kit and the knowledge of what to do with one if I did own it, I'll have to walk in to work tomorrow, pushing my bike, through what will probably be the blazing sun and/or pouring rain. Life is tough.

On the other hand, I don't particularly care about the inconvenience, so I must generally be in a good temper at the moment...

Monday, July 03, 2017


If you're one of those people who can't get enough of the sound of my voice, check out this interview! I haven't listened to it myself yet, but as I recall I rambled on incoherently for an hour or so about memory competitions and life in general. Please do check out all the other podcasts on the site too, you're sure to find something to entertain you!

And the point it makes is a good one - we really should have memory competitions in Ireland. The place must be full of potential memory enthusiasts who just need a nearby event to come to!

But if you're not such a fan of me and more of a fan of Clay Knight and Johnny Briones, check out Johnny's interview with Clay here! There's going to be a lot of these, with memory people from around the world. Me too, if I ever get round to filling in the questionnaire. Look forward to it!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

On the plus side

Downloading all my pictures from Photobucket gives me the opportunity to look through them all and remember why I put them on there in the first place. And an excuse to share with the world all the pictures I previously put on Photobucket for some reason other than to share them on this blog. For example, here are all the occasions in John Byrne's Alpha Flight comics in which somebody addresses Puck as "Friend Judd".



Nobody else, in any Alpha Flight comic (or, as far as I know, anywhere else in the world) ever gets called "Friend" and their surname, but multiple characters, independently of each other, pick up the habit of talking to Judd that way. What this says about the character, or John Byrne, or the world, I don't know. I just found it interesting.

There needs to be more public outcry about this

Photobucket have just stopped people being allowed to show pictures stored there on blogs like this, so I'm having to go through all my old posts and re-upload them directly to Blogger. I should really have done that in the first place, but never mind. So if you're looking through my archives and can't see the pretty pictures, don't worry, they'll be back shortly.

Monday, June 26, 2017

OK Computer

According to WZebra, the genius othello computer, my move to e8 wasn't that bad, it was still roughly a draw at that point. My winning line was an entirely unfathomable one spinning out of me playing b6, which I would never have thought of in a million years. But that's computers for you. They're not so great. I bet WZebra would explode if I ask it to define love, or tell it that everything I say is a lie and I'm lying now.