Teesside Snog Monster (jiggery_pokery) wrote,
Teesside Snog Monster
jiggery_pokery

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Hello from the MSO!

Hello, gang! It's been a while, hasn't it? I have been very busy indeed working at the 8th Mind Sports Olympiad in Manchester. This year's event is being OK. As ever, a few steps forward from previous years, but also many steps and slides backwards.

Last year, I was responsible for producing a daily bulletin and updating the web site pretty much by myself (though with the help of godlovesevery1 from time to time); this year, I'm co-leading a team of 2 (might have been 3, going down to 1 tomorrow) in producing and processing the official results, plus leading a team of 7 5 in doing the jobs that I did last year. These are all volunteers with no prior experience of the MSO and frequently with little knowledge of mind sports at large - but, as you might guess from them being volunteering types, all nice folk. This goes to show just how good specialists at their job can be. I don't think I'm a great team leader, though I think I am avoiding the biggest mistakes by simply trying to be pleasant to everyone else on the teams. Don't know whether I'm committing the second, third, fourth (etc.) biggest mistakes or not, though.

(This is resulting in lots of 12-hour days, like last year's event did. However, I'm finding things far easier and considerably less stressful than last year's workload. The other people are good company and rapidly improving at their jobs.)

Anyway, there was a lovely piece on the MSO today on BBC Radio 4's "You and Yours". No exposure for me, happily, but lots of good people talking and good quotes. You can probably listen to it (possibly UK-only, but worth a try from overseas) until noon British time tomorrow - or this time next week? - using the BBC's "Listen Again" feature here. Please let me know if you try to listen, if it works, and what you think of it.

My wagering record for the event is +£5.03, so here I shall stop. +3p came from my boss, whose record at causing computer equipment to malfunction is sufficient to get him to wager money that I will not be able to get things to work in his presence. The other plus five came from Anne Jones. Anne is a lovely person who won the Speed Reading contest at MSO 1, MSO 2, MSO 3, MSO 4, MSO 5, MSO 7 and would have won it at MSO 6 had she not previously scared off all the competition to the point where she was the only entrant.

Reading quickly alone is not enough to win our contest - you have not only to read quickly but to prove you have taken it in by answering questions on a comprehension test; your raw score is multiplied by your proportion of comprehension test questions answered correctly so 500 words per minute with 90% recall (= 500 * 90% = 450 effective words per minute) beats 1,000 words per minute with 40% recall (= 1,000 * 40% = 400 effective words per minute).

Anne competed again this year and came out having read an unpublished 50,000-word Stephen King book in about 21 minutes or so. However, she came into the press room next door despondent, claiming that she couldn't get a rhythm going at the start and that she had scored 30% at most on the comprehension test. She wanted to get her mind off speed reading and so came and volunteered to help us for a couple of hours. I told her that I would bet her that she had won the contest again and accepted her proposed stake of a fiver. Turns out that her comprehension was a bit down on past years, but this dropped her score to a mere 1,005 effective words per minute (to be fair, lower than her previous two MSO scores) which was still a good 50% or so higher than all the competition. Thank you, gold medal, cha-ching. Anne Jones at even money is definitely a positive-expectation proposition, even when she thinks she hasn't done well. I feel filthy rich... or, at least, both rich and filthy for the way in which I won it. (No, I shall not be taking a similar bet at a considerably higher stake next year.)

Haven't had the time to read my Friends list at all, but am taking a long late lunchbreak... and, I guess, I can call this work. Thinking of you, especially absent friends, those who I know need hugs and MSO folk. (Oh, and dezzikitty, who I will be seeing again in a mere EIGHT DAYS, has let me know that sundry Chat00bs and associates have had extremely satisfying exam results. Thumbs aloft!) Will try to get to post to LJ again semi-soon, where I shall rant about lousy phonecards and ask you all lots of questions. In the interim, is it an etiquette violation to do a "can you point me to any important news of yours I may have missed, please?" post? I haven't been watching any of the Olympics, let alone reading news.bbc.co.uk, let alone reading LJ...
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