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May 8th, 2006

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08:09 pm - Yoof Cup to Yoofer Cup
Chris Dickson is one hundred and eleven, again; if you're counting, this is the third time since January. This particular bout of 111ness was due to a stomachache which turned into running a temperature and exhaustion, same as the last one just before Meg came to visit. In addition, beforehand, I had a couple of days where I could feel my heart beat really strongly, seemingly with the whole of my body, which led to terrible trouble relaxing. That has gone, but I can hear a sort of geiger-counter-like clicking at the very bottom of my register, like there's a car running its engine very slowly a quarter of a mile away and I can just hear it. As this has cropped up both when I was trying to get to sleep and when I've been at my computer in the chair, I'm going to refuse the initial hypothesis of music elsewhere in the building (too irregular and far from musical) or heating system pipes and suspect it's just some weird sort of tinnitus. Fingers crossed that it'll go away by itself.

There are lots of things I want to blog about, but they would require time, effort and a bit of proper composition, which I don't have at the moment. Accordingly, I'm going to post something very simple and just ponder upon that as an insight as to why people post so many meme questionnaire results.

I went grocery shopping in town today and observed that between about a quarter and a third of the shops (excluding the ones that were obviously shut down) had some sort of decoration pertaining to the local (association) football club's appearance in the UEFA Cup final. This is a very big deal; participation in the competition through to appearance in the final has probably already been worth millions to the club - Bloomberg reckon that reaching the final guarantees at least £1½ million in prize money alone - and a final victory would be worth millions more over the years. (Square Football claim Liverpool's UEFA Cup win was worth about £10 million all told, but also point out the cost, through decreased prize money, of finishing lower in the Premiership.)

My journey took me through Middlesbrough's biggest open-air shopping square, where a large crowd were assembled around a white football-shaped object, probably approaching twice human height, designed in the traditional buckyball-style hexagons-and-12-pentagons fashion, but with red pentagons. As people were struggling to hold it down, it was clear that it was full of helium balloons. All around, boom boxes were blaring Middlesbrough's theme song, a heavily remixed version of Pigbag. One extended wait later, we counted down from ten and the football skin was opened to reveal many hundreds, possibly a thousand or two, of white and red helium-filled balloons, each apparently bearing a card with a message wishing the 'Boro well in the final.

Unfortunately the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, so instead of the balloons heading off south-east across the North Sea in the general direction of Eindhoven, they were headed approximately WSW. Now last August I was rather thrilled when a deflated helium balloon landed in our garden, having travelled about 14 miles, as a demonstration of the law of conservation of Helium Balloons. Accordingly, one might expect that the modus operandi of the helium balloons is that they are heading for Teesside Durham Tees Valley Airport, where they can (a) doubtless interfere with air traffic and (b) hop aboard any charter flights that happen to be headed in the general vicinity of the Netherlands. Still, at least that's better than two or three of the balloons that got stuck in the nearest tree, having flown, ooh, possibly as far as three or four yards. Come on, 'Boro!

(Referencing the subject line of this post, a standard trivia question that may well be about to be written is "Name a player who played in the final of the FA Youth Cup, before playing in the final of the UEFA Cup three years later." Unless there is already an answer to this, there is someone who could do it; he was in the starting line-up for Middlesbrough's home win in the semi-final, so he might get a run-out in the final as well. Despite this, I can't recall having heard of him before.)

Things to promote:
1) Through ringbark, there exists a permmembers community for people with LiveJournal Permanent Accounts. I do hope this doesn't turn into "We have Permanent Accounts therefore we are excellent and important in a way that other people are not", but I've joined the community anyway.
2) Compulsory voting in the UK would be tremendous, particularly if None Of The Above were to outpoll the existing parties.
3) Many phrases in the English language have unusual spellings which we have to remember or look foolish, o joy.
4) Environmentalists point out another way to look at carbon trading which would be correct only on the assumption that all the power stations in many nations were suddenly to shut down altogether. A grain of truth on an interesting subject approached from a bizarre angle.

Simply because I'm in the mood for attention without wanting to have to think too hard: How many times has someone on your friends list posted about something and you were really confused, but you didn't want to ask because you knew you SHOULD know? How many times have you felt guilty asking a close LJ friend a question that should be obvious?

Well, here's your chance.

If you've missed a few things, missed an entry and are confused, ask me anything. Even something EXTREMELY basic, like where I live! I'm not allowed to get even slightly irritated at any of the questions - we've all missed things before.

Current Mood: blahthe washing machine is fixed

(9 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:May 8th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
Wait, you live in the UK?

Anyway, a serious reply:
2) Compulsory voting in the UK would be tremendous particularly if None Of The Above were to outpoll the existing parties.

I foresee the mass exodus of libertarians from the US to the UK.
[User Picture]
Date:May 8th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
For now, but not necessarily forever. If a good opportunity came up then I'd certainly consider it; in years to come, Meg and I may well be more proactive about looking for opportunities.
Date:May 9th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear you are I11, i|| or whatever. Perhaps this explains why I've been unsuccesful calling you of late.

Possible Reason to be Cheerful - Mind Games magazine launches next month. I've contributed to the launch issue and it's shaping up to be very tasty. Mixture of novel puzzles, Japanese classics, think pieces and general brain games news. Full colour too. Possibly the nearest thing this country will ever get to a version of Games magazine.

Bit more info here and on related Googles:

Last time I went shopping I saw a 30-foot high model elephant walking through Piccadilly Circus. Hurrah for large things in shopping malls.

Later that day, in the Tro***ero Centre me and Sophie played a very jolly giant multi-player arcade quiz game, quite realistic to being on a TV game show. 5 questions for your 50p throw, with 15 prize tickets added to the prize pool per player. There are six podia, and each question has A, B, C answers and you press satisfyingly oversized buttons to make your choice. Ties are split on total response time. The questions - which appear on a big projection screen in front of you - ranged from obvious to satifyingly "tricky but gettable".

The dynamics of playing the game as if it were a game show worked well - some people panicked and made bad choices quickly, rather than making sure of the question (you're given up to 20 seconds to think about it if you want). I think I scored 3, 4, 5, 5 on the matches I played in but had to think about quite a few of them. Only some typos and glitches in the questions and not much visual interest (e.g. no picture questions) disappointed. Also the unnecessary Wheel of Fortune category wheel before each question slowed down gameplay unnecessarily. All in all, a good 8/10 from me.
[User Picture]
Date:May 9th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
I encountered said Super Trivia machine at the Dave and Buster's in Duluth, as discussed. (Indeed, as commented upon by your good self.) Meg has me going to arcades in search of skee-ball; the scary things are still there, but they're less scary when I'm with her. The Namco Station at London's County Hall has skee-ball, by the way, but not Super Trivia. (Even the skee-ball is a bit knackered; there were at least a couple of occasions where it mysteriously deducted a ball which hadn't been thrown. Perhaps we were going too slowly, or something.)

Illness: well, I do normally split my time between 12A and Dad's house at 42, but Dad has kindly been looking after me more than usual, which would make me harder to encounter. :-) 'Twould be good to speak to you; I had mail from the person doing PR for the Mind Games mag launch, in the context of the MSO, so I was going to tell you about it if you didn't already know. Perhaps I might be able to sell something to them?
[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
Haha, yes, I was just thinking that the said trivia game sounded like the one at the Dave and Buster's in Austin. I'd entirely forgotten about that write-up of yours when we went there. The 8-player Daytona USA was one of smallclanger's favourites. Sadly we didn't discover a magic skee-ball, though the roulette machine was slightly magic in that a couple of times it didn't seem to let us bet after swiping the card, but a few minutes later we discovered a couple of stations on the other side of the wheel that had an unused credit each (and they both won for us).
[User Picture]
Date:May 9th, 2006 12:43 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:May 9th, 2006 03:39 pm (UTC)
More of a whoosh chugga whirr washing machine, but if it's working, I'm smiling.

I'm trying it out now and... well, not holding my breath, but definitely hoping.
[User Picture]
Date:May 9th, 2006 02:28 am (UTC)
I hope it's nothing serious. Are you planning on going to a doctor to have it checked? Hope you feel better.

Compulsory voting

How would they accomplish that? Would they fine/imprison people who have no money and didn't have time to vote while begging for change? Maybe they should take the Prime Minister's (and his cabinet's - adding - and all the Royal Family's) salaries, combine them, split them into equal parts for each eligible voter in Great Britain and, in a reverse of the poll tax, give a poll rebate where each person is PAID to go down and vote. Now, there's an incentive. (I enjoy their names: Hain and Hoon. Weren't they an act in the '60's???) LOL

Aren't people who have permanent accounts just naturally better than everybody else??? ;)
[User Picture]
Date:May 9th, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC)
Compulsory voting: the Australian model seems to work well enough. Admittedly the fine is pretty token - this article suggests A$40 and A$100, which is not much in a country where an Internet fridge famously costs A$16,999. Apparently it may not always be collected, too, though it works to generate a turhout in the mid-'90s.

Other people have suggested payment for voting. Probably hard to implement in practice and hard to communicate that the practice is not linked with any one particular party, but a nice idea all the same.

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