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Sunday, August 26, 2012


just the other day i was listening to a news piece on the radio. it was about the memory championships that had just been held someplace in the uk.
along with cheese rolling, mud snorking and shove ha'apenny the memory championships are under represented when it comes to media coverage. look if people will watch poker being played on tv then there is scope of any 'sport' to get its time on the small screen.

anyway that is all beside the point.

they were interviewing the winner. she told them of some of the things she had to remember: the order of cards, the order of a very long binary sequence, lists of random letters. all interesting (and very telegenic) stuff.
the standard question was asked: how do you remember it all?

i perked up at that as my memory is pretty ropey (should that be netty?) and no sooner have i tried to remember something than i have forgotten it.
i believe it is in stephen king's 'dreamcatcher' novel that he talks about the 'memory bank' (though to be honest this is from a period of king's work that i stopped reading - so i only know this from the less than wonderful film adaptation) in which the hero can only store so many memories and that in order to add new ones he has to get rid of some old ones.
(a work colleague had his on variation on this - the wank bank, i'll leave it to your imagination just what he stored in there).
some of my oldest friends can remember our school days - i just listen to them and nod. half the time i can't remember the people they are talking about. in truth i have a bunch of memories from school, but not that many and never the same ones as my friends. it is the same with work - people will mention something that happened and i only have the vaguest recollection of it.
i am not good with names - and i went for years seeing retailers who i chatted to regularly on the phone and met at trade shows, but i had no idea of their names.

my memory is shot to bits.
that meant i was interested in any techniques that could help me.

i was expecting a bit about mnemonics (itself not easy to remember how to spell) but learning a phrase such as 'never east shredded weat' to remember the points of the compass is one thing but i need help to remember richard of york gave battle in vain (the colours of the rainbow).
the lass gave her secret - she used visual clues in order to remember the long lists of numbers, cards, letters she needed to win. sometimes she associated the list to be remembered to her friends, or to objects she had in her house.

so in order to remember 50 things - it seemed she needed to remember 100, the thing and the thing that reminded her of the thing. given i can't remember the thing the chances of me remember the thing that i decided was going to represent the thing i needed to remember wasn't going to be the most useful tactic.

while it was a nice idea to see if there was a quick and easy way to improve my memory - it turns out that the way to remember things is to be able to remember things in the first place.

looks like i am just going to have to remember to write stuff down and remember not to kid myself that i can remember things.
because i can't.

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