Memory Test

I was riding home yesterday, Carl was driving, and we were listening to that iTunes Weekly Rewind podcast, which is just a few people talking about music and playing a variety of clips.

There were a few that sounded interesting, and I wanted to remember what they were.
My first instinct was to reach for my iPhone and write myself a note, however, I decided it would make a good experiment.

So there were 3 phrases that I wanted to remember, either band, album, or song names. The phrase would be enough to find out more with a Google search later.

The first phrase I converted into a visual mnemonic.
The second phrase I converted into a mixture of visual mnemonic and text.
The third phrase I left as text.

I forgot to try to remember them when I got home (metaforgetting?).

So today I remembered the experiment, and was trying to remember the three phrases.

The first was easy to remember. I visualized a clothing iron and a glass of wine. This is for a band called “Iron & Wine”.

For the next phrase, I could remember the visual part of the mnemonic, but not the words. I had been visualizing one word, with a line drawn under it, and another word underneath. But I don’t remember the words. It was something like “____ under ____” or “_____ below ____” the second blank mighta been a longish word.

The third phrase I didn’t remember at all.

Clearly, visuals are extremely easy to remember when compared to words.

When a new programmer was hired to our team at work, I came up with a visual mnemonic for his name, and can now recall it easily. I pictured a guy with lots of keyboards and a camera, “John Tesh” and a “Konica”. His name, therefore, is Shantesh Kanekar.

Reminds me of an example Derren Brown gave for how he does a card trick. He said he visualized a room, and in that room are 52 objects, each representing a specific card. When a card had been played, he would visualize putting a bright ribbon tag on that object. In this way, he would be able to remember which cards had been played, and which were still in the deck.

I guess to remember the missing two items from that podcast, I’ll have to download it and listen to it again. I checked for show notes, knowing my memory would be jogged if I saw the missing phrases, but oddly they list the songs for every episode except that one.

Fun Weekend

I had a lot of fun this weekend!


Friday night I went to a They Might Be Giants show in Northampton, MA with Sarah and Krista.

We got a great spot on the dance floor right by the stage. Poor Sarah had just come off working a 12-hour shift at the hospital, though, so she was barely able to stand. And I may have overdone it with hopping and bopping to the music – since the operation I have been largely sedentary, aside from short walks and occasional walking up stairs at work, so by the end of the show my side hurt, and my whole body felt like lead, really tired.

They did two sets during the show, the first was their 1990 album Flood – all the songs, in order, the whole album. Lotsa good stuff there. It was great, and some minor flubs were entertaining, as well.
After messing up the beginning of “Hot Cha” a couple times, Flans said something like “I was having this terrible dream… I was up on this stage for some reason, with spotlights on me, and everyone was staring at me…”

The second set was an assortment of songs from various albums, including one song from an upcoming kid’s science album being released through Disney. It was a response to the factual inaccuracies in the song “Why Does the Sun Shine? (the sun is a mass of incandescent gas)” called “Why Does the Sun *Really* Shine? (the sun is a miasma of incandescent plasma)“.

I took a bunch of pictures and some video.


Saturday Sarah and I were going to go to a Halloween party, but were still tired from the show the night before, so decided not to go. Instead we went to the mall – Sarah wanted some new shoes, and I ended up getting some new shoes too. Then we drove to my house.

We nearly died on the way, it was dark and raining with heavy wind, and at one point traffic came slamming to a near-stop because, against the guard rail in the median, sticking out into the fast lane, there was a car pointing in the wrong direction. Looked like they hydroplaned and ended up facing the wrong way. They really should have put their hazards on but were probably still to freaked out to realize that, though they survived the spinout, they were still in a very dangerous spot.

Once we made it home, we watched “The Warriors” with Adam. Adam and I hadn’t seen it before. It’s a very silly movie, with some bad acting, and they added some weird comic-booky transitions for the recent DVD release, but fun to watch and make fun of. Cybergen players, check it out for rough yogang ideas. =)


Sunday Sarah, Adam, Tanya, Paula, and I went on a chartered “Fun Bus” that Tanya got us tickets for – it was a bus ride to Foxwoods casino with a bunch of people, which included drinks and snacks on the way there and back, and a lunch buffet at Foxwoods (which was pretty good) and keno tickets (I didn’t win anything). We also watched “Don’t Mess With the Zohan” on the bus… stupid movie, with some funny bits here and there.

At the casino, we played some slot machines, a couple spins of roulette, and bet on some horse races. It was actually pretty fun, except for the cigarette (and cigar) smoke. Bleh. I still feel a little ill from it. It’s like a nature preserve for smokers… smoking is banned most places, but there you can still see the smoker in their natural habitat, puffing away, with occasional calls of “huuurch! hurrrrrch!” (deep phlegmy coughs).

Then when we got back from the casino we went to Unos for dinner and then stopped at Toys R Us on the way home, where I bought some Legos.

Now it’s late and I’m off to bed.


Much better “seats” for this show – standing right by the stage – like at the Roxy.

Show starts at 8. Woot!


I bought the Bionic Commando: Rearmed soundtrack this morning on iTunes (I’d have preferred buying it from Amazon, and avoid the hassle of DRM, but it appears to be an iTunes exclusive).

You can listen to it on the Bionic Commando site.

Fun synth remixes and re-imaginings of the 80’s Capcom 8-bit tunes. Also on the soundtrack, a humorous trailer for the game… “When the world needed a hero, what they got was… this guy. A guy who couldn’t even jump.”

I also bought Bionic Commando: Rearmed (the game) on Xbox Live the other day, but with all that’s been going on, I haven’t played it much. Bionic Commando was one of my favorite games on the NES back in the day – Rearmed is the same game, with improved graphics and sound and some other stuff added. Maybe I can play it, if I ever get a free moment when my organs aren’t exploding. =P

Gimme them old-tyme girls

Picked up “Betcha Bottom Dollar” by the Puppini Sisters on Amazon’s digital music store (better than Apple’s Music Store – Amazon has no DRM restrictions).

Good stuff, three women doing harmonies, a mix of old tyme songs and a couple old-style renditions of newer songs.

I like this style of music, like another favorite band of mine, The Ditty Bops.

My dad pointed me to The Roches, who are also enjoyable.

Slightly older-style, the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou” is also good.

Comings and goings

Yesterday I drove to Sumerville (on the outskirts of Boston) and met Snooj at Good Time Emporium, an arcade/bowling alley/bar. I met Snooj and Kyle there.

From there Snooj and I went to eat at the 99 (Kyle stayed at the arcade), we were running late so had to kinda scarf our food down.

Then we drove around Sumerville looking for parking, and then walked to the Sumerville Theatre for the They Might Be Giants show.

I was a bit worried because we got there like 25 minutes late (the Sumerville Theatre directions recommend taking public transportation, since parking is so hard to find), but luckily there was an opening act, we got there just as they finished and had 15 minutes or so to relax before TMBG came on.

It was a good show, we had seats just about as far back as possible, balcony, last row, but we could see ok. They played a good variety of songs, and came on for two encores. During the intro song everyone was invited to stand up, and everyone remained standing for the whole show, which was fine, but I think Snooj’s legs got tired, he had been playing In The Groove 2 (spiritual successor to Dance Dance Revolution) for a while beforehand at the arcade.

After the show we went back to the arcade, played a few games. I played some Police 911 (quite a workout, it’s a gun game where you physically dodge for cover by ducking and moving your body side to side), Fast and the Furious (with motion seat), Tetris (kicked Kyle’s ass), and Soul Caliber 2.

Then it was time to drive back home. Snooj and Kyle followed me, since they were coming by to crash on the couch and floor at my place. Got home around 2am, got to bed about 3am, then had to get up at 4:45am and drive Adam to the Logan Express bus in Framingham. Got back home around 6am, slept until 9:30am.

Made Hastings Cakes (hollandaise flavored) for everyone for breakfast, hung out with Snooj and Kyle until 11am when they had to head out.

Now I’m finishing up my packing and Dave was nice enough to agree to drive me to the Logan Express in Framingham at 4pm.

I’ll catch the 5pm bus, get to the airport around 6, giving me plenty of time till my plane leaves at 8:30.

Then I’ll get to Vegas at about midnight Vegas time, which is 3am EST.

Busy busy busy is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.”
-Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

-Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne