There's a new World Memory Champ....and his name is Alex Mullen. No more Swede or German on the top. Now it's an American!
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Day 2 of the World Memory Championships is over. Here's what's happened so far and how I'm doing.
Time for some 2015 WMC predictions. Who do I think is gonna win it all? Is it the usual favorites or a possible newcomer.
Went on a $1 pizza tour around Manhattan to find the best dollar slice in existence. Rather, it ended up being a completely memorable experience that I'll probably never forget!
My Kickstarter page for the children's book I made has 24 hours left! Make a pledge, quick!
Ever thought about competing in the USA Memory Championships? Well here is a breakdown of how to win it, from the champ himself.
It's my 1 billionth second on this planet. And yeah, I'm a nerd. So what?
Please help fund my children's book on Kickstarter! It's doing really well so far, but I'm trying to get as many copies printed as possible!
Here's a short video of me nailing 80 names perfectly at a fundraising event.
Continuing this series of extreme memory feats, here's Nelson Dellis memorizing an entire deck of cards while holding his breath under water. That's the right way to close out summer, don't you think? Check it out:
How extreme is YOUR memory? Make sure to take our little memory test to see how you compare.
Go here to take the test: extremememorychallenge.com
Watch XMT founder, Nelson Dellis, recite pieces of Pi. If you tell him any 10 digit chunk chosen at random, he can tell you the 10 digits that come before and the 10 digits that come right after! Check it out:
How extreme is YOUR memory? Make sure to take our little memory test to see how you compare.
Go here to take the test: extremememorychallenge.com
Here's the online version of the Wired UK article about the Extreme Memory Tournament and all the interesting stuff in between! http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2015/09/features/extreme-memory-tournament-mental-athletes
Read about how memory athletes train their memory to do crazy feats, and then test your own memory here (while helping out with some cutting edge memory/brain research):
We are excited to officially announce that Everest 2016 is a go! Almost 6 years ago, I decided to create something that would help raise awareness and funds for the disease that took my Grandmother back in 2009, Alzheimer's. It is also the same reason I decided back then, to start training my brain and taking care of my brain for my future self (thus eventually becoming a 4x USA Memory Champion!). Climb For Memory was born out of that in 2010 with the first fundraising effort built around the 2011 Everest climb. Many of you know that I came up 50 meters short of the summit. I turned around from the summit with less than an hour left to climb because I was in bad shape and made the decision to come back alive and in one piece. 2 years later, I tried again, this time on the north side of Tibet. It proved to be much harder than the south side, with much worse (colder) weather. I made it within 300m from the top.
While the goal of getting to the top of this mountain is still a huge personal goal of mine. The main, over-arching goal of making some form of progress in the area of Alzheimer's awareness and research is number one in my mind. After 5 years, how far have we come? It hasn't always been easy. In terms of money, we have raised over $30,000, which is a big number, but nowhere near anything large enough to make a serious dent (at least in my opinion). At first, we worked closely with the Alzheimer's Association. We were involved with many of their events, and portions of the raised funds went directly to them. But while the Alzheimer's Association is fantastic charity, and I totally applaud the efforts they go to year-in and year-out to raise awareness, I soon realized that I wanted Climb For Memory to:
1). continue to find exciting ways to raise awareness and bring attention to the disease (which I believe has been very successful in the climbs and memory tournaments that we have organized) and
2). direct its involvement towards research companies that are off the beaten path, taking chances in brain research; companies that are trying to do things that may cure the disease (but may also have a high chance of failing as well). I truly believe that these are the places where real progress towards a cure will occur.
So, with that being said. Everest 2016 is on! In an effort to bring more attention to this climb and cause, I'll be doing memory training all the way up the mountain and performing a mind-boggling memory feat at the summit of the mountain, to show just how strong the mind can be.
On top of that, and of more interest to you, we will be running a trek to Everest Base Camp leading up to the climb. This is open to anyone interested in trekking up the beautiful Khumbu Valley to see the tallest mountain in the world. You'll trek in with me and my expedition team and drop us off at Base Camp, then head back down. More details can be found here.
One of the events we run on a yearly basis is the Extreme Memory Tournament, a memory competition aimed at keeping the sport of memory exciting and engaging. We want memory training and brain health to be mainstream, and this competition is helping do just that. To get an idea of how the competition goes, check out this video recap from earlier this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tsALgyZKhg&feature=youtu.be
For more info on the competition, check out www.extremememorytournament.com. To take an EXTREME Memory Challenge that helps with research in developing a drug to help with brain health and cognition, check out: www.extremememorychallenge.com
I’m back. Safely. Here's the video recap!!
Unfortunately, no summit. And also, not as much internet as I would have hoped, so I wasn’t able to post any blog posts along the way. SORRY. But, I was able to send out some GPS way-points throughout the trip (check them out HERE). So here is a trip recap, as best as I can recall it (I can recall things pretty well).
So, back on the 8th of July, we headed out early to the small village of Janco (I use “village” lightly, it was basically just a single hut), about 45 minutes drive out of Huaraz. We packed up two big vans with our gear and 2000m of ropes and 10 ladders (for possible crevasses), and we were off!
When we arrived, we waited a bit until the BURROS showed up to carry all our gear up the valley. 26 in total. It was a beautiful, cloudless day and we were all pumped. Not a single soul in this particular valley, it was completely ours.
Now, a little background on this peak. It was first climbed in 1952 by a Dutch and French guy. And although I don’t know the exact number of how many people have climbed this thing, I think I heard somewhere that it was only a handful of people and the last time was 18 years ago up the route we were trying. Needless to say, it’s a very very hard peak to climb. For one, because of how remote it is. That makes the logistical side of it a nightmare. It’s hard to get porters and burros to that spot, so very hard to supply a long expedition with food and supplies. Secondly, it’s a MASSIVE mountain. It technically has two summits, Norte and Sur, and the Norte (the shorter one) one is a formidable peak in itself, and then you continue up the ridge and climb SUR, which is another long ways up a continuing ridge. Pretty much the whole climb is up a super exposed ridge. EPIC.
After a 2.5 hour walk up the valley we reached the end of it, where there was a beautiful emerald green lagoon at the base of a massive peak (San Juan, not Huantsan, which was actually hidden around the corner). We set up a cozy base camp à la Altitude Junkies style - each our own personal tent, a kitchen tent, a mess dome where we ate all our meals comfortably and had Barbara berate each and every one of us (haha just kidding...sort of). All in all we were 7 climbers, plus Phil, two Sherpas (Kami "Mad Dog" and Pasang, both whom I had climbed with on Everest), 2 local porters (Alex and Eloy), and 2 cooks (Daniel and Juvencio).
The first couple days we spent just sitting there acclimatizing, letting our bodies double in red blood cells (Hey, why are Irish folk so good at acclimatizing? Because their red blood cells are always Dublin.....Phil's joke. Not mine). On the third day we ventured up the side of the lagoon up the rock face to morraine camp about 500m higher. Pretty tough climb the first time through, taking us about 2.5 hours to reach. We dumped some of our ice gear up there, took a few moments to breath the thinner air, and headed back done. First rotation done.
Two rest days/further acclimatization days.
Then we went up to Camp 1. We first slept a night at morraine camp, which we decided to move to the base of the glacier to make our climb to Camp 1 a little easier. This was an extra hour's climb. No biggie, because the second foray we were much stronger and did the climb pretty quick. 3 hours in total. Mostly a rock scramble. We got to the glacier late in the day as the sky was turning orange-y red and started melting snow and cooking our freeze dried meals (chili meat with pasta FTW!). It was a relatively warm night, which was kind of strange, and with absolutely zero wind. I remember having to wake up a couple times to use the bathroom and I actually just stayed outside for a good 15 minutes each time counting the stars (lost count). So beautiful.
We woke up at 5am to vacate our tents so the porters could carry them up to C1. But we didn't set out onto the glacier until 7am once the sun had hit. Big mistake, because as soon as we started moving in the sun we were being baked and the snow got pretty slushy pretty quick. Not to mention, this glacier was riddled with crevasses, worse than anything I had ever seen before (and that's including the Khumbu Ice Fall). We stuck to the right-side rock wall (which was just as dangerous if you consider the possible rock fall, but it was either the crevasses or rock fall - would you rather fall in an ice hole or have a rock crush you? I'll have a rock crush me, thank you!). We went up in two rope teams of 4 (the Sherpas had gone ahead to fix ropes out of C1 up the ridge to C2).
Well...there were some issues. One, the second rope team had a few communication problems (but I guess that can happen, it was our first day out on the glacier anyways) so that slowed things a tad. Two, the glacier was dangerous as fuck. Three, once we got up the headwall using our ice tools and up onto the ridge, we quickly saw how scary and impossible the rest of the ridge up was from C1. It's common for a ridge to be corniced (basically overhanging snow caused by wind blowing it over) and you just safely traverse on the other side of it. But, it's highly uncommon to have multiple cornices up a ridge, swapping directions! Looking up we were able to see one cornice blown to the left, another blown to the right just above it, and then another blown to the left, above that! Something like that is just unclimbable, unless you want to risk it all. I don't.
So that's all it took. One look at that ridge and the climb was done. Phil said nope. Plus the weather was coming in bad, so he even nixed the idea of sleeping at C1 that night. So we turned around. UGH. That wasn't easy to accept, especially after a whole tough day of climbing. Objective completely aborted. But, dem's the rules...we headed down. It got a bit hairy on the fixed lines down because there were a few people not quite sure how to get down quickly. Not exactly what I wanted to be dealing with at that moment, but we eventually moved on from it. Emily, Hans, Phil, and I got back to glacier camp within an hour, packed our things, then made the long hike down to BC. All in all it ended up being a 10 hour day - felt much like a summit day. Ooff. I was knackered. I got back to camp and chugged some liquid yogurt and a Cusqueña beer (I had eaten only a few Chips Ahoy cookies for breakfast, a single chocolate almond for lunch, then a bite of a twix on the way down - I was famished). Then passed out in my tent until everyone came in later to BC, strolling in in the dark with their headlamps on. Had an amazing dinner and passed out again.
Phil was uber-disappointed considering this was a peak he had planned to climb since last year. I mean, all of us were disappointed of course. When I go on a climb, it's with a clear objective. I don't do well when that objective is just shut off so quickly. Phil mentioned possibly attempting San Juan as a consolation (the peak right in front of us, slightly smaller, and slightly less challenging), but I wasn't up for it. We did a bit of reconnaisance up to morraine valley a few days later to find the route, but a combination of disinterest and my ankle finally flaring up on me after being pounded the other day led me to get off the mountain. I hiked out, with the help of a burro, hopped on the back of some construction workers truck and headed back to Huaraz (but not before we had two consecutive evenings with MASSIVE bonfires, plenty-a-beer, and some fire-walking shenanigans led by Phil).
Some of the team stayed to try San Juan, but from what I understood, the next 3 days were deplorable weather and they were stuck at BC. I haven't heard the full report from them yet, but they should be arriving in Huaraz today.
All in all, despite not climbing anything, it was a great exploratory trip. I love Peru and Huaraz, and I love climbing with Phil. If anything, it got me guns-blazing for Everest 2016. More on that in a bit!
**Check it out here to see where I am real-time! https://share.delorme.com/NelsonDellis** About 3 years ago to the day I was here, in Huaraz, amidst the stunningly beautiful Cordillera Blancas, sitting down for dinner at a suspect and not-so-clean Peruvian restaurant, thinking to myself this is not going to end well. 15 minutes after finishing that meal, I found myself wishing everything inside of me would come out, like NOW. And it did. Whatever bug that was, it followed me up the valley to high camp on Alpamayo until I couldn't even gather the strength to move myself even a few feet without collapsing.
That was my experience the last time I was here (for the happy video version of this experience, watch HERE), and here I am again, attempting to tackle a new peak: Huantsan. First climbed in the 1950s, it's very exposed and a long and difficult climb. To boot, there was a Swiss team here a few weeks ago attempting it and had to bail because the higher up ridge was not looking so good.
Needless to say: EXCITING.
I flew out to Lima mid-day yesterday, grabbed some delicious ceviche and lomo saltado for dinner once I arrived, then hopped on a 7-hour bus-ride to Huaraz just before midnight. I didn't really fit well in the seat, but it was comfortable enough and I was able to sleep some. When sunlight hit, I was woken up by some rapid Spanish-speaking "host" who shoved a BINGO game card in my face. OKAY I GUESS IM PLAYING BINGO THEN. He then whipped out a deck of cards and did something I didn't really understand and then I won. I'm not sure what I won, but I won something ::SHRUG::
Got into Huaraz early morn with both my bags - BRAVO TRAVEL GODS, BRAVO - and cabbed it to my hotel, which was situated right across the street from the place I stayed last time I was here. Cool. I walked into breakfast, where Phil and the rest of the team were eating. I introduced myself, joined in, and we all started talking mountains. I love this about climbing. It's not everyday I can just talk about mountains in this depth. No one really gets climbing unless you climb. Anywho, everyone on the team seems even-keeled, level-headed, super friendly, and motivated. As a close loved one of mine likes to say: NGNL (NO GAMES, NO LIES). WE GUN GET SHIT DONE (or at least try our asses off in doing so).
Dinner was splendid at 'El Horno' in Gringo Plaza (fantastic wood-oven pizza). Then we came back to our hotel and snoozed all night long. Got about 10 hours of sleep. YES. Woke up, packed, and we walked down the street to get sandwiches for a little day hike we had planned and OOPPPPS.....twisted my ankle. Pretty bad actually. How embarrassing. Not even while doing something cool. Just walking. Anyways, I sucked it up and we trekked up to catch a picturesque view of the peak we are gonna climb next to a beautiful mountain lake. Only I got lost because I was hobbling slowly up the mountain and it took forever to find my way down (and it was painful). Anyways, we leave tomorrow morning. I'll be fine. I have a stupid swollen ball on the outside of my left ankle, but I'm icing it and should be better over the next few days. Tomorrow is just a 3-4 hour hike, so I'll manage. UGH.
In the mean time, I'll be training my memory up at altitude like I always do. If you're following along on my climb, it would mean a lot to me if you took this memory quiz I've been working on getting tons of people to take. It's short and easy. Just DO IT. Thanks :D www.extremememorychallenge.com
That's all for now!
Look familiar? Nothing still? How about now?
There you go. Although the Paramount Pictures logo mountain isn't definitively Huantsan (it's not confirmed, only speculated), it's awfully similar, don't you think? It also depends on the angle at which the mountain is seen from as well. There are sides of the mountain that look nothing like it and there are other mountains in the same mountain range that at the right angle also resemble it (Alpamayo and Artesonraju). But Huantsan looks the most similar, and a lot of people agree, with that shelf/ridge on the left side riding up to the summit.
Either way, I'm heading out to Peru on July 5th for a 3 week expedition up this relatively unclimbed (maybe has fewer than 50 summits?) peak in the Cordillera Blanca. Even cooler than that is that I'll be climbing with Altitude Junkies, the folks I climbed Everest with in 2013. Phil Crampton will be our leader, who's famous for saying things like "I brush my teeth with beer" and "I once used the oil from a tuna fish can to help lube up my butthole when I was constipated on Everest a few years back" (or something to that effect). Needless to say, he's a mountain man and a 7-time Everest summiteer. Beside him are a few Sherpas I also climbed on Everest with, namely Pasang Ongchu Sherpa and Kami Neru "Mad Dog" Sherpa. Then there will be about 8 climbers. A cozy little team. It will be an epic climb. The region of the Andes is stunning and remote and all of the good things that make me happy and push myself. All in the name of making life memorable.
And since we're on that topic....how's your memory? Have you taken my little memory test yet to see how you compare to me? If you haven't, please do! This is for research. If you haven't done it yet, go here and take the short and fun memory test! It's easy and painless: <<HERE>> Love you!
As for my climb, I will be blogging from the mountain and you'll also be able to track my progress via gps. Stay tuned!
HOW TO HELP
1. BY TEXT - This is the quickest, most mindless way to help. Text GIVE NEPAL to 80088 to donate $10 (I believe you can give up to 3 times). Share it to all of your phone contacts. Make it spread like wildfire. Donations go to Global Giving (more info here). They are trying to raise $1,000,000, already at over $500,000.
2. RED CROSS - Again, there are many organizations providing relief over there, but Red Cross is something we all know and can get behind. The have committed an initial $300,000 of aid as well as 19,000 non-food relief kits which include clothes, kitchen sets, tarpaulins and mosquito nets. Make a donation here.
3. SAVE THE CHILDREN - Save the Children is an international charity that has been in Nepal since 1976 and is therefore in an really good position to help after years of operating within the country. Also, 10% of funds are going towards preparations for future disasters. Make a donation to their Nepal Earthquake Children’s Relief Fund here.
As many of you already know, there was a massive earthquake on Saturday near Katmandu, Nepal, a place that is very dear to my heart and memory. Katmandu is a very unique city, with amazing people, culture, food, landscapes, etc. But it is not a city that was designed to withstand a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The death tolls broadcasted over the news have been seemingly "low" to begin with, but that number is starting to spike as more bodies are being found and the destruction is being dug through. As of this morning the toll is nearly at 4000 and I would imagine that number to rise over the next few days (10,000+?). It is absolutely horrible and devastating.
Nepal is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and for so many reasons. It's so hard to imagine that a lot of it has been completely flattened. In moments like these it is difficult to figure out one's place in the world. Why does this happen? Why them, not us? But it's better to ask how can I help? What can I do?
So, I ask you to help. Above are some recommendations of how you can do that. Personally, I made a donation to each of the 3 efforts I mention and I plan on heading out there as soon as I can to physically help out in any way I can. Please donate. Anything, really. Many of the people there have absolutely nothing, especially after the earthquake.
I have to mention Everest here. I have a lot of friends in the Katmandu region especially in the Everest region. Many of them had been climbing last year when the avalanche disaster abruptly ended their season. And now this. There haven't been official reports, but I'm assuming the 2015 Everest season (south side, at least) is now over. Thankfully none of my friends and Sherpa family that I know and am close to were hurt. All are safe. Although you can see my friend Kuntal running for his life in this instantly-viral video of the avalanche that happened at Base Camp as a result of the earthquake (he is okay too). See the video here. WARNING: It's a bit hard to watch. Some other climbers I know were at higher camps when this happened, so were technically "safe" (the main avalanche came off of Mt. Pumori, which is right next to Base Camp), but then the issue has been now, how do they get down? The routes below them are completely destroyed. From what I've been told, there have been helicopter rescues bringing climbers down. Communication from out there is sparse, but I believe most climbers are heading down to Lukla to hopefully try and head back home.
In case you haven't heard, 4x USA Memory Champ (aka me, Nelson Dellis) is hosting a brand-new memory tournament called the Extreme Memory Tournament, for the second year in a row. For those who don't know, 4x Australian Memory Champ Simon Orton and Nelson created this event and the memory training software that comes with it just over a year and a half ago. The idea: 2 days of competitive, gripping, extreme, mind-bending memory matches. Head-to-head action, all digital, in a live setting that can engage the audience. Simon Reinhard, one of the top mental athletes in the world will be defending his 2014 XMT title! When: May 2-3, 2015 (both days 8am-4pm) Where: Dart NeuroScience Center, San Diego, CA Tickets: FREE, but RSVP here: Day 1 // Day 2 Who: The top memory athletes around the world! Check them out!
I"m going to try and not write a post about Lance"s Mustache....but OMG LANCE"S MUSTACHE! I don"t think anyone will remember the 2015 USA Memory Championships, but they will remember that "stache. And his 29 second deck of cards record (Watch here).
Here"s a recap of the event and how it went down (also, as a pre-emptive TL;DR: I won my 4th USA Memory Championship).
For the first time in my 7 years of competing, I was actually in NYC as a resident rather than a visitor. In the past I would always travel up a few days before, get comfy in my hotel, do all the things I typically do before a memory competition, compete, then fly home. But this year, home was just a train ride uptown. Weird, but cool. And different.
The night before, I stayed in my apartment training some last minute things. Mostly training the final tie-breaker event which had been changed suddenly just a week prior to "two decks shuffled together with 90 seconds to memorize as many cards as possible." It had been 3 minutes before, which was super doable. But the 90 seconds, while still doable, was way harder under stress. Anyways, at this point before the competition, I was pretty unsure of how I was going to perform the next day. Last year, after I won the 2014 championship, I told myself I would take a month off memory training (I hadn"t taken a SINGLE day off since the end of 2009). That month ended up being 6 months. In those 6 months I went through a lot of shit that distracted me, which kept it increasingly harder to get back on track to train. I"d have spurts where I"d get back into it for a bit and while I"d be a bit rusty, after a couple days I would be back in fighting form. But I knew I wasn"t going to improve if I kept that up, I"d only maintain. Then the World Championships came around in December and I found myself training a little more, but not as much as I would have liked. It was enough to get me an 8th place finish surprisingly. After that, went through a pretty devastating Christmas holiday, coming out into the new year in a pretty shitty place. About mid-feb, something hit me and I said fuck it, and decided to move to NYC. I had had a job offer sitting there, but didn"t really want to take it until that point.
It was a tough transition, and I"m still in transition, but good god was it the best thing I could have done for myself. I keep telling people when they ask me how I like New York, that it was EXACTLY what I needed. I got a place, got serious, back on track, and started training every morning and night around my job. I wasn"t going to break any massive records this year, but I sure as hell was going to be at the top vying for the title.
So the morning of the competition came around, I woke up nice and early, put on my pre-memory competition playlist jamz, did some drills, ate a bowl of milk and cheerios with chopped fruit, then headed out to the subway.....without my wallet. FORGOT. MY. WALLET. Ugh, worst memory champion EVARRRR! Lucky for me, I had a camera guy filming me so he shared his subway pass (in exchange for capturing that totally embarrassing moment on film). Got to the venue about an hour before it started and was a bit taken aback by its lack-luster feel. The event this year was held in a different place than it had been the past 17 years (not the Con-Edison building but rather in the basement of a random, blah, Armenian church).
Anyways, they put me in the front row as per usual, with Lance Tschirhart (who I expected to break every record and win the whole thing) sitting in the table/seat right behind me. Lance had a magnificent mustache that reminded me of the cops from Super Troopers. Meow. Alex Mullen was in the table to my left, looking in tough mnemonic form, and then Johnny Briones (aka mini-Bruce Lee) was on the far left. Livan (the other finalist from last year) got stuffed all the way in the back, the lucky bastard, getting to avoid all the attention. All in all there were 64 competitors, about the average amount we"ve seen in the past few years.
Names and Faces
First event, memorize names and faces for 15 minutes. 20 minutes for recall. Either my memory is really good or the set they use for pictures is running thin. I swear I remembered all of those faces from past years. Anyways, it was rather easy. Made it through all 117 faces (that"s 234 names) with time to spare and got to review a lot. I knew I was going to get a 200 score. Recall was easy. Ended up with 201 correct names memorized, a new USA record, woo! I hate this event, why am I so good at it?
I knew I was gonna have trouble here. Back in past years I"d hit 380-410 in training, but this year my best was 345 a few times. I think I had done speed numbers in practice a total of 20 times before the competition....so I was not in good form. The first attempt I went for 320, but made mistakes for a total of 258 digits. The second attempt felt better and I went for 340, and thought I had maybe one mistake, but apparently it was more. Got 262. Not great, but not horrible. Both Alex and Lance got 300 (320 and 360 respectively - both new US records).
I"m also good at this event, even though I hate it. WHYYYYY?? The poem was great. Tony Dottino, the organizer of the event, commissions his brother to write the poem every year. This year it was about Disney World, which is a place I have some very strong/recent memories from. The memories were kinda painful to think about, but they helped online casino me learn the poem really easily. I knew I had a US record. Sadly, I didn"t know that someone else had 1 point more than me and thus, had the new US record instead. Curses! The worst part is I wrote one last word at the end of the poem: "you." But I erased it because I wasn"t 100% sure it was correct. Coulda at least tied the record. Poop.
The record was 60 seconds flat (in US competition, from last year) and I was hoping to nail a sub 60-second time on the first trial, then go for low 30s the second. I was slow on the first try, with 67 seconds (UGH). Alex hit 39 seconds and Everett (a new comer who had only just started memorizing cards a year prior - GO EVERETT!!) hit 41 seconds. Lance made 55 seconds. So 3 US records just like that. Damn. Second attempt I went for sub-40 seconds and hit 38 and change. But I flubbed it. Didn"t matter because Lance made a fool of us all with a perfect 29 seconds. Awesome. That"s up there with the best.
After the first 4 morning events, I was in 1st place overall. And still quite commandingly. Cool. Didn"t expect that. The afternoon top-8 was Me, Alex Mullen, Lance Tschirhart, Johnny Briones, Everett Chew, Erica Want, John Graham, and Aaron Mirman.
For this event, the top 8 go in the back to memorize a list of 200 words for 15 minutes, then come back out on stage and one-by-one, say all the words. If you make a mistake you"re out. We continue until 3 of the 8 are out. In the past it was enough to memorize 100 to be safe and usually the 3 would get out before you would have to say anything near the 100th word. I went for 140 just for shits, and because the competition was harder. Don"t remember where we got out exactly, but it was somewhere in the 80s I think? Then we kept going and it was me and Johnny past 120. He ousted me at 141 (I think he memorized 150 something). Grrrrr....Johnny!
5 competitors left. We had to memorize a bunch of information on 6 random audience members (name, phone number, address, etc.). I didn"t practice this even once this year. It"s gotten too easy for everyone, I think. We all ended up nailing it. And all 5 of us were headed into the finals. I think they"re gonna have to make this event harder next year.
Double Deck O" Cards
Two decks of cards in 5 minutes. Recited on stage one-by-one. One mistake and you"re out. I thought for sure we would all nail this and have to go to the tie-breaker I mentioned earlier. I really thought I was going to lose. Things were good on stage until Alex stumbled on a card early on (like the 13th card or something?). In my head I was like "nooooooo wayyyy this is happening!" He couldn"t bring up the card to mind fast enough - it happens :( Sadly, he was out. He passed the microphone on to Lance, who I guess was in the wrong place in his memory palace, and said the wrong card. He was out too. "What the hell???" My two scariest opponents were out before I had even taken a breath. I knew Johnny could keep going with me, but was thinking that Aaron might possibly not know both decks (he was a newcomer as well). He made a mistake somewhere along the way and it was down to Johnny and I. We got through the first deck no problem and Johnny made an error on the 63rd card suddenly and there I was, being congratulated on my 4th championship. I couldn"t freaking believe it.
In the moment I was thinking to myself, damn...I don"t deserve this; I wasn"t the best out there. But looking back on it, I take that thought back. I was the best that day. Maybe not in certain events, but overall, and in context of what the competition is, I was the best. Everyone kept telling me how cool and poised I looked compared to everyone else. I didn"t understand that because in my head I was a fucking mess. But I guess it was an organized mess, and looking back at video of myself, I looked cocksure as hell. I liked that.
Anyways, the win felt good. Not my greatest. 2014 was my favorite. But this was the icing on the cake of a nice 7 year run. It"s cool to say that I"ve won 4 out of the last 5 competitions. Annoying to think I could have won 6 times if I hadn"t have been careless twice in the finals, but this competition isn"t about "almosts".
Now to focus on bigger and better things: onwards to the XMT!!!