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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crazy Memory Files

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

When I was much younger, I had a pretty good memory (very useful, as one might imagine, in helping me get through school). It was so good that I was literally able, even though I was not part of a conversation or paying much attention to it, play back a conversation between three other people telling them every step of the way from what started the conversation to how they wound up talking about something that had nothing at all to do with the beginning of it.

This was after Star Trek, so as you might imagine (coupled with my general isolation from most people, just the way I was) I was often spoken of as "the Vulcan".

Many years have passed, and many different experiences and other events have claimed their parts of my memory. The result is that . . . well the files are muddled.

I recently watched an old Black and White movie I had never seen before. One of the Stars was Barbra Stanwyk, which surprised me as I had never known that she had done anything other than the TV series "The Big Valley", but there she was in 1940 singing and dancing on the big screen.

But she was not the thing.

A few days later I was talking about the film to Leanna, and I could not for the life of me recall the name of the male lead. I could recall other roles he had done (he was in the black and white version of "Beau Geste" for example, or "Meet John Doe" or "Sergeant York"). But I could not remember his name. And the few films Leanna and I actually had in common did not come up with the actor (she could name a film, I had seen it, but the actor was not in it, and I could name films the actor was in, but she had not seen them, basically our different tastes in films not intersecting on this actor right away).

Yet, part of a tune that I (frankly) regard as "doggerel" also stuck in my mind. The song is "Putting on the Ritz", and I suddenly remembered (even though I could not yet recall the actor's name) that the actor is actually named in that tune. Leanna did not know the tune, but enough of it stuck in my mind that I could suddenly go ". . . trying hard to look like Gary Cooper (super duper)". I do not know much more of that song (as I said, it is not one I found memorable, yet part of the overall tune), but somehow that bit stuck, and while trying to remember the actor's name, somehow the cross-references in the organic computer (and some other bits and pieces of the lyrics are in fact floating around in RAM memory up there) that is the human brain (specifically mine of course) came up with that as a means of remembering the actor.

Similar things happen in answering rules questions. Ken Kazinski asks about targeting shuttles on Balconies under (J1.53) and says there is a specific reference to them being "left and right", and somehow my brain connects his disconnect to the Tactical Intelligence Rules and provides an answer (i.e., no you cannot target shuttles on one side or the other of the ship, you can just see them, and if you cannot see the left side of the ship, then you cannot see if there are any shuttles on the balcony on that side).