My card images

My Card Images

First of all, my BPU (brain processing unit) is much slower than most. But it still works even though I am 69 years young as of July 9, 2012. Besides, I do enjoy memorizing a few decks of cards.

Doing this exercise helps my attention span to increase, my mental focus to zoom in and out better, plus the peripheral vision of my minds eye becomes more aware of the surroundings. This in turn enables me to reuse many pegs and mnemonic devices in other memory locations at the same time because I can see the difference between one place and the other.

Everyone has their own adaptation. Here’s mine:

Face cards:

KC = Jack Nicklaus (obvious)
KD = King Solomon
KH = Me (I love people)
KS = King Saul (throwing a spear)

QC = Annika Sorenstam (great lady golfer)
QD = My daughter
QH = My wife
QS = My granddaughter (gigging something with a spade or gig pole)

JC = Jimmy Carter (former US president)
JD = John Dillinger (famous bank robber with a gun)
JH = John Henry (steel driving man)
JS = John Smith (remember Pocahontas?)


AC = AC electrical socket or cord (it shocks!)
AD = ADding machine
AH = AHoy (a sailor shouting)
AS = ASs (I mean a donkey or whatever)

For the Card number and Suit, I use Phonetic numbers:

Card Suits:

CLUB = 1 (t ) The “t” maybe looks like a club.
DIAMOND = 2 (n) The “n” has two legs. The D in diamond could stand for deuce (2) to help you remember.
HEART = 3 (m) The “m” looks like the two curves at the top of the heart.
SPADE = 4 ® If you start at the top of a SPADE and half it right down the middle, the left side resembles the number 4.

Number and Suit… I start with the Card Number, then the SUIT. That’s the way it looks to me on the card):

Phonetic numbers (these are pretty much standard):
1 = t/d
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r
5 = l
6 = j/ch/g(soft)
7 = c(hard)/k
8 = f/v/ph
9 = p/b
0 (for 10) = s/c(soft)/z

2C = 21 = net (n is 2, t is club)
3C = 31 = mat (m is 3, t is club)
4C = 41 = rat (r is 4, t is club)
5C = 51 = lot [abrv. for lottery] (l is 5, t is club)
6C = 61 = jet (j is 6, t is club)
7C = 71 = cat (c is 7, t is club)
8C = 81 = fat (f is 8, t is club)
9C = 91 = bat (b is 9, t is club)
10C = 01 = suit (s is 0/10, t is club)

2D = 22 = nun (n is 2, n is diamond)
3D = 32 = moon (m is 3, n is diamond)
4D = 42 = rain (r is 4, n is diamond)
5D = 52 = lion (l is 5, n is diamond)
6D = 62 = chain (j is 6, n is diamond)
7D = 72 = cone [ice cream] (c is 7, n is diamond)
8D = 82 = fan (f is 8, n is diamond)
9D = 92 = bun (b is 9, n is diamond)
10D = 02 = sun (s is 0/10, n is diamond)

2M = 23 = name [autograph] (n is 2, m is heart)
3M = 33 = mummy (m is 3, m is heart)
4M = 43 = ram (r is 4, m is heart)
5M = 53 = lamb (l is 5, m is heart)
6M = 63 = jam (j is 6, m is heart)
7M = 73 = comb (c is 7, m is heart)
8M = 83 = foam (f is 8, m is heart)
9M = 93 = bum (b is 9, m is heart)
10M = 03 = Sam [Sam Walton – started Wal-Mart] (s is 0/10, m is heart)

2R = 24 = name [autograph] (n is 2, r is spade)
3R = 34 = mower (m is 3, r is spade)
4R = 44 = rower [row boat] (r is 4, r is spade)
5R = 54 = lure (l is 5, r is spade)
6R = 64 = jar (j is 6, r is spade)
7R = 74 = car (c is 7, r is spade)
8R = 84 = fur [coat] (f is 8, r is spade)
9R = 94 = bear (b is 9, r is spade)
10R = 04 = siren [fire truck] (s is 0/10, r is spade)

One way I hang these cards is by using a Visual Alphabet that I imagined into reality. Each letter looks like an object. Example: The letter “A” with a bit of imagination can look like an oil well or derrick. I can put 8 cards on it… two linked at the top, two on the right, two at the bottom and two on the left. My memory slogan to help me with the order is, “START AT THE TOP AND READ LIKE A CLOCK.”

So, I always begin at the top of each Visual Alphabet Letter and READ LIKE A CLOCK.

I can hang 4 decks of cards on this one Visual Alphabet. All it takes is 7 Visual Alpha Letters for one deck.

Disclaimer: I’m not responsible for all the mistakes I made in this post (laugh). I did it with good intentions.

Thanks for listening.
gary lanier

Hi Gary,

Very interesting! Can you give me an example of how you would add eight cards/images to your letter A oil well or derrick?

I am struggling to see how you would differentiate the positioning well enough in the complex image to make recall straightforward.

Many thanks.


Gavino, thanks for your reply.

Well first, let me say that I’ve not kept up with all the marvelous contemporary mnemonic techniques that are yielding such incredible results. So, I don’t regard my Visual Alphabet System as being an absolute must on your wish list (laugh). It’s just something I do that helps my mind stay fit and really helps me in memorizing Bible verses and chapters for long term recall.

I use the Visual Alphabet in a couple of ways:

  1. ONE JOURNEY…All 26 Letters as one journey where each letter is a location. For me, this journey takes place in two intersections in my little town. I can mentally stand in the middle of each intersection and view the letters that surround me and what information each one holds.

  2. INDEPENDENT MINI-JOURNEY (not sure about this term) … This is like the ONE JOURNEY except each letter is its own island. In other words, when I take a mental observation of just one letter, my peripheral vision does not see the intersection with all the other letters, but rather the context of wherever I have placed it. This is very important to me. It allows me to use them over again without having to wait for the previous information to fade away so I can reuse the VISUAL LETTER(s).

Now to your question and struggle…

Gavino’s question: Very interesting! Can you give me an example of how you would add eight
cards/images to your letter A oil well or derrick?

Gary’s answer: I just shuffled a deck of cards (actually did this).

1)The first two cards are, the 10 of Spades (SIREN) & 8 of Clubs (FAT).

At the top of “A” the Oil Well, I see a fire truck (siren really loud) running into a huge FAT lady (maybe from the circus). Remember my memory slogan, START AT THE TOP AND READ LIKE A CLOCK. Sometimes I don’t link them, I just see them next to each other at the top of the oil well.

2)The second two cards are, Queen of Diamonds (my daughter) & 9 of Diamonds (BUN). I see my daughter eating a BUN (maybe a hotdog) at the right side of the Oil Well (letter “A”). This is very clear to me. You can add extras if need be but that takes more time.

If I mentally zoom out I see what’s at the top and right side of the Oil Well. This is an automatic check without having to over review. Sometimes I stay in a zoomed out mode.

3)The third two cards are, Queen of Hearts (my wife) & 3 of Spades (MOWER). I see the QHs pushing a MOWER (3 of SPADES) at the bottom (position/peg 3) of the Oil Well (letter “A”).

4)The fourth two cards are, 9 of Clubs (BAT) & Ace of Diamonds (ADding machine). I see a BAT flying around and attacking an ADding machine (Ace of Diamonds) on the left side of the Oil Well.

I see all four positions as I start at the top and read like a clock.

Gavino: I am struggling to see how you would differentiate the positioning well
enough in the complex image to make recall straightforward.

Gary: I understand your struggle. At best, memorizing is a struggle for me because of my particular battle (ADD). Keeping things simple is a must or I totally lose focus in an instant. I’ve just found that this process, and similar ones, work best for me in my quest to remember.

In addition to the fun in memorizing cards, another goal, as I mentioned earlier, is to be able to retain what I’ve memorized and not wait until it fades away so I can reuse the locations. That’s one thing this system helps me do because I can insert a VISUAL LETTER (INDEPENDENT MINI-JOURNEY) into another environment or location and use its surroundings to differentiate from other places it is used.

My ALPHA CHARACTERS (people in place of letters) are an extension of this system.

Thank, Gavino for your input.

Hi Gary,

Many thanks. I really think you have got something genuinely different here to anything I can recall reading in the memory books - and I have read a lot!

I have always used my peg images to interact with other (generally) similar sized images.

The concept of using the peg itself as a giant “roman room” or journey is quite brilliant!

One could do something similar with the Domnic System and have each Dominc person as a giant location - so I envisage locating complex images all around the body of a giant Adolf Hitler for number 18.

And also multiple alphabets of 26 objects each.

AND the concept of zooming in and out, that you only briefly mentioned, has also given me another ‘aha!’ moment. Another nugget.

The most I have ever got from one post, so thanks again.

Thank you Gavino… what encouraging words. Depending on the situation one can gear up or gear down as far as the amount of data that is put on the VISUAL LETTER SYSTEM.

Below is the first post, publicly made of my systems and how I use them. Also are a couple of replies and my responses. See what you think. I guess I’ll put them by title in “my training journal.” Not sure how to post it all.

Verbatim Scripture Memorization
Hey fellows, I’m a NEWBIE. This is my first post. Here’s what I’ve come up with that works for memorizing scripture word for word.

  1. I’ve assigned a word for every chapter in the New Testament (260). The first part of the word represents the book and the second part, the chapter.

Example: Romans Chapter 6 is ROUGE. The RO = Romans and the UGE = 6 (using the J sound for 6).
Then, I’ve formatted 3 rooms in my house with 10 locations in each one for associating the verses with them. Each location is for one verse. Also, these location spots are the same in each of the rooms. This way I can keep up with the verse numbers without having to make additional associations. For instance, the left corner of Room #1 (regardless of Book) is always Verse 1, and in Room #2 it is always Verse 11. Verse 5 is always in the upper right corner of Room #1. In Room #2, it is for Verse 15. Got it?

  1. Now for the fun! I’m sure someone has done something like this, but since I’ve been in seclusion for years, I just haven’t seen anything done quiet like this. I call it VERBATIM MEMORIZING using 3 Visual Alphabets (feel free to dump this and leave…lol).

The first Visual Alphabet is 26 Lady Friends or celebs from A to Z. The second is Men Friends or celebs). Lastly, OTHERS (A to Z) … this is anything (visual), plants, animals, objects, etc… with the exception of ladies or men. These three visual alphabets are the foundation for pegging every word in the verse or chapter, not just thoughts. I refer to them as Alpha Characters (AC). And each AC will hold 4 words.

I call this the Lanier Verbatim Memory System, simply because my name is Lanier and the process, regardless of how effective or ineffective it is, is uniquely designed for me, by me to help me memorize scripture even though I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It demands my total focus which is exactly what I need.

  1. Next it’s time for TANGIZATION. I don’t think this is really a word but for me it means to make seen. To each Bible verse or chapter, I assign a tangible (something I can visualize) SOUND-LIKE or SYMBOL that represents each word. In other words, every WORD in the VERSE or CHAPTER has a VISUAL REPRESENTATIVE or SUBSTITUTE.

  2. Here’s how it works:
    Suppose I want to memorize Romans 6:1: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abide?

  1. Mentally (imaginatively) the entrance to Room #1 has rouge all over the doorway. This let’s me know immediately that it is Romans Chapter 6 (RO = Romans, UGE= 6)

  2. I look in the left hand corner where my Verse 1 location is and see a BED. This location will be my work area for memorizing every word in Verse 1.

  3. In the middle of the BED, I see a LIGHT BULB. This is my SOUND-LIKE or SYMBOL for the word WHAT (Watt = WHAT). It is the first word of the verse (New King James Version). This word, WHAT, tells me which ALPHA CHARACTERS I will use to PEG or LINK the rest of the words in the verse.

  4. Ladies first. Wenda, Hilary, Alice, and Teresa (come up with your own Alpha Characters) hold no more than 4 words each. I can share later how I do this through a little acronym using F-A-C-E. Works like a charm. Anyway each Lady AC (Alpha Character) is like having a piece of paper with one line where you can write four words. Since we have 4 Ladies, that gives us lines and room for 16 words.

  5. One thing that helps me start in the right place and continue in the right direction is: START AT THE TOP AND READ LIKE A CLOCK.

Try it and see what you think.

Hope I didn’t bore you or wear out my welcome to this great website.

Great post Garry. I have a few questions.

How do the alpha characters store the words?

What do you do about words like ‘and’,‘of’ and ‘that’?

Perhaps you could expand and continue the explanation of Romans 6:1?

When do you use the men and the objects?

What do you do if a verse has more words than you have room for?

See if this helps.
Question 1: How do the alpha characters store the words?

I associate (link or peg) the ACs to the words assigned to them. Each AC holds 4 words.
This is where the FACE acronym comes in. Or maybe for you, the PAO system.
There are four facts I know about each Alpha Character. Each fact holds one word. But sometimes I might use one fact to hold all 4 words. Just depends on the particular AC.


Feature - Something that stands out or I cause to stand out or exaggerate with my imagination. It could be their face, body or even a certain expression.

Abode – Where does the AC live? What does their HOUSE look like? If I don’t know, I might assign one to them. But it is important that it’s always the same place. Or if they are a movie star, I might picture them sitting on the HOLLYWOOD sign in California. Or if they live in Texas, they can stand by BIG TEX at the state fair. Anything that will fall into the ABODE column will work.

Career- What do they do? (doctor, entertainer, housewife, dentist, athlete, artist, teacher, etc.)

Event or Enjoyment- What HAPPENING or HOBBY can you associate with this AC? Do they like to play golf as a hobby, or fish. It doesn’t have to be a hobby. It could be some funny thing they did like driving a VW into a swimming pool to see if it floats. I was told Frank Sinatra did that. That would fall into the EVENT category.
A good way to start this is by taking just one verse at a time instead of trying to come up with all the ACs at once. As you begin the process you can keep a notebook and simply add the ACs as needed. You could have 5 columns (AC name, FEATURE, ABODE, CAREER, EVENT/Enjoyment).

Question 2: What do you do about words like ‘and’,‘of’ and ‘that’?

I handle all words the same. I use a visual SOUND-LIKE or SYMBOL for each word. On some words I have more than one SUBSTITUTE. AND=HAND (I imagine a big cartoonish like hand that I’ve seen at football games being waved back and forth). OF=OFF (I see a can of OFF bug spray doing it’s job on some poor WORD SUBSTITUTE). THAT=DAD or DAT TAPE (rapped around a word sub). THE=TEA (maybe a word sub soaking in a cup of tea).

Question 3: Perhaps you could expand and continue the explanation of Romans 6:1?
Maybe in another post.

Question 4: When do you use the men and the objects?

There are basically 3 modes I use: Ladies ACs, Men ACs, and Others ACs as mentioned in my first post. My rule is, Ladies begin the odd numbers, Men begin the even numbers. That way I always know which AC mode to use (1, 3, 5, 37, 57 is for the Lady ACs and 2, 4, 58, 78 is for the Man ACs).

Question 5: What do you do if a verse has more words than you have room for?

I have room for every word in the verse. In Romans 6:1, the first word is WHAT. As mentioned before, each letter represents an AC that holds 4 words each. That’s enough to hold all the words in that verse. I call this the verse title.

But suppose instead of 14 words, it was 48 words? Simply continue by using the Men ACs (using the same TITLE word “WHAT”) and then the OTHER ACs. BINGO! It really works.

If the verse is really long, like Rev. 20:4 (70 words), just add an extra word or two to the TITLE (link these words together). AND I SAW is the title I use for Rev. 20:4. That gives me 7 ACs for each mode (Mens Mode, Others Mode, Ladies Mode). Since this is verse 4, the Men ACs start. By the way, this is the longest verse in the NT. Get this one and you’re ready to handle them all.

God is GOoD

That is a very interesting system. Thanks for posting it.
If I understand correctly, you’re converting the first word of a verse into a peg system where each letter of the word can hold four more words, or even 12 words per letter if you need more space?

Absolutely right JOSH. Thanks for the reply.
Well let me clarify it a bit. Each letter of the the first word represents a person that can hold 4 words. If the word is 4 letters, you can hang 16 words.

gary lanier

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