owls turn their heads around because they can’t avert their eyes

Got to my War, Armed Forces & Society seminar class. Many things were discussed; our tutor Rob asked us what aspects of war interested us, and one guy said Blitzkrieg, upon which Rob let out a deeply evil cackle about . Then, work got assigned. I need to do a presentation on D-Day. Next Tuesday. This will be fun! And next term, one on Maoist Strategy in Theory and Practice.

Eli sent me SLIPPERS. This made me so happy you have no idea. And an Eleanor-Candice Joint Operations card featuring a tactical Totoro and neighbourly water pistols. Also the Makers of Modern Strategy book has arrived. Its price now makes some sense as it’s an absolute doorstopper.

Our first proper lecture with Dr Snape, he had us sound off what MOMD we had chosen. International Studies, African History, French, all solid war-studies-related texts but one. A slightly embarrassed voice was heard to say “…Introduction to Film Studies”, upon which the entire class made the “I am disappoint” face.

Mine was Analysing Everyday Texts, the first lecture of which was at 10 o’clock today. It was fun. Our tutor is very cool and has an accent a lot like Mum’s Sri Lankan friends. We looked at leaflets and logos and what associations they called up, mainly logos involving birds. I got most of them the same as the girl next to me, the biggest difference being her putting “sparrow – little chirpy bird – looks a bit fat – inquisitive? – breadcrumbs?” and me “caricature of dead finch – looks horribly bloated – conservation?” (we were both wrong, but mine was also awful). Also I was annoyed at the accompanying text saying owls have terrible night vision (which is an outright and foolish lie.)

Then at 2:30 I had my appointment with the Learning Support types. The Educational Psychologist’s Report I got when I was 14 is well out of date; the thing which we thought was an update is just regarding my A-level exams and didn’t involve an update to the actual assessment; the cost of a new report will be… £275. Ho hum. However she did give me a thorough breakdown of all the support I can expect to get, and it definitely sounds worth it. Cheque to the EP, then. Then I registered with a GP at the university’s pet surgery and… I need to send off a bunch of letters.

Still haven’t got replies to any of my job applications. Siz however recommended an agency called Pertemps, who I shall call tomorrow.


£11.68 week’s shopping
£1.79 shaver adapter
£275 Educational Psychologist’s Report cheque


these postit notes were cheap because apparently they’re made of ink-repelling wax paper


All clothing appears to be none the worse for wear after washing. No worries. Thumbs -> eyes -> death plan still greenlit however.

My first three lectures were today, pretty much back to back. I arrived in good time for the 12:00 Operational Art lecture I was almost certain was actually for second years (and I was right!). The lecture I was pretty sure I was supposed to go to was at 1:00, and so I went to the library and asked tech support why I couldn’t get UOB wireless on my laptop. Their response, basically, was “I dunno lol”. It should work. Maybe it’s the TinyXP pretending to be XP Service Pack 2 when their security may require SP3; maybe it’s the outdated drivers? I can’t get the ethernet to work either and nothing on the Acer website looks to me like a driver for it… argh

I’ll go there again another time, I suppose… At 12:50, I went to the Arts block for my very first War, Armed Forces & Society lecture in R204. The Arts block goes from R203 straight to R205 with nary a 4 in sight. Several minutes of hunting and flat panic later, I double-checked to find that regardless of whether the Arts building housed an R204, the R204 I was supposed to be going to is in the Law block, two minutes’ sprint away.

I was far from alone in this.

Dr Snape gave out wodges of helpful material and explanations, which included a breakdown of all the term’s lectures and seminars and their rather intimidating reading lists (Lecture 6, “Strategy”, the vaguest titled, has a booklist two A4 sheets across.) He assured us that this was a guideline, a starting point, rather than a requirement (thank Clausewitz) and that one of the many, many things we’d be learning was how to work out what we did and didn’t need to read. He made quite a few small jokes in the fifty minutes, of varying funniness and decipherability, but the one which rang truest and got the most genuine laughter was at the tome-laden shelves of all around us was that “every time you use this room, you will be at least glad you are not doing Law.”

Then we tried to make our way to the promisingly named Room 101, which was something of a case of the blind leading the blind through a crowded labyrinth and included our entire group doing a disciplined Gefechtwendung nach Steuerbord that Scheer would have been proud of (we’re hopeless navigators, but we know our manoeuvres!) on a zig-zag staircase. Room 101 was a large and elegant lecture theatre rather than the original horror, housing some 280 history/history-related undergrads with room to spare. We had two lectures there back to back, Practising History and Reformation, Revolution and Rebellion: The Making of the Modern World (henceforth RRR), which were pretty much more of the same: here is what you’re going to do, isn’t there rather a lot of it. And a quiz about plagiarism, which I did pretty much on the spot. Also, get these books.

Books. I got a letter today from the Post Office saying that I had a package, but the postage was 40p short and that they were going to hold it until I coughed up. Ho hum. Also I dropped fifty quid today on essential history ones. All but two of the books I ordered ahead of time had arrived before I moved in. Of course, the remaining two were the two most expensive ones…

While considering ways to synch files between my desktop and laptop, I realised that my PDA can actually do it very very easily. This will however neatly synch all my eggs with one basket – there will of course be dual backups, but if I rely on this system there will be serious chaos if it is interrupted by any damage to the two vital and relatively fragile pieces of hardware, the PDA and the dock. This requires additional thought.

Then as I was organising all my handouts into another folder and working out my schedule for the coming week, Siz knocked on the door and reminded me the anime society was running tonight. So I put on my second-best coat and went with her, met Greg at the Guild and used God’s microwave to heat his dinner, and proceeded to the council chambers. I met last night’s supposed suitor, Zac(h? k?) who informed me that we had indeed both been victims of his friend’s prank and that he was also a red-blooded, beer-swilling, lion-reeking, skirt-chasing paragon of heterosexual masculinity, and then we talked about anime and bandwidth. We saw Porco Rosso [for the unaware, an early Ghibli about a brooding inter-war Italian freelance pilot called Marco who battles air pirates in the Adriatic, and who happens to be a pig] which was much better than I remembered, and I paid £3 to join and filled in the form (paperwork! stifling paperwork! COGS didn’t have any of that!) but then excused myself early to go back home and read and quiz and prepare and write this.

Today’s expenditures:
£1.40 mail
£1.36 apples
£50.77 three books for RRR
£3 Anime Soc membership

Many trees died for this day alone.

you are now aware that the mona lisa has no eyebrows

So today was pretty much a Fun Day. I woke up bright and early, then went “hee I don’t have to wake up bright and early” and went back to bed. Then, around noon (which isn’t really all that self-indulgent honest) I got up and cooked myself a mess of sausage and tomato and potato, and then unwrapped my pressies.

Yesterday most of the block went to see “500 Days of Summer”, which was not as bad as I was expecting from it being a romantic comedy (but would have been much much better if they’d cut the narrator and the last fifteen minutes or so.) “lol, impermanence” is a great moral, whether delivered depressingly or romantic-comedically. Everyone who’d brought a Freshers’ Fest pack got one free cinema ticket; I didn’t, but what the hell. I produced a sketch map for the twisty and arduous (hah) journey from Five Ways station and made tea for people afterwards.

Today was the Bar One pub quiz, with the top prize being one thousand bottles of beer. There were at least a hundred teams competing for this, and mine was annoyingly near the top. We did ourselves proud, knowing between us some downright pitiliessly obscure things (and I don’t think anyone else recognised Edinburgh Castle from orbit). It was not knowing anything about blue whales’ sexual characteristics which failed us. That and Anne Boleyn.

I brought the (pink) helium balloon given to me and played with it happily through the quiz. Then a student from a nearby table came over and told me shyly that his mate (indicating nervous-looking bespectacled male student on that table) “really liked the look” of me. I’m not sure whether this was genuine or some kind of practical joke, but said in the least surprised tones I could muster “I am not gay sorry, it is merely my birthday, whee balloons” and he looked a little disappointed and went back.

So all in all I received today:
From my family, a TEAPOT! And fancy kinds of TEA! Apparently several agencies conspired independently to solve my filter problem. So now I can make a lot of tea at once. My, well, teapot runneth over. And FUDGE. And a jumper I had left at home.
And an ELECTRIC RAZOR! Exciting and romantic! But I need to find an adaptor for it before I can actually use it, because there are no shaver sockets about. Ah well.
And a LITTLE TWINGLY THING which plays a TUNE.
From my flatmates, a CARD proclaiming me to be a Saturday Night Beaver, and a JERSEY. It is warm and woollen and V-necked and quite smart and way way too small for me. The thought definitely counted though. A lot.
From Flat 67, ANOTHER CARD listing “Jezza’s Ten Fave Things”, in illustrated order: tea, computers, Star Wars, clean bikes, glasses, zombies, war, proper cooking condiments, MAGGOTS, Nazis. These people really have me pegged. Is somewhat worrying. Also the aforementioned PINK HELIUM BALLOON. And pink STRINGY STUFF. In my hair. I… thanks?
From my blockmates, in particular Hannah and Becky, a CARD featuring various famous folks by the name of Jeremy (Fisher and Clarkson I recognised, Ron I really didn’t need to) along with the more insane shots of me snatched from my facebook, which is now occupying a lovely space in my pinboard and probably my waking nightmares.
And then, after the pub quiz, a CAKE! Which me and Jon (whose birthday is the 28th) shared and enjoyed with the post-pub quiz crowd and nattered on and on into the night. He wished to go out for a first birthday drink and I opted to join him for a last, so eventually it was five of us trotting along the road south towards the Gun Barrels, and then, the last:
From some mindless driveby cunt, an EGG at high velocity, which burst quite painfully and succeeded in spreading itself across my shirt, trousers and half the inside of my beloved woollen overcoat.

So now I sit here while the washing machine turns, looking at my timetable for tomorrow, working out if 20 feels any different from 19, and wishing very much to find this man, stick my thumbs in his eyes and hang on til he’s dead.


£1 train ticket
£4 cinema ticket
£1 pub quiz
£2.20 laundry

Week’s total:

OH GOD, NOT BI-weapons here!

Wut, Oz? Wut?

and it’s not high-impact for long, you quickly get used to murdering piles upon piles of zombies 
empty space and you says:
this is also true
I am so desensitised to zombie killing
Hovercraft says:
empty space and you says:
you know, if there ever IS a zombie plague virus, you and I can be well relied upon to gun down ravening hordes of once-human creatures
we probably can’t be trusted around painkillers
Hovercraft says:
pills here! p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p
empty space and you says:
Hovercraft says:
pills here! pills here! piiiiillllsssss heeeerrrrre
empty space and you says:
someone’s gonna need these…
Hovercraft says:
gragragragragragrabbin’ pillz!
empty space and you says:
oh god we’re such fucking nerds ._.

and suddenly it feels like autumn

Woke up. This was my first mistake of the day. Head felt like owl pecked off the top and coughed up pellets in my brain. Respiratory system attempting to form Workers’ Republic. Doorbell rang.

Hello, mister postman! Didn’t realise you existed! Thank you, good morning to you too, no it’s just a cold. Ooh, a letter for me! And a parcel that looks just like the book I ordered… for Jess. And one that could be holding the new Corb album… for Jess. And a weird, feather-light cube for… me?

Filters for the teapot. My family do love me.

Encountered the Goldilocks effect, the little one fit straight in but didn’t go deep enough to actually brew, the big one didn’t fit at all, but the middle one (with some prising, some jamming) was almost perfect. Cue a celebratory cuppa, enjoyed with relish.

With this I felt better enough to stomp down to the Society Fair. Skipped the religious and ethnic ones without guilt, the political ones with a little and the commercial ones with the opposite; found Siz at the Gilbert & Sullivan Society stand and stole some of her Skittles. Wargaming Society caught my eye with an old, old Epic 40k poster but I don’t think I have the will or the disposable income to ever get back into tabletop, CVGSoc (COGS for Brum, the one I really wanted to join) and the Comics/SF one John upstairs mentioned to me apparently weren’t running stalls today, but from Greg I got a place, a time and assurances that they maintain the same dedication to vidya and pizza as COGS. I also got some times and dates off the Anime and Battle Reenactment socs for some serious neckbeardin’ action.

Then I visited the Fetish Society stand and Greg tied me to the marquee and said he wouldn’t let me go. (This turned out to be a lie. No worries.)

I went to the Arts block and found some rather more helpful things on the War Studies noticeboard than last time; also found my tutor, who seems an extremely nice person and advised me to reschedule my meeting with her rather than the disability assessment on the same Wednesday. Which I will do. This “organised timetable” nonsense may have something to it after all.

I FOUGHT THE LAUNDRY. Though it required no less than five trips to succeed. Were I in another block, this would be annoying as well as embarrassing. As it is, Block 12 is basically poking distance. Still…
1) “…How do I get in?”
2) “Woot, found the code this time. And… oh yeah, detergent.”
3) “…oh yeah, money.”
4) “MORE money. Fffff.”

Oh, and 6) damn these things are heavy wet.

Symptoms of ickiness have not intensified, but have diversified a bit: I now have headaches, weird muscles, snuffles and the world’s most irritating sore throat. None unbearable, none fun. In retrospect going to freshers’ fair may have been the dastardly act of a vile plague vector. But hey, misery loves company.

Outgoings: £2.20 to the Laundry Daemon, £1.80 CHEESE.
Scurrying Rat Count: 3, all outside so far.

Good year and model, but Vladimir Putin is strangling journalists in the back seat.

Woke up. Fired up computer. Checked email, LJ, feeds (priorities, y’know). Fumbled in the dark for some clothes. Put them on. Coughed and spluttered a bit because my entire respiratory system is mumbling mutinously. Staggered to bathroom. Brushed teeth. Wandered into kitchen. Put kettle on. Noticed large unfamiliar man sleeping on sofa.

I’m somewhat surprised at how little that disturbed me.

Shortly afterwards, the doorbell rang and a couple of blokes in blue overalls tested our fire alarm. Apparently the kind of alarm we have here can be reset by holding a magnet to the top right-hand corner. Hope I will never find a use for this bit of information. Really like all the university actual-physical-work types, as they match perfectly the stereotype of the cheery, competent workman. Still, seeing altogether too many of them.

I am a little worried that I have got no mail so far (the University postal service offers many disparate and confused promises), but have hoarsely requested from parents the bottle of Covonia (Satan’s own cough syrup, makes your throat its bitch) that was in my room. I am getting rather tired of my forty-eight-hour practical in Phlegm Studies.

Selected my Module Outside the Main Discipline. The choice between the vast and diverse selection of interesting modules was aided somewhat by the many, many clashes with the War Studies timetable. In the end, I made my first choice Analysing Everyday Texts, because a better understanding of writing can’t fail to help in either course or life, and as my second choice Mandarin Chinese, because Mandarin Chinese.

Then I got back on my bike and cycled home and went back to bed and felt sick and haven’t come out again because important breathing-related parts of my body are now in open rebellion. Urgh. Nothing important is happening until Monday, which is good, because freshers’ flu has me firmly in its horrible sticky clutches.