“So, what’re you doing for focused study next term?”
“Eh? We get to choose our topics? I haven’t seen anything on the noticeboards…”
“Yeah, you sign up on WebCT. Deadline’s today, man! Didn’t you see the email?”
I did actually get the email, but failed to notice it in the mound of course-unrelated spam about the closing of Sociology and cycling across India for cancer research and weight-lifting for Christ that the History Office sends out to its students from the same address as for our important course announcements. And I found it and frantically signed on to WebCT a few hours after the deadline was up. So for my carelessness I will get assigned to my focused study group automatically, probably one about the development of motorways or somesuch banal/depressing idiocy. Ugh.
To balance this out, I found while hunting for choc ices the ice cream-wrapped-in-a-sliver-of-sponge-cake we had for school dinners at Hanover! It’s called “arctic roll” apparently and is definitely among the top ten cake-and-ice-cream-related things in the world. My flatmates agreed, when they had a slice. Mmmmmmm.
The two bits of prepared speaking work I have done in the last couple of weeks have made me feel like a slacker and look like an overachiever. Which is better than the other way round, I suppose? For our debate on whether or not there was a Military Revolution I prepared an opening statement that, when I finished it the night before the debate after some absolutely top notch procrastination, had far too much to say (very strange, since my entire argument was basically being pedantic over definitions of the word “revolution” – empty jugs, most noise etc. It’s undeniable the bloody thing happened, just not very quickly or decisively) and I said it all very quickly. This at least was better than Flash, arguing the case for the Revolution, who had too little to say and said it very slowly and patronisingly.
The pernicketiness of the teams being well matched, the packet of double chocolate chip (no regular choc chip for the War Studies proud-and-few, oh no) cookies Stuart offered as a debate-winning prize ended up being distributed among the group equally, with one extra for the team leaders (Nick, Flash and I). The Somme presentation on Friday I again read about lots but left the actual writing to the last minute. Again, it was the longest in my group (of Nick, Louis and I) and again of a thoroughness that made the rest of the class go “…uh, okay.”
On Monday we had a lecture with this man. His lecture on command, control and coalitions was brisk, crisp and to the point, his accompanying slideshow was a sort of “What I Did On My Holidays” of pictures of him in helicopters above distant lands, in Land Rovers with shredded buildings in the background, and shaking hands with various important-looking men in various important-looking uniforms. Both he and ex-Air Commodore Peter Gray have been immensely professional and educational. I hope we get more lectures from military types.
Though we first years had already founded a War Studies society, got enough signatures for Guild recognition and generally done well, a number of second and third years then triumphantly announced to us that they were going to create a War Studies society… “a proper attempt rather than the failures of previous years”, accompanied by a rather pretentious set of emails advertising the “first ever War Studies social”. Which grated somewhat, but they weren’t to know, I suppose.
So on Tuesday we went down to the pub on the Bristol Road called “The Gun Barrels” (…coincidentally… honest) and met up with the second and third years (one of them was a GIRL. Who didn’t even appear to be lost or kidnapped. Weird!) and the various war-nerds generally made merry and talked about war and football and films and exchanged awful drunk stories. However, next week the third years want to go to “The Old Contemptibles” pub, which is in the middle of town. I don’t care if it serves fifteen rounds per minute*, that’s a long way to go for a non-drinker to not drink.
Disability needs assessment postponed to Monday. Updates as events warrant.
My Thirty Years War essay for RRR is done, finished and I am rather proud of it; my War, Armed Forces & Society essay on the development of air power is barely started and none of my books are being very helpful at all. It’s formative rather than summative, so it doesn’t actually matter if I screw up horribly, but I really want to do myself justice and I fear I won’t be able to. Either I can write basically from my own knowledge, which is considerable, and get a bad mark for not referencing any of my ideas or backing up my points, or I can do a crappy hobbled essay with the required quota of footnotes from books on a different subject, and get a bad mark for doing an objectively bad essay. (Useless reading list; all the books it said the library did have were invisible, and all the books it said they didn’t have a copy of were actually there.) I’ll go with the former; there’s a lot more to learn about if I’m completely wrong, and it will feel better.
I have also had no end of bicycle maintenance related woes, which I shall share another time, but essay for now.
Expenditures for week before last: £47.20
* This is a war nerd joke.