Seminar on the Hague Convention:
Prof. Gary Sheffield: Which also forbade – does anyone know what a dum-dum bullet is?
Me: A soft-nosed or hollow-pointed lead bullet designed to expand within the target’s body and create large wound channels.
Sheffield: :D Correct! [sly look] Do you know why they’re called dum-dums?
Me: After the Dum Dum arsenal near Calcutta.
Sheffield: I’m impressed.
Me: But like with gas*, the convention’s prohibition on expanding bullets was limited and obeyed in letter rather than spirit; while everyone switched to full-metal-jacketed bullets, as required by the convention, there were all sorts of getarounds like jacketed hollowpoints. The modern 5.56mm NATO round is a full-metal-jacketed spitzer-pointed bullet, but it’s actually designed to fragment and cause huge wound channels. The idea being, a FMJ bullet will either hit something vital and kill you or it won’t, but the wounds caused by an expanding round will always be serious but not always instantly fatal, and while a dead man is one man off the line a wounded man is three – one who’s been hit and two mates to carry him – but this doesn’t actually work so well against uncivilised types who leave their wounded behind, as we’ve been finding in Iraq and Afghanistan…
Sheffield: ANYWAY. Moving swiftly on…
*Poison gas was first deployed by the Germans from canisters in the field. This did not break the letter of the Hague Convention, which only prohibited it when released from… grenades, I think? And bombing by hot air balloon…
LAN last Saturday was AGM season. COGS politics, as ever, was a disgusting, despicable clusterfuck of passive-aggressive backbiting and stupid forum wank, though my only contribution to the Serious Business forum (an impassioned scream for it to stop) I think may have reduced it somewhat, though I do say so myself. At the LAN itself I got to be returning officer, which involved a lot of counting hands and shouting, and while a couple of the new committee members are decidedly iffy the majority are solid people. Still pissed Sarah lost Secretary by one vote, though. Oh! The wonderful WildFire released the latest of his Meet the Committee videos, which is absolutely worth your time checking out -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPe96mont68
Student election spam has managed to make me care even less about university politics than real politics. I’m frankly impressed.
I edited up a rather old piece of writing, the closest to a self-contained short story I’ve ever written, gave it a title (“Second Sunset”) and submitted it to the first issue of the “Zine Writers’ Guild” compilation some lovely tripfags on the new /lit/ board have created, fully expecting it to be gutted by anon. In this I was disappointed; it, along with “Sick”, seems to be the most highly praised in the zine (favourites of mine: Lazarus in the House of Hrothgar, Reflections of a Poletard, Revolution) and had a bit of very constructive feedback. Which has all given me very warm and happy feelings. Definitely feeling better than the poor chap who wrote “The Collector”, who rather than hiding had the courage to stand up and take all the considerable flak 4chan could throw at him, but is probably looking for another username right now.
Moose, the semi-sane-student from the flat across who with a little drink turns instantly into a retarded loudmouthed manchild with a penchant for banging on doors and shouting at four in the morning, seems to think that killing the power (which he can do at will, because the Maintenance cretins have left the door to the switchbox unlocked and seem impervious to all requests to unfuck it, the growing mouldy patch in my room, the broken shower…) to my flat is an absolute hoot. So as well as losing 300 words or so on from in-progress essay that faded unexpectedly to black, I’ve missed a couple of lectures this week, because a loss of power resets my alarm clock. What the hell can I do? He’s huge, he’s drunk, he’s unreasonable, he’s surrounded by huge drunk unreasonable friends and it’s not as though there’s a teacher to tell on. This is the first bit of truly childish frustrating dickery I’ve encountered at uni. I was hoping there wouldn’t be any.
This week my desktop, upon my usual bleary-eyed early ten-o’clock boot-up, gave a horrible grating shriek and wouldn’t start up; from consulting with friends and bros it’s almost certain that my boot drive is thoroughly screwed. This isn’t as much of a catastrophe as it could be; all my non-Steam media are backed up on my other internal hard drive, my Steam games can be redownloaded double-quick, and my university work and writing are all duplicated on my laptop, phone and memory sticks. My irreplaceable image folders, trawls of hundreds of hours of 4channing, I gave Tom a copy of over reading week. But because the wired drivers for my laptop are just plain not working, I’m left without an Internet-capable computer until I buy a new boot drive, so lots of trudging to libraries, memory-stick-twiddling nonsense and queuing up for ages to get at the horrible, horrible library computers for a while yet. (It’s altogether possible, lack of Internet aside, that this might actually help with work.)
Of course, this coincides with essays coming home to roost and a global upturn in hard drive prices. But it’s not a huge cost, and this is as painless an opportunity as there’ll ever be to change over (dunno about “upgrade”) to Windows 7 and get to improving my hardware… I guess that sort of goes in the win column, right?
Last week: £59
This week: £25+ however much HDD ends up costing (eta: £57)