Term One is over. It was a good term! Let’s have more like it.
I have three things to do over Christmas. One is a 4k essay for Critical Analysis; the same subject as the 1.5k book review which I blagged in about half an hour for a 77 (which a little bird told me was actually the highest mark in the year; how did this even happen?) so I am not exactly frightened about it. One is another 4k essay for Rise of Modern War, which I have been doing lots of reading and prep for and have an immense stack of books to carry home; inside sources tell me that Toby’s marking is pretty savage, so it’ll get a good deal more polish and painstaking, though it’s half done already. The third is organising and planning a group research trip to the archives in London. Let’s not even talk about that.
The Big Things I was getting into at the start of term haven’t panned out exactly as hoped. Redbrick have obtained some tech support blokes who are (unlike me) worth their salt; in a meeting with them they reeled off TLAs with wild and gay abandon while I struggled to get FTP working (turns out guild internet was blocking it; still looked a right idiot.) I like the Redbrick people, but will, without much reluctance, give up the Technical Directorship that I am criminally unqualified for. The History Department’s staff-student committee might have been effective at tackling my issues if it was well-attended, well-advertised, resourceful, regular and capable of actually talking to the rest of the department; it’s none of these things, and the one-hour meeting I was actually invited to (out of two in a term) was almost a complete waste of time, in which a tutor basically contradicted the War Studies guarantees Flash had extracted previously, the complaint about office spam was pre-empted by someone proposing a leaving present for the spammer and a thank-you card for what a good job she did, and the suggestions for dealing with book shortages met with a flat “you can’t do that”. On the other hand, I have become Treasurer of the War Studies Society, which ought to be mildly interesting and will certainly, as every extracurricular thing claims, Look Good On Your CV. I was elected unanimously. It was nice.
Thanks to my brother, I have scored a sort of blogging job, writing posts for money; it’s about the same payoff each week as I would expect from the tiny part time jobs I applied unsuccessfully for last year, except it’s less than a tenth the work and I can do it from my laptop anywhere. So not a lot of money, but enough to cover my weekly food expenses with a little left over to buy small fun things or offset impending poverty.
I have also, after much casting about and procrastinating, decided on A Career, and something to actually do with my life. I think it’ll be interesting, I think it’ll be challenging but a challenge I can take, it’s in a field that is going to get shaken up quite a bit in the next few decades, and if I can fight my way through the qualifications and get a job with the right people it it will also see me comfortably off for the rest of my life. More about later; I need to talk to people about it over Christmas before I shoot too high. Let’s talk about that face-to-face.
I’ve gone and mail-ordered myself a 1-litre Thermos, after the problem of procuring lots of cups of tea during hour-long L4D campaigns was discussed by Tom, Bill and I. It goes very nicely with my 1-litre teapot and is ace for instantly making myself a cuppa whenever. I also fill it up last thing at night and have fresh hot tea in the morning. It’s lovely.
After a visit to Olly’s friend Taylor over in Sutton Coldfield this weekend, I tried to make my way home as eight inches of snow descended on Brum. Trains were a hilarious nightmare, though not nearly as bad as the catastrophe last January, and I actually got on one after only about fifteen minutes of standing in a shivering, irritated press of humanity. On the slow, halting journey out to Selly Oak, I struck up a conversation about phones with a couple of fellow passengers, and another passenger gave me a mint; it’s nice how well people get on when they’re packed into a sardine can pretending to be a train. As I came home, there was a car with its wheels flailing in the ungritted snow on the fairly steep incline at the end of Reservoir Road; I asked the driver if he needed help, and pushed on the bumper while his tiny son regarded me impassively through the rear window. I got driven the last couple of hundred metres home for my trouble. Did I mention eight inches of snow? It’s wonderful, breathtakingly gorgeous. I took some pictures on my phone camera, might upload them later if they’re any good.
My toothpaste tube has “TOOF GOO” written on the lid in black permanent marker. It looks like my writing, but I can’t for the life of me remember where it came from.
So, yeah. Good term. But I’m rather looking forward to getting home.