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December 05, 2022, 07:40:10 AM
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Author Topic: Alex's even longer post thread.  (Read 111162 times)
ER
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« Reply #660 on: September 28, 2022, 11:59:11 AM »

When I think of soldiers who were hard-core killers, I think of the Germans behind the machine guns at the Somme. By some accounts twenty thousand British were killed in the first hour, (and Haig kept sending more and more on to their deaths even knowing what was happening, sure his plan could not fail). Whether it represents their true feelings or not, the accounts we have are of those German gunners expressing glee at the slaughter they undertook that terrible July day, not screaming horror. Yes, the British were advancing on them, at a plodding pace, mostly, yes the Germans had just been shelled for a week, yes, it was war, but to mow down lines of men who just kept walking into death, some wincing and shielding their faces like they were out in rain, that has always struck me as the epitome of....? Well, I don't know how to finish that. Of being good soldiers? Of being inhumane? Of the less celebrated hemisphere of human nature nakedly revealed? Or maybe almost anyone could and would have done it too, a sort of Milgram experiment writ large.

If ever you get a chance to visit the Somme battlefields, go. It changes your perspective on life immeasurably by showing either how precious or how cheap it truly is.

There are a whole load of factors that could come into play there. One, Germany prior to the Great War was a highly militarised society. Boys were encouraged to play with military-based toys and games growing up (in effect prepping them to kill), but two, I'd also look into who wrote those accounts. British newspapers for example were infamous for printing lurid stories of atrocities the hun had committed, just making up stories (most likely with the encouragement of the government) to increase war fever. The Somme was 2 years into the war. By that point, I can well imagine your connection to what is normal has broken down and the kill ratio goes down. Just because you are not able to kill someone at the start of the war, doesn't mean that won't change. Interestingly, I've never seen a study on how that would go during a longer or more brutal war. My guess is that a lot of people sooner or later are going to get over their more civilised notions about not killing, but I am guessing here. Maybe you eventually either break down with shell shock or go feral? The final factor is yeah, you do get the ones who just plain enjoy killing or feel no emotion over it. I find the former more worrisome than the latter.

As it has been explained to me, a good rule of thumb is that half of all bullets that find targets in war are fired by about ten-percent of the total number of combat soldiers, which has sounded both incredible and realistic at the same time.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2022, 01:52:59 PM by ER » Logged

What does not kill me makes me stranger.
Alex
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« Reply #661 on: September 28, 2022, 03:06:03 PM »

When I think of soldiers who were hard-core killers, I think of the Germans behind the machine guns at the Somme. By some accounts twenty thousand British were killed in the first hour, (and Haig kept sending more and more on to their deaths even knowing what was happening, sure his plan could not fail). Whether it represents their true feelings or not, the accounts we have are of those German gunners expressing glee at the slaughter they undertook that terrible July day, not screaming horror. Yes, the British were advancing on them, at a plodding pace, mostly, yes the Germans had just been shelled for a week, yes, it was war, but to mow down lines of men who just kept walking into death, some wincing and shielding their faces like they were out in rain, that has always struck me as the epitome of....? Well, I don't know how to finish that. Of being good soldiers? Of being inhumane? Of the less celebrated hemisphere of human nature nakedly revealed? Or maybe almost anyone could and would have done it too, a sort of Milgram experiment writ large.

If ever you get a chance to visit the Somme battlefields, go. It changes your perspective on life immeasurably by showing either how precious or how cheap it truly is.

There are a whole load of factors that could come into play there. One, Germany prior to the Great War was a highly militarised society. Boys were encouraged to play with military-based toys and games growing up (in effect prepping them to kill), but two, I'd also look into who wrote those accounts. British newspapers for example were infamous for printing lurid stories of atrocities the hun had committed, just making up stories (most likely with the encouragement of the government) to increase war fever. The Somme was 2 years into the war. By that point, I can well imagine your connection to what is normal has broken down and the kill ratio goes down. Just because you are not able to kill someone at the start of the war, doesn't mean that won't change. Interestingly, I've never seen a study on how that would go during a longer or more brutal war. My guess is that a lot of people sooner or later are going to get over their more civilised notions about not killing, but I am guessing here. Maybe you eventually either break down with shell shock or go feral? The final factor is yeah, you do get the ones who just plain enjoy killing or feel no emotion over it. I find the former more worrisome than the latter.

As it has been explained to me, a good rule of thumb is that half of all bullets that find targets in war are fired by about ten-percent of the total number of combat soldiers, which has sounded both incredible and realistic at the same time.


Oops, just realised I wrote kill ratio goes down when I meant up.
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Alex
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« Reply #662 on: September 29, 2022, 11:45:47 PM »

We met up with some people I'd spoke with on many a skype call before but had never met in person. They work in the mothership of our section down in Coningsby. Anyway, we had a few drinks and swapped war stories until about 22:30, which was a lot later than I'd planned being out. By the time I got back to my room it was midnight and someone else in the corridor decided to have their TV up really loud.

I decided not to go chap on their door and complain, but I've been out of bed since 3 and around half four I put on Drowning Pool, and not quietly either. I've been going up and down the corridor a few times, just doing the usual things we need to do for leaving a room and I've not been closing the doors quietly.

Fair is fair after all.

Curious about the Nordstrom pipelines blowing up and who is behind that one. Most people are debating on would it make sense for Russia to have done it or not. Most people are saying well if it was them, they are doing themselves more harm than they are to the west. I entered two wildcards into the mix that other people hadn't considered (if you really, really want to know PM me, but just remember it is a wildcard stab in the dark), but when I mentioned these countries they seemed to think it made sense. It is interesting which country most people are saying benefits from it the most. I'd need to do some serious strategic analysis before I'd decide on agreeing with who they really think is behind it or not. It doesn't affect the UK directly, although I have no doubt it will be used to push gas prices up even further.

In just under an hour I'll be leaving my room, go meet up with Karl and hand in our hire car. We'll then get driven by MT to the station. If all goes well, we will hit Inverness just after 15:00. Got 6 minutes between our train getting in there and the next one leaving, but Kristi is going to meet me there and we'll do some shopping, and pick up a later train. Hopefully, we won't run late and Karl will be able to get home on time. He did speak to his wife about meeting him there as well, but I don't think she wanted to drive there.

Come to think of it, I think this might be the first time I've been back in Inverness since Rescript at christmas. Certainly, right now my (admittedly lack of sleep befuddled) brain can't think of being there since, other than passing through on the way to somewhere else.

I wonder if you could sit in a room and call up your own 'inner demons' what they would look like and what they'd have to say? At this point in my life, I think I'd be pretty chill with them. If you were able to call up your greatest personal fear (not something you worry about happening to someone else, but something that could happen to you), I wonder what that would be. Being eaten alive maybe? Never quite been able to figure that one out myself. I guess I don't quite have the self-knowledge (or possibly absorption?) required.

Went to the toilet and turned all the toilet rolls on the holders around so the paper unrolls on the inside. No particular reason other than I know it winds people up.

Such, it seems, are the simple things that amuse me on a morning like this.
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Alex
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« Reply #663 on: October 02, 2022, 02:10:52 PM »

Spent the day painting and amusing Ash. There were other things I wanted to do, but either the weather wasn't suitable or it just didn't seem that important. Many things that others think are vital just don't seem at all important to me these days, if indeed they ever did.

It is feeling great being back home. Friday night/Saturday morning I don't think there was a single moment from when we went to bed until we got up that we weren't holding each other.

Thinking about doing a one-shot online adventure for Conan. The rules are based on the version of D&D my players are used to, but with modifications.

Back to regular work tomorrow, and our one busy week of the month with it. Once I felt pride at the thought of doing my job and doing it well. These past couple of years really seems to have killed that. It is impossible to have pride in one's work when you are supplied with faulty materials and can only put out dodgy products.
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Trevor
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« Reply #664 on: October 03, 2022, 01:47:53 AM »

Back to regular work tomorrow, and our one busy week of the month with it. Once I felt pride at the thought of doing my job and doing it well. These past couple of years really seems to have killed that. It is impossible to have pride in one's work when you are supplied with faulty materials and can only put out dodgy products.

I've felt the same about my job for the last few years. Although I enjoy it and can do it well, outside factors influence how you feel about it especially if you are considered 'a relic of the past' - being Caucasian and male in my case - and are only trotted out by your bosses if they feel the need to impress some VIP visitor and then are ignored again until the next time. Forget about promotion and attempting to mentor people even if you can!

The lockdown seriously affected my mental health so  Bluesad
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Alex
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« Reply #665 on: October 05, 2022, 01:33:13 AM »

So Somalia and the surrounding region are facing a famine (indeed there were mentions of it being 40 years of famine so far).

The article was basically saying they just aren't receiving enough money and resources to save people. They interviewed a woman whose 10-year-old son had just died, but who had no time to grieve as she needed to work to feed her surviving kids.

They didn't give you anywhere to donate money specifically which I thought was a mistake. Just remember though, no matter how bad things are for you, there are many places out there where things are much worse.

The tories are having their annual get-together this week. The PM makes her big speech today. Given her premiership is already in trouble she'll need to pull something impressive out of the bag.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2022, 01:37:45 AM by Alex » Logged

But do you understand That none of this will matter Nothing can take your pain away
Alex
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« Reply #666 on: October 05, 2022, 01:50:56 PM »

In boxing, I see that the Eubank/Benn: The Next Generation match is off after someone failed a drugs test. No word on which side, or indeed if it was both. For their fathers, I preferred Benn as a boxer, but I'd have to say I felt Eubank had him in each of their encounters. After his rather tragic match against Watson, Eubank was never quite the same. He (understandably) held back in his matches after that, only doing enough to what he felt would be enough to secure a points victory.

Not everyone can carry the psychological baggage that comes along with doing something like that, even accidentally to another human being.

Just heard that Liz Truss is now officially less popular than Boris Johnson ever was. Well, it is with impressive speed she has been plummeting to the bottom. Most politicians at least get a honeymoon period when they reach the top office.

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Alex
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« Reply #667 on: October 06, 2022, 07:31:38 AM »

Today I was sent my record of service. 11 pages that list most of my courses, qualifications, honours and awards. Kind of thought I'd get sent something printed out on nice card, maybe even embossed with the logo of the RAF and stuff.

Nope. Got what looks like a printout from an Excel spreadsheet.

It has my service as ending on the 31st of December 4712. Well, at least I have job security then.

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Alex
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« Reply #668 on: October 08, 2022, 03:50:21 PM »

Spent the day with Ash while Kristi went out shopping. He has discovered what (in my view) is the world's most boring online show. Each episode consists of trains coming in and out of different stations.

Yeah, someone spent 30 years filming trains at stations.

Well, as long as they enjoyed doing it. He does seem to be taking after his granddad on Kristi's side of the family that way. There is a guy on Facebook we've been buying a lot of second-hand D&D rulebooks from that somehow seems to have found out about Ash, and now when we buy books he sends him a bag of dice with a little note attached. I've said to Kristi that come Yule we should send him a card from Ash.

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Alex
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« Reply #669 on: October 11, 2022, 07:23:30 AM »

Working from home today while the healthcare worker comes to check on Ash. Nothing special, just the regular check-up.

Still, anything for a day out of the office eh?

She is happy enough with his progress and development. His thumb issues are much less of a problem for him with all the work we've been doing with him. It is good to know we are doing all the right stuff.
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Alex
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« Reply #670 on: October 13, 2022, 07:17:43 AM »

I really managed to catch our Tuesday night Dungeon Master out in the last session. I was having the worst luck I've ever seen in a game. Every spell I cast, the bad guys managed to save against. Nothing was working for me. We'd just agreed to go kill a pack of trolls, so a bunch of lizardmen would let some slaves go instead of feeding them to the trolls. We tracked down the said beasties and duly began fighting them.

After four rounds of ineffectual spells, I decided screw it and charged into combat. Buffed myself up so I'd be more effective, got my long spear out and charged.

Rolled a natural one, meaning I fumbled the attack. Of course, I did. Everything else was going wrong, why not have that go wrong too? The DM said my spear was stuck in the trolls side, and because they regenerate the wound had closed up around the tip of the spear, and I'd have to try and grab it to pull it out.

Now, this spear is a minor magic item. It isn't superpowered or anything, but what is can do is alter what it is made of.  I can tell it to be made of whatever material. The conversation went something like this:

Alex "So, do I have to be holding my spear to change what it is made of?"

Jarrod "No, as long as it is effectively within earshot, you can change it."

Alex "Ok then. Since the head is stuck inside the troll I change it to being made of arsenic."

Jarrod "You can only change it to metals." (Actually, I've previously changed it to stone, wood and diamond, but he's panicking a little at this point, so I let it pass).

Alex "Arsenic is a metal. Check your periodic table of elements."

Of course, the troll them made its saves against beign poisoned, but hey at least I tried something.
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Alex
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« Reply #671 on: October 14, 2022, 11:42:43 AM »

So our chancellor is out of a job in almost record time. The only guy in and out of the office quicker died shortly after being picked. Bets are being made on how much longer the PM will last. Right now, if she makes it to christmas, she'll have done better than expected.

The week is done and I am chilling for the weekend. Prepping some D&D stuff for tonight and chatting with a young lad who wants to join the RAF. Next Friday I am taking the day off work and going up to the recruiting office with him.
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Alex
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« Reply #672 on: October 16, 2022, 09:59:19 AM »

Blood is in the water for Liz Truss. The sharks might not be circling yet, but they sense it is there and they are watching. She's sacrificed her chancellor in a bid to save her own hide, but everyone is aware that it was her economic plan just as much as it was his, if not more. Still, Kwasi now goes down in history as the second shortest serving chancellor of the exchequer, behind some guy who had to die in office to be out faster. Traditionally, moderate right-wing political groups manage the economy better, but this time they've blown that out of the water. I did see that the pound started dropping in value after she'd made her speech. From Cameron onwards, the political right really has made a continual series of blunders that have eroded our economy.

What defines a religion? Is it dusty old books and stories? Maybe speeches made from a pulpit. Decisions made after the death of those who founded it perhaps? For myself, I think these only matter to scholars and apologists. What really makes a religion is what its adherents on the ground floor do. All the nice words in any holy book don't make up for how you really treat others, or how you allow them to be treated. How those others are treated, whether they be part of your beliefs or not, that is what your religion is really about. Tell yourself they aren't real christians, muslims, buddists, taoists or whatever you care to follow, but whatever is happening and what they doing, for good or ill is what your faith is really about.

The weather says we are deep into autumn and that winter is on its way. I've always liked this time of year, the cooler nights, the piles of leaves to run through, the darker night evenings. It really calls to the side of me that prefers the darker side of life. Under lockdown, Samhain became bigger than Christmas. People put their decorations up at the middle to end of September and really went much more elaborate than I'd ever seen before. It was pretty much a continuous festival from then until the new year. It was good to see holidays going closer to their true roots than the pillaged and joyless husks that a certain other religion corrupted them into. Mind you, it wasn't really until the time of Dicken's before the more Baccanial elements fell out of favour and it became a more family-orientated thing. Even then, those christmas parties are a call back to the true origins of the annual celebrations.

Doubtless, soon I'll see posts about the real reason for the season and claims for them to be allowed to celebrate "their" festival in peace without arguments on social media and then proceed to abuse in some fashion the very same other religions they ask for tolerance from.

Oh well, such is the hypocrisy I've come to expect from them, along with weak justifications for stealing those ideas in the first place. Still, I guess it helps them sleep better at night. Doesn't get past the breaking of one of their commandments though however you choose to sell it. I was watching some stuff on hindu's and muslims in India and Pakistan, but really this s**t is universal. I could flick the channel and watch someone about christians in Ireland or the US, the torture of witches in Africa, gay people in Russia... Depressingly there are few places where I couldn't find something. Does the little good that it does do really justify allowing religion's continued existence? If they could just exist without trying to tell other people how to, I'd settle for that.

Anyway, back to the weather. It would not surprise me to see frost on the ground tomorrow. We've had cold days, but warm nights recently. I think the temperature is going to drop a little.

Having a horror movie marathon this weekend. Started yesterday with some more child-friendly ones (with Ash running around I am not exactly going to stick on the harder stuff). Last night and today though I've had a chance to watch some darker fare. Finally managed to get to see 'X'. Now to see if I can find 'Pearl'.
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Alex
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« Reply #673 on: October 17, 2022, 03:44:26 AM »

Watched the end of Rings of Power last night. Didn't think it was as bad as people made out, but then again I've not read the source material beyond The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Even then I skipped the songs and appendixes.

Next up, finish The Sandman.

I lay in bed this morning, thinking about how much I just wanted to stay there, not go into work and just cuddle up with Kristi. Of course, I got up and did the daily routine. Got into work only to find my workmates had the same idea I did, only they decided to stay in bed.

Our political circus continues. Today we are due for another statement. This timedrom the new, new chancellor. If the economy crashes furthe after his speech, I can't see any way back for Truss. Indeed, expectations are that she will be gone within the week. As much as I don't like the tories, wanting them to fail is like hoping the captain of the ship you are travelling on crashes into an iceberg.

I was reading the story of a Dutch Jewish boxer who defied the nazi's and managed to survive being sent to a concentration camp. Quite the inspirational story, although sadly not one with unfamiliar tones for the time. His name was Ben Bril, if anyone feels like looking up the story.
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Alex
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« Reply #674 on: October 18, 2022, 12:53:09 PM »

Saw a dead seagull on the way home at lunchtime today. This by itself is not an unusual thing. The local bird population has been decimated by some virus going around, not to mention there is always the occasional one that has been hit by a car. This one, however, looked like it had been shredded. The garden was full of a mess of feathers, the wings were gone and only the upper half of the torso and head remained. Seagulls in the UK are a lot bigger than the ones I've seen in the states and don't forget that they are naturally birds of prey. I figured something big like a dog must have got it, but it turns out a buzzard has moved to the area and has been killing other birds. Usually, the gulls gang up against rival predators (I saw a flock of them rip a pest control hawk to shreds once).

It is nice not to have bird crap everywhere, or be able to have the windows open at night and not be kept awake by their incessant cries or have your laundry crapped on if you hang it outside. Will I miss them though?

Will I bollocks. Hate the damn things. I'd imagine that they will rebuild their numbers in a few years, but right now it is nice to have a break from them.
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