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That’s the way, aha aha, I like it! July 26, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Children's Literature, Degrees, E301, ECA, Holy heck my head's exploding!, hospital, OU.


Yay! I did it! I got the first-class honours! I am so chuffed, the mintball train is positively chugging out the mintballs.

So the results for E301 came in. I was dreading this day, because it meant my OU experience was all but over (I still have my graduation ceremony to come). But I felt no dread staring at the nice red letters declaring I had a pass 2 for E301. It was only relief and jubilation.

How in the world did I manage 90% on the EMA?

How in the world did I manage 90% on the EMA?

Firstly, relief I had passed the EMA (the OES score). Then jubilation that I had somehow written something that was worth 90%. How in hell? Unbelievable! Thirdly, what was the point in applying the substitution when no matter what way you looked at it  – without substitution 79.35%, with substitution 79.45%, rounded down for the actual OCAS 79% – it wasn’t going to affect my result. I don’t know. Pointless maths at its most pointless. But whatever – I HAD PASSED! Joy of joys.

And that was just the topping on the cake of joy, which I had gratefully been chomping since yesterday. The first slice of joy appeared in the form of an email. This email contained my holy grail: a conditional offer of acceptance into the Children’s Literature MA at Roehampton University. *Snoopy dance* Now I have the first-class honours, this is a done deal. Can you see that super bright beam of light? No, it’s not a light sabre, that’s me in my happy. Yay! However, my happy also contains elements of gut-wrenching fear after seeing the reading lists for the modules. Yikes! Here’s hoping I can actually do this. I am so worried I am going to botch it all up.

The second slice of joy came at a hospital appointment. I had gone to meet with a surgeon about an operation to remove my gall bladder. Over the last few years I have been suffering with crippling, painful gallstone attacks. But thanks to Niamhie forcing our Lent promise, I have managed to change my diet quite drastically, meaning I haven’t had an attack since April. Once I had told the surgeon this he proposed that if I continued for the next couple of months without another attack then the operation could be deferred. Yay! I was petrified of this operation, as the meeting with the anaesthetist raised fears of being on a ventilator for the rest of my life due to the affects the muscle relaxant would have in combination with the muscular dystrophy. Now the possibility of not needing the operation is there, it’s made me more determined to keep up with the improved diet and not fall back into bad eating habits. Woohoo!

So there is my happy slice of cakey life as of today. I was aiming for 2:1 degree, but I think I overshot a little *squeeee*. Here, have some mintballs!

Deep in the realm of stupidity… May 16, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in E301, ECA, OU, Stupidity, The end of E301, writing.
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At the moment, I’m not sure if that stupidity is mine or if it’s simply the subject of my essay. Yes, I’m in the throes of panic as I prepare this final essay. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going or stuck in a Limbo of my own making, but holy heck! My brain is numb. So this is a good a time as ever to share my stages of essay writing. It’s a tried and tested method, with a pretty much spectacular success rate. Let’s hope it holds true for the stupid one.


Stages in the process of writing an essay.

  1.  Easy peasy. Hakuna matata.
  2. Hmm, this is starting to look a bit tricksy.
  3. Okay, this may just be impossible.
  4. Nothing’s impossible, I can do this.
  5. Argh! I’m in Dante’s nine circles of hell!
  6. Holy crap! When did they add this extra circle?
  7. There’s a light (over at the Frankenstein place).
  8. Okay, maybe this is doable.
  9. They got the mustard out! Yippee ki yay motherf****r!


And on that note, I best get back to it. Only another 2,810 words to go…

Results day. July 31, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in A330, ECA, End of A330, OU.

Well, the past week or so has been a time of broken sleep and anxiousness. With the mythology course results looming, I’ve not really been able to think of much else. For the first time ever in my OU studies I have managed to consistently clock distinctions, with every assessment returning at 86% or higher. Due to this, I’ve been dreading today. I knew without any shadow of a doubt that my argument wasn’t fantastic – I even know how I could have made it more succinct, but that came almost 2 months after submission. To say that a few final tweaks would have improved it no end is an understatement. Anyway…

I was woken at 6.30am by a starfishing Princi. She had launched another successful ninja bed invasion, so I woke to legs and arms all over me. Gently nudging her awake, I asked her to go back to her own bed (which she did, but not before trying to snuggle back into my side and placating me with ‘I love you, Mummy’). After I had managed to get myself comfortable again, I thought, ‘Let’s just check,’ but to no avail. The results hadn’t been posted, so just like Princi had already done, I fell back into the land of nod… To be (not entirely) rudely awoken at 8.30ish by a text from a friend:

Wakey, wakey. Results are out!

Argh! Noooo! But yes!  But noooooo!

As I logged into the OU site I quietly whispered ‘please’ over and over. I shut my eyes as the page flicked from the log in screen to the course webpage on the iPhone. I slowly unscrunched (I don’t care if it’s a word, that’s what I did!) my eyes to peek at the pages as I anxiously scrolled down to the result. And there it was in all its glorious redness!


I had done it, despite the crappy ‘adequate’ argument! Completely relieved, I jumped on the chuffing mintball train, and received a big hug from Princi in celebration! I still can’t quite believe it, nor the fact that I have more or less guaranteed myself a first class honours degree with that result! I had never imagined that was even attainable when I began with the OU, my biggest dream was of achieving a 2:1. But with this distinction and the distinction from the Children’s Literature course… WOOHOO!

So now I’m off to eat some chocolate cake. Nom!

By Friday this should all be a distant dream…. Hopefully! May 22, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in A330, BtVS, Diablo 3, ECA, End of A330, I am a new kind of crazy!, My poor brain, Mythology, OU.

I’m so close. Like <-> this close. But now the writing of every word is as painful and frustrating as getting Princi to throw her smoothie cartons in the bin. Nigh on impossible!


Yes, I’m talking about the mythology EMA. In the words – or abbreviations – of today’s youth: Oh. Em. Gee! This essay is a headwreck! And 3,000 words for a final essay? That’s just a joke! The should have been more. At least a thousand more! I feel like I’m picking a gnat’s teeth trying to weave my way through the sparseness of this word desert. Holy heck, I tell you. Holy heck! But at least I get to watch Buffy as study. So it’s not all bad.

And soon the studying shall be over! Woohoo!

Who am I kidding? It’s all bad. But as long as I get 70%. I could make do with a pass 2. I won’t say happy, as happiness comes in distinctions, but I doubt I’ll get that with my rubbish. I’m not even sure if I’ve answered the ‘question’/statement. Oh well. Only time will tell.


My lonely and forlorn copy of Diablo 3, slowly being consumed by a small pile of clean clothes.


So, three more days and I should be done. Freedom, here I come! And freedom consists of reading something I am really looking forward to reading, buying a new laptop, and playing Diablo 3. Oh, I’m so excited! Both have been sitting there patiently – the story and the game, that is – quitely calling for me to pay them attention. But Pandora has nearly arrived, and I shall… Oh, best rethink that sentence! That was bordering on uinintended innuendo! Yep. This essay has officially driven me crazy.


So on that note… *disappears in a puff of pinky/purpley shimmery smoke*

And then there was one. April 13, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in A330, ECA, My poor brain, Mythology, Oh £$%* I've fallen again, OU, TMA05.
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Well. The final TMA for the mythology course Tronned its way through the matrix this morning. So glad! It was an evil bugger, and the guidance notes that accompanied the question related to the question for last year’s intake. That was a stumbling block, I can tell you. But I’ve managed to scribble some rubbish, and as long as I get 55% on it I should still be hitting in the distinction range for the OCAS (overall course assessment score, or something like that!), so I can’t complain there . 😀 That just leaves the 3,000 words owing for the end of module assignment: ‘Analyse the different representations of death or love in classical mythology.’

I have chosen love. Death is too easy. There is a shed-load of primary and secondary sources in the course materials for death. What challenge is there in that? No, I must make it difficult, I must find my own secondary sources, I must have the opportunity to let my brain focus on something that it enjoys. Yes, I am my brain’s bitch! So, with that in mind, and with deciding that I would push it into the boundaries of reception studies, I have decided upon a long-winded title – that will hopefully get the go ahead from my tutor:

Pandora, Pygmalion, Echo and Narcissus: Filial Pietas and Self-love in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse.

Now, don’t ask me to explain what I’m going to do. I have some ideas – obviously, or I wouldn’t have the title – but there will be some representations of family love and sacrifice alongside representations of selfish love, based on the reception of the mythological characters mentioned. But that is for next week, as I am planning to use the weekend to recover from the mental abuse of the last TMA and the painful bruises on my noggin and bottom, the results from my hips choosing to wimbaway without permission and therefore causing a nasty fall on Wednesday.

Although… Maybe now is a good time to start deconstructing the mythology to keep my mind off the pain…


***EDIT*** (14/05/12)

The title and idea was somewhat given the go-ahead by my tutor, with the compromise of cutting it down a bit. So I ditched Dollhouse and Echo. So now I have about a week and a bit to get the essay finished. It currently stands at 1,500 words down, 1,500 words to go. So I best get back to Narcissus and homosexuality in Ancient Rome, before tackling the Buffy section and conclusion. Wahey!


Oh, and TMA05 came back with a cracking mark, leaving me cacking my pants with expectation and stress at getting the 85% and up result for the EMA (end of module assessment. Why they had to change it from end of course assessment – ECA – I have no idea. All a bit Constantinople to me!). Please let me do a good job of it!

Tizzyfits in car parks. August 2, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Cinema, ECA, End of EA300, Stupid wheelchair, The Principessa Files.
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What an almost disaster today turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong, it started out fine – Princi (after a little lapse in concentration) got herself dressed, then became an absolute superstar as she helped me put my socks and DCs on. (Just to put this in context, I can’t lean down to put socks/shoes on, so Grandand usually helps me.) Princi amazed me with her patience whilst helping me, and she backed that up by amazing me with not getting all flustered putting her own DCs on – she usually throws a fit and complains that they ‘just won’t fit!’ Then, when we got to the car, Princi sorted herself out in her car seat and even belted herself in. Talk about a perfect child, I wondered where the pod was! So all was going according to plan, until we got to the cinema…

Grandand set the wheelchair up, then lifted me out of the car. Slowly but surely, I tottered around in a semi circle, positioning myself so I could sit in the chair. Princi stood on the side, amusing herself by watching a spider climb up a brick wall, still acting as if she was the most perfect child this side of Mars. Then I sat down. Oh crapadoodle. The chair didn’t feel right. The right side of the seat didn’t have any support. ‘It’s not right,’ I said to Grandand. He pulled my up out of the chair and I grabbed hold of the car for support. Checking the wheelchair, we noticed that there was a piece of plastic lying on the floor next to the wheel. Yep, the bit that held the support in place had snapped off. The chair was unusable.

‘Babes, we’re going to have to go the the cinema on another day.’

Cue the tizzy. Princi brought out the big guns, and started with an extra-loud ‘WWWWAAAAAHHHHH!’ Bugger. She was so looking forward to this.

‘But Princi, the wheelchair is broken and Mummy can’t use it or I’ll get hurt.’


‘C’mon, we’ll go tomorrow. I promise.’


‘We can’t. Right, we’ll go and get a new chair now so we can go tomorrow.’


Despite the wah-ing, she got back into the car and Grandand belted her in. She was still crying, so I handed her the iPhone with Plants vs. Zombies loading up, which seemed to calm her a little.

‘But I was so excited to see Toy Story 3.’

‘I know you were, babes. Tomorrow, I promise. But we’re still going on a little drive now, so we can buy a new wheelchair.’

So off we went on our jolly jaunt looking for a mobility shop. Everywhere where there used to be a shop, it had closed down. Why is it, when you don’t need something it is there in abundance, but when it’s a necessary evil you can’t find it? We drove around for an hour hunting down a mobility place, we even stopped a policewoman  and asked her if she knew of any. We finally found one tucked away down a back road, but yay! A solution to the problem. Grandand went in, came out five minutes later:

‘It’s going to cost £300.’

Yikes! That’s a lot. ‘Get it,’ I say, ‘I need it to get back into the house.’

So Grandand went back in to purchase the chair. I was hoping it might have had a Cerebro attachment or something, maybe even some mad Professor X mind reading skills when I sat in it, but no. It was £300 for a normal wheelie wheelchair. Sigh!

Once it had all been loaded into the back of the car and we had managed to ditch the old seat with the mobility shop, I talked Grandand into going to a cinema that was about 10 minutes down the road. This made Princi very happy, which in turn made me happy. And then I sat in the new chair…

And it was so comfortable! Wow! This is what I’d been missing out on. I haven’t felt that much comfort sitting in a wheelchair since my first chair (this is my third). It was worth the money just for that relief and for the fact that it didn’t hurt my left leg like the old chair did. It is a wonderful, wonderful chair.

So into the cinema we went, bought our popcorn, got ourselves settled down to watch the film, and ended up having an enjoyable afternoon out after all.

And as for the question that popped up on the blog search… No, I haven’t had any results for EA300 as yet! But good luck to everyone who is waiting on results.

The day cometh. May 27, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in A210, Children's Literature, Downstairs, EA300, ECA, End of EA300, OU, The Principessa Files.


The end of EA300. At 12pm the course will officially finish. That is the cut-off time for the ECA.  I submitted mine last Friday, then spent the weekend agonising about whether or not to resubmit as I knew I needed to change around 100 words. I swayed back and forth between ‘No, I can’t, it’d be like cheating,’ and ‘But it’s like revision. Exam day isn’t until the 27th,’ to ‘I’d be stupid not to, if the option is there.’ So come Monday gone, I fixed the words, referenced them, then checked everything else was fine. Yikes! Good job I did, as I found an unreferenced quote. So I fixed that, corrected the rest of the numerical references and sent the bloody thing back. Although the essay is a bag of pants (yep, that old chestnut again!), I am glad I changed that little bit in the essay. But oh gosh! Am I happy the course is done! It was by far the most challenging, albeit the most enjoyable/frustrating, course I have ever done. But given the chance I’d do it all again. I LOVED it!

Apart from the course ending, other things have been a little different too. It’s been almost two weeks now since I moved into the downstairs room. It’s all good apart from when the bedroom floor gets wet, as I discovered on Monday. The OT had popped by to see how I was getting on in the new room and to see how I was managing with transfers from the shower chair to the bed using the banana board. Yeah, it’s a bit of a struggle, but I can manage it with a struggle and a little panic in the middle. However, I hadn’t expected there to be any water on the chair. But there was. And it dripped onto the tiled floor. After the OT had left and as I stood up from the bed, wouldn’t you know it, but that little drop of water sent me tumbling to the floor like a sack of blindfolded elephants. I am so surprised that my head didn’t bounce off the floor, the only part of my body that didn’t! We spent the best part of half an hour working out how to get me up, as we soon discovered that the inflatable lifter was out of power and the power plug hadn’t been replaced despite telling the Moving and Handling Team of the problem last November. We ended up having to use the BathBuddy to raise me up enough so that my Dad could lift me up onto the bed. So not fun. Still, at least now I know to keep some kitchen roll in the bedroom to dry the floor after having a shower!

Despite the teething problems with the new room, it’s really nice to be down here. The room is full of light and it is amazing to wake up in the morning bathed in sunlight. I just need to get some potted fruit trees around the window and get the rest of the garden sorted and I’ll be a happy bunny. Princi is still having trouble with the move downstairs, she has taken to sleeping in my bed again. It’s not very comfortable as the bed is six inches narrower than a normal double bed. I am hoping that once the little room upstairs is sorted out for her that she will be more willing to sleep on her own. But I don’t expect that she will, although I hope that she will surprise me.

Anyways. Enough of my babbling. Off to read Frankenstein – one of the set books for my next OU course!

Of disability and Glee. May 20, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Disability, ECA, End of EA300, Glee, Joss Whedon, OU, Safety Dance, TV.

So, yesterday I finally got to see the episode of Glee that I had been waiting for: Whedon Glee. Yes, Joss Whedon directed the episode and being a Whedonoholic I had to watch.

At the end of the episode – titled Dream On, I didn’t know whether or not to feel offended. I know I felt a bit grrr. You see, the episode focused on Artie, the disabled kid confined to a wheelchair. Now, while it’s good that there is a disabled character in the show, I had already been through the yay! then the grrr! when discovering he wasn’t actually disabled (yeah, the ‘Why couldn’t they have hired a real wheelchair user’ argument flared there), but this episode added a new dimension to that argument. When, in the middle of the show, he says he’s been trying out the new therapies and that they’re working, I was thinking, no, they can’t do this. First, one foot off the footrest. Then the other. Nah-ah! Then he stands, walks over to a CD player and puts the music on. ‘All I wanna do is… dance,’ he says.

Well, I felt as if it were mocking the people stuck in wheelchairs. I watched in stunned disgruntledness as he danced, jumped, leapt up stairs. Not good. (Yep, can you see the chip on my shoulder yet?)

As it got to the end of the episode, I was still feeling a little bit grrr. But then I thought about it – because I often react before I think, something I really should get under control. Anyway, it occurred to me that the scene was actually quite deep and I could also see the sense in hiring an able-bodied character to play the part. You see, when I dream, I never dream of myself being disabled. I’m always able to walk (and I mean walk properly, not the doddery wobble I call a walk!), run, climb, whatever. So having an able-bodied actor in the part of a disabled character makes sense if you want to demonstrate this. I can’t believe I had been so blinkered not to realise the potential at the beginning.

I hadn’t realised how bitter I felt about losing the ability to walk until now. Eep. I think I need to sort that out, as it really is just a sad fact of life. Ho hum.

Anyway. Enough of this ECA avoidance. I have just under 150 words left to conclude the pantsness of the essay and then EA300 is done. And then I can relax. Maybe read a book that I don’t have to analyse. Like I’m ever going to be able to read a book un-analytically again now!

Of bogs and truths and gardens. May 9, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Bog Child, Children's Literature, EA300, ECA, End of EA300, OU, TMA06, Uncategorized, What goes on in Princi's head?.

Eeks! Eighteen days left. 3,000 words written. Coherent argument fumbled. Too much to do, too little time?

On the plus point – got TMA06 back today. Yay! Another good mark above 90%, so chuffed to little mintballs. That means if I can get 85% on the ECA I have managed a first. That would be amazing! I would be chuffing like a chuffing train stuffed with chuffed little mintballs! And yes, that an awful lot of chuffedness! But before then, I have to battle with the rest of the ECA essay. That is really dragging me down. Sigh.

I have just under 1,000 words left to find for it. That shouldn’t be too hard. No, it’s more the constructing it into a decent argument. I am having the crisis of confidence thing with this once again. I’m worried I’m not using enough references. Worried I’m writing too much about the plot of the story. Worried I’m not getting enough depth into the points I’m making. Generally, I’m just worried. It’s making me feel ill. Gah! You know, I hate exams, absolutely despise them, but right now I’d gladly throw my hand for it to all be over in three hours. That way I wouldn’t have the time to question my knowledge, to second guess myself. It’d just have to be done and that’d be it. But no, I have eighteen more days to sit and stew. Bugger and butt nuggets! So tomorrow it’s on with Bog Child. On with The Other Side of Truth. On with Tom’s Midnight Garden. And it’s on with working out the history and traditions that tie them all together, hopefully with some pertinent quotes and decent themes. I know I will have something to submit in seventeen days time (don’t want to push it to the limit in case of server overload on the electronic submission site), but if it’ll be any good is anyone’s guess. I’ll have to wait until August to find out. Argh!

And besides, according to Princi:

Botheration! There is difficulty in the crossing between Cape Horn and the Antarctic.

So there.

(That about sums up my state of mind!)

Well, I would write 4,000 words… April 29, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Children's Literature, Doctor Who, EA300, ECA, OU, The Principessa Files, Uncategorized.
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OK. Not quite 4,000 words yet. But halfway there. The plan is to have a workable full draft by a week tomorrow. That way, I’ll have a full plan to submit to the tutor and only the rewrite to do over the three weeks before the submission date. And then that’s that. Course is over. Noooooooooooooo! Despite my feelings that this last piece of work isn’t going to be as good as anything else I’ve done (and particularly not TMA05. The result for that still makes me smile with pride), I have absolutely loved EA300. It’s been so hard to get my head around at times, but the sense of satisfaction coming to the end of it is fabulous. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt like I’ve come away from a course knowing that I have learned something as strongly as I have with this. All I know is that I really want to continue on with it. But… I need to complete three more courses with the OU before I can even think about that!

Princi has also discovered something she likes to learn. She had her first session with Spanish Club in school today. She stayed back for an extra 45 minutes (I wasn’t sure she would like staying back at school, but she did. Yay!) and when she got home she told me about all the words she learned in Spanish. And she’d learned quite a bit. I was pleasantly surprised. The surprise stayed when she became really excited knowing that she could do it again next week. ‘But only on Thursday,’ she said, with a little look of disappointment on her face. Since then, she’s been playing on Spanish games on her Nanny’s computer!

Anyway. It’s time for Doctor Who before bed. Oh, and tonight it has to be old Doctor Who. She kicked off last night when old Doctor Who was all she could watch because the Broadband had gone down. Grr. But she happily watched ‘School and Chips,’ or School Reunion to the rest of us, and has decided that the old Doctor is better than the new Doctor for now. I’m sure we’ll get back to the repetitive viewing of The Eleventh Hour soon. She loves the food scene too much not to watch it again!

And speaking of the Doctor, here’s something that’s had me giggling today…