Terrifying dream of academic failure, ish.

The course result for my level 2 psychology course is due out at the end of the month, and I have just started my first level 3 philosophy course (with my level 3 psychology course due to start in February). That, along with coming down with a cold and chatting with a fellow philosophy student on Saturday about them running out of time in their last exam and only completing two and a bit of their three questions appear to have combined today to wake me with a terrifying (and annoying) dream of academic failure.

In the dream I was completing the exam for my level 3 philosophy course (which, incidentally, does not have an exam component, there is an extended essay instead), but had only written answers for two of the questions instead of the required three. This would mean that the maximum grade I could obtain was 67%, dooming me to a Pass 3 maximum score from the course (instead of averaging ongoing assessments and final components the OU gives you whichever grade is lower from the two marks) and a lower overall degree result (there’s a complicated turning grades into points and giving them multipliers depending on whether they are level 2 or level 3). Worse, having handed in the paper (which was in a different format to the ones I have taken so far), I returned to a different classroom where the invigilator (who was Richard Osman) informed me that it would be worse than a 67% as I hadn’t completed the front of the booklet with which questions I had answered, but he let me fill in those boxes after the fact (which I got wrong the first time I tried and had to erase).

I then talked to the students in the other room who had done the same exam and found that many of the questions on the exam were about areas that hadn’t been covered or had only just been touched upon in the course. This lead to Andrew Graham-Dixon (Culture Show presenter) celebrating with his group of students about the fact that they had concentrated on Stalin’s beard, which was one of the question topics.

I decided that I would resit the exam at the earliest opportunity, banking the ongoing assessment scores, and woke up. I reassured myself that I had really completed the front of my psychology exam booklet correctly (it was checked in the actual exam, but not in the dream), and had completed the correct number of questions on it. I guess I will find out in a week or so when the results come out. Dreams – weird, aren’t they?

A333 – week 3 – The paradox of fictional emotion

The steady ramping up of the course continued into week 3, which now focused just on the paradox of fictional emotion (why people are emotionally invested in things they know are not real) and had to be spread over two days. On Monday I went through the book chapter which looked at the viewpoints of Charles Radford and Kendall Walton, neither of which provided satisfactory reasons for me. On Tuesday it was the independent and the optional study which wasn’t exactly independent (read exactly this), and which looked a bit more at Walton and hinted at the interesting idea of ‘alief’ which I might look into more at a later date (it would be hard to shoehorn into the marked assignment, so is probably best left for private perusal).


No zombies for me today as I needed to restore and re-download all of the season 3 missions after I had to restore my iphone which wiped them all. I just ran to music, though it was a little odd not to have story breaking in between each track. I had three opportunities to use my runbell (in its inverted position). The first was a young fellow with headphones in who appeared unmoved/unware. The second was two people each with a dog who were taking up the entire pavement: two pings and no recognition or movement, I had to stop and slowly walk around them (off the pavement). The third was a lady and her golden lab/retriever who both turned at the bell and moved to one side.

A333 – first tutorial

After a less than stellar experience with my previous philosophy tutor (who seemed more interested in tripping his students up and creating new imaginary hoops to jump through, than teaching and enthusing them about the subject), I was mildly concerned as to what my new philosophy tutor would be like. No need to have worried though, he seems much more responsive to engaging with his students than the last one, and whilst there were one or two majority voices in this first tutorial at least they were on topic (unlike previously when the tutor allowed one person to dominate with his near incoherent ramblings). Only one familiar face from my previous philosophy course tutor group (we exchanged war stories). I shall have to see if my positive feelings towards the style of this tutor remain after my first assignment is graded.

Ashton Court parkrun – 18th October 2014

It was my 75th parkrun today, my 66th at Ashton Court and it was good to be back to the regular course (even if that did involve running uphill into a headwind. I was 10th lady at the turn, but ended up finishing 15th. Hopefully the speedwork that I have started doing will kick in soon and I can get under 24 minutes again.

I finished 96th out of 271 parkrunners, was 14th lady and 3rd in my age category. I am now third in the points table (and the people above me are faster than me, as are many of the people behind me).

Scream And Shout

I waited a little bit for it to warm up to a more sensible temperature before I went out to be chased by zombies today. I have a new (and cheap) outdoor thermometer that I have dangled out of the kitchen window as the weather is definitely turning and I need to consider how many and which layers to wear out running. Only a couple of zombie mobs chased me, maybe they were entranced by First Aid Kit.

Scream And Shout

A333 – week 2 – Two problems about narrative art

This week’s study had a bit more bite and content than last week, but it was still easing us into the two problems of narrative art: the problem/puzzle of fictional emotion and the problem/puzzle of painful art. Put into regular English – why do people get emotionally involved in fictional representations, and why do they seek out fictional representations that will generate negative reactions in themselves?

There was a side order of having to define what ‘fiction’ means (philosophy seems to be all about agreeing (or not) upon definitions), plus a restatement of the problem of fictional emotion as a paradox (and hence a diversion about paradoxes).

The week’s additional study was focused on what makes one piece of art ‘high’ compared to another (mostly looking at the difference between subjective and objective perspectives), with an interesting journal article seeking to define kitsch and why it is considered ‘bad’ art.

I am still staying out of the online fora as people are rushing weeks ahead, tripping themselves and others over. Plus I’d just get drawn into the craft vs. art debate, whether graffiti is art, and not have any time left to enjoy my craft/art.


I took my new runbell out for my rainy Monday morning run, trialling which hand to put it on and which way round. I found that when running the position of my hand meant that I could not fire the ‘pinger’ with the thumb of the hand the bell was on.


This is because the bell is mounted squarely on top of the rings, so that my thumb couldn’t get up and over enough to pull the pinger down and allow it to spring back and strike the bell.


If the bell were rotated around the ring by 15 degrees or so it would be more accessible. Instead I found I could ring it by wearing it inverted, with the bell inside my palm. This muffles the sound a little bit but does mean that I can fire the pinger by flicking up with my thumbnail underneath it instead of reaching over and pulling the pinger down and releasing it.



Ashton Court parkrun – 11th October 2014

It wasn’t until I saw a mass of cyclists at the Long Ashton park and ride that I remembered that it was Bike Fest this weekend, meaning the Ashton Court parkrun would be run over the B course. I should have volunteered when I had the chance. Still, at least it wasn’t raining, though the course was a little over-distance according to my Garmin. Twice up the first hill and down and back up the hills to the car park is brutal – a total elevation change of 123m instead of the usual 100m with bonus being blinded by the sun on the way back down. I confess to walking part of the hill on the second attempt, but I was happy to have made it back just 6 seconds slower than last week and in under 25 minutes (it would have been sub 24 minutes without the extra 100m). I even went back and ran the finish with a friend (who totally burned me off in the final 100m). It is the fastest I have run the B course by over 30 seconds.

I also made it into town afterwards to run some errands, and one of the assistants at the Post Office recognised the parkrun shirt and knew all about Ashton Court (and the B course). A couple of chrimble presents also managed to get purchased.

I finished 88th out of 283 parkrunners, was 9th lady and 2nd in my age category. I have the same number of points as Jane in 2nd, but am listed 3rd in the points table this week.

Damn you, cancer! Update

Aidan passed away a few minutes before 9:00pm this evening, Thursday October 9th.

Usually I pour a glass of wine of an evening. Tonight I have opened a bottle of beer. Aidan would always have chosen beer.

He declined very suddenly this afternoon, struggling greatly with his breathing. He had lots of his close family with him at the end; his Mother was holding his hand.

If you have not kept track of him over the past year, he kept a blog from the time he first fell ill. You can read it here


I choose this page in his blog to link to as he performed these street shows with me last December. He was already very ill at this time but it was a good, happy occasion.
I am sure all of you who knew him will have your own happy memories of a very special man.

I will pass all messages or replies I receive onto his brother Bernard to share with the family.

I shall be posting this to several different lists and pages tonight, apologies if you see it more than once.

So, put on some prog’ rock, go find a Sudoku to do and raise a glass of beer – just make sure it’s a real ale!

And next time you throw a club at someone, throw it for Aidan!


Juggle on, Aidan.