I survived! (good riddance April)

Goodbye April

April is that one part of the year that I’m always glad to see the back of. I’m not sure when it started, it’s been this way since I was a kid. In some ways it is/was great; there was always a 2-3 week holiday, but then came the exams or end of term assignments. Not to mention April’s weather is always completely off the charts. It is always wet and wild, and then Spring starts to appear only to be buried under a pile of snow. Usually, it’s the last snow of the year, sometimes there’s a bit in May, but yes, April represents the end of things. It is the month of chaos before the summer starts, the time when everything comes to a head and becomes the most stressful.

This year was no exception and after trying to play catch up on my blog and photo challenges I had to admit defeat. I had a bunch of uni deadlines fall in short succession and the final one of my second term is due this Friday. I had well over a few weeks to work on it, and of course, my body decided that was way way too easy for my final assignment. Maybe it was a result of 2 busy weeks of stress (including waking up the day of a presentation for our group project with an insane migraine and actually making it into present) but my body basically started to fall apart last week. Everything was just monstrous and agonising. I managed to get the assignment completed on time but I am somewhat pissed that my body threw such a big tantrum and changed an easy assignment into more stress. For those of you who haven’t kept up with the health saga that causes me to refer to my body as its own entity, you can read about my 6 health conditions over at my health page. On top of that, I’m also suffering from monthly hell which brings a lot of crappy feeling, more joint pain, and migraines. Add to that the mysterious gland illness that I FINALLY have a hospital appointment for (yey!) and it’s this month (even bigger yey!) and possibly a cold on top of that. So yeah, my body is just being a total pain and making everything so much harder.

Now that it is Friday and the last assignment has been submitted, it is party time. Quite literally. Chris’ gran turns 100 this weekend and we have a party with family and friends on Sunday and then a mini-party at her club, in which the Lord Provost is coming to congratulate her. I’m also celebrating the fact that I survived the whole two terms of my post graduate despite the odds. I was very fortunate enough to have a department that was incredibly understanding, and a course leader who was happy for me to continue rather than forcing me to stop. It was hard, it was stressful, but it is done – for the most part anyway. I was too ill to take my exams in December so I take them in August, which also means I cannot progress to my dissertation until after those results. So I have 3 months to prepare for my exams and I intend to use them. It is also time to start exercising, gently, and start shifting this weight.

My grades for this term have been good, I’d have liked better for some of them but considering how ill I’ve been it’s a miracle I haven’t failed anything. There is still the mark for the assignment of doom, which was by far the worst assignment of the entire course. I just want a pass, anything else is a bonus. But so far I have a 64, 65, 66 and 70 – the latter was a big deal for me because it was our group project which involved building a website. Until this project I had been dabbling and learning html and website design for my own purposes, as a hobby. I was incredibly excited for the project and at the same time terrified; I’d never done it for academic reasons, never had to stand up in front of people to discuss and explain my design choices. So getting a 70, which is a distinction, was amazing. It’s the highest grade you can get. 60-69 is a first, so I have been doing much better than I could have thought possible.

This weekend I intend to enjoy the open Overwatch beta, attend the celebrations for Chris’ Gran and begin to work on new blog content.

5 OTP’s I Ship [5 Fandom Friday]

5 Fandom Friday - OTPs

OTP stands for One True Pairing; your favourite pairing in a fandom. Or in my case, one of many. I often ship more than one couple in a fandom, and even more than one partner for a character. I’ve got a full list of my ‘ships over at my website but here are my top five. You should also totally check out the wonderful OTP clique Dearest to show your love for your OTP.

 

lukemara

Luke Skywalker & Mara Jade

Star Wars Expanded Universe

 

Luke: “Patience is a virtue.”

Mara: “Never had much use for it myself.”

Luke: “Yes, I’ve noticed.”


 

Luke: “Is there something you want to tell me?

Mara: “If I wanted to tell you, I would, wouldn’t I?

Luke: “Not if you thought it might upset me.

Mara: “You’ve got me. I hate that shirt. In fact, I think you’re a crummy dresser, period.

Luke: “You bought me this shirt.

Even though it is no longer canon, this is and will always be my top OTP. Honestly I could probably do a whole post on my OTPs from the Star Wars universe. For most of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) Luke wandered around having a few relationships here and there until Timothy Zahn created Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand. Ok, fair enough their relationship didn’t start off great – she tried to kill him to avenge her Master’s death – but there was that spark. You know, that one which grabs your attention and continues to keep you hooked. They are two people who fit together, and the witty dialogue between them is fantastic. For example, when pregnant Mara’s reaction was to tell Luke; Darling. I love you, you are my life and my light. If you ever do this to me again I will vape you where you stand. They’ll never give up on one another or their loved one, and they kick ass while they do it.

 

alannageorge[Artwork by Minuiko]

Alanna the Lioness & George Cooper

Tortall novels by Tamora Pierce

 

“There’s plenty more fish in the sea than Prince Jonathan,” he told her softly. “And this particular fish loves you with all his crooked heart.”
– George to Alanna

 

The lady knight should fall in love with the prince she grew up with. Right? Nope, not this one. The first lady knight in hundreds of years (or ever, it’s been a while since I read these books), and she finds her soulmate in the king of thieves. As much as I liked Jon as a character he just wasn’t suited for Alanna, and George was the rougish rake who loved her for who she was.

 

robinmarianMarian and Robin Hood

Maid Marian: You came for me… you’re alive…
Robin of Locksley: I would die for you.

 

I ship Marian and Robin in pretty much every incarnation, with Once Upon a Time being the only exception (Regina/Robin!). It is my favourite fairytale and I’m not even sure how to put into words how much they mean to me. I chose the quote from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves because that epitomises their relationship for me. It is the forever ever after love, the love so strong that you would do anything for that person, even die for them.

 

phedre_and_joscelin_by_jankolas-d4lnhn3[Artwork by Jankolas]

Phédre/Joscelin

Kushiel Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

“Phédre, I’m used to it…your wandering around with the Name of God in your head is just one more damned thing to get used to.!

“Am I that hard to live with?” I asked.

“Yes.” His arms tightened around me. “But it’s worth it.”

 

 

Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel legacy means a lot to me in many ways, and so it was natural for this pair to make this list. Phédre is a courtesan, a daughter of Naamah, and Joscelin is her guard and a member of the Cassiline Brotherhood. To understand their relationship you need to understand exactly what a Cassiline is; it is a guardian sworn to protect their charge, every part of their fighting style is designed to protect their ward and they only drawn their sword to kill. They are dedicated to the point that they train in a move called the Terminus, an act in which a Cassiline throws their dagger to kill their ward and then uses their other dagger to slit their own throat. It may sound morbid, but the point is that even in death they have saved their ward from harm.

Joscelin goes through literal hell to find and save Phédre at one point. As a member of the brotherhood he swore a vow of chastity, one which he eventually breaks after falling in love with Phédre. Despite all the pain, suffering and degradation he has to suffer, he goes through it all to save his love. He is utterly devoted to her, accepts her for who she is and what she does. I honestly cannot think of a love that is as pure and as strong as these two. Even in the darkest moments their devotion wins through.

 

i_love_you__by_yorinarpati-d6tu7bi[Art by Yori Narpati]

Annabeth/Percy

Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels by Rick Riordan

 

“It’s okay,” he said. “We’re together.” He didn’t say you’re okay, or we’re alive. After all they’d been through over the last year, he knew that the most important thing was that they were together. She loved him for saying that.


Annabeth put her knee on Percy’s chest. She pushed her forearm against his throat. She didn’t care what the Romans thought. A white-hot lump of anger expanded in her chest—a tumor of worry and bitterness that she’d been carrying around since last autumn.
“If you ever leave me again,” she said, her eyes stinging, “I swear to all the gods—”
Percy had the nerve to laugh. Suddenly the lump of heated emotions melted inside Annabeth.
“Consider me warned,” Percy said. “I missed you, too.”

The newest addition to this list, and they make it because of the huge amount of difficulties they have faced. I don’t want to give away spoilers, so lets just put it this way; they’ve been to hell and back, and had everything including a godly kitchen sink thrown at them. They have been at deaths door, they have almost seen the world end and they still stick together. He’s her seaweed brain and she’s his wise girl, and they are just super cute together. I think what makes me love this couple so much is that when Percy’s being an idiot, Annabeth is the first person to call him on it and slap him for it.

 

Honourable mentions

Narrowing it down to just 5 was tough and the final two especially had to fight with a few others. Buffy/Angel was probably one of my first OTPs but didn’t make the cut because I’m not sure that I could argue for it any more. I love their relationship, but could I say it was my OTP or that I believed they belonged together? Possibly not. Then there’s the World of Warcraft universe; I have several OTPs from this fandom and I wanted desperately to feature one – but I couldn’t choose one over the others! I couldn’t decide between Jaina/Kalecgos, Alexstraza/Krasus, Rhonin/Vereesa or Alleria/Turaylon!

 

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The year so far…

Postgrad

I was never particularly speedy on updating this blog before, but I have become shockingly bad at keeping it updated. I’m two weeks away from the end of Term 1 and this is my first post about my second year so far. Well I guess it is at least being written before the end of the term!

That does sum up my year so far for two of my courses. I have to take English Language level 1 to qualify for honours, otherwise I would have saved myself the boredom of the majority of it. I’m sure there are some people out there who find it very interesting, I’m just not one of them. I did find the old English, runes and generally anything historical fascinating. It’s just a shame that some of it crossed over with the stuff I learned in Celtic yesterday or my previous degree.

English Literature is the second course and it just feels like it is just going to slow and dawdling this year. That may be because it’s about Ideology, which isn’t the most exciting topic ever. It just feels like some of the lectures just drone on, or maybe we just don’t have great lecturers this year.

I have to admit though that I have not been there for a whole lot of the lectures. My sinuses again. Lots of pain, not fun, you get the idea. I was very fortunate that this term I only had two essays instead of the four I had this time last year. And one presentation which I got an A4, so feeling pretty damn happy about that right now. It might be only worth 10% but I worked hard for it and achieved a good grade. I get the two essays back this week and just like normal I am of course dreading it. I wrote these two essays while very unwell with the sinus infections, which tend to make my brain think wonky. I actually spent a whole class thinking one classmate was someone else; until she politely corrected me at the end!

I have an online test for English Language due on 25th November and I got 7/10 in the practise test so a bit more studying and I’ll be ready to tackle the real thing. I’m supposed to have the exam for that subject in class but there is also a date up for an actual exam, so not sure what’s happening with that just yet. I had heard that it’s multiple choice from those who did it last year. My other two exams, both lit subjects are back to back; 7th and 8th of December. And yes the 8th is a Saturday *sigh*. In all my time studying I have never had one on a Saturday before so I guess it was due to happen sometime. I’m more worried about having to study for both rather than being able to study for one and then study for the second after the first is over.

The worst part about December exams is how quickly they sneak up on you; so I need to start studying this week. I don’t want to damnit! 🙁 I am determined not to miss them this year though, I never want to resit exams in August unless it’s for a better grade.

I started writing this entry a few weeks ago and now here I am writing it from London. We came down just for the weekend for my cousin’s wedding (which was lovely), although of course my body has had it’s after event meltdown today which has consisted of a migraine alll day. If I’m like this after someone else’s wedding, how am I gonna be after my own? 😛 I’ll need like three days to recuperate!

In other news; my next update will probably include my brand new personal site (ruby-wings.net) and my online portfolio. I have, after a very long time, got my creativity back and have been pulling website ideas out of thin air. I am also semi-participating in National Novel Writing Month and have therefore officially started writing my own novel. I probably won’t have it finished by the end of November but ideas are flowing and for the first time being written down so it is a massive step for me 😀

A Term in Preview

Uni Updates

I’m one week into my second term of my English Literature degree and I think now is a good time to preview the upcoming term. I am taking the same subjects as last term; English Literature, Scottish Literature and Celtic Civilisations. I’m excited about each one of these for different reasons so without further ado…

 

English Literature

The title of this module is called ‘Writing and the Self’. The first lecture was a very dull and consisted of the lecturer simply reading a long list of quotes from the handout he told us to print off. There was some other rambling, from which I caught enough key phrases from to be able to identify that I would be working with concepts I already covered in my previous degree. The reading for this term is interesting and includes Jane Eyre, Hamlet and Orlando. I’ve read Jane Eyre before and finished Hamlet which was much more enjoyable than Much Ado about Nothing. So I am doing well with my reading this term; it does help that the first three weeks have involved a lot of poetry 🙂

 

Scottish Literature

This term the course focuses on post world war Scottish literature and the idea of what national identity means at this point. Like English Literature this has begun with poetry but the later texts open up into a variety of genres. I’m quite interested in reading these as they are set in a different atmosphere as the texts last term which were primarily set in the 18th and 19th Centuries. I’m currently making my way through Lanark which is strange to say the least, but it certainly keeps me interested.

 

Celtic Civilisations

We’re finally on to the actual Celts! Term one was all about setting the scene historically and that meant some Greeks, Romans, Romans and more Romans. I’m not a huge fan of the Romans so last term got a bit repetitive. We’re currently working with evidence actually written by the Celts themselves and not by outsiders, so this is after the fall of the Roman Empire and will include the Vikings. It will also include looking at Saints and the Christianisation of the Celtic people which from a moral point of view makes me wince. From an academic point of view I’m fascinated.

Time to dust this thing off

Uni Updates

It has been a rocky few months which ended with me missing my exams and being referred to see an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Yes, an actual surgeon. The only time I have ever had surgery was when I was seven and at that point in medical history doctors were obsessed with removing tonsils from kids to stop tonsillitis. What they didn’t foresee is that years later these children would have various throat infections and viruses in place of the tonsillitis. Fortunately I seem to have ‘grown out of’ (a favorite catchphrase of every doctor I had during my childhood and teens) those and moved onto sinusitis aka a sinus infection. For those who aren’t familiar with this part of our anatomy (or aren’t a native English speaker) they are nasal cavities in your forehead and cheeks. Most of the time they just sit there doing their job, becoming a little bunged up with a cold or flu, but generally not doing much. That is until you get an infection and anyone who has had sinusitis will tell you that the pain is excruciating.

For over four years I’ve been having these lovely buggers every three to four months, until a few months ago right about the time I stopped posting here. The frequency stepped up from a few months to having one a month a part. Or maybe it was the same infection, who knows? The second time was much more aggressive and did not respond to antibiotics which isn’t unusual. It just wouldn’t budge for well over a month and during that time I was due to sit my exams. I had to call in sick and I believe I will be resitting them in August which actually works out quite nicely. My second term starts this week and the exams for this term are April/May, so that leaves me plenty of time to revise for my resits. It actually gives me more time to revise considering I had essays due in and then the holidays this time.

I am hoping for this term to go better in some ways than last term. I don’t want to rule last term as being terrible because it wasn’t. I met some wonderful people and succeeded in reaching many of my goals. I also have to admit that I went into this degree with way too much confidence in my abilities. Some confidence is healthy, however, I forgot to factor in one important thing; there is a very big difference between a History of Art degree and an English Literature degree. They are two difference disciplines and as such require two separate methods of writing essays. While I managed to do exceedingly well in my first essay for Celtic Civilisations, I did a lot worse in my English and Scottish Literature assessments. Primarily because Celtic Civ is much more like History of Art when it comes to essays. So instead of wallowing in self pity I have gotten some books from the University Library and going back to the basics, intending to improve my grades this term. This degree is proving more of a challenge but not an impossible one and well within my abilities.

I had intended to have read at least one book/play for both Literature subjects, however, that idea of course has yet to be put into practise. I’ve lucked out somewhat as both of these courses are starting with poetry straight away. The first thing I need to read is Hamlet which shouldn’t take took long to read. I’ve started re-reading Jane Eyre as well so I shouldn’t fall too far behind. If I can keep up with the reading this term I’ll be happy. I have to rely on ebooks this time though rather than my usual paperback as it seems that carrying too many books around was causing me more pain. I dislike this change as I love to have an actual book to hold and annotate, I can’t draw all over ebooks.

I realised last term that I was handling this blog with kid gloves, worried of being seen as out spoken or annoying. I should have realised that was not the case and therefore expect more entries on various topics rather than just my adventures at university.