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James McGreen

Uber-belated blog resumption...

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So, it's over two years since my last post. Since then I've sailed, battled, scraped and generally made it through a bunch of other modules and am about to embark upon the home straight* of my degree: A363 Advanced Creative Writing.

It's natural at this point to look back at what I did for A215 (common-or-garden) Creative Writing...

  • Two poems (that were both a bit rubbish)
  • A mini-biography of an Olympic athlete
  • Some sailing ships
  • A dude in a shop
  • Dragons!
  • A trainee lawyer (this was the same person as the guy in the shop)
  • and finally, Space Romans

I've managed to dig out my 'ideas book' from that module, which in the time since then has gone (in my mind) from being a chaotic list of "things" to an Encyclopaedia of Creativity. Sadly, it is in fact more the former than the latter, so I'm going to spend some time over the next few days attempting to decipher it and transfer any useful content into a new notebook... with the aim of it actually being useful in the future. It's going to have sections and everything:

  1. Characters
  2. Places
  3. Events
  4. Interesting objects Cool QuotesRandom stuff

Also, I'll try to update this once in a while.

Also also, I might have another go at painting. I got a bunch of 'stuff' to try to do something properly, and haven't touched them since!

*unless I can re-do or take an alternative module somewhere to try to improve my classification...

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James McGreen

So now things get interesting...

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Edited by James McGreen, Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014, 11:42

Forging onwards with AA100 and my next module, the brand-new, shiny U214 starts in a couple of weeks!

And I'm starting a new job around the same time!

Hopefully I'll be able to juggle all of this and end up where I want to be. I've already decided that, if anything has to give it's going to be the job and not the studying... that said, with a bit of planning and organisation it won't come to that.

For my next trick, figuring out how to fit in some kind of social life...

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James McGreen

Omnipotent Tutor? (Hyperbole* warning)

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I'm about to start an essay about Christianity, and may have just witnessed the birth of a new religion.

I was about to send my tutor a 'please just check I'm not barking up the wrong tree' type of email. I typed it out, and suddenly my idea for the essay looked really sensible and do-able.

Result: my tutor (sort of) answered my email without me even sending it!

Weird, huh?

*read about 'hyperbole' while studying poetry, became my new favourite word.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Lawrence Gotheridge, Friday, 23 Mar 2012, 19:02)
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James McGreen

Onwards to 2012*

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Edited by James McGreen, Monday, 26 Dec 2011, 00:33

Got TMA2 back and it turned out to be a combination of overcomplication, paranoia, and silly. I got a better mark than I expected! Happy.

So... Christmas! The predictable late afternoon boredom set in so I decided to break out the paints again. One day I'll have to try painting something with the correct materials (oil paints and canvas, rather than cheapo acrylics and a piece of A3 paper I found lying around...)

This is ALL down to the Cézanne chapter of the AA100 module. Warning: I've also found the poetry chapter very interesting...


Bonus points awarded for working out what it's supposed to be... :D

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by ROSIE Rushton-Stone, Monday, 26 Dec 2011, 17:35)
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James McGreen

Overworking it?

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Submitted my second TMA. I've not had the marks back yet, but when I hit the submit button I was still massively unhappy with it. I spent ages on it, making notes, drafting, re-drafting, re-reading the questions and starting over...

On paper it looks like it should be the easiest one on the module.

So, things to think about:

  • Am I overdoing and overcomplicating things?
  • Am I setting my expectations too high?
  • Am I just being silly?!
  • Was it just 'one of those things'?
  • It is worth examining the way I'm approaching things and re-evaluating my method of working?

Hmm. The last one's having some resonance. That said, the final judgement is to be made when the marks come in.

I wonder if sending my tutor a Christmas card will help...

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James McGreen

Subjectivity, Success and Failure: More Questions than Answers!

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Edited by James McGreen, Tuesday, 15 Nov 2011, 15:45

So I got my first TMA back yesterday, and my initial reaction was one of being happy with the result. I agree with the result, and I can see some things to improve next time out, and I'm starting to develop a reasonable idea of how I'm going to approach the next one. On the surface, this is good. It did, however, get me thinking about success and failure as a whole.

I want to consider this for a few minutes. Let's say a student scores, say, 60% on a module. Every assignment and exam... 60%. They'd pass the module - congratulations. Looking closer though, what does that 60% mean? Is 60% success? In the context of the module, there's a strong to case to say yes. It's cut and dry: 60% is a pass.

Many opinions spring to mind: The student showed no signs of improvement throughout the course. The marks were solid and consistent. The work was never outstanding. It was never bad. What happens, though, if other students around our example all got 85%? They'd all pass, too, with a distinction. Would they be equally happy, or more happy than someone who passed on 60%?

Which brings me to the subjectivity thought. All of our examples would be actual people, with circumstances of their own, challenges of their own, goals and aims of their own. What would be the greater achievement, getting a distinction while completing the module as a 'hobby' in retirement, or scoring a pass while holding down a full-time job and looking after children?

If someone says that they 'did their best' or 'achieved their potential' does this feel like an excuse for not doing better, or that deep satisfaction of a job well done?

Moving away from the context of studying for a moment, if a company delivers 60% or 85% of it's annual profits target, this could be seen as failure. Suddenly even 85% is not good enough. Then again, 85% in a time of economic mayhem could potentially be seen in a positive way.

So what to aim for? Top marks with lots of room for disappointment? Consistency? Constant improvement? A distinction? A pass? To do better than others, or certain others?

Don't think I've really gotten anywhere with this... if it was an assignment it would be the first draft! For me at least, it's something of a 'feeling' thing. When I first saw my score I felt happy. Now it's more of a qualified happiness: I want to do better, so I'm going to try.

I feel I can do better. :D

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James McGreen

How To Waffle 101

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Edited by James McGreen, Wednesday, 2 Nov 2011, 18:34

"A blunt, heavy, yet somewhat elegant design fashioned of both tree-derived materials and flame-wrought metal; oft-used in the fashioning of deep holes in ground... both a dreaded symbol of mortality and the tool of choice in a vibrant garden in bloom."

...or "spade".

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James McGreen

Appreciation of Art Part II - (or "Procrastination Part I")

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Edited by James McGreen, Wednesday, 2 Nov 2011, 18:34

So yeah, writing the Cézanne assignment and decided to take a break. After the amuisment I had with painting DM, I decided to tackle Lightning McQueen as well...



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James McGreen

Appreciation of Art

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Edited by James McGreen, Thursday, 20 Oct 2011, 22:48

Having read the chapter on Cézanne, and honestly not really absorbed a lot of the material, I decided to take a slightly left-field approach to studying art.

I went to Hobbycraft, bought some cheap acrylic paints in those cool little tubes, a palette and a couple of brushes. I decided the only way I was going to appreciate art, was to have a go myself and 'experience' it.

(A bit of background - my last job and one of my hobbies is painting little toy soldiers. Applying colours to a miniature and trying to create a picture from a blank canvas (or piece of A4) are two totally different things)

In keeping with the slightly odd idea, I decided to make the subject of my picture none other than the greatest - Danger Mouse himself.


It's definitely harder than it looks!

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Anthony Dooley, Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 11:36)
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James McGreen

In the beginning...

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Edited by James McGreen, Thursday, 20 Oct 2011, 22:45

... apparently there were Romans, Egyptians (possibly Greek), potentially opinionated historians from almost two thousand years ago, Germans selling their souls to the devil, and paintings of fruit.

Could this module be any more diverse? Or interesting.....?

I'm an admitted sufferer of 'shiny thing' syndrome: if I find something interesting, I find it REALLY interesting. Maybe I could describe myself as an academic magpie. Or does that have negative connotations? Will this blog post be read critically, or just skimmed? What does it say about me? What will readers think of me?

Who knows? Does anyone know?

Conclusion: In the beginning there were a heck of a lot of questions and a distinct shortage of answers...

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