Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year's Eve 2014

Here in the United Kingdom, it's slightly over three hours until midnight and the end of 2014. Not much is happening here at my grandparents' house; we're just watching television.

As I've written elsewhere this evening, 2014 has brought several transformations upon me, the most significant being my moving to Nottingham to attend college. The minimum goal for 2015 is to build upon 2014's successes and to not withdraw from what I've done this year. I've achieved much in the past twelve months - especially in the last five; I do not want those gains to be reversed. Not at all.

Oh, and just to address how I'm not doing much this evening. Honestly, one of these days I'll attend New Year parties again. In the meantime, I hope that everyone is enjoying whatever plans they've made for New Year's Eve and Day.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

"Greatest Time of Year" - Aly & AJ

The final song I'm posting for 2014 is this:

It's "Greatest Time of Year" by Aly & AJ, which is their only single from their Christmas album, Acoustic Hearts of Winter. The song was used in the film The Santa Clause 3 and the music video uses clips from said movie. Prior to this evening, I don't recall ever listening to the song; it's pleasant enough and I ought to listen to Aly & AJ's other Christmas music.

I've written a few posts that mention Aly & AJ but the most extensive piece I've done about them is called "Aly & AJ", which I wrote over three years ago.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Everyone returned (nearly)

Nearly all of my visiting relatives have returned home now; the sole relative still here is my Hong Kong uncle. He will leave on New Year's Day and be back at his home on the 3rd of January. I'm glad he'll be present for a short spell longer because it means there's another person around during my break from college.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Lincoln visit December 2014 (2)

As promised, some pictures from yesterday's Lincoln trip:

This is the view of Lincoln as we were driving in. The camera on my phone gave the landscape a far bluer appearance for this photograph than the vicinity was as seen through my eyes.

After the light level increased, the blueness disappeared. This is an early-to-mid-morning picture of the cathedral, taken from where my uncle parked his car.

This is an image of the cathedral, taken close to the mid-afternoon. I cropped the picture to cut out the car plates, which were obviously visible.

This was taken slightly over an hour after the previous picture. I cropped this one, too, for the same reason as the previous image and because there were faces present. Note how occupied the parking area is in the third and fourth pictures compared to the second!

The only negative aspect to this Lincoln visit was my throat and coughing. On more than one occasion, when I stepped into a building from the cold or vice versa, I would start coughing; same if I talked for long periods and yes, my voice has yet to fully return to me. Otherwise, it was a fun trip.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Lincoln visit December 2014

I spent most of today in Lincoln. While much of it was spent in either shops or my cousin's university accommodation, I photographed the cathedral a few times and I'll be sure to post the pictures tomorrow. It snowed last night and the snow drastically altered the Lincoln landscape.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Day after Christmas 2014

I managed to have a better day yesterday than I was expecting. There were around twenty people at my grandparents' house for the gathering, a figure that includes my brother and parents, who spent the day up here.

As active as yesterday was, the celebrations aren't over yet! While my brother and parents returned home last night, the rest of us will soon be spending the day at my other Nottingham relatives' house. I think we're going to be treated to some Indian food, to which I am looking forward.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable time at Christmas.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

"Winter Wonderland/Don't Worry Be Happy" - Pentatonix featuring Tori Kelly

For the Christmas Day music post, it's a Pentatonix song:

It's "Winter Wonderland/Don't Worry Be Happy" and it features Tori Kelly. As ever, I think it's another wonderful piece of music from Pentatonix; I truly think that they're a highly talented band.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

It's Christmas Eve here's not really much to say. My grandfather and I are watching a Pixar film, and anyone who isn't in bed is elsewhere tonight. I hope that everyone - people beyond my family - is looking forward to tomorrow.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Everyone here

Well, everyone who is supposed to be staying for Christmas is now here; my Hong Kong uncle and East of England relatives arrived over the course of the day. The only other people who are coming are my parents, brother and other Nottingham relatives but they're all visiting on Christmas Day, rather than spending any nights here.

As for me...I won't go into the realm of broken record, assuming I haven't reached that point already. Today is the best I've felt since my cold began so I am more optimistic about how I'll feel on Christmas Day.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Everyone arrives

Tomorrow, other relatives will start arriving here at my grantparents' house. The first will be my Hong Kong uncle, who will likely be staying until the end of the year. After him will be East of England relatives, although they're spread out across the country and it's not known in what order they will appear.

The only negative factors that are still looming over this Christmas are my health and my grandmother's. She is in the last stages of her cold and I'm still battling mine; granted, I feel better than I did a few days ago but I'm still burning through tissues and my voice has yet to recover (the fact I've almost lost my voice is a new one for me; that just hasn't happened before). On the bright side, I am sleeping again and a robust rest tonight might be enough to eliminate the remaining worst of my cold.

I'm hoping that we're both past the infectious stages, too; I can't see me and my grandmother being popular if we spread our diseases to everyone else!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Caroline Flack

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the defeats of Mary Landrieu and Pixie Lott, the former an incumbent American Senator and the latter a British pop singer/dance competition contestant. In the case of Lott, I mentioned that she was my favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing; however, once she was voted out of the show, my allegiance switched to Caroline Flack, a TV presenter.

Well, Strictly Come Dancing ended last night and Caroline Flack won:

My grandmother and I were delighted with the result. Flack earned a perfect 40 score from the judges in the semi-final and then went on the score three 40s in the final, which marked the first time a Strictly Come Dancing contestant has secured three perfect scores in the final and won the competition.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

"Wham Vs PSY - Last Christmas, Gangnam Style" - Paolo Monti mashup 2012

This is one of my favourite mashups, which consists of a Christmas pop song and a regular pop song:

It's Wham!'s "Last Christmas" merged with PSY's "Gangnam Style". I discovered it two years ago and immediately regarded it a well-constructed mashup. The video, which is a merger of the songs respective music videos, has also been perfectly assembled.

I never thought that George Michael and Korean pop would make a fine musical combination.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Lord Voldemort in the mirror

When I looked in the mirror yesterday morning - the morning after the Christmas party - I saw the face of Lord Voldemort* staring back at me, albeit a Lord Voldemort with plenty of hair. I had heavily red eyes and extremely pale skin. I appeared as though I'd spent the previous evening downing a gallon of vodka or some other strong alcoholic drink.

Ironically, my death-like appearance had not been induced by alcohol and partying. No, it stemmed from something completely irrelevant to both: cough medicine.

That's right. Prior to going to bed on the night of the party, I consumed some cough medicine, which my grandfather had bought for me earlier in the day. The immediate effect of the medicine was to cause me to cough harder than ever before and the coughing kept me awake until 3:30am. I finally managed to fall asleep (an achievement in itself, given how many sleepless nights I've experienced recently) sometime after then but the intense coughing combined with the limited sleep caused me to look downright awful in the morning.

*I am referring to the book description of Lord Voldemort, which lists him as pale and with red eyes.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Party success

Last night's party was a success. Everyone enjoyed themselves and, to my knowledge, there have been no complaints about the night. About the only gripe I had - and it's nothing to do with the party itself - was that I was coughing somewhat excessively, which added a moderate filter to my enjoyment of the occasion. Other than that, it was awesome. As I've said before, until yesterday, I'd never been to such an event before; it was all a new experience. People dancing on tables!

I do have one suitable picture to post here but it can wait until December's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party feature.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

About to head out

As I won't be posting here later, I'll just say now that I'm about to head out to attend my class Christmas party. I've never been to anything like it before so it should certainly be an experience! I'm sure I'll take a few pictures but I doubt that I'll be posting any of them - especially if any contain people.

Still, I'm sure I'll have something to write about later. Until then, bye for now!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Drinking tea

I am not a tea drinker: I am a staunch supporter of coffee. I almost always look forward to my one-cup-a-day mug of coffee; however, for the duration of this cold, I haven't drunk any coffee. The only warm drink I've ingested has been tea.

That's right, tea. The sole reason I have been drinking tea is because of its medicinal purposes; I figured my cold would vanish quicker if I consumed tea, both due to its cold-curing natural ingredients and because of its warmth when it travels down my throat. In addition, I usually only drink one cup of coffee per day; I've been drinking up to three cups of tea a day. I would estimate that I've drank more tea in the past five days than I have in the past matching number of years.

Of course, I'll return to coffee once I have vanquished this tedious cold. It just goes to demonstrate how one's everyday behaviour changes to combat an illness.

(And yes, I have been drinking tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Points if you get that reference!)

Monday, 15 December 2014

"Santa Tell Me" - Ariana Grande

Today's Christmas song is "Santa Tell Me" by Ariana Grande:

"Santa Tell Me" appears to be a standalone single, as it hasn't (yet) been assigned to an album or an extended play. "Santa Tell Me" was released exactly three weeks ago, which makes it - like Alex G's  "It's You That I'll Miss This Christmas" - both a new and an original song.

Grande's music on the whole is pleasant enough, although I do not possess any of her albums nor do I intend to anytime soon. The video is somewhat risqué and the two-minute-long outtakes segment after the music is fun. Overall, "Santa Tell Me" is a truly enjoyable Christmas track.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Note about yesterday's blog post

I just wanted to say that I am sorry for the complaining and the whining nature of yesterday's post. I'd been feeling terrible all day and was annoyed over having my two recent college classes negatively affected by my sickness.

Things are looking up: I do feel much better at the moment but it's too early to start celebrating. To help ensure that I am able to attend college tomorrow - or at the very least, don't end up having another sucky day there - I'm going to go to bed early. I have nothing pressing to do this evening (well, other than everything I was going to complete over the weekend but haven't been able to) and so my time is best suited, for now, in bed.

Night night!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Badly-timed sickness

On Wednesday afternoon, I started to develop a cold, which caused my Sociology and English lessons of this week's classes to be extremely stressful and difficult. Never before had I struggled so much at college as I did on Thursday and Friday. For English, my teacher told me to leave early but I managed to see the lesson through to its conclusion.

This cold couldn't have come at a worse time. I am supposed to be baking a cake tomorrow and in the next few days I was going to start handing out Christmas cards but if I don't improve rapidly when I retire later, they will both have to wait. My last three classes of 2014 are next week and the Christmas party for my class is on Wednesday; I cannot even begin to fathom how angry and disappointed I will be if I miss the party due to being ill. It's just not acceptable.

I spent much of today resting and if I need to do the same thing tomorrow, I will. I really want to minimise or knock this cold on the head before Tuesday - preferably before Monday - rolls around. On the bright side, I feel better today compared to yesterday, so I am hopeful that I will recover in time.

Honestly, of all the moments to be sick, why now?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Santa driver

It appears as though Santa has sought employment elsewhere this year! When I was waiting in line for my bus back home this afternoon, he was waiting alongside the line; once I boarded my bus, he wished everyone a Merry Christmas and then relieved the driver. We were delayed slightly in starting our journey because the former driver wanted, in his words, a "selfie with Santa". I think he was successful is obtaining one.

As for why our driver was dressed as Santa, I heard a woman say that having drivers dressed as Santa was something that the bus companies around here sometimes do at this time of the year. It's a fun novelty!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Just a week to go

It's astounding to think that this time next week, the Christmas holiday will begin, which will herald in the end of my college class' course for 2014. Sociology will be the final lesson of the year whereas our last English class is tomorrow. It's strange...early September dually feels as though it were a long time ago and not that long ago at all.

College doesn't start again until the 7th of January, which will be our first Employability lesson of 2015. Where has the time gone and to where is it disappearing?

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

"It's You That I'll Miss This Christmas" - Alex G

For the second Christmas song of this month, it's "It's You That I'll Miss This Christmas" by Alex G:

Alex G performed "It's You That I'll Miss This Christmas", which is an original track from her, on ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas. It was posted to Alex G's YouTube channel close to the end of November, hence why I hadn't heard of the song until this evening.

I enjoyed "It's You That I'll Miss This Christmas" and its respective music video. In the case of the latter, I found it amusing for someone to perform a Christmas song on the sunshine-blanketed Santa Monica Pier.

As for Alex G herself, I have known about her for at least a couple of years. I discovered her YouTube channel when I listened to a cover song or two of hers, although I can't remember which songs they were. I follow her channel but I haven't listened to much of her music.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Smart clothing

My cousin and I spent the afternoon clothes shopping...for me. Next week, my class and I will be having a Christmas party at a fancy venue and I needed to purchase some smarter clothing than anything I had in my attire collection prior to today.

Within half an hour, my cousin and I found a suitable pair of trousers for me. The difficult part was finding a decent light, smart jacket to match it. Over the course of the next two hours, we experienced little success in searching for something to fit with the trousers; the three jackets that would have matched them were too small, too large and too expensive, respectively.

Finally, around twenty minutes before my cousin needed to leave, we searched around one more store. In there, we located some ideal suit tops that were in line with what I wanted and they matched the trousers well. My cousin was concerned about the price of them (they were above £50 but below £100) but I received a significant discount for the top I purchased.

I am mildly concerned that the clothing I have purchased is a little too smart for the venue of our party but as one of my friends with whom I was texting said, it's better to be decent than indecent.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Christmas village

Remember the Christmas village I posted a picture of in November's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party collection? Here are two more of it:

I'm not sure when the village will be dismantled; I'm hoping to visit it again before that happens.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Mary Landrieu and Pixie Lott

Within less than 24 hours of each other, two women whom I've been observing in the media these past few weeks were voted out of their respective races/competitions: Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu and pop singer Pixie Lott.

The result of the United States midterm elections in Louisiana sent Senator Landrieu, a Democrat, into a run-off with her opponent, Republican Bill Cassidy; under Louisiana law, if no candidate attains 50% of the vote on election day, a run-off must ensue. The run-off occurred yesterday and Landrieu lost; she secured 44% of the vote. With Landrieu defeated, the Democratic Party no longer holds any Senate seats in the Deep South.

Just over an hour ago, on the British celebrity dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing, the programme's public vote relegated pop singer Pixie Lott into this week's dance-off with Simon Webbe, who is a member of a British band named Blue. The vote among the judges was 2-2 but since head judge Len Goodman voted to keep Webbe, Lott was defeated. Lott's loss is shocking because her performances have consistently won high marks and because she led in the overall leaderboard.

As for why I have been watching Strictly Come Dancing, since it doesn't sound like the sort of show I'd follow, it's because my grandmother likes it and when I'm present, she's not watching it alone. Plus, Lott was my favourite to win the competition. My new choice is TV presenter Caroline Flack.

I should also note that the title of this post, "Mary Landrieu and Pixie Lott", has to be amongst the list of "oddest people combinations", given that the two women are completely unrelated people for a multitude of reasons.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The new - or unnoticed - bench

When walking to college a couple of days ago, I noticed this bench along a main road:

I am 99% certain that it has replaced an old bench that was there as recently as a week ago. That or I have somehow been missing a bench for three months now. What brought it to my attention was the shiny gold-coloured lion's head on the side.

As a bonus, I thought that the image of the bench was worth enhancing through the HDR filter on SnapSeed.

Friday, 5 December 2014

"The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" - Alvin and the Chipmunks

For my first Christmas song for this month, it's "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" by Alvin and the Chipmunks:

"The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" was originally released in 1958. As for Alvin and the Chipmunks, I recall watching a cartoon of them on television when I was a child; I think I watched it from 1996-97.

In my recent post about Christmas songs, my friend and fellow blogger Jessica suggested that I highlight this track. Thank you, Jessica, for your contribution to this year's tracklist!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

"United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do)" - DJ Earworm

Last night, I was delighted to receive a notification that informed me that DJ Earworm had released his annual "United State of Pop" song and video:

It's "United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do)". DJ Earworm's mashups are usually centred around one or two songs and this is no exception: the main two in this track are "Animals" by Maroon and "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift - and to a certain extent, Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" - with the other songs built around them.

Keeping consistent with previous years, the criticisms of the song are, to be blunt, utter nonsense. Most - as usual - are based on it "not being as good as before", in particular, not as good as the 2009 release; there were also a few hateful comments about Taylor Swift. I also saw a comment somewhere complaining that it only features American songs; given that DJ Earworm is American and uses songs that were number-one there, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Plus, he has created mashups composed of non-US hits.

Trolling aside, there is nothing wrong with "United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do)". It's different to DJ Earworm's previous mashups but isn't variety to be encouraged?

Finally, 2013's version is here, which features a link to 2012's.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Bloggers Blog Party - November 2014

November 2014's selection for the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party; November was a plentiful month for pictures:

Saturday, 1st November: I captured this awesome view of the sunset. I don't recommend aiming a camera - even a cameraphone - at the Sun but in this case, the clouds had obscured our local star enough for me to photograph it. I also like how deep the colour of the green grass is.

Sunday, 2nd November: My grandfather, brother and I were in Lincoln on this morning, as we were taking my cousin back home. My brother was annoyed that it was raining because it was his first time in Lincoln and he wanted to take some pictures.

Friday, 7th November: This was the first day when I noticed Christmas decorations appearing in public, such as here in the Broadmarsh.

Sunday, 9th November: My grandfather created and baked these oat balls as a late-night snack. The oats contained nuts and apricots; he added the latter as a substitute for sugar.

Wednesday, 12th November: This is the back of a pub called Via Fossa, which will be the venue for a charity group project I'm currently involved with in my Employability lessons.

Friday, 14th November: In this English lesson, my teacher was encouraging us to come up with alternate words for the word "walked". The goal was to expand the vocabulary of the class.

Monday, 24th November: I saw, for the first time ever, this mural on a wall at the bus depot. Either it was new or I hadn't noticed it before.

For dinner on the 24th, my grandfather prepared a stir fry for everyone. Stir fries are one of his specialties.

Wednesday, 26th November: A friend of mine and I went to the cinema on this day. On our way there, we walked through the Christmas village that has been constructed in the centre of Nottingham for the holiday season. It mostly consists of rides and shops but it's fun.

Thursday, 27th November: One of my friends brought in chewy chocolate chip/chunk cookies, which were delicious, for the Sociology break.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


A couple of years ago, I came across "scolionophobia", which is a rare word. What does scolionophobia mean? The fear of school. Another term for it, which I learnt about just now, is didaskaleinophobia.

Over two years on from when I discovered the term scolionophobia when on a search for words, I can say that I do not have it in the slightest. As I've said before, I love attending college and my favourite days of the week are when I am in class. There is no fear present here!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Worst gym moments

Here is a video from Buzzfeed about the 11 "worst" moments at the gym:

If anyone here uses a gym, have any of these ever affected you? I haven't used a gym before so I wouldn't know, although I can understand how one person hogging a water fountain would be incredibly annoying - not just at the gym but anywhere.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The two cakes

What I didn't mention in yesterday's post was that my brother had baked two chocolate and raisin cakes for my birthday. The reasoning behind his bringing two cakes was that I thought we wouldn't have enough for everyone to eat if he'd only brought one. To my surprise, we only ate half of one cake.

There was no way that my grandparents and I would be able to eat a cake and a half in less than a week, and I wasn't going to bring any into college for the Sociology break because it would be unfair to the person who has already volunteered to cook for the class on that day. The most logical decision was for my brother to take the untouched cake back home with him.

Fortunately for me, my brother didn't mind. After all, it meant more cake for him and he preferred that to the cake being wasted.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

2014 birthday celebration

My birthday took place this month. My parents and brother came over on the day while my Nottingham aunt, uncle and cousins arrived for dinner. We ate fish and chips and Chinese food for the main course, and for dessert we ate a cake, which my brother baked:

It was a chocolate and raisin cake, which was delicious. As for gifts, my family gave me some money, my own baking tray and measuring spoons. I enjoyed my birthday and I look forward to being able to make desserts with my new utensils!

Friday, 28 November 2014

"Stars Are Blind" - Paris Hilton

Here is another song that I enjoyed from the 2006-07 period; it might be a surprising choice:

It's "Stars Are Blind" by Paris Hilton; it is the debut single from her debut album, Paris. The song was a moderate-to-significant hit in the summer of 2006 and I enjoyed listening whenever my radio station played it. I think it's a shame that Hilton's music wasn't more popular; she has not released another studio album since Paris but in 2013 and 2014, respectively, she released two singles: "Good Time" and "Come Alive". Hilton is recording a second album but there is not a release date at this time.

It baffles me that after all these years, Hilton still ranks high on lists of unpopular celebrities. It's baffling because for the past few years she has mostly kept her head down and - to my knowledge - she has not engaged in attention-seeking activities.

I'm also surprised that I hadn't written about "Stars Are Blind" prior to today; I thought that I had once covered it.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Well, well, well, Thanksgiving is upon us once more. I certainly have much to be thankful for this year. To start:

1. As usual, I am thankful for my good health. One should always be thankful for good health if they have it.

2. I am thankful that I have a great family and that my grandparents offered to let me live with them so I could attend college.

3. Speaking of college, I am thankful that my application to college was a success.

4. At college, I am thankful that I have great teachers, who are kind people, listen to concerns and are always willing to help when they're needed.

5. I am most definitely thankful that I have made many awesome friends while at college. I love being able to interact and socialize with people again, rather than be on my computer all day.

6. That being said, I am thankful for the friends whom I have met online. You're all amazing, too!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Narrowly there

For the first time ever, I was nearly late to class this morning. Rather than have my shower immediately after my alarm activated, I instead relaxed in my warm bed; in my defence, the recent mornings have been insanely cold and I was comfortable. Still, I had to get up, so I did.

I managed to catch the 8:30 bus with over a minute to spare. Boarding this bus turned out to be fortunate for me, as it took forty minutes for it to reach my college on a journey that usually only takes twenty. Why? Because the traffic was insane. Before my bus was halfway through its trip I was worried that I would be late.

Ultimately, I made it to college with five minutes to spare, which has set the record for the latest I have ever arrived there prior to a class. One of my friends laughed that, by my standards, I was late (I'm usually at the college at least half an hour before class begins). I am consistently early and intend to keep it that way; I don't want to ever be late.

On the humorous side, this Wednesday has been the polar opposite to last Wednesday, when I was incredibly early!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Bizarre blog bug

Due to some unexplained bug, my post from yesterday (25th November 2014), "Songs for blog during December? (2)", is gone. I have absolutely no idea what happened to it; I know that I didn't delete it.

In that post, I said that I would continue my tradition of posting Christmas songs from modern artists every fifth day of December. My friend and fellow blogger Jessica left a positive comment as a response to my post.

I am annoyed that the post is gone. Rather than have a gap in my blog, I have set this post's publishing time to yesterday, even though it has been posted today.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Songs for blog during December?

For the past two Decembers, I have posted a lesser-known Christmas song by a modern artist on every fifth day of the month. I would like to continue that tradition for this year but I want to know in advance if you would still be interested in the posts. Please let me know what you think!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Natural bunch of roses (2) enhanced

I decided to use the Snapseed app on the picture in this post from over two years ago:

This is through the HDR filter...

...and this is through the Drama filter. Which do you prefer? Do you prefer these to the original? Less? The same?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The free ride

I experienced a pleasant surprise on my way to college yesterday morning. When I was waiting at my bus stop, two buses approached my stop. The first bus was nearly full and would likely have required me to stand if I'd boarded it; the second bus, however, had several seats available. Naturally, I chose the second bus.

This turned out to be a good call for more than just seating spaces. When I boarded and reached for my bus card, the driver informed me that the pay machine was broken and thus, passengers could have a free ride. All I could do at that point was thank the driver and take a seat.

The two buses coming to my stop would have been enough on their own to add flavour to my day but the free ride? Awesome!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Security incident (2)

I ought to clarify something from yesterday's post. I wrote:

"...didn't change the fact that I'd had an awful - even somewhat humiliating - morning after..."

Neither the cleaning staff nor the security guard actively tried to humiliate me; no, I merely felt humiliated after the security guard had informed me that I wasn't supposed to be there so early. It was just the shock of it after a bad night and lack of sleep rather than any action from another person.

One bad morning at the college, which had nothing to do with my teachers or fellow students, does not negate the otherwise amazing time I've had there to date.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Security incident

Yesterday morning, I experienced something I could have done without: On some days, my grandfather has taken me to college instead of me having to ride a bus. Yesterday was one of those mornings. Usually, when he takes me I'm there at around 8:00am but on this occasion I was there at 7:15.

As I approached the doors, a woman outside who identified herself as security asked if I was a student. Obviously, I confirmed that I am, to which she said that I wasn't supposed to be at the college at such an early time, especially since the cleaners were present and students aren't insured to be in before a certain time. She let me into the college, as it was cold outside and she was concerned about my safety given that it was still quite dark outside. I later found myself as the subject of a couple of jokes from the cleaners, although it wasn't meant nastily.

The security guard talked to me again later in the morning before class in a more relaxed manner than when we met and afterwards I had a chat with my Employability teacher. While this helped me, it didn't change the fact that I'd had an awful - even somewhat humiliating - morning after a night in which I only achieved two hours of sleep and had been awake since four.

Fortunately, the day improved in the afternoon and into the evening. I now know in future to not be present in the college prior to 8:00am.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Commenting elsewhere

For over a week now, I've barely made any comments to posts written by my fellow bloggers. I just wanted to say that I am not ignoring you; it's that with how busy I've been lately I haven't always had time to comment.

That's not to say that I don't read your blogs; I, of course, continue to read them and I will continue to comment. I have several blog posts open in my browser tabs for when I can find a moment to read and comment on them!

Thanks for your patience and understanding. You're all awesome.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Oranges in the blender

The other night, my grandfather concocted a delicious fruit-and-vegetable smoothie; a part of the ingredients was these oranges:

I love the contrast between the oranges and their surroundings. Here is the same picture again but enhanced through SnapSeed:

Not quite as finely enhanced as landscape shots but it's still a decent image.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Liveland History: 17 November 2011

On the 17th of November, 2011, I wrote "The Oregon move":

On that day, it had been eleven years from when my family and I moved to Oregon. It has now been fourteen years since that day and I am amazed by what has changed since I wrote the aforementioned post. I now attend college in Nottingham and no longer live with my parents.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

"It's Time to Try" - Pink and Imagine Dragons mashup by The Geecy Project

I've stated before that I love the mashup musical genre; I think it's awesome when two songs fit perfectly together. This track works:

It's Imagine Dragons' "It's Time", from the band's debut studio album, Night Visions, merged with Pink's "Try", from her sixth studio album, The Truth About Love. I enjoy listening to both songs on their own but combined? Epic. All they need to do now is perform it live.

Well-made mashups can often be as good as - if not better than - the original songs. "It's Time to Try" is definitely on par with the tracks from which it has been composed.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The sashaying teacher

In yesterday's English lesson, I participated in something that I didn't expect to do at college: I danced with my teacher in front of the class. Yep, my English teacher and I performed, arm-in-arm, a sashay together.

It all started because part of the lesson was devoted to thinking of stronger words for walking besides the word "walk" itself. One of the words I thought of was "sashay", which impressed my teacher; however, some of the other students weren't familiar with the term. This spurred my teacher to ask me for a demonstration of a sashay.

Naturally, I was stunned by her request but I complied and together we performed a sashay for the class. I would label it as one of the world's worst, as it looked more like a funky chicken dance than a sexy sashay. It occurred to me later that a great demonstration of a sashay would have been to have copied how models move on a catwalk.

Regardless, the rest of the class was amused. In the coming weeks, we're each supposed to give a short presentation on a subject of our choice; I should have an easier time with mine because of my dancing with my teacher.

Friday, 14 November 2014

"Who's On Heart" 2014 conclusion

It's over.

Ten months after "Who's On Heart" 2014 began, it has finally been resolved. The third mystery celebrity is Nigel Kennedy, who was guessed by a man named Paul. As a result, Paul won the £100,000 pound jackpot. Congratulations, Paul!

In regards to the final celebrity, I'm not sure whether or not I'd heard of him prior to today. Nigel Kennedy is a British violinist and violist but since I don't usually follow people who play those instruments, I can't say that I'm familiar with him.

I am pleased that "Who's On Heart" for this year has concluded. I'm not surprised that it came to an end now given that three hints were released over the past few weeks. I'm sure that my brother will inform me when "Who's On Heart" starts again.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Asleep on the bus

When I rode the bus back home from college this evening, the person whom I was sat next to was asleep. They were sleeping for the vast majority of the journey and the usual noises of the bus appeared to have little effect on waking them.

I hope that they didn't miss their stop and that they made it safely to their destination. It becomes dark early here at this time of the year and it's cold outside. With any luck, the worst that will have happened is that the bus completed its loop and the person travelled past the point where they boarded.

The event reminded me of when I returned from Manchester on the train back at the end of September. When my train arrived in Nottingham, a guy asked me where the train had just stopped; I replied that we were in Nottingham. He and his friend were supposed to depart the train at Sheffield but had slept past their stop.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A link to the start

I had a pleasant surprise this morning. I visited the college gymnasium with two of my friends to attend a small fair about social care. One of the people organising the occasion was none other than my progression advisor from when I was interviewed for college.

She remembered me and I was delighted to see her. She was pleased that I am enjoying my course and have made plenty of new friends. My advisor was enormously helpful during my application to college; the meeting was brief but honestly, it was a wonderful surprise to see her again.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembrance and Memorial

Today, which is Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and Veterans Day in the United States, marks the 96th anniversary of when World War I ended. That war - and the Second World War - killed millions of people - men, women, children, civilians, military. Such an appalling loss of life, of which no one should be proud.

For today, I thought it would be appropriate to include a video, which shows the final minutes of "Goodbyeee", the final episode of the British historical comedy show Blackadder Goes Forth:

The closing scene of that episode always gives me the chills; it's such a strong - and haunting - anti-war message. It's only one scene but it's moving and powerful; I think more people should watch it.

The biggest insult to everyone who has died in past wars - the civilians and the soldiers alike - is that wars persist to this day. People who indiscriminately advocate war - especially people who advocate it but have no intention of ever entering the fight themselves - should be ashamed.

Monday, 10 November 2014

A third "Who's On Heart" 2014 update

The Heart network has released yet another hint for "Who's On Heart" 2014 - now the third in fewer than three weeks. Two weeks ago, it was said that the word "heart" is being spoken by the unidentified celebrity; a week ago, the network confirmed that the voice is that of a British male.

The clue for this week? "Heart" in the "Who's On Heart" clip is being spoken by a British male musician. Given that there aren't millions of British male musicians, I think that the end of the competition is near. Someone has to win that £100,000...and soon!

Sunday, 9 November 2014


My East of England aunt and uncle stayed over for Friday night and left late on Saturday's afternoon. While they were here, my uncle generously provided me with some help for my Algebra homework. My class has a test tomorrow in Mathematics but for the week after we'll be learning more about Algebra.

I am glad that my uncle gave me some advice and taught me some of the methods: I know more about Algebra now than ever before, mainly because I've never learnt Algebra and know next to nothing about it. The type of Algebra in particular was index laws and powers.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Over the Trent and enhanced

I took the following image a week ago:

It's of a view looking over the Trent and nearby farmland. As you can see, seven days ago it was bright and sunny, whereas today we've had nothing but rain.

Here's the picture again:

I used the HDR filter on the Snapseed phone app to enhance the image. What do you think?

Friday, 7 November 2014

Bloggers Blog Party - October 2014

Here are October 2014's batch of images for the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party:

Wednesday, 1st October: This is the interior of my return bus while it was parked at the Broadmarsh depot. The best part about my return journey is that I am guaranteed a seat whenever I board.

Saturday, 4th October: These are peppercorns. My grandfather accidentally loosened the bottom of the pepper grinder and the contents spilt all over the floor.

Thursday, 9th October: Crossing the Trent on an evening bus. The bus' speed had been reduced enough for me to capture this without it becoming blurred.

Friday, 10th October: I thought that this evening sky was astounding; this picture does not truly capture the sky's spectacularity.

Saturday, 18th October: There was an abundance of moss growing on the paths in the nearby memorial garden.

Wednesday, 22nd October: Nottingham's market square at lunchtime. That's one of the city's trams on the left and that's part of the Nottingham Council House on the right. My friends and I went to the pub for lunch afterwards.

Wednesday, 29th October: The Victoria Centre is currently undergoing a major overhaul. The area above the ceiling of the main corridor is completely exposed and, while the shopping centre is still highly active as usual, much of the interior of the building resembles a construction site.

Friday, 31st October: This is some of our Halloween candy, which I purchased. As no trick-or-treaters visited us, we ate the candy instead.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

"No Enemiesz" - Kiesza

My song of choice at the moment is this one:

It's "No Enemiesz" by Kiesza, from her second studio album, Sound of a Woman. Kiesza is a Canadian singer and is mostly known for her hit single "Hideaway"; "Giant in My Heart" is another notable song of Kiesza's but it didn't reach the same level of success as the former.

I think that "No Enemiesz" is an awesome song. Its official release is on November 23rd and I hope that it'll be a huge success; I prefer it to "Hideaway".

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

United States midterm elections, 2014 (2)

To say that my brother and I are disappointed by yesterday's election results is a colossal understatement. We had expected the Republicans to make gains but not to the extent that they did; we both thought that the Republicans would lose several gubernatorial races and at least one senator. Alas, we were wrong.

Many of the races have baffled us but were especially perplexed by the defeat of Senator Mark Udall of Colorado. He has a track record of voting for the civil liberties of Americans; one would think that he would have easily secured re-election based on the general public's concerns about surveillance.

I am especially concerned about how the rights of women and racial minorities will fair under the new Congressional leadership. In several states, healthcare centers for women have been closed en masse and strict voter laws, which disproportionately affect non-white voters, have been implemented. On the bright side, Barack Obama will still be president for over two more years and he possesses the power to veto any such legislation should it arrive at his desk.

My brother and I haven't lived in the United States for over four years but we still care about what happens there. Besides, what occurs in American politics tends to affect the world, which is why people carefully observe what happens in American elections.

Oh, and Clay Aiken was unsuccessful in his bid for a House seat. That's also a shame, as I think he would have made an excellent addition to Congress.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

United States midterm elections, 2014

Voting is well underway and will soon be coming to a close in the 2014 midterm elections in the United States. I'm not going to delve into great detail about them but I do have a little to say. For the past two months, I haven't followed American politics as much as I used to and have mainly been relying on my brother for information; however, I still care about what happens.

I am mainly concerned about the fate of the Senate. Based on what I've written before, I think it's already known whom I favor to emerge victorious that chamber. Evidently, I am watching the various happenings in all the vulnerable seats the Democrats hold but I've also been curious about the weak Republican seats in Georgia, Kentucky and - surprisingly - Kansas. I don't think that anyone was expecting Kansas to become competitive, so the result in that state will be of great fascination to political commentators and experts alike.

I haven't followed anything to do with the House of Representatives because I doubt any change of hands will occur there due to the gerrymandered districts. That being said, there are a few individual races that interest me, such as Clay Aiken's challenge against Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's 2nd congressional district. As for the gubernatorial candidacies, the races in Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania interest me the most: the first three because of how close they could be and the last because of how wide a margin by which the incumbent governor will be defeated.

Once these elections are over, the attention will turn towards the 2016 presidential election. I expect potential candidates to start to throwing their hats into that ring in the coming months.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Another "Who's On Heart" 2014 update

A week ago, the Heart network released a clue for the third mystery name on "Who's On Heart" 2014. Today, a new clue was released. The clue? The third and final name - the person saying "heart" - is a British male.

This clue will dramatically cut down the pool of remaining celebrities to guess. The competition has been in progress for close to a year and should be resolved soon; January is when new "Who's On Heart" competitions are started - this one shouldn't end up overlapping the time when the "Who's On Heart" 2015 begins.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

End of half-term

The half-term break will officially be over once today comes to an end. Tomorrow, I will return to college for my afternoon Mathematics lesson.

Naturally, I'm greatly looking forward to it. My brother returned home a few hours ago and my grandparents' house has quietened down significantly. I will enjoy resuming my previous routine of four classes per week and seeing my friends.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Shelford and wedding

My grandfather, brother and I visited a village called Shelford this afternoon. We undertook a two-hour walk around the vicinity and I was sure to photograph the local church:

It's the St. Peter and St. Paul's Church. The church's bells were ringing for the duration of our time in Shelford because there was a wedding taking place. I do not know who the happy couple are but I hope they have a long and enjoyable life together.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween 2014

It's Halloween and it's nighttime. I'm not engaged in anything particularly exciting: I'm just writing this post while my grandparents and brother are watching television. We've also been eating some Halloween candy, which I bought early in the afternoon; no trick-or-treaters have come and my grandparents wanted to eat a little chocolate. Completely fine with me!

This is only the second Halloween that I've spent away from my parents. The first was in 2012, when I was visiting my family in the East of England.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sheffield again (2)

Here are four pictures from my recent visit to Sheffield:

This is a surprisingly high-quality shot of Sheffield from one of its bridges. I say "surprisingly" because the car was in motion when I took this photograph; that it's not blurred is astounding.

The weather changed throughout the day: it was cloudy when we arrived in the city but a quarter of an hour later, it became bright and sunny. It ultimately rained but not until we left Sheffield.

There was a small fair taking place. One of the songs that played was One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful", which I also heard at a fair I attended earlier this year back in Northamptonshire.

This is an upwards-looking view of a tower in the city. I do not know what the building's name is; I just thought that it would be a great idea to photograph it from this angle.

Most of my other pictures were similar to the above, similar to what I posted in my previous picture post for Sheffield or contained my relatives in them. I thought these four images were sufficient.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Bonus lesson

I attended college this afternoon at midday to go to my English teacher's half-term bonus lesson, which concentrated on grammar - in particular, it was about subordinate clauses and prefixes. I was not required to attend the class but I thought it would be useful, anyway; plus, I wanted to be in college again! I enjoy going there.

There were seven students present; three of them - including me - were from my group and another was the sister of one of my friends. As such, my group and people associated with it comprised the majority of the students in attendance.

After class, I spoke to my teacher for a short spell and then I left to meet up with my brother. We walked around Nottingham's city centre for under an hour before we returned home.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Sheffield again

My brother, grandfather and I travelled to Sheffield to visit my cousin at university there. We all enjoyed both a pleasant afternoon and a little bit of a walk around the centre of the city. I have a few pictures and will post them in a couple of days time.

Monday, 27 October 2014

"Who's On Heart" 2014 update

Remember "Who's On Heart" 2014? The game is still in progress. It's almost been six months since the wrong guesses list was released and four months since Ben Miller was identified as the second mystery celebrity. Since June, the competition has stagnated.

That all changed this morning when the Heart radio network released a hint. The network confirmed that "Who's" is being said by Ben Miller, "on" by Stevie Nicks and "heart" by the as-of-yet unidentified celebrity. On the surface, the hint appears trivial or even outright useless but I think it'll be helpful: it means that people can focus on listening to the "heart" segment while ignoring the other two words.

I hadn't forgotten about "Who's On Heart"; my brother has keeping me informed about how the competition has been progressing or, perhaps more accurately, how it's been stale for months.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Cousin and clocks

Today has been mostly quiet. My Lincoln cousin returned to her city this afternoon, and my aunt and uncle will return to the East of England tomorrow. We'll be a few people short here and will be another person short when my brother heads back home next Sunday.

The clocks changed last night: they were set back by one hour. While it'll be nice to have lighter mornings for the next few months, it does, as always, come at the expense of the Sun setting earlier, which will lead to darker evenings. Today, it was starting to become dark at around 5:00pm.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Brother is here

I'm happy to announce that my brother is here and will not be returning to Northamptonshire until Sunday 2nd November. I have the chance to spend over a week with him, which I'm looking forward to. It's already been great having him present after my not seeing him for two months. The end of August 2014 to the end of October 2014 is, to date, the longest we've gone without seeing each other, excluding Skype.

We have one confirmed activity and one possible: it is guaranteed that we'll be in the Nottingham city centre together on Wednesday because that's when I'll be at college for the bonus English lesson. The possible activity is that my grandfather has talked about travelling to Sheffield to visit my cousin at university there.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Was just waiting

It has been a quiet day and not much is going on at the moment. I was just sat waiting for my aunt and uncle from the East of England to arrive but they are now here; they will be staying for the night before they venture elsewhere. It was bizarre not going into college today; I felt as though I were missing out on a class. It's a shame that we didn't have a class today.

It's also less than 24 hours before my brother arrives! While I have kept in contact with my brother and parents via texts, phone calls and Skype, there is still plenty that I haven't told them about the last two months and I'm looking forward to telling them all about it.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

First half-term break

Today's Sociology lesson was both the last class of this week and our last lesson until 3rd November. We don't have English tomorrow because it's a teacher training day. As a result, today officially began our first half-term break.

One would think that I would be looking forward to some time off from college but to be honest, I'm actually not. I enjoy going to college four days a week; I love the lessons and I love meeting up with my friends. It will be unusual not going in tomorrow or next week.

There are three mitigating factors, fortunately. My cousin at university in Lincoln is here for tonight and tomorrow, my English teacher will be running a two-hour workshop next Wednesday (which I will attend!) and my brother will be coming up on Saturday to stay for the week. It'll be the first time in almost months that I've seen him and my parents.

As for today's lesson, our usual Sociology teacher was out sick today, which meant that a substitute teacher was present for us. The substitute performed well and I had a lengthy conversation with her after I had finished my work; I was the last to leave college and then I went to the train station to meet up with my cousin.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Philly cheesesteak

After class, five of my friends and I went to a pub for lunch. I opted for a Philly cheesesteak sandwich: it was a new choice on the pub branch's menu and when I was in Manchester last month, of the people at the meetup I attended up there had one for dinner. I thought it looked delicious and made a mental note to have one when I next went to the pub to eat.

During this lunctime, the first Philly cheesesteak that I'd eaten in many, many years was, by far, the worst Philly cheesesteak I've ever eaten. The onions were excessively sweet, the meat was cold and the baguette was as though I were eating rubber. That meal also holds the record of the worst-ever pub meal I've had to endure. I've now created a mental note to not have that choice again and I told my brother to not consider it the next time he eats at a pub.

On the bright side, the hour and a half/two hours I spent at the pub with my friends was beyond enjoyable enough to overcome my substandard lunch. At the end of the day, this is what counts.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

"Waterloo" - ABBA

This is my favourite ABBA song and the only one by them that I keep on my phone:

"Waterloo" was released in 1974 and comes from ABBA's second studio album, which is also called Waterloo. I heard the song on one of their compilation albums, Gold: Greatest Hits, because it's the only significant ABBA album that's in my parents' music collection.

I recently discovered that I had been mishearing one of the lyrics for several years. I always thought that the line "Waterloo - Knowing my fate is to be with you" was "Waterloo - Knowing my babies will be with you".

Heh, heh. Oops.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Forgotten identification

I've now been attending college for a month and a half. I always ensure that I take to college everything that I need, be it relevant course papers, stationery or my student identity card. Today, for the first time ever, I forgot my card.

I realised after I arrived at the college that I hadn't brought my card with me. Fortunately, I had recently taken a photo of my card, which is stored on my phone, in case I accidentally forget it and am asked why I don't have it on me. I was annoyed but since I had the photo, I thought I'd be okay.

Later, in the classroom, we were told that we might have to go down to the library to use the computers. At that point, I groaned: in order to use the computers, you need to physically have your card with you. The reason that we were to use the computers was because our math(s) teacher was out sick and wouldn't be present. The assistant was doing his best to substitute for the teacher

Fortunately, an hour into the lesson, the teacher arrived. Apparently, there had been a breakdown in communication and he had only taken the morning off but was capable of working in the afternoon. The lesson then proceeded as normal.

This is the first time that I have forgotten my student identification card and I hope it'll be the last. It's not a habit that I want to develop!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

London October 2014 images

Three days ago, I visited London on a college-organised trip. The primary objective was for the students to visit a museum - the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum or the Imperial War Museum - but we were free to explore the city if we so chose. Nine people from my class - a figure that included me - were present on the trip.

A view of some traffic in London from the coach. Once we arrived at London's city limits, at least half an hour elapsed before we reached our first destination - the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum.

The Houses of Parliament as seen from the coach. I'll write more about this building later in this post.

These are some aircraft on display in the entrance hall of the Imperial War Museum. Of the nine people from my class who were present on the trip, eight of us opted to visit the Imperial War Museum. The eight of us who went to the Imperial War Museum separated into two groups once we were there: one group had five while the other, which I was in, had three.

These posters are located in an area dedicated to women's involvement in World War II, such as the work women performed in building machinery or treating injured soldiers.

These posters are located in the American segment of the World War I exhibition. The posters were used to stir up support for American military involvement in that war, on the side of the Allies.

I took few pictures inside the museum because I wanted to look at the various exhibits, not photograph everything while seeing nothing.

This is the Palace of Westminster, which is colloquially known as the Houses of Parliament. The tower on the right should be familiar: it's the Clock Tower/Elizabeth Tower, in which Big Ben is located. Remember my early blog post about this?

This enormous Ferris wheel is the London Eye, which is also known as the Millennium Wheel. My friends and I did not ride the London Eye, as we were merely on a walk to the area of London that contained the Eye and the Houses of Parliament; we weren't visiting any of the attractions located there. The vantage point from which we photographed these structures is the Westminster Bridge. Quite a few selfies were taken!

This is the front of the Imperial War Museum. It amazed me how small the building appears from the outside; as can be seen from the image with the aircraft on display, the inside is enormous.

When we departed from the Imperial War Museum at 5:30pm, it was still light outside. Half an hour later, it was close to darkness. The coach returned to the college after 9:30, where I had to wait for around twenty minutes for my grandfather to collect me. Overall, I had an awesome day.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Emotional catchup

I was not affected by stress at all in the days leading up to my English test nor on the day itself; however, today the stress appeared to have caught up on me. I was feeling nervous all day and had little appetite; I skipped breakfast and was unable to eat all of my lunch.

Fortunately, I'm no longer feeling stressed or lacking an appetite. My other Nottingham-based relatives came over for dinner and we all enjoyed a pleasant evening, which relieved my tension. I have both homework and my London picture post to complete tomorrow.

Friday, 17 October 2014

London and test

Yesterday's visit to London was awesome. I went with two friends to the Imperial War Museum and then walked to the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and the London Eye area. I shall post some pictures of the day soon.

As for today, my class' first English test occurred. We had to write a radio script on a topic about which we held strong opinions and the script had to contain around 700 words or more. My radio script was a pro-feminism piece and featured over 900 words. Not only do I hope that my handwriting and quality of work were sufficient, I hope that the examiner who reads my work won't be someone who is anti-feminist!

Still, it's best to think positively. My friends and I poured an incredible amount of energy into our respective pieces and we are all trying to aim high.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

London again

I probably won't have time to write a post later so I'll write it now instead. Why? Because, for the second time this year, I will travelling to London. This London visit is one of the two trips that come with my college course. My classmates and I will be travelling via coach; it will be a three-hour journey to London and another three hours back.

As usual, I will be taking pictures and I'll be sure to post some of them here.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The next Android

The next Android version name has been announced: Android 5.0 is to be called "Android Lollipop", which keeps the name consistent with the dessert/candy theme of Android titles:

In early 2013, I wrote a list of potential Android names; for "L", I suggested the name "Lemon Meringue". When I wrote that post, the expected name for the "K" version was supposed to be "Key Lime Pie" but it ultimately turned out to be "KitKat".

I am glad that Google is sticking to this theme; there had been speculation that the next version would be called "Android L" but I think that "Android Lollipop" sounds better.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bottle error

When my grandfather came back home from work and shopping this afteroon, I helped him carry the groceries to the kitchen. While he was packing items away, I noticed several bags of alcohol bottles in the porch. I picked them up and carried them into the kitchen.

I was slightly surprised that my grandfather appeared to have purchased an absurd amount of alcohol but I didn't dwell much on it. When I had transferred the bottles to the kitchen, my grandfather pointed out that I had just brought back the bottles he was going to put out for recycling.

Epic fail on my part! I hadn't even noticed that all the bottles were empty; I was too focused on ensuring I carried them carefully to the kitchen. Fortunately, everyone laughed and I helped to carry the bottles back to the porch. Next time, I should pay a little more attention!

Monday, 13 October 2014

"Rather Be" - Pentatonix

Pentatonix have once again released an awesome cover:

It's their version of Clean Bandit's "Rather Be"; it pleases me that they covered "Rather Be" because it's one of my favourite songs of 2014 and their rendition is, well, awesome!

I have written before about Pentatonix and Clean Bandit. As I said in the former post, I'm not usually into a capella music but I love Pentatonix. Their voices are deeply impressive.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Amusing spam

I occasionally like to view the spam comments that my blog's built-in filter has blocked. Some of them are quite amusing:

"Her eyes widened substantially at my sudden politeness. Yep, you heard that right, they love themselves some porn. I protected my sight when the glare turned too much in addition to squinted through the smoke a cigarette to find Julie, but it has been pointless."

"I'm gone to convey my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this web site on regular basis to take updated from hottest news."

"It'sdifficult to find exlerienced people in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what you're talking about! Thanks" (This one was posted to a piece about the "Who's on Heart" competition; evidently there's a high demand for people who know about that radio game!)


"My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann't imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks" (This was another that was posted to a "Who's on Heart"-related piece.)

"Be very careful when it comes to the unreal claims of making instant money online." (Followed by a link to how I can make money instantly online.)

"marls    marly    marry    marse    marsh    marts    marvy    masas. obesity  obeyers  obeying  obiisms  objects  oblasti  oblasts  oblates. cusecs   cushat   cushaw   cuspal   cusped   cuspid   cuspis   cussed." (This one is just outright bizarre.)

"Thеse amazing balls сan bе measured fom tɦe green remodeling largest ƿoint from a particular time period, use worfs like" mid-century,"" 18th century," or" impressionism. The housing market has been revolutionized aand eeven each room can do thhe traditional way of shopping, and go from store to store"

I'm glad that spam comments are stored in the filter; not that it would be difficult for me to disallow them but it's fun that they're in their own directory so I can laugh at them anytime.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The burial

I conducted some gardening for my grandparents today. When I was nearing the end of my work, I noticed a frog in the garden waste bin. I extracted the frog from the bin and placed it on the ground; sadly, the amphibian was dying from an injury. When I brought my grandfather around to check it, the frog had died.

I am uncertain if the frog was already wounded or if I somehow caused its death. Either way, I was upset and so I ensured that the frog received a proper burial. It was not my intention to leave the frog's corpse out in the open; it deserved to be respectfully buried.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Bus stop compliment

I was amused earlier today when boarding my bus back home. A woman and I were approaching the bus queue from the side; however, while there were several people who were technically ahead of us in line, she and I boarded the bus first. This was thanks to two men who were at the front of the line, both of whom could have been described as "ageing biker dudes" even though they probably weren't.

One of the men said that the woman could board ahead of them. After she got onto the bus, I moved forward to her original position and then stopped, as I expected the guys and some of the people behind them to board; they had, after all, been waiting there longer than I had. Surprisingly, the man who let the woman on ahead also let me board before him, his friend and everyone behind him.

That wasn't the funny part. No, the funny part was when the man's friend turned to him and said something along the lines of "So not only are you letting attractive women on before us, but good-looking blokes, too?"

The comment surprised me as much as being allowed on the bus immediately after the woman did, but it didn't bother me. The man's tone was joking and non-hostile, so he was neither complaining nor threatening. Besides, it was a compliment and I'll accept compliments from anybody.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Handwriting practice

I have been assigned some extra work as part of my English classes: I need to improve my handwriting. My English teacher is concerned that I could lose marks/points on my writing pieces in exams if examiners have difficulty reading my work or if they regard my work as illegible. On Wednesday, she gave me a brief handwriting lesson after my Employability class and allowed me to borrow some handwriting practice papers.

Naturally, I am concerned about losing marks in exams - especially my English exams - over my handwriting. That being said, I am confident that I will improve my handwriting so that examiners will not penalise me if they are unable to read my work.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Freezer success

The frozen brownies were a success. They defrosted overnight and when I ate them for breakfast this morning, they had retained their usual texture rather than transformed into mush. I would even go as far as to say that the brownies had developed a deeper chocolate taste after a spell in the freezer.

In the meantime, it honestly will be a while before I bake any more brownies. It's fortunate that I frequently walk, otherwise I might have gained weight from my recent cooking!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Brownies update

There are no brownies remaining besides the two in the freezer. I'm glad, because I was starting to become fed up with brownies after having to eat so many. Next time, I'll make larger brownies rather than lots of small ones or perhaps my brother will be here and can eat some of them for us.

I'll allow the two final brownies to defrost overnight and I'll eat them for breakfast tomorrow, assuming they are still edible!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Mathematics assessment result

Back when the class had its first mathematics lesson, we underwent an assessment. Today, the math(s) teacher gave us our results from that assessment.

I scored 56%, which would amount to a C grade. While that might seem low, a C is not something to be ashamed of (albeit not something to be ecstatic about, either): I answered over half the problems correctly and thanks to what I've learnt since that test from almost a month ago, I now know where I went wrong on some of them. If I retook the test on my current knowledge, I think I'd have around 62% - 66% correct.

There are still many weeks left in the course and there is plenty of time for me to improve. I already feel as though I have improved my math(s) stills and I am confident that I will continue to improve as the year progresses.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

"Break the Rules" - Charli XCX

For the past few weeks, this song has been gaining steam on radio airplay and will be released here on the 7th of October:

It's "Break the Rules" by Charli XCX and will be from her third studio album, Sucker. I was unsure about the song when I initially heard it but it has since grown on me; that being said, unlike the message in the song, I do want to go to school and am happy to be there!

I have written about Charli XCX twice before: for her songs "SuperLove" and "Boom Clap". As I said in the latter post, I am delighted that she has been receiving solo recognition; I am fond of her style of music.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Spider in the corner

I prefer it when spiders - especially ones the size of the spider in the following picture - stay in corners and keep to themselves:

This breed of spider is both large and fast. I don't know what the exact species is and I've never seen them outside my grandparents house. This one caused me to jump when it sprinted across the floor of a bedroom. It has since decided to camp in a corner in the hallway and appears to be happy down there.

Friday, 3 October 2014

The need to finish them

Remember those brownies I baked a week and a half ago? My grandparents and I are still eating them, and I am not joking when I say that I have eaten brownies for breakfast on at least one occasion.

Nearly a week ago, I was forced to place the brownies in the fridge because mold was starting to develop on them. Fortunately, the mold is only growing on the exterior of the brownies and can be scraped off with ease but still, I was shocked by how rapidly the mold began to encroach upon my baking.

One of my friends at college recommended that I place the brownies in the freezer. I've never tried that before but last night I wrapped two brownies up in foil and put them in the freezer. I'll check them in a few days time; I am curious to see how well they fare while frozen and to see what happens to them when they defrost.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Bloggers Blog Party - September 2014

September 2014 was a plentiful month for the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party; I had several excellent and interesting topics from which I could choose:

Tuesday, 2nd September: My grandfather had recently bought a mat. After a few days, fungus started to grow on it. While my grandfather and I found the fungal growth on the mat to be fascinating, there shouldn't be any fungus growing on a mat.

Tuesday, 9th September: There were several towers of hay present in a nearby field; I don't know if the towers are still there because I haven't returned to the field since this picture.

Thursday, 11th September: This is a delicious bowl of apple slices, dried apricots and - wait for it - sour grapes. I like sour grapes; it's rotten or squishy grapes that I dislike. I'm not fond of apricots in general but I love them dried.

Tuesday, 18th September: One of my friends from college generously brought in muffins to share; the muffins were delicious. Instead of photographing food in class, I photographed the wrapper at home before I disposed of it.

Saturday, 20th September: I vigorously shook a carton of pineapple juice to the point where the contents became frothy. Honestly, this is a glass of pineapple juice and not a glass of beer...or something less appetising. Pineapple-flavoured froth, while odd, is tasty.

Monday, 29th September: When I was walking down the lane where my return bus stop is located, I noticed this The Hunger Games-decorated tile on the path. It's obviously promoting the next The Hunger Games film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which is due for release in November. To answer the hashtag message, I have read Mockingjay.