Monday, 31 March 2014

In motion

In yesterday's piece, I posted a picture of a pub in Coventry. That picture was taken while my Dad's car was in motion. Here are two more pictures I took while the car was moving:

This is the Ramada hotel near the centre of Coventry; it's a fairly plain but noticeable building on the Coventry skyline. I think I might have posted a picture of it before.

This is outside Coventry along the route we take to there and back; it's at the Catthorpe Interchange, which is the junction that connects the M1 motorway (seen in the distance) with the A14 dual-carriageway and the M6 motorway. This area is currently undergoing upgrades.

Both of these pictures and the one from yesterday were taken using my phone. I think these are decent images given that my phone was having some difficulty focusing while in a moving car.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Coventry pub

We went to Coventry this afternoon and ate at this pub, The City Arms:

We've been to this pub a few times; it's spacious and the food there is of fairly decent quality. I've never had any problems. We went there today because I had a meetup.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Such a sunny day

Today was too pleasant to stay indoors all day. Here are some pictures from the park as proof of that statement:

I had a lovely walk this afternoon. I'm hoping that the weather will remain like this for the next couple of weeks.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Easter egg candy (2)

Back in my recent post about Easter candy, I mentioned that I would be buying some chocolates for other people. Here is one of the eggs I bought today:

I bought four in all; there was a buy one, get one free special available and I took advantage of it; I might buy some more if the offer remains, although I might get some more chocolates, anyway. I prefer buying things for others than for myself!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Tonie Nathan

This morning, I learnt that on March 20th, 2014, Tonie Nathan died. Nathan was the first woman and first Jewish person to win an electoral vote in a presidential election in the United States.

In the 1972 election, Nathan was the vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, which was a new party at the time, serving as the running mate to John Hospers. The party was only on the ballot in two states, Colorado and Washington, but a Republican elector in Virginia chose to vote for Hospers and Nathan instead of Richard Nixon, thus making Nathan the first woman to win an electoral vote; Nathan's being of Jewish faith also made her the first Jew to win an electoral vote (in 1964, Republican candidate Barry Goldwater was of Jewish origin and he won electoral votes, but he was an Episcopalian).

The result of the election was not affected by the faithless elector; while Richard Nixon lost an electoral vote in Virginia, he still won the rest of that state's votes (11 out of 12) and secured 49 of the 50 states overall, giving him a landslide victory. It should also be noted that the 1972 election is, to date, the late time a person who wasn't a Democrat or a Republican won an electoral vote, although there have been faithless electors since then.

Nathan's achievement came more than ten years before Geraldine Ferraro won electoral votes as Walter Mondale's running mate in 1984. While it will most definitely be a day to celebrate how far women have come when the United States does elect a woman president, Nathan will be almost completely forgotten to anyone who isn't familiar with US presidential elections and the non-major party candidates. She's already a footnote, given that most people haven't heard of her; as I wrote earlier, I only learnt about her today.

With Nathan's death, all six people who received electoral votes in the 1972 election - plus Roger MacBride, the faithless elector - are now deceased.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

"Word Up!" - Little Mix

This song has been gaining in popularity here for the last three weeks or so:

It's "Word Up" by Little Mix, a British girl group. "Word Up" was initially recorded in 1986 by the band Cameo and Little Mix covered the song for Sport Relief 2014, a charity event. I like Cameo's original (I even heard it on Oregon radio) but I love Little Mix's cover: it's faster and contains much more energy, combined with the fact that I've always liked their voices.

Actor Chris Barrie appears in Little Mix's video for "Word Up". Barrie is notable to me because years ago I watched Red Dwarf, a sci-fi comedy series in which he starred. Melanie Chisholm of the Spice Girls appears in the video, too. Before tonight, I had no idea that they appeared in the video, as I watched it for the first time an hour ago.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Uneven level of attractiveness

I discovered this article this morning and found it extremely interesting:

It's about a man who won a radio station's "Punching Above Your Weight Champion" award, which he won for being in a relationship where the woman is massively more attractive than the man. Darren Donaghey, the man in said type of relationship, self-nominated for the award after hearing about it on the radio on the way to work one day. The radio station's listeners voted Donaghey and his fiancée, Kate Cathart, as the winners.

While Cathart and Donaghey's relationship is viewed as unusual, it shouldn't be. When I walk around my residence and when I've been to other parts of this country, it's not uncommon for me to see couples where one half is far more attractive than the other...and it's not soley beautiful woman-ugly man relationships, either! I've observed quite a few couples that would cause many people to ask "what's that [insert positive appearance adjective here] man doing with her?" Evidently, the people in these relationships didn't consider looks and money to be determining factors, as with Cathart and Donaghey. In the end, so what if they're both not on the same level of attractiveness? As long as they love each other and are happy, that's all that counts. Nobody's approval is necessary and any offence certain people might take is irrelevant; as the adage goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I like relationships such as Cathart and Donaghey's because they break the social construct that people should be of equal or similar attractiveness to be in a relationship with each other. They also help to disprove the false notion pushed by some men that most women are only interested in a man if he's hot or rich (or both). It gets boring reading comments from men who dismiss all women as gold diggers and dismiss people like Cathart and Donaghey as an anomaly or a distraction.

I also like Cathart and Donaghey's sense of humour. The fact they are able to laugh about themselves and their relationship shows good character on their part. I wish them the best of luck for their marriage.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Colourful reflections

Remember my previous posts about rainbow reflections being formed from sunlight passing through a red jug and by the peacock-shaped patterned glass on our front door? Well, the latter combined with today's bright and clear morning allowed me to take these pictures:

The familiar wavey rainbow pattern on the kitchen floor. This is the most common type of the rainbow reflections, given that the kitchen floor is in the direct path of the sunlight when it shines through the window.

The rainbow pattern on the kitchen, this time significantly smaller after the angle of the Sun had changed.

This is the rainbow pattern when it was diagonally streaked across the wall. It's not often that we see the reflection in this manner, mainly because we're rarely near the front door at the time of the day when this particular reflection is possible.

Similar to the above picture with the wall, except this time the reflection is streaked across the kitchen door.

This last picture, however, was not caused by sunlight shining through the glass. Instead, this pretty pattern on the wall was produced by Mum's watch reflecting the bright morning light.

All of these pictures were taken with my phone and I'm impressed with how they turned out. What a great morning for reflections it was!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

"Rather Be" - Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne

This is a song that is popular here in the United Kingdom:

It's "Rather Be" by British electronic group Clean Bandit, which features Jess Glynne, the latter of whom is a new artist. "Rather Be" is now declining in the charts, but it had (and is still having) a good run and is played daily at the moment; the song won't be going away entirely for the time being.

Glynne herself is not the person shown to be singing the majority of the song in the video; that would be Haruka Abe, who is a Japanese actress. I think Glynne appears in the concert segment. Glynne is featured on another song high in the British charts currently, which is "My Love" by Route 94.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Wood chipping path

In the park with the daffodils, I came across this:

It's the usual path down through the park, except it's covered in wood chippings. The park has undergone a thinning of its undergrowth and some of the trees have been cut down to uncrowd other trees; evidently, those trees were then placed in a woodchipper and the chippings spread out over the path. It's a good use of the chippings, as this part of the path is barely more than a mud slide and the chippings provide effective grip for any walker.

Friday, 21 March 2014

New rainbow

Today has been one of those days with unpredictable weather: it started off clear and sunny but in the afternoon it clouded over; heavy rain then came down and later sun came back out, forming this bright rainbow:

I was fortunate to capture this, as my camera's batteries died moments later, which was extremely annoying, not to mention inconvenient. The rainbow then faded away when the rain returned.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Orange and yellow daffodils

I went out for a walk this afternoon and went to the park. Spring is here, as evidenced by these daffodils:

I found these two daffodils fascinating, as the one on the right has an orange trumpet whereas the other has the standard yellow; there were two, possibly three other orange-trumpted daffodils among their yellow-trumpted relatives.

I love how the yellow flower is peeking around the orange one, as though the latter is looking at something interesting and the former doesn't want to miss out!

Today is also International Day of Happiness, so I hope that these two pretty flowers have made your made ever-so-slightly happier.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Types of friends to dump

I saw this video about seven types of friends one shouldn't feel bad about dumping:

Of the types shown in the video, the "Always-Correcting-You" friend would actually be a postive to me as long as they're not patronising; at least this type of person pays attention to what I say and cares enough to correct me. I also don't mind being corrected.

The "In a Relationship" and "Flakey" friends can both be handled. Whenever people in relationships are annoying, it's because of other traits that one or both people in the relationship have; it's not usually the relationship itself that makes them annoying until you count lovey-dovey couples, with whom I don't have a problem. Also, people in relationships do have certain priorities, but in all fairness, that doesn't mean that they should neglect their friends and family. As for the flakey types, they are annoying, but as long as you're aware of their flaking habits and know how to work around them, such as by arranging something with them at short notice so that they don't have the chance to flake, they shouldn't be too much trouble.

The rest of the types can be taken on a case-by-case basis. The downers, passive-aggressors and jealous types are not worth having as friends if these are their constant behaviours; however, most people have their down, passive-aggressive and jealous moments, and should be afforded some leeway with the caveat that the negativity doesn't become frequent. A self-absorbed person isn't always bad, either, for as long as they're otherwise a friendly individual I'm okay with them; besides, someone who enjoys talking about themselves all the time lifts the pressure off you whenever you want to hang out with someone but aren't in the mood for talking about yourself.

As people are not usually one-dimensional in personality and emotion, the aforementioned types can overlap: it's not impossible for someone to be all of the types shown in the video and it's also possible for such a person to be a good friend. Again, it's a case-by-case basis: we all have our bad moments and if we ended our friendships over trivialities, none of us would have any friends. Still, people who are a net-negative in your life should definitely be ejected from your social circles.

Fortunately for me, I don't know anyone whom I want to dump as a friend. In addition, this post is not a passive-aggressive attempt to get any of my friends reading this to examine and change their own's just my thoughts on something I found interesting! As always, other opinions are welcome.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

About those "Nice Guys"...

Note: this is somewhat of a follow-up to the two posts I wrote rejecting the notion of the "Friend Zone"; see here and here.

Several years ago I read that women don't like nice guys. Back then I did not understand what this meant and I wrongly assumed that much of what I'd been taught and told about being a decent person was false, especially when it came to love, dating and relationships. I was baffled as to why women would be attracted to men who would be disrespectful or outright degrading towards them when people - both men and women - had taught me that women appreciate being treated with respect and politeness. Fortunately, I had misunderstood what "Nice Guy" meant and I'm pleased to say that I have now long since learnt the difference between what constitutes a "Nice Guy" versus a good man. So what is the difference?

Nice Guys are only interested in women for sex, nothing more. They appear to go at great lengths to be nice to women and specifically to women, but their "kindness" is factitious: they often go overboard to the point where their behaviour is creepy and this usually overdone niceness is just an act to manipulate women into having sex with them. A Nice Guy believes that pretending to be nice to a woman is all that's needed to bed her; he doesn't or won't understand why any woman would refuse him. In his mind, he went to all the trouble to treat her like any living and breathing human should be treated and believes that it's only fair that she reward him with sex; she wasn't supposed to be just reciprocally kind to him.

Nice Guys usually aren't interested in committed relationships; to them, women are just sexual vending machines and once the "niceness coins" have been inserted, they expect payout. Most if not all Nice Guys see sex with their target woman as the goal and once that goal has been achieved, they disassociate themselves with her, not wanting to be any more involved beyond satisfying their own selfish needs. Love and genuine caring between two people are almost always alien concepts to Nice Guys, and for them, having a friendship with a woman is a failure because there is no sex involved.

A good man, on the other hand, is kind to women because he understands that treating women respectfully is one of their fundamental rights as human beings. His demeanour is genuine, not at all a ploy just to have sex and he does not consider a friendship with a woman to be a failure. He does not view women as sex objects, nor does he regard all other men as competitors and therefore doesn't constantly overreact with aggression and excess jealousy towards them. A good man places value in relationships and doesn't view sex as the only factor that matters during them. His authenticity does not make him immune from having a broken heart and he will still experience bitterness, but his respect for women prevents him from blaming or hating all women just because one turned him down or hurt him.

Unfortunately, there are men who misunderstand the definition of a Nice Guy and they assume that women desire being degraded and/or only respect men who use their fists. What worries me here is that this misunderstanding might lead to some of these men becoming rude jerks at best or committing violence against women at worst; even during the days when I completely misunderstood what Nice Guy meant, I never believed that deliberately mistreating women was key to being attractive to them, but not all men think as I do. I sincerely hope that no man has ever misunderstood the term in this manner and ended up overreacting as such, but my concern lingers; it's imperative that men and women fully understand what separates Nice Guys from good men.

I should note that sexual desire itself does not transform a good man into a Nice Guy. A good man will still have his own romantic and sexual interests, as nearly all men (and also women) do, but it's not the only thing that's important to him during his interactions with women and he also cares about his girlfriend's/wife's sexual needs, unlike Nice Guys, who only care about their own. There is nothing shameful about wanting to have sex, but no person should ever be exploited or deceived for another person to obtain it.

Without wanting to distract or deflect from this post's main topic, I am sure that there is a female equivalent of Nice Guys (possibly called Nice Girls?); it's also likely that Nice Guys have their equivalents among the LGBT community, but I don't know enough about these counterparts to give an informed opinion about them. If they do exist, I'm sure they receive the same cold reception that Nice Guys do.

At the end of the day, people should be kind to others, men and women alike, because it's what they should do as good humans. I hold the optimistic opinion that, regardless of gender, if someone is a genuinely nice person then their attractive qualities will be noticed and they will quickly find themselves in a relationship, but if they're only nice just to trick others into having sex with them, then their attractive traits will be clouded by that veil of deception.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Chocolate cream cheese icing recipe

As promised, here is the recipe for chocolate cream cheese icing:

9 ounces of plain cream cheese/soft cheese
1 half-cup of powdered sugar
1 quarter cup of chocolate powder
 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 blender

It's a fairly easy recipe. I usually mix the cream cheese by itself first to soften it some more and then I add the sugar, mix again, add the chocolate and the vanilla extract and then mix for the third time. In the absence of a blender or any other type of food mixer, stirring thoroughly with a spoon also works.

I double-checked with my brother to ensure that these were the correct ingredients.

Sunday, 16 March 2014


It's often the way: I write several posts that I'm (highly) pleased with and then I suddenly find myself unable to writing anything! It's not for lack of ideas, though; I have a few blog posts lined up but for some reason I didn't have the creativity in place to write any io them tonight. Not to worry, as tomorrow's post will be much better than this one.

On the bright side, today was a beautiful day in regards to the weather; almost fully-clear blue skies all day! I wasn't going to miss such wonderful weather by being on the computer, so I went out instead.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

A reason to backup a comment

A couple of night ago, I was typing up a lengthy comment on a friend's blog. My friend had written a long and thought-provoking blog post and I wanted to give her a decent response.

This doesn't sound too exciting, right? Well, here comes the fun part. When my comment was near completion, I took a brief break to refresh some of the other tabs in my browser. After doing this, I went to the tab where my comment was and almost mechanically pressed the refresh button. The result? My comment was erased.

Obviously, I was annoyed, both for losing my comment and because I had made a mistake that I usually don't make. However, that mistake was not refreshing the tab; instead, it was not copying my message out of the comment box. When I'm writing a long comment, I normally copy and paste it elsewhere every so often so that I don't lose my content. In this case, I completely forgot.

The next day, I wrote my comment and then posted it. In fact, in hindsight I think losing the original comment caused a minor case of serendipity: my second comment was a major improvement upon the first, as I was able to say more than what I'd said before, except with fewer words.

As for why I wrote about this, it makes for a good lesson about the importance of backups. Even making a copy of a comment you want to post on a blog counts as a backup!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Men buying women's hygiene products

I've read in some feminist forums comments from women expressing frustration about their boyfriends or husbands refusing to buy feminine hygiene products. In those same discussions, I've also read some women say that they wouldn't date or would dump a man who wouldn't buy these items for them. I can understand these women's perspectives, but I have to ask this: just why are the men embarrassed to buy feminine hygiene products? What is their problem?

If a man is worried about being mocked for buying feminine hygiene products, he should view it this way: the mere fact he is buying these items indicates that there is an important woman in his life, who is his romantic partner, and that he is a good man for getting these things for her. He is trusted by her to get her what she needs for her body, for issues that he doesn't have to worry about in regards to his own body.

If a man is worried about being viewed as less masculine for buying them, then first, he's being immature and irrationally sensitive. Second: If people see a man buying such items, the vast majority of them will either think nothing of it or assume that he's a caring man in a loving relationship, not a weak excuse for a "man" who is controlled by his wife. Sure, there will be the occasional jerk who'll mock him, but so what? That person, regardless of gender, isn't mature enough to be in a relationship, whereas the good man is.

If a man is uncaring and disrespectful of a woman's reproductive system and women's issues, and thus regards women's hygiene as something that's beneath him, then he is a sexist and needs to grow up. Preferably sooner rather than later.

Additionally, I would argue that men who purchase pornographic magazines or similar items should feel far, far more embarrassed than men who buy their girlfriends' or wives' hygiene products. A man who buys these is likely to be viewed negatively, as people would assume he thinks that women are objects for his pleasure, rather than his fellow human beings. They also might think that he's the undateable type, hence his reliance on pornography.

I asked Dad his opinion on this topic. He shrugged, saying that he'd bought Mum her feminine products before and felt no shame in doing so. As he said, why would he? It's nothing shameful. He also thought that men who wouldn't buy them, for whatever reason, were insecure and idiots, and he agreed with me that it would be more embarrassing to be buying naughty magazines.

Oh, and one other thing: there's also the possibility that a man buying women's products could be a dad getting them for his teenage (or even adult) daughter, which would make him a great father, not a laughingstock. Honestly, there's nothing here that men need to be embarrassed about.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Early Easter candy

Easter isn't until the 20th of April this year, but Easter-themed candy started appearing as soon as Valentine's Day ended, if not a day or two prior. My brother has already taken advantage of this and bought, to share with me and our parents, four large chocolate eggs at a fairly low price. Now the rest of us need to catch up with his generosity.

Speaking of early Easter sales, in the United States, I became accustomed to how early stores would stock for upcoming major calendar occasions, such as Halloween or Christmas; as a result, it wasn't a surprise to me when I observed that same behaviour here. My parents, while also unsurprised, were nevertheless bothered by how the United Kingdom had adopted similar holiday marketing patterns to the US in the fourteen years we'd been away. I've known many Americans who felt that holidays and other special events were overly commercialised; I'm sure Britons will start to feel the same way, assuming they haven't already.

On another note, some might say that, given how I'm in my twenties, I'm too old for Easter candy. I see no reason why that should be the case: at the end of the day, Easter chocolates are just chocolates and they're something that some people like to give to me - they're not something that I expect. Finally, I've bought Easter chocolates for other people before and I intend to do the same this year.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The spammers

My blog's built-in filter has sent over 300 hundred pending comments into the spam folder. Most of the time, the spammers target several of my posts but occasionally they seem to focus on one. At the moment, they seem to like my post about asking for someone else's home wi-fi password.

In the past week, the target page has picked up over forty fake views with the "links" it has received from spam websites. The comments that have been blocked are quite amusing, though: they consist of giving me useless and/or incomprehensible advice and ideas, such as decorating an empty room with a Bible, holding my phone close to me to get apps to work, incomplete information on how to set margins in Microsoft Word, buying things to keep my pet relaxed and some bizarre ramblings about football. Of course, they all have a spam link thrown in at the end of their comments.

Ah well, such as it is with spambots. At least on Blogger either comment moderation and/or catchpas can be used to stop them; it is sad, however, when one comes across an abandoned blog, which wasn't given any sort of spam protection by its owner(s), littered with spam comments. I came across one like this the other day; just a few years ago it was a highly active blog, but the owner since moved on and left it be, allowing it to become a spamyard. What a shame.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The second return of KIFS (107.5 Kiss FM)

As I have written a few times in the past, KIFS (107.5 Kiss FM) was the radio station my brother and I used to listen to in Southern Oregon. In the summer of 2012, I was able to hear Kiss-FM again by using its online streaming service; however, it was uncomfortable to listen to the station again and I was going to stop, but for some reason I was unable to access the streaming service again, anyway.

Recently, I was informed about a phone app (a legal one!) that streamed radio stations from around the world. I was curious as to whether or not it would be able find Kiss-FM and, lo and behold, it did! For the first time since July 2012, I was listening to Kiss-FM.

Surprisingly, it no longer felt uncomfortable to listen to it. For some reason, the local adverts were playing on app's feed (not exclusively the national ones, as was happening in 2012) and hearing commercials related to Southern Oregon made it feel like "home" again, not an alien world like it did when I listened in 2012. Like that year, though, many of the tracks being played on Kiss-FM were songs that we hear here in the United Kingdom on a daily basis, save for only a few. It is astounding how similar American and British pop radio are; you don't miss much, regardless of which country you live in!

The app was also able to find another Southern Oregonian radio station that we occasionally listened to: KLDR 98.3 (I've mentioned it twice before: here and here). This station played a wide selection of pop songs, but as my radio often had trouble picking KLDR up, Kiss-FM became my primary station. Oh, and the first song I heard on KLDR? Coincidentally, that would be "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors, which was the song I wrote about yesterday.

The Hits Radio and Heart Northamptonshire will remain my primary radio stations, as they are local to the United Kingdom, but I will occasionally listen to Kiss-FM and even KLDR again, now that it's easy and no longer feels uncomfortable to do so. It's just great to hear sounds from my old home again; some might say I'm living in the past whenever I listen to Kiss-FM and KLDR, but as far as I'm concerned I'm just getting the chance to again appreciate something I enjoyed while living elsewhere. If you can do it again, why not?

Monday, 10 March 2014

"Best Day of My Life" - American Authors

This song is performing surprisingly well on the charts here:

It's "Best Day of My Life". The song is by American Authors - a band from the United States - and comes from their debut studio album, Oh, What a Life. I say "surprisingly" in regards to its current success here in United Kingdom because it just doesn't sound like a song that would do well on British radio. It's hard to explain, other than saying that the song sounds out of place on the pop radio here. Regardless, I think it's a fun track and it has a bizarre video; I like the face that it's being played on a daily basis here.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Chocolate icing and hot cross buns

Do you remember the icing that was made for my birthday cake from last year? My brother and I made another batch of that type of icing:

What caused us to make more of it? Well, these did:

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns are essentially sweet rolls with raisins and are eaten as a dessert. My parents and brother put all sorts of condiments on their hot cross buns but I don't, usually; however, I did recommend making the icing again, as that was something I thought would be tasty on hot cross buns. The result? Pure deliciousness.

The hot cross buns, which were bought from a store, are now finished and there is a pot of the icing still left over. Fortunately, this scenario was anticipated: my brother made a cake so that the remaining icing could be used for that, although eating the icing straight of the pot did hold some appeal.

If anyone is interested, I will try to obtain the recipe for the icing.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

International Women's Day 2014

Today is International Women's Day. On most normal days, I usually come across or notice multiple articles about women's issues but surprisingly, I've seen very few of them today. I have, however, seen several people wish "Happy International Women's Day" to others.

This is all very well, but International Women's Day exists to recognise the progress of women's rights and women's achievements, and to raise awareness about women's issues and how we can solve them. While I am glad to see people mention the day and cause others to notice it, I'm not overly keen on randomly greeting people with it, as I feel it trivialises its importance and reduces it to the level of people wishing one another a Happy Halloween.

International Women's Day is also meant to be a celebration of women, but it's not meant to be a day when we say "Yay, women!" and then go back to sleep. There are 364 (sometimes 365) other days of the year in which we have to continue to advance women's rights and stop certain people and groups from reversing all the gains women have made in the past century. Again, I'm glad to see people mention the day and help raise its awareness, but don't leave it at that.

As for me, my family and I had a discussion about International Women's Day at the dinner table this evening. This is significant because it's the first time I can recall us ever talking about it; unfortunately, on past 8ths of March (and other days, sadly) the subject did not come up in conversation, although to be fair, we weren't even aware it existed until about the past three years, so yes, the awareness efforts do need to continue. I'm glad that we talked about it this year.

Regardless, I hope that you have had a Happy International Women's Day and have contributed somehow - even in a tiny manner - to improving women's lives.

Friday, 7 March 2014

The dirty tracks (2)

Today was a pleasant day weather-wise, although it was raining during the morning. As I predicted in yesterday's post, the dirt on the road from the nearby construction came back (or never even went away to begin with):

I wonder how far the expansion of the school is from completion now.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The dirty tracks

For the past three months, a local primary school has been undergoing expansion. Naturally, this has led to construction vehicles becoming a common sight down the main road out of our neighbourhood. The construction area itself is dirty, so when those vehicles go back onto the road...

...they leave dirt prints behind them. While this part of the road doesn't look particularly dirty, it is because it's about a hundred yards from the school and by the time vehicles reach it, most of the dirt has come off the tyres. It's the entrance to the school that looks a mess, or at least it did until it rained today. The new-found cleanliness won't last for long, however: the construction is still ongoing and the dirt will return once the rain stops or it'll become mud before then (or already is).

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The weirdest

When my family and I lived in Southern Oregon, our newspaper was the Mail Tribune. At least once a week, it would feature a segment covering "weird" news. Hidden in my belongings was this cut-out from an edition of the Mail Tribune from well over ten years ago:

It was for a project my brother and I were working on for our grandparents (a home-made book for their 40th wedding anniversary; we gave it to them the next time they flew over to visit); however, for some reason it wasn't included in the completed item and I ended up keeping it. I think we were going to include this small piece of weird news in our project because we thought that it would be something our grandfather would find amusing, but I can't remember why it was ultimately omitted.

I will always remember the Mail Tribune as a decent and informative newspaper; while I occasionally look at it online to follow what's happening in Southern Oregon, I do miss it in its print form. I have, in my possession, at least two full editions of the paper: one from September 2007 and the other from November 2008.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

New phone pouch

As I've written about my previous phone's bumpers and pouch (here, here and here). This is the pouch for my new phone:

It's a neoprene pouch with a Velcro seal. I place my phone in the pouch whenever I need to have it in my pocket, rather than have my phone bounce around; I went with another tyre bumper and the only disadvantage with those is that they can be prone to picking up pocket lint. Not a concern if you have a neoprene pouch!

I did not bother with a kickstand case; I don't really need one at this time.

Monday, 3 March 2014

The hawk

My brother spotted this hawk on a neighbour's roof late this afternoon:

While my brother spotted the bird, I took the picture. It is extremely difficult to photograph hawks, as they usually fly away the moment a window is opened. This one remained perched up on this roof for a minute before it flew away.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

"Stay the Night" - Zedd featuring Hayley Williams

In my two posts about Foxes, I mentioned that she had collaborated with Zedd, an electronic music producer and disc jockey, on his song "Clarity". This is Zedd's current single here in the United Kingdom:

It's "Stay the Night" and it features Hayley Williams, who is known for being the lead singer of the band Paramore. The song comes from Zedd's debut studio album, which is also called Clarity. Zedd seems to have good taste in collaborators, for in addition to featuring Foxes and Williams on Clarity, some other names include Ellie Goulding and Ryan Tedder.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Bloggers Blog Party - February 2014

These are my images from February 2014 for the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party. As I expected, February was a major improvement over January in regards to photography:

Saturday, 1st February: This is my new phone. I've used its camera for many of my recent images and it seemed fair to me to take a picture of it, given that I photographed my old phone.

Friday, 7th February: This swamp was caused by the overflow I mentioned here; it's located further upstream and on the opposite side of the road in relation to those two pictures in that post. I will have to take another trip down there to see if it has dried out yet.

Tuesday, 11th February: The weather on this particular Tuesday produced a fantastic sunset. The Sun is just off to the left but I was careful to keep it out of the frame, which I think enhanced this image by darkening the house and trees to contrast with the sunset.

Thursday, 20th February: As I mentioned before, I shared my Christmas candies with others. My brother shared some of his with me, which was kind of him!

Monday, 24th February: Springtime might be on its way! These are some buds on our magnolia tree.

Wednesday, 26th February: Mum and I made some burgers for dinner on this day. At the time of this picture, these burgers were raw. Don't worry, they were cooked and they were delicious.