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.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Jimmy Carter's 90th birthday

Today is former President of the United States Jimmy Carter's 90th birthday. Of the current living former US presidents, Carter is by far my favorite; I deeply respect him.

Carter is frequently criticized and ridiculed for his service as president, as his record is viewed by some as poor on the economy and cowardly on foreign policy. While it's unfortunate that he wasn't able to achieve more while he held the office, I think that he has been highly productive and a positive influence since leaving it: his commitment to women's rights and to world peace are highly admirable and should be praised.

Carter has always struck me as a fundamentally good and honest human being. I was delighted to read today that he decided against bombing Iran as a response to the hostage crisis and to guarantee his re-election; such a war would have been catastrophic for both Iran and the United States. Carter also said that had he secured re-election, he would have continued to pursue peace in the Middle East.

I am amazed by how active Carter is, despite his advanced age. He is still involved with human rights and peace efforts, and has even engaged in recent volunteer work, such as when he went with his wife, Rosalynn, to Haiti in 2012 to help build houses for the inhabitants of that country, which was devastated by an earthquake in 2010.

Happy birthday, Jimmy Carter! May you have many more!