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.