Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year's Eve 2015

In slightly over three hours, 2015 will reach its conclusion and, obviously, 2016 will emerge in its place. I'm not sure what to make of this year - it has contained many awesome moments but certain events...well, I wish they had never happened. The stark contrast in emotions has been unimaginable.

Here's hoping for an improved 2016. Happy New Year's Eve, everyone.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Northampton visit December 2015

I travelled to Northampton this morning on the bus to visit a friend. I photographed a few places while out:

This is near the centre of a town along the route. I had anticipated a driver changeover at this point but there was none here nor later on the journey.

This is an unknown and unfamiliar (to me) street and shopping row within Northampton. There were some familiar parts of Northampton when my friend drove me around later but on the bus, I did not recognise anything.

This is the North Gate bus station. It opened in early 2014 to replace the old Greyfriars bus station, which was demolished earlier this year. My bus did not park in its intended bay because another bus was already there; instead, it parked around the side.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Surprise game win redux

To follow up on my post about my surprise second-place score in an Easter Egg "mini-game" within the phone game Designer City, this evening I received my reward.

This was the image I sent to Sphere Game Studios, the developer, as evidence of my score:

They responded that I hadn't won but that I was second place and would be receiving a "tiny bag of gold". At this time, I was the highest scorer on the leaderboard.

That "tiny bag of gold" consisted of 150 in-game gold bars, which I can use to expand my city. My city already generates gold bars but it takes a couple of days or so to obtain 150.

As an aside, my intent was to use my phablet to take its own screenshots but instead I had to use my S3 to photograph it to keep these records. A little crude but the job was still completed.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Pulled a neck muscle (2)

To follow up on yesterday's post, my neck is still mildly sore but it no longer severely hurts to move it or my head. When I woke up this morning and discovered that the pain remained consistent from when I went to bed, I was concerned that I hadn't healed at all but after an extra morning nap and being careful throughout the day, much of the pain has alleviated. If I sleep carefully tonight I should be okay tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Pulled a neck muscle

This evening, for the first time ever, I pulled a muscle in my neck and caused myself significant pain. I think I either looked up or around too fast and one of my muscles wasn't impressed, hence the current stiffness in my neck.

The pain worried me at first, for until today this was not something I had ever experienced and not being able to move my neck without major discomfort was extremely concerning. Fortunately, after lying down and keeping my neck still for half an hour followed by a warm shower, much of the pain dissipated.

I still have pain in my neck and right shoulder but I expect this to ease further overnight. In future, I'll have to be more careful not to swing my head around too fast, lest this happen again.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Light in the dark

In the mid-evening, during the last minutes of my walk, I photographed this street light:

It's a light in the dark. Always keep close the people who are the metaphorical lights in the dark.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Bloggers Blog Party - November 2015

Thought it best to create November 2015's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party post a few days before the end of the month rather than at the last minute:

Sunday 1st November: On my way back to Nottingham after the first half-term, I photographed this sweeping view of foggy landscape in Leicestershire. Thick fog covered South Nottinghamshire itself that evening.

Monday 2nd November: The left row of ceiling lights on this Villager 1 bus have fallen into the habit of flickering out at a certain point of my return journey. This became a source of discussion between the "Charity Night Lady" and me, and has contributed to our newfound friendship.

Sunday 8th November: At twenty minutes past midnight on this day, I found these jigsaw pieces on the ground. I'm not sure which will appear more strange: the jigsaw pieces or my being out past midnight.

Tuesday 10th November: Just a random fall day on Maid Marian Way.

Wednesday 11th November: My friend and fellow blogger Jessica sent me a Grumpy-cat themed card and an attached picture of the Magic Gardens in Philadelphia for my birthday. Thanks, Jessica!

Sunday 15th November: This is a souvenir I was given when I attended an open event at Nottingham Trent University on the previous day.

Also on the 15th, this was the day when I rode Red Arrow to Derby. I took this picture when my Red Arrow was pulling into the bus station.

Friday 20th November: A new food court, which features several new restaurants, opened up in the Victoria Centre. The building has undergone various construction projects over the past year, from what I have observed.

Sunday 23rd November: My grandfather burnt his steamer by accident. He has since cleaned it.

Saturday 28th November: A huge fleet of pigeons amassed near the Victoria Centre bus station. I am unsure as to why they chose this place to gather; there weren't any obvious food or heat sources nearby - it appeared as though they randomly picked the spot. Only they know!

Sunday 29th November: On the day of the class re-union/gathering for my English teacher/celebration of my 25th birthday, one of my classmates, who is also a close friend, had this lovely surprise for me - a homemade chocolate cake! The cake was pleasing in both its aesthetics and flavour - a definite culinary masterpiece.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Surprise game win

On my phone, I play a game called Designer City. In a nutshell, it is a city-building game for mobile devices; thanks to SimCity 2000 years ago, I do enjoy playing city-building games and Designer City is one that I've found that has an easy interface and isn't time-consuming, which is ideal for a touchscreen.

In the past day or so, the developers - Sphere Game Studios - released an update to the game, which included an "Easter Egg" that consisted of a hidden "mini-game" within the game, as a part of an extra activity for the holiday season. The mini-game was also a competition, in which the first person to finish it and post a screenshot to the developer's Facebook page or e-mail address would result in an in-game reward.

I found the mini-game and played it without any expectations. To my surprise, I not only completed it but my score of 503 became the highest on the leaderboard (and it still is, as of this writing). I photographed the score and sent it to Sphere Game Studios in case I might have won; shortly afterwards, I received a reply, which stated that while someone else had already come ahead of me, I was second place and would still receive an in-game reward for my achievement.

I am happy about this result. I played the mini-game without the intent to win anything but when I completed it, which was a surprise in itself, I thought it might be early enough to e-mail the developer and see what would happen. Second place in a competition where theoretically anyone in the world with an Android or Apple device could play is an achievement, even if it's only in a computer game.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

"Air Balloon" - Lily Allen

This song popped into my head for no clear reason today:

It's "Air Balloon" and it's by Lily Allen, a British singer known for songs such as "Smile", "The Fear" and "Hard out Here". "Air Balloon" was released in early 2014 from her third studio album, Sheezus. I recall hearing the song on the radio for a few weeks before it appeared to vanish from the airwaves, which I thought was disappointing because I like Lily Allen and I enjoyed hearing her music on the radio again.

I previously wrote about Lily Allen in this post and briefly mentioned her here. I'm pleased "Air Balloon" materialised in my head earlier because it caused me to seek out and listen to the song; I cannot remember the last time I heard it.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The thoughtful gift

Yesterday morning, I received a lovely gift from my friend and fellow blogger Jessica. I had been expecting a card from her during the Christmas break, as she had informed me that such a card was on the way and wanted to know once I received it; however, Jessica also mentioned that she was sending something else, although I wasn't sure what it was. I cheekily expected something related to Grumpy Cat, given our mutual appreciation for the Internet meme.

I received this instead:

It's Honeymoon, the most recent studio album from Lana Del Rey. Sometime in the past couple of months, Jessica and I talked about Lana Del Rey; during the conversation, I think I mentioned that I only have one Del Rey album (Born to Die: The Paradise Edition). As Honeymoon was released in September, this is the newest album by release date I have in my CD collection.

Thank you so much, Jessica! I love Lana Del Rey and it is incredibly thoughtful and kind of Jessica to have purchased Honeymoon for me and sent it across the Atlantic. It was a delightful surprise and I am looking forward to playing the album.

I have something for Jessica, too; on the morning I received Honeymoon, my mother the mailed the card I bought. With any luck, Jessica will receive it soon.

Monday, 21 December 2015

"Strictly Come Dancing" result 2015

To follow up on my recent post about Anita Rani and Strictly Come Dancing, the season finale of the show occurred last Saturday and the winner was Jay McGuinness, who was a member of a band called The Wanted. While in the final his position in the leaderboard was third, with 110 points, he won the competition because the public voted for him.

Naturally, I found the result unsatisfying, given my initial desire for Anita Rani to win and after her loss, my decision to want Kellie Bright to win. In fact, Bright held the top position in the leaderboard with 119 points (one short of the perfect 120 Caroline Flack achieved last year); however, the public vote is what decides the competition, not the judges' scores, so well done to McGuinness for winning.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

"Happy Holidays!"

One tedious "debate" that is re-hashed every year is "Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas". For some bizarre reason, there is a segment of society that takes offence to the greeting "Happy Holidays" while simultaneously accusing other people of being offended by the greeting "Merry Christmas".

This dispute makes no sense to me whatsoever. I have never encountered anyone take offence from being wished a pleasant Christmastime. "Merry Christmas" is just a greeting and a wish for the receiver to have a good time during the Christmas season; nobody takes offence from it - they say "thank you" and reciprocate the phrase; however, there are people who seem to think that Christmas is "under attack" and that "Happy Holidays" is the main weapon of a war against it.

I am confident that the vast majority of people who say "Happy Holidays" do so because it's a synonym of "Merry Christmas", as is "Season's Greetings". They're saying it to be friendly and by using several phrases to convey the same message they are avoiding repetitive language. They are not saying it because they support the abolition of an event celebrated by millions - if not billions - of people around the world.

If someone gives me any of the above greetings or another, my response is to thank them and give it to them in return. That's all that needs to be done; the outrage over "Happy Holidays" is ridiculous and immature.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Northamptonshire December 2015

So, for the Christmas break I'm back at my family's home in Northamptonshire. I'll be back in Nottinghamshire on the second or third day of 2016, as my next college term begins in the first full week of that year.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Fuddle and end of first term

As today was the end of the first term and the last official day of college for this year, the Sociology lesson consisted of the fuddle I mentioned yesterday. Everyone brought something to the fuddle and all the brownies I brought were either consumed or taken away for later by classmates and my Sociology teacher. I still had seven brownies left and so I offered them to reception, where a member of the staff there took one, and then I offered the rest to the library staff, who eagerly accepted them.

Afterwards, more than half the class and I went to the pub, where we remained for several hours. Later, I went to a burger restaurant with three friends (a classmate from last year, her sister and a mutual friend of the three of us) for an end-of-term/end-of-year meal. It was good to see my friends having a great time.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

"Baking Bad" for the "Friday Fuddle"

Okay, so I haven't really been "baking bad" but I certainly have been baking this evening and there is most definitely a fuddle taking place tomorrow (a fuddle is a Nottingham word for a pot luck). Friday is the last day of the first term of this academic year and while some still have their Psychology presentations to finish, tomorrow will be a lighter day to celebrate the end of the year and the term.

I baked brownies and I put two large bars of Cadbury Daily Milk chocolate bars in them. My grandparents eagerly taste tested my brownies and approved of them; I'm hoping my college class will, too.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

"United State of Pop 2015 (50 Shades of Pop)" - DJ Earworm

DJ Earworm has released his annual mashup of the biggest hits:

I am familiar with most of the songs in this mashup but there are a few that I haven't heard; I have not been listening to the radio in 2015 as much as I have done in past years. In fact, the last time I listened to it was (I think) one evening back in October. Regardless, DJ Earworm has once again performed a good job with mashing up the year's hits.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Psychology presentation redux

Yesterday, I received the result of the Psychology presentation I performed last Tuesday. I received a Merit, which is lower than a Distinction but higher than the Pass grade I was expecting. A close classmate and friend in my group, however, received a Distinction for her presentation, which both pleased and surprised her and brought her several well-deserved congratulations.

I am pleased and surprised with my result, too. After I thought my presentation performance was subpar, I had almost dismissed the possibility of receiving anything higher than a Pass. According to my Psychology teacher, my presentation was comprehensive enough to warrant a Merit and it was because I had not expanded on a few points - likely due to nerves - that kept me from earning a Distinction.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Anita Rani

As I have mentioned in previous posts (here, here and here), I have watched Strictly Come Dancing with my grandmother. This year, I chose to watch just the results show at the end of each week rather than both them and the main programme. My favoured contestant to win was Anita Rani, who is usually a presenter on Countryfile and several other TV shows.

Unfortunately, Rani was defeated in last night's results show for the semi-finals. The contestant who was victorious over her was Katie Derham, who is also a presenter and also a newscaster.

Now that Rani is out of the competition, I'm not really sure whom I want to win now. If Derham were to win, it would be the first time that Anton Du Beke, her professional dance partner, has ever won Strictly Come Dancing.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Twisted spire

When I visited Chesterfield yesterday, I ensured I photographed the spire of the Chesterfield Parish Church, all called the Church of St Mary and All Saints:

On all the other days when I've seen the spire, I've usually been sat in a car while passing through Chesterfield or when stuck in a traffic jam. It made a pleasant change viewing it from the base of the building.

Saturday, 12 December 2015


Today, I rode the Pronto bus route from Nottingham to Chesterfield. The Pronto service is operated by Trentbarton and another bus company, Stagecoach, and it usually runs between Nottingham and Mansfield but every half hour on weekdays and Saturdays, it continues to Chesterfield in Derbyshire. The journey lasts for about 1 hour and 40 minutes and in both directions the bus stops for several minutes at Mansfield's bus station.

The Pronto buses are pink and purple, and are Trentbarton in their outward design; here is the one that carried me to Chesterfield:

On the inside, they look like Stagecoach buses with some Trentbarton-like banners above the windows:

I previously mentioned Chesterfield in one of my posts about visiting Chatsworth House.

Friday, 11 December 2015

"The Tenth Doctor meets Holly from Red Dwarf"

Putting aside my opinions about the post-Paul McGann Doctors, I do think this is a clever video mashup of the Tenth Doctor with Holly from Red Dwarf:

While it's funny to me because I've watched Red Dwarf and Doctor Who, I think the scenes that were chosen for the mashup can be enjoyed by people who aren't familiar with either.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

"Hi, Billy Mays here"

The other day, I stumbled across this tribute video to Billy Mays:

I remember Billy Mays from the early/mid-2000s when he starred in infomercials promoting OxiClean. He promoted a whole range of products, such as Awesome Auger, Gopher and Zorbeez but he was most famous for his OxiClean promotions. He was also known for his booming voice, which became his trademark, along with his catchphase, "Hi, Billy Mays here".

Mays died in June 2009 of heart disease. I hadn't seen him on TV for a few years by then but I remembered him well and I recall being saddened by his death.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Out for this evening

I am currently on my third bus of the day, as I am spending this evening out. I will likely not have time to write a blog post when I return later so I though I'd write a "bus post" to explain why. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Psychology presentation

The Psychology presentations began today. Four other people and I were all randomly selected to go first, with me being the last of the five to present. The five who presented only did so to each other; no one else was allowed to stay in the room and they were free to return home if so desired.

Everyone thought that everyone else performed better than themselves. I stumbled near the beginning of my presentation in that I blanked; fortunately, since it was early on I was allowed to restart and once I did, I followed through with my presentation with only a few missteps but overall, I performed okay and I was my biggest critic. This is the only presentation the class is required to complete for this course.

Monday, 7 December 2015

First graded assignment

A few weeks ago, I had a graded assignment to complete and hand in for a Monday morning. Well, I handed in that assignment on time and today, I received my result: a Merit.

A Merit is a very good result. A "Pass" is the lowest successful grade for an essay whereas a "Distinction" is the highest. Since I ended up finishing the assignment in one weekend at the last minute, I had expected only a Pass at best but I was pleasantly surprised to have received a Merit. This is the first graded assignment I have completed so far, ever (the GCSEs used a different criteria).

Lower than a Pass is a referral, which is given if somebody has not reached all the grading criteria necessary to meet a Pass; however, it is possible to receive a referral, to go back and meet the criteria and still earn a Merit or a Distinction. A Fail is issued if someone does not do the work at all.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Jimmy Carter victorious

Back in August, former US President Jimmy Carter announced that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and that the cancer had spread around his body. The prognosis for him appeared poor, given his age and the extent of the cancer.

Well, last month he said that his response to the treatment was going well and today he declared that the brain cancer is "gone". Carter has done it: he has defeated brain cancer. Even with the resources at his disposal being a former president, defeating cancer at 91-years-old is a tremendous feat.

Congratulations, Jimmy Carter; this is excellent news!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Nottingham buses in 1990

After a Google search to see what Nottingham looked like in 1990, I came across an article in the Nottingham Post that featured a video that showed what the buses in the city looked like in that year:

From that article I was linked to another, which showed Nottingham buses in 1994:

The major Nottingham City Transport and Trentbarton buses have drastically changed in appearance since the 1990s.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Whack a pomegranate

Tonight, my grandfather utilised a method of quickly extracting the edible seeds from a pomegranate. He cut the fruit in half, held each half over a bowl and whacked them with a wooden spoon, which caused the seeds to fall into the bowl. Within five minutes, the seeds were ready to eat; there was no need for him to spend ages picking the fruit apart.

My grandfather said that he had read years ago about this trick with pomegranates but had not used it before tonight. For years he thought it might have been a hoax but he mentioned that he checked again earlier and found sources that confirmed its existence:

Unless it's something you enjoy doing, no more picking pomegranates apart!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

"She's the One" - Robbie Williams

This is probably my second-favourite song by Robbie Williams, following "Angels":

It's "She's the One", taken from Williams' second studio album, I've Been Expecting You, and was included on The Ego Has Landed, which is his first compilation album. The song is often thought to be an original by Williams but a band called World Party wrote and composed the song initially; however, Williams' cover is definitely the most known version.

I wrote about "Angels" here and first mentioned Williams himself in an early post of mine. Both it and "She's the One" were the first of his songs I properly heard, not including anything he sang with the band Take That or any of its members or anything I heard in a film.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Good deed, sad end

I read this article about the good deed that Matthew Jackson performed for Jamie-Lynn Knighten:

Less than a day later, a car accident killed Jackson. I honestly don't understand it when people who are genuinely kind seem to die young whereas people who have been vile to others appear to live beyond the average life expectancy. This is a generalisation, of course, but it's a pattern I've noticed.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Feeling rude on the bus

My Villager bus to Nottingham this morning was half-full when I boarded, which was unusual because it's normally around a third full when I board in the mid/late morning but there were still plenty of seats left. As my bus continued its way through the town, it rapidly filled and before it reached the main stop, it had reached its carrying capacity and the driver had no choice but to drive past people wanting a ride.

I was in an aisle seat from the start and before the bus reached the town's main stop, the man next to me indicated that he wanted to move. I thought he wanted to get off the bus; as such, I moved out of the way and moved into where he was sitting before, as is the standard practice. Unfortunately for me, he wasn't departing: he had moved so others could sit in his place and, by extension, mine.

As such, when I realised this I immediately felt rude and like a douche. While I'm sure the man did not intend to guilt-trip me into moving so others could sit down, his actions had that exact effect and when the main stop arrived, I departed the bus right there and then - even though it was within the same town - rather than face an uncomfortable ride to Nottingham with the feeling of "sitting where I wasn't supposed to and knowing it". I do not know if anyone thought I had been rude but my leaving the bus meant others could sit down, which negated any accidental rudeness on my part, as far as I am concerned.

It could be argued that my leaving was cowardice on my part and that I should have surrendered the seat and stood; however, it could also be argued that I did not violate any rules and that I was fully entitled to move to the window seat after thinking the man wanted to leave. After all, the people who were standing directly next to me, while being significantly older, were not in desperate need of seats and no one else was bothering to give up theirs. At any rate, my leaving freed up space on the bus, so it could also be argued that I was willing to catch a later bus just for someone else's comfort, even if I was pressured into it.

I have offered to give my seat to others before but people rarely accept such offers unless they are truly in need of sitting.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Bloggers Blog Party - October 2015

A new selection of pictures for October 2015's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party post:

Sunday 4th October: This was the afternoon when I made a quick trip to Hucknall and back. This is one of the bays at the Victoria Centre bus station.

Friday 9th October: A morning filled with shining clouds occurred on this day.

Also on this day, the class learnt about plagiarism, although most people in the class were already familiar with the concept and that engaging in it is a bad idea.

Sunday 11 October: This is a rear-facing seat on a Calverton Connection bus. I'm not a fan of rear-facing seats and only sit in them if there are no other seats available on a bus.

Tuesday 13th October: The London skyline, taken during the class trip to the capital. The London Eye is on the left, 30 St Mary Axe (the Gherkin) is in the distant middle and the Shard is on the centre-right.

Thursday 15th October: Something I photographed and posted here before: The Rushcliffe Civic Centre, taken in the late evening.

Saturday 17th October: This is a street in the town of Kimberley, which is near to the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border. Within minutes of my taking this photograph, the clouds darkened the landscape for the rest of the afternoon.

Monday 19th October: Chocolate foods from the college canteen! A couple of my classmates asked if I had purchased enough chocolate treats.

Friday 23rd October: I don't usually photograph garbage but I made an exception in this case because it looked like Michigan, which is, to be fair, an insult to Michigan given that the state is not garbage.

Thursday 29th October: Mum cooked an "early birthday dinner" for me during the half-term break, given that she and my brother would not be with me on my actual birthday.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Party and reunion

What was intended as both a re-union of students from my first college course and a gathering for my English teacher this afternoon morphed into a celebration of my birthday. My classmates and teachers had gifts, cards and even a homemade cake for me, none of which I expected but all of which I deeply appreciated, nevertheless. I enjoyed a lovely time with my classmates, former and present, and everyone else enjoyed the occasion, too. I could not have asked for a better party.

This was the meal I ordered: An "All-American Burger", which consisted of cheese, pulled pork and a burger patty between a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Delicious!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Deep science knowledge

Last night, I was linked to the following video:

In the video, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show three-year-old Brielle showcases her knowledge of the periodic table, as well as what she knows about US Presidents and foreign countries. Her recollection, understanding and way of explaining is impressive for someone of her age.

Future scientist? I certainly hope so.

Friday, 27 November 2015

"Better Together" - Jack Johnson (x3)

Back in the summer, I stumbled upon the "Jondai remix" of Jack Johnson's "Better Together":

I love this song. As bizarre as it sounds, I associate the "Jondai remix" with my bus trip to Mansfield back in September; that journey was the first time I recall listening to the track through my earbuds and now when I listen to it I think of that adventure.

I like two other versions of "Better Together":

This is the "Hawaiian Version". It's the shortest of three I've linked to here and, as indicated by the name, it has a light Hawaiian feel to it. Finally... this link is the original. I thought this version would be the sort of music my grandfather would enjoy; when he listened to it, he indeed liked it and thanked me for recommending it to him. He thought it was gentle and relaxing.

As for Jack Johnson himself, while "Better Together" is the only song of his that I recall hearing, from what I have read much of his music is acoustic and soft rock. "Better Together" comes from his third album, In Between Dreams. Johnson has been active in the music industry since at least 1999.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I spent my Thanksgiving in the college library working and talking to classmates/friends, followed by talking to friends in the college canteen. Thanksgiving isn't celebrated here but I still follow it; I am thankful for my supportive friends, awesome college and fantastic family.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The charity night lady

Back in February, my class held a charity night as a part of our Employability subject. I spent the day at my college itself, even though I didn't have to. On the way back home from college that evening to change before heading out to my event, I sat next to a lady on the bus whom I spoke to as we travelled down a narrow part of the route, which was made narrower when the bus had to squeeze between two cars. We spoke again when I was unsure at which stop I was to depart, as I had taken a slightly different route to the one I usually took at the time; she advised me where I'd be able to leave.

My contact with her for much of the year has been sparse but I've seen her much more since September, mainly because we frequently ride the 4:45 bus together thanks to the bus route changes. In the past couple of weeks, we have talked a little but this evening, we talked from where our route began to where I had to depart, which meant that we were talking for over half an hour. We then exchanged names at the end and mutually felt good for chatting.

I would like to think that I have made a new friend. People on the bus have occasionally spoken to me but she's one of a handful of people I've had a conversation with that's lasted the whole route and one of a smaller group with whom I've had in-depth discussions while travelling. There is a running joke between us about half the ceiling lights on the bus turning off for no reason down the same narrow route where the cars were.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

"It's My Party" - Lesley Gore

This song or rather, the line "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to", recently crossed my mind:

"It's My Party" by Lesley Gore was released in 1963 and is from Gore's debut album, I'll Cry If I Want To. Numerous artists have performed the song but Gore's is the most known of them all. I'm not familiar with much of her work outside "It's My Party", even though I have known of Gore since at least 2007.

Gore died this year in February at the age of 68. She released her final studio album, Ever Since, in 2005.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Rick Astley in the Old Market Square

Rick Astley was in the Old Market Square this evening:

Well, actually, he really wasn't but a holiday remix of his most famous hit, "Never Gonna Give You Up", was playing. It was almost a Rickroll in progress!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Farewell, Ruddington Connection

Back in September, I visited Ruddington, a village to the southwest of Nottingham. The bus route I used to travel there was the Ruddington Connection; unfortunately, that bus route came to its end today.

Trentbarton cites the expansion of tramlines for the loss of passengers on board the Ruddington Connection. It's a shame, as the "Ruddy" line was a pretty route on which to travel.

Farewell, Ruddington Connection.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Liveland History: 21st November 2012

Three years ago, I wrote a post called "Politics and friendship":

The inspiration behind the post came from when I read the comments of someone who was enraged that President Barack Obama had been re-elected. Rather than follow in the footsteps of Kid Rock with his good sportsmanship, this person chose to lash out at everyone, most specifically, friends who disagreed with them. I think the post from three years ago holds true now, especially given how politics seems to divide people more than ever.

(I should note, however, that the post referred to mere difference of opinion - I certainly wasn't suggesting that people shouldn't unfriend obvious hateful bigots.)

Friday, 20 November 2015

On-and-off at the weekend

My East of England relatives are here for the weekend, although they were will be here on-and-off because they will be visiting some of their other relatives. I, meanwhile, will be completing a History assignment that I need to hand in by Monday morning. I have quite a bit of work to do but I will have it done on time.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Rep meeting

I mentioned awhile ago that I am the Class Rep for my college course this year. Well, the other day I attended my first rep meeting of the course. I think the meeting went well - there were at least ten other reps there, one of whom was somebody I've observed often around the college, and I plenty to contribute to the forum, which consisted of points raised by my class and a well-put of how to describe the role of Class Rep when the organiser asked what we understood about the position. I enjoyed the meeting and I thought I handled myself well there. I look forward to the next rep forum.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Lara Croft Way

This road name in Derby exists:

Here is the history behind the name:

When I saw Lara Croft Way appear on the map on my phone I had to investigate. I think it's great that a public vote to name a new road was respected and the name the public chose was something non-traditional yet fitting.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Red Arrow route review

So, just prior to last month's half-term break I encountered the unveiling of Trentbarton's improved Red Arrow bus fleet. I noted in my post from then that I had yet to travel on a Red Arrow; well, I have since rectified that problem.
The first thing I noticed when I boarded one of the new Red Arrows was the presence of a "new car" smell. Prior to stepping on board I had never experienced such a smell on a bus before; while I'm not particularly enamoured with the scent of a new vehicle, I nonetheless found it impressive on a bus. Secondly, I noticed air-conditioning. On the other bus routes I'm used to having the windows open for cool air, including on the routes that are significantly longer than Red Arrow.

As for the seats, I found them to be comfortable. They were firm but gave just the right amount of give for a comfy ride. In addition, they were equipped with belts, which I think is excellent, as I think seat belts on buses is a great idea, especially since buses frequently come to sudden halts or sharp turns. However, despite the notification advising passengers to wear the seat belts, I appeared to be the only one who heeded the advice.

With regards to the journey itself, it was a stable ride with no obvious bumps. The Red Arrows are a fast route between Nottingham and Derby, so the Queen's Medical Centre is the final stop within Nottingham; after that, the remainder of the route is non-stop to Derby's bus station. The journey took a little over half an hour, although that time can vary depending on traffic.

Overall, I found Red Arrow to be a worthy route and I was beyond satisfied with my ride. For anyone seeking a fast and comfortable bus journey between Nottingham and Derby, Red Arrow is my recommendation and choice.

Monday, 16 November 2015

The upcoming review

Do you remember the Red Arrow buses from last month? Well, I have since ridden the route and tomorrow I shall be writing a review on the Red Arrows. I'm looking forward to writing it - I was going to write it tonight but I had some other tasks to finish first.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Last Friday...morning

On my walk to the bus Friday morning, this was the sight in the sky as I crossed the bridge over the railway lines:

A few minutes earlier or later and I would have missed this view.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The university open day (2)

I attended the open day at Nottingham Trent University ahead of time, although people were free to appear at any time provided they registered. I went to three talks: one about the Journalism courses, another about student life and the other about university fees. I also went on a tour of a nearby news studio, as a part of the Journalism tour.

All were worthwhile. The fees talk mostly reinforced what I already knew about paying for university and the student life talk provided insight into what life would be like on campus. I am certainly glad I chose to attend the Journalism talk and tour; the speakers gave a detailed taster of what the two courses would be like and I found the tour of the news studio fascinating. Until today, I had never been in a newsroom before so it was interesting to see the set and equipment. The staff and lecturers/tutors were friendly, helpful and informative.

The only two pictures I took during the event were of a slideshow and that was only when the speaker purposely paused the slides to allow the audience to take photographs.

Friday, 13 November 2015

The university open day

Tomorrow, I shall be attending at Nottingham Trent University what is known as an "open day". Open days are when educational institutions allow uided tours of their facilities and grounds. This will be, as far as I can recall, my first visit to a university; while I have walked past NTU on my walks to Hucknall and on other occasions, I never entered the campus.

Should be an interesting day!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Blue font error

For some bizarre reason, the text under the link featured in yesterday's post is in blue. I tried three times last night after posting to switch it back to black but every time I changed it and saved the post, it remained blue. I'm not bothered by the blue text; in fact, my piece about Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl" can almost be known as the "blue post".

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

"Rich Girl" - Gwen Stefani featuring Eve

I recently added this song to the music collection in my phone:

It's "Rich Girl" by Gwen Stefani featuring Eve, from the former's debut studio album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (2004). "Rich Girl" was released in late 2004 but the majority of its success occurred in 2005. Stefani enjoyed prior success with her band No Doubt but with her solo debut and then her second album, The Sweet Escape (2006), she proved to be even more formidable in her own right. Stefani has not released any more solo albums since The Sweet Escape, although with No Doubt she released the album Push and Shove in 2012.

I remember the days when "Rich Girl" was a hit on the radio but they feel as though they happened a lifetime ago.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Case or no case?

I've written several posts about phones and their accessories, a recent example being this one from July about my phone's armour. I think it's now time for another, presented in the form of a question:

Do you have a case on your phone?

Opinion is divided on the issues of phone cases. Some people dislike them because they add "bulkiness" to their devices but other, such as myself, consider a moderately bulky case with extra grip and protection to be preferable to a damaged phone.

Monday, 9 November 2015

"Don't Look At The Comments" - CollegeHumor

While this CollegeHumor video presents a tame version of Internet comments sections, it sufficiently summarizes why looking at such sections is a bad idea:

Sometimes comments sections can give useful insight commentary into the subject of the article to which they are attached but they can be, more often than not, cesspools of trolling. Also...

...the above-linked article, also from CollegeHumor, pokes fun at the denizens of Internet comments sections.

(And just to clarify, these don't apply to people who comment on my blog!)

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Last night's problem redux

The other night when I mentioned my error with my Sociology assignment, I mentioned that I was writing a History report, too. That report is due in tomorrow and I'm pleased to say that it is ready for then. I am just hoping that I have properly met all of the relevent grading criteria - the report is eight pages in length and has taken me much of the weekend to complete!

I'm now off to have my dinner, which has been delayed both due to my work and because my grandfather and a couple of other relatives cooked a "Full English Breakfast" this morning.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Review of a new husband

(My intention had been to post this on Thursday night.)

I follow Erica Griffin on YouTube. She is a technology reviewer, primarily focused on providing in-depth testing to develop highly-detailed review videos for the latest high-end smartphones. Griffin is skilled at her work: she is technical but makes such terminology sound interesting to the average viewer and she praises technology without sounding like a childish fanboy (quite a few technology viewers seem to be fanboys). When somebody asks what sort of phone they should buy, chances are I'll tell them something that I've seen in an Erica Griffin video.

Recently, Griffin married and, in her usual light-hearted manner, posted a "review" of her new husband:

I thought it was cute and wanted to share it here.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Last night's problem

The post I had intended to write last night was disrupted when I encountered a problem, which I urgently needed to fix. Over the past couple of weeks, my class and I have been writing up two assignments, one for History and one for Sociology, with the Sociology paper being due today. The word count for History is 1,000-1,500 whereas Sociology is 1500.

The trouble is, I somehow mixed up the counts and wrote significantly less than 1500 words for my Sociology project. I realised this slightly over an hour before I planned to go to bed and faced the prospect of having to spend a large portion of the night modifying my assignment to meet the count while having an early start the following day, assuming I even went to bed at all. I texted my teacher to inform her that I had spotted my mistake and was in the process of fixing it so that I would still hand it on time.

No sooner had I started my work when my teacher replied and informed me that as the assignment is a simple pass/fail and isn't worth any Merits or Distinctions, it would not be necessary for me to spend the night working. As long as I meet the overall grading criteria, which I am sure I have, my assignment will still be a pass; however, had it been an essay where Merits and Distinctions could be earned, I would have been working on my assignment throughout the night to ensure I achieved those grades. I was lucky for both that and for being able to text my teacher, something students couldn't do in years past.

I was embarrassed that I had made such an avoidable mistake as this. I usually triple- or quadruple-check or more my assignment details, so to have mixed up the word counts for these two shows that I didn't check carefully enough. The positive to this is that I won't make this mistake again - I'll be more vigilant with following the rules of my assignments than I was before. As for my History assignment, it is unaffected by my error and is due next week.

By the end of the morning, my teacher and I were laughing about what happened. I am fortunate that she is an incredibly reasonable person!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Correcting an error

I had something interesting to post tonight but it turns out that I have real-world problem to fix. I'll write about the problem later once I have fixed it.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


A couple of nights ago, I officially joined Instagram. I decided it was time to create an account over there, seeing as how I post quite a few pictures here and some to Facebook; however, so I'm not posting the same things all over the place, the pictures I post to Instagram will be different to those I post elsewhere.

If you would like to follow me over on Instagram, please let me know and I'll e-mail you my account name.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

"Oh no!" I declared in despair after I awakened

I narrowly avoided a calamity this morning. On all mornings when I have to attend college, I have several alarms set on both of my phones so that if I sleep through one, there are several more that will ring. Well, today I somehow slept through between five and ten alarms. It was only when my grandmother called me that I awoke.

Once I was awake, I realised it was 10:50...forty minutes before the start of my first lesson. There was no time for me to eat breakfast, drink coffee and shower; instead, I donned my day clothing (over my pajamas), college bag and badges, and then bolted down at Peregrine falcon velocity to my bus stop a mile away. Unsurprisingly, I was shattered once I reached my stop, even though the run was downhill.

I caught the 11:12 bus, which gave me eighteen minutes to arrive at college. To my pleasant surprise, my bus made few stops, faced a mostly traffic-free route and the lights were friendly. The only part of the trip where I was delayed was after my bus drove past Nottingham's train station, where something in progress near the Broadmarsh caused a traffic jam, delaying my arrival at college by five more minutes.

When I made it to class at 11:35, I was not handed a late slip because (1) I messaged ahead to my friends to inform my teacher that I was delayed but on my way, (2) because the lesson hadn't quite started, so I was lucky, and (3) because I was within the "minutes after the start" limit for every class. Even so, I felt terrible that I had grossly overslept and was slightly late; during my first college course I was never late and even for this course I've, other than on this occasion, either been early or exactly on time. Being late, even just this once, is embarrassing and I apologised to my teacher, who was understanding, appreciated my messaging ahead and told me not to worry.

To prevent this from happening again, I will change the alarm sound on one of my phones and put the device closer to my bed. Promising to not sleep deeply again isn't a promise I can keep, so the best I can do is improve my existing alarm system. I am fortunate that this happened on a day when my first class is in the late morning - I would have missed a lesson had this occurred on an early start day and since I want to achieve 100% for the second year in a row, something like this must not happen again. I can laugh about this morning and learn from it as well.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Nottingham fog

Yesterday was foggy in Nottingham but today's fog made it look like a clear day by comparison:

It's been a while since I last saw fog this thick; the camera on my phone doesn't quite convey just how foggy the day was.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Post-first half-term

The half-term break is over. I'm back in Nottingham and tomorrow I return to college. I still have my two assignments to finish but I will certainly have them handed in before their respective deadlines. Overall, the break has been worthwhile. Now, back to work!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween 2015

Not much to write about today - I went for a walk in the morning with my mother and in the afternoon I walked with my brother. For this evening, we closed all our windows, blinds and curtains to dissuade trick-or-treaters and we ignored the ones who did knock.

A moderately negative post, this one is. Sorry about that. Happy Halloween!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Bloggers Blog Party - September 2015

Less food and more buses for September 2015's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party post:

Friday 4th September: Mum cooked a vegetarian lasagna for lunch the following Saturday. While my family is not vegetarian, every once in a while we eat a vegetable-only meal, although it's because we like a particular recipe.

Wednesday 9th September: I visited Mansfield, a massive town in northern Nottinghamshire. I have been driven through Mansfield before but this was the first time I set foot in the place. I travelled there on a Threes bus, taking the long route through the towns of Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield; the journey there took almost two hours but my Threes return bus was more direct, taking only an hour to arrive back in Nottingham.

Friday 11th September: This is a residential tower in Clifton. One of my friends just groaned when I asked her what the building ("this monstrosity") is.

Saturday 12th September: This is the Rushcliffe Country Park, located in Ruddington, which is near the aforementioned Clifton. Ruddington, Clifton and this park are beautiful places.

Tuesday 15th September: Someone drove into a traffic barrier near to one of my bus stops. I didn't see what happened and this has since been fixed (mostly).

Wednesday 16th September: A friend and I went to the cinema at the Cornerhouse; this is a view of Nottingham taken from the top floor of the building.

Friday 18th September: This interesting advert.

Saturday 19th September: This is the market square of Bingham, a town several miles to the east of Nottingham. This was my first visit to Bingham; I used the voucher for the free ticket to cover the trip.

A Rushcliffe Villager bus! I think this was the one that brought me to Bingham in the first place, although as it's been over a month since this day I'm unsure if this was a different Villager bus (same route, though).

When I rode another Villager to return to Nottingham on the opposite route, I photographed the city, which can be seen in the background.

Sunday 20th September: This is the centre of Stapleford, a town to west of Nottingham on the border with Derbyshire. I also visited Long Eaton and Sandiacre on this day. The teal-coloured bus in the picture is the bus I rode to Staplefored; it's on the I4 route.

Friday 25th September: This is a Ruddington Connection bus, taken from when I was on board my own bus. Sadly, the Ruddington Connection will come to an end on the 22nd of November, as the tram system has cut down on bus use on certain routes.

Monday 28th September: At my college, one of my friends discovered that the canteen is now serving these delicious iced buns. While the bun does not look particularly huge in this picture, I can assure you that they are enormous and filling.

Wednesday 30th September: A sunny day in Hucknall; the road ahead leads back to the town centre whereas behind me is the road to Mansfield.