Saturday, 31 January 2015

"Bye!" the phone silently exclaimed

For Christmas 2011, my grandfather received a Samsung Galaxy S II; back then, this device and the original Galaxy Note were the leading smartphones. Being a follower of technology and gadgets, my grandfather was delighted with the gift and he gave his old phones to me and my brother.

Recently, that phone arrived at its end. My grandfather went to turn it on one day and it refused to activate. Naturally, he was upset, as he was quite fond of the phone and it performed everything he expected of it. He was going to have it repaired but my East of England uncle and Hong Kong uncle both convinced him to purchase a new phone rather than spend £100+ on repairing his old one.

My grandfather's new phone is a Sony Xperia Z3. While he would have preferred to have kept his old phone, he is beyond satisfied with the Z3. His only problem at the moment is that he is searching for a decent protective case for it but I doubt that will be an issue for long.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Poetry control (3)

As you likely remember, last week on Thursday I had a super-long day at college because I had an English exam followed by Sociology (here and here). Today, I received the result from my piece.

I scored 12 marks out of a maximum of 15. It's not as high as I've acheived in the past but it is the result that I both hoping for and expecting. With everything that has been happening lately - and because I am a relative newbie at analysing poetry - I'm pleased with my marks. I do not have any complaints.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Dangerous ice

It snowed for about half an hour while I was at college this afternoon. The snow looked beautiful on the various buildings and cars around the vicinity of my college. By the time it came for me to leave, most of it had melted.

Unfortunately, some of the snow became ice. The uphill road and walkways to my house were covered with slippery black ice and I was forced to almost skate through parts of it to prevent myself from falling. The ice had transformed the concrete from a regular walkway to a dangerous uphill ice rink. If one wasn't careful, they would slip.

As it turned out, I was fine. I returned home without injuring or making a fool of myself on the ice. That being said, I hope that much of the more risky parts of the ice will melt tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Nottingham in the distance

This isn't a great picture but it's of Nottingham in the distance:

Obviously, the city can be seen in the upper left corner of the image as Nottingham is not an empty field. I was on a bus that was leaving the city when I took this photograph.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Back to the radio

Yesterday evening, I listened to the radio for the first time in over a month, which ended my longest spell of not listening to the radio since I began listening to it back in December 2004. The main reason for my stop was because of the presence of my relatives but also because I was sick and didn't feel up to listening.

I am enjoying hearing pop music again. I don't appear to have missed much since my radio break, which started roughly in the middle of last month. I recognise most of the songs and many of the news ones I had heard of during my rest.

Monday, 26 January 2015


My East of England uncle is staying here for the week. This follows my Hong Kong uncle visiting here and staying for a week. So why this second visit?

My East of England uncle will be travelling abroad in a couple of months' time. He is self-employed and is up here on a test run to see if he will be able to help his customers from a distance. So far, his test has been fruitful; at least it has as far as I know, anyway.

This is the first time I've shared a house for a week with one of my uncles only to have another visit the week after.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Nottingham, Sheffield and Lincoln

I was present in three British cities today: Nottingham, Sheffield and Lincoln. I have pictures from two of them:

 Here is Sheffield's city centre from a distance while the vehicle was in motion.

Here is Lincoln Cathedral from a distance while the vehicle was stationary.

I was travelling with my East of England uncle and cousins; my uncle was taking my cousins/his children back to their respective universities.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Nottingham centre, early year

I photographed the Nottingham Council House in the city centre this afternoon:

Two of my cousins and I went out for part of the day. I had some shopping to complete (fancy dress searching), as did they, and then we went for a late lunch. We had a pleasant afternoon together.

Friday, 23 January 2015

A useful app

My mother recently discovered an incredibly useful app for our phones: an app by our mobile provider that informs us how much data and how many minutes and texts we've used in our allotted amount per month. Rather than having to visit and log into our provider's website, I can just look on my phone. The information between the app and the website is synchronous because the app logs you into the servers.

The only drawback with the app is that it only works as long as we remain with our current mobile provider. If we moved to another, the app would be rendered useless. Fortunately, we have excellent service with our provider so we have no reason to change.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Poetry control (2)

Today was a shockingly easy day. While I narrowly completed my poetry analysis in the allotted time, I think my work was of more-than-decent quality; I'm not sure how well I analysed the two poems but I am sure that my work will be regarded as well-written. I hope I wrote enough about assonance, metaphors and similes, as well as the messages that each poet was conveying! Regardless of what my result for this control will be, I'm satisfied.

The two poems we had to analyse, if you're interested in knowing their names, are "Who's for the Game" by Jessie Pope and "Dulce et Decorum est" by Wilfred Owen. If you enjoy poetry, I recommend reading them.

I wasn't the only one from my class who was present in the control; one of my friends has unavoidable work tomorrow and had to re-arrange, like me, to undertake the control today. Due to the huge gap between our control and Sociology, we had a chance to talk. I ordered food from the cafeteria today.

As for Sociology, it was no more or less difficult than usual and it was an enjoyable lesson. The only problem with Sociology today is that we were forced to vacate our usual classroom due to the loud maintenance work taking place on the building's exterior. When we moved to another room, everyone - save for me - found it too cold!

Overall, I enjoyed today. I'm in a good mood.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Poetry control

I will experience a long day at college tomorrow. I have Sociology as usual in the afternoon but at 9:00am my next English control (or test or exam, if you prefer) will take place. This control is one that has worried me, as it involves analysing poetry; in particular, poetry from World War I.

Poetry analysing is something that I hadn't done until attending college, so this is part of English is new to me. Unfortunately, due to our being behind in English the poetry lessons were rushed and I would have preferred more time to learn about analysing poetry; what also doesn't help is that the control lasts one hour and twenty, which is forty minutes shorter than the previous two controls (a radio script and a fictional story).

As hard as this control will be, I will navigate my way through it and complete it, as is expected of me. English is still my strongest subject and I am noted for my skills in that tough control won't change that!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

"Blog", "blogging" and "blogger"

I've already mentioned this elsewhere today but's spellchecker does not recognise the words "blog, "blogging", and "blogger"; instead, it recommends that I change them to "bog", "blagging" and "logger", respectively. Wait...what?

It's bizarre that the program doesn't register a legitimate noun/verb, a verb and its own name/another noun as real words. As I also said elsewhere today, imagine if Microsoft Word's spellchecker didn't understand the word "Microsoft" and recommended that the user change it to "micro" and "soft".

Monday, 19 January 2015

Limited high pitch

As I'm sure you remember, I contracted a powerful cold a third the way through last December. I lost my voice after my first college term ended and I was ill for the remainder of the year. To declare my cold an inconvenience would be an understatement.

Over a month later, my voice has returned and I can talk again without any problems; I am no longer coughing all the time and I'm not having to carry tissue boxes with me wherever I go. Still, despite all my improvements, I'm not completely free of the cold: I am having difficulty making high-pitched noises. This evening, I handled a hot bowl of casserole and when I reacted in pain, my mouth opened but nothing came out.

Granted, I'm not in any desperate need to generate high-pitched sounds but my lack of being able to do so is evidence that some effects of my cold remain. Plus, as I said above, all my other symptoms are gone; I should also note that I haven't been contagious for weeks. Look for positives.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

When do you take them down?

My parents usually take down their Christmas decorations in the early New Year and my grandparents are the same with theirs. On the other hand, I have observed some houses and stores that are still decorated...more than three weeks after Christmas, now.

When do you take down and put away your Christmas decorations? 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Liveland History: 17 January 2012

On the 17th of January 2012, I wrote the second part of a two-part series, titled "In the year...2112". I wrote the pieces in response to an article on the BBC regarding 20 predictions made about the year 2112.

The first part is here and the BBC article can be found here. I highly enjoyed writing my opinions about the predictions; I found it a decent challenge.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Blue Lagoon

I find it hard to believe that the class Christmas party was almost a month ago; so much has changed since then. Here's a picture of what I drank on that night:

It's a Blue Lagoon, which is a cocktail. My sense of taste was reduced that night but the drink was sweet enough for my senses to detect and the alcohol was soothing for my throat.

This enjoyable drink contrasts from the other Blue Lagoon about which I wrote.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The snow globe returns (2)

At Susie's request, I have photographed my snow globe after shaking it:

I took the third picture after the snow settled. Photographing my snow globe while the snow was in motion was only slightly difficult; for the most part, my phone camera was able to focus despite the movement.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The snow globe returns

In January 2012 and September 2013 I wrote about my snow globe. After a few months of it collecting dust back in Northamptonshire, my globe has been returned to me:

My parents and brother brought my other Christmas decorations to me last month; my collection is complete again now that I have my globe back.

Sometimes it's small items that bring joy into life.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

"Breaking Bad - 1995 Style"

This is a funny video:

It's an artist's impression of what Breaking Bad would look like if it had been a 1995 television show. I'm assuming that this opening is for comedic effect; after all, if Breaking Bad had started like that it might have made a mockery of the series' content.

I watched Breaking Bad last year when I stayed here in Nottingham during my April visit, as my grandfather enjoys the show.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Statistics: means, medians, modes and ranges

As I expected, I enjoyed a pleasant time in mathematics this afternoon. The class has entered a part of the subject that I usually performed well at in the past: statistics. During my mathematics assessments at college, statistics were what I was best at.

Today consisted of learning about means, medians, modes and ranges, which is actually a part of statistics I haven't been great at previously but I think I understood them better this afternoon. Yes, it's good to be back in college.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Back but one

All of my East of England relatives except for one have returned home - my Lincoln cousin. She is staying overnight and will accompany me on the bus to college tomorrow, as she will be taking the bus to the train station for her trip back to Lincoln.

Tomorrow is my first mathematics lesson of the new term. It might not be a subject in which I am proficient but I'll enjoy the lesson, regardless. I usually do!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Uncle's beef stew

My East of England uncle cooked up an excellent beef stew for tonight's dinner. In addition to beef, the stew consisted of carrots and potatoes, plus a wide variety of spices. I haven't had much of an appetite recently but I was able to consume the stew and appreciate it. It truly was excellent!

I don't have any pictures of the stew nor do I have its recipe but I do have a picture of the bread that my uncle served with it for my next Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party.

Friday, 9 January 2015

East of England...again!

My East of England relatives are back! As I wrote yesterday, my Lincoln cousin is here and she - plus her immediate family - are staying for the weekend. I'm happy for them to visit; I enjoy having extra company at weekends given that those days are when I'm not at college!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

End of the Christmas break

Yesterday, my college's Christmas break came to an end; as the 7th of January was a Wednesday, the first class of the year and new term was Employability. I highly enjoyed seeing my friends again after the three-week-long break.

My cousin at university in Lincoln will be arriving shortly; she's coming to stay here for a couple of days before her own break concludes.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

"Lay Me Down" - Avicii, with an appearance from Adam Lambert

Last night, my two Nottingham cousins and I were listening to this song:

It's "Lay Me Down" by Swedish DJ Avicii from his debut album, True. The vocals are by American singer and American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert, who also helped to write the song. My cousins and I were listening to some music and I chose "Lay Me Down" because we were talking about Lambert and I mentioned the track.

I briefly mentioned Adam Lambert in my New Year's post; he currently fronts the band Queen.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

"Oxygène 7" - Jean Michel Jarre

I thought I'd do a music post today and for it, I thought I'd highlight a song that my father enjoys:

It's "Oxygène 7" by French instrumental electronic music artist Jean Michel Jarre and it's from his 1997 album, Oxygène 7–13, which is his follow up to his 1976 album, Oxygène. The two albums were composed in the same musical style, despite the release date gap between them.

"Oxygène 7" is nearly twelve minutes long and the song does not feature a video. If you like background instrumental music with an electronic element to it, this song and the album it is from are for you. I am also fond of Jean Michel Jarre's music, so yes, I recommend him.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The foggy afternoon

My grandfather and I went for a short hike yesterday afternoon. This is the foggy view over the River Trent:

The path on which we were walking, which is located between 50-100 feet above the river, was filled with fog. It wasn't overwhelming but it still made for an all the more interesting walk!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Stephanie's "Tag, You're it" challenge

My friend and fellow blogger Stephanie wrote a post that involved a challenge for other bloggers to share a little information about themselves by answering ten questions. Stephanie tagged me to partake in her challenge and I am happy to accept her invitation:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm Andrew. I'm British by birth, American by upbringing and now live in Nottingham in the United Kingdom. I'm in my twenties and I attend college.

2. What are your hobbies? Do you have any interests most people don't know about?
I enjoy cooking, meeting with friends and I don't mind performing housework. As for an interest most people don't know about me, I am active on a top-ten website.

3. What is something that is on your bucket list?
I don't have a "bucket list" per se but I want to visit Southern California - Los Angeles and San Diego, in particular - one day. For years wanted to go there; I've long thought of it as a cool region.

4. If you could wake up tomorrow and be anywhere in the world (past, present, or future), where would it be and why?
I think my previous question answers this, although I should add that it would be in the present time.

5. Are you here for the history, the cooking, or the camaraderie?
All three? It's fun to read about history and recipes, and I enjoy interacting with people.

6. What are your 3 favorite History/ DIY / Traditional skills/ Reenacting blogs or websites?
I actually only follow two: World Turn'd Upside Down, which is Stephanie's blog, and Marmota's Dress Diaries.

7.  If you could ask any deceased person one thing, who would you ask and what would you ask?
My father's mother's father. He was present in my life for a short spell and the chance to ask him about his would be fascinating.

8. What are 3 pieces of fiction that will stay with you forever?
Harry Potter, Star Trek in its various forms and Twilight.

9. What literary character best represents you at this point in your life?
This is a hard one...possibly Bree Tanner from the Twilight spin-off book The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Why? Because, like Bree Tanner, I'm still not sure what I'm doing and am figuring life out! I'll pass on her fate, however.

10. You're stranded on a desert island. The boat won't be back for 3 months. A suitcase washes up on shore. What do you hope is in there?
Some tasty snacks and a laptop, assuming I didn't possess either of those already!

Thank you, Stephanie, for inviting me to participate in your "Tag, you're it" challenge. I enjoyed it and one of these days I ought to create my own "get to know each other" challenge for other bloggers!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Everyone now returned

None of my relatives who were visiting are present here anymore. My Hong Kong uncle left in the late afternoon on New Year's Day and he should be back in China now. The house has felt different now that he's away again...colder...quieter. I'm back to being the only member of the family living with my grandparents.

College begins on the 7th of January. I'm looking forward to attending college again; my only gripe is that the new term doesn't start on Monday the 5th. Monday is a teacher training day, hence why there will be no classes then.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Bloggers Blog Party - December 2014

December 2014's items for the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party; unsurprisingly, this month is filled with food pictures:

Monday, 1st December: I mixed some leftover Chinese food together to create a small soup. It was either use the juices for a soup or throw them away; I opted to not waste them.

Thursday, 4th December: For the Sociology break on this day, one of my friends brought in these awesome homemade Malteser cupcakes. I don't recall ever eating cupcakes this delicious before; they were truly scrumptious!

Saturday, 6th December: I noticed this purple mark in the cleaning aisle of a major local store. I assume that some of the cleaning liquid spilled or seeped out onto the floor.

Tuesday, 9th December: You can't see much of it in this picture but this is the Christmas market in the centre of Nottingham. I haven't been to the centre market since this day but I am guessing that the Christmas market has since been dismantled.

Wednesday, 17th December: This was the dessert for the class Christmas party: a strawberry cheesecake, a sugar snowman and a brownie. My sense of taste had been reduced due to my cold but I was still able to detect the flavour of all three treats; they were tasty!

I should note that this image was taken with my phone on its low light setting. Using the flash might have spoilt the picture, hence why I use the low light setting whenever possible.

Thursday, 25th December: This is a bar of chocolate that I ate on Christmas Day; in particular, it is a Crunchie bar.

This is an iced gingerbread tree. My Hong Kong uncle's significant other baked these treats and some others for the family, which was extremely kind of her.

Saturday, 27th December: A shopping street in the centre of Lincoln, which was taken in the early evening. My cousin and I were waiting for my uncle - her father - to finish whatever task he had to complete at the time.

Sunday, 28th December: I added ice cubes to a glass of Baileys Irish Cream because the drink was warm and I think Baileys contains a stronger flavour when it's cold.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year 2015

As I implied last night, I spent New Year's Eve at home. What separated it from previous ends and beginnings of years is that my Hong Kong uncle was present; I don't recall ever spending the start of a year with him. I should also note that neither my parents nor my brother were with me, so it's the first New Year's Eve and New Year I've experienced without them.

When the New Year began, my uncle, grandfather and I watched the fireworks that were taking place in London at the London Eye; after that, my uncle went to bed while my grandfather and I watched a musical performance from Queen, who are currently fronted by Adam Lambert. Both the fireworks and the concert were worth watching, even via television.

Happy New Year! Let's have an amazing 2015!