Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Bloggers Blog Party - August 2015

A bit more food-heavy than I had anticipated but here is August 2015's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party post:

Sunday 2nd August: I cooked a stir fry for everyone on this night. I enjoy cooking stir frys, to the point where cooking them is now my responsibility.

Tuesday 4th August: This is one of the local walkable fields near my family's house in Northamptonshire. That spire in the background is the local church.

Sunday 9th August: These were some of Mum's homegrown baby carrots. For scale, they were placed a small plate, so they were indeed "baby" carrots!

Friday 14th August: I found my being amused by the advert in one of Dad's old books because of how long ago the release date occurred and because of how it is promoting a tape, which is a video format hardly anyone uses now.

Also on this day, I tested out the "food" mode of my camera's phone on these Skittles. The setting is supposed to enhance the colours.

Saturday 15th August: I liked the contrast between the sky, the hay bales and the road.

Wednesday 19th August: I think it was my brother who discovered this piece of moss growing on the concrete.

Thursday 20th August: I noticed that one of my bus stops had been damaged, as someone had removed the timetable and discarded it onto the nearby ground. I contacted the bus company and they sent a team out to fix it.

Saturday 22nd August: This is an example of a poorly-designed mayonnaise bottle. Essentially, it was a squeeze bottle and it sounded and was acting as though it was running out of mayonnaise after a handful of uses. Upon cutting the bottle open, I discovered that at least half the mayonnaise remained, which would have been wasted if I'd thrown the bottle away.

Tuesday 25th August: This is what I had to drink when my friend and I celebrated our exam results: a Pina Colada! First one I've ever consumed.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Near-the-deadline blog party

I always post a month's blog party in the following month; I have yet to post August's blog party but I will indeed have it ready for tomorrow, before October begins. To be honest, I've been focusing on other projects and topics, and so sorting through pictures hasn't really been a priority; however, I enjoy the blog parties and I will continue to participate in them, as I have done for well over two years now.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Cold web

The cold and misty morning illuminated this web, which I would have otherwise missed on a clear day:

By the time the afternoon rolled around, the mist had cleared and the temperature had risen significantly. I did not see the spider who resides in the above web.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Quick Hucknall

Yesterday, in the late afternoon/early evening, I (very) briefly visited Hucknall; here are two pictures that I took of the main road, from my return bus:

As you can see, the evening was beautiful. I really ought to visit Hucknall again and do it properly; there's still much of the town I have not seen yet.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

"The Most Interesting Grumpy Cat In the World"

For a bit of fun and laughs, I merged a picture of the "Most Interesting Man in the World" meme with a common picture of Grumpy Cat and made up captions for them both. They are deliberately ridiculous and silly:

The Grumpy Cat image had to be shrunk down, hence why its text seems out of place. Enjoy!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Tootsie Roll

In addition to the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, here is another item I ate for the first time in years:

A Tootsie Roll! I really liked these as a child and the last one I ate before the above was sometime between 2005 and 2010. Have my taste buds changed to dislike Tootsie Rolls? Not at all! The flavour is as delicious to me now as it was many years ago. You can by these from some Tesco stores here.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Pigeon party

This was a recent scene in Nottingham's market square:

Somebody dropped or emptied a box of what looked like cereal; the Nottingham pigeons are notorious for consuming any sort of human food that falls onto the ground, so a box of cereal to them would have been an easy epic feast. The rest of the square was devoid of pigeons thanks to this frenzy.

That pigeon descending from the right was well-timed - I didn't notice until after I'd taken the shot that the descent and flapping wings were visible.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Peanut butter and jelly

Last Friday, I ate something that I - until then - hadn't eaten for about 19 years: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I fully anticipated it to be disgusting but to my pleasant surprise I thought it was delicious. Chunky peanut butter and cherry jam makes an excellent combination!

A couple of my college friends and my grandmother said the meal was "very American" but another college friend said she liked the taste of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, too. I intend to test them for a couple of weeks and if they work out, I'll keep making them for my college lunches.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Sick in the third week - seriously? (2)

My tactic of sleeping for twelve hours to fight off my cold worked - for the most part. While I still had a painful cough, a sore upper lip and a slightly dodgy nose, I was in excellent health today compared to yesterday, when I was burning through tissues. I was able to properly concentrate in class this afternoon, which was good because we were covering new material and I did not want to miss anything.

While I should be able to fully overthrow this cough in a day or two, I am hoping that I did not catch any new colds from the bus this morning. The bus on which I rode was one of the most crowded I've ever experienced; there were few coughs but those people, like me, might have deliberately been holding their coughs back.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Sick in the third week - seriously?

Today began my third week of my new course and I was both shocked and angry to have developed the symptoms of a cold last night (sore throat, running nose - the usual suspects). As such, I spent all of today in class blowing and wiping my nose, with only minimal note taking for my subjects at hand.

Fortunately, a large amount of today's input was material I'd covered before and I was still present for every second of my lessons. I hope I'll feel better tomorrow; I honestly do not need another cold - not after last time.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The county crossing

I wrote/posted this on Facebook earlier and it's good enough to copy here:

"In my travels today, I was unaware that Stapleford is so close to the border than one can simply walk out of Nottinghamshire.

I think this is the first time I've walked (not ridden) out of one British county and into another; the last time I recall walking out of any county was probably from El Dorado (California) into Douglas (Nevada) in 2000 (which was also across state lines)."

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The voucher, free ticket

From their daily newspaper, my grandparents saved this bus voucher for me. They weren't sure if it would be useful but they thought it worth keeping, anyway:

They were right to keep it! I cut the voucher off, handed it to a driver and received a free ticket for use on Rushcliffe Villager 1, 2 and the Mainline - valid for a week! Thanks to the voucher, I was able to visit some places and explore the new bus routes in their entirety. The excellent weather made it a fine day to do so, too. Thank you to my grandparents for saving the voucher and thank you to Trentbarton for the ticket!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Every lesson - at least once

After two weeks, my classmates and I have officially experienced what the lessons of our course are; today's were Sociology, Study Skills and Psychology. The school day began in the morning and ended in the late afternoon - a full day.

I enjoy the full days in college, which I have on Mondays and Fridays. I would have preferred it if Tuesdays were full days, took, but the timetable is how my teachers were able to arrange it around other course schedules, so I won't complain.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

United States-China environment cooperation

I saw this article posted to President Barack Obama's Facebook page:

I am delighted that the United States and China are both working together to curtail the amount of pollution they each generate. The two nations might disagree on a variety of issues but it pleases me when they find common ground and that good feeling is further increased when it's on an important issue such as the environment.

I tend to dismiss comments that debate whether or not climate change is man-made because I think that reducing pollution is a noble goal in itself. Why would anyone want to live in a toxic world?

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

"Omen" - Disclosure featuring Sam Smith

This has been my favourite song from this summer:

It's "Omen", by British duo Disclosure, with Sam Smith featuring. The music video is a follow-up to Disclosure's video for the song "Holding On", which features Gregory Porter on the vocals, and the "Omen" video notes a "To be continued" at its end.

This is the second collaboration between Disclosure and Smith, the first being "Latch". "Omen" is by far my favourite song from both artists; while I haven't listened to "Omen" as much for the past couple of weeks, during the summer I heard it on multiple occasions. It's an amazing track.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Second day of lessons

Today's two classes were Tutorials and Psychology. Tutorials consists of helping the class with its applications to University over the academic year and Psychology is, well, Psychology. Of all my classes, I would say that Psychology is the one that concerns me the most, as I know little about the subject. Still, I'm at college to learn - my knowledge will increase! The Psychology session was still enjoyable and there is another later this week.

My Class Rep status was made official today, too; I filled in the relevant form and handed it in.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Lessons and election

Official lessons began today, starting from the morning until the late afternoon; we had two two-hour sessions of History and one two-hour session of Sociology. I enjoy both subjects so, as a result, all lessons today were highly enjoyable.

Also, the class elected somebody to the position of Class Rep this afternoon. That person? Me! Yep, that's right - the class chose me to be its "voice"; the primary role of the Class Rep is to listen to other members of the class with regards to what issues - positive or negative - they have with the college and report them at a Class Rep meeting. My classmates/friends were happy to entrust me with this task and I am honoured.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

First normal week back

Now that the inductions are finished, this coming week will be my first "normal" week of my second college course. As far as I am aware, the inductions were a part of every class, for I've spoken to friends who are on other courses and they have all had to undergo a week-long induction, too.

Assignments will likely start coming in this week, too; in fact, on Tuesday we were handed our first assignment, which I finished tonight to hand in tomorrow before this coming Tuesday's deadline.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Rushcliffe Country Park

I visited the Rushcliffe Country Park, which is located in the village of Ruddington. I took a bus to Ruddington and walked around the place for a bit before I came across an entrance to the park. I intend to visit there again on a day when I have more time available to explore but for now, here is a picture of a squirrel on a bench at the park:

Friday, 11 September 2015


After college today, I rode a bus to a place I hadn't visited before: an area of Nottingham called Clifton.

This is the bus stop I was dropped off at when my bus reached Clifton; as can be seen in the picture, this stop's designation is "Peacock".

This is looking in the opposite direction of the bus stop, towards the centre.

This is past Clifton's centre the tower to the left, however, is in Clifton. Clifton is a pretty area and I recommend visiting it.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Landscapes from "The wrong bus"

Here are two pictures from my erroneous ride through the villages:

As I said before, I enjoyed the scenery. In the second picture, that's Nottingham itself in the background. I think these are good pictures for a phone taken on a moving bus.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The wrong bus

I erred today by boarding the wrong bus, thus officially becoming a member of the "Boarded the Wrong Bus" club. I thought I was taking a longer route back home via the villages; instead, the bus reached the furthest village on its route and turned around, at which point the driver asked where I was going. By then I had already realised my error and had no choice but ride my bus back in the direction from which it came.

Fortunately, my driver was fair. He was mildly stern when reminding me to be a little more careful and he informed me about the route changes but he was fully polite and not aggressive; after I apologised for my error he told me to not worry about it.

While I lost an hour on a route that was a dead-end for me, I enjoyed the ride and had the chance to view more of the Nottinghamshire scenery. Can't complain about that!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Second day back

My second day back at college was a continuation of the inductions; however, this time we had an hour-long session with my Employability teacher from the past academic year, which I was delighted by. While outside class, I observed several familiar faces from the past year, although they were people I knew by face rather than by name and/or conversation.

The class has yet to officially start its lesson but we have been given an assignment, which we have to complete by next Tuesday.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Second course, first day

My course begins! The first lesson of the day wasn't so much of a lesson but instead was the beginning of induction week. This year, my college is completing all the inductions during the first week rather than having them spread out over two/three. My official classes don't start until next week.

Last year, there was one familiar face in the class: the fellow student I met during my tutor interview in late July of 2014. This year, four of my classmates from my previous course, including the one I met back in July 2014, are with me for this next academic year. I am delighted that we'll be together for another year.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Throwing money away

I enjoyed a long walk out in the magnificent weather this afternoon and I'm sure I walked for about 8 miles on the most pleasant day I've experienced for a couple of weeks or more. That, however, is not the most interesting part of my afternoon.

No, the most interesting part was when I spotted a five-pence coin on the ground, situated next to a discarded fast food coffee cup. As I looked around, I noticed a few more coins surrounding the cup and so I collected them; while they were covered with sticky coffee, I used the contents of my water bottle to clean my hand and the coins.

I harboured no inhibitions about picking up those coins: it's obvious that they were discarded when whoever bought the coffee threw it out of their car window. That person was littering and they deserved to lose at least 15 pence doing so. I detest litter.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Nottingham return September 2015

I'm back. My grandparents came down to Northamptonshire in the early afternoon and took me back up to Nottingham in the early evening. There's not a lot to say for now other than that my course starts in less than two days and that I watched, with my grandmother, the opening show to 2015's season of Strictly Come Dancing.

If I'm not too busy tomorrow and if the weather's good, I'll see if I can go for a long walk.

Friday, 4 September 2015

End of the 2015 summer vacation

Today marked my last day in Northamptonshire for the summer vacation; tomorrow, my grandparents will be coming down to collect me and in two days time, I will start my second college course.

I am surprised at how fast the vacation has flown by; it feels as though it were yesterday when I was preparing to leave Nottingham for the summer and now I'll be returning. Hard to believe it's almost been two months! At any rate, I am eager to start my second course.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Safe Iran

I've have stated before that I oppose war against Iran. Nothing will shift me away from that view and the current migrant/refugee situation currently occurring in the Middle East reinforces my position. Iran is a safe and stable country, which has been accepting people fleeing from war-afflicted areas. War with Iran would mean that those people would then have to flee to other countries and Iran itself would be turned into a war-afflicted region, which would then create additional refugees. Further destruction in the Middle East will not solve any problems.

Iran is a heavily armed country, with a strong military and a large cache of weapons. If Iran were to become de-stabilised due to foreign military strikes, ISIS would likely infiltrate the nation and take large swaths of it over, much like it has in Iraq and Syria. Having significant amounts of Iran's military personnel and weapons absorbed into ISIS would be a far more dangerous situation than the current status quo, even more so when Iran is opposed to ISIS and ought to be included in the coalition against it.

Needless to say, anyone who supports war with Iran is terrible at military strategy, as well as a warmonger and a fool.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Trillions of trees

I was pleased to read this article, which states that the number of trees on Earth could be as high as three trillion:

The article notes that this is a vastly higher estimate than the previously-thought figure of 400 billion trees, although it also notes the the actual number of them could be "...anything between the two [numbers] - or even 10 times higher."

This does not mean, however, that deforestation is not a problem. The article also states that fifteen billion trees are removed annually while only five billion are planted to replace them. On the bright side, this does mean that significantly less than 1% of trees globally are cut down each year and there are efforts to plant to more trees to offset those that humans use.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Two dismissive responses that need to go

I propose that the two following terms be eradicated from the vocabulary, except for educational purposes:


Both terms are often obnixously used to dismiss people who are complaining about something, such as a stereotype-ridden joke that is directed at a particular demographic group. For example, take a joke that mocks bad driving in Arizona or the supposed "surrender tendencies" of the French; if Arizonans or French people object, other people disruptively pop up saying "stop being so butthurt" or "it's not offensive, it's just a joke!". No...if someone finds a joke offensive, the correct course of action is to apologise; it's fine to clarify that you intended to be humorous as long as you give a sincere apology.

Evidently, "it's just a joke" is solely used to put down people who object to a particular joke but I've witnessed "butthurt" be used outside the boundaries of humour. A theoretical example of this would be someone calling my post evidence of my being butthurt over the word butthurt. Another example would be  pedestrians being told to "stop being butthurt" about cyclists hitting them. The word is used whether or not the complaint is valid.

I also argue that butthurt contains veiled offense and shaming towards people who engage in certain sex acts, which should not be shamed provided that they occur between consenting adults. Unfortunately, people who believe such acts are shameful behaviour would regard it as further justification for use of the word.

To summarise: I regard "Butthurt" and "It's just a joke!" to be rude, trolling and dismissive responses used to silence complaints, and such responses need to stop. If you consider a complaint to be unjustified, say so in a constructive manner.

Thoughts on this?