Saturday, 31 December 2016

As 2016 finishes

Here in the United Kingdom, 2017 is less than six hours away while in other parts of the world, the new year is already here. I had intended to have my next blog party post up today but due to changes in plans, it'll have to wait a day or two.

I hope you had a good 2016 and are looking forward to an even more productive 2017.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Return of the blog parties

At present, my most recent blog party party is the one for September 2016, which was written back in October. I have not forgotten nor have I discontinued the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party - since I've been at university I've had other priorities besides long blog posts. That being said, I shan't be neglecting this place: I'll have a three-month blog party post up soon enough.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

"Rogue One:A Star Wars Story"

This afternoon, a friend and I went to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (usually shortened to Rogue One). Rebel One differs from the other seven Star Wars films in that it is a separate story but it nevertheless fits in with the overall canon; the current makers of the films wanted to focus on small stories within the Star Wars universe while still continuing to develop the main saga.

Back when I watched The Force Awakens, I noted that "The Star Wars universe is expansive enough without the need to reboot the saga." I still believe that is the case and as such, I think that one of Rogue One's strongest features is that expands the existing universe of Star Wars while keeping in line with the canon; the film completely fits in with the main saga; it doesn't create any significant plot holes.

The only downside to Rogue One is that by the film's end, all the major characters had died. As such, any chance of their stories developed in another movie is unlikely at best. It's understandable that they didn't survive, as none of them were in the originals from the 1970s/1980s and the makers want them separate from the upcoming main saga movies.

As with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which I saw back in January, and with Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which I first saw back in May 2005, I was satisfied with Rogue One. Thus, every Star Wars film I've seen at the cinema so far has been enjoyable.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

No, this isn't acceptable redux

Less than a week ago, I wrote about how Carl Paladino, the co-chair of the New York operation of Hillary Clinton's election opponent, made racist, sexist and transphobic comments about President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

So! In the days since that post, Paladino has addressed the criticisms that he has received in the wake of his vile comments. As he is, at heart, a decent human being and not at all a hateful individual, Paladino apologized, phoned the President and First Lady directly and vowed that he would work to combat such hateful rhetoric in the future. Now see the following article to confirm this:

Ignore most of the previous paragraph. While Paladino addressed the comments, he said he "meant to email his remarks to friends."; there was nothing to indicate that he believed his comments were wrong - just an "admission" that they had been emailed to the wrong recipient and that he would not fulfil any demands that he resign from his local school board.

Again, atrocious behavior like Paladino's must not be normalized. Bigots should be challenged at every turn, not allowed to function in society as though they are normal, non-bigoted human beings.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

A familiar face from earlier

I travelled to the city centre this evening to do a small amount of shopping; while I could have purchased my groceries from any of the stores here in Clifton, I had been inside all day and felt like going into the city. As I was just outside a Tesco store on one of the main bus stop areas, I encountered a friend from my Access course, whom I last saw when we were all on Access.

He was pleased to see me and vice versa; it was nice to have a short catch up, even if said catch up occurred at night outside a Tesco store in the city centre. Granted, we can message each other any time we like but it's never the same as talking in person.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Tidying this room!

I've just spend a little more time tidying my room. Unfortunately, since the inspections the other week I haven't really advanced any of the cleaning I did back then and in some respects, the room has become messy again. Not to worry - I'm going to tidy up a little more before I head off to bed; it's not filthy in here, just untidy.

It will also be wise to follow a level of cleanliness in here not just because it's a good idea to but because the next term begins in less than two weeks now and I don't want to be navigating a mess when there's work to be done.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The pocket mirror

Back at the Nottingham Post Student Awards earlier this month, my teacher casually mentioned to me that one of her adult daughters was to have a stand at a market that weekend inside the City campus of Nottingham Trent University. My teacher didn't do this to advertise her daughter's stand; rather, she mentioned it because it was an event that involved my university and a member of her family, and thought it might be of interest to me.

When the day of the market arrived, I visited the City campus and took a look at my teacher's daughter's stand there; my teacher's daughter was selling items that she had designed and one of these items was a pocket mirror with a painting of a frog. I bought the pocket mirror as a present for Mum and I gave it to her today; she was happy with the gift and was happier still when I informed her about who had been its designer.

My teacher's daughter was aware of my existence; when I mentioned to her who I was, she said that she had heard of me and hoped (likely jokingly) that I hadn't been pressured into coming. I assured her that I had come of my own accord and was genuinely curious about her work; buying from her was entirely my choice and it worked out, given that Mum liked the pocket mirror.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Justified in not going there

My family has a long-standing policy of not purchasing food from McDonald's on the basis that the food is of poor quality. Yesterday afternoon, I went with a friend to the cinema but first we went to a McDonald's in the city centre at her request; we only went there for her to eat, as I had made clear that I had no intention of ordering anything.

In my view, the long-standing policy was justified. I was unimpressed by the general filthiness of the venue as well as the cafeteria-like nature of the main eating area. While a cafeteria seems appropriate in an educational facility, I didn't think it worked in a restaurant - not even a fast food one. As if this all wasn't enough, my friend ended up finding some "gross" in her food, which not only put her off her meal but also from going to McDonald's again, at least for the short term.

To be fair to McDonald's, this is only one venue and it's more than possible that due to my long-term negative view of the company, I was looking for problems. That being said, the experience has not encouraged me to take up eating there anytime soon.

Friday, 23 December 2016

No, this isn't acceptable

The individual who co-chaired the New York campaign of Hillary Clinton's main election opponent is receiving heavy criticism for horrendous remarks he made about President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama:

No, this isn't acceptable. Again, thanks to the victory in the election by Clinton's opponent, bigots like this Carl Paladino loser (and he is a loser - he was obliterated in the 2010 New York gubernational election) now feel empowered to make all sorts of hateful comments. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, to whom Paladino lost, condemned the comments as "racist" and "ugly" but Paladino has so far dismissed any criticism, stating "tough luck" to anyone who objects.

The comments from Paladino were racist, sexist and transphobic. This sort of behavior needs to be condemned swiftly whenever it occurs - it must not be normalized. Granted, the First Amendment protects individuals from being arrested when spouting such language but private citizens do not have to tolerate bigotry one iota - it is not censorship to shut down hatred.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

More nukes

The President-elect has come up with another bad idea: Increasing nuclear weapon capabilities:

Expanding the nuclear weapon capabilities of the United States, as well as allowing Japan and South Korea to develop them, is an extremely bad idea. Why is Hillary Clinton's main election opponent living in the 1960s? This isn't the Cold War era - he needs to stop living in the past. President such Barack Obama, George W. Bush and even Ronald Reagan reduced nukes, not increased them.

Then again, his tweet did come after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia should do the same. Since the two are buddies, perhaps they are trolling.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Winter 2016-2017

Winter of 2016-2017 has arrived. For now, it's not been so different from the mid-to-late fall: Cold but nothing serious like snow or thick ice. Evidently, that could change later in the month or next month but for now, it's just cold!

I visited my grandparents today. I was over at their's for a late birthday meal, to pick a few more items of mine and because I wanted to see them. My grandfather brought me back to Clifton before the day became dark; it's the shortest day of the year but from here until mid-June, the days will start to lengthen again.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Accommodation inspections redux

Back on the 10th of this month, I noted that my accommodation was to undergo a hygiene inspection. It actually wasn't so much for hygiene as it was to ensure that there was no damage done to the room. Evidently, the room is in the same condition it was in when I moved in and any damage that is present was there before my presence; I reported said damage on an inventory form that came with the room.

I expect the next inspection to be in a couple of months or during the next break.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Electoral College 2016

Unfortunately, it looks as though the Electoral College for this year's presidential election in the United States epically failed to do its job:

Not only did they failed to do properly perform their job but at current count, more of Hillary Clinton's electors voted against her than her opponent's voted against him. For a system that was supposedly designed to keep unsuitable people of the White House, they instead eagerly allowed one in. Note this from one of the aforementioned articles:

"Many Republican electors dismissed the pleas to 'vote their conscience,' pointing out that their consciences were perfectly fine with Trump." their collective consciences are "perfectly fine" with racism, misogyny, conspiracy-mongering, trolling, praising a foreign nation's efforts to sabotage an election...I hope all those electors are happy with themselves.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Hucknall 6

For the first time since the summer, I set foot in Hucknall; in addition, it was also the first time since then that I walked to there. Today's walk is my sixth walk to Hucknall; however, what made this walk different from the preceding five is that that I was travelling from Clifton rather than from the Rushcliffe constituency. In addition, I cheated somewhat today by taking the bus from Clifton to the city centre and then starting the main walk from there. As the days are short currently, I figured it wise to do so on this occasion.

On my way to Hucknall, I encountered my Psychology teacher from when I was at Central. She was on the opposite side of the road to me and I only noticed her when I heard her call my name. I'm glad she called me! It was a delight to see her, even if only for a minute.

Once in Hucknall, I walked on an outer road for a while before walking in the town centre and then returning to Bulwell, where I ended up catching a bus to Arnold and then another to the city centre.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

When will they realize...?

The main rival that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced in the 2016 United States presidential election is (once again...) making unconstructive comments on Twitter:

When are those who supported him going to realize that they were conned? This is no hero of the working class...this is a thin-skinned, corrupt "businessman" who has no business being President of the United States. With his appalling cabinet appointments, ties to foreign and domestic crooks, conflicts of interest and his frequent Twitter spats, it's clear his intentions for the presidency are not in good faith; if the Electoral College has any sense, it will reject him.

But then, to many of his supporters, it wasn't about the working was about "winning" no matter the cost.

Friday, 16 December 2016

"The Ten Worst Songs of 2016" - A Dose of Buckley

Every year for the past several years, Adam Buckley from A Dose of Buckley has created a list of what he has deemed to be the "worst" song of each year. 2016 is no exception:

What makes Buckley's video different this year for me is that I'm barely familiar with any of the song, owing the fact I've hardly listened to pop radio for the past 18 months.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

An end-of-term pub gathering

I've spent the last few hours at a pub gathering and am still there (or here). It's an end-of-term meal organised by a mature student for other mature students. The turnout was above 25 but is down to about 10 now, given that it's deep into the evening and now heading towards the night.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

A really silly insult

Prior to 2016, a common epithet online used against left-leaning people (or those perceived to be left-leaning) was "libtard". The insult is still used, despite losing ground to other "debate" tactics, but I want to discuss why it's a completely silly term.

First off, the "-tard" part is clearly taken from the word "retarded", which is itself a slur. The implication is that people with left-leaning perspectives are mentally challenged. I don't think I need to explain why it's offensive.

Where the insult is silly lies in the phonetics and spelling. The attack also comes from the word "liberal". There's just one problem: There is no "T" in "liberal" - "libtard" makes zero sense as a result. If anything, the way it's spelled it's more of an attack against libertarians, as there is a T in that word. If anyone wants to confuse a person who cries "libtard", ask what libertarians have to do with the discussion.

In the past year, however, "libtard" has lost out to alt-right (white supremacist) phrases such as "Are you triggered?", "Do you need a safe space?" and "Stop being so sensitive", which are awful (and downright annoying) for other reasons. It's still being used, of course, and anyone who blurts it is often laughed at for being a fool.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

"No More 'I Love You's'" - Annie Lennox

While I've heard the following sounds countless times over the years, only recently did I watched its video:

It's "No More 'I Love You's'" by Annie Lennox, from Medusa, her second studio album. I've heard a significant amount of Lennox's work, both as a solo artist and as a part of Eurythmics, and this is my favourite song of hers.

Lennox was in Dad's music collection.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Arnold, Top Valley and Rise Park

Here in Clifton, there is a bus that travels to Arnold, a region of Nottingham located in the northwestern part of the city. For the first time ever, I decided to ride the route this afternoon; it starts off in a lengthy side street in the outer part of Clifton, stops off at Queen's Medical Centre and then travels all the way up to Arnold's high street before turning around.

The weather wasn't exactly brilliant today and so I soon caught a bus back out of Arnold: the Turquoise route 79A. This bus, while travelling through familiar parts of Nottingham such as Bulwell, ventured through Top Valley and Rise Park, which are two beautiful parts of the city. At least they looked beautiful from what I could tell; I sat at the front of the upper floor of the bus and the front winder was covered with rain while my side window was covered with fog.

Today also marked the first time I have stepped foot in Arnold; I've driven through it as a passenger of my grandfather and rode through several times on the Calverton Connection.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Rogue One and troll anger

The alt-right (white supremacists) and fans of the supposed winner of the recent president election in the United States have gone ballistic about the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story film:

In short, they think that the film is anti-white and believe that it received a small re-shoot to add scenes that were in opposition to the aforementioned supposed winner. The former is paranoid nonsense but if the latter were to be true, political messages are nothing new to Star Wars; after all, Star Wars: Episode VI: Revenge of the Sith was notable for its "So this is liberty freedom dies..." comment made by Padmé Amidala.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Accommodation inspections

Next week, the management for my student accommodation will be visiting to conduct a hygiene inspection of each house on the campus. While my room isn't unhygienic, I have let it become untidy and sometimes I have trouble finding some of my belongings or moving around. Not to matter - I will spend some time tomorrow sorting my room out so that it's all ready for inspections next week; beyond that, I will endeavour to keep my room tidy for my own benefits.

Friday, 9 December 2016

That's one term down...

My last seminar and lecture of the term (and the year) occurred this morning and afternoon, respectively. Both received very low turnout, most likely due to this being the last day of the term and because of the proximity this day has to the holiday season. This is unfortunate, as the last seminars and lectures of a term are no less important than any other.

I can now say that I have completed my first term at university! Counting my time at college, I have now finished seven terms in British education, all with a track record of 100% attendance; my intention is to maintain this streak.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Pre-winter break assignment (redux)

I'm still at work on this essay! It is coming along well and I should be able to write a significant amount more before I head off to bed. One element that has made writing it trickier is that today, my seminar tutor for my American Literature module said that footnotes (but not the bibliography) counts towards the word limit; that kind of cuts down somewhat on what I wanted to write but no matter!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

"Can't Smile Without You"

Here are three versions of one beautiful song... Barry Manilow... The Carpenters...

...and from the film Unconditional Love, which is my first major encounter with the song, although I might have heard it other media or in store radios (Four Weddings and Funeral, for example, but I don't recall the song in that movie). Manilow's version, which is the most known, was released in 1978 from his album Even Now; however, The Carpenters' version came earlier, in 1977, from their album A Kind of Hush. Manilow appears in Unconditional Love.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Pre-winter break assignment

The winter break will begin after this week. From now until then, however, I have an assignment to work on. I was writing some of it today but nowhere near the amount I wanted to (and should have done). Fortunately, I have most of Wednesday, much of Thursday and - if necessary - Friday after my last lecture of the term to complete it.

Monday, 5 December 2016

"United State of Pop 2016 (Into Pieces)" - DJ Earworm

The annual DJ Earworm mashup is here:

I regret to say that out of all of DJ Earworm's end-of-year mashups, this one I find hard to identify with because I've barely listened to hit radio this year and I don't really know what the popular songs are. Since I have a more active social and educational life now than I did in the summer of 2014, when I last listened heavily, I've no longer felt the need to fill the void with radio.

Still, I enjoyed "United State of Pop 2016 (Into Pieces)", as it's a good song regardless of how much I can identify with it.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The recognition

Yesterday afternoon, a friend and I were standing on the steps of the Nottingham Council House, waiting for another friend, when a man near to us turned to me and congratulated me on my recent nomination. He then said that he was a lecturer from the University of Nottingham and had been present at the Nottingham Post Student Awards from the other night, as was his wife, who he said works at the Clifton Campus of NTU.

In addition, the lecturer was an American (from Wisconsin, in fact, and his wife from Ohio) and noted that I stood out among all the other finalists for him and his wife because it had been stated at the ceremony that I was homeschooled in the United States. While it was lovely to receive the recognition, I hope I will encounter the lecturer and his wife again, as they seemed like friendly people.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Cinema at night

A university friend and I went out tonight to see A United Kingdom. My friend had decided she wanted to watch the movie and I offered to accompany her, both to ensure she had some company and because she is a good friend and I genuinely wanted to spend a few hours out with her. Besides, I shall be busy tomorrow and what better way to relax today than to be with a friend?

Friday, 2 December 2016

Result of the night of the "Nottingham Post"

As it goes, last night I was not the winner of the "Nottingham Post" Further Education award. I am not disappointed by the loss - the nomination was an honour in itself and I still have the award that I won from Central, plus I received a runner-up prize. Also, I was the only finalist last night whose name received a large "whoop" from supporters in audience, which was commented on by the presenters. I have an enthusiastic fan base!

The big surprise of the night was when my History/Sociology teacher, who was my main teacher for both my years at Central, appeared almost out of nowhere behind me. I had attended the ceremony with two friends and did not at all expect my teacher to be there. Having her present was a lovely way to finally end the Access-era of my education, given that she was present at the beginning of my time at Central.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Night of the "Nottingham Post"

It's here - the night of the Nottingham Post award ceremony has arrived. For this ceremony, I have invited a friend from each of my two courses at Central; I only had a short space of time to invite people and a classmate from each course seemed most appropriate. Unless at Central's internal ceremony, at this one I won't find out if I've won until the announcements are made at the event itself!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Shrinking chocolate

There was some recent controversy over the reduction in size of Toblerone bars but I had noticed that since March, other chocolates have shrunk, too:

The above confirms my observations. To be fair, people should probably be eating less chocolate, anyway - myself included.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

"Just One Day (Melou Remix)" - Mighty Oaks

Most of the time, I prefer the original version of a song to any remixes that follow it; however, sometimes there are exceptions. This is one of those songs:

It's the Melou Remix of "Just One Day" by the Mighty Oaks. The Mighty Oaks are a German band, although its members are American, British and Italian, respectively. I came across the Melou Remix by accident on Soundcloud; funnily enough, I was linked to it after coming cross another song that I'd heard on SoundCloud by chance.

The original version of "Just One Day" can be found here. The original is still an awesome track - I just happen to prefer the remix.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Term 1, year 1 close approaching

This week marks the start of the second-to-last week of my first-ever term at university. Yep - my first term at NTU is about two months, down from the 3-3 1/2 months my two first-terms at Central were in duration. While I've so far received fewer assignments, on the other side of the winter break, more assignments and also assessments will be on their way. The break will allow for some reading necessary to complete upcoming tasks.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

...and now for another!

I'm on my way to another birthday own! My birthday isn't today but it's this month and today was the best day on which to hold a birthday meal. This event is an afternoon one and friends I met while at Central are who have been invited.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

One birthday party to attend this month...

This evening, I am out attending a friend's birthday party. His birthday was at least a week ago but it was better timing for him to hold his party today. Essentially, it's just a meal at a Chinese restaurant, with a few of his friends and family.

Friday, 25 November 2016

"Murder on the Dancefloor" - Sophie Ellis Bextor

Another song I heard from this past summer:

"Murder on the Dancefloor", however, is from 2001, not 2016, and comes from Sophie Ellis-Bextor's debut album, Read My Lips. This song is the only track I really know from Ellis-Bextor's work; I'd first heard of her sometime in the late part of the 2000s decade but have only started knowingly hearing any of her music since my family returned to the United Kingdom in 2010.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Return to Central November 2016

I returned to visit Central this afternoon. My official reason for being there was to be filmed for a short media clip for the Nottingham Post's award ceremony next week. The filming took place in the college library (with permission) and consisted of me performing study-related tasks, such as reading a book or using a computer. The man making the film was kind and thorough with his work.

Since I was at Central for that, I also took the time to have a lengthy chat with the librarians and to see my History/Sociology teacher. I also encountered my Tutorials teacher and the lady who was my curriculum manager for my Access course.

In all, I enjoyed a highly pleasant afternoon. Being back again home.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

"Musicians vs Cellphones" - A Dose of Buckley

Adam from A Dose of Buckley makes another interesting point, this time about how he has changed his opinion of people who use phones at a concert:

What do you think? Do you think it's fine for people to use their phones at concerts provided they don't distract other members of the audience or are you against phone use at a concert?

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

First university assignment returned

This morning, my first university assignment was returned to me. It was from my module in (English) Literary Foundations and was a 500 word essay about a piece we had read within that module. I chose to write about the first few lines of William Wordsworth's "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798".

My result was what is called a "2:1". It's below an Exceptional 1st and a 1st but above a 2:2, a Third and well clear of any failing grade. I was kept from a higher grade because I wrote my piece with a proper introduction and conclusion, which ate into the word count somewhat. On an assignment with a larger word count this would have been fine but for this essay it only needed a minimal intro and ending and more analysis. My actual analysis, however received plenty of good marks and little criticism, save for a couple of odd word choices.

Still, a good result for my first university assignment!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Bad headline

Here is a good example of a bad headline:

Moving from 37% to 46% approval isn't a "soar" in popularity; soaring popularity would be if someone whose approval is above 50% has a significant increase. Improving numbers while being underwater is just that: Improving numbers. "President-elect sees poll numbers improve" would be a more suitable headline.

The whole situation is wrong, anyway, as a President-elect who is backed by white supremacists shouldn't even be experiencing an improvement in their poll numbers, anyway.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Development in the next French presidential election

There has been a development in the next French presidential election, which is next year:

The Republican party of France held a primary, in which former President Nicholas Sarkozy was defeated, losing to Francois Fillon, a former prime minister. This makes the 2017 French presidential election the first since 2002 that Sarkozy has not been a main candidate. He was elected president in 2007 but defeated for re-election in 2012.

France is likely to have a right-wing president. The Socialists have suffered from poor poll ratings, so the incumbent president is unlikely to make it through the first of two main presidential elections: the primary and the second round. The second round is expected to be a contest between the right and the far-right.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Nottingham Post awards ceremony invitation

I have been shortlisted as a finalist for an award in the Nottingham Post Student Awards, in the Further Education category; as such, I have been invited to the ceremony. This ceremony will take place at a hotel in Nottingham on the first of December, to which I may bring two guests; we are to be served a three-course meal and the award itself I won't find out if I've won or not until they are announced. In a way, it will be similar to attending the Academy Awards! It should be a fascinating evening, regardless.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Banning some trolls (2)

Channel 4 News reporter Cathy Newman gave a bruising interview to alt-right (white supremacist) champion Milo Yiannopoulos. Rather than normalising the alt-right, Newman instead challenged Yiannopoulos on his and the movement's anti-semitism, misogyny, racism, name calling, white supremacy and other bigoted viewpoints. In the interview, Yiannopoulos tried and failed abysmally to both distance himself from the alt-right and to pin the name calling and bigotry on political opponents.

Newman's interview with the alt-right champion can be found here. These alt-right types must always been challenged and called out for their nonsense.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Banning some trolls

Twitter has banned a bunch of alt-right (white supremacist) trolls:

According to the article, Twitter has not offered an explanation for the move but it wouldn't surprise me if the company enacted the bans as part of a crackdown on hate speech; since the election last week, hate speech and hate crimes are experiencing a massive increase as bigots feel emboldened by the result. The individuals who have been banned join Breitbart News goon Milo Yiannopolous as those struck with the banhammer on Twitter.

The alt-right are fast to whine about free speech whenever they are blocked but it should be noted that a private company like Twitter has no obligation to host bigoted views. No 1st Amendment rights are violated, as no one is being arrested. Also, alt-right types have no tolerance for criticism of them, anyway, opting to call anyone who does so a "cuck" or that they "need a safe space".

As the Southern Poverty Law Center said, "Good riddance."

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

"I Don't Feel like Dancin'" - Scissor Sisters

My fifth and final song in this unexpected "feel-good rush" is this one:

It's "I Don't Feel like Dancin'" and is by the Scissor Sisters; it's another on my list of "songs I thought I'd already written about but hadn't". "I Don't Feel like Dancin'" was released in 2006 and comes from Ta-Dah, the band's second studio album. My brother and I only started to hear the Scissor Sisters' music when we listened to Heart but we'd heard of the band prior to then, as Dad once asked us if we'd heard of the band and said they had a member called Ana Matronic, who he said is from Portland in Oregon (I think the Oregon link was why he asked).

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

"Together in Electric Dreams" - Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder

This is my fourth of five feel-good songs:

It's "Together in Electric Dreams" by  Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder. The song was originally released in 1984 and is from both the album Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder and the soundtrack to the film Electric Dreams, for which the song was recorded. The song went on to become a greater success than the actual film; in fact, even I wasn't aware of the film's existence until conducting a little research for this post.

The version of "Together in Electric Dreams" I'm most familar with is the 12" one, as it was in Dad's record collection.

Monday, 14 November 2016

"I Love It" - Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX

A third feel good song:

This one is "I Love It" by Swedish pop band Icona Pop, which features Charli XCX, coming from their albums Icona Pop and This Is... Icona Pop. The song was released in 2012 and gained notability via its use in various other media, such as in Girls, The Vampire Diaries and a Samsung Galaxy S4 advert.

Both Icona Pop and Charli XCX have appeared in my blog before, in this post and this one.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

"Give It Up" - KC and the Sunshine Band

The second song in my current line of feel-good tracks:

It's "Give It Up" by KC and the Sunshine Band, from their albums All in a Night's Work and KC Ten. The song was popular in the early eighties, even in the United States, where it reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart despite anti-disco sentiment in the nation at that time. I am most familar with this song through the Heart Radio network.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

"Pray" - Take That

Time for a feel-good track, in the form of an early Take That song:

It's "Pray", released in 1993 from Everything Changes, the band's second studio album. I first heard "Pray" on the Heart Radio network when my family and I were all living in Cambridgeshire. I have no association with the song beyond hearing it in Cambridgeshire and in Northamptonshire, and finding it to be a track that boosts a good mood.

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Klan

Look who has made a re-appearance after all these decades:

No, you didn't read that incorrectly: That's the Ku Klux Klan, a organization of white supremacist thugs we thought we long in the past. Turns out, they've been waiting all this time and found their savior in the 2016 presidential election opponent of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Thanks to his apparent election victory, these thugs have been re-energized, being initially spurred on by his hateful rhetoric.

How is this a positive development? The Klan should be long dead, not making any sort of comeback.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Election 2016: Post-Mortem

Supporters of one of the two main candidates in the now-concluded 2016 presidential election in the United States - as well as the candidate himself - oppose political correctness. These supporters regularly tell people who disagree with them to "stop being so sensitive", to "quit being triggered" and to "go back to a safe space". Well, allow me to now "tell it like it is".

Enough Americans in key states voted to put a KKK-backed racist, anti-LGBT, anti-disability, sexual assaulter and misogynistic birther advocate in the White House. Why? Because the vast majority of his supporters are angry white people - especially angry white men - who feel threatened by non-whites and women having the same rights as them. Because they don't believe that people who are not like them should be treated with respect. Because they couldn't bear the thought of having a woman succeed a black man as president.

Any attempt to dismiss this and claim that they were just people who were "fed up with the establishment" is utter hogwash. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's opponent is a billionaire and thus, part of that establishment. His poll numbers went up in the Republican primaries whenever he spouted hateful rhetoric. Now that he appears to have won the election, hate crimes have skyrocketed, as evidenced here and here and even more so here. I'm not interested in hearing about how "not all" his supporters are like that; the #notallmen nonsense as a defense doesn't fly with me.

While in the offline world the deplorables are engaging in violence, on the Internet they are running amok, flooding all sort of discussion with their alt-right nonsense and other hate-filled rhetoric. On the Facebook page for actor Bryan Cranston, they are demanding he be "held accountable" and leave the United States after he made an idle threat to move if Clinton lost. They are demanding unity (or perhaps I should say compliance and obeidence) from people who oppose Clinton's campaign rival, forgetting or ignoring that they themselves rejected and sabotaged President Obama since he took office nearly eight years ago. In appears that in their eyes, the 1st Amendment only applies to them, as they consider the election result to be a reason in itself to tell others to "shut up" or "quit crying" if anyone has a differing opinion.

I used the term "Enough Americans in key states" to describe these individuals rather than something along the lines of "the majority voted for". This is because Clinton won the popular vote of the nation, which means that more Americans supported her rather than her opponent. The successor to President Barack Obama has no mandate.

There, I've told it as it is.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Post 2000

Yesterday's piece, "Ready for the 2016 election", is my 2000th blog post. Because of all the election fever, I completely forgot about the milestone until this afternoon. Yay. Two thousand blog posts. I wish I could say I was more excited but at present, due to other events, I am unenthusiastic.

I will soon be writing a piece about the recent election.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Ready for the 2016 election

I'm at my mother and brother's house for the evening and night because my brother and I arranged in advance that we would spend the United States election night following the results as they come in. This was what we did for the 2012 election except that on that occasion, we were both living in Northamptonshire under the same roof. Now, we are living in Nottinghamshire in separate occasions but we still wanted to spend election night following it together.

Monday, 7 November 2016

"Fight Song" - Rachel Platten

Here is a song from 2015:

It's "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten, released in February of the aforementioned year from Wildfire, her debut album on a major label. I love the positivity of the track and its inspiring message - for a person to take control of their own life and do well in the face of any adversity. It's aided by Platten having an excellent singing voice.

"Fight Song" has been featured prominently during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign events for her current run for president, including at the Democratic National Convention.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The case to elect Hillary Clinton

Four years ago, I wrote about why I supported President Barack Obama and why I wanted him to be re-elected as President of the United States. Sadly, he is constitutionally barred from running for a third term. As such, I will now discuss my reasons for why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be elected as president.

Throughout much of this election cycle, it has been noted that the main reason for supporting either main candidate is that they're not the other person. My rationale will consist of why Clinton should be supported on her own merits.

1. Experience

Clinton is a highly experienced contender for president; it is absolutely nonsensical to claim otherwise. From 1993-2001 she was the United States' First Lady, from 2001-2009 she was a senator and from 2009-2013, she served as Secretary of State in President Barack Obama's administration. Her elected work alone makes her qualified; this doesn't even include any of Clinton's political work when her husband was governor of Arkansas and the time between then and his own presidency.

2. Calm under pressure

Clinton remained calm and collected during an 11-hour questioning session by Republicans in Congress about Benghazi. She repeated this behaviour during the recent presidential debates of this campaign. This is important because the President of the United States should not be a loose cannon; the role attracts all sorts of enemies and having a thin-skinned nature is an extremely undesirable trait in a candidate.

3. Supreme Court

As president, Clinton would appoint judges who would protect important provisions such as women's heakthcare rights, voting rights and marriage equality. These are advancements that would be foolish to reverse. The United States is still viewed as a forward-thinking country - reversing such advancements with the appointments of far-right judges would drag the country back at least fifty years, if not more.

4. Obama's legacy

President Hillary Clinton would ensure that the legacy that Obama leaves behind is safe. At present, 54% of Americans approve of the job he is performing as president. Electing Clinton should be important to anyone who wants to see a continuation of Obama's policies and achievements.

There you have it: Four reasons why I think that Hillary Clinton should be the next President of the United States. Her experience, temperament, Supreme Court choices and defense of Obama's legacy are all excellent reasons to vote for her over anyone else currently running for the Oval office. To say she would be a competent Commander-in-Chief would be an understatement.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Access Student of the Year - the awards ceremony

Back in August, I received a letter that informed me that I had been nominated for and won Central's award for Access Student of the Year. Today, I received that award.

My History/Sociology teacher was my primary nominator and she was allowed to go as a result. In addition, I was allowed two guests and so I had invited my Employability teacher from Pre-Access and one of the librarians. The three of us had arranged to meet outside Central in the morning to then walk up to the Albert Hall, where the ceremony was taking place.

The ceremony itself consisted of about 30 Further Education students (FE; the group I was in at Central) and a larger group of Higher Education who had been working on degrees at Central. All the FE students were award winners and so we each received a certificate of what we'd won in our respective categories as well as were given a small speech about why we had won in the first place. The speech about me emphasised my never missing a lesson, my kindness, helpfulness and popularity amongst the staff and fellow students.

Afterwards, multiple group photographs were taken, in addition to official individual photographs being taken, too. My Employability teacher purchased as a gift the picture of me that was captured when I was up on stage receiving my award. Her just being there was a delight in itself - the picture she bought was an expected and welcome bonus.

If I had been told two years ago that I'd win an award for my time at Central, I wouldn't have believed whoever would have told me. This award means so much to me, as I deeply enjoyed my time at Central and it vastly made me a better person; this award honours my achievements there. That being said, I would not have won Access Student of the Year without excellent people around me and so I dedicate it to anyone who helped me along my journey at Central, no matter how small.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Some helping out

Once my lectures finished this afternoon, I briefly returned to my accommodation before spending a few hours helping my mother and brother sort out their new house. They have much to sort out and I offered to help for this afternoon and for tomorrow afternoon, should my morning activity not spread too far into the later part of the day.

Much of today's helping consisted of helping my brother move objects around the living room, which is a part of the house that is almost entirely filled with boxes. Thanks to our re-organisation, we at least tripled the amount of free space in that room; now, there is more area to maneuver around - the worry of tripping on something has been reduced.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

They're up here now

As of this afternoon, my mother and brother became residents of the Nottingham area. They were running behind somewhat but they left Northamptonshire after midday, were here by the middle of the afternoon and have spent the rest of the day unpacking, which will be a tricky job but also possibly a tedious one, given that they're both used to seeing boxes all over the place.

This morning, they were living 45-50 miles from me. Now, they only live about half a mile from my accommodation. I'll give them some help over the next couple of days (after my classes) and then I'll have an assignment to complete for next Friday.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Improved description/tagline - again!

Ever since I started my blog, this has been its description:

"A blog created to document various events and topics that interest me, as well as to share some of my thoughts and experiences."

I've long considered it to be clunky and have wanted to change it, as evidenced by this post from nearly four years ago, but I've done nothing about it. Just over one year ago, I again wrote about the tagline. Finally, after such a long time...I've changed it! This is the new description:

"Blogging my thoughts, one day at a time."

Many of my blog posts nowadays are short pieces, usually about something that's caught my attention on the day and are something I was thinking about at the time. As a result, I think this new tagline is more suitable that the old one.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Seeing relatives

For the first time since the day I returned to Nottingham in September, I had an in-person conversation with relatives - my grandparents! In the late afternoon, I travelled to their house on the bus (which coincided with my bus friend being on board, which was a bonus) and spent the evening and dinner with them. In addition to seeing them, I had a few items from theirs that I wanted to collect.

This past month is so far the longest I've spent without seeing any relatives. Before October 2016, the last time I went without seeing any was the time I spent in Poland back in February.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Bloggers Blog Party - September 2016

September 2016 is posted on time for the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party:

Thursday 1st September: As of this blog post's writing, it is Halloween, which means it's appropriate to post something scary: A spider on toilet roll!

Saturday 3rd September: This is the centre of the town my brother and mother have been living in for the past six years. The "downtown" area is on the street between the pub and the Chinese restaurant. In a few days time, none of my family will be living in Northamptonshire

Friday 9th September: I think this is a badger hole. I saw several of these over the summer.

Sunday 11th September: Beautiful evening for a walk, beautiful evening for a field at dusk.

Wednesday 14th September: These houses are part of a new development in the town. The area to the left was open field until I went to college.

Thursday 22nd September: My brother and I went for a long walk together the day before I returned to Nottingham to attend university. This tree in a park of a nearby town reminded me of the "Big Pine" - a massive pine tree that stood up the hill behind our house when we lived in Oregon.

Monday 26th September: Went past Central on a bus, had to take a picture!

Tuesday 27th September: I don't recall seeing this sign in the Victoria Centre when I went away in July. I think it's to draw further attention to the new(ish) restaurants that opened, as some have been struggling.

Thursday 29th September: A view of the lake at the Rushcliffe Country Park in Ruddington. I have to admit, I'm somewhat surprised that this happened over a month ago!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Diwali celebration

Today is the Hindu celebration called Diwali, the "festival of lights". My two Indian housemates tonight invited my other two housemates, some of the residents of the other houses and me to celebrate with them. The celebration involved the gathering observe our Hindu friends partake in their prayer (although I was invited by one to participate myself, which I did) and then we had a small meal afterwards.

My Indian housemates said it meant a lot to them that we had joined them, as they are thousands of miles away from their families back home, with whom they would usually be celebrating. I was happy to take part in their celebration and I understood how they felt, given my own time abroad.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Final pre-move weekend

This is the last weekend that my mother and brother will spend living in Northamptonshire. At this time in a week, both of them will be up here in the Nottingham area. Their expected moving date is next Thursday and Mum has said she will text when they've both arrived. My intention is go and see them as they move in and help where I can.

My starting college was the beginning of a new era in my family. Losing Dad was the start of another new era and now, beginning next week, another era in such a short space of time will form.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Course rep election

For the past week, voting has been underway in the first set of student rep elections here at NTU. I am currently running to represent the Joint Honours student constituency, given my status as a Joint Honours student.

Voting closed a few hours ago. The results will be released on Monday. Until then, we have to wait before anything is announced!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Access dinner night

My Sociology/History teacher from Access and I arranged a get-together and meal for this evening. At our end-of-year dinner back in the summer, we agreed to have another meal at a later date. When I visited Central a few weeks ago, I spoke to both my main teachers about it and now I'm off to said dinner! I'm looking forward to seeing much of the class again; I've seen only only a handful of them since I've been back.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Liveland History: 26th October 2013

A bridge to the past:

The bridge is located in East Carlton Country Park, a place where my family and I visted a few times. We mostly went on hot and sunny days but I seem to recall the visit in the aforementioned post being on a cooler occasion. My brother and I wandered off and walked around to explore the park and photograph the vicinity.

East Carlton is also a "Thankful Village".

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

"Rush Hour" - Jane Wiedlin

Towards the end of the summer, I overheard this song on my brother's radio:

It's "Rush Hour" by Jane Wiedlin and is from her second studio album, Fur; both were released in 1988. Wiedlin herself was a member of an all-female band called the Go-Go's, who were established in 1978, but she later progressed to develop her solo career.

Thanks to when I heard "Rush Hour", I now associate it with summer's end 2016. It's one of those songs I wish I'd had on my phone during my dusk trips to Long Eaton at the end of Access.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Another Nottingham move

I will soon be joined up here in the Nottingham area by family moving to the region. Who? My mother and brother. In under two weeks' time, they will both be living up here after living in Northamptonshire since July 2011.

The move will be major for them. It's the first they've done since Dad died nearly two years ago. Mum and my brother became ready to both move and move on since early on this year. Now, they have a place here, ready to move into once they've moved out down there.

Nottingham will be mostly unfamiliar to them both but they will have me up here; while I am in student accommodation and am busy at university, my local knowledge will prove useful in helping them complete the transition.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Familiar librarian

I've only left my accommodation once today and that was to pay a quick visit to the library to conduct a little printing. There's a task I have to complete today for one of my seminars tomorrow; however, the point of this post isn't the work I have to finish - rather, it's about one of the librarians.

On my final day as a student at Central, an external librarian was working there for the day. One of the usual librarians at college informed me that the external librarian worked part-time at the Clifton campus and that I should remember to look out for her once I'd started my university course.

I spotted her in the Victoria Centre a few weeks ago but she didn't see me. This afternoon, however, I saw and spoke to her in the library, where she helped me print out my documents (it's a similar process to how it is done at Central). The librarian remembered me and was able to use my knowledge of Central's printers to explain how to use those at NTU Clifton.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Liveland History: 22nd October 2012

For Liveland History, here is a post from this day four years ago:

I wrote about Ryan Cabrera, a singer who was popular in the 2004-2006 era of American pop music. The post documented my disappointment that Cabrera has been under the radar since his musical peak in the mid-2000s.

My post also mentioned that he had been touring. While he doesn't appear to be doing that at the moment, a Google search shows that he is still active on Twitter and that he has an indie project called Beyond the Sky, under which he released the song "Whatever, Whenever" in August of this year, as well as a song called "Right on the Money", released back in February.

Cabrera might be under the radar but he hasn't disappeared, that's for sure. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Route 35

Once my classes had finished, I walked to Ruddington and caught a bus to Nottingham from there. Once in the city centre, I decided to try out another bus line: this time it was the 35 route, Nottingham City Transport Orange line.

This route took me through western sectors of Nottingham, such Wollaton Vale, Bilborough and Strelley, before reaching the bus station in Bulwell. Evidently, I've walked to Wollaton before but overall it's an area of Nottingham I'm not heavily familiar with, although I know it more than I do eastern Nottingham. I've yet to explore Strelley and Bilborough in any significant context.

It was a run evening ride, which lasted about an hour. Afterwards I rode the 17 Brown route back, which is a faster journey to the city centre.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Watched the three of them

As of this evening, I have watched all three of the presidential debates for the 2016 election in the United States, as well as watched the debate for the vice-presidential candidates. I have already begun to write my endorsement post for which candidate I am supporting; the post will be submitted here next month in the days leading up to the election.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Walking from Clifton (2)

I've done it again! On Monday evening, I walked from Clifton to Nottingham's centre and I promised I would do so again either yesterday or today. Well, this afternoon I made my second via foot venture to the city centre from here in Clifton.

I spent longer walking this time because I opted to walk into West Bridgford's town centre and when I made it into Nottingham itself when crossing a bridge, I walked along a different route rather than down the bus route I rode upon when living at my grandparents' house.

Should I have time this weekend, I shall walk to the city centre from Clifton for a third time this week.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

"Sugar" - Maroon 5

The following single is one of my favorite Maroon 5 songs and is by far my favorite video of theirs:

It's "Sugar" and it's from V, the band's fifth studio album. What can I say? I love the song but the video is amazing as it involves weddings. Granted, it involves the band crashing weddings by performing at them but the couples at said weddings appear to be delighted by the arrival of the band. It has been suggested that some of the weddings might have been staged (although it's also been confirmed that some were indeed genuine) but regardless, the concept of happy couples should be pleasing.

The Wikipedia article for "Sugar" has a large and well-sourced section about the music video. Honestly, I love this song and its video; I'm surprised I hadn't written about them earlier.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Walking from Clifton

After my lectures and seminars finished this early evening, I embarked on a major walk: From Clifton to Nottingham's centre. Despite the fading sunlight, I successfully completed a walk from one to the other, taking about an hour and twenty minutes to do so. The route I took through Wilford and West Bridgford was about four miles in length.

So Clifton is now another place from which I have walked to Nottingham! I felt a sense of achievement by doing so as well as felt good about performing some exercise. I might do it again tomorrow or Wednesday.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Upset in Utah

Utah last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 1964, when it joined the rest of the nation except for the South and Arizona in firmly rejecting Barry Goldwater in favor of Lyndon B. Johnson. Since then, however, it has not only voted Republican but has done so with strong majorities and is often among the top three most Republican regions in the United States. This year, however, might be different. Meet Evan McMullin:

The Republican candidate in this election is polling poorly in Utah - to the point where the polls have suggested that he and Hillary Clinton are running even in the state. This is thanks to his unpopularity among Mormon voters, who object to his rhetoric and overall obnoxious behavior (as well as his criticism of Mitt Romney, who is popular in the state), and because both Evan McMullin and, to a lesser extent, Gary Johnson are drawing support away from him:

McMullin, a Utah native and former CIA operations officer, launched an independent campaign after being dissatisfied with the current Republican nominee. He is running as a conservative, hence why he is drawing support from Republican voters, to allow people with right-leaning views to have a better choice that the current nominee, whom he strongly criticizes.

While McMullin's chances of winning outside Utah are non-existent, statistician Nate Silver suggested a way that he could win the election if a victory from him in Utah caused both main party candidates to fail to reach 270 electoral votes:

Evidently, I do not support McMullin's policies. However, I support his willingness to take a stand and put himself up as a candidate rather than whine about yet still support the Republican nominee, as so many others have done. If Clinton wins Utah, she'd be the first Democrat in over 50 years to do so. If McMullin wins, he'll be the first third-party candidate to wins electoral votes since 1968. Either of them emerging victorious in Utah would send a clear message that the hate-filled rhetoric coming from the Republicans is not acceptable.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Cooking bacon

Tonight I made my first attempt at cooking bacon. The result? Other than the foil splitting and having to use my baking tray rather than a grill pan, it was a success. I cooked the bacon to the point where nearly every rasher of it was at least slightly crispy on both sides. After all, bacon is pork and pork needs to be cooked properly; I figured it best to err on the side of slight overcooking rather than risk any sort of undercooking whatsoever.

I can now cook bacon. Yay!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Tracking expenses

In my recent post about buying a bus pass, I mentioned that I have begun keeping track of when I ride so that when the pass expires next October, I can calculate whether or not I have saved money with it. In addition to this, I am also tracking my main expenses.

By "main", I'm referring to food, household items, books, etc.; essentially, everything that isn't bus-related. My reason for tracking them is so I can work out what my average spending was per week when the academic year finishes. Since I am on a budget, I figured it a wise idea to watch and record what I spend rather than go spending sprees (not that I was planning to spend lavishly for no reason). The added benefit is that if I'm careful with spending, I'll have more for myself at a later date.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Charity night lady (redux)

On many of my bus rides back from college during Access, I befriended someone whom I originally referred to as the "Charity Night Lady", as I met her on the night I was coming back from college to then head out to the charity event that two of my classmates and I were doing for Employability. My bus friend I had many a conversation and came to know each other quite well; then, in mid-July, I said farewell to her before I left Nottinghamshire for the summer.

This evening, I encountered her at my old bus stop where we'd catch Rushcliffe Villager 1 together. So we could catch up, I travelled with her on that bus once again and departed it when it arrived at my old exiting stop. Once there I walked down and caught another bus back to Nottingham.

It was a delight to see my bus friend again and she felt the same about seeing me. Both of us had missed each other and she was pleased about my progress at university whereas I was pleased that she and her husband were still happy and well. I'll see her on the bus again at some stage.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Running for course rep

I posted this to Facebook a few hours ago:

"It's election at NTU! After much consideration, I have just nominated myself for 'Humanities Joint Honours 1st Year Course Rep'. In other words, it's like the class rep role I had at Central last year except that, if elected, I'd be representing all Joint Honours students, not just one class or all those doing English and Media like me. Voting begins sometime late next week and Joint Honours students are the constituency voting on this position.

I was encouraged by both my course leader and an admin who organises rep-related matters to use my recent article from the "Nottingham Post" about my time at Central to demonstrate why I'd be an ideal course rep. :) I don't know what my chances are but I hope I receive a respectable showing!"

Being a class rep at Central involved listening to feedback from the students I represented and passing it along in learner voice meetings. A course rep's job is similar, only there are a few more meetings to attend. We'll find out before the end of the month whether or not I have won.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


I travelled to the area of Nottingham known as Bulwell. Now, Bulwell isn't somewhere I visited for the first time today - no, I've been there before and whenever I've done so, it's been on a walk to Hucknall (evidence here and here). On this afternoon, I reached Bulwell via bus for the first time.

However, accessing Bulwell via the bus wasn't the goal of the day. I was actually up there to shop at the Tesco Extra that is located up in that area (a place mentioned in the second link above). There were a couple of items from there that I wanted that were unlikely to be available in any Tesco located in Nottingham's city centre.

The result? I purchased what I needed from the Tesco Extra and enjoyed a bus up to and back from Bulwell. To add to the experience, there was a double rainbow present while I was there and when I returned to the city centre, I encountered a friend from Access - one I hadn't seen since before college ended.

Monday, 10 October 2016

The second United States presidential debate of 2016

I awakened early this morning so I could listen to the second United States presidential debate between former Secretary Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponent before I went to my seminars and lectures. What can I say? Clinton's opponent dragged presidential debates down to a level that has never been witnessed. Expressing a willingness to have Clinton, this was an unacceptable comment on top of a plethora of other unacceptable comments by this candidate.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

"Perfect Illusion" - Lady Gaga

Before I left for university, this song was gaining traction on the radio:

It's "Perfect Illusion" by Lady Gaga and it's the first single from Joanne, her fifth studio album, which is set for release late this month. "Perfect Illusion" has a different sound compared to much of Lady Gaga's previous work, leading some to refer to it as a "flop" (a nonsensical claim, as it debuted at #1 in the charts of some countries and reached the top 20 in the United States and United Kingdom), but the song has otherwise received strong praise and it would be silly for Lady Gaga to engage in anything resembling the releasing every couple of years of what sounds like the same song.

Nope, Lady Gaga is still as great as she was back in 2008, perhaps more so now than then. Go, Gaga!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

An article about me

Well, would you look at that? A major local paper featured an article about me:

I was informed yesterday by a lady I know in Central's marketing department that the Nottingham Post might be running an article about an award I've been nominated for; however, I was anticipating a small mention rather than a whole article that took up a whole page!

This is the third award I've been nominated for because of Central. The first was the college's own Access Student of the Year Award, which I've already won and will collect next month; the second was the Association of Colleges' Student of the Year Award, although my name did not advance to being shortlisted; now, my third is this one - an award external to the college but local to Nottingham!

Even if I don't win this third award, being nominated and having an article written about me are both rewarding enough on their own.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Second or still the first? (2)

Unsurprisingly, I am still unwell; it was a struggle making it through my two-hour lecture but I was not only able to do so but also answered one of my lecturer's questions, to which he later said was a good response and referred to be my name. At least when it comes to my lectures and seminars I am perfectly able to contribute without much if any problem other than, at the present time, being ill.

I will recover from my illnesses, of course, but I won't deny that they are damaging my early weeks at university, from the reading I am required to do to the exercise I've wanted to take.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Second or still the first?

Over the course of the day, I have gradually become ill with a cold; however, I am unsure if I have a new cold or if one I had last Friday continues to persist but has transformed. This whole week I have felt unwell at points either with sneezing or coughing (never both at once, though). Unfortunately, it is common at the start of an academic year at university when students bring their bugs and share them with the rest of the educational population.

I am supposed to be seeing a college friend this Sunday. If I am still sick by then, I'll have to cancel and re-arrange...for a second time! I cancelled last weekend because I was ill and I don't want to have to cancel again.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Return to Central

This afternoon, for the first time since I finished my Access course there I visited Central. I don't mean I walked onto the campus and back off again - I mean I walked into the building. A few days ago, I emailed one of the receptionists - one who has worked there for the majority of my time as a student at the place - to ask what I needed to do to register as a visitor.

The requirements were for me to sign a visitor's form and wear a lanyard to acknowledge that I am a visitor. No big deal. When entering, my first action was to see that same receptionist and complete the visitors' process. My main reasons for visiting Central were to donate some books to the library (something that would double as a visit to see the lovely librarians themselves; I spent countless hours in the library over Access, after all - and it paid off in more ways than one!), to see a student and to see my teachers.

While I completed all of that, I encountered far more than I expected! I saw several familiar students - the ones with whom I was acquainted all acknowledged me - and various members of the support staff, who were delighted to see me and were eager to chat and catch up. The canteen staff, to whom I ensured I paid a special visit, all remembered me and were equally pleased I'd come to talk to them. I even saw my mathematics teacher from Pre-Access, who was more than happy to walk over and see what I was now up to with my life. When I finally made it upstairs to see my main two teachers from Access, I enjoyed a long conversation with them both. All these wonderful people were a reminder of just how many friends I made - especially among the staff - while at Central and why my last day there as a student was so emotional.

Sometimes it may seem as though I obsess a little over Central but the truth is, as anyone who knows me well understands, the college turned my life around and going there to study is easily one of the best events that has ever happened to me. No matter what form the college takes in the future, Central will always be deeply dear to me and I will long speak fondly of it. Sure, I am now a former student there but during today's was truly a treat to spend a few hours there and it felt as though I had come home.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The West Bridgford campus

When I was initially interviewed at Central College Nottingham in April 2014, said interview took place at the institution's campus in West Bridgford. Shortly after I began my course in September of that year, the campus closed down.

Today, for the first time in ages, I travelled through the area where that campus is located. As my bus passed, I observed that what was once the West Bridgford campus is now a demolition site. At first I was surprised but then I recalled either a classmate or a teacher telling me that the campus was under deconstruction.

While I am far more attached to the Maid Marian Way site, which was my main campus, the West Bridgford campus was notable for being the place where my British educational journey began. As such, I could not help but feel a little saddened.

Monday, 3 October 2016

The new bus pass

My major decision of the afternoon was to purchase a bus pass from Nottingham City Transport (NCT). When I first moved onto campus I doubted whether or not I would need one but after a great deal of thought, I decided that I would.

A bus to Nottingham and back costs £3.50; this week alone, I will be making three trips to the city centre, which would amount to £10.50. I'm still going to be making at least a trip per week to the city centre for various reasons and during holidays I'll be taking even more trips there. I think it's a wise decision to purchase a pass, which cost me £229. I shall be noting when I do use the bus so that when my pass expires, I can calculate whether or not I saved.

I selected an NCT bus pass because even with the student discount it's cheaper than a pass for Trentbarton Zone B, where Clifton is located. In addition, my current main two uses for using Trentbarton are either for the pleasure of riding or to visit my grandparents; I'll stick to my MANGO cards for now when riding with Trentbarton.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Muslim hugs

This positive article appeared on my Facebook feed yesterday:

Hajer Sbehawi and her much-younger sister, both from Michigan, attended a rally of Hillary Clinton's main rival in the United States presidential election. Their purpose was to spread love and to educate the participants of the rally that Muslims, such as themselves, are not at all violent - they're just people, like everybody else. Sbehawi reckons that many people at such rallies have never met a Muslim and are ignorant rather than purposely hateful.

What is sad is that Sbehawi and others like her feel that it's necessary to educate others that Muslims are not inherently violent. I met several Muslims at college and it would be ridiculous to assume that all, most or even just a handful of them were evil people. They were there to learn and to make friends - the same reason that everyone else went to college.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Back to Derby

Today, I ventured on something that I have not done since I was on Access: Spend a day travelling via bus. Yesterday was a disappointment because while it was lovely and sunny outside, I was in bed because I was sick with a cold.

Not today, though; today, I felt vastly improved after a day of rest. This afternoon, I visited an old favourite...Derby!

Don't let the apparent - albeit fading - sunlight fool you...less than twenty minutes after I took this photograph, the clouds unleashed massive amounts of rain onto Derby and Nottingham. I erred by not bringing my umbrella with me but fortunately, the rain did not wet me too much when I was between buses and when I returned to my accommodation, the rain had calmed significantly.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Bloggers Blog Party - August 2016

August 2016 provided a fair selection for the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party:

Thursday 4th August: There is a company in Northamptonshire that features these hot pink dumpsters/skips as part of their services. Hot pink isn't a colour usually associated with garbage so this one and others stand out.

Friday 5th August: Speaking of objects that stand out, in all my years in Northamptonshire, I never noticed this yellow donation box near the fire station, mostly because it is positioned on a side street I've rarely walked down, on the side of the street I've rarely walked along.

Sunday 7th August: This was a sunny evening in the town of Rothwell. I walked to this town on most days as a part of catching up on exercise I'd missed out on over the preceding few months.

Wednesday 10th August: Ah...a resting horse and a hungry horse! The one on the right was the first horse I'd stroked since 2009; however, the ones I stroked in 2009 were happy for my company whereas this one was only interested in food - to the point where they were trying to get into my bag.

Tuesday 16th August: During my sole visit back to Nottingham over the summer, I was sure to ride past my old college on the bus. So far, the place hasn't changed much as a result of the ongoing merger between it and New College Nottingham, although the student lanyards have emblazoned on them "student" now rather than "Central College Nottingham".

Wednesday 17th August: These cows were also interested in food but alas, I had nothing for them.

Saturday 20th August: It the centre of this image is a semingly faint rainbow; however, in person it was significantly more bright. It's unfortunate that my phone's camera is often unable to capture the fullness of a rainbow.

Saturday 27th August: By contrast, my phone's camera was able to pick up the blanket-like quality of these clouds with ease.

Tuesday 30th August: This truck spent nearly ten minutes entering the narrow gate to a factory situated out of the photo. Even though it was blatantly obvious to onlookers what was going on, that still didn't stop some people from hooting as though doing so would magically make the truck hasten its entrance.