Monday, 29 February 2016

Approving some comments

As of this writing, I have eight comments waiting to be approved. I am not ignoring them; rather, since the Poland trip I have been working on an assignment that is due tomorrow. Once I have completed and submitted this assignment, I will approve all comments and give them each a proper response rather than one-liners. Thanks for waiting!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Zloty 50 note

While in Poland, the currency I used there was the zloty. Here is as example of a 50 zloty note...

...from its front...

...and from its back. One British pound is worth about five zloty, so the above note was worth ten pounds. Ten pounds goes further in Poland than in the United Kingdom because prices are cheaper there; however, it's only cheaper for people who visit the country and have currency worth more than the zloty. On Polish wages, prices are about the same as they are here.

I have several Polish coins, which I'll post here soon. I took the above photographs while I was still in Poland.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Above Britain

On the flight to Poland, I considered myself fortunate to have a window seat. In the parts of the flight when it was still daylight, I observed the landscape, such as this view of a British town:

Given that this was taken high up in the air, through a window and with my phone, I am impressed that this photograph turned out so well. The only downside is that I do not know what town this is, as there was no accessible wifi and my phone was in "airplane mode", thus unable to access mobile data, so I couldn't pinpoint on a map where my plane's location was.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Return from Poland

Yesterday at night, we flew back to the United Kingdom from Poland; it was past 11:00 when we returned and I waited until 12:10 for my Skylink bus back to Nottingham. My aunt picked me up once I was back.

The Poland trip was highly beneficial for several reason: (1) I had the chance to experience Auschwitz-Birkenau. (2) I listened to a talk from a Holocaust survivor who was present in the room with me. (3) I experienced another country and (4) I met people from other classes while bonding with some members of my own class some more.

While I intend to post some pictures of the sites on my blog at a later date, I'm not sure how much I'll go into my feelings about all the historical aspects of the trip. The Holocaust is a heavy topic.

Finally, I am sorry for my delay in approving and replying to comments that people have posted while I was away; typing on my phone is hard and so I kept to writing short posts.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Holocaust survivor and return from Poland

This morning, we all walked up to the Galicia Jewish museum, where we had a speech from and met a Holocaust survivor. Again, I'll cover this in as later post, although encountering a Holocaust survivor was also something I didn't envision ever doing, either. As for now, some of us walked around Krakow for a few hours and now we're in our hotel lobby before our coach taking us back to the airport arrives.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Auschwitz and Birkenau

The class trip took us to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. I will admit, these are not places I ever envisioned myself visiting and it was strange going to them but you know what, it was worth it. I might write more in another post, as it's hard typing up a blog post using my phone.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

In Poland

I have arrived safely in Poland and am in the city of Krakow. I had had a good flight, several good bus rides and a good meal. Now I'm off to bed. Oh, and Blogger switched to the Polish language - I had to restore it to English so I could navigate!

Monday, 22 February 2016


Tomorrow, I'm flying out with several of my classmates to Poland. It is a trip to Auschwitz, organised by my Sociology teacher and is open to anybody taking an Access or Pre-Access course at my college. We return late on Thursday evening.

This will be my first time outside the United Kingdom since I moved here, my first time flying without family and my first time outside the airport of a country that doesn't speak English as its dominant language (I've been to the Netherlands but only to Schipol).

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Without water

Sometime before or at sunrise, a major water main burst in an area slightly to the northwest of Nottingham. As a result, those of us living in the towns in villages to the south of this main were without tap water all day. I had to travel to my aunt's house for a shower this evening so that I wouldn't have to worry about not showering for two days when I attend college tomorrow.

Fortunately, for the past couple of hours the water has gradually been restored. It was an inconvenience not having water for much of the day but that's all it was: an inconvenience.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

It was twenty years

This was my evening contribution to Facebook:

"This recent February 7th marked twenty years when my family and I moved to California from the UK; somewhere at the end of February or into March of that year, we moved to a town called Patterson, located near Modesto in CA's Central Valley, a region home to the state's agriculture (and epic heat).

I completely forgot on the day that it had been twenty years, as back on this February 7th I was more concerned about catching up on exercise than I was remembering an anniversary of mine.The day we emigrated seems as though it happened not only in another lifetime but in another universe completely."

Twenty years...such a long time ago.

Friday, 19 February 2016

That's another half-term over

Half-term is over. To my surprise, I'm already back in Nottingham; my aunt and uncle from the East of England are up here for the weekend and they offered to collect me on their way, which saved my grandfather a trip tomorrow. I shall be using tomorrow to continue my assignments and to run some errands in the city.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

The collapse of the middle

I wrote this on Facebook earlier, in a rare political post from me over there:

"The past few elections have seen the mass removal of 'moderates' from elected positions in the US and UK, as evidenced by the elimination of Blue Dog Democrats, Rockefeller Republicans, Third Way, the UK Lib Dems, etc., combined with the rise of prominent outsider politicians in both countries. The emphasis appears to have shifted to maximizing votes from core supporters; to paraphrase Meghan Trainor, it's 'all about that base'.

This isn't necessarily negative; voter turnout has been declining for years and if energy returns to voting across the political spectrum and productive debate increases, that's positive."

Many people feel as though moderate politicians haven't been good for either country; by trying to appeal to only a small part of the electorate, said officials end up appearing to disgruntle core party supporters, who want to see their views represented properly rather than given a watered-down substitute at best.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The five university replies

Back in November, I attended an open day at Nottingham Trent University. In December, my class and I sent our applications to our chosen universities via UCAS; my five choices were:

English and Media

English and TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language)
In January, I received two conditional offers from NTU for the first two in the list. I later received an interview offer for Photography, which I turned down and withdrew that choice as that what my "backup" if I had been rejected for all the others; a conditional offer for Journalism and this evening, I received a fourth conditional offer - for English.
The hard part now will be deciding which of my four choices I want and which one I will have as my reserve option. I am obligated to respond by May, otherwise my offers will be withdrawn. Still, I have something to celebrate - none of my choices were turned down and each received a positive response!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The victorious Bieber and Carter

I've written two posts on Facebook today:

"Justin Bieber has won a Grammy! In all fairness to the Bieber, he does perhaps deserve it: He is, after all, one of the few people who has made a song that Skrillex has had anything to do with actually sound like music and not a chaotic cacophony of commotion."

The Grammy was for the song "Where Are Ü Now", on which Justin Bieber collaborated with Skrillex and Diplo. I don't really know who Diplo is but Skrillex is someone who, in my estimation, makes music that utterly sucks. While "sucks" isn't language I usually utilize on my blog, "sucks" is the best word that I can use to describe any music I've heard by Skrillex.

In that same Facebook post, I then wrote:

"(And from what I understand, at the Grammys Lady Gaga gave another awesome high-profile performance!)"

Lady Gaga's tribute to David Bowie was well-received. The other "awesome high-profile performance" I was referring to was Gaga's rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at the recent Super Bowl, which was also well-received.

My other post was:

"Turns out that President Jimmy Carter won a Grammy Award, too - his second Grammy, at that. His being 91 must also list him among the oldest people to have won a Grammy. His wins are impressive; more so, I think, than the "major" categories of awards at the ceremony."

President Jimmy Carter won his second Grammy, in the Best Spoken Word Album category. Carter continues to astound me; I think he's an amazing human being and is fully deserving of any positive awards he receives.

I'll wrap this post up by saying that I never expected to write about Justin Bieber and Jimmy Carter together in the same blog post. It's almost as bizarre as the time I wrote about Mary Landrieu and Pixie Lott.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Bought a new pair of headphones

Yesterday evening, I bought off Amazon a pair of headphones; to my surprise, they arrived before midday and so I immediately able to start using them. Great!

The sound quality to the headphones is excellent and the set feels comfortable to my head. The problem with the device is that the speakers do not contain the music to my ears only - other people can hear my music while I'm listening to it. Despite this issue, I don't intend to send them back - they cost me about £10.

As a consequence, though, I shall still use my earbuds when on buses; I have no intent of becoming a pest on the bus because of other people hearing my music. My headphones will likely be something I only use at home, much like my original pair were before they were broken (they were accidentally stepped on).

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Songs from 2006, now a decade old

This article materialised in my Facebook feed yesterday evening:

I know almost all of those songs but the two that I find the most alarming on that list are Rihanna's "Unfaithful" and Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback". I remember those songs popularity as though it happened a few minutes ago. They're both ten years old now? Wow.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Second course second term half-term (2)

I am now in Northamptonshire for the half-term break. True to what I said yesterday about exercise, I went for a walk - a walk that was about five miles in length; shorter than my Hucknall walk last weekend but longer than most other walks I've taken recently. The uphill nature of the walk concerned me, as I expected to be exhausted due to my lack of recent significant exercise but I traversed the hills without tiring.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Second course second term half-term

The first half of my second course's second term ended today; as such, it is now the half-term break and tomorrow I'm going down to see my mother and brother in Northamptonshire for the week. I have two assignments to finish and a lot of exercise to catch up on; if the weather is good, I'll walk five miles a day. I'm writing about the walking here so that I stick to that promise!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Churchill's praise of Chamberlain

History has been deeply unkind the Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister during the start of World War II. He is portrayed as a coward, as somebody who should have pre-emptively attacked Germany and defeated Adolf Hitler before the Third Reich could spread across Europe; Chamberlain appears to receive almost as much blame for the war as Hitler himself, even though he didn't initiate it. The man who succeeded Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, had these words to say upon his death:

"Whatever else history may or may not say about these terrible, tremendous years, we can be sure that Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity according to his lights and strove to the utmost of his capacity and authority, which were powerful, to save the world from the awful, devastating struggle in which we are now engaged. This alone will stand him in good stead as far as what is called the verdict of history is concerned."

History has the benefit of hindsight, which is something Chamberlain was not privy to. The entirety of Churchill's eulogy can be read here.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

A Muslim lady and her flat tire - "What Would You Do?"

The other night, I was watching a few clips from What Would You Do? and came across one involving a Muslim lady in need of help with changing her flat tire. I thought it was an interesting watch:

Watch the man at the end; he is a testament to the kindness of humanity.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The eye tree

On Sunday in Hucknall, I walked past this tree:

It looks as though it has an eye, as in that cut branch mark above the dark spots near the centre. It's an all-seeing tree!

This was the image I wanted to post last night; no issues tonight, fortunately!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Was going to post a picture...

...but Picasa Web Albums isn't loading for me for some reason. Not to's a weather report to fill the void! While we have had strong winds around here for the past couple of weeks, to the point where my hair dries off outside if I go out after just being in the shower, we've recently started to have heavy rains. I had intended to walk on Saturday but the downpours prevented me from doing so; instead, I walked Sunday, when there was a gap in the weather. My bus back this evening featured a fast ride through the rain.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Nostalgia of today

I posted this to Facebook earlier:

"Things I find amusing: 'Ancient-sounding' young people who reminisce about music or other things being better 'back in their day' because they had 'so much more meaning' to them or something along those lines. Of course, such people are usually in their late teens and 'their day', according to them, was five years ago. Seems a bit defeatist to declare oneself a has-been before leaving the starting line."

These two videos from Adam Buckley ("A Dose of Buckley") go into greater detail and, in fact, are where I received the inspiration to write the Facebook post:

What do you think?

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Liveland History: 6th February 2012

Four years ago today, an expanded storage/memory card arrived for me for my then-phone:

I no longer possess either that memory card or the phone. I had to replace the card less than a year later when it became faulty (Amazon replaced it for free) and I gave the phone to my brother when I bought a smartphone. The phone ultimately went into recycling.

Friday, 5 February 2016

"Don't Stop Movin'" - S Club 7

Some time back in 2014, I first heard this song on The Hits Radio:

The station played "Don't Stop Movin'" because S Club 7 reformed after being split for eleven years and this song was their biggest hit. I'd never heard of the band prior to their reunification but thought that "Don't Stop Movin'" was catchy enough to warrant some research into them and a listen to their music.

In the past week or two, something reminded me of the song and, as a result, I wanted to listen to it again.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

In early (4)

For the fourth time in a row, I went early into college on a day off; however, this early arrival was later than usual because the bus I've been taking never materialised. As such, I caught the one that came forty minutes later. When I e-mailed Trentbarton, they replied that the bus had suffered some sort of mechanical failure and stressed that they were sorry for any problem. No worries - I've ridden hundreds of times without issue; this is the first occasion where this has happened and in my experience, Trentbarton are quick at fixing issues.

When I arrived at college it was still not 9:00, which didn't matter today but it was still good to know that even with the delay, I made it before when a class would officially begin. In the library, I finished the assignment I was working on yesterday and started research on my next one.

I promise that this will be the last of the "In early" series...otherwise, every Wednesday and Thursday will consist of the same posts over and over again!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

In early (3)

So, I repeated what I did last week and went in early on a day off to work in the library; as a result, I have been able to almost fully complete another assignment. I have a small amount of it to finish tomorrow morning and then I can hand it in afterwards.

That's three times in a row going in early on a day off has yielded positive results; I intend to maintain this strategy.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Money on elections

I have said before that too much money is spent on elections in the United States. I think this is a serious cause for concern for the electorate and people of any political persuasion should be bothered by it. Here is a blatant example from Iowa yesterday:

About $2,800 per vote for Jeb Bush? If he had won the Iowa Caucuses it could have been a justifiable expense but spending $14,000,000 only to come in 6th place with less than 3% of the vote? Those millions could have been spent on something else or even saved to generate money elsewhere. Such a waste. Perhaps now that American voters are becoming less enthused about candidates who attempt to overwhelm their opponents with vast amounts of cash less money will be invested in elections.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Iowa 2016

While American election seasons usually unofficially start the moment one election has finished, today's Iowa Caucuses can be considered the official start to the 2016 presidential election. At present, I decline to give any detailed insight into which candidates I support or oppose and I don't anticipate writing many posts on the election; that being said, I will be following it with deep interest.