Saturday, 30 April 2016

Cat on the way

When on my return walk this evening, I spotted this cat:

The cat was less bothered about my presence than I was of its; well, I wasn't bothered - rather, I hadn't noticed the cat until I had almost stepped on it. I was able take some photographs and then cross the road without the cat moving away.

Friday, 29 April 2016

"Someone cares about you"

When walking across a bridge over the Trent this evening, I saw this positive message written onto the rails:

This bridge appeared in this post and I wrote about love locks here.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

"Unrealistic" policies and defeatism

An aspect of the 2016 presidential election in the United States that has disappointed me is how proposals by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, which if implemented would massively change systems such as education and healthcare, have been dismissed and mocked as "unrealistic" and "never going to happen". It's disappointing because I want to know this: Where this defeatism in the United States come from?

Years ago, US presidents regardless of their political affiliation would make grand promises as to how they would improve life for everyday Americans. They would aim high and even if they weren't able to achieve everything, they would at least have achieved something. Even Herbert Hoover, who was defeated in a landslide by FDR in 1932 for being a highly ineffective president, once said, "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage". He didn't campaign on, "Every American having a roof over their heads and a food on their plates? Completely unrealistic!". Voters would never have granted him a first term, let alone a chance for a second.

Whether or not you agree with Sanders' policies isn't my point; rather, it's that his proposed sweeping changes are viewed as pipe dreams and that many people seem to want to accept no change to a system that they supposedly think is severely broken and in need of fixing. People complain about the system and when someone different comes along and offers different solutions, they admit defeat by dismissing that person and voting for the very system they claim to despise. If that attitude had been more prevalent years ago, the likes of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and even Ronald Reagan would never have been elected.

American presidents used to promise everything under the Sun to the public and would at least try to deliver. Many attitudes of decades ago are better off being left in the past but perhaps that's one to bring back.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

"This One Brave Soul Spoke Out Against Internet Procrastination. The Response Completely Changed My View On Life!"

I posted this to Facebook a few hours ago:

"Recently, I've become more active in *not* clicking clickbait headlines. So far, it has worked and has saved me valuable time for more productive tasks. Should have done it sooner!

However, even before I started, the type of headline I was ignoring was 'Person 1 said something and Person 2 DESTROYED them!'. These aren't even clickbait anymore...they're just outright ridiculous and entered old hat territory when I read about how certain US presidential candidates were DESTROYED this way (some several times, in fact) yet still have active campaigns."

I usually groaned, tutted or muttered something whenever I saw such headlines but I continued to read articles associated with them until I saw a dozen or so pages about Donald Trump being "demolished", "destroyed" or "obliterated" by someone who made some mildly witty remark about something he'd said. The blatantly-bogus headlines became boring (and no, this isn't an endorsement of Trump - it's possible to be a critic and still reject nonsensical claims about someone or something).

Oh, and the clickbaity title for this post is intentional; it's from a comment I posted on my Facebook post when a friend and I were joking about this topic. This is, by far, my longest blog post title.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

"Moving Mountains" - Skylar Grey

One of my favorite artists recently released another single:

It's "Moving Mountains" by Skylar Grey. The song will likely be from her as-of-yet-unnamed next studio album. As usual, this song of Grey's is beautiful.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Time for some exercise

Over my current college course, I have exercised to the level I did during my first year. Instead, I've spent more time doing work or riding buses to take walks in other places, such as Calverton and Kimberley, rather than walking to Nottingham itself. As such, I have put on some weight.

This isn't too big a deal; I have still been taking walks and when the course starts winding down I'll be able to fit some more time in for exercise then, as well as take walks during the summer break. Once I make it into NTU Clifton, there are plenty of places to walk around there, so I'm not too worried; I'll be able to catch up.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Whistling Prince

This morning, my grandfather asked my cousin and me about what music of Prince's we listened to. I didn't hear what my cousin said but I replied that I'd heard "1999", "When Doves Cry" and "Raspberry Beret". The discussion inspired me to listen to "Raspberry Beret", as it had been nearly a couple of years since I last heard it.

Coincidentally, while I was in a pub with a friend this afternoon, I heard someone whistling "Raspberry Beret". The only reason I heard the whistle above the noisy pub was because of my recent listening to the song, which likely caused my brain and hearing to separate it from all the other sounds.

Needless to say, my friend was amused when she saw me looking around to see who was whistling!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A visit from the East of England

My East of England aunt, uncle and one cousin are here for the night; my other cousin from there and his girlfriend were also here but they recently left to return to their city. For the evening, my aunt and uncle showed us some of their pictures from their visit to Aisa, which they undertook last month and into part of April. I still have to show my grandparents what I took in Poland.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Final college exam results

I received the results of my Sociology essay from last week. My grade? A Distinction.

I am delighted with this result. This was my sixth exam at my college, when my GCSEs from last year are counted, and until today I'd never earned more than a Merit or a B grade in any of them. What makes this better is that this was my final exam; while I still have more assignments to complete, I no longer have any exams at college. The next ones will likely be at university.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The library survey

My college's library was running a survey today for feedback about how to improve it and its services. The included the standard questions about staff service, the computers and the books available; my response was to rate all highly, as the library has been a massive boost to me this academic year, and to include an optional comment, which consisted of me personally praising the staff.

One of the librarians mentioned that the survey was so popular that they nearly ran out of survey sheets for students to fill.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Third and final of a year ago

It was one year ago today when my third and final term of my first college course began. The lesson that day was mathematics and afterwards, several of us went to a presentation about the course most of us are on now, hosted by two of our current teachers. I'm surprised it's been a year even since then - I remember that day like it happened earlier today!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The MANGO cards

There are a few types of cards that can be used on Trentbarton buses to pay for travel. A common type are the MANGO cards; here is a video from the company that explains them:

Another type of card is the Saver, which you pay upfront for unlimited travel for a particular amount of time, such as a year; another are concessionary passes, such as those for people over a certain age so they can travel for free or at a heavily reduced price.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Conditioner and a comb

The last time I had a haircut was August 2014; unsurprisingly, my hair has grown beyond shoulder length. Every day that goes by is the longest my hair has ever been.

However, for the past couple of months, my hair was becoming messier and messier. It was all tangled and knotted and resembled a bird's nest. During the Easter break, Mum spent 45 minutes one evening removing all the knots and tangles from my hair, as well as gave me some conditioner and comb.

I have been using the conditioner and comb every day since. As a result, my hair is now tidy, shiny and soft. On the first day of the new term, several of my classmates and my classmates remarked how good my hair looked; my grandparents like the new hair and my friend on the bus appeared to approve of it, too. I intend to keep it this way for the time being.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Accepted the offer

I have officially accepted my conditional offer for English and Media at NTU Clifton; the regular English course is my insurance offer. As I have accepted early and as I need the same grades for both courses, I anticipate making it onto my first choice. All I need to do is pass my course (and sort out student finance and accommodation).

As for Journalism and English and TESOL, by accepting the other two they have been declined by default. This evening, I made another step towards going to university a reality.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

A Clifton walk and Skylink Express

I visited Clifton today and spent some time walking around there, as well as taking a very short visit to the NTU campus. I planned before the break ended that I would visit Clifton again this weekend for purpose of walking around the place. For about half an hour I was also in Ruddington, as it is right next to Clifton and you can walk from one to the other. I enjoyed a worthwhile afternoon and am glad I went out.

I also rode another Trentbarton bus route: Skylink Express. It's a fast route to East Midlands Airport, getting there in half the time to the regular Skylink; however, Skylink Express travels there via Clifton. Originally, I travelled to Clifton on the Ruddington Connection until that line was closed; without any buses to Clifton on which I could use my pass, I opted to visit other places instead (when I visited the NTU campus there last month, I rode South Notts 1). Skylink Express is a new route, which was introduced when Club Class was closed down.

After my walking, I went to my aunt and uncle's house, as we were all having dinner there. My uncle cooked up a storm for everyone. In all, today's been positive.

Friday, 15 April 2016

One exam, another's results

My Sociology exam this morning went well - I deeply enjoyed writing it and found it fun. I am hoping for a good result but I won't find out what it is for at least a week, possibly two.

In addition, I received my results for the exam I took before the recent break. Unfortunately, while I passed the exam, that was the grade: a Pass. Nothing higher than that. It's my lowest grade of this course but it is, at the end of the day, still a Pass.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Final college exam

The last exam I will ever have to take at my college will occur tomorrow morning. It's a Sociology exam and the topic is about the Family. Once this is complete, that's it, no more exams for me while at college.

However, while it will be the last exam, there are still several assignments left to complete. Huge amounts of work will still remain once this exam is done.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

"Sunny" - Boney M.

Seeing as how today was a lovely day with regards to the weather, here is a positive and energy-filled song:

It's "Sunny" by Boney M. and it's from the band's debut album, Take the Heat off Me; both the song and the album were released in 1976 - an astounding forty years ago. I've heard many of Boney M.'s songs and "Sunny" is easily my favourite; Boney M. covered the original from Bobby Hebb. I first heard about Boney M. when Dad purchased a "best of" compilation album of theirs over a decade ago.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

New Tutorials teacher

Prior to the recent break, our Tutorials teacher conducted her final lesson with my class before she left to pursue a new job. We were told that she would be replaced and we were wondering who her replacement would be; the mystery increased yesterday when our Sociology teacher said that she recently met the replacement.

The new Tutorials teacher is not a new employee and is, in fact, someone with whom I am familiar and vice versa. When I'm waiting in reception during the mornings, I almost always see her walking back and forth and in the past couple of months we began acknowledging each other. While the teacher is new to everyone else, to me she's a long-term friendly face and she and I joked about our interactions after the lesson.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Sixth and final

I have been back in Nottingham since yesterday afternoon and today marked the start of the third term of my second course or rather, my sixth and final term at my college. My sixth term overall...well, as I said yesterday, it's been two years since my initial interview. Back then I'd yet to officially start and's almost over.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

The college interview redux

Do you remember this post two years ago to this date?

Two years since my initial interview at college. Two years. The days when I was applying for college seem as though they happened ages and ages ago. Next up, university!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Two tasks for tomorrow follow-up

My post about having two tasks to complete? The tasks were indeed addressed; one was to write the music award post and the other was to write some e-mail. Both were finished on time, as were some other things I needed to do that day. Hooray for small achievements - they help lead to bigger victories!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Criticism of the youth

I recently posted this to Facebook

"When I am much older than I am now, something I promise to do then is to *not* insult generations of people younger than me. There is this tedious trend in which the generations in charge of the world complain about those who come after them. The people who will reach adulthood in twenty years time will have lived in different shoes than me; it will not be my place to judge them and in the event I renege on this promise, please call me out on it."

The current new generation or two receives an awful lot of criticism from the very generations that were responsible for raising them. Before, those older generations received criticism from those that raised them. Rather than continue the cycle, my intention is to treat those younger than me with respect, as I already do and should do because being considerate towards others is what a person should do as a decent member of society and not a douche.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Music and Words Award #MWA

My good friend and fellow blogger Jessica nominated me for a Music and Words Award a few weeks ago, which I have now accepted. This is the first award I have ever received for my blog and I thank Jessica for it. I am required to perform the following five steps and answer the subsequent five questions:

1.) Link back to the person who nominated you.
2.) Answer the questions with words AND music.
3.) Pass the award on to 5 bloggers who inspire
     you with their posts about music. Be sure to
     notify them about the award.
4.) Tag your post with #MWA for Music & Words
     Award so we can all find you down the line.
5.) Quote these 5 steps and display the award icon
     in your post and also on your sidebar if you wish.

The Q & A 

1. What Does Music Mean to You?

One of music's main two benefits is that it cheers us up when we are down and/or gives us energy when we need a boost. Are you upset? Listen to something that makes you happy. Feeling lethargic? Listen to something that wakes you up and causes you to move. Feeling nostalgic? Listen to something that causes you to revisit old memories.

Music's other main benefit is that it is a uniting force. Finding a person who dislikes music is a nearly impossible task due to its ability to transcend demographic groups and personal opinions. One person can be a heterosexual atheist man who is politically liberal while another is a bisexual Christian woman with libertarian tendencies but both can find common ground in, say, a mutual appreciation for Evanescence or Iggy Azalea. This is far preferable to conflict and division.

A generic post on the benefits of music was one of my first blog pieces. For a song that fills me with energy, here is "Don't Be So Hard on Yourself" by Jess Glynne:

2. What is your first music related memory?

In the early 1990s, I recall Dad playing CDs by Enya and The Buggles; that's how I came to know "Orinoco Flow" and "Video Killed the Radio Star". A few years later, Dad introduced me to the Pet Shop Boys. All three of these musical artists have stuck with me all these years later. Here is "Orinoco Flow":

3. What was the first album you purchased yourself?

That would be Hot Fuss - The Killers and The Vienna I Love - Andre Rieu (for Mum). I was ripped off because I paid for useless insurance for both albums. That being said, that incident never dampened my enjoyment of either album.

"Everything Will Be Alright" is my favourite song from Hot Fuss, despite the wording error in the song's title:

4. What was the latest music you purchased? (No online streaming or free downloads,
I’m talking about cash here!)

Disclosure's Settle, which I bought from the HMV in Nottingham's Victoria Centre. I'm not usually into their sort of music, as they fall somewhat into the dubstep genre, but their use of quality guest vocalists and lack of the usual annoying dubstep beats makes them worthy of my attention. From Settle is "White Noise" featuring AlunaGeorge, which is my second-favourite Disclosure song and the track that created my interest in them:

5. Which song did you listen to last? (No cheating, come out with the dirty pleasures!)

The Black Space remix of ODESZA and Zyra's "Say My Name". I often listen to this song while riding the bus but I listened to it earlier as the last song before I went to bed. I'd never heard of ODESZA or Zyra until I stumbled across them one day on Soundcloud.

My nominations

I don't know enough other music bloggers to nominate for this award! Jessica is an obvious choice but she's already been nominated. My best choice is Stephanie at World Turn'd Upside Down; Stephanie is another friend of mine and while her blog is primarily about United States history and re-enactments, she occasionally posts about historical music, which I think qualifies her for this award. Thus, I nominate Stephanie.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Two tasks for tomorrow

I have two tasks to complete tomorrow. One is to answer something that my good friend and fellow blogger Jessica sent me a few weeks ago. It's a piece of positive news!

The other is to reply to lengthy e-mails from two friends. My email is filled with over 400 unread messages (mostly notifications that I haven't bothered to clear) and I need to craft some responses. The purpose of this post is that they are tasks I do need to complete tomorrow and writing about them here ensures I find some time to address them.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

"Support" for Trump

If you thought, based on this post's title, that I was openly endorsing a political candidate in this US presidential cycle, nope! That's not the case here, hence the quotes around "support".

The point of this post is that the other day, I was critical of someone who was expressing their hatred of Americans and American English. In retaliation, the person attempted to deflect criticism via use of a nonsensical irrelevancy in that they called another person and me (both of whom support Democrats, I should note) supporters of 2016 US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The "insult" here made me laugh because it was so ridiculous and because I much preferred it to when trolls attempted to attack me by trivializing non-political demographic groups of which I'm not a member. "Trump supporter" was downright hilarious!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Use of demographic groups as insults

In the past two days, some online trolls, in the context of a discussion, referred to me as a "pretty girl" and "transgender". Okay, some jerks showed off their immaturity by resorting to childish name calling to try to win. Yep, but the name calling is not the issue here.

No, my problem is the use of "pretty girl" and "transgender" as insults. By doing this, the trolls were demeaning women and transpeople and insinuating that falling into one or both of those categories is shameful. The goal of the trolls was to try to trivialise me by comparing me to demographic groups that they perceived to be weaker than men.

The trolls failed in their goal, of course, as I don't consider women and transpeople to be weaker than me. Instead, the trolls only exposed their hatred for people who aren't like them (the trolls were men). Educating them on their ignorance wasn't possible, as they refused to listen to any reason.

Don't use demographic groups as insults. Actually, I'll go one step further: don't resort to insults as a method of winning an argument. In the end, if people disagree with you and your response is to demean others, you'll be the one viewed in a negative light by society.


Note: This article was initially incorrectly titled as "Use demographic groups as insults"; this has been rectified.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

"Somersaults in Spring" - Friends of Gemini

I heard this song for the first time recently:

It's "Somersaults in Spring" by Friends of Gemini. While I like this song, I know next to nothing about Friends of Gemini themselves, other than that "Somersaults in Spring" was used in Stuck in Love; as of yet, no Wikipedia article on the band exists and there is a dearth of information about them elsewhere on the Internet.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

No April Fools' jokes

Yesterday was April Fools' Day and, much to my relief, my brother, mother and I did not play any jokes on each other. I was glad about this, as I don't find April Fools' Day funny; really, a day every year on which people play obviously-fake jokes on each other is predictable and boring.

About the only bright side to it is that, as pointed out on social media, it is the only day of the year when people critically evaulate news articles to determine whether or not they are fake. Perhaps people ought to do this every day.

Oh, and I have complained about April Fools' Day here before. At any rate, rant over!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Bloggers Blog Party - February 2016

Here it is: February 2016's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party:

Monday 1st February: I witnessed this beautiful sky on one of my return trips from a day at college. At this point, the nights were still arriving early.

Sunday 7th February: This is a major road in Hucknall; I've walked along it at least twice. Walking here and up or down Hucknall's main road is about a five mile walk.

Monday 8th February: Cadbury Dairy Milk with marshmallows! These are tasty but rare, from what I can tell.

Tuesday 9th February: The digestive biscuit on the left was missing half its chocolate. In fact, it was probably missing more than that because the part that was covered was only lightly layered when compared to the digestive on the right.

Thursday 11th February: Villager 1 in the morning, heading towards Newton and taken from the Villager 1 towards Nottingham.

Friday 12th February: I learnt on this day that colouring books for adults exist.

Tuesday 16th February: This white horse is the first equine that I stroked since the horses I was friendly with back in 2009 in Oregon.

Friday 19th February: A bus in Leicester, while I was on my way back to Nottingham after the second half-term break.

Wednesday 24th February: Some of the scenery in Poland as our coach was on the way to Auschwitz.

Thursday 25th February: This is a random view of downtown Krakow in Poland. When it comes to walkability, I'd say that Krakow falls somewhere in the middle, although it's not too difficult walking around at night when traffic is less.

Friday 26th December: Some chocolate I purchased in Poland. I shared it with family.