Thursday, 30 June 2016

"Stronger" - Kanye West

As surprising as this might soung, I like this song:

It's "Stronger" by Kanye West, which is from his album Graduation and samples "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" by Daft Punk. I remember when this song started to play on American radio in 2007 - it changed my brother's and my opinion of West from negative to positive, as we thought the song was a huge improvement from what we'd heard from him before; we enjoyed some of the songs we heard from Graduation and the following album, 808s and Heartbreak.

West is seen as a bit of an egotistical buffoon in the public eye but compared to some people, he's harmless and "Stronger" is a good song, as are some of his other works.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

"Toy Story 4" - Robot Chicken

When my family and I lived in America, one show that Dad, my brother and I enjoyed was Robot Chicken, a stop-motion animation sketch comedy on [adult swim]. The show tends to joke about popular culture and while it's quite vulgar, Robot Chicken is hilarious.

I recently re-discovered Robot Chicken when I came across some Harry Potter-related clips from it but one that might resonate more with people is this one:

That's quite a piece of dark humor about Toy Story! I miss watching Robot Chicken; watching it with Dad is a pastime I'll never be able to experience again.

As for Toy Story 4, that is a real film and is supposed to be released in 2018.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A college evening meal

I went out this evening with college friends for for a meal. We all had a delightful time and enjoyed ourselves. I'm on my bus back now and thought I'd type this up before midnight.

Monday, 27 June 2016

A hateful rise

Since the EU referendum, there has been a significant rise in hate crimes directed at minority communities; David Cameron, who is still the Prime Minister for now, has spoken out again the crimes:

The trouble is, it's hard to have a discussion about the rise in racism because every the conversation occurs, defensive responses about how "not all Brexiters" are racists and that the Remain camp are the "real racists" pour in. It's not a case of every Brexiter being a racist - it's that people who are racist have been emboldened by the outcome of the referendum.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Wasp on the bus

So I'm sat at the back of the bus, listening to my music through my earbuds and minding my own business when this wasp showed up and decided it would not only buzz near me but also land on my shoulder. I stood up and brushed it away...only for it to land on my shoulder again. Rinse, repeat. The only person at the back of the bus is a guy also listening to earbuds, who's wary of the wasp, too. I ask him if it's gone and he points to my shoulder.

This time, I jump up and move seats completely. The guy and I watched the wasp as it flew near to a window and then disappeared. At this point, a man with his two young daughters boarded the bus and they all sat at the back, behind me and the guy. And who should make a re-appearance?

The wasp is back! This resulted in some minor chaos as the two girls panicked about the wasp as their father tried to contain the insect somehow. By now, I had to leave the bus and don't know what ultimately happened beyond the fact that one of the girls jumped into my previous seat once I stood up.

When I told my grandfather this evening about the wasp, he said the one thing that's worse is being the driver and not being able to get away from an insect that stings. We on the bus would have been in trouble if the driver was being stung!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The female bus drivers

Since starting college nearly two years ago, I've taken hundreds of bus rides. I would estimate that anywhere from 95-99% of those buses have been driven by men. On almost every occasion when there has been a driver swap, a female driver has been replaced by a male one but I cannot recall the other way around ever occurring.

Today, something I've never seen before happened: A female bus driver, at the end of her shift, was replaced by another woman. Yep, a long route I was taking featured only women at the helm. There weren't any men around to guide or pester them - the women were in charge.

I'm sure that female bus drivers do succeed other female bus drivers at shift endings more often than I've observed it happening but given that bus driving is a heavily male-dominated profession, I thought this was a fascinating event to witness. More female bus drivers would be highly welcome - the last bus driver I had at the end of the day was also a woman and an absolutely lovely human being. Unlike a handful of the men, all of the women bus drivers I've encountered so far have been happy and positive.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The vote out

The result of the United Kingdom's referendum on its membership in the European Union was a "Leave" win. This means that negotiations are to begin for the UK's departure from the political union. Prime Minister David Cameron is to resign, on the basis that he was unable to secure a "Remain" vote and that his successor should handle the process.

The long-term implications of this vote are unknown but already the Pound has crashed in its value and other EU nations will seek to punish Britain in the negotiations. It's hard to tell how the country is supposed to benefit from this vote when the immediate consequences have been a disaster.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The EU referendum

Today has been the day of the United Kingdom holding a referendum on its status within the European Union - will it vote to stay in or to come out? All I can say at this point is that I participated in the election and results will come through overnight.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Calverton greens

I visited Calverton last week and took another shot of the greens surrounding the town:

Calverton is one of the prettiest places around here and its bus link is a fun ride in itself. To anyone visiting Nottingham, I certainly recommend a trip to Calverton.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The advisor's return

As I wrote about in April 2014, my first interview at college was with an incredibly helpful progression advisor. She had me do an assessment on the day and she aided my application onto my first college course. Yesterday, for the first time since November 2014, I met with her; it had been my intention to e-mail her to let her know about how I've progressed but instead I had the opportunity to talk to her in person, thanks to one of her colleagues.

My progression advisor's response? She remembered my interview well and she was delighted at my progress; she was also pleased that I even wanted to tell her about my experiences at college. My advisor told me that most students usually forget about people in her position, so for anyone to come back and thank her was a pleasant surprise.

Monday, 20 June 2016

"Sorry" - Buckcherry

Here's another song that I'm surprised I never wrote about sooner:

It's "Sorry" by Buckcherry and is the final single from 15, the band's third album. "Sorry" was popular on American radio back in 2007 and 2008 and was one of many great rock songs (in my opinion) that were released in those years, which also happened to make it onto pop radio. I can't say I'm familiar with Buckcherry's work but I love "Sorry" and have been listening to it a lot lately.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

"dads go free"

If Dad were still alive, I could have taken him on a voyage around the East Midlands via bus...for free!

He might have slept his way through the journey, though, so even if he didn't see much scenery at least he would have had a pleasant rest.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

The dwindling numbers redux

This recent Wednesday at college, the place seemed empty, regardless of which part of the building I was located; however, Thursday and for much of Friday the activity picked right back up again. Both the library and canteen were brimming with students.

Make no mistake about it, thought - the amount of students in the place is declining as various courses come to their conclusions. For just that little bit longer, however, the academic year endures.

Friday, 17 June 2016

The librarian's return

Yesterday, the librarians at college and I were both surprised when a librarian who left back in January returned to my college to visit and see how everyone was doing. This librarian was the one who gave my class from my first year at college a tour of the library facilities and I interacted with him quite significantly during this course until he left.

Once the librarian had finished talking to his former colleagues, he came over and spoke to me for about ten minutes before he bid his farewells and departed. The other librarians and I were all delighted that he'd come back to chat; making the occasional visit is something I'd like to do when I leave college.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Jo Cox

Today, for the first time in over a quarter of a century, a sitting British Member of Parliament was killed:

Jo Cox, a Labour MP, represented the constituency of Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire. She was speaking to constituents in the town of Birstall when a man shot and stabbed her, then left her for dead. Cox later died of her injuries.

It has been reported that her murderer shouted "put Britain first" and/or "Britain first!". Britain First is the name of a far-right party here in the United Kingdom; as such, it is possible that this attack was motivated by nationalism, given that the EU referendum is next week.

Regardless of motives and the standing of the victim in society, an accomplished person and mother has died; Cox had a husband and two young children; I don't envy him having to explain to his children what happened to their mother.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The dwindling numbers

Today, I noticed for the first time during this course how quiet the college seemed. My floor of the building only had a couple of major classes present, the canteen was sparsley populated and while a couple of noisy group were located in the library (with a couple of the members having to be removed by the librarians), overall that part of the college was also empty in comparison to how it has been in there even as little as a week ago.

It's an eerie feeling, the college being this empty and quiet. Many courses have concluded and I know more will be finished by the end of this week, so next Wednesday the place will be even emptier. It's a reminder that my time at college is coming to a close.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

"To the Moon and Back" - Savage Garden

I've only listened to a few Savage Garden songs but of the ones I have heard, this is my favourite:

It's "To the Moon and Back", which released in 1996 as the second single from the band's self-titled debut album. Savage Garden released a few singles to success in the mid-to-late 1990s before they disbanded in the early 2000s

Monday, 13 June 2016

Vigil from Nottingham

This evening, Nottingham held, near a prominent statue, a vigil for the victims of the Orlando shooting:

There were at least thirty people gathered there, maybe more, all showing solidarity.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

"The Arguments of Pro-Gun People" - A Dose of Buckley

The United States has experienced its worst mass shooting ever. Close to a year ago, Adam Buckley from "A Dose of Buckley" made a generic video about gun control:

It's worth a watch.

Saturday, 11 June 2016


I rode the Keyworth Connection to its destination - the town of Keyworth:

Keyworth is about a half-hour bus ride from the centre of Nottingham. It's a fairly hilly town, not as much as Kimberley but more so than Calverton and Hucknall. I wasn't there for long but I'll go again at some point and spend a greater amount of time walking around.

There's also a Budgen's store in Keyworth; the last time I saw one of these stores was when I visited family in the East of England; my aunt there said they're rare.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Nearly crushed another

In March 2015, one of my pairs of earbuds was crushed when it fell out of my shirt pocket as I crossed the main road by my college. Ever since then, I have been using the other set of earbuds that came with it. This afternoon, my Galaxy S III, which is my music player, fell out of my bag (while in the class room, not in the road!) and as I put my foot down, I heard a crunching noise and thought I'd destroyed my other earbud set.

Fortunately for me, the earbuds were fine; my foot hadn't cause them any damage. I would have been annoyed with myself if they had been wrecked, as they are a good pair and I'd rather not have to replace them for a while longer.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Eddie Izzard and the University of Nottingham session

Two days ago, I received a message via my college e-mail address about an event at the University of Nottingham today, at which comedian Eddie Izzard was to give a speech/Q&A session about his perspective on the upcoming European Union referendum here in the United Kingdom. My college had received some tickets by the university and the tickets were offered to some students on a first come, first served basis. I was the first to request one.

Izzard is in favour of the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union and his session was geared towards convincing students to vote to remain; however, he provided his audience with advice that applies to anyone. For example, he advised that people should not rely on soundbites when they wish to make an informed vote; if a politician or other high-profile figure makes a claim, that claim should be researched rather than unconditionally believed. Izzard encouraged people to vote in the referendum regardless of what they ultimately choose.

Overall, I very much enjoyed Izzard's speech/Q&A. He provided a decent balance of comedy and information and kept to a positive theme. Three other students travelled with me from my campus, as did a member of staff, and they also enjoyed the session; in addition, we became friends.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Presidential primaries, 2016 - conclusion

The final block of presidential primaries in the United States occurred last night. The Republican nomination has been decided ever since Indiana but the Democrats were still battling it out; however, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was defeated in four of the six states up yesterday, including in California. He is unable to win his party's nomination after those losses.

I can now reveal that I was supporting Sanders in this election. I made the decision last summer that I would be on his side. His policy positions and my political thoughts are mostly aligned and I think Sanders is a good human being in general; he would have made an excellent president and would have been transformational in a positive sense. While this only cemented my support for him rather than decided it, I have also taken the presidential quiz and it informed me that I agree with him over 90% of the time (I took the test again tonight and it said 96%, which is a minor improvement from several months ago when it said 95%).

So, yes, I'm most definitely disappointed with this result. I'm also disappointed and furious about the amount of gloating I've observed over the course of the day about his defeats; I consider it to be extremely childish. As for what happens should Sanders leave the race, I'll see what course of action he takes before I support anyone else, assuming I do give any new support.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The walks to Nottingham and Hucknall

By this time last year, I had walked to Nottingham several times, as well as undergone a few of my Hucknall walks. By contrast, this year I've only walked to Nottingham from my grandparents' house once, possibly twice, and haven't walked to Hucknall at all. The reason for this is because of the better bus pass my college provided for me on this course, as it gives me unlimited access to Nottingham and to many of the surrounding areas.

However, my bus pass has taken me to other places, such as Calverton and Kimberley, so even if I haven't been doing the long walks I did a year ago, I have been exploring South Nottinghamshire and beyond during this academic year.

Monday, 6 June 2016

For hours and hours

Today, I underwent my longest spell in college - an astounding eleven hours inside the building! I had my usual timetable and then I gave help to someone for a few more hours afterwards. It hadn't been my intention to beat my previous record (ten hours, I think) - it's just something that happened as today's schedule panned out.

However, unlike the ten hours, during which I spent all of that time inside the building, today I stepped outside for ten minutes before heading back in.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

"White & Nerdy" - "Weird Al" Yankovic

Quite a few songs I used to know really well are turning ten this year; here is one:

It's "White and Nerdy" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, which is from his twelfth studio album, Straight Outta Lynwood, and is a parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin'". The song is one of Yankovic's most known and praised singles; Chamillionaire himself was deeply impressed with the parody and was shocked at the high quality of Yankovic's rapping.

I have written about Yankovic before: I once covered his song "Word Crimes".

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Through Cotgrave

When I returned to Nottingham after my third half-term last year, I took a photo in Cotgrave. I thought I'd do the same again this year:

Unlike in 2015, however, this time we did not stop in the town, hence the vehicle-based image; in addition, this is my second photograph of the return, not the first. The weather is similar, though.

Friday, 3 June 2016

And that half-term concludes...

Today marked the final day of my final half-term break at college; my grandfather e-mailed last week and texted today to say that he'll be picking me up tomorrow. Upon this return to Nottingham, I shall be completing the last part of my two years at college, then it'll be the summer break and then it'll be university.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The old history book

I have been working on a History assignment about the US Civil Rights Movement, which is due next week. I haven't borrowed any books from the college library for this assignment and, as such, was in need of a book or two to add to the diversity of sources I use. I asked my brother for help and one of the books he located for me in the house was this one:

I was using America's Past and Promise ten years ago for American history, during the period when my brother and I were homeschooling. I never expected to use this book again.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bloggers Blog Party - March, April and May 2016

At long last, here are March and April 2016's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party posts, merged into one piece along with those from May of this year:


Saturday 5th March: This menacing black cloud lorded over Nottingham on this evening; I posted another picture of the cloud nearer to the time of its appearance.

Sunday 6th March: Various construction projects have been occurring in Hucknall recently; this one is near to the town centre.

Wednesday 9th March: This long hallway can be seen when someone enters a part of my college campus separate to the main building.

Friday 11th March: I rarely go inside the Nottingham Council House but sometimes when I do, I take a photograph to allow others to see its interior.

Saturday 12th March: I rode the TrentBarton 141 route for the first time; while it travels through various villages from Hucknall to Sutton, I departed the bus in Mansfield.

Sunday 13th March: Just a small of the centre of Derby, looking over the river towards the Jurys Inn.

Monday 14th March: These cupcakes were available in my college's canteen in the weeks leading up to Easter. They are delicious!

Saturday 19th March: In this room, I listened to a speech by a Nottingham Trent University lecturer about English. The lecturer appear after I took this photo; I wasn't on my phone while he was speaking, of course.

Tuesday 22nd March: The White Hat is a pub on the TrentBarton Black Cat route; this was my first journey on Black Cat.

Thursday 24th March: I received this free chocolate Creme Egg on my bus trip back from college.


Sunday 3rd April: I spotted this muddy area with a track through it in this field not far from my mother's house.

Friday 8th April: From a field near to the one in the previous picture, I photographed this sunset. I was careful to not directly point my phone at the Sun, even with the clouds surrounding it.

Thursday 14th April: I spotted this odd mug located in a random corner of my college; in particular, on the main stairwell. It was still there the next day but has since been removed.

Also on the 14th of April, I spotted these three ducks lying down near one of the main bus streets in Nottingham. Despite the noise of people and traffic, they appeared to be comfortable.

Friday 15th April: Chocolate rice cakes are not something I recall coming across until I noticed them in the Tesco inside the Victoria Centre.

Saturday 16th April: This is Skylink Express, which is one of TrentBarton's newest bus routes; I used it to travel to Clifton and was my first time on the link.

Sunday 17th April: Another view of an area near to the centre of Derby. Not a bad area to walk around, central Derby.

Also on this day, a view of a part of the market square in Bingham. I was there in the early evening on this day.

Saturday 23rd April: I thought this was a pretty neat name for a street; it's located in Calverton.

Sunday 24th April: A friend and I went to the pub on this afternoon and I ordered this chili dog, which was extremely tasty. I walked some of it off later in the day.

Saturday 30th April: The University of Nottingham is located near this major route; however, as NTU is the university I'll be attending, I won't be in this area.


Monday 2nd May: Jess Glynne is coming to Nottingham! A shame that I won't be attending her concert, however.

Wednesday 11th May: Billboards for the next Doom game by iD Software started to appear around Nottingham.

Saturday 14th May: This scenery, which includes a view of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, was taken from a Red Arrow bus.

Monday 16th May: My college received some brand new chairs for its reception. I was present while the chairs were being installed.

Saturday 21st May: Joe's Kitchen is a restaurant that came to Nottingham during the improvements to/expansion of the Victoria Centre. I haven't yet eaten there, though; I like the sign.

Thursday 26th May: The "Periodic Table of Beer Styles" was something I encountered on this day.

Saturday 28th May: I recently learnt how enjoyable it can be to sit in the non-driver front seat of a bus. I usually sit on the first set of raised seats but on some buses I take this front seat, if possible. I think this was near Draycott but I'm not fully certain.