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.