Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Shrinking chocolate

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

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

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

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

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

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

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

Monday, 28 November 2016

Term 1, year 1 close approaching

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

Sunday, 27 November 2016

...and now for another!

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

Saturday, 26 November 2016

One birthday party to attend this month...

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

Friday, 25 November 2016

"Murder on the Dancefloor" - Sophie Ellis Bextor

Another song I heard from this past summer:

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

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Return to Central November 2016

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

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

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

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

"Musicians vs Cellphones" - A Dose of Buckley

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

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

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

First university assignment returned

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

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

Still, a good result for my first university assignment!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Bad headline

Here is a good example of a bad headline:

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

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

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Development in the next French presidential election

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

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

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

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Nottingham Post awards ceremony invitation

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

Friday, 18 November 2016

Banning some trolls (2)

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

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

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Banning some trolls

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

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

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

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

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

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

This is my fourth of five feel-good songs:

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

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

Monday, 14 November 2016

"I Love It" - Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX

A third feel good song:

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

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

Sunday, 13 November 2016

"Give It Up" - KC and the Sunshine Band

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

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

Saturday, 12 November 2016

"Pray" - Take That

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

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

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Klan

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

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

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

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Election 2016: Post-Mortem

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

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

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

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

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

There, I've told it as it is.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Post 2000

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

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

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Ready for the 2016 election

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

Monday, 7 November 2016

"Fight Song" - Rachel Platten

Here is a song from 2015:

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

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

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The case to elect Hillary Clinton

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

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

1. Experience

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

2. Calm under pressure

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

3. Supreme Court

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

4. Obama's legacy

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

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

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Access Student of the Year - the awards ceremony

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 4 November 2016

Some helping out

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

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

Thursday, 3 November 2016

They're up here now

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

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

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Improved description/tagline - again!

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Seeing relatives

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

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