Saturday, 24 June 2017

Liveland History: 24th June 2012

Five years ago, I posted some of the pictures I'd taken of Carrie Underwood's concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which occurred a few days earlier on the 21st:

That was the first concert I ever attended as well as my first time in London since moving back to the United Kingdom. There's not much to add here other than it was an all-around good evening and it was a pleasure to come across this old post again when seeing what I'd written on this day in past years.

The post from the day of the concer is here.

Friday, 23 June 2017

The referendum...a year on

It has officially been a year since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in the in/our referendum the country held last year. While the leave proceedings were activated back in March, negotiations to leave only began this week.

I still don't see what positives are going to come from leaving the European Union. The EU will want to protect itself from other countries trying to leave and so it will likely make an example of this country during the negotiations. Then there's the fact the recent election produced a hung parliament, so the current Prime Minister has less of a mandate than she did before. Beyond that, we still don't know how the country will fare once it is "out".

There were so many unknowns, as was noted often during the referendum campaign. Where this road one knows.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

For abs and arms

During one of the recent days at my grandparents' house, my grandfather and I sorted out their garage. While doing so, I came across a medium-sized device that looked like motorbike handles attached to a pump.

My grandfather said it was an exercise device for the torso and arms. While I walk lots, I haven't done much in the way of improving my arm strength and reducing excess stomach fat. As my grandfather no longer uses the device and didn't want to throw it away, he gave it to me.

So now I have my own exercise pump! Even a few minutes use of it per day will work wonders; the key now is to ensure I use it each day. The motivation? Keeping fit and healthy!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

"Depressed" - DHT

This is the second to last track on my copy of Listen to Your Heart by Belgian band DHT:

It's "Depressed". As I wrote in a post of mine from over five years ago, when I first heard the track it was unlike anything I'd ever heard before in my music collection; it felt weird possessing such a song within it. Even today, "Depressed" sounds radically different from all my other music.

DHT were also briefly mentioned here. And despite my still not hearing anything new from them since either post linked here, DHT are nevertheless still an active band.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The little spam that was

This absurdity somehow made it through the spam filter and into the pending comments:

"Good day! I could have sworn I've been to this website before but after browsing through a few of the posts I realized it's new to me. Regardless, I'm definitely delighted I came across it and I'll be bookmarking it and checking back often! Feel free to visit my web-site"

It's more of the same nonsense my blog has received over the years: Someone "just (re-)discovers" blog, is ecstatic they found it, intend to follow me aaaaaaannnnddddd...they spam me with their site. Cool story, bro.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Last gardening for now

This afternoon, I finished my fourth and final day of the existing garden work my grandparents had for me. While it was my shortest work day, it was also my most intense because while I was finishing off the hedge cutting, I did so during the hottest part of the hottest day. Regardless, I completed all my outstanding tasks.

There is more work for me to do at their house but not for a couple of weeks. There will be grass to cut again, two hedges to trim and a gate to paint. The hedge I was already trimming might have grown back by then, which would give me some extra work to do. It doesn't matter - I'll be happy to do it!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Baking hot June 2017

The past week or so has seen the hottest weather I've experienced here in a while. While at my grandparents' house, I had to have my large bottle of water with me so that I would keep hydrated - more so than usual. It has honestly been that hot and it's very difficult to cool down.

Even now, it's about 11:00pm and it's still boiling outside. Usually the temperature has cooled down by now but not this evening; tomorrow, I'll be going to my grandparents' again to do some more work and I hope it won't be baking hot out. If it is, however, I'll have my water and I'll borrow a hat from my grandfather.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

"Your Body" - Christina Aguilera

I've been humming this song lately:

It's "Your Body" by Christina Aguilera and comes from Lotus, her seventh and most recent studio album. Both "Your Body" and Lotus were released nearly five years ago and this song is the newest Aguilera single I have heard on the radio. While the song itself received mixed reviews, the music video for "Your Body" has been hailed as one of Aguilera's best.

Friday, 16 June 2017

What decade is he living in?

So, the current President of the United States has now begun work to dismantle President Obama's work in making Cuba a friend:

One of his quotes when announcing this rollback was, ""We will not be silenced in the face of communist oppression any longer". Er...what communist oppression has ever silenced the United States? This reckless, illogical action is nothing more than this president continuing to undo the legacy of his predecessor. There is little to suggest why the United States moving towards its former position on Cuba would be a benefit to anyone.

The current president is talking about communism and Cuba as though they are pressing threats. If this were the 1960s, perhaps he'd be right, but it's 2017 and he's talking nonsense.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The, it wasn't

While I was working at my grandparents' house again today, there were no chickens to assist me. About the only animal that came anywhere close to me was a low-flying pigeon, which thankfully kept flying rather than...unleashed itself below.

I'll be going to my grandparents' again tomorrow to finish off what I didn't complete today. If there is any additional work for me to do, I can always return on Monday, if my grandparents are open to that.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The chicken

I visited my grandparents today to do some garden work for them. One task consisted of me trimming the hedge at the back of their property; while said hedge faces their neighbours' house, the hedge nevertheless belongs to my grandparents.

While I trimmed the hedge, I had "help" from one of the neighbours' chickens. As the leaves from the hedge fell to the ground, the chicken rummaged through it looking for snails to eat. She had previously looked through the rest of the yard for food but decided that her newfound leaves were far more worthy of a forage for food than anywhere else.

I'll be back at my grandparents' house tomorrow and Friday to do more work at theirs.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Sunny London June 2017

This was the weather last Saturday in London:

It was like this all day in London; the only time it was overcast at all was in Clifton at the start of the day. What added to the sunshine was the constant pleasant breeze.

This is only the second image that I've uploaded to my blog this year.

Monday, 12 June 2017

University year 1 - end of academic year

Last Friday, the 9th, marked the official end to this academic year at Nottingham Trent University. While the academic year is over, accommodation contracts don't end until late July and the campus libraries will remain open all summer, albeit at a reduced level compared to term time.

There we have it. My first year at university is complete. I now have the summer to enjoy before year 2 begins in October.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

London 2017 - National Express

My chosen method of travelling to and from London yesterday was via National Express - a coach company. While coaches take longer to reach London than trains do, they are significantly cheaper. Once I knew when I'd be travelling to London, I booked a month and a half in advance and paid a low fare for my tickets; the other trade-off besides the journey taking longer is that I was restricted to taking the buses at the specified booking times. For example, my bus from Nottingham was only the one at 6:05am and my return from London was at 9:30pm; if I'd missed them I'd have to have bought a new ticket for another bus and it would have been more expensive.

The route down was fun. While much of it took place on the M1 (the UK's main motorway from the south to the north), there was a brief stop in Milton Keynes and the route through London to the Victoria coach station took the bus through the Royal Borough of Kensington, which I'd never seen in person before. For the route back, it again stopped briefly in Milton Keynes but also went through downtown Leicester, which makes it the second time I've seen Leicester between 12:00am and 2:00am.

Will I travel via National Express again. Most certainly, yes!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

London trip June 2017

I'm off to London today! I'm currently on a National Express bus bound for the city. My reason reason for travelling to London today is to finally meet, after nine years of knowing her, an online/Skype friend. Should be fun!

Hmm...I haven't posted any pictures for a while now, have I? I'll see what I can do while I'm there, provided the rain doesn't prevent me.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Results of the United Kingdom general election of 2017

All results for the general election are through. Despite expectations that they would increase their majority - possibly drastically - the Conservatives instead lost several seats and with it, their majority in Parliament. As a result, in order to govern, the Prime Minister has had to make a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party, a party in Northern Ireland, who have enough seats to support the Conservatives and give them a small majority.

The Labour Party, which had long been expected to losses masses of seats to the Conservatives, instead gained 30 seats. Labour was able to seize long-term Tory seats such as Canterbury and Kensington, both of which (and other seats) were attributed to heavy turnout of the under-25s, which is estimated to have been over 72% this election. While Labour did lose a handful of seats through a combination of them being in Brexit-voting areas or the UKIP vote went to the Conservatives, Labour otherwise weathered the Brexit vote and also increased its margins in many Remain areas, taking out Tories in the process.

The Scottish National Party lost nearly half of its seats but nevertheless remain the largest party in Scotland and the third-biggest in Scotland. Their losses can be attributed to them overplaying their hand at another independence referendum; Scots mostly consider the matter settled and are likely tired of voting, seeing as they've had more national referendums to vote on when the AV from from 2011 is included.

The Liberal Democrats increased their numbers from 8 to 12 but had their margins reduced in some seats and their former leader, Nick Clegg, was defeated in Sheffield Hallam; his loss marked the first time that Labour has won that seat. Despite taking a heavily pro-Remain stance, Liberal Democrat gains were fairly minor/

The United Kingdom Independence Party/UKIP again failed to win any seats and its share of the vote severely collapsed, in both number and percentage. Many UKIP voters returned to the Tories although there were a large number who returned to Labour, too.

It is hard to predict where British poltics will go from here. Some are expecting another election in the fall but that will depend on how well the Tories can govern with their DUP-backed minority administration. It also depends on if any political infighting takes place within any of the parties; while Jeremy Corbyn appears to have emerged from this election unscathed thanks to his strong campaign and achieving the first Labour seat increase since 1997, many on the Tory side are annoyed with their leader for calling an election which they were supposed to win and, instead, ended up losing.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

2017 election night

I'm at my mother and brother's house, in my brother's room (with him) awaiting the results of the general election. Our intent is to stay up all night or stay up to a point when the result is obvious. The full result won't be known until about 5:00am but a current exit poll points to a hung Parliament, with the Tories and Scottish National Party losing seat and Labour and the Liberal Democrats gaining. Should be interesting.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Jacket luck

I had a bout of good luck yesterday afternoon. As it was raining outside, I wore my thin coat over my fleece; however, by the time I made it to my bus it had stopped raining, was warm and I was sweating. I tied both my fleece and my coat around my waist before I boarded the 48 to the city centre.

When I arrived in the centre, without noticing it my jacket slipped off me. It was only when I was in Bulwell that I realised it had come off; at first, I thought I'd lost the coat but then I remembered, assuming it had come off on either the 48 or the 17 (my bus to Bulwell), there was a chance it would be in Nottingham City Transport's lost and found collection. After I'd finished in Bulwell I returned to the city centre on the 68 line.

On that bus back I realised there were other places it could have come off. When I was in the Victoria Centre, for example, although there was a chance I could get it back in there, too; but there were other places, like Bulwell bus station and the entire stretch from the 48 to the 17. I had conceded that the coat was lost but I hoped that someone in need would pick it up, such as a homeless person.

As luck would have it, when I returned to the bus stops back to Clifton, the jacket was next to a bin; it was dirty from being trodden on but it was there! I picked it up in relief and couldn't believe my luck in retrieving what I thought was a lost coat.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

My vote for the United Kingdom's 2017 general election

The general election is nearly upon us. So how is it that the United Kingdom is facing a general election now, after holding one two years ago? The answer is that Parliament voted to hold one three years early, the reason being that the Prime Minister wanted to seek a mandate for her vision of Brexit whereas the leading figures of the opposition have been eager to challenge her, both to claim a mandate for their own Brexit visions and to take the country in a different direction to where it has been travelling for the past seven years.

The two primary figures of this election are Theresa May, who is the current Prime Minister and the leader of the Conservative Party, and Jeremy Corbyn, who's the Leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party leader. Minor figures include Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party, Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats, Caroline Lucas of the Greens and Paul Nuttall of the United Kingdom Independence Party.

With all that in mind, for whom shall I be voting? For once, it's an easy decision: My vote this year will given to Corbyn's Labour and it will be the first time I've ever voted for the Labour Party. In the past, I've voted for smaller parties (not UKIP) because I long considered Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to be three slightly different versions of the same party. Not anymore. With Jeremy Corbyn, a staunch progressive, in charge of Labour, we at last have a clear difference between our two main parties. Instead of proposing more austerity, more tax cuts for billionaires and more war, Corbyn is instead promising to re-invest in the country, such as reversing cuts that have been made to essential services like the National Health Service and the police. Other key policies will be to scrap student tuition fees, to re-nationalise several privatised services and to protect childcare and pensioner benefits, as well as to expand them where possible.While Corbyn's Labour will still be carrying out Brexit, they have promised to do so in a fair manner that benefits Britain, rather than a "Hard Brexit" (or "Brutality Brexit") that leaves the country with nothing, including stripping away human rights that citizens are afforded under European Union law.

For the 2015 election, while Ed Miliband was a leader I could respect, he was regularly sabotaged by his own cabinet, as he was unable to select whom he wanted and was forced to accept was the Parliamentary Labour Party chose for him. As such, whenever he tried to break away from the image of Labour being seen as a second Conservative Party, he was held back and the party's message was clouded; thus, I was not able to vote for Miliband Labour. By contrast, Corbyn has been able to choose his own cabinet and despite a rebellion to overthrow him last year, he has endured and the party message is from him.

Corbyn is regularly dismissed by his critics as an "idealist" with policies that are "unaffordable" and/or "unworkable". My response to that is why are people like Corbyn, who genuinely want to re-invest in this country and its people again, viewed in such a manner whereas nationalists, warmongers and austerity-pushers are all seen as "common sense"? In 1945, after World War II, the United Kingdom was in ruins and what was left of the British Empire was seeking independence; despite this, the Labour government that came into power under Clement Attlee that year established the support system that still exists today, despite erosion from neo-liberal (pro-corporate) policies. If 1945 Britain could do it, why not 2017 Britain? I’ve noticed that the "We are British! We can do anything!" attitude always seems to evaporate when it comes to, say, re-investing in our schools, redeveloping our roads or funding our National Health Service.

And Corbyn isn't someone who is promising a load of "nice things", only to follow up with the opposite once elected; he became an MP in 1983 - the same year as former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown - and his voting record supports his message. This is a man who was arrested for protesting apartheid and was called a "loony lefty" for supporting gay marriage at a time when it was politically unpopular to do so. He has flaws, of course - he is a person, after all - but for the first time in British politics, there is someone I can believe in and trust, similar to how I felt about Barack Obama in 2008. Only this time, however, I can vote - and I shall do so.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Upcoming 2017 general election post

I have started work on a post that will explain my voting intentions for Thursday's general election. I shall be writing it from the perspective of why I think my preferred candidate is qualified, rather than a rant about how much the other side sucks. It's an explanation with possible gentle persuasion, not an attack piece.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

One Love Manchester

This evening, I was at my mother and brother's house, where I watched with them the One Love Manchester concert, headed by Ariana Grande after her concert was bombed over two weeks ago. As a way to support the victims and the city of Manchester, she arranged this benefit concert for them and hosted a range of other musicians, such as Take That, Robbie Williams, the Black Eyed Peas, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell, Little Mix and Liam Gallagher, among many others.

The theme of the concert was love and unity, which were emphasised throughout, as was the power of music. The power of music...reminds me of what I said in a very early blog post of mine:

Given what's been happening in the world as of late, I think we all need more love and unity.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

"Gypsy Woman" - Crystal Waters

A song from when I used to listen regularly to the Heart radio network:

It's "Gypsy Woman", also known as "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" and as "Gypsy Woman (La da dee la da da)", by Crystal Waters, from her debut album, Surprise. This is only one of two songs I know of from Crystal Waters, the other being "100% Pure Love" from her follow-up album, Storyteller, but I heard it on a 1990s dance compilation album named Pulse.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Trentbarton HQ

This afternoon, I travelled to Heanor, Derbyshire, on Trentbarton's Rapid One route to visit the company's headquaters there; however, it was not merely a social call. No, I was there to attend a focus group for how Trentbarton can incentivise more younger people into using their buses.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I attended but the meeting was set out as a chat situated upon comfortable furniture, with a tin of Fox's biscuits on the coffee table; in addition to the two ladies running the group, there were two customers like me who were also in attendance. It was mostly a Q&A session about the services, such as friendliness of the drivers and state of the buses, as well as about fares and methods of pay, such as the MANGO cards.

Overall, I thought it was an enjoyable session. It was a relaxed setting and the ladies who ran the meeting were highly pleasant. Given the amount of times I've travelled on Trentbarton buses, going to their headquarters was something of an honour.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Paris climate agreement redux

So, it happened:

The US President announced that America would indeed be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. His official reason is that it protects American jobs and workers and prevents the country from becoming a laughingstock but his election made it a laughingstock.

The world - and even Americans in general - does not really care about the protection of coal mining jobs in Kentucky and West Virginia nor about the profits of the president's corporate cronies, which is the real reason he's carried out his "promise" to withdraw. That, and because he wants to undo everything President Obama achieved.

This childish and vindictive administration really needs to be reigned in and removed; unfortunately, while his party controls Congress and lives in its own reality, that's not likely for now. His supporters are still no better, thinking that the US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is a victory against "global elites" (it isn't).

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Paris climate agreement

So while the current President of the United States seems set to pull the country out of the Paris Agreement, which is about reducing the world's greenhouse gas emissions and overall pollution, China and the European Union will be issuing a joint statement to stress the importance of the deal:

If the United States were to withdraw, it would only serve to further undermine its credibility, more so coming off the back of the president's disastrous meeting with NATO. Then again, the goal of this president seems to be to undo everything the former president did and to permanently trash the United States' reputation.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Sixth blogging anniversary

I forgot to mention four days ago that it was my sixth anniversary of blogging. Yep, six years of blogging. Despite my early concerns that I'd reguarly miss days, I've yet to even miss one day of posting, although I have come close several times and many of my posts are very short. Long pieces are rare nowadays.

But yeah, six years of blogging!

Monday, 29 May 2017

For the very short term...

For the last day of my three-day bus ticket, I travelled my old favourite route of Nottingham - Mansfield - Derby. It wasn't exactly a pretty day out, as it rained all morning and afternoon, but it was still worthwhile and a good way to celebrate the end of my university work for this academic year.

My goal over the next few years, before the academic year ends (doesn't end officially until the 9th), I want finish at least a couple of books I still have borrowed from the library and then I will return them all. While I could keep them over the summer and hand them back in October, I'd rather return them now so that I'm not worrying about them later.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The invalid ticket

At Derby bus station this afternoon, a lady ahead of me in the queue to board Indigo back to Nottingham presented her ticket to the driver. The driver let her through after glancing at the ticket but after a second he called her back and said that her ticket was invalid in Derby. This came as a shock to the woman, who said she had specifically asked, when purchasing the ticket from another driver, if the ticket could be used in Derby; that driver informed her that she would be able to.

Fortunately, the driver on board Indigo was reasonable about it; he let the lady on without having to buy another ticket and said for future reference the ticket she possessed was not valid in Derby. I think this is a far more measured response than, say, stopping a bus suddenly, beckoning a passenger like a dog and making them leave.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Three-day bank holiday ticket

On some bank holidays, Trentbarton has on offer tickets that last three days and allow anyone who purchases them access to travel on any Trentbarton line, minus any bus routes it operates with another company, such as Pronto with Stagecoach.

Today, as a treat to myself for my completing my first year at university, I purchased one of these tickets and used it to explore some routes I'd not travelled on before; one of these routes took me to Burton on Trent, which is not a place I had been to before today.

Tomorrow, I'll see if the weather is decent enough for me to visit Calverton. I've not been there since the end of Access and I do miss it.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Hello, President Obama!

President Obama has been here in the United Kingdom!

He was here to attend a charity event, not just to golf but if he did come here to play, so what? He's a former president, he served his two terms and is no longer a government official. There's nothing for anyone to criticize here.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Over before midday - another academic year finished

At 9:15, my exam for my main English moduled started and at 11:15, it came to an end. As a result, I have finished all my work for this academic year; my first year at university is done and dusted.

While I think I performed well enough to pass the exam, it will be a while before I find out but in the meantime, I can enjoy a long break between my first year at university and my second. In the meantime, however, I need some well-deserved rest!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Last all-nighter (sort of) for now

I spent this afternoon sleeping because I'll once again be spending the night in the library, this time in preparation for the exam at 9:15 tomorrow morning. I realised over the past few days that I had more energy and better productivity for thinking of ideas when I'd been in the library overnight; rather than lose that momentum by changing my current temporary sleeping pattern, I thought I'd keep it up for another night.

Also, if I've been awake a few hours I'm more productive than if I'd been awake for one or two. I don't want to wake at 7:30 or 8:00 tomorrow and still be sluggish in the exam. At least by my chosen way, I'll be active.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

That wasn't an excuse for more hate

As we all know by this point, there was a bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester last night. Twenty-two people are confirmed dead, dozens for injured and the perpetrator has been identified.

Yes...the perpetrator has been identified - as a British-born person of Libyan origin; however, long before details of the perpetrator emerged, the ugly voice of the far-right took to the Internet to immediately blame all Muslims and "people of Muslim origin" (the Middle East, North Africa, etc.) for the incident. Rather than offer support to the victims and their families or to rescue efforts in the area, the trolls instead called for all Muslims in the West to be deported and/or killed. The usual hateful nonsense.

Violent acts like those seen in Manchester are not the fault of Muslims in general, the same way that all the white males who go on mass shooting sprees are not the fault of all white men. In fact, when a traditional Westerner commits an atrocity, we never blame the whole West or the whole of an element of it - we only hold the actions of the individual responsible. So why are Muslims held to a difference standard?

The way to address hateful people - who can be from any demographic group - is to encourage dialogue, love, kindness, understanding...responding with more hate will never bring the victims back and is more likely to cause others to be killed, too. Don't get sucked into more hate.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Voter registration deadline, May 2017

The deadline to register for June's general election is today at 23:59. If there is a rush of people who are registering last minute, it might be extended for a day or two but otherwise, if someone doesn't register before midnight, they will not be able to vote.

I'm already registered, as are my brother and mother. We registered not long after they both moved up here to Clifton as part of changing addresses and all that. Unlike in some states in the US, where registering to vote has been made difficult by the Republicans, registering to vote here is easy as is the process of voting in itself, although we do have our share of trolls who think that voter fraud is rampant and that strict laws are needed to counter it (it isn't and they're not needed).

Sunday, 21 May 2017

No, it isn't a form of racism

Imagine this exchange:

Person A: *says something racist*

Person B: "What you've just said is racist because xyz. Please withdraw your comment and apologise."

Person A: "I said nothing're the racist for calling me racist!"

Somehow, the trolls have secured the narrative that if you accuse a person of being racist, you're the racist, not them, the argument being that calling out racism is a form of racism in itself. This is how racists are justifying their racism - that it doesn't matter what they say...anyone who calls them out is the problem. It's a deflection and a derailment tactic both in one package.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Hassan Rouhani: Re-elected

Four years ago, Hassan Rouhani won the first round of the Iranian presidential election of that year; as he secured more than 50% of the vote, he won the election outright and no run-off was required. As Iranian presidents have four-year terms, 2017 has been Rouhani's re-election; thankfully, he won:

Not only did Rouhani win re-election but he did so with an increased mandate, with both a larger amount of votes and an increased vote percentage. This is excellent news, as it means that Iranian moderates continue to control the presidency while all the hardline candidates were defeated. It is especially important for people like Rouhani to remain in charge of Iran; given who is currently President of the United States, it would be - unproductive, to say the least - for a loudmouthed and reckless hardliner to lead Iran at this time (or any time, for that matter, but least of all now).

Friday, 19 May 2017

Going to Google

How do you get to Google? Do you type something in the address bar at the top of your browser and it takes you to your search automatically or do you type "Google" in the address bar and it takes you to the Google front page, where you then do your search?

I ask because sometime during Access my Psychology teacher mentioned that her husband is prone to doing the latter. I only thought about it recently because I, too, put "Google" in my browser's address bar rather than put an actual search topic in.

What do you do?

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A move out

In a little over two months' time, I will temporarily be moving out of my accommodation for the end of July, all of August and much of September, as the contract runs from September to July. As such, I have slowly been taking stuff out of here for storage at my mother and brother's house.

My unneeded and less-used items are those that have been going first. I think one of the next items will be my crock pot/slow cooker; sadly, while it would have been a great money saver, using it is next to impossible given that there is no space in the kitchen for it and using it in my bedroom is impractical. A shame, really; I doubt I'll be bringing it back next academic year.

I will be living in on-campus accommodation again from 2017-2018. I booked my place months ago.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Two inactive days and a card

Yesterday and today have been disappointments in that I'd been hoping to go out and catch up on exercise that I'd missed prior to my assignment deadlines but instead, I've mostly been indoors doing other things since it's just been raining all day for both days. Oh, well. Fortunately, my exam is a week tomorrow so there is time for me to exercise a little before then, in between revising.

On a minor but happier note, I used my new Morrisons More card; a few weeks ago, I applied for one online and it arrived last week. All a More card does is collect points every time I spend at Morrisons and over time, enough points will amass to win me vouchers and other items.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

"Paper Planes" - M.I.A

A song by M.I.A., a British rapper, played during an advert I saw yesterday at the cinema. It's been a while since I last heard or thought about M.I.A.; I became aware of her in 2008/2009 when this song of hers played on American radio:

It's "Paper Planes", which is from Kala - her second studio album. "Paper Planes" is one of the songs that I associate so much with the summer of 2008 and with the great music of 2009.

As for the M.I.A. song I heard at the cinema, it was "Only 1 U" from Matangi, her fourth studio album:

Monday, 15 May 2017

Avril Lavigne conspiracy theory

Tin-foil hat-wearing conspiracy imbeciles are back, this time re-peddling the absurdity that Avril Lavigne has been dead since 2003 and that an impersonator has been her ever since:

The trolls cite "evidence" such as changes in her appearance and handwriting as proof that post-2003 Avril Lavigne is an impersonator. Evidently, the trolls have never heard of make-up, ageing or handwriting practice.

To any sensible person, this conspiracy theory is utter nonsense but, as with other conspiracy theories, there are those willing to believe it.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

US Mother's Day 2017

For the first time in three years, I was able to spend US Mother's Day with Mum. As with UK Mother's Day, my missing it the past two years has been down to her being in Northamptonshire and my being up here in Nottinghamshire. Now that she and my brother are up here, we can spend it together again.

As for what we did, we walked to the Rushcliffe Country Park in Ruddington and back and later had dinner together.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

"Places" - Martin Solveig featuring Ina Wroldsen

I've been listen to the radio on some mornings recently. This is a song that's been playing and growing on me:

It's "Places" by Martin Solveig, a French DJ, and features Ina Wroldsen, a Norwegian singer and songwriter. Good songs like this one remind me of what I'm missing by rarely listening to the radio.

The radio edit can be found here.

Friday, 12 May 2017

In 48 hours... (3)

And that's it - all my assignments for this academic year are complete. Both a member of my Media practical group and I were in the library all night finishing and uploading our work; we did not leave the library until 7:00am, much to the pleasure of the librarians who had manned the facility all night.

So! Only an exam remains and that's not until the 25th. As far as I am concerned, I have earned a reprieve for this Friday and for this weekend.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

In 48 hours...redux

It's now under 26 hours before all assignment deadlines are upon me. Fortunately, my all-nighter was a success and I wrote a huge amount of my essay, as well as managed to help a few of my coursemates via chat messages. I finished at 6:00am to go for a walk.

For my walk, I went to Ruddington and rode the 10 bus to the city centre. I was surprised to encounter one of my coursemates board the bus briefly as it went through West Bridgford and when I arrived in the city centre, it was at about the time when my sociology/history teacher would arrive at Central. By happy circumstance, I was able to see her for a few minutes this morning, which is the first I've seen her since the Nottingham Post Awards ceremony last December.

I later spent much of the afternoon resting and now I'm about to return to the library for a second all-nighter, during which I will complete and submit my two outstanding assignments.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

In 48 hours...

In 48 hours' time, all of my assignments will have been submitted. They have to be, for the American Literature one is due at 11:59pm on Friday whereas both Media ones are due at 5:00pm. Evidently, the practical is done and uploaded so that one is not a concern.

As I have no sessions tomorrow, I am going to spend the night in the library working on my remaining assignment. I rested for a few hours this evening specifically so I could "pull an all nighter". I'm not tired and I ate earlier, plus I can sleep in the day for a few hours, so why not?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Media practical done, dancing done (for now)

The Media practical is done. I finished it off in this afternoon's workshop and then uploaded it to the submission folder. As a result, that module is finished. For now, practical work in Media is complete but I intend to choose another practical module for next year.

In addition, the Latin Dance Society held its last session for the academic year; the next one will not be until at least September. I shall be renewing my membership with the society next year and will continue dancing; while I'm hardly up to the level of a professional, my skills are greater than they were from when I started.

Now, to submit American Literature and finish writing my Media essay.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Re-committing to a failed pledge

In the 2010 general election, the Conservative Party (Tories) promised to reduce immigration to the United Kingdom to the "tens of thousands". In 2015, they again promised to reduce immigration to the "tens of thousands". Staggeringly, for the third election running, the Tories are promising immigration reductions to the "tens of thousands":

Anybody who votes for the Tories based on this promise is an idiot. If the party has to state this a third time after failing to carry the policy out despite being in power for nearly seven years now, why would anyone think it would be any different on this occasion? It's a fake promise to keep the bigots voting for the Tories.

The general election here is a month from now.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

French presidential election, 2017

The French election results are in and Emmanuel Macron, of the En Marche! party defeated Marine Le Pen of the National Front:

On the surface, this seems like a good result, as Le Pen is a far-right candidate and given recent far-right successes in certain Western nations, this is a victory against hate. Unfortunately, Macron isn't exactly a stellar candidate himself, although it's not because of any hatred on his part.

No, the problem with Macron is his political positions and his former job. He used to be a banker, so it's absurd to think that a banker is going to support policies to help the poor. With regards to his policies, he is a supporter of neo-liberalism and the discredited "Third Way" economic policies, both of which are heavily responsible for the rise of the far-right in the West in recent years. Indeed, in 2015 he pushed through economic reforms in France to make it it more "business-friendly" rather than beneficial to workers and residents.

Le Pen might have lost this time around but if Macron doubles-down on the failed policies that have caused the recent far-right resurgence in the West, he risks her or someone like her winning sometime down the road.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Having a day off

As I've made clear several times over the past few days, my deadline for my three active assignments is next Friday. Despite the fact that I have less than a week to go to meet that deadline, I took today off.

Now, why did I do that, given that I have six days to complete the work? Part of it is because I have been extremely busy these past few days getting the work done; another part is that the Media practical and American Literature assignments are pretty much done and the other is that today was Saturday. I can afford to take this last pre-deadline Saturday off given that the preceding days were filled were hard work and following ones will be also.

There's not much point in needlessly exhausting myself. A short break, like today, will lead to greater productivity from me over the next week.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Another module's sessions...finished

This morning, this last seminar for my Understanding Media & Culture module - my "main" Media module but not the one with the practical - occurred. As the last lecture for it took place last week, there are no more sessions left for this particular module. Only the assignment for it remains.

Yesterday morning saw the end of sessions for my American Literature module, so next week I have all of Thursday and Friday morning spare to complete any work, if need be.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Practical production log

My group for the Media practical and I spent this afternoon finishing off the production log for the video we made. This was a fiddly task rather than a difficult one, as parts of it involved printing off slides of the PowerPoint, signing them, scanning them and then re-inserting them into the main document.

All that has to be done in that module now is to personalise our production logs (we have a master copy of shared work but then we each adapt a copy of that for ourselves to upload for our individual eidts) and to write the portfolio. We have to write a portfolio each and so this is not shared work; all being well, I should be able to complete this and finish off my American Literature essay tomorrow. That'll be two assignments down, with one to go!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Module choices lecture

This afternoon, the module choices lecture for all the Joint Honours students took place. The purpose of the lecture was to explain how we could choose our modules for next year, how to check to ensure that we didn't choose modules with overlapping lectures and those interested in placements or study abroad were also given advice on how to arrange the upcoming academic year.

A day ago, I was uneasy about which choices but after the lecture and after a chat with two friends, I'm now feeling much more optimistic and I think I've decided three of my four options. The deadline to choose is one week from now.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Media practical upload and dancing

In today's Media workshop, I uploaded for grading my edit of the film my group has produced. Before activating the upload, my tutor/lecturer guided me with what needed to be done and then, just like that, my edit was sent to the server.

After the past few days, this is the sort of boost I needed, as it means that for that Media module, all I have to complete now is the written part, which consists of the production log and an analysis of the recording. My goal is on or by Friday to have this module and my American literature one both complete, which means Literary Foundations and Understanding Media & Culture will be all that's left for this academic year.

Besides an academic victory today, I attended my penultimate Latin dance session of the year. The only people in attendance were two of the organisers, the two teachers, another student and me, which makes it the lowest-attended session so far. This was my best performance yet, it terms of my dancing, and I had a chance to dance with one of the teachers (I danced with the other last week).

In all, a productive day!

Monday, 1 May 2017

"We Don't Have to Dance" - Andy Black

Here is a song that I learned the existence of from two non-radio sources:

It's "We Don't Have to Dance" by Andy Black. I first heard it when my friend and fellow blogger Jessica included it in a video of hers awhile back and I was reminded of again a month or two afterwards when a housemate of mine played it on her phone. Black's music isn't the sort of style I usually listen to but his voice is amazing, as is his song's melody.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

A new day in the library

To help catch up on my work, I decided last night that I would spend the majority of this afternoon in the library. Indeed, I did just that and wrote one of my assignments until it was time for me to get ready to head over to my mother and brother's house for a bank holiday meal. As a result of my choice for today, I am now back on track with my assignments.

For tomorrow, I'm going to again spend the day in the library and my intention is to stay in there until one of outstanding assignments is effectively complete. For Tuesday, I'll have the Media practical to contend with again and then I'll soon be writing up the assignment for my main Media module.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Just a minor infection redux

To my annoyance, what I thought was a 48-72 hour bug is persisting. I woke up this morning with a return of the sore throat (although not to the same extent as a few days ago) and have been coughing intermittently throughout the day.

I'm not convinced it's a full-on cold...just a minor infection that seems to be taking its sweet time to fully clear out. As long as it doesn't have me ill like I was in October and February, I shall be fine.

Friday, 28 April 2017

A set of lectures completed

I no longer have any lectures for my Understanding Media & Culture module, which is my 40 credit Media module (larger than the practical, which is only 20). When it comes to teaching new content, this module has been depleted.

So what's left? It has a seminar next Friday and the assignment is due the following Friday. My Media practical and American literature assignment are both due that day, also. My current goal is to finish my American literature piece on or by this coming Monday, as the other two assignments both have a lot of work left on them and I don't want to still be working on all three on the deadline day. I'll have it done (I have to!), there's just much to do.

My one and only exam for this year is on the 25th of May and is for my main English module, so I don't have to worry about that one at the moment.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

A rescheduled lecture

Before term 2 ended, a major lecture in my main English module was cancelled due to the lecturer being ill on the day. Fortunately, rather than being permanently cancelled, the lecture was rescheduled for this afternoon at 4:00. The lecture focused on queer theory, in regards to applying it to literature and to other texts (this half of the module has been about various theories in literature).

As for the attendance, I'd estimate that about a third of those who attend the lecture at its normal time on a Monday morning were present this afternoon. That's actually not bad for a lecture that's been rescheduled!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Just a minor infection

During Monday afternoon, my throat became sore and when I went to bed that night, it was still burning and I felt cold all over my body, thus I went to bed with sock and my robe on in addition to my usual nighttime clothes. I thought I had caught a cold, which would be awful timing if so given the work I have to complete over the next three weeks.

Fortunately for me, it appears to be a bug that seems to last for about 48-72 hours. I'm glad, because the last thing I need right now is to be bedridden at critical time during this academic year. Extra rest, tea and food has helped stave this one off!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Back to dancing

NTU's Latin Dance Society held its first session since the Easter break this evening. The session consisted of a refresher of what we'd done before as well as introduced some more complicated forms of the dances we'd practiced previously.

My main sticking point was the turns during partner dancing. In addition to the legwork being more complicated, the dances also required certain arm movements, too. I was able to manage it in the end, albeit rustily. I will improve in time! I'm much better than I was when I first started.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Ken Clarke

When I lived with my grandparents during college, the MP for my consituency, Rushcliffe, was Ken Clarke, a Conservative. He initially stated that he was going to stand down in 2020 but since an election was called early, he is running again:

Clarke is probably the only Tory I have any respect for and I am glad he is running again, which is ironic since he's so far the only MP I've voted against. He voted against the activation of Article 50 for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, which is in line with the wishes of his constituency because Rushcliffe voted 57.6% for Remain. This surprised me on the morning of the result, although it later didn't because Clarke has always been strongly pro-EU and that permeated in Rushcliffe.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Charity run, April 2017

This afternoon, three of my friends participated in the runNTU 2017 marathon, a fun run to raise money for the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre. There were two options, the 5km and 1.5km distances, for runners to choose from; my friends chose the 1.5km, which took them through the Clifton campus and past my accommodation.

Last year, the run generated £10,000 for cancer research; I hope the run this year exceeds that amount.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Needless sarcasm

This afternoon, I was out with a friend to go and see a film at the cinema. After we finished the movie, we walked back to her bus stop, which departs from the Broadmarsh bus station. While the Broadmarsh closes in the evening, there is a "tunnel" through it that is open as a way of allowing access to the station.

My friend and I made use of this tunnel and I should note that she is not a fast walker whereas I am and so I walk at her speed when with her. When we were about halfway through the tunnel this evening, I heard a voice from behind me ask, "Could you walk any slower?".

The words came from impatient person, who could quite easily have either gone around my friend and me (there was plenty of room to do so) or have politely asked us to come through. But no, apparently this required too much brainpower for them; immediately resorting to sarcasm was apparently their only option.

While I ended up letting them through (more like because I moved out of the way instinctively, not because I wanted to let them pass), it wasn't without a comeback of my own. My response was, "Why, yes I can, actually!".

Friday, 21 April 2017

Any 2017 Easter chocolate

I received as well as bought to share some Easter chocolates this year. Rather than leave them hanging around, I decided to eat mine almost immediately (not all at once, of course). The room I have in my accommodation can be warm when the Sun is over - warm enough to soften chocolate.

In addition, I am currently reducing the amount of desserts I consume, as I wrote in a recent post, and so I wanted to eat and enjoy the chocolate straightaway, then go back onto the sugar reduction.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

University year 1, term 3

Yesterday was the start of term 3 of this academic year at NTU but my first day of sessions was this morning. As usual, it was my lecture and subsequent seminar for American literature.

After tomorrow, this term will have three additional weeks of sessions and then an exam near to the end of May. Academic years at university usually end in May/early June here in the United Kingdom, as opposed to colleges and regular schools, which end anywhere from mid-June to late July.

As for my assignments, they are all due three weeks from tomorrow (on May 12th), so I'll be extremely busy for the next 21 days.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

General election 2017

Yesterday, the Prime Minister called for an early general election and today, Parliament approved it:

The reasons for this early election are because the Prime Minister is seeking a mandate for her vision of Brexit and because the polls are saying the opposition party, Labour, are polling poorly. This is a risky move, given that polling has been notoriously inaccurate as of late.

This new election will occur on June 8th.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Second accommodation visitor(s)

About a month ago, a friend from Central, who is now at the University of Nottingham, came to visit me and another friend on campus. A day later, another friend from Central came to visit but she came to my accommodation. Today, for the first time ever, my mother and brother visited my accommodation.

For the most part, it's been pointless for my brother and mother to visit me; I can visit them anytime and there's not really a lot they can do in my accommodation. We can't exactly chat in depth because my housemates and their friends, plus residents in other buildings of my accommodation, are around.

So why did Mum and my brother come today? Well, I have to move out of my accommodation in July, which is when I'll be staying with Mum and my brother for two months. As such, they needed to look at what I have in my room to see how they can fit it into their house for the time I'm with them. Both were confident we'd be able to do so and my brother stated that I had less in my room than he had expected.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Gamston Morrisons

Gamston is a small village adjacent to West Bridgford and is along my old bus route from my grandparents' house. In Gamston is a large Morrisons where my grandparents frequently do their shopping. Now, I have been to this Morrisons several times before but today is the first time I went there by myself, unless you count two years ago when I walked to the store but didn't go in because it was a Sunday and it was closing at 4:00pm.

So why did I go there, when there is a Morrisons in Clifton? Mostly because the Gamston Morrisons is larger than the Clifton one is - close to twice the size - and because I wanted to take a bus trip out to Gamston and then walk back from there to the city centre. It was a worthwhile afternoon from that perspective.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter 2017

This is the first time that Mum, my brother and I have spent Easter in Nottingham. I walked to the city centre in the morning, purchased some more Easter eggs at a Tesco there before returning to Clifton and spending the day with Mum and my brother. They bought me some Easter eggs, too, but I forgot to bring them back with me when I returned to my accommodation a few minutes ago.

In all, it was a good day. A worthwhile Easter, indeed!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

"Shine" - Years and Years

Here is one of the few new songs I heard during the summer of 2015:

It's "Shine" by Years & Years, from Communion, the band's first studio album. I first heard of Years & Years in 2014 when their song "King" became popular on the radio. Beyond these two songs and another of theirs, "Desire", I'm don't know much about Years & Years themselves.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Enough of a chance

So, let's look at three BBC headlines in my newsfeed, all related to the SCROTUS:

1. China is worried about a war between North Korea and the United States, which it says could break out at "at any moment".

2. The United States is currently defending its use of a massive bomb on Afghanistan; this weapon is dubbed the "mother of all bombs".

3. The White House will no longer be publicly disclosing visitor logs.

How many more "chances" does this president need before his supporters (besides the alt-right, who apparently turned against him after he bombed Syria) wake up and realize that they've made a horrendous decision by electing this awful man to President of the United States, as well as then start the process of persuading Congress to remove him from office? "Give him a chance" - how many "chances" are enough?

Thursday, 13 April 2017

An April 2017 method of breaking up, douchebag style

Remember when I wrote those posts about douchebaggy ways to break up with someone? Here's one for today:

The person on the receiving end of this breakup handled it really well but even so...

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Smiling at a thug

A few days ago, there was a demonstration in Birmingham, which is the United Kingdom's second-largest city. The demonstration was held by the English Defence League (EDL), who are opposed to immigration and want to deport everyone of immigrant origin.

A counter-protest was held and defeated the EDL goons who were present. However, the most striking images from the day came from when Saffiyah Khan - a Birmingham local - smiled at an EDL thug:

It is remarkable that this young woman obliterated an EDL thug - and his whole organisation - merely with her smile. Beforehand, Khan was intervening on behalf of a woman the EDL were encircling, so this was a volatile situation for her to be in. The EDL are notorious Internet Tough Guys - usually throwing out the usual alt-right buzzwords as well as issuing threats - but when it comes to dealing with people face-to-face, they're a bunch of violent cowards.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The former site

I wrote at the end of yesterday's post that I'd share a picture of where Central's West Bridgford campus used to be; here it is:

I took it from a NCT route 10 bus headed from Ruddington towards the city. This housing estate is the site of the former West Bridgford campus; this picture is also out of date, even though it was only taken in the past couple of days or so, for there are more houses under construction as well as a road.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Liveland History: 10th April 2014

So, it's been three years since this happened:

Three years...Pre-Access - done. Access - done. First year of university - almost done. Much has changed since that interview, including the campus at which my interview took place; it has been demolished and there's a housing estate in its place. I shall post tomorrow a picture of where the West Bridgford campus was located.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Walking in sandals

This evening, I walked from Clifton, through Ruddington and to the city centre; this is a relatively easy walk for me and took 2 1/2 hours to complete. However, the complication for this occasion was that I wore sandals.

Why? Because my main shoes are starting to wear from my walks. I was about a third of the way into this evening's walk when my right foot pained me; by the time I was in the city centre, I needed to sit down and rest my feet. Even now, my right foot is hurting in parts but I won't find out how much until tomorrow.

Still, I had a lovely walk - it was too beautiful to stay indoors!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Less sugar

Ever since I was really young (maybe 3 or 4 years old), I've added sugar to a cereal called Weetabix whenever I ate it with milk; when I ate it dry, I rarely sweetened it. Last week, however, I ate milk-covered Weetabix without sugar for what I think is the first time; this is how Dad used to eat it.

For this week, I drank tea without sugar. I rarely drink hot drinks but I have the occasional chocolate tea and have always had sugar in my tea. Inspired by the success with Weetabix, I thought I'd try the tea without sugar and was pleasantly relieved that I could accept it, as it meant I'd found another place to trim my sugar consumption.

The best ways to reduce sugar intake is to add it to fewer foods and to purchase fewer sugared items. Sugar-free goods often contain artificial sweeteners, which are often worse than regular sugar. Have less of the natural sweetener!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Another mess in the Middle East

After campaigning against Hillary Clinton and whining that she would bomb more Middle Eastern countries, the current President of the United States has...bombed a Middle Eastern country - Syria. By his standards, he is now the warmonger he accused of her being. Bear in mind that just a few days ago, his administration was saying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was no longer a priority to "force him out of power" and now they're warmongering.

Perhaps the only change in perspective that was faster was the alt-right's support of the president:

Turns out, a lot of them actually are against US military intervention in other countries. As such, alt-rights have turned against the president, calling him a warmonger and a "neo-con shill". Given that he has broken all other promises he made, it's interesting they chose this one to finally turn against him.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Yep, more walking! And daylight

As sunshine-filled weather is occurring frequently and seeing as the clocks went forward (last Sunday), I finally achieved something today that I hadn't done before: Go on a long walk with my brother and mother around Clifton. I go on plenty of longs walks by myself while Mum and by brother go on theirs together but today is the first time all three of us went on one here.

The clocks having gone forward an hour really makes a difference. When I have gone on a long walk and have taken a bus back to Clifton, it's been great returning here in daylight/dusk rather than in darkness.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Walk in Arnold

I've been through Arnold several times, either on the Calverton Connection or whenever I've gone up there while exploring bus routes. Today, however, I spent some time there walking.

Not particularly far, mind you; I mostly walked along the route the Calverton Connection takes. What surprised me about Arnold is how hilly it really is; I suppose I shouldn't have been, given that Calverton and nearby Gedling village are also mountainous by Nottingham standards. Clifton is flat by comparison!

Arnold is a part of Nottingham that is worth exploring some more.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Equal Pay Day 2017

Today is Equal Pay Day in the United States. The day exists to raise awareness of the pay gap that exists between men and women; in the United States, women are paid, on average, 79 cents to every dollar a man earns.

You'd think that this would be an uncontroversial day and one that only employers who skimp on pay would whine about but no, in every online discussion I saw about the day, the trolls were out, attempting to deny the existence of the pay gap. While the act of paying women less than men is misogyny in itself, people denying it exists shows how far misogyny is ingrained in a large amount of the population.

It sheds further light on why achieving full gender equality is a gargantuan task.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Friend and walks

The plan for today was to meet up with a friend I hadn't seen since last summer; she and I indeed met up and spent a couple of hours together. Nice to have a catch up!

Besides meeting with my friend, I walked to both Ruddington and the city centre of Nottingham. I walked to Ruddington to catch a bus there to meet my friend in West Bridgford and after my friend and I parted ways, I walked to the city centre. This makes today, as far as I can recall, the first time I have walked to both on the same day.

I am using this half of the break to catch up on exercise. So far, I've been sticking to that!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Dividing the break

My plan for this break is to take the first week off, both to relax and meet up with some people, including my mother and brother. I think that will be worthwhile and I have earned it, based on the work I've been doing over the second term. I'll also use to time to re-tidy my room and see what other cleaning needs to be completed.

For the second week, I'd like to start on at least one of my two upcoming assignments and write a few hundred words or more. The more I complete of my assignments now, the less for later and more time will be reserved for working on other outstanding projects.

That's how I'll be dividing my break. I think that's a good plan.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

John Oliver on April Fools' Day

John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, has good thoughts about April Fools' Day:

I rarely, if ever, particiapte in April Fools' Day.

Friday, 31 March 2017

The eighth term - done

The end of my first year at university's second term occurred today; to celebrate, I was with a few of my mature students friends in the city centre at a pub and have only just returned to Clifton. I have roughly two and a half weeks time off if two bank holidays are included, which occur after the break ends.

Once again, I achieved 100% attendance for my timetabled sessions, which makes this term my eighth academic term in a row in which my attendance has been 100%. Assuming I do not decide to go for a Master's degree, I have now achieved 100% attendance in a majority of the fifteen terms I will serve at college and university.

And now for the break!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

"Hey, Soul Sister" - Train

A popular song from my family's final months in the United States:

It's "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train and comes from Save Me, San Francisco, the band's fifth studio album. This song played a lot on US radio from its release in August 2009 until my family left in June 2010. As a result, "Hey, Soul Sister" is a song I associate with us moving out of the United States.

I last wrote an article involving Train here.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Article 50 activated

It's official: The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has activated Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the 2-year countdown to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union has begun. I'm still very much against leaving and for the following reasons:

1. The referendum was an advisory and non-legally binding poll; despite this and the narrow margin of victory (52% Leave to 48% Remain), it is being used an an excuse undertake a "hard Brexit" and some Leave supporters want to use it to pull the UK out of non-EU European organisations, such as the European Court of Human Rights.

2. The Leave campaign lied on key promises. For example, when it said the £350 million the UK sends to the EU each week could be spent on the National Health Service instead, this promise was redacted merely a few hours after Leave had won the vote.

3. Thanks to Nigel Farage, the former and now-disgraced leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, the referendum last year became a vote on immigration rather than a genuine debate about the EU. Instead of discussing pros of the EU (redevelopment projects, education funds, equality laws) versus cons (too much power to corporations, more elections needed for the EU government), Farage poisoned the well with his anti-immigrant rhetoric and stirred up the far-right (which, down the line, helped cause the election result in the United States late last year).

4. Similar to #1, the 48% who voted Remain are having their views ignored completely, as are the Brexiters who voted against the EU for reasons that had nothing to do with the far-right. The latter didn't vote for Brexit for a far-right, non-EU UK to emerge.

5. The Leave campaign never had a plan in place in the event Leave won. Flying by the seat of the pants is hardly a sound policy when extracting a country from 40+ years of integration in an international orgnaisation.

But hey, what do I know? My side lost and the current consensus in Western democracies seems to be that if your side loses, you have to "get over it" and cease all debate (unless, of course, the losing side is the alt-right/far-right, who seem to be allowed to continue their protests even if their policies are soundly rejected).

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

"Million Voices" - Otto Knows

I find it hard to believe this song was released almost five years ago; I thought it came out in late 2013 or sometime in 2014. I also thought I might have written about it before:

It's "Million Voices" by Otto Knows, a Swedish DJ, and does not come from any album. I don't know...I was certain it was much later than 2012 - that year seems just like so long ago. Then again, 2014 seems like a long time ago, too.

The full version of "Million Voices" can be found here:

Monday, 27 March 2017

Pants for long walks

I recently purchased a pair of pants/trousers specifically for when I go on long walks. Back in the summer, I wore out a couple of pairs of my trousers because of the five-miles-a-day walks that I undertook back then; as we are starting to progress towards warmer weather, I anticipate more walking.

Also, I do sweat significantly when I walk in warm weather; rather than my everyday clothing have to be affected by my sweat, better for walk-specific clothing to absorb it.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mother's Day 2017

I visited Mum and my brother for a couple of hours this afternoon, seeing that it was Mother's Day here in the UK. It was an unannounced visit, as I wanted to surprise Mum with my presence. Her gift was a bar of white chocolate, as that is her favourite type of chocolate.

This Mother's Day is also the first Mother's or Father's Day during which I've spent at least some time with Mum since Dad died.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Last week of another term

Next Monday through Friday will be the last week of this term; after that, the Easter break will begin and will last for two weeks - just over that when bank holiday days are included.

While I wouldn't say it was as "action packed" as my second terms of Pre-Access and Access, it has held its own. For example, the Media practical began, modules for next year were introduced and I have bonded more with my fellow English and Media coursemates.

I have a few plans for the Easter break, besides working on assignments; I'll see if I can carry any out.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Failed repeal, in that it never left the ground

After all those times the Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act when President Barack Obama was in charge, after all those promises to repeal it once they were fully in control...they failed. Epically:

Between 25 and 35 Republicans, plus all the Democrats were against the repeal and replacement bill; as such, the bill wasn't even put up for a vote - it was withdrawn. Unsurprisingly, the current president blamed the Democrats for not working with the Republicans but why should they? The Republicans did nothing but obstruct and disrupt when they were in opposition - why should Democrats play ball?

President Obama and his initial Congress were able to pass the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans now have at least as much power as the Democrats did in early 2009 and they failed to pass a major piece of legislation, at a time when they are supposed to have their greatest political capital.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Formative research task, 24/04/2017

Tomorrow, I have a formative research task to hand in by midnight on my American Literature module. The point of this assignment is to research, analyse and briefly summarise a handful of secondary sources regarding a text or two on the module's reading list.

I've been working on it today and will need to spend some time on it tomorrow but it will be completed long before the deadline.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Next year's modules

Several of my coursemates and I attended a session about our module choices for next year. Whereas all modules during Year 1 are standardised, for Year 2 there a couple of core modules and several optional choices; however, in this case, "optional" means we choose which modules we want to study - it does not mean we may only follow the core.

Year 2, as I understand it, is divided between three modules in the first half and three more in the second. As each module earns a student 20 credits, six need to be completed to advance to Year 3 (120 credits in the year).

There are several weeks to go before the deadline for choosing expires. Until then, I have some thinking about which modules I wish to undertake for Year 2; I've already ruled an English one out and have almost already decided on a Media module to study.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

That was not intentional

My previous blog post, the one about the mother belitting her son on the bus, was submitted without a name. As such, in my post list it came up as "I posted this to Facebook earlier: "I observed earlier and example of "how not to parent". I was on a bu" whereas to everyone else it appeared as a blank title.

This was a mistake. I was tired and neglected to give the post a title; as such, it has now been named "Bad parenting (on a bus)". I'm sorry about the error!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Bad parenting (on a bus)

I posted this to Facebook earlier:

"I observed earlier and example of "how not to parent". I was on a bus back to Clifton when a boy of about six or seven started to be told off; he was being a bit mouthy - not rude, just being silly and talking a little bit of nonsense, as kids that age tend to do. Rather than perhaps advise him to keep his voice down a tad, his mother instead loudly asked him if he was stupid, called him stupid and told him to "shut [his] mouth".

I'm not a parent (yet) nor would I want to tell others how to raise their kids but that seemed to me like a completely inappropriate way to handle the situation; I thought it was a gross overreaction towards a child who wasn't being much of a nuisance, if at all."

 What do you think?

Sunday, 19 March 2017

"Thrift Shop" parody by Bart Baker

Back in 2012 and 2013, Macklemore's song "Thrift Shop" was popular. A least one notable parody was spawned from it:

It's Bart Baker's parody of "Thrift Shop". Bart Baker creates parodies out of popular songs, such as One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful", Taylor Swift's "Style" and Arianna Grande's "Problem". While his videos are usually crude, they are nevertheless hilarious.

Macklemore last appeared in my blog in a post from February 2014 about Mary Lambert.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Forgot my phone

A friend and I met up in the city centre this afternoon to have a quick catch up and to go watch a film. Before I even boarded the bus I already had to return to my accommodation: I had my keys, my media player phone and my water but...not my main phone! Despite already being hot and sweaty from the humid weather, I ran back to my accommodation.

Surprisingly, I was able to retrieve my phone and catch my intended bus out in time; my friend and I were both at the Broadmarsh bus station at a similar time, so there wasn't really any delay. I'd also mostly cooled off by the time South Notts 1 had made it to the city centre.

Having to run back and ensure I had my phone with me does show just how much we rely on our gadgets these days.

Friday, 17 March 2017

St. Patrick's Day 2017

For what I think is the first time ever, a friend has invited me to their St. Patrick's Day party. I am on the Navy 3 bus there now, so that's where I'll be tonight. It'll certainly be something new for met.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Latin dance

This evening, I attended a taster session held by the NTU Latin Dance Society. This society was recently set up by a student who is in my Media lectures and it was she during Global Week who gave me an invitation to the taster session. Out of respect to her, out of genuine interest and out of wanting to have other interests, I attended; the session was held at the City campus, not Clifton.

Unsurprisingly, I wasn't very good at Latin dance. In fact, I was downright terrible; however, it was just a taster session and proper sessions will be taught by an actual teacher, although the students who were teaching the class were doing a good job.

In addition to my Media coursemate, a friend from Central from one of the science courses was also in attendance and was surprised to see me there.