Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Close to bug-free

At long last, I have nearly recovered from my colds. I'm coughing a little bit but compared to how I felt two weeks or even two days ago, I feel great. In fact, I've felt good these past couple of days with the exception of my dodgy throat and coughing.

What will be most pleasing is going into my Monday lecture in good health. These past three have been ruined somewhat by my colds.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The burnt garlic bread

One of my housemates accidentally burned some garlic bread this evening. While he was able to immediately quell any fire, the resulting smoke overwhelmed the entire bottom floor of the house, which set off all the smoke alarms and it became necessary to open all the windows.

While the house is no longer filled with smoke, the smell nevertheless remains. At least the house and everyone are okay - it was just burnt garlic bread, which was easily dealt with! Disappointing that the smell of smoke overpowers the smell of garlic.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Liveland History: 16th October 2014

It was three years ago today when my Pre-Access classmates and I visited London as part of a course trip:

We visited the Imperial War Museum and then the two friends with whom I spent the day and I walked to area where the Palace of Westminster is located. I later posted some pictures of the trip.

My first-ever term at Central is almost a "forgotten term", as it was the only term that occurred before Dad's death. Quite a few events occurred during that term but given what happened in January of 2015...

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The long-awaited walk

For the first time in well over two weeks, I walked to the city centre from here in Clifton. A major factor of my recent colds were that they sucked away my energy and along with it, my wanting to exercise.  Finally, this afternoon, I once again had the energy and it was pleasant outside, so being cooped up inside wasn't at all desirable.

In addition to achieving a long walk, when I made it to the city centre I encountered a university friend, who subsequently invited me to a small gathering she was attending with mutual friends. I stayed for an hour and a half before I returned to Clifton. Much as I would have liked to have joined them at a pub quiz they were attending, the fact I am still coughing occasionally was enough to make me decide to leave before they moved to that venue.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

A Saturday of rest

As I have no immediate reading to complete, I decided to spend today resting as to help finish off my bug. While I'm still coughing somewhat, today is the best I've felt in two weeks - I felt so great, in fact, that I was able to go for an hour-and-a-half long walk around Clifton, which was my first long walk in over two weeks.

With regards to tomorrow, I'll sleep in again as well as go for another walk but I'll also have to start my next batch of reading for next week.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Client-led workshops

The workshops for my Client-led Media module began this afternoon. Unlike last year in my video project module in which I knew most people in the session and the group I entered into consisted of fellow English and Media students, I knew no one in today's workshop and only met the lecturer yesterday afternoon. In these workshops we can plan our videos and edit them there but we can do this anywhere if we choose to do so; the workshops are merely the officially timetabled sessions for this module besides the lectures.

Still, several groups formed from the students in attendance and the group I'm in consists of four women from East Asia and me. At least one of them is from Hong Kong, which makes her the first person I've met who lives there who isn't my uncle or cousin. I've only met three of the four because one wasn't in due to illness but she is a friend of one of the others.

I wasn't sure about this module when I realised that I would not be with my exact coursemates but I'm happy with how it's turned out so far. It should be interesting and productive.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

No loss of appetite

A consequence of my now-fading cold is that I had little energy during the height of it; this meant I didn't go out for my usual walks and instead I spent the extra time resting when I would otherwise have been exercising. As such, the past 10 days is the most inactive I've been for months.

At the time same, my cold did not affect my appetite; while every other part of me felt terrible, my stomach was very much in good working order. Thanks to no drop in appetite combined with an increase in sugars, such as having a lot of tea, I have gained some weight. To lose this weight quickly, not only will I have to start walking again but I'll also have to drastically cut back my diet; I wanted to do this, anyway, as I already had extra weight I wanted to shed but now I have some more I need to lose.

I shall do it; it will be good for me to lose the extra pounds and get back down to the weight I was at 2-3 years ago.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The pizza night

The housing manager for my accommodation paid for a pizza night; this is what he did last year except back then it was held in the first week rather than this far into October. Nevertheless, the effect was still the same: We had the chance to meet other residents of the student village and ate pizza for dinner.

In addition to being a pizza night, the event doubled as the occasion where we handed in our inventory forms to the housing manager; however, I did not need to do this because I gave it to him last week when he was here briefly for another reason.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017


On Facebook, I follow some pages that are to do with photography or science. Something that has concerned me in recent weeks is the prevalence of "Flat-Earthers" commenting on them. I don't mean people commenting jokingly about how the Earth is flat but people who genuinely think that this is the case.

Pun partially intended but what on earth is this nonsense? How can anyone, is this day and age, think that the Earth is flat? There is zero evidence to prove the flatness and plenty to prove that it's a sphere. An obvious example is watching a ship on an ocean: As the ship descends over the horizon, it's because it's travelling the curvature of the planet.

Has idiocy increased or is it just becoming more obvious because of social media? Anyone who believes that the Earth is flat and insults others for understanding that the opposite is true deserves to be laughed at as though they're an imbecile - because they are.

Monday, 9 October 2017

More vindictiveness - and environmental damage

The current administration in charge of the United States is continuing its unhealthy obsession of undoing everything the previous administration achieved:

How vindictive. And bad for the planet. The current president and his party have long talked about this mythical "war on coal", so rolling back these environmental protections is part of that as well as getting revenge on the previous administration.

We all share this one planet, despite what they think. The damage done to it affects us all.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Liveland History: 8th October 2014

 It's been three years since I froze some brownies:

I froze them because I had an excess of brownies and they were starting to go mouldy faster than my grandparents and I could eat them. The freezing experiment was a success but to my recollection, I have not frozen any brownies since then.

Also of note in that post from three years ago was the small part about walking and weight gain. It was much easier for me to keep weight off back then than it is for me now.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Pale Waves

Thanks to a YouTube recommendation, I came across the band Pale Waves this afternoon. Their song "Television Romance" was recommended...

Followed by their song "There's A Honey":

Pale Waves are new on the big scene and are from Manchester. They have worked with The 1975, who are also from Manchester; The 1975 produced "There's A Honey" for Pale Waves and directed the video for "Television Romance".

Pale Waves will be going on tour later this month and one of their venues will be Bodega, which is here in Nottingham.

Friday, 6 October 2017

End of week 1, university year 2

Today marked the end of my first week of my second year at university. My lecture today was for my sole English module for this half of the year and it was followed up with the first seminar of said module.

So far, I'm happy with my Year 2 modules. The workload appears to be what I expected and the topics are more interesting than I had anticipated. I'm looking forward to the upcoming lectures, seminars and workshops that the first half of the year has to offer!

The only downside to this week is that I have been ill with a bug I caught last weekend. I thoguht I was on the mend but I've been sneezing today and my nose has been running this evening, so it's either showing more symptoms or I've picked up another bug!

Thursday, 5 October 2017


My lecture today was the start of my client-led video project module, on the Media side of my course. This module is similar to the video project I did in my first year except this year we're making a video for a client; this client is the university itself.

The three subjects we can choose to make a video about are student living, the student societies or healthy living. Depending on what my group thinks - when we from groups next week - making a video for mature students would be a good idea, for I don't think there is enough information out there for mature students.

If a video is considered worthy enough, NTU will use it in its marketing programmes.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Goose Fair 2017

The Goose Far is an annual fair held here in Nottingham; it is a famous fair and is reported to have started in the 1200s. Before the 1920s the Goose Fair was held in the market square but moved to the Forest Recreation Ground due to reconstruction of the square.

For the first time in the years I've been here, I attended the fair; I went with three of my housemates. While I didn't go on any of the rides, I did purchase a burger and chips from one of the stands. I also encountered a friend from Pre-Access whom I'd not seen since the days of that course. It was a festive atmosphere and I fully intend to attend it again.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico has been devastated by Hurricane Maria; there are multiple deaths and massive damage has been done to the island and its infrastructure. The damage alone would be difficult enough to recover from but Puerto Rico is both not an American state (it's a territory) and is deeply in debt to Wall Street; as such, recovery will be deeply painful.

So! What does the current President of the United States do? Oh, only made his usual nonconstructive remarks:

Rather than guaranteeing Puerto Rico aid, he has instead used the "could have been worse" argument with regards to the death toll, as his administration has received criticism for its sluggishness in sending aid. Granted, Puerto Rico has not received the same amount of death has other places have done but making comparisons trivializes those who have died.

Puerto Rico has a long road to recovery ahead of it. Perhaps those who hold its debt could provide it with some relief, such as by writing it off or at least putting lengthy extensions on the repayment plans. Changing the legal status of the island would help, too, but in the short term, it needs help rebuilding.

Monday, 2 October 2017

First lecture 2017-2018

My first lecture of the new academic year took place this morning/early afternoon. The subject was my core media module, which will run for the first half of the year only. For this year, I have three subjects in the first half and another three in the second. Four of my six modules I chose and the other two are core.

Work completed during this year goes towards my final grade, unlike work completed during the first year. There is greater pressure this year for students to put in more work to obtain a good grade.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Harry Potter quiz

Tonight is the last night before the university term officially begins. As such, some of my fellow students in my accommodation village and I will be going to a Harry Potter quiz night here on campus. I'm not sure how it will turn out but it should be interesting, to say the least.

My first lecture tomorrow is at 11:00am.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Bakewell September 2017

As a treat for both the help she gave me over the past academic year and for her return to Nottingham for the new one, I took a university friend to Bakewell for the day. Said friend is a fellow mature student (significantly older) and half of her course is English, as is half of mine. In addition to having a pleasant walk up there, we had lunch - fish and chips, in fact - as then paid a short visit to Matlock Bath on the way back.

When classes start back next week, we're in a meeting together on Wednesday and in a class together on Friday.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Caramel Irish cream

A few months ago, a friend of mine from one of the other houses at my accommodation gave me a bottle of salted caramel Irish cream. The drink was highly delicious and when I mentioned it to my mother, she liked the sound of it and wanted to try it at some point.

As a gift for her and my brother, I purchased a bottle of it the other day and will be presenting it to them next time I'm at their house. Salted caramel Irish cream - the Tesco Finest brand - is deeply tasty and for anyone who is a fan of Irish cream and salted caramel, I recommend it, regardless of brand.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

From one to the other

So, this morning I woke up early to move. Boxes needed to be carried, various items packed, belongings carefully placed on the other side - all that good stuff. wasn't me moving! No, not this time. A university friend was moving to a different part of her building and required some help, for she had only two hours to move all her belongings before
starting work. As I was free this morning, I was more than happy to wake and leave early to help her.

The hard part now for my friend, assuming she hasn't already finished it, is sorting out the mess we left her new place in from hurriedly taking her belongings there. This isn't really a task I can help with since people have their own arrangements when it comes to where they live.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Lea & Perrins

Years ago, whenever Dad had tinned fish on toast, he would mix Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce into any particular fish mix. Before I left my accommodation a few weeks ago, I'd re-discovered Worcestershire by mixing it in with tinned fish to then put in salad.

The primary purpose of Worcestershire sauce is to enhance the flavour of any food it is mixed into; in some cases, such as tinned tuna, it can be used to moisten a particular food. It is especially effective when adding to casseroles and some pies.

I re-discovered it because I had some tins of tuna to eat but the tuna was all dry; as such, I remembered what Dad used to put in his tinned fish.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The new bath mat

At my accommodation last year, it quickly became necessary for me to purchase a bath mat, for there was none outside the shower and when the floor became wet, it became dangerous as it would be easy to slip on.

Unfortunately, I accidentally left the bath mat in the house and during the maintenance period it was seemingly removed. Fortunately, this after I went out I purchased a new bath mat. It was either buy a new one or go stick to trying to not slip on the wet floor. I prefer the former.

So, for the second year in a row, I have a new bath mat!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Liveland History: 25th September 2017

Three years ago, I shared my baking in Pre-Access

I ended up starting a trend by doing so, although the reason I brought brownies in the first place was because another classmate had brought store-bought muffins in on the preceding Thursday. After our contributions, people would bring in baked or bought goods to class on a Thursday and the tradition lasted until almost the end of the year.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Housemates 2017

My accommodation fits five people. While inductions are next week - many beginning on Monday - so far my house only has four of its intended five occupants. There is a fifth person scheduled to arrive but they have yet to make an appearance. My hope is that they have a reason to have not moved in on the standard move-in days and that they are merely delayed for whatever reason.

If they don't show, I'll only have three housemates this year unless a replacement is found. I expect the person will show, however. As for my current housemates, I'm again sharing with the year's Resident Assistant and he's been doing a good job so far with his role, meeting whoever has moved in and offering to help them. There is a man from Malawi in the house this year and a woman from Doncaster.

So far, everyone seem friendly. May it be kept that way.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Back to my accommodation (3)

And it's done. I'm fully back in my accommodation. My aunt and uncle from the East of England came over, helped me transport my belongings to my accommodation, helped me unpack my items into my room and they did a small shop for me at Morrison's - the same as they did last year.

Next week is welcome week but that's for new students, not second years like myself. My classes do not begin until Monday the 2nd of October.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Back to my accommodation (2)

I'm now officially back at my accommodation. I went over to my campus in the morning to ensure I was enrolled again and then I picked up my key to my old room. Once at the house, I met my new Resident Assistant; this RA will be in the same house as me, same as the previous one.

While I'm staying at my accommodation tonight, I've only brought a few items with me. As my uncle is coming tomorrow, there wasn't any need to bring loads of stuff over.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Back to my accommodation

Tonight will be my last night in my mother and brother's house before I return to my accommodation. Tomorrow, I'll be registering for Year 2 of university, picking up the key to my accommodation and moving a few items over. My East of England uncle will be here on Saturday to help me move the rest of my belongings over.

Summer is over. Fall starts along with the new university academic year. Hard to believe that nearly four months ago I'd finished my sole exam of Year 1.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

"Something in the Way You Move" - Ellie Goulding

This is by far my song of choice at the moment - most addictive track I've heard in a long time:

It's "Something in the Way You Move" by Ellie Goulding, taken from Delirium (2015), her third studio album. While it is possible I might have heard it on a radio somewhere, my first confirmed hearing of "Something in the Way You Move" was a few days away when my brother and I were listening to the deluxe edition of Delirium. A day later, I heard it in the city centre when I was out with a friend and since then, I've listened to it every day so far.

Beyond that, I'd say that it's Goulding's best song to date, beating "I Need Your Love", which was a collaboration of hers with Calvin Harris.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The identical dresses

Here's a light-hearted piece from the news:

Seeing five identical but accidental outfits at an event like a wedding would be hilarious! At least the women involved here saw it that way. For men, we're uniformly in suits at formal occasions so we're all dressed identically by default.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Walk interrupted

My intended walk this afternoon was Clifton-Ruddington-Wilford-City Centre via the tram walkways. When I stepped outside, it looked as though it was going to be cool but otherwise dry, although just in case I had brought my umbrella.

After I walk out of Ruddington, I notice a massive black cloud hovering over the region. I expected that it wouldn't be long before it would unleash its contents onto the fully-suspecting ground below. Not to be disappointed, as I approached Wilford, the rain fell upon the land, going from a light shower to a downpour in seemingly no time at all.

The rain was so heavy that my umbrella was overwhelmed; as such, I ran to the upcoming bus stop and took the 3 route, thus ending my walk until I returned to Clifton, when the rain had stopped and I walked back to my mother's and brother's house.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Cash and the teacher

I was out with someone this afternoon and one of the places we went to was the Arboretum part of Nottingham. While there, we encountered a pro-environment festival that was being held; I had read the other day that it was on but I forgot about it.

Two odd events occurred: The first was that I found a £10 note on the floor. I didn't want to keep it but at the same time, if I reported it as missing, there was too high a chance that someone who never owned it would claim it. As such, I gave it to one of the charities at the festival. I didn't want it so why not give it to charity? At least the money will benefit someone by my giving it away.

The second was that I encountered my old mathematics teacher from Pre-Access! I saw him at a distance as he walked towards us and when he became close to us, I recognised him as my teacher. He was with his other half and did not appear to see me. Not a big deal - I hope he had an enjoyable afternoon, too.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Family fun event

This afternoon, I returned to, for the first time since I moved out, the Clifton campus. My reason for being there was to attend a family-friendly event, designed for mature students to meet other mature students; however, I had not realised exactly what "family-friendly" entailed.

I had expected it to be an event that students with young children would be welcome at in addition to those who don't yet have kids. Instead, it catered primarily to those with kids so that parents could network. As a result, there wasn't really much for me to do there and it wasn't really possible to involve myself in conversation when children were the link. The three main people I spoke to were an existing friend, one of her friends and a member of the Welcome Team.

While this particular event wasn't of much use to me, I nevertheless support events like it. Mature students with children are increasingly going to university and it is deeply important that they be made to feel included and welcomed.

Friday, 15 September 2017

A missed post

After many years of blogging, despite many close shaves in that time, I'd never missed a day of posting. Then came yesterday - the first day since I started on which I did not post. What happened?

Nothing terribly serious. I was with a college friend in the morning and with another college friend in the afternoon. The latter friend is going to Lincoln University this weekend, so to celebrate we went to the new Krispy Kreme donut shop in the Victoria Centre and after that, we went to the pub for drinks. The sugar from the hot chocolate I had in the morning, plus the donuts plus the cocktails combined with my lack of a proper lunch and enough water caused me to have a headache. When I got home, I rested and ate but then went to bed, thus missing making a post.

So, yeah, I was out celebrating and then had a headache. Not too much of a big deal; the headache, which I overcame fairly quickly, was a small nuisance given that I'd had a great day preceding it.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Bernie and Hillary supporters

The presidential primaries that the Democrats in the United States held last year ended well over a year ago. Yet, despite this, hardcore and/or bitter supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders still insist on arguing about the final result of the election.

"Bernie would have won, Hillary cheated!" the hardcore Bernie supporters yell

"Bernie shouldn't have run, he made Hillary lose!" the Hillary supporters shout back.

This continued back and forth, while being spouted by a minority on either side, achieves nothing. Continuing to divide the Democratic Party as they are doing will only serve to give the current president another term in office in 2020. That must not be allowed to happen. Re-living the 2016 Democratic primaries over and over again is destructive.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Mexican aid

Mexico has withdrawn its offer of help to the United States for the latter country's recovery from the ongoing hurricanes and storms:

Why has Mexico done this? The largest reason is because a massive earthquake has hit that country and it needs to focus on sorting out damage within its own borders. The other reason is because the current President of the United States not only failed to accept aid from Mexico but also failed to send condolences to them for when the earthquake hit.

Monday, 11 September 2017

The faces

This afternoon, I walked to Ruddington and from there, I rode the 10 bus to the city centre. On its own, this isn't worth of noting here; however, the events on the bus and afterwards are.

Shortly after the bus passed the former site of Central's West Bridgford campus, it stopped to pick up two people; to my surprise, one of these people was a friend of a cousin of mine. My brother and I met this person in passing during our visit to Drayton Manor over six years ago. I did not acknowledge her, on the basis that it was a brief meeting years and because it was unlikely she would have recognised me, given my appearance changes since then.

The second familiar face was towards the county hall stop in West Bridgford. At this point, a librarian who helped process me when my progression advisor encouraged me to undertake an assessment back when I first visited Central then boarded the bus. I have seen him since then to speak to and he acknowledged/spoke to me when we departed the bus.

The final familiar face was in the Victoria Centre. I saw in there a coursemate from the Media side of my university course. The last few times I've seen her have either been in the city centre or on board South Notts 1. Since she lives in London, I wasn't expecting to see her around again until later this month, at least. She and I did acknowledge each other.

So, plenty of familiar faces this afternoon!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The confined room

At my university accommodation, I had a large room, which easily accommodated my belongings and any boxes/suitcases they all came with me in. At my mother's house, however, the room is not at all large enough to fit in many of my belongings; most are in the storage areas of the house.

Even so, a large amount of my belongings are in the room I have here and the limited space there was before is even more limited now. To be able to sleep, I have to move excess belongings from my bed to my chair and if I want to use my laptop, the reverse becomes true.

To be fair, however, this is a temporary arrangement; I'll have my big room back soon. This post isn't a complaint - merely a small window into where I'm currently living.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The new Mainline

I travelled to Bingham this afternoon to attend the rebranding/relaunch event of the Rushcliffe Mainline, which involved it becoming just the "Mainline" as well as new buses being introduced to replace those that have been in service for years. In fact, the event was all about the new Mainline fleet - two of the new buses were on display.

Both buses were open to public viewing. One of the new features of these buses compared to the old ones were the USB chargers, which I had been expecting; another were the skylights, which I'd read about in advance. More surprising, however, were the lights along the floor, the non-slip floor, the "mood lighting", the enhanced display panel for the upcoming stop and the removal of the aisle-facing seats. What can I say? These new Mainline buses are vastly superior to the old ones - they almost rival Red Arrow, in some respect.

I couldn't help but be impressed by the new Mainline bus fleet. I definitely want to ride on one soon; they will be put into official service tomorrow.

Friday, 8 September 2017

The leafblower

At my grandparents' house this afternoon, the work there included mowing the lawn, finishing cutting down the rotten plum tree and...using the leafblower.

When my family and I lived in Oregon, we owned a leafblower, although we mostly used it in reverse mode, which meant it sucked leaves up and mulched them. In blowing mode, however, while it wasn't a weak blower it wasn't an overpowered one, either.

Now, my grandfather's leafblower...that one is a beast of a machine. When I turned it on, I was not only surprised by how far it blew the leaves but also by how much of a recoil there was! Never before had I felt such a strong recoil on a leafblower. Once I overcame the surprise, however, I immediately hopped in to the joy of blowing the leaves into a large pile, which I then scooped up and took around the back to use as fertilizer.

So yes, this afternoon I had fun using a powerful leafblower. It wasn't as taxing as cutting down the plum tree but it was still intense in its own way.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Two years since the start of Access

Two years ago, my Access course at Central began:

Yep, two years since that epic academic year began. It got off to a bit of a tough start, what with having to adjust to not only a new group of people but a large group, at that, given that Pre-Access had shrunk to eleven people by the time it concluded. Yes, Access became a stellar academic year, indeed.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The squat slug

This afternoon, I went outside to the back yard to do some weed clearing for my mother; I had promised some garden work to her during my stay. While clearing near a strawberry bush, I encountered an enormous slug.

Now, this slug wasn't enormous in length - in fact, it was shorter than many of the slugs I've seen around here and in Northamptonshire. No, this slug was wide. It was at least an inch thick and couldn't have been much more than two inches in length. Never before can I recall seeing a slug with such short length in proportion to its width.

As for what I did to the slug, I left it alone. I moved away from that area of the yard so that the slug would not be disturbed any further.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

"Yesterday, When I Was Mad" - Pet Shop Boys

Time for a song that I have loved since the 1990s:

It's "Yesterday, When I Was Mad" by the Pet Shop Boys, taken from their album Very. This version of "Yesterday, When I Wad Mad" is the album version of the song, for the video version is significantly different in sound:

It wasn't until 2005 when Dad, my brother and I heard the video version but we'd all heard the album version many years before then. We used to play Very a lot when we lived at our second house in California, quite often when certain friends were over to visit.

"Yesterday, When I Was Mad" it not only one of my favourite Pet Shop Boys songs but also remains one of my favourite songs overall. Very itself is probably my favourite album overall, given that I have highly positive impressions of every one of the songs it contains.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Liveland History: 4th September 2014

Three years ago today, I had my second-ever class at Central College Nottingham, during my Pre-Access course:

It was the first Sociology lesson of the year. The teacher of that class went on to be my course leader for Access as well as the teacher I had the best interactions with. Even now, she and I still communicate with each other, mostly via text.

In that lesson, I spoke up somewhat in the group I was with and during the brief induction, I had ruled out the Poland trip for that year. In retrospect, that was a good decision and at any rate, I travelled to Poland the following year and enjoyed it far more than I would have done if I'd gone in 2015.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Matlock Bath and Matlock 2017

My best friend and I spent the day in Matlock Bath this afternoon. As she will be heading off to university later this month, I treated her to a trip up there as a gift before she leaves. As per my recent visits to the Peak District, we travelled via Red Arrow to Derby and then the Sixes 6.1 to Matlock Bath.

Once in Matlock Bath we climbed the mountain, via its footpaths, that faces the Heights of Abraham. We did not visit the Heights of Abraham itself because the cable car ride up was too expensive for us; however, the view of the Heights from the opposite side was just as worthy. We walked along the mountaintop paths and exited in the town of Matlock itself before walking back to Matlock Bath.

We had a fantastic day out in the Peak District and I wish my friend the best for her upcoming journey through university.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Tram path walk

There are four major routes I take to walk from Clifton to the city centre of Nottingham:

1. Clifton - Wilford - Ruddington - West Bridgford - the city centre

2. Clifton - Wilford - down a footpath close to the river - the tram path via The Meadows part of Nottingham - the city centre

3. Long way via Clifton - Ruddington - West Bridgford (via the route of the 10) - the city centre

4. Direct to the city centre via the footpath by the tram tracks

Recently, I've been walking on that last one, the footpath via the tram tracks. This is easily the most direct way into the city centre from Clifton, as it is a mostly straight route, in addition to avoiding much of the traffic. A modified version of this walk is to take it all the way to the bridge over the Trent but to then turn right and go via West Bridgford, which is what I did today as it adds some extra distance to the walk.

Friday, 1 September 2017

The rotten plum tree

For much of today, I was over at my grandparents' house, completing more garden work for them. Today's biggest task was cutting down the nearly-dead plum tree near their back shed. My grandfather said that the tree died to a lack of sunlight, as caused by the trees around it in other yards growing. A few years ago, the tree produced these delicious plums - now, it can only manage a few scattered leaves.

The tree has been dying for a while, for when I cut into some of the branches, they were thoroughly rotten. In some cases, I didn't even need to use any sort of tool to cut the tree because the branches would snap once enough pressure was applied.

This is at least the second time I can recall cutting down a major tree. The first was when a willow tree on our property back in Oregon died in 2009; Mum and Dad asked me to cut it down and I did.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Mature student meetup, Year 2, meetup 1

Since I've been at university I have been attending the meetups for mature students, despite missing those that occurred before my first term began. I am now fairly well known at them and I enjoy meeting up with fellow mature students.

Today was the first mature student meetup of the 2017-2018 academic year. This meetup was so incoming mature students could make new friends from both existing mature students and others that would be coming to university this year; it was also so the regulars could see each other again. As far I knew, there was only one new student there; however, if there were other new students there I didn't meet them because most of my conversing while there was with her. Not a problem, of course, as it's always good to meet a new person!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

"Adam Ruins Everything Corrects ITSELF!"

A few times, I have posted links to chips of the show Adam Ruins Everything, which is a both an educational and comedic show that busts modern falsehoods. In many ways, it is similar to Mythbusters and Penn and Teller: Bullshit! in doing so. Here is a clip from a recent episode, in which it addressed claims of providing incorrect information to viewers:

I agree - admitting to errors and learning from them increases someone's credibility. Claiming that you're 100% is far more likely to lead people to believe that you're often wrong.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Apple tree and Chinese candy

In my mother's and brother's backyard is an extremely prolific apple tree; it has been producing apples at an incredible rate - to the point where Mum and my brother had too many apples and had to give some away. As such, when I went over to my grandparents' house today to do some gardening and other work for them, I brought with me a huge bag of apples for them. On the bright side, with all these apples we have fresh fruit for the time being!

While I was at my grandparents', however, they had something for me: A bag of Chinese candy. One of my cousins and his girlfriend were recently in Hong Kong and they brought back with them a load of candy from there. They gave a lot of it to my grandparents; however, it was too much for my grandparents and so they gave the excess candy for me to share with Mum and my brother.

Excess apples, excess Chinese candies - what fun!

Monday, 28 August 2017

The return of the key

I awakened early this morning to head over to my accommodation, where I finished off the last of the housework. It took me about two hours to complete the cleaning work and then after that, I visited the security office to return my house/room key.

And with that, today was the day that fully marked the end of my first year at university. I'm off campus and no longer have access to my accommodation - at least not until the latter half of next month. I have a small reprieve before return.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Another move completed

All done, another move completed. I spent the day packing my remaining items and then carrying them by hand; it took me five trips to carry nearly everything over to my mother's house and as a result, I am now exhausted and looknig forward to going to bed. I'll be up early tomorrow to finish tidying my accommodation and to then hand in the key.

For the next few weeks, I'll be living with family again.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Last night here, back in a few weeks

Tonight will be my last night in my student accommodation until the 2017/2018 academic year starts for universities in the second half of next month. While I hand in the keys on Monday, I'll be going to my brother's and mother's house tomorrow; most of my stuff is at theirs but there are a few things I have here and I'll be carrying them my hand. It'll be good exercise because it'll take a few trips to take them all!

This will be my first time living with family again since I started university last year.

Friday, 25 August 2017

EU applications for British citizenship

Since the European Union referendum here in the United Kingdom last summer, EU immigrant applications for British citizenship have skyrocketed:

This is to ensure they are allowed to stay here, assuming the EU-UK negotiations don't protect their right to stay. Ever since the referendum, I have been concerned at what will happen to the 3,000,000 EU immigrants who live here. None of them wanted to be in the situation where they could end up having to leave the UK through no fault of their own; topics like this were barely, if at all, discussed during the referendum campaign.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Beating the bus - from Gamston!

To pick up some food items that I wasn't able to purchase at Clifton Morrison's, I took a long walk and then rode a bus to Gamston Morrison's, as that store is larger and contains a greater selection. I spent fifteen or so minutes in the store and then returned to the bus stop; however, the next bus was in 25 minutes and I had no desire to wait.

As such, I walked to West Bridgford from Gamston Morrison's; at a point during this walk, I saw, going in the direction of Gamston, the bus that that I would have taken had I waited. Some twenty or so minutes later, once I had nearly reached the stops bound for Clifton, that bus appeared again. I beat it by a minute.

While I only saved myself a minute of time, which was negated anyway by my having to wait for the Clifton-bound buses, walking from Gamston to West Bridgford was still beneficial, in my view, because the exercise performed while doing so was preferable and better for me than waiting around for nearly half an hour.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

"How College Loans Got So Evil"- a clip from 'Adam Ruins Everything'

I watched this on YouTube within the past hour or so:

I had wondered the American student loan debt was so bad. What we have here in the United Kingdom isn't as bad; although the debt is hardly a good thing, on current rules, you only start paying it back when you reach a certain income.

Before this evening, I most recently posted about Adam Ruins Everything here.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Theme tune to the 'Good Ending' of "Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus"

This is an excellent piece of music from the theme tune to the 'Good Ending' of Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus:

The first twenty seconds of deep sadness as the clip shows the Mudokons who are still trapped and enslaved, then the melody changes and the remaining thirty seconds signify Abe and his fellow Mudokon's determination to find their missing brethren. It truly is fantastic game music.

The 'Good Ending' is achieved when the player saves 150 - or half - the Mudokons in the game. If the player fails to save at least this many, Abe is executed. Save the Mudokons!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Tinned fish and salad

I've become hooked on a dish that I should have eaten more at the beginning of my university year: Tinned fish and salad. Last night, I had two bags of salad and some tinned tuna, which I combined and also mixed with Worcestershire sauce. The result? A super tasty meal that's also easy to prepare and healthful for me, as well as cheap.

People often complain that salad is bland on its own and so they add salad dressing to it; the trouble is, salad dressing is fattening because of its sugar content. Fish and Worcestershire sauce have little to no sugar or artificial sweeteners in them and are thus better for a person than salad dressing.

This evening, I had tinned mackerel with salad and Worcestershire sauce. I can lose weight with this!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Holme Pierrepont August 2017 (2)

While I last visited there under two weeks ago, I went to Holme Pierrepont this afternoon. I specifically wanted to test out the 11C bus, which runs on Sundays to the water sports centre. The bus stops just outside the park, at the entrance where my grandfather, father, brother and I walked into it back in December 2010.

This was a better visit to Holme Pierrepont compared to the previous. There were more people around and I had zero feelings of loneliness. Since I got that first visit since Dad's death out of the way, the second was much easier. I walked around the main water once before taking the 11C back to the city centre.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The cleaning week

For my last week at my accommodation for this contract, I'll be helping to clean the house. Fortunately, since only two people have lived here for the past month, it's not that dirty. Besides vacuuming and kitchen work, the main cleaning that needs to be done is the bathtub as it is draining slowly; I'll be on that tomorrow, as I'll be going out in the morning to purchase some drain cleaner.

It's funny to think that as of tomorrow, I'll only have a week left here before I'll be at my mother's and brother's house, only to be back in less than a month.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Accommodation move-out 2017, Phase 1

Phase 1 of my move out is complete. The vast majority of my belongings are now at my mother's and brother's house; my East of England uncle and one of my cousins came to transport my stuff for me. Now, at my accommodation I have few of my belongings left here; mostly clothes, some kitchen items and last-minute miscellany.

All that's left here can be carried by hand back to my mother's and brother's place. It might take me two or three runs to take it all but I'll do'll be great exercise!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Finding from packing

I'm still in the process of packing and will continue to work through the night until I'm either tired or there's not much left to pack. While I've been packing, I came across a few items I thought had gone missing; in this case, clothing.

While searching through my wardrobe, I discovered a 'new' blue shirt that I had completely forgotten about, as it was buried under socks and other clothing. I call it 'new' because I've barely worn it. There are a few other items of clothing that were buring alongisde it; I'll have to ensure these are hung up in the wardrobe when I'm back in my accommodation, rather than waiting on the shelves.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Swinging crane fly

A crane fly got itself caught in a web this evening. This wasn't noteworthy by itself, as the spiders here often catch crane flies, but what made this catch funny was that the end of the web the crane fly was caught in wasn't attached to anything; as a result, the crane fly swung on the web as though it were a pendulum.

Fortunately for the crane fly, the spider who built the web was nowhere to be found. I used the time to cut the web and free the crane fly, who promptly started buzzing around the nearest light source. The crane fly will be safe provided that it doesn't fly into another web.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

To obtain an extra box redux

Good news! I was able to obtain not one but three new boxes for my temporary move out of my accommodation. My grandparents had some spare suitcases that they have kindly given to me. My belongings here will take up less room at my mother's house as a result, in addition to being easier to transport.

One of my uncles will be coming on Friday to help me move the majority of my items but I'll still be in my accommodation until next weekend.

Monday, 14 August 2017

To obtain an extra box

This afternoon, I re-assembled the cardboard boxes I brought with me when I moved into my current accommodation; however, as I have since acquired a few more belonings, I need an extra box. First, I shall contact my mother and brother to see if they have a box to spare but if not, I'll look at a place in the city centre for one.

Ideally, I hope my mother has one. I don't particularly want to waste valuable time packing on searching for one more box. I don't have that much more stuff but it's enough to need another place it pack it in.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Just say no to Nazis

As a result of the recent neo-Nazi protect in Virginia, there have been people saying that perhaps Nazis need to be reasoned with, talked to...given a platform to present their views so that they can be debated and refuted. Treated with respect!

Just, two...problems with that - we already know what Nazi views are and they've already been refuted. Need proof? Look up World War II and Nazi Germany; for anyone who wants to hear Nazis "give their side of the story", those two subjects will provide all the information needed.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Gardening then packing

I spent the day at my grandparents' house to complete another batch of garden work for them; the next time I do any work for them, however, won't be until the week after next, for this next week I shall be packing up my belongings in my accommodation in preparation for my temporary move to my mother and brother's house.

Since I left my parents' house in August 2014, this stretch from September 2016 - August 2017 has been longest time living in one place, given that I've not been travelling anywhere during the breaks.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Holme Pierrepont August 2017

For the first time in years - likely the first time since I wrote this post - I visited the water sports centre at Holme Pierrepont. I recently learnt that the 11 bus travels through West Bridgford to a stop a short walk from the centre and the 11C travels directly to the centre, albeit only on Sundays and bank holiday Mondays.

This became my strangest visit to Holme Pierrepont. In the past, I went with family - the last time I went with my grandfather but another common person I went there with was Dad. Evidently, Dad is no longer around to go to Holme Pierrepont with but not only that but there were hardly any people about; it felt quite lonely being without company and with few other people around.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Bakewell August 2017

I visited Bakewell for the first time since July of last year except that on this occasion, a friend came with me. I invited said friend to come with me after he'd been fascinated by my first Bakewell trip when I told him about it.

In Bakewell, we walked around, walked to some of the surrounding paths, climbed one of the small mountains and walked by the river for several hours before returning to Derby and then no Nottingham. This was a much better trip to Bakewell compared to my one last year, where I only spent an hour there, of which half of spent finding a toilet and the other half finding how to return to Derby.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

"Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee"

Some nineteen or twenty years ago, Dad downloaded the demo for Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (full version released in September 1997). While Dad's reasons for downloading the game are unknown, it nevertheless became a popular game within the family and with some of our friends. The plot of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee involved a worker (Abe) saving his people from the corporation at which they worked, as it was going to turn them into food:

We soon bought the full version of the game as well as its sequel, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus. While there have been more sequels and also a remake of Oddysee, called Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!, we never pursued any of them because they went back to gaming consoles and we used the PC. Still, the two Oddworld games we have have provided countless hours of fun and run on our modern computers.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Festival of Learning certificate

A few months ago, I was nominated for a Festival of Learning award, in the category for mature students. A few weeks ago, I was informed that I had not won the award but would be receiving a certificate of achievement instead and that it would be sent to Central.

This afternoon, I paid a short visit to Central (actually, it's now officially the Maid Marian Way campus of Nottingham College) to pick up this certificate. I had a short conversation with one of the receptionists - the one I've known since when she worked at the West Bridgford campus - and then I left.

I expect this to be the last of my accreditations from the Access era. That was academic year 2015-16 and now we're headed for 2017-18; I think I was fortunate to have even have been nominated for Central's internal award over a year ago - to still be receiving any sort of certificate at all this late is staggering.

Monday, 7 August 2017

"The Love I Lost (Moulton Remix)" - Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

A song I've been listening to quite a bit recently has been this one:

It's the Moulton Remix of "The Love I Lost" by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. I remember the original version that was briefly played in the film The Last Days of Disco as well as was listening to the 1990s version by Sybil.

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes released the original "The Lost I Lost" in 1973, from their second studio album, Black & Blue.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Back from Cambridge

My bus back from Cambridge was via National Express, which set off from there at 1:15 this morning. The return to Nottingham took two and a half hours and once I arrived here, I walked back to Clifton. I walked back via a well-lit route, which was mostly deserted; until I made it to Clifton, much of the traffic consisted of taxis.

What an amazing 48 hours it was, from when I left on Friday to when I returned this morning. It was an honour to attend my friend's wedding and I wish her and her new husband all the best.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Married friend

My friend is a married woman! The ceremony took place between 2:00 and 3:00pm, followed by a brief interlude before the main meal. After that, the day has been spent partying and talking to various new people.

Other than a rainstorm this morning, the day has been a gigantic success and I wish the happy new couple all the best.

Friday, 4 August 2017

At the hotel in Cambridge

I'm here, I'm in Cambridge, in my hotel and checked in. I arrived here awhile ago and will now be doing some exploring; I need to find the venue for my friend's wedding tomorrow, as well as the bus stops for when I return to Nottingham. After that, I'll have to look for a Tesco or someplace similar to purchase something for my dinner tonight; I didn't bother with a hotel meal because it was expensive.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

To Cambridge

Tomorrow, for the first time in many years, I'll be in Cambridge. I'll be down there to attend on Saturday the wedding of the friend of mine with whom I went to the Carrie Underwood concerts. She invited me last year and finally, the day is nearly here.

I'll be travelling down on the 19 bus from Nottingham to Peterborough and then a bus from Peterborough to Cambridge. From what I can tell, this will involve five hours of bus riding, which will be easy enough. I'll be staying in a hotel on Friday, be active all day Saturday and then travelling back via National Express on a bus that leaves Cambridge at 1:15am on Sunday.

I have not attended a proper wedding for 21 years, unless the reception party I attended last month is counted. For this wedding, however, I'll be there from start until the finish.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Preparing for a temporary move out

I now have less than a month left on my accommodation's contract. As such, I am in the process of packing my belongings for a temporary move to my mother and brother's house, where I'll be for under a month before moving back into my university accommodation again.

It will be a weird "move" since it will be so short but it's necessary since I can't stay in the accommodation for a whole year at a time. Maybe for Year 3 I will look elsewhere, depending on my circumstances at the time.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Liveland History: 1st August 2014

Three years ago, I helped my oldest younger cousin move from one accommodation in Lincoln to another:

That was her second of three residences in Lincoln and took place before her second year began. I met some of her then-housemates but only briefly.

This took place during the week of my first visit to Central College Nottingham's Maid Marian Way campus, where I'd be for the subsequent two years; I was interviewed about which Pre-Access course I wanted and I met a future classmate in the session.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Wollaton Park July 2017

My closest college friend and I visited Wollaton Park this afternoon. We arranged to visit there today since the weather forecast predicted a cloudy but otherwise dry day. Ha ha - no.

We were sat on a bench talking when a massive rainstorm was unleashed upon us; the two of us had to hide under a tree to prevent ourselves from being soaked, as I didn't have a raincoat on me and my friend's was barely enough to shield her from the water. It took about fifteen minutes for the rain to pass.

After that, we walked around the pond section of the park before heading to the village area, where we had to hide from a second rainstorm that materialised. We had a longer wait but it wasn't so bad since there was proper shelter rather than a tree, which dripped on us the wetter it became.

This is the first time since 2013 that I've had company while visiting Wollaton Park.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Continued garden work

I've been working in my grandparents' garden for part of most weeks this summer. Doing so has been good for losing weight and easy money; I'm progressing well with weight loss while also earning back the money I'll be spending when travelling down to a wedding next weekend.

Today was one of those days when I went to my grandparents' to work; next week I won't be as I'll be busy all week but I'll be back at theirs the week after. It's fun work!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

"Breaking the Habit" - Linkin Park

After "Numb/Encore" and "Numb", amongst the first Linkin Park songs I heard were "In the End" and this one, "Breaking the Habit":

"Breaking the Habit" is the fifth and final single from Meteora, Linkin Park's second studio album. I cannot remember if I heard this track or "In the End" first but in either case, I would have heard them in 2005, sometime after "Numb/Encore".

Friday, 28 July 2017

The move outs redux

After today's move outs, there are only three people I know of still living in my student village: A housemate, someone in a house next door and me. There might be one or two others living around here but I'd be surprised if there are, as I've seen no evidence of anyone else.

My housemate and I have contracts that last until the end of August but the person next door leaves in two weeks.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The move outs

One of my housemates left over a month ago and another left today; tomorrow, another one will leave. Then, it will only be one housemate and me in my house and one other person in my student village, maybe two. Those who didn't extend their contracts are required to leave by tomorrow's end, as it's the end of the accommodation contract.

I'll be in the house for another month and I'm the only person I know who has extended for a whole month more. Then, I'll be at my mother's and brother's house before returning to the student village in mid-September.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Transgenders in the military

He's at it again, now going after trans-people who serve in the United States military:

Oh, what can I say - those of us who were paying attention knew that the current president isn't pro-LGBT and it's doubtful that many of his supporters would have backed him for his pro-LGBT stances. The excuse for barring transgender people - that they cost too much - is utter nonsense; scaling back involvement in conflicts abroad would reduce the military budget far more than kicking out transgender people.

If any of the people cheering this ban were to find themselves in the position of needing help from a member of the military, they'd still take the help even if said member were transgender.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Cotgrave and the Keyworth

I recently wrote about how the Rushcliffe Villager 2 bus route has now been discontinued. The RV2 is not the only Rushcliffe-based bus that has received some major changes; the Rushcliffe Villager 1 has been shortened, in that it now travels directly into Bingham after the villages rather than around the housing estate. In addition, in Radcliffe on Trent, there were a small handful of stops that the bus went past but now doesn't; the result is that these stops are no longer serviced.

The Cotgrave Connection and Keyworth Connection are the other two. Unlike RV1 and 2, they haven't received any sort of cut; rather, both routes have been equipped with new buses and have been renamed to The Cotgrave and The Keyworth, respectively. Both routes now appear to have the same class of bus as Indigo does but rather than the buses being indigo, they are aqua (The Cotgrave) and pink (The Keyworth).

The Rushcliffe Mainline is also supposed to be receiving new buses; both the RM and the RV1/2 routes inherited the buses from the now-defunct Rushcliffe Greens line. I'd be surprised if RV1 receives any new buses, however; I expect any used from RV2 will be transferred to it.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Accommodation extension

Under the normal contract, I would be leaving my accommodation before the end of the week; however, since I paid for an extension and have the receipt for it, I won't be leaving until the end of August instead. I'll then be moving to my mother's and brother's house for about a month before I return to my accommodation in mid-September.

As for Year 3, at this point I haven't decided whether I'll be in university accommodation or a house somewhere in Clifton. That decision won't come around until next year.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

"Numb/Encore" - Linkin Park and Jay-Z

As a follow up to yesterday's post, here is a live version of "Numb/Encore":

A mashup of Linkin Park's "Numb" and Jay-Z's  "Encore", "Numb/Encore" was released in December 2004 from Collision Course, the mashup album between the two musical artists. "Numb/Encore" was my brother's and my introduction to both Linkin Park and Jay-Z.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Chester Bennington

Back on Thursday, it was reported that Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, had died; the cause was suicide via hanging:

Soon afterwards, there was a huge outpouring of grief on social media. Many people, including a large number of my friends, had been touched by the music Bennington had sang with Linkin Park; the band's music frequently contained references to depression and personal pain, as influenced by Bennington's own experiences. As such, Linkin Park's music was highly relatable for many and helped people with their own troubles.

In my case, Linkin Park were among the musical acts I first heard when I started listening to the radio back in late 2004, as that was when "Numb/Encore", from the Linkin Park/Jay-Z mashup album Collision Course, was released. My brother has Linkin Park in his music collection but we both like the band.

The BBC has an obituary about Bennington, which can be found here.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Farewell to the Rushcliffe Villager 2

Today, I rode what I expect to be my last journey on the Rushcliffe Villager 2. Despite existing for under two years, the service will be cancelled as of this weekend. While Cotgrave will still have the Cotgrave Connection for bus access to Nottingham, it will no longer have the RV2 route to Bingham and villages such as Aslockton and Cropwell Bishop will have to rely on county-operated buses for the time being.

Understandably, there has been some criticism for the cut. Areas of Cotgrave that aren't serviced by the Cotgrave Connection will lose out as will the outer villages around Bingham. Many older people use the RV2 but the company's defence is that the numbers are low and that the service is operating at a loss.

A bit of scenery from the RV2 route appears in this post of mine from late 2015. It is a beautiful route and travels around a large portion of Rushcliffe.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A bowling evening

A couple of days ago, a college friend organised a bowling evening between himself, me and two other friends from Access. The agreed day was today and so we met at the Victoria Centre and walked a short way to the nearby bowling alley.

It was a great evening. We weren't really playing to win - as with any good bowling game, we were there for the fun of it and for the social intereaction. We received an extra game free because our original bowling lane was experiencing problems with the pin cleanup, as did our follow-up second lane; as compensation, we were allowed a change to a third lane and given then given another game.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

"Low-Fat Foods Are Making You Fatter" - a clip from 'Adam Ruins Everything'

Here is a good reason to not buy low-fat foods:

Low fat = more sugar or other sweeteners. Best to stick to regular fat foods but just eat less and exercise more!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Let it fail...

The Republicans' second attempt at repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or "Obamacare") is failing. As such, the current president wants the PPACA to "fail" if his party can't repeal it:

He smugly declares "I'm not going to own it" and "I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.", but if the PPACA fails, it will be the fault of him and his party. They're the ones in charge, not President Obama and the Democrats; if Republicans poorly handle the government that they're running, the buck stops with them.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Letter from university - recognition

Recently, I received my results from Year 1 and a Gold accreditation for my work as an academic rep for 2016-2017. On Saturday, I received another piece of good news from university - there was a letter for me from my course leader, which discussed how the exam board had noted how "exceptional [my] academic performance had been over the course of the year" and that I was among a "small handful" of students who achieved a grade mark of 65% or more.

Recognition like this is additional incentive to continue and to continue doing a good job with my work. Again, on to Year 2!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Liveland History: 16th July 2017

Three years ago, my blog post consisted of pictures from a day trip to Nottingham:

It was of Holme Pierrepont as well as consisted of a test of an image editing app. A brief post about the day itself is here. Yes, I remember it well - my Hong Kong uncle and I had a long chat about my then-upcoming college adventure.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The 80th

My grandparents here in Nottingham are both turning 80 years old this year; my grandfather reached that milestone earlier in the year and my grandmother will do so later. Rather than hold two separate celebrations, my grandparents instead opted to hold a joint 80 birthday party today.

Besides my grandparents and me, others in attendance consisted of my Nottingham aunt and uncle, plus their children and the boyfriends of two of said children; my East of England aunt and uncle were there with their children and the girlfriend of one of them; finally, my Hong Kong uncle was also present. I arrived at 12:30pm before my Nottingham aunt and uncle returned me to Clifton in the evening.

As a present, I bought my grandparents some chocolate from Hotel Chocalat. I usually buy them some chocolate smiley faces but this time they had some chocolate hearts with a hummingbird and flower pattern on them, so I bought those instead, which they loved.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Another one of those strange coincidences

A few days ago, one of my housemates needed to attend a house viewing; she also wanted someone to accompany her and asked me, so I did. On our way there, I informed her about a few stories involving other friends of mine who had gone into private student housing; one such story was how a fellow mature student had been cheated out of his money by a conniving housemate.

When my housemate and I made it to the housing, we met someone who worked for and represented the landlord. As we entered the house, the man mentioned the name of a tenant who was staying there; this tenant had the same name as the aforementioned mature student if on cue, it was the same mature student! I couldn't believe it! Not only had my housemate picked somewhere that was home to someone I knew but also of someone I'd been talking about 15 minutes prior. He even recounted the same story I told.

It's hilarious - as well as somewhat disconcerting - moments like this that make life all the more interesting!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Gate painting

For the first time in over two years, I painted at my grandparents' house. Whereas in 2015 I was painting fences, today I was painting one of the gates in their back yard. It's an old gate and was in serious need of a new coat of paint.

In a few weeks' time, I'll be doing some more painting for them - this time being the new gate at the front of their house and the new one to the side. The other reason for my painting the old gate was so that I'd have some practice before painting the new two.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

It still isn't a form of racism

A few weeks ago, I wrote that trolls have been twisting the narrative to somehow argue that challenging racism is a form of racism in itself:

Recently, I saw on Facebook somebody claim that bigotry and calling out bigotry are both "two cheeks of the same arse" (a cruder version of "opposite sides of the same coin"). This person was talking nonsense, for opposing bigotry is not at all the same as being a bigot. I don't know how this "you're intolerant for not tolerating my intolerance!" hogwash is spreading - it is not a form of discrimination to oppose those whose aim is to discriminate against others. No one can choose their ethnic group, sex, sexual orientation, etc.; people can, however, choose whether to be or whether not to be jerks towards others.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Advancing to Year 2

I recently received the result of my sole exam for the recent academic year; while the grade was slightly lower than I'd hoped, it was nevertheless a clear pass and I will be advancing to Year 2 of university. My best result was in my American literature module, where I received a 1st.

And while it doesn't count towards this year's grade, I also received a Gold accreditation for my work as an academic rep. My expectation had been that I would only receive a Silver accreditation, which would still have been a good piece of recognition for my rep work. I shall be running again for a rep position in Year 2.

On to Year 2!

Monday, 10 July 2017

"All I Ever Wanted" - Michael Brun featuring Louie

Not too long ago, I came across this awesome track:

It's "All I Ever Wanted" by Michael Brun, a Haitian DJ. The song is from XOXO, a film that, according to Wikipedia, is a Netflix original. I know next to nothing about the creators of the song but "All I Ever Wanted" is an amazing track!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

"Star Trek Generations" - a Jack in the Box commercial

I was recently made aware of the existence of this:

Star Trek Generations is my favourite Star Trek film and Jack in the Box was one of the few fast food places we visited on several occasions while in the US, besides Wendy's and a couple of others. I wasn't expecting to see a ST:Generations/JitB mix as seen here!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Skylink Derby

Using one of the tickets I was given at the Trentbarton focus group last month, I rode Skylink Derby. As this Trentbarton line is joint-operated between them and Kinchbus, the MANGO cards are not used on this service and so it has not been, until today, a route I had explored.

Skylink Derby begins in Derby (obviously), goes to East Midlands Airport as Skylinks Nottingham and Express do, through Loughborough and all the way to Leicester. I travelled all the way to Leicester and walked around the centre there for a short time. This marked the first time I can recall of my stepping foot in Leicester during the daytime, rather than past midnight. Most of my experience with Leicester comes via travelling through it rather than walking around it.

As for Skylink Derby, it's a fun route; it's long and there's plenty of scenery to observe while riding it. Also, as a result of riding Skylink Derby and using it to travel to Leicester, I have visited all of the outer regions of the Trentbarton network, as viewed here (map is outdated as it shows the defunct Radcliffe Line and Ruddington Connection and doesn't show Skylink Express but nevertheless shows the distant points of the network).

Friday, 7 July 2017

The fly in the room

Flies are experts at entering houses via small openings, such as a crack in the wall or a barely-open window. When it comes to getting out, however, flies seem to be incompetent at this, even when you open a door for them.

At the moment, there is a fly in my room, who has been buzzing around for the past two hours. While my door is open and the window it came in from is also open, it can't or won't fly out despite it wanting to leave. It has this odd obsession with flying around the light as though it's a moth.

I'm not sure how to persuade the fly to go in the direction of the window or the door; I don't particularly want it flying around all night keeping me awake nor do I want it to become meal for one of the spiders who lives in my room.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Monster rainstorm

This evening, I again had to return from my grandparents' house via Bingham; unlike last night, however, there were no angry people on board the bus. Phew!

There was something else to contend with, instead. As the Rushcliffe Mainline returned to Nottingham; this was not problematic at first but once the bus made it to the last stop, it was clear a storm was incoming. I ran to the stop for South Notts 1 in time because once I did, a torrential downpour occurred, backed up with lightning and thunder. Yep, a full storm!

There was a twenty minute wait for South Notts 1; once it arrived and returned me to Clifton, the rain had stopped and I was able to walk back to my accommodation without being soaked. So, no angry people but the bus rides back tonight were nevertheless an adventure!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The misogynistic woman

I was at my grandparents' house today doing some work for them. The day progressed as normal until the evening, when the Rushcliffe Mainline wasn't running through the area where they live because of nearby roadworks; as a result, I was required to take a Trentbarton-supplied shuttle bus to Bingham, which would take me to an RM bus for Nottingham. This involved a longer trip back to Clifton but was otherwise no big deal.

In Bingham, a woman in her 50s or 60s, who appeared to be annoyed, boarded. When the bus took its detour, she asked me if the bus was bound for Nottingham; I confirmed that it was, just that it was taking a longer route back. She appeared to accept this but then asked the woman in front of her the same thing and received the same answer; she then appeared to ask the driver it and, again, received the same answer. At this point, she sat back down after she'd been standing to question the driver.

The woman muttered to herself from then on but otherwise appeared to not be bothering anyone; however, once the bus was in Nottingham and we were coming up to the last few stops, another woman who looked as though she was in her 50s then boarded. Then, the angry woman launched a misogynistic tirade against this new woman, calling her all sorts of anti-woman terms on the basis that she was "dressed like a prostitute" (yes, those were her words); this tirade continued until the new woman left at the second-to-last stop and even after that, the angry woman continued her rant.

As for why the driver didn't do anything, he was concentrating on evening driving but also, this bizarre behaviour occurred in the last five minutes of the journey; it likely would have been more of a hassle for everyone if he'd told her off. When the bus came to the end, her angry woman got off whereas the driver, as well as an NCT driver who was also on boarded, talked about the weird rant by the woman.

I hope the angry woman has since calmed down and that the new woman wasn't heavily hurt by the incident.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

US Independence Day 2017

In the past, I've written a small post on this day to commemorate the United States' Independence Day. To be honest, this year it's hard to celebrate the day seriously when the current president and those around him are in the process of restricting freedoms for the everyday person, enriching their corporatist friends and generally making a mockery of the United States itself in the eyes of the world.

Worse yet, supporters of this current administration still don't care about any of this provided that it hurts other people and not them. For them, it's about vindictively undoing everything that President Obama achieved and getting revenge on the people who elected him. The slogan to "Make America Great Again" has always been nothing more than a rallying cry said revenge - it's a shame the president's supporters don't see that or don't care to see it.

Still, Happy Independence Day. May the values that truly make America great make a speedy return to the White House.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Liveland History: 3rd July 2014

It's been three years since we saw the Avro Vulcan XH558, The Spirit Of Great Britain, flew over our house when we lived in Northamptonshire:

XH558 was the last of its class to remain airworthy; sadly, in October of 2015 its flights came to a halt. The three major companies that helped the Vulcan to the Sky Trust to maintain the aircraft all withdrew their support and the plane lost its certification to fly. For now, the XH558 is retired.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The tram

For the first time ever, I rode the Nottingham tram network, from the city centre to Hucknall:

A college friend and I travelled to Hucknall because he was being featured as a musical act at a pub up there. This was another first for me: Attending a friend's musical gig.

I'd never ridden the tram until now because I'd always found my way around Nottingham via foot, bus or the occasional lift.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

July wedding

I have a wedding to attend this evening. After my English exam back in May, a friend from my course invited to her wedding me and another friend from my course. That wedding will require a ride on the i4 bus to reach it, as it is it Derbyshire. I do not expect to take any pictures, as it is a private function.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Return to Central

I spent some 2 1/2 hours at Central this afternoon. My reason for being there? Because come September, it will no longer be Central College Nottingham - by then it and New College Nottingham will form Nottingham College. As a matter of fact, they have already merged but are going through a transitional period.

My old campus on Maid Marian Way will be used for science classes; as a result, my Sociology and Psychology teachers will be moving elsewhere - to what is currently the NCN Adams campus. The canteen staff, librarians and receptionists will remain for now but it is unknown if this arrangement will last for the long-term.

Even though I finished at Central nearly a year ago, there were still plenty of staff and a small amount of students who knew me and were eager to talk if they had time to do so. I'm unsure how many will remain by September but if there are a few, I'll visit again.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Master or mister

Yesterday, I was booking a hotel (a story for another post) and on the form when it asked for my preferred form of address, for male terms it featured "Master" in addition to just "Mr.". This is significant because I've always known "Master" to mean a young man in the place of "Mr." but prior to yesterday afternoon, I'd never seen it used anywhere.

"Master" is a cool-sounding title; it would be awesome if it gained traction in the place of "Mr." to refer to a young man.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Global opinion of the United States, June 2017

Unsurprisingly, the world as a whole has zero confidence in the current President of the United States compared to his predecessor and positive world opinion of America has been shattered by him, his behavior and his policies:

The question is, though, do his supporters even care that the goodwill the US generated towards itself under President Obama has evaporated? Probably not.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The mouldy egg

Scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs. The first time I recall having one was when my family and I were living with my grandparents' in 2010; ever since then, I have liked them - well, "ever since" until today.

I bought a pack of Scotch eggs this afternoon. When I opened the breaded shell of one of them, the egg inside was partially covered with mould. I had no choice but to throw the egg away, as it wasn't safe for consumption. Fortunately, the other eggs were all okay but it took me awhile to eat them, as I had little appetite for them after seeing the mouldy egg.

Needless to say, after this incident it will be awhile before I have Scotch eggs again! That might not be a bad thing, however, as it means it's one less fatty food for me to eat.

Monday, 26 June 2017

"We'll Be Alright" - Travie McCoy

Ah...good ol' Travie McCoy:

This is "We'll Be Alright" by the aforementioned Mr. McCoy and it samples "Alright", a song by Supergrass, a British rock band from the 1990s. "We'll Be Alright" is the third single from Lazarus, his third studio album, and was released back in late 2010. "Billionaire", however, is the most known single from his album.

Travie McCoy himself is best known for being the lead singer of Gym Class Heroes, who are still an active band even with his solo career.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Badgers and fox

Between 2:00am and 3:00am today, I spotted these animals in the backyard:

A fox and two badgers! I've seen the fox sniff and snack around the back a few times but this is the first occasion I can recall seeing a British badger (discounting those I've seen as roadkill). The badgers sniffed and snacked through the grass, too.

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.