Friday, 31 March 2017

The eighth term - done

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

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

And now for the break!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

"Hey, Soul Sister" - Train

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

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

I last wrote an article involving Train here.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Article 50 activated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

"Million Voices" - Otto Knows

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

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

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

Monday, 27 March 2017

Pants for long walks

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

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

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mother's Day 2017

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

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

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Last week of another term

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

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

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

Friday, 24 March 2017

Failed repeal, in that it never left the ground

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

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

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

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Formative research task, 24/04/2017

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

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

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Next year's modules

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

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

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

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

That was not intentional

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

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

Monday, 20 March 2017

Bad parenting (on a bus)

I posted this to Facebook earlier:

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

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

 What do you think?

Sunday, 19 March 2017

"Thrift Shop" parody by Bart Baker

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

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

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

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Forgot my phone

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

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

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

Friday, 17 March 2017

St. Patrick's Day 2017

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

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Latin dance

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

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

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

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A visitor from another university

I had a visitor this afternoon! A friend of mine from Access, who is now at the University of Nottingham, came and spent a few hours with me and my friend from Access who is on the English side of my course. I took her a tour around the campus before she and I met up with our other friend, who was waiting in the Pavilion. She liked the campus, as well as spending time with us, and decided she wanted to come again at some point.

This friend is the first visitor I've had since I've been at university. I don't count when my grandfather has dropped me off because he wasn't visiting and I don't count Mum and my brother as visitors because they live in Clifton.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Another Scottish referendum - possibly

As a consequence of the United Kingdom voting last year to leave the European Union, Scotland is appearing to move forward with another referendum to leave the United Kingdom:

The argument being used by the Scottish National Party - the largest part in Scotland's devolved parliament - is that since Scotland voted decisively to remain in the European Union, it should leave the UK and rejoin the EU. In reality, it's more likely that the SNP is using last year's referendum as an excuse for another in/out referendum of their own, as the long-held goal of the SNP is to split the UK.

Of course, the SNP is banking on the EU approving Scotland's ascent back into the EU should Scotland leave the UK. This is a risky issue on which to campaign, for there's no evidence that the 45% who voted for Scotland to leave in 2014 are supporters of the EU or that any pro-EU voters who backed Scotland staying in the UK are more loyal to the EU than to the UK; in addition, for a country to join the EU, it must have approval from all member countries. Spain, with nationalist problems of its own, is likely to block a hypothetical independent Scotland from being in the EU.

In the event Scotland does declare independence, then anybody who voted for the UK to leave the EU on the basis that the UK was "strong enough" on its own ought to eat their words and be ashamed for helping to cause the destruction of the UK as it exists now.

Monday, 13 March 2017

A mock exam, completed

Today's mock exam went off without any hitches. It took place during the usual 2-hour time slot of my Monday lecture; the first hour of the session consisted of preparation for the mock exam and information about the main exam whereas the second hour consisted of the mock itself. This isn't graded work - we're to bring our papers into seminars and discuss them there with our respective seminar tutors.

I don't know how well I performed. On the bright side, I wrote about a contrast between two literary theories (the topic was about literary theories) when I had intended to write about only one theory; this is good because my "grade" would be higher with two than with only one and, hopefully, I'll be in better shape for the main exam than I had originally anticipated.

Sunday, 12 March 2017


In a lecture last week, I foolishly brought my media player phone (my Galaxy S III) in with its morning alarms activated. So, halfway through the lecture, the phone goes off, complete with the Lady Gaga song I have it set to.

Fortunately for me, my phone was in my bag and that was able to muffle the sound; in addition, my lecturer was talking into the amplifier and I was sat in the back row, as I always am in that particular lecture. My phone's alarm sounded for 30 seconds before switching off automatically and my lecturer did not notice the noise.

It was surprising enough by itself that she didn't hear the commotion but what added to the surprise was that a few minutes later, she politely scolded two people in the front row for talking (she's the type who can tell people off while having a sweet smile on her face and in her tone), as well as scolded two more people for messing around with their phones. In all my lectures so far, this one set the record for the most amount of disruptions and mine wasn't noticed!

In future, I'll be ensuring neither phone goes off in classes, although my Galaxy Note 4 is always set to silent and has only rung in class on silent.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Not always approving comments quickly

For much of the time Air Nice-to-Livelands has existed, comments here have been set to "approve only". Up until the last few months, I usually approved comments within hours or a day. Now, it's often days or sometimes weeks before I respond. Why is this?

Well, a part is because of my increased real-life workload but a major factor is the change in layout to Blogger. The home page, which would say how many comments are in need of approval, is gone and now the default page when logging in is my post list. I'm no longer regularly reminded of comments and tend to forget about them.

In addition, now that my reading list is now no longer on a home page, I don't always check other blogs and comment on them. Removing the main Blogger dashboard has not been an improvement, in my opinion.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Oh, knock it off

More absurdity:

As well as the poll spouting some nonsense that the approval ratings of the current President of the United States are somehow in good shape despite clearly being unsuitable for the position, the poll also notes 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's approval rating.

My question is this: Why is Hillary Clinton being treated as though she's still running for president? Supporters of the current president demand that everyone who opposed him "move on" from the election yet they enjoy attacking Clinton at any given opportunity and using her as a deflection for the atrocious policies of the president. This poll that tracks her approval rating makes no sense: She's not running for president; she's a private citizen again. Senator John McCain and former Governor Mitt Romney - President Barack Obama's two Republican opponents - never had this after they lost. Once they were defeated, no one cared about them.

Oh, never mind - I know the reason why Clinton is receiving this negative's because she's a woman. She's a woman who ran against the patriarchal system and as a result, she received frequent reminders of her defeat and supposed unpopularity. Misogynists will try to deny this but since McCain and Romney weren't given any similar post-election humiliation...yeah, it's misogyny at fault here.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The student bars

Today is the first time that I visited on the same day the student bars on the Clifton and City campus sites. The student bars are merely an on-campus place where students can purchase food and drink, similar to how they'd buy and eat food in a pub. They are bar/pub-like in layout, rather than heavily spacious like the canteen here at Clifton.

My reason for being at the bars was because a small meetup for mature students was being held at both. The organiser was the only person besides me who was present at both locations and I knew from elsewhere or from other meetups some of the other people who attended.

I'd been to both bars before but again, today is first time I went to both on the same day.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day 2017

"It's International Women's Day 2017 and yet, we're at a time in the modern era when the 'Leader of the Free World', plus his overall administration and his party, are enacting policies that are harming women and restricting their freedoms. And this mess comes after perhaps the most qualified person to ever run to for US president - a woman - was defeated in favor of someone who continues to prove that he is grossly unsuitable for the role.

I'd hoped by now that women would have made further advancements in equality, not being forced to defend the progress that they have already achieved."

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A mock exam on the way

For next week's lecture for my main English module, there will be a mock exam, The purpose of this is to prepare students for the end-of-year exam for the module, which is to take place in two months' time. Personally, I'm happy for this mock exam and the practice it will provide before my coursemates and I have to go up against the proper exam in May.

As far as I'm aware, this module is the only one that has an exam. American literature and my main Media module have an assignment each and my other Media module has the practical project as its end-of-year work.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Gedling village

This evening, I visited an area of Nottingham I'd not been to: Gedling. Now, I've been to the Gedling district before, as it's where Calverton is located, but this was Gedling village, an area of the eastern part of Nottingham. Overall, I'm not really familiar with the south-of-Arnold areas of eastern Nottingham, mostly because I'd not really had a reason to go there; this evening, however, I was doing some exploring and testing out the bus routes over there.

Gedling is similar to Calverton in that both areas are quite rural and there are hills nearby. It's actually one of the prettiest parts of the city that I've seen. I'll have to post pictures from an earlier time in the day, rather than late dusk.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Liveland History: 5th March 2012

Five years ago, I had just finished a "Short Stories" serial called "The Garden Dance":

My intention had been to write it as a one-page piece but I had enough content for three. "The Garden Dance" was based on a vivid dream I had back then; perhaps unsurprisingly, I recall very little of the dream nowadays.

The three parts themselves are here, here and here.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

"I Feel It Coming" - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk

Yesterday afternoon, I was in a clothing store with a friend when this awesome song came on the shop's radio:

It's "I Feel It Coming" by The Weeknd and features Daft Punk. Barely listening to the radio nowadays means I miss out on great music such as this track, which comes from Starboy, The Weeknd's third studio album. I was fortunate to come across "I Feel It Coming" when I did!

And this song joins the list of tracks I have (or in this case, will soon have) in my music collection that I discovered randomly in a store one day.

Friday, 3 March 2017

End of Global Week 2017

Today marked the end of 2017's Global Week at NTU. Yesterday consisted of the Middle East being represented, although Libya and Syria were the only two countries with the own stands; aspects of the region as a whole were given focus rather than from any specific country other than the aforementioned two. The Libyan and Syrian desserts I sampled were delicious; I don't recall ever eating anything from them before.

As for this afternoon, the Americas were on display; however, it was the United States, Peru and Cuba who each had their own stands. I visited the American stand and spoke to the student there for a few minutes; when she asked if I've visited the US, it was fun telling her that I'd actually lived there. Later in the day, as Global Week was ending, my Irish friend and I photographed each other standing next to the cardboard replica of the Statue of Liberty.

It's been a fun Global Week; my only disappointment with it is that I didn't attend anything on Monday. Better correct that next year!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

"Casin" - Glue70

I recently came across this fun little track:

The song was being used on a tutorial video I watched a couple of weeks or so ago. It's "Casin" by an entity called Glue70; I don't know if Glue70 is a person or a band.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Global Week 2017

It's currently Global Week at NTU. Essentially, each day of the week, students from various countries can set up stands in the Pavilion to represent their respective countries and show off aspects of them, such as food, culture and/or landscapes. Yesterday, it was the African nations who had the floor (I sampled some Somalian desserts - very sweet but very tasty!) whereas today the European nations were present.

I had intended to go in to see a particular stand I'd been told to check out but in addition to that one, I visited the Ireland stand. The latter was being hosted by a friend of mine - a third year student I met on my move-in day - and she was happy to see me; she invited me to help her out and I happily did so. For about two hours I helped my friend represent her country until I had to leave to attend a student forum meeting.

Having the chance to actually participate in Global Week - rather than just sample foods from stands - was a highly enjoyable activity and I'd like to be able to do it again.