Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Paris climate agreement

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

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

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Sixth blogging anniversary

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

But yeah, six years of blogging!

Monday, 29 May 2017

For the very short term...

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

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

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The invalid ticket

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

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

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Three-day bank holiday ticket

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

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

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

Friday, 26 May 2017

Hello, President Obama!

President Obama has been here in the United Kingdom!

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

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Over before midday - another academic year finished

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

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

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Last all-nighter (sort of) for now

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

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

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

That wasn't an excuse for more hate

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

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

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

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

Monday, 22 May 2017

Voter registration deadline, May 2017

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

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

Sunday, 21 May 2017

No, it isn't a form of racism

Imagine this exchange:

Person A: *says something racist*

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

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

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

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Hassan Rouhani: Re-elected

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

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

Friday, 19 May 2017

Going to Google

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

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

What do you do?

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A move out

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

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

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

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Two inactive days and a card

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

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

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

"Paper Planes" - M.I.A

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

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

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

Monday, 15 May 2017

Avril Lavigne conspiracy theory

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

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

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

Sunday, 14 May 2017

US Mother's Day 2017

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

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

Saturday, 13 May 2017

"Places" - Martin Solveig featuring Ina Wroldsen

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

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

The radio edit can be found here.

Friday, 12 May 2017

In 48 hours... (3)

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

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

Thursday, 11 May 2017

In 48 hours...redux

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

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

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

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

In 48 hours...

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

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

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Media practical done, dancing done (for now)

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

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

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

Monday, 8 May 2017

Re-committing to a failed pledge

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

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

The general election here is a month from now.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

French presidential election, 2017

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Having a day off

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

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

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

Friday, 5 May 2017

Another module's sessions...finished

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

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

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Practical production log

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

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

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Module choices lecture

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

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

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Media practical upload and dancing

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

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

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

In all, a productive day!

Monday, 1 May 2017

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

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

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