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.