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Saturday, 31 October 2009

(ROT13) FYE

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available. These photos are marked with [HiRes] tags in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

I came across a little luck a few days before this Hallowe'en. I've been treated with some... really good stuff. We'll let the pictures do the talking, shall we?


Spoiler 1: Lake of the Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham.

OK perhaps that picture doesn't talk loudly enough. Maybe this one?


Raleigh Park.

Do you see it? No? This one?

The future is here
[HiRes] Spoiler 2: Your Future's Right Here! Jubilee Campus

Or this?

By the lake
[HiRes] Spoiler 3: Jubilee Campus lake.

OK the sights of Jubilee Campus are simply breathtaking. I will blog about them sometime soon, hence the Spoiler tags.

Let's try some everyday sights.

09-10
[HiRes] 09/10 Planner, given free, courtesy of Blackwell bookstore at University Park.

Books
[HiRes] Spoiler 4: Library books at Jubilee Campus.

Don't see anything yet?

Seriously? These are everyday items!

Last shot (literally). A digicam, a pair of old, faded jeans and a shoe. How good do you expect it to look?

Nikon Coolpix 3200
[HiRes] My Nikon Coolpix 3200, the faithful camera I've been using to shoot the hundreds of photos you see here.

Hang on... Something is spooky here. If my camera is the subject, what did I use to shoot the picture?

Hmmm. Maybe it was a haunted picture. After all, it IS Hallowe'en.

Ah well, who cares? Happy Hallowe'en.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Sights of Nottingham -- Old Market Square

Note 1: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available. These photos are marked with [HiRes] tags (Hi-Resolution) in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

Note 2: Various facts obtained from Wikipedia. All text-links lead to the related Wikipedia articles.

I've posted tens of photos on the University of Nottingham. I guess it's time for a change, so let's go for a walk...

... to Nottingham City Centre!!! Hurray!!! It's a 30-minute-walk away from my place, but you're lucky to be spared of the exercise.


A building in Nottingham City Centre.

There are tonnes to photos to share, so today I'm just going to show you the area around the Old Market Square.

Old Market Square, Nottingham
[HiRes] Old Market Square, Nottingham. The grand, old structure in the background is the Nottingham Council House.

The Nottingham Old Market Square is the largest town square surviving in the United Kingdom. Covering an area of over 22,000 square metres, events and fairs are frequently held there.

The Old Market Square has been recently renovated and now includes a fountain.

Wet and Fun
[HiRes] Water fountain of the Old Market Square.

Interestingly, the fountain can be turned off and drained to reveal an amphi-theatre style seating, good for performances.

Wet and Fun (cropped)
Cropped version of the above picture. Can be found on Flickr, but no higher resolution available.

Story tells that it was here that Robin Hood famously won the Silver Arrow from the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Today, the Nottingham Council House sits majestically beside the Square. It houses the city hall of Nottingham, as well as the Exchange Arcade, a high-end shopping complex (albeit too small to be attractive).

Nottingham Council House
[HiRes] The facade of the Council House.

The Exchange Arcarde
[HiRes] Interior of the Exchange Arcade.

Another reference to Robin Hood can be found here -- the clock bell of the Council House is named Little John.

The Dome
[HiRes] The dome, Nottingham Council House.

I've been to the Square for several times now, and saw tents set up during most weekends, selling all sorts of snacks and delicacies.


The weekend crowd among the tents in Old Market Square.

These tents are not available during weekdays. And while the weekend crowd is simply crazy, with children playing in the fountain, the smaller weekday visitors are mainly adults.


The many types of cheese sold in one of the tents.

It was in Old Market Square that I saw a tram with my own eyes for the very first time.

Forgive me lah, but trams are non-existent in Malaysia and Singapore.

Nottingham Tram
[HiRes] Nottingham Tram. Haven't got a chance to ride one yet.

There are still lots of things to see.

For example, during my first trip here, I realised that McD restaurants in UK are not painted red.


No Ronald McDonald, no big Golden Arches on striking red background. If I were illiterate I wouldn't know it's a McD at all.

Then there's the street market.


Colourful scarves/hats for sale! This scene looked strangely out of place in UK -- the Malaysian Pasar Malam would suit this store perfectly.

For my friends who love to read, there's also a store selling books at quite reasonable prices.


£5 for 3 novels. The Chinese say that books are the food for the souls. The truth is, these soul foods are cheaper than body food in UK.

More pictures of the City and University of Nottingham coming up in November! For the time being, Happy Hallowe'en!!!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Embarrassing Thing Last Night

We've been living in this world for quite some time already. We've done lots of things. Things that defined who we are. Things that shaped our personalities. Things that attract attention of others.

Embarrassing things.

Want to hear an embarrassing story of someone I know?

OK here goes.

Once upon a time... OK not that long ago, actually, just last night. Last night, a man called er, Wenqy went to bed. He was later woken up at 5am after peeing in bed. Nope, not the slimy gravy. Watery pee.

The end! Hahaha, funny right?

Oh fine, that's me. But it's not like none of us has done it before. In my defence, the weather here in UK is cold! AND, I drank a lot of water after getting sick last week.

Plus, who cares if I peed in bed? I'm in a totally foreign country, speaking in an accent nobody understands. I point my camera at perfectly ordinary things like post boxes, churches, trees, fallen leaves and even trash. My hair is messy, stubbornly strong and unusually thick. My glasses are dirty and grimy, sitting lop-sidedly on a nose too long for an Asian. My arms are too skinny for a man and my long, thin fingers make things worse. My watch is too old, my jacket too shabby, my eyes too small and my voice too low.

But I ain't complaining. I'm feeling perfectly fine with my condition right now.

So yeah, laugh all you want, I don't care. If I do, I'd probably be dead right now. So, whatever, I'm going to bed.

Will I pee there again tonight?

Will you?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Sights of UoN - Portland Building

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available. These photos are marked with [HiRes] tags (Hi-Resolution) in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

I mentioned about the Portland Building in a blogpost some time ago.


One of the few Portland Building signboards.

Portland building was initially built in the 1950s. The facade facing the lake sports the traditional English architecture and is, in my opinion, the best looking structure in the University after the Trent Building.





Portland Building main entrance
[HiRes] Portland Building's main (and old) entrance.

The four-storey building was then expanded, probably some time in the 90s or early 2000s. The extension is four-storey as well, but the floors of the newer and older halves are not aligned, ie the ground floor of the newer half is the first floor of the other. Portland thus ended up with five floors.

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Portland Building is probably the most important non-academic building in the University Park campus. Its daily visitors easily surpasses that of the others, including the Trent and possibly even the Hallward library.

Lunchtime, Portland Building
[HiRes] Students enjoying their lunch break outside Portland Building.

Portland is home to the University's Students' Union, which comprises of all university societies and sports club (under Atheletic Union). The main grocery store in Portland is called the Students' Union Shop.



The Students' Union Shop is possibly operated by the Students' Union itself, though I can't be sure of that. They sell all sorts of goods, including hard drinks, stationery, University sweaters/cups/T-shirts, other than the usual food and snacks.


Alcoholic drinks, Students' Union Shop, Portland Building.

It's no wonder few UK students want to participate in the Exchange Programme to Malaysia -- University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus doesn't even allow alcoholic drinks in campus grounds, let alone selling them.


Stop dreaming about seeing this thing in any school in Malaysia.

Just outside the Students' Union Shop, there is a collection of several photos of famous alumni.


And yes, that's the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib.

There's a pharmacy just opposite the Students' Union Shop. It is a branch of the Boots pharmacy, whose founder's son Jesse Boot donated much land to the University of Nottingham some seven or eight decades ago. This act of kindness tied the Boots Company and the University of Nottingham together, and is probably why the University is famed for its pharmacy course.

Then there's the Blackwells bookstore.



Blackwells sells new and used books. Although this Blackwells branch isn't as big as the bookstores in the city, it is still a great place to hang out if you're a book person (or worm).


Blackwells in Portland sells limited DVDs as well.


I really like how they use daylight for lighting purposes. Great for reading!

There are two food courts in Portland Building, and a Juice Bar. And, guess what, they even have a bar, called the Den, open for six nights a week.


The Den during lunch time. Yes, they're open during the day too. I wouldn't be able to shoot anything at night with my poor camera.


Bar seating. It was recently renovated over the summer.


Pool tables at the bar.


A recycled photo from the old blogpost. This was taken just outside The Den. The area was mainly used for outdoor dining or smoking.

Moving away from the bar, there's also the Portland Atrium, where activities like performances and fairs and often held.



That's not everything in Portland. There's still the Chapel (with a pipe organ), Printing Centre, Student Services Centre, two banks (HSBC and NatWest), CCD (Centre for Careers Development), a saloon, various halls and more.

Boy, I'm never gonna finish if I were to write about everything.

Note: Click here to see all University-related posts.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

List of University-Centred Posts

It's been more than a year since I entered university. I wrote many blog posts about my university life, some turning out to be my favourites.

However much I wrote, there's still 2 more years of university for me, and I can see a lot of university-related posts in the near future. So I'm compiling a list of university posts, and hopefully some time down the road, I'll look back and be satisfied with how far I've come.



List of University-Centred Posts
last updated 3 Mar 2010

1. 17 Sept 2008, Checked In
2. 22 Sept 2008, Sights of UNMC
3. 23 Oct 2008, More Sights of UNMC
4. 1 Dec 2008, The Darkest Black Friday Week
5. 20 Dec 2008, Early Sights of UNMC
6. 7 Apr 2009, Campus Security
7. 17 Jun 2009, Goodbye Edusquare
8. 30 Jun 2009, Summer in Pangkor
9. 5 Sept 2009, Big Chunk of My Summer
10. 15 Sept 2009, UNMC 2008/09 - Over!
11. 30 Sept 2009, The First Sights of UoN
12. 7 Oct 2009, A Warm Welcome Week
13. 19 Oct 2009, Sights of UoN - Portland Building
14. 10 Nov 2009, Sights of UoN -- Jubilee Campus at Night
15. 17 Nov 2009, Sights of UoN -- A Jog Around the Lake
16. 13 Dec 2009, Sights of UoN -- Jubilee Campus
17. 23 Dec 2009, Sights of UoN -- Lakes and Waterbirds
18. 3 Mar 2010, Sights of UoN -- The Millennium Garden



Those who read my blog post A Warm Welcome Week published some 8 days ago were greeted with this message preceding the rest of the post.

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available on Flickr. These photos are marked with [AoF] tags (Available on Flicker) in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

Yes, you're right! First I got Blogger, then I got Twitter, now, I have a spanking new Flickr account.

With the new Flickr account, I can finally provide higher resolution photos without worries!

Photos that, erm, pass certain selection criteria will experience one less level of shrinking, usually ending up with resolutions like 1024x768 (4:3 format) or 1024x675 pixels (3:2 format). Those who don't, unfortunately, will get reduced to a maximum of 512 pixels height or width, whichever is larger. To view these wallpaper-quality photos on Flickr, simply click on them! You'll be brought to their static Flickr pages, where you can view, comment and even download them!

But hey, even the preview images are larger! On blog posts, these Flickr photos have a preview image size of 500x375 pixels, compared to other photos' 400x300 pixels!

To view my latest 200 photos on Flickr (I don't have that many up there yet!), click here. Alternatively, a link to my Flickr page can be located at the right column, under "My Links".

A photo-centric post is arriving this weekend, I hope you enjoy the big boost in photo quality!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Richard Clayderman

Richard Clayderman has always been my favourite (music) artist, since I was a wee little boy.

For those who don't know him, he's a French easy-listening pianist. His CDs were the first original Audio CDs I bought with my own pocket money. And I didn't just buy one, I bought a whole bunch of them!

One thing I like about Richard Clayderman is the way he took me around the world. He played hundreds and hundreds of songs of different genres -- classical, blues, jazz, pop, you name it, he's got it.

However, one word of warning -- he has his own ways of interpreting the songs he plays! You'll be surprised to find your childish nursery rhymes turned into romantic ballets in Richard Clayderman's hands.

I love his songs so much he gave me quite a bit of influence in my musical education. When I was younger, I enjoyed playing his songs by ear (it is hard to find scores) on the piano. Last year, I played his version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and uploaded it to Youtube for Christmas. But don't judge Richard Clayderman based on my playing -- let me remind you again that rocks, and I suck!

So naturally, when I was tagged to answer a few questions (understatement, eh?) with song titles from just ONE artist, I instantly chose Richard Clayderman.

Answering them won't be easy though. I have more than 300 of his songs in my playlist and looking for the cheekiest answer can be rather challenging. And I'm not supposed to repeat an answer!

And here goes the questions, enjoy! Or not.



Pick your artist
- Richard Clayderman

Are you male or female?
- A Man After Midnight

Describe yourself
- Blue Eyes (yeah, right!)

How do you feel about yourself?
- Over the Rainbow

Describe where you currently live
- Vivaldi's Four Seasons

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
- Waterloo

Your favourite form of transportation
- My Way

Your best friend is
- Money, Money, Money (haha, not really true, but not bad!)

Your favourite colour is
- Love is Blue

What's the weather like?
- Yesterday

Favourite time of the day?
- Can You Feel the Love Tonight?

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?
- I Have A Dream (just one?)

What is life to you?
- Another Day in Paradise

What is the best advice you have to give?
- Take That Look Off Your Face (I wanted to write Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, but that's the same song as A Man After Midnight, my answer to the second question)

If you could change your name, what would it be?
- Prince of the Rising Sun

Your favourite food is
- People (cannibal!)

Thought for the day
- We Are The World

How would you like to die?
- All By Myself

Your soul's present condition?
- Sea of Tears (whoa, that bad?)

Your motto?
- The Winner Takes It All



That's it! I'm not tagging anyone, but feel free to answer these questions if you like.

Richard Clayderman FTW!!!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

A Warm Welcome Week

Note: High resolution images of some of the following photos are available on Flickr. These photos are marked with [AoF] tags (Available on Flicker) in their captions. Click on the photos to view their higher resolution images.

After arriving at the University of Nottingham, I participated in the University's Welcome Programme.

The Welcome Programme included several activities. I registered with National Health Service (NHS), during which I got two vaccinations. I collected my university card. I opened a bank account. I registered with the University after joining a very very long queue, stretching over 30 metres.


The queue to University registration.


Registering.

Participants of the Welcome Programme are offered free on-campus accommodation for two nights. I got a nice comfy room in Sherwood Hall, located at a corner of the University Park campus. It's got a big window with a great view.


Sherwood Hall.

Sherwood Hall room
[AoF] Window of my room in Sherwood Hall.

The Sherwood Hall is obviously named after the forest in which Robin Hood purportedly stayed during his time.

During our stay in Sherwood Hall, we were given free food for breakfast and dinner too.


Clockwise from bottom left: muesli, paper napkins (not meant to be eaten), juice, toast, egg, and some sort of a bread.

It was then that I first ate a classical English breakfast.


Toasted to a golden, crunchy perfection!


The toaster. It has a small conveyor belt, on one end which you place your bread on, and toasted bread drops down the other. The bread in the picture above was toasted by this toaster twice.


Muesli -- my favourite among the lot! Raisins, oat, nuts, almonds etc all mixed up, crunchy and nice.


Jay (in green) and Donny's apple.

We had our meals in a large dining hall. We lined up (again and again) for our meals there.


The dining hall.

We were also entertained by the Week One committee, who prepared dances, skits, and performances on a Friday night.


Dance performance. Pardon me for the extreme noise of this picture, it was a little dark and my camera was pushed past its limits.

The Committee really made the Welcome Programme literally welcoming. They sacrificed their time, effort, and energy to make us feel at home. Those performances weren't of world class standards, but I still enjoyed them. Thanks a million to them!

video
One of the performances that night. This is an Irish or Scottish dance, I can't really remember. Again, sorry for the grainy video, nothing I can do about it.

People say that time passes by quickest when you enjoy. That must be true, because before I knew it, my temporary 2-night room turned into this.


My Welcome room the night before I checked out.

A big mess.

The following morning, however, after some time of packing, the room looked almost exactly as it had when I first checked in 48 hours ago.

A bus came few hours later and I was brought to my home for the rest of the year -- Raleigh Park. This is the end of the nice hospitality, I thought. It's not everyday you get free food, young man!

Raleigh Park
[AoF] Sillitoe Court of Raleigh Park. My room is among these blocks.

But how wrong I was.

During my first two days in Raleigh Park, a tent was set up near the bar, providing free burgers.


The guy frying patties. He was so good he actually flipped the patties with his bare hands.

Edmund preparing his burger
[AoF] Edmund preparing his burger.

Raleigh Life Till I Die
[AoF] James eating his burger by the wall with the words "Raleigh Life Till I Die!".

That, my friend, was some kind of hospitality.

Edmund enjoying his burger!
[AoF] Edmund, in front of the Beach Bar, truly satisfied.

Thank you all for making my first week in UK a blast!