My Bike Story – ‘Blood Dragon’

bicycle race

We all have our bike stories to tell. Whether it’s that trip to Centre Parks with the family, or just that you can sing Queen’s ‘Bicycle Race’ without a lyrics sheet. Well, folks, here’s my bike story – I call it ‘Blood Dragon’.

There’s been nothing tougher than spending my first year at University as an off-campus student. Living in the not-so-fancy Tang Hall area, I had to walk for half an hour to get to uni, there and back, every single day. Some days, I’d stay at my girlfriend’s place just to avoid leaving campus (and, because I wanted to, of course).

Then, one day, I heard there was a bike sale of re-cycled bikes on-campus. Initially, I had my fears, but there was no harm in at least popping along. When I arrived, there was a range of slightly-rusted bikes, ranging both in colour and price. After much scanning, I found my needle in the haystack – a steed for £50, with all kit included. Bingo. My luck hadn’t run out after all! However, there was one small catch:

The bike was bright pink with neon green handlebars.

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Sadly, it doesn’t come with the drain pipe!

Yikes. I stood there assuring myself, with sentences such as “Ady, it’s fine, it has that vintage, California beach look about it!” and “It’s salmon, dammit, salmon!”. I knew that I’d live to regret this, forever mocked by my immediate family and passer-by chavs. But, being the cheapskate that I am, I couldn’t ignore how cheap it was, how proud my Mum would be for buying a bike £30 cheaper than my brother.

And so, after handing over my money and receiving a ‘That’s a unique choice, mate!’ from the seller, I have something that can get me to and fro rather quickly, is the brightest bike on campus and beyond and gives me an excuse to sing ‘Bicycle Race’.

So why call this story Blood Dragon? Well, for any gamers and popular-culture-enthusiasts out there, it relates to Far Cry 3’s standalone adventure, ‘Blood Dragon’. For those who aren’t either of the above, the game showcases killer cyborgs, laser dinosaurs and more bright pinks and neon greens than an exercise video from the 80s!

Sgt. Rex Power Colt - my bike's inspiration
Sgt. Rex Power Colt – my bike’s inspiration

Sadly, I am sad enough to name my bike ‘Blood Dragon’… all judgmental comments are welcome.

This Photo Fought Off Cancer

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Adrianna – Donator to Cancer Research

Sometimes in life, we do some pretty crazy stuff in the name of charity. Whether that be throwing yourself out of an aeroplane to almost-certain death, or mixing Frosty Jacks with bleach and half a packet of gravy granules for a Necknomination. For supposedly being the most intellectual species on the planet, we can be pretty damn stupid at times – I recently discovered that I am no exception!

Gents, do you and your girlfriend have a list of things that you want to do to each other (steady on, not that list)? For me, I’ve always wanted to make Lydia watch Star Wars, play video games with me and learn to at least tolerate Coldplay. That she has. For Lydia, she wanted me to Holy Music B@tman!, perfect an Irish accent and allow her to ‘doll me up’. To my demise, that list was only two thirds complete – charity was going to change that.

Unless you’ve been living under a social media rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of the latest charity craze, the #nomakeupselfie. Women everywhere have been ‘taking off their masks’ and exposing their natural self to the world. I’ve seen a range of comments, from “Y u so beautiful?! xxxxxxx” to “Some birds are getting deleted after this no make up thing”. Genuine. It’s racked in an astonishing £8m for Cancer Research, changed the way women perceive themselves and created a multitude of grumpy people who shout “DOWN WITH SELFIES” instead of donating for a good cause.

James
Jamesita – Best Friend and Nominator!

Whilst it may be only a small proportion of people, cancer does affect men too. And thanks to one of my best friends who wished to express his inner-diva, I found out that the #makeupselfie was coming to get us. Once I saw my nomination, and the look on Lydia’s face, I knew what I was in for.

An hour and several varieties of makeup later, Lydia’s list was complete and my pride was both degraded and restored simultaenously! Look in the mirror. You see that bearded teenager with lengthy eyelashes and a powdered face? That’s Adriana. She just raised £3 for Cancer Research.

Forget ‘That picture just gave me cancer’, I can hope that some day, this picture fought off cancer. On a serious note, trends like this give everyone that extra reason to help combat any life threatening diseases, not just cancer, so let’s keep them up!

‘NekNomination’ – Gizmo or Gremlin?

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We Britons have many reasons to be thankful for Australia. If it weren’t for Australia, we wouldn’t have Dame Edna, koala bears or even Foster’s (okay, so two out of three). Stereotypically, they’re a bit mad. Admittedly, we wouldn’t change a thing, like the idea of deep-fried Mars bars or Russell Brand. Yet they now have another staple to add to their agenda – ‘NekNomination’, a new social drinking game that has made its way overseas to the majority of the student population.

Innocently, I spent my weekend scrolling down my Facebook news feed for ‘bantz’ and growling at anyone who was brave enough to beat my Flappy Bird score of 9, only to come across an intriguing video that one of my friends posted. 34 likes, a filthy pint as the display picture for the video and comments that ranged from ‘Proud and slightly disgusted’ to ‘What have you become?’. This couldn’t be good.

After four minutes of watching lager getting mixed with a raw egg, SPAM and a variety of other foul foods, only to have it chugged to a backing track of ‘I Need a Hero’, I struggled to process what I had just witnessed. A video of my childhood friend quickly degrading himself in the name of a 24 hour nomination was both nauseating and thrilling. Ending the video with ‘I nominate…’, I prepared myself for what was coming: The Student Apocalypse.

Being a first year, I’ve steadily opened myself up to a whole range of dysfunctional drinking games. ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Canoe Race’, ‘Beer Pong’ – but never anything like ‘NekNomation’. Never before have I seen my brother mix ‘Frosty Jacks’ with gravy granules and mouthwash together; nor have I seen a woman ride on horseback into Tesco to then down a pint with pride. The rules about social media have gone straight down the loo, come back out of the loo, mixed with Budweiser and paprika and drunk through a Chemistry department funnel. Is it the best thing to happen since Flappy Bird, or is it just blatantly moronic?

I could sit here banging on about ‘down with lad culture!’ and be a sensible student. In all honesty, students love this sort of thing and it’s a celebrated part of student culture. Primarily, we’re here for a higher education degree and an expansion in our life skills; but we’re also here to nick traffic cones and have a ruddy good time. ‘NekNomation’ is just another way of being a bit of an idiot, each to their own.

Understandably, with any form of drinking game or student bedlam, it has its consequences. The ‘NekNomination’ page from Northern Ireland was taken down as the result of two people having died from playing the game and attempting to better their peers. Also, universities and employers can view your Facebook profile and see the video, which could potentially be damaging to future employment prospects.

My intention isn’t to sound like a parent with ‘finger-wagging syndrome’. Of course it’s an individual lifestyle choice, and that should be respected. Personally, it could be seen as the start of a phenomenon that does some good in the world besides getting you a boost in likes and pride. One of my friends in Education posted on Twitter: ‘Quite liking the idea of #RespektNominate screw downing a drink, instead do something nice for somebody or yourself instead’, whilst Ireland’s Radio Nova are attempting to get #NekDonation trending to other radio stations in an effort to raise money for charity.

From events like ‘Dryathlon’ and ‘Movember’, there are examples everywhere that people are willing to make the most out of something potentially dangerous than get rid of it before it escalates. Think cuddly Gizmo from Gremlins – sure, he can turn into a destructive, ferocious monster if you encourage it, but look how darn cute he is when you give him love and a Barbie car! As long as we ensure that people are aware of the impacts of this nutty craze, be relatively sensible and help to promote its possible benefits in helping charities and organizations, this student gremlin need not be put into a microwave and blown to smithereens.

Also, for those concerned, yes, I have been nominated myself. My brother nominated me about a week ago and I’ve still yet to figure out how to do a healthy ‘NekNomation’. So far, the main ingredient is a Nourishment drink… procrastination is certainly getting the better of me.

‘Twas the Night Before Valentine’s

Original article at York Vision

We’ve come a long way from the first medieval associations of Valentine’s Day with the romantic love and chivalry of Geoffrey Chaucer’s time. But is chivalry dead? Doris Xu has given us a fascinating insight into Chinese mythological romance right up to modern commercial culture. Adrian discusses his plans for his first Valentine’s Day as a student in a relationship. Not all of us will be sending generically mass-produced cards and strewing a path of rose petals to the bedroom after a sumptuous restaurant dinner in 2014.

Popular suggestions include e-cards (because it’s the thought that counts?) for long distance relationships, or pushing the boat out with a £20 Marks and Spencer’s dine in for two deal. Even happily established, i.e. virtually married, couples often scoff at the ‘commercialization’ of the tradition. With the trend for doing things ‘ironically’, our comment editor has expressed a desire to watch When Harry Met Sally whilst crying into his Ben & Jerry’s. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Bridget Jones’ Diary are also suitably tragic but brilliant options for viewing on the 14th.

ADRIAN HORAN

For the first time in Valentine’s Day history, I won’t be spending mine sneering at the joyful statuses of lovers on my Facebook news feed, or resisting the urge to mope to R.E.M.’sEverybody Hurts, because I’m now one of the lucky people to be in a relationship and have plans.

Considering this, I find myself a bit of a newbie in celebrating it this year, particularly when me and my girlfriend conform to the opposite gender stereotypes. I’m quite the softy, who considers a box of chocolates and a serenade to be acceptable; she isn’t into cheese (the emotional kind, she loves real cheese) and will happily accept chocolates on an essay-stimulating basis, rather than an emotional one.

That leaves us with limited options: we’re both new to this business. As a compromise, we’ve both agreed that we’ll stand together against the commercialisation and have a romantic, student night in. I’ve been assigned as chef, whilst a cold 76 Tang Hall Lane is the designated romantic cabin of love and assorted biscuits. The problem is that I’m sharing with a couple already, so the fight will be on as to who can claim the table and scented Gladecandles first!

DORIS XU

In China, western Valentine’s Day seems more popular among young lovers than the traditional one known as Qixi festival. Qixi festival originates from Chinese folk tales. According to the mythological story, the love between a weaver girl as an incarnation of Vega and a cowherd symbolizing Altair cannot be permitted by heaven. They were expelled to opposite sides of the Milky Way, and could only meet once a year on the night of July 7 in lunar month, when a flock of magpies would form a bridge with their wings to reunite the lovers. Although the reunion can never happen, lovers, newly-weds, and old couples, will cuddle up together and gaze at the sky to seek Vega and Altair as part of tradition. If it is a rainy night, people believe the rainfall to represent the tears shed by the separated couple.

In contrast to this ancient and sentimental way, young people prefer western Valentine’s Day featuring romance. Generally speaking, young people will enjoy a candlelight dinner with lovers exchanging presents. In some cases, some young men may devise a surprise. One of my best friends in China told me how excited she felt when unpacking the valentine’s gift. She fancied a handbag before and a couple of days later, she was depressed to find other buyers had nabbed it. She felt down, until she unwrapped the Valentine’s present and found it was exactly what she longed for.

On February 14th, some young men and women in love may choose to register marriage on the special day. Another tradition is the blind date. Some dislike spending Valentine’s Day alone, so attend blind dates organised by matchmaking agencies and TV programs. Some parents are even involved in the matchmaking if their children are too busy to date. Parents may put up a profile of their child and if they are satisfied with the counterpart, they will exchange contact information. This seems like a market, but it’s become a prevalent phenomenon in China in current years.

Meanwhile, in terms of the pressure to celebrate, some young people said they have no alternative. Otherwise, their lovers may think they are not loved. Each year, celebration may cost them a sum of fortune, since after Valentine’s, there are some other romantic festivals such as March 14th known as White Day, and May 21st which is celebrated among the young as the pronunciation of the date in Mandarin is similar to “I love you”, plus Qixi festival. In the end, nobody can be happier than shopkeepers!

 

I Got The Power!

I got a bit nostalgic from all of the Superbowl Superhero ads, so here’s my superhero post from last year 🙂

TheTripletBlogger

This just about sums up how much creative, spare time I have on my hands; albeit, my photo-shop skills could do with an extra ‘spit and polish’! Lack of technical genius aside, THIS man/alien/thingamajig is, well… Super. He quite literally has everything I would want out of life. Despite coming from a completely different planet, he landed himself a job as a journalist to ‘bring truth to the forefront and fight for the little guy’ and a not-so-shabby girlfriend, whilst having powers like ‘heat vision’ and a buffer than buff can be buff stature for a body. I possess NONE of the above – why do the ones from outer-space get to have all the fun? *Humph* lucky you, Clark Kent. I casually just gave your identity away, Humanity 1 – Krytonians 0! For those cave-dwellers who have not heard of this guy, this is ‘Superman’. Or as we common folk prefer…

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Is F-Word Usage Flunking Culture?

Hear, hear!

cyclingrandma

When did saying the f-word become so common? Why are movies and plays so loaded with vulgar language the plot and characters become secondary?

I’m hardly swear-free, and even had a swearing jar myself when in 8th grade, created by my friend Kathy.  I think the fine was a quarter and I’m not sure how long it lasted.

Profanity has crept into speech like a pervasive parasite, particularly in films and contemporary theater, and I don’t like it.

A blurb about a new play about Civil War re-enactors interested me. My husband loves all things Civil War and discount tickets were available. The play, “Row After Row” by Jessica Dickey, occurs during the re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg. Two friends, one playing a Union soldier, the other a Confederate, meet in a bar after the “fake” battle and meet a young woman who had also participated in the…

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It’s Beginning To Look/Smell/Taste/Sound/Feel A Lot Like Christmas!

My Christmas post from last year – Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

TheTripletBlogger

Santa Claus Christmas Cartoon HD Wallpaper 1080x607 Santa Claus Christmas Cartoon

Hallelujah! After 25 days of opening cardboard windows for a piece of milk chocolate, of running around frantically searching for present after present (seriously, I really think ‘Christmas Shopping’ should be considered a competitive sport in its own right at the Winter Olympics!) and imitating Shane MacGowan’s part in ‘Fairytale of New York’ in as drunk a fashion as possible, the big day has finally arrived. Christmas, a day where drinking excess amounts of champagne and eating large amounts of chocolate are, well, highly encouraged! Despite the stress and anxiety that precedes this day, it all works out for the best when everything builds up into one, heart-warming day of relaxation and the first of two ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ specials. GET IN! Whilst I feel that the novelty of my birthday wears off after a while, Christmas still remains as big, as camp and as cuddly as I remember. Why? It’s tradition. With birthdays…

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I Bought the Power

(Article at ‘York Vision’)

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Adrian Horan argues that there has never been a better time to be a cheapskate

The future is dark for the modern cheapskate, not least because of this awful weather and the clocks having gone back on the 27th. Recently, the U.K.’s major suppliers have announced plans to increase prices on their rates for gas and electricity by a minimum of 8.2%. Yet, as winter is coming (I promise that wasn’t a ‘Game of Thrones’ reference), I ask myself the question – should I be ashamed of becoming a bargain hunter?

As we entered uni, our basic perceptions on how we lived our lives completely changed. Before, many of us had the luxury of being able to scoff at the thought of buying ‘ASDA Smart Price’ lemonade instead of ‘Schweppes’, or rolling our eyes as our Mums lit all of the scented candles in the living room rather than turning on the lamp. We weren’t independent adults, just people hiding under the security blankets of our parents’ success. Now, with a recent figure of one in ten undergraduates becoming unemployed, it’s paramount that we keep an eye on our wallets and don’t feel stigma for being a hermit and missing the odd ‘Tokyo, mate, it’s gonna be sick!’ night.

Sure, university is labelled as the ‘best time of your life’, and that shouldn’t be doubted. It’s just that it comes with a Mexican wave of changes – and it’s not in our control of who starts it. The problem with these various changes, however, is that it hits students disproportionately to one another. To the modern Scotsman who lives on campus, they may not notice these changes whatsoever. Yet, to an off-campus first year like myself, I spend my nights doing star jumps in my fluffy dressing gown to keep warm, instead of spending more money turning on the heating.

Young people hold a different stance in society now, where we were once looked on by older generations as the weapon of change for the future. Instead, we get the sympathy vote for our high levels of induced debt and our reluctance to say “keep the change!”. University is meant to be this time of freedom, where we can grow into the adults and transition into a likewise growing world. Are these views imposed on us beyond our control? Bargain hunting might just be the answer in changing those perceptions. Not having our lives dictated by ‘The Magnificent Six’ of the energy world, or even Michael Gove for that matter! Rather than being subject to change, we can subject our own change.

It never felt so good as to walk around charity shops, finding a triple Frank Sinatra CD for 50p; or getting a 10% NUS discount on a packet of lettuce that was already reduced. It’s trivial, but, it gives us that sense of freedom which we seem to be steadily losing as students. My teachers highly encouraged that we look at different options other than university in anticipation of ‘hard times’. Instead, taking on the challenge couldn’t feel more exciting – it might even give students a better image than writing ‘STUDENT LOANS’ aggressively into the air with a sparkler.

Cheapskates, rejoice, your resistance to buying high quality meals may just make this financial struggle a lot more empowering.

Urgh! What’s Going Off In Your Fridge?

(Article at ‘York Vision’)

With the latest reports from Tesco that over half of bagged salad and apples are thrown away by its consumers, Vision writers finally confess the state of their fridges

adrians fridge

Fridges – chilled receptacle used to keep food at its best for a bit longer. Fridges can be seen as a mirror of their owners, with each shelf being assigned to a messy, frugal or absent housemate. With the latest reports from Tesco that over half of bagged salad and apples are thrown away by its consumers, Vision writers finally confess the state of their fridges.

Adrian Horan: BEHOLD, the frozen wasteland of an off-campus first year. You can tell a lot about a man from the contents of his fridge, and I think this just about sums me up. Well, as the decent all-rounder I want you to think I am. My fridge only looks like this wonderful hierarchy post-ASDA delivery; but before that, it looked like something I’d cultured on a petri-dish and baked in the sun… Seriously, my salad had its own watery preservative and I felt self-conscious as my food seemed to grow more hair than I ever could. My binman’s in for a treat!

Doris Xu: One of my housemates, who is from China, told me that in order to take up more space in fridge, she tried to be the first one to move into the house. It’s easy to find bags of vegetables like carrots and potatoes with drops of water inside the packaging in the fridge. In fact, for most vegetables, the most suitable time is within three days. At its worst, the fridge becomes a place to only store leftovers. Opening the door, piles of big containers appear in sight. Another housemate said, “I will cook food every Sunday for the following whole week, so I only take out some from container and then microwave it.” In the battle of seizing fridge space, no one is winner. Those who store vegetables for weeks and for the ones who cook food for a whole week may suffer from chronic gastroenteritis as a consequence.

Photo Credit: Pippa Driver

Pippa Driver: I live in a flat of eight and, with only one fridge between us, I have been forced to start some sort of farm shop in my room. One of my shelves now contains an assortment of onions, potatoes, apples (bought in bulk from Aldi), three courgettes and a lettuce, all of which are exposed to the varying temperature of my bed – window open at night, radiator cranked up full in the day. This has resulted in mould and discolouration, yet I refuse to throw any of them away. I have never heard of someone dying due to the consumption of a rotting vegetable; although this might have something to do with the persistence of my Fresher’s Flu.

Morenike Adebayo: As I’m currently winning the award for Housemate Least Likely To Be At Home, you would think that my section of the fridge would be meagre or at least overrun by the foods of other housemates asserting their dominance over unclaimed lands. You’d be wrong. Nestled next to the 1kg bag of slowly decaying spinach (that I’ve started so I’ll finish) is a bunch of wilting spring onions. They were bought for a recipe but, as I’m a maverick with recipes, they were substituted and then forgotten about. While I’m certain that I will eat the spinach and the spring onions, the plastic box of furry pineapple slices should be thrown out. Or, if the juice doesn’t eat its way through the plastic, I might keep it as an experiment over this year.