Tag Archives : Madness


Movember – A Big Thank You

All, Just a quick thankyou to everyone who donated to my Movember effort. Over the past two years I have managed to raise over £250 for prostate cancer charities just for growing facial hair. I know that quite a few people take part in Movember, making it quite challenging to decide who donate to, however on behalf of everyone who took part, both in growing and donating, thank you. If you have not yet managed to donate, and still want to, the JustGiving page is still open, click here to head over there.


MMU Students Grades Jeopardised Due To Communication Amongst Examiners Going Down In Flames During Power Cut & Fire Alarm In Final Year Exam

Things go wrong, its the nature of life, so when they do one of two things can happen. For those events which we know will happen we take steps to prevent them form occurring in the first place, and everyones a winner. For those events which are so general in nature and so rare, preventing them from occurring would be neither practical or cost effective, therefore we must embrace the fact that things in life just happen, and instead have a contingency plan in place should they occur. Arguably there is no more important event in the student calendar than that of exams. Like many reading this blog, I have sat more than I care to remember, starting from the ones in primary school, GCSE’s, A-levels and finally the exams taken for my undergraduate degree at The University of Salford. Whilst the contents of the papers themselves may have caused problems, the problems were confined to my lack of preparation, and therefore any issue with the outcome would result in the blame landing squarely at my feet. This year was not the case. Following on from my undergraduate days, I took the Graduate Diploma in Law degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Their wisdom to have seven, three hour papers spanned over 2 weeks is neither ideal and will most likely form the subject of a different post, however this year unlike any other I felt prepared for the exams. I walked into the exam with confidence knowing that shortly the several months of hard graft would be over, and that for once in my life, I would truly get the grade I deserved. Criminal Law, the fourth exam, that marked the halfway point took place on the 25th May 2012, and not unlike the others started promptly at 10:00am. Upon turning over the paper I held my breath as I scoured the questions for the topic I had revised. I was in luck not only were the questions what I had prepared for, but were similar to several past ones I had attempted to the run up to entering the exam room. Just over 2 hours into the paper we were plunged into darkness, no it wasn’t divine intervention, it was a power cut. A few moments later the fire alarm sounded and we were told to evacuate the building. The notice on every answer booklet we had received stated ‘in the event of a fire alarm, wait until instructions are given by the examiners’, this lead us to believe that things were in control, oh how they weren’t. Exiting the building we were surrounded by students, staff and examiners alike bemused as to why such an event happened during this time of year. Our group of five didn’t worry too much, the examiners stated that it would most likely be a fault, and if the need be, simply relocate to another room to finish the paper. 45 minutes later, and a tan shade darker from standing in the sun, we had received several messages, all contradictory. Firstly the exam would continue in the original building, then it would continue but in a different venue, and finally to complete the set of mixed signals, that we would be allowed to enter the building for 15 minutes only to collect our belongings and the exam would not continue. Lets pause for a moment there, was the power cut and fire alarm totally unforeseeable? Well judging by the statement on the front of the exam booklets it wasn’t, and whilst it was undesirable, MMU gave the impression that should this once in a lifetime event occur, plans would be in place to relocate. After all there were only five of us sitting that paper, we could have easily relocated. From then on it was a communication meltdown by staff at MMU, people didn’t know what was happening as, unsurprisingly, this event had never occurred before. The one message which was however communicated was that whatever happens, we would not be at a disadvantage to the others who sat the exam. We therefore deduced a number of possible outcomes. The first, and the most preferable one was that they would mark what we did, taking into account the time we had spent, and the time we had remaining. This had the benefit of no new exam having to be sat, and that the questions attempted would have been uniformed in difficulty across the whole year. The second was one which the whole year (not just those who received extra time and whom were subject to the power cut / alarm) would have to retake the paper. This would have the benefit of everyone seeing the same questions and such same level of difficulty, not to mention the same level of inconvenience of having to re-sit the paper. However this option was soon discounted as it would most likely be too costly. The final option would be that we would be asked to re-sit a new exam at a later date. The downside of course is that there was no guarantee that the difficulty of the paper was uniformed across the whole year, as well as inconveniencing us for an issue that was not our fault, instead MMU’s. Today, a full 4 days after the event, we have received confirmation that the choice the examiners have gone with was the latter, with rescheduling taking place on Thursday 31st. The day after our 3 hour EU Law paper, and the day before our last exam Equity & Trusts; the day which we had all set aside for preparation of this exam. This decision was reached without consultation, and it is apparent that by placing this exam at this time will disadvantage us considerably, in two respects. Firstly that the Criminal Law exam will take place after revision on this topic has ceased. Secondly as the time taken to prepare and take this exam will prevent us from revising for the two remaining exams, EU and Equity & Trusts. It further transpires that other exams in that same building continued in […]


Computer Why You No Get In My Bag & Orange, Why You No Peel!?!?

Its going to be a very quick blog post today, mainly because today, unlike the weather has been brilliant. As you may have guessed from the title of this post its down to two things; my laptop and an innocent piece of fruit, the dreaded orange. Lets deal with each of the respective items in the turn which they turned an innocent Tuesday into one from hell. When I opened the blinds this morning I was greeted by glorious sun, therefore I decided that rather than uni at a fast pace, I would leave a little earlier than normal, thereby enjoying a leisurely stroll with some music provided courtesy of my iPhone. All was well, I arrived safe and sound in the lecture theatre, only to reach into my bag and realise that my Macbook Air was not there. I can’t go a day at university without my laptop. It has my notes, materials and acts as a dictaphone for the lectures. I had never forgotten it before, so instantly wanted someone to blame; however after coming to the conclusion it was my fault I also decided that I had to go back and retrieve it. With only 15 minutes before the lecture started, and contrary to my previous belief that there is never a taxi around when you want one, there was. Ten minutes later and £7.50 lighter I had my laptop in hand just in time for the lectures. The second item to ruin my day was the orange. Small, round and orange in colour, this innocent fruit can bring joy to those on a break or who simply need a burst of vitamin C. My reason for consumption was the first. As is customary I purchased said orange from the green grocer on Oxford Road. As supplier of all of my fruit and veg requirements, I am familiar with the quality and price which give explanation to my returning custom. Sitting down I began to peel, it came off in tiny tiny pieces, squirting orange juice all over me, my desk, and surrounding papers. I kid you not, it took me over 10 minutes to peel the thing. The only thing that kept me going was knowing how refreshing the taste would be as it entered my mouth. The first segment entered my mouth…it was bitter…it had pips in. I swear, I would have thrown it across the room if the juice wouldn’t have dripped down my arm, however it would have done, making me even more sticky than I already was. So dear reader, two every day items, the laptop and the orange, I for one will never look at them in the same light again.


My Room 101 Items

Following on from the relaunch of the BBC program ‘Room 101’, the program which the celebrities are invited to put things which annoy them into this room to be banished forever, I thought I would like to create a shortlist of things which I would put into the room, if I were ever invited onto the show.   Alcohol We have all been there, we have all had far too many drinks and some of us have even wanted to become best friends with the lamppost. Putting all alcohol into room 101 is perhaps a little too far, and perhaps should put in cheap alcohol that is drunk to excess every week across the UK by many. The drinking culture that we have in the UK, which is unlike that of any other culture in Europe is perhaps best kept for another blog post; however once the copious amounts of alcohol has been drunk, the NHS and therefore tax payer are often forced to pick up the bill for those who require a stomach pump or night in the cells. Hundreds of millions of pounds are used to mop up the streets and protect innocent members of the public from alcohol infused incidents, and with the prices of alcohol getting cheaper and cheaper the money that could be used to fund education, better public transport and shorter waiting times in the NHS are instead being used on the people who’s idea of fun is going out, getting completely smashed, starting a fight before occupying a NHS bed for the night.   Umbrellas What on earth could be wrong with umbrellas, after all they keep us dry when it rains? Well there are two main bugbears with umbrellas that I have, firstly the quality and secondly the user interaction some have with them. Lets first take the quality. You get super tough ones that are able to withstand force nine gales however are unable to withstand the British weather – how can this be so? Over the past few months we have been quite lucky in Manchester not to have rain as much as we are used to, and my umbrella looks deductively at me by not being used, and to be honest I would love to use him, however guaranteed that the moment he steps foot outside the house, he will turn inside out and ruin my life by making me look ridiculous as I struggle to put it the right way. Secondly people who use them. These fall into two camps and you know who they are. The first camp are the people who walk as bold as brass down the street with their brolly open even tho their is not a drop of rain in the sky. It is almost as if they are practising for the high wire at the circus just wanting to practice holding it. Yes the rain my make your hair wet, but there is no rain, so you don’t need it open! The second of the two camps are those who have MASSIVE umbrellas. The ones I’m talking about are the golf umbrellas that you can fit a family of four under, perfect for a natural disaster area where that said family of fours home has been destroyed by a tsunami, they are not however suited to walking down the street. Pavements in the UK are able to support two lanes of traffic, perhaps three on a good day; and what we do not need are these lanes of pedestrian based highway to be congested with a large umbrella that has been half turned inside out which shouldn’t have been opened in the first place as there was no rain!   Computerised Telephones What was wrong with humans answering the phones? Oh I know, they were too expensive, so instead companies who make billions in profit decide that they would spend serious money on a computer system that efficiently deals with your calls, putting you through to the correct department to be quickly death with. Well if it were like that, I wouldn’t have a problem- yes the fact that the call has been made that much more impersonal, but I would be dealt with quickly. Instead we have two options, the first of which is the ‘intelligent’ computer system; one that you can talk to normally and it attempts to figure out what you are saying. Well it doesn’t, you spend five minutes telling it that you want to speak to customer service, only to be told that you are going to be transferred to the accounting department. Accounting department doesn’t sound like customer service at all, its totally different – so how can it make such a mistake? The second option you could get is the ‘non intelligent’ computer system; the one where you have to “select the following option” from your keypad. If it were between a handful of options I could deal with that. I like to think that I have a relatively good short term memory, however I defy anyone to remember 9 option choices, it becomes a test of memory, its almost as if you can’t speak to a representative unless you have an IQ of over 110 and can remember 9 things inside out. If a person answered the phone, I would remain calm, get to speak to whom I wanted to, and all would be well in the world.   Smokers Perhaps the most controversial on my list for room 101 items. Firstly lets tackle the issue of smokers rights, yes you do have rights, you are an ordinary citizen of the community apart from you want to smoke. I can live with that, I can almost live with the fact that huge amount of NHS resources are dedicated to smoking related illnesses as this is contracted by the tax and duty that is paid on cigarettes (although smoking outside hospitals still baffles me), what really gets my goat is where smokers smoke. Picture this, […]