December 31, 2011
A tale of two cities

2011 has been a magical year.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve gained a fair few followers now, and I’m sure these kinda posts probably aren’t the reason the majority of you clicked the inconspicuous ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner, but a roundup of the year has become something of a tradition of mine and it’s that time of year for me to post one. But seriously everyone, thank you people of Tumblr for all the support. All the likes, replies, reblogs, asks and recommendations - it really means a lot, and dare I say it, makes me feel a bit better about myself. And in the process I like to think I’ve gained a few more friends - have some love <3.

So thanks to all of you - even the bot-spammers who want me to see their ‘naked body pics’. Had you actually a body, I’m sure it would be beautiful.

I’ve been wondering how to sum up the year in a way that would express the journey, and I feel that 2011 in particular is a year I’d find hard to express in words. This year I think I’ll do something different. I’ll make it less of an essay, and implement more of a ‘year in pictures’ kinda thing. A snippet of some of the more personal (and tumblr friendly) pictures taken by me or taken of me, which help describe why 2011 was such an amazing year. I could’ve posted many more, but in the interest of your sanity, here’s just a few of my favourite snaps from 2011.

In chronological order, here goes

[warning: extreme gpoy ahead]

JANUARY

Birmingham shortly after New year

FEBRUARY

Jubilee campus lake, a favourite haunt of mine, generally a nice place to go and think.

MARCH

Exploring the extensive grounds of Newstead abbey

APRIL

MAY

My Notts people! Some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Much love for these guys. A shame therealisticpsychic isn’t in here too.

May - the month of exams. The science underlying energy in biological systems is one of the most profound things I have learned in my time at university.

JUNE

Following the Birmingham canals into abandoned industrial estate with Lee. A vestige of Birmingham’s former glory as a major centre of industry.

JULY

With Lee in Sutton Park, a nature reserve just North of Birmingham

Zombie walk, Birmingham - with Bozzy.

AUGUST

I seriously don’t know how we ended up here. Lee and I were just walking and chatting and we somehow ended up in the middle of some farmland.

SEPTEMBER

This guy in B’ham city centre was awesome. I actually put some money in the donation box for this. He deserved it.

OCTOBER

Making my Rorschach mask for Halloween

NOVEMBER

One of THE greatest nights EVAR. Will, aimingforthetemporallobe and I went to see Tom Morello (of Rage against the Machine fame) and Rise Against at Rock City, Nottingham.

Tom Morello and Tim McIlrath on the same stage. They went on to sing ‘World Wide Rebel Song’ together, at the Rise Against gig. I may have just died from euphoria.

Me and  aimingforthetemporallobe at Underground Rebel Bingo! I met this wiley young medic on Tumblr, and like to think he is the newest addition to the Nottingham family. 

amisanthropichumanist harking back to his Devonian roots. Yes, you CAN use the CD-tray as a drinks holder if you really want to…

A neuro-social with some of the other neuroscientists.

Against Me! at the Rescue Rooms! They were awesome. Can’t believe I only discovered their music within the last couple of months.

And after Against Me! aimingforthetemporallobe  and I (along with a couple of other friends) went to Hey Hey Hey! - an Alternative/Rock/Metal night at Rock City.

DECEMBER

I was learning about the wonders of shoe shopping. We actually weren’t posing for this.

…this was just a bizarre night in general.

And if you’ve gotten this far, thanks for bearing with this uber-personal post. I hope each and every one of you has a smashing new year - and stay beautiful!

"I’ve got some friends, some that I hardly know
But we’ve had some times I wouldn’t trade for the world
We chase these days down with talks of the places that we will go.”

- ‘Swing Life Away’

Rise Against


October 28, 2011

Video of an interview with Sarah Scott, a sufferer of Brocca’s aphasia following a stroke when she was 18.

Brocca’s aphasia is characterised by a deficit in the vocal production of language. The ideas for speech are all there, but the ability to convert the thought of a phrase or sentence into a motor programme which will cause the appropriate laryngeal muscles to contract to produce sound (speech) is impaired.

Brocca’s aphasia is a problem in language execution, not comprehension. Whereas the video itself doesn’t explain the condition, I find it to be a very useful video in helping me to understand Brocca’s aphasia. Particularly when you’re trying to learn about the other Aphasias and what differentiates them (Wernicke’s, Conduction, Global, Transcortical motor, Transcortical sensory and pure word deafness).

 The video raises an interesting point which I think is often glossed over when discussing neurological (and psychiatric) conditions, and that is the effect on ones sociability. If ones’ ability to communicate is greatly impaired, how does this affect their friendships? And what effect does this change in friendship dynamics have on the psychology of the person afflicted with the condition? This scenario can be applied to other conditions, which affect other aspects of cognitive, or indeed motor, function. How does the acute and unforseen onset of disability affect ones relationships with friends? (and family I suppose, though I would imagine the familial response would differ from a friends response owing to differences in relationships and interaction between family and friends)

Ultimately, I found the video quite warming, as she appears to be dealing with her condition quite well. Though, a stroke at her young age? That’s just extremely unfortunate.

October 20, 2011
Aimingforthetemporallobe and me!
Ok, absolutely and utterly stolen from D of E - the misanthropichumanist (who took the picture). But, like, I actually met someone from Tumblr. Tumblr people ACTUALLY EXIST! And they&#8217;re as awesome as Tumblr says they are! 
And I think that is some sort of a plant pot that I&#8217;m holding, but that&#8217;s just Nottingham for you.
Oh, and quote of the night. D of E:

I know a guy who can get you some tweed.

Yes. Tweed.
That will be all.

Aimingforthetemporallobe and me!

Ok, absolutely and utterly stolen from D of E - the misanthropichumanist (who took the picture). But, like, I actually met someone from Tumblr. Tumblr people ACTUALLY EXIST! And they’re as awesome as Tumblr says they are! 

And I think that is some sort of a plant pot that I’m holding, but that’s just Nottingham for you.

Oh, and quote of the night. D of E:

I know a guy who can get you some tweed.

Yes. Tweed.

That will be all.

September 19, 2011
Behind the Nitrogen

It was a blustery, overcast spring day in Sutton Coldfield, and college had finished early. Shaz, Lee, Mudassir and I were exploring Sutton Park, a local nature reserve. I do love that place, a small piece of British Wilderness so close to Britains’ second city. Exploring new places, and nature - two of my favourite things (after science, of course! But they all complement each other so well anyway). After much walking, conversing about A-level related matters, and discussing how we should call ourselves ‘the A-team’ (a notion promptly discarded after none of us could name anybody other than B A Barracus, Mr T.), we approached one of Sutton’s many lakes.

One of my own pictures from Sutton Park, from that very lake.

It was semi-encircled by extensive reed bed and marsh-land (Lee and I got stuck out in the marshes once, it was the middle of winter and we ended up soaked and freezing - but it’s prime snipe territory, if you know your wild birds), and by the accessible lake side were elevated tufts of grass, which I could not resist perching myself upon. Lee and Shaz thought it was a good idea, and we managed to get the following snapshot.

Bear in mind this was taken in early 2009, mid way through my A2 year

My pose appeared somewhat super-hero like, and after much discussion about superhero names, I settled with ‘Captain Nitrogen’. It was a bit of a laugh, Shaz, Lee and I all shared A level chemistry as a common subject, as well as biology. Nitrogen just seemed so fitting, Nitrogen being one of the key elements for life on Earth fit in with my passion for the life sciences. It was a bit of an in joke, all in all. Lee ended up as Colonel Carbon, Shaz as Lt Hydrogen, and one other college friend, Ponmile, ended up as The Iron Shoulder, because he had a period of banging his shoulder in mildly amusing situations. 

My University of Nottingham Neuroscience Society Hoodie circa 2009-2010, though the picture itself is very recent.

Amusement all round. A level years (and in particular, A2 year) were amazing; the teachers were amazing and I was surrounded by wonderful people. The guys from mathematics were a laugh, and my General Studies teacher was a card. He didn’t like the subject any more than us students (the college made us do an A level in general studies, we had no choice urgh) and would proceed to tell us anecdotes about the failings of the college management.

I’ve still got all my college notes. My dad keeps telling me to throw them out/recycle them, but I guess I’m just the sentimental type.

You see, college went under new management in my first year, and they started making big changes to the college towards the end of the first year and throughout second year, much to the disdain of the students and hard working staff. The college as I knew it was Sutton Coldfield College. Now it’s ‘Birmingham Metropolitan’. It merged with another well known college called Mathew Boulton College.

Students were very rebellious with the new management, and there was a rush of protest against the changes to the college. Whenever I visit college now to see my old lecturers, it is a vastly different place. New designs, new teaching rotas, new subject syllabuses (or syllabi?… no, spell check doesn’t recognise it as a word). But many happy memories from that place. A2 year was when I really began to mature, and see the world in a completely different light. I owe a lot to my teachers and friends from that time.

Some of the guys from maths (With a 2009 version of me in the middle)! Dude in the blue is Khoi - my first Tumblr follower and the reason why I got a Tumblr in the first place. Damn you, Khoi.

However, the past is the past, and I am happy to leave that precisely as it is - as memories. Times I can reminisce about with my Birmingham friends, and can recount to my new Nottingham friends. Good times were had, and now in university, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. As much as College tries to prepare you for uni, Uni is a massive slap in the face. Academically and socially. At least for me it was. What would be studied in a week in an A level subject, would be studied in the space of an hour. Aside from that is socialising with all manner of different people from all around the world. It’s all rather exciting! At university, the pace quickens (to any prospective students) - You have been warned. But after college was a new adventure, in The University of Nottingham. A cracking place, with cracking people. New friends, new experiences, more knowledge, the opportunity to forge my own future… more happy memories. I guess when it’s all said and done, all we have is our memories. 

"When our time is up

When our lives are done

Will we say, we’ve had our fun?

Will we make a mark this time?

Will we always say we tried?”

- ‘Rooftops’, Lostprophets

August 28, 2010
THE SUPER-COOL-MONSTER-HARD-HAPPY-YEAH-GO-GOAL-WIN! CHALLENGE: DAY 28

My year in great detail.

errrrr

heh

Right.

About a year ago, I got my A level results. They were pleasing. I got better than what my university asked of me.

(some very hatty men. Me, Khoi and Lee)

In September, I enrolled in the University of Nottingham for the Bsc Hons Neuroscience w. Biochemistry.

nottingham university

(University of Nottingham, Trent Building)

I also got a new phone and my first phone contract.

Also, around the time I started university, my nephew Umar was born! =D

(Talking to Umar)

My first year of university was great. I confess, I’m a nerd, and kind of an outcast - though I get along with people. I practically lived in the Medical School library this year. I don’t mind. I like it there. I just don’t fit in with most other students who tend to party alot and get drunk. I suppose it’s just not really my cup of tea.

haseeb books

(Handy References)

I did a heck of a lot of studying, especially seeing as it was only first year, but I had something to prove. I chose to move away for university, and I had to justify my decision to my parents in order to prove that moving away was a good idea. I studied as hard as I could, indulging in sleepless nights and caffeine highs. It paid off, and I came out with a First Class overall for my first year. I must say, it wasn’t an easy year. The work was definitely challenging. Physiology/Pharmacology II was a particular annoyance and I got my lowest score in its exam. The material was fascinating, but alas the sheer volume of work and the hard exam got the better of me, and despite my best efforts I missed out on the first class in that particular module by 2%. Ruined what would have been a clean sweep of first classes for my first year. Right, I’m getting a bit full of myself here.

haseeb library

(My Kingdom)


I learned a heck of a lot from my first year, and I enjoyed all of modules.

My modules were:

Fundamental of Physiology and Pharmacology I

Fundamentals of Neuroscience

Cell Structure and Metabolism (theory)

Cell Structure and Metabolism (laboratory)

Fundamentals of Physiology and Pharmacology II

Genes and Cellular Control (theory)

Genes and Cellular Control (laboratory)

Fundamentals of Biochemistry

Immunity, Parasites and Control of Parasitic Infections

These modules were demanding, and tested everything from written work, mathematics, chemistry, biology, presentation skills, laboratory skills and so on. But demanding as they were, I was fascinated by the subject material and would ramble on about what I had learned to my family whenever I rang home. I’m sure they got very bored very quickly.

(Trent Building at Dawn, with the sun rising over the other side of the hill)


But aside from academic education, I learned about living independently. I lived in a student residence for my first year, so I had my own room and bathroom, and shared a kitchen. So I had to learn about shopping wisely, conserving money, how to cook, how to clean and so on. I also learned handy little thing such as; Food keeps for longer than its use by date. Especially bread. Bread will last for a few days past its use by date, if stored in the correct conditions. BUT milk never lasts longer than its use by date. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

some potatoes i forgot about

(Some potatoes I forgot about)

I also began to learn how to interact with new people. In the past, making friends was never easy, but there was always someone there for me, to help out if I needed it. When I started college in 2007, I had my best friend Joshua with me to help me make friends, and just generally help with my confidence. University offered no such luxury, and I had to make friends on my own. I must say, my flat mate Andy was amazing, and was really kind to me in my first few days (and throughout the year, for that matter), and I am really grateful for that. Thank you.

But before university, I wasn’t very confident when meeting new people. I’m still a bit hesitant, and I really need to push myself to interact with new people. There’s a brainstorm going inside my head when I’m with new people. 'say something cool! say this! say that! I'll just wait a minute, now isn't the right time. errrm now? no. give it a minute. Bugger, my chance has gone.' and so on. I’ve also learned that I don’t make eye contact when I shake peoples’ hands. I kind of look to the side, or look to the floor, or else I’m focussing on our hands so as to get the handshake right. And women. Do we shake their hands? I don’t think I have done that with any females I’ve met this year, but it doesn’t seem right. Why isn’t it right? It seems awkward. 

haseeb vishal jaeho

(Me, Vishal and Jaeho)

I made some great new friends this year. Of particular prominence are Vishal, Boris, Nani, Jaeho, Francisco, David, Rawia, Ralph and Andy. Andy is a law student, who lived in the room next to mine, and I consider him to be my first friend of university life. Vishal was the first person I met on our course, we accidentaly met as we were lost and late for our very first day of University. Nani and Boris happened to be in my tutor group along with Vishal, and they also happened to be from Birmingham! Wunderbar! Francisco is a crazy international student from Spain who is simply impossible to describe. So I won’t. David is the well spoken, composed one - who seems to know just about everything. He’s like a young, skinny Steven Fry. Jaeho is a Korean International student who is rather bizarre to say the least. Rawia is from the Middle East, and is a rather zany lass. Jaeho calls her Panda. Well, Jaeho has names for all of us. It’s almost creepy. And Ralph, who is actually a Biology student, who is from Luxembourg, but he’s also British and he has various other heritages. It’s confusing, but he’s also cool and scarily likes many of the same things as me… or I like the same things as him. In particular, science, nature, imagination and literature.

david lazer

(David is a-firin’ his lazer)

Jaehos’ nicknames for us


Me - Mushroom (or Sailor moon (don’t ask))

Vishal - Peanut

Frank - Orange (because he’s Valenciano)

Rawia - Panda

Boris - Onion… i think

Ralph - Pear? Potato? Garlic? It varies

Why most of us are foodstuff, one can only imagine, but it does kind of remind me of Hannibal Lecter….

I voted in my first election, and learned about politics! That also happened over the past year! Huzzah! I feel sophisticated now. I can now say things like ‘This coalition goernment is not meeting expectations’ and not sound silly! I have a political opinion! And I have voiced it by voting!

Since this Summer began, I met up with my cool Cousin Haider, my good friend Shaz. I’ve missed all of my amazing college friends, Lee, Khoi, Ponmile, Shaz, Kieran, Mo, Kelly, Nima, Adam, Hirah, Lauren, James and the rest of the Biology people and so on. Errm, I visited my college one year after I left. It was a nice trip, and I conversed merrily with my old teachers and saw the state of the college now. The administration are still doing a mediocre job with the place and people aren’t all too happy. But it looks nice. I also went to Andrews birthday party. It was great to see my old secondary school friends Andrew and Joshua, again. We really were the best of friends, but alas, time and life events have taken their toll. Kieran was also there, which was great.

(Kieran, Me, Andrew and Joshua)

On top of that, I’ve been on many car rides with my older brother to random locations in Birmingham. It’s usually nice. We get to hang out, do some shopping and listen to great music whilst driving (I take some of my CD collection along hehe). Life has taken us to the point where we only see each other a couple of times a week - and that’s during holdays. During term time, with me being away in university and him working in other cities, we might see each other once a month if we’re lucky. And for two brothers close in age, who grew up close in each others company, that’s been… very odd for me to deal with.

haseeb birmingham

(In Aston University, overlooking some of Birmingham city centre - and a handle sticking out of my head)

So! There you go. My year in GREAT DETAIL. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve given an overview of what I’ve learned in terms of friends, academia and just general living. It’s been a rather personal post, and probably not too interesting but oh well.

That’s life. And in particular - That’s my life.

(or at least some of it, anyway)

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