Guest Post: Introducing… BROWS

10 Mar

Hey guys, Brows here (and if you think that nickname’s odd, you should know they used to call me Miles for my apparent resemblance to Miley Cyrus)! I was asked to write a blog post for the ever-witty ‘Chopstick and Chunks’, so I thought I’d write about something that plagues a great many of students and young adults – finance.

I’ll take that £2.27 – That would buy me a pint!

From a student perspective, it’s easy to run out of money. Whether it’s rash spending (I’m a beggar for buying books and alcohol – an odd combination, perhaps, but that’s English Literature students for you!) or those pesky nights out that start with a sensible ‘I’ll just have one or two’, and escalates to buying everyone in the bar a sodding drink. Even if you’re the most sensible student on earth, accidents happen, and you’ll more than likely end up broke and living on 15p noodles at some point.

Prevention is kind of obvious – cutting back on the booze, getting a decent shop in when your money first comes in, crap like that – but that’s not going to help when your money’s already gone. So, I thought I’d put together some tips for what happens when you hit panic mode.

1)      DVDs and GAMES. Have a large collection? Selling your DVDs is an easy way to make cash when you’re broke. Places like CEX are excellent for this, especially since you can check on their website how much they’ll buy them for. Just ask yourself – does my flatmate have this DVD? Do I really need it? Can I watch it online instead? Depends how cautious you are on the last one, I guess! But a small stack can make you a pretty penny if you need it – and you can always buy it back later. Games tend to fetch more if they’re recent, so it’s always worth considering.

2)      BOOKS. Got a ridiculous sized text book from your first year, or something relevant to student studies? Most universities hold book sales in their on-campus libraries. I know with the two universities I have been to, you handed your books in along with how much you wanted to sell them for. At my last uni, if they weren’t sold you got them back – bonus, since if all else fails you can flog it on eBay. Ever had a book that cost forty-odd quid? Think how many students will want it if you sell it for £20. Even if your uni doesn’t run one, it’s not hard to club together with mates to hold your own, and there are shops that will buy off you. It’s worth checking for a local buy-and-sell Facebook group, too – or Gumtree.com if you can’t find one. I’ve made a pretty penny both ways.

We need a banana for scale here.

3)      CLOTHES. These can be a bit harder to sell unless you go on eBay. While worth it, eBay can be a bit of a hassle, so it’s worth having a nose around your local town or city. Most places will have boutiques that take in your clothes to sell on, and pay you a percentage of the profit once they’re sold (usually around 60%, which isn’t bad). Handy if you’ve got a nice jacket you’ve outgrown, or something new and unworn that your grandma sent you and you hate. Not the most instant way to make cash, but if you hit the fashion trend, you’re gold. A lot of small retro/vintage boutiques have sprung up that specialise in this, and since vintage seems to be the in thing of late, you can make a killing. It’s worth tapping into Google, too, since there are a few online places for this – something I know my sibling uses for survival!

4)      BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION. Now, this is up to your individual conscience for this one. If you have a British Heart Foundation charity shop nearby, it’s worth signing up for a donation card. Costs nothing, it just means that with it, the BHF earns more from selling donations. What it also means, however, is that your details are one file. So if you have clothes or books you can’t sell elsewhere, donate to them, and a little while later, you’ll get a letter through the post. This letter will tell you how much profit was made, and tells you to get in contact if you want all or part of that money. Pretty nice of them, huh? I personally couldn’t do it and let them have it, but it’s good to know that it’s there if you’re desperate.

Bart tells another incredibly amusing fart joke as Lisa plays air guitar.

5)      ACCOMODATION POSTERS. You may have noticed that electrical devices are really frickin’ hard to sell – charity shops and the like don’t take them, and very few people will buy a spare toaster off eBay.  It’s worth advertising in your student halls, if you live there. I recently sold my printer using that method. However, here’s an important tip: if you’re advertising by poster, DO NOT put your number on it. You’ll get pranked the hell out of, I guarantee it. Instead try your email address. Much safer. Of course, when it comes to phones/game consoles/music devices, it’s worth trying places like CEX first. But if it’s not going to earn you much, this method is handy for spendaholic students passing by (much like ourselves!). Try the communal areas for this.

6)      RUMMAGE! My last proper tip is to look through your old baggage. Do you have stuff left at your parent/family’s house? If you’re anything like me and my mates, you probably still have a good few boxes of stuff hiding under your old bed. Have a think about this. If it’s not in your flat, then do you need it? Are you missing it? I tend to find it’s mostly CDs, since they’re all burned onto your laptop anyway. These are best flogged on eBay for £2-3. Sounds cheap, but if you think – sell five and you have a tenner. Sell ten and you have £20. Beautiful! But yeah, if you’re not using it, chances are you don’t need it. So next time you visit your mum, have a poke through it.

There! These are the tips I’ve used to minimize my own damage. Prevention is better, but mishaps happen to the best of us. Sell your rubbish, buy the cheapest stuff, and you’ll be financially healthy in no time. And try to limit those mad nights out, eh?

All the best,
Mr. Brows.

May be bear baiting, but it’s dammed good TV

9 Mar

I’m going to admit to something rather shameful. I love The Jeremy Kyle Show. There I said it.

Although I dislike the man himself. He’s been in the news a couple of times once for ‘human bear baiting’ after one of his ‘guest’s’ headbutted another whilst on stage. The video’s not brilliant.

And recently he’s been in the papers again for the same thing, him and the production team anyway. It’s alleged that they goaded one of the guests into punching another and then tried to persuade him to not go to the police because his main concern should be his kids.  Although though all this goes on, it makes pretty good television.

It may be because I enjoy schadenfreude, I’m not sure, but it’s brilliant for when you want to watch something and not need to think all that much. An Kyle creates this brilliantly. Yeah, I think he’s an arse hole, but that’s what makes a decent program, and it sells.  It’s not just kyle which keeps bringing me back it’s some of the guests. I really don’t know where they find them. I don’t understand why people would want to actually go on the show in the first place and let everybody know their business, I certainly wouldn’t. Maybe it’s the lure of a free hotel room and a lie detector or DNA test, and hey, why not both. To me though it still wouldn’t be worth it. AND! if they do decide to come on the show, some look like they’ve literally just walked in off the streets. It’s one of the bigger questions I have that why don’t they have a bloody bath?! Or on the other hand they go way too over the top I mean just look.

Oh and that guy, bottom left, is one of my particular favorites. “Mad Dog Deon” was brought on the show by his girlfriend with the tag line for that episode being “How Could My Boyfriend Destroy His Own Face?” Not only is it a horrific tattoo in general, he came home with it and surprised his girlfriend with it and scared his kid shitless. Classy guy isn’t he.

But yep. I’m going to get back to watching some more Kyle before I attempt some more work. Fun times.

Live in Pride with our Survival Guide – Part 3: Getting Out

8 Mar

Chopstick here!

Everybody recognises the traditional stereotype of the new student – s/he is often poor, used to eating more pasta than your average Italian and spends 75% of his/her time totally wasted. Here at ‘Chopstick and Chunks’, we appreciate a good drink. However, we also appreciate being safe and staying classy. Here’s a few tips on how to survive university nights without coming home in a daze.

  1. Budget. One of the worst things you could possibly do when you go out to drink with your friends is not have an idea of how much you’re going to spend. Once, I went out with my mates with no budget in mind and spent £200 on drinking – I had no money left and I wasn’t drunk. It’s not smart, and it’s certainly not a good way to behave when that money is there to keep you fed.
  2. Make arrangements to travel home. Yes, there is a certain level of paranoia when I warn you this, but be aware – we often hear horror stories about things happening to those who wander around at night, drunk. It’s just not safe. Plan to come home with your friends at a certain time, and if you decide you want to stay out later, make sure someone knows where you are.
  3. The 2:1 ratio. Your aim is to get drunk, correct? Your aim is also to be a good student. If you want to drink with friends but still be in a fit state to get up and go to university the following morning, I recommend you follow the 2:1 rule – for every two drinks you have, drink 1 pint of water. You won’t get off-your-face drunk, you can maintain some dignity and often safe yourself some money.
  4. Take a spare… Everything. I’ve heard a heap of stories about students losing keys, wallets, cameras, tights – you name it, we’ve probably lost it. On a night out, you should consider withdrawing your budgeted money and leave the debit card at home – it saves you getting out more cash and it saves you losing your card. You should put this money in a spare wallet that you carry with you on a night out – I know I’d rather lose a bit of money and a wallet than all of my cards and favourite purse. If you can – even though it’ll probably make you look less cool – get a cheap phone to take with you that isn’t your main phone. Put everything on a lanyard and tie it to your knickers/bra/boxers.
  5. Be safe. You know what I mean. According to statistics from the Health Protection Agency, 285,870 people have been diagnosed with an STI in the last 10 years. That’s a lot of wibbly junk. Always wear a condom!

Keep it wrapped, chaps.

Take care. CS. x

COMBI-BLOG – We won an Award! Thank You!

7 Mar

Chopstick and Chunks here! Again!

Chunks: For the second time, here’s another ‘Chopstick and Chunks’ combi-blog. Firstly we would like to thank SociopathiCuttlefish for the wonderful nomination – he gave us this.You should check out the blog, it’s rather good. We would also like to thank our parents for this award. Without them we wouldn’t be here, obviously. Just a note – we’re thanking our parents separately; Chopstick and I are not related.

Chopstick: Like any award, this one came with some rules. Though not as ridiculous as the rules set out by the Grammy organisers, mind – no boobs? No kidding. BOOBS EVERYWHERE! Ahem. So, the rules:

You are required to thank the person who nominated you, answer the 11 questions they have asked you, nominate 11 other people and ask them 11 questions in return. According to the guidelines the Liebster award should be sent to bloggers with less than 200 followers so that new bloggers can see how awesome they are!

Please be aware that the number of followers indicated in our ‘Follow’ button to the right aren’t indicative of blog followers – they’re mostly from our collective Twitter feeds. I think we currently have <15 followers? Anyway, the questions are as follows.

Why did you start blogging?

  • Chunks: I think it was one of those spur of the moment things, we were bored and thought fuck it.
  • Chopstick: Speak for yourself. I initially wanted to start up another blog because my other one is too serious; on here, I can rant. I also wanted to use this as a weight-loss discussion platform, but that sort of died. Instead, I’m happy with this.

Why did you choose WordPress?

  • Chunks: It was the platform we were most familiar with, Chopstick had her Learnolism blog on here. It seemed the easiest thing to do.
  • Chopstick: I picked WordPress because it’s a lot easier and a lot more interactive for use. Plus, BlogSpot sucked…

How do you see your life in 10 years?

  • Chunks: Honestly? At the moment I’m not sure, we had a lecture about going into teaching the other day which threw us into battle stations but teaching sounds good to me. I’d really like to do it with deaf kids but I need to learn sign language first. Dayumm.
  • Chopstick: I’ll undoubtedly be up the duff. In seriousness, I imagine I’ll be a teacher. I’ve wanted to teach for years!

What is your favourite talent?

  • Chunks: I assume you mean a talent of my own? Uh, not sure I have a talent per se. I can make this weird noise when I push air around my mouth I guess.
  • Chopstick: My favourite talent? Hm. I’d have to say I’m proud of my ability to work people up into a hyperactive frenzy. Is that a talent?

Pizza or pasta?

  • Chunks: Pasta – much more versatile.
  • Chopstick: Definitely pizza. BBQ pizza. Feel free to deliver one to me right now, actually.

Who’s your favourite blogger?

  • Chunks: Typical Blogger or can it be a Vlogger? I tend to watch Vlogs more at the moment. So i’ll go with that one – Uh, Hank and John Green me thinks.
  • Chopstick: My favourite blogger has to be the woman who runs this. Anyone who can commit to this type of lifestyle has to be dedicated, especially after a hard break-up.

What’s your favourite blog post?

  • Chunks: Post that we’ve written or…?  I’ll go with favorite post of ours. At the moment i’m quite fond of the Uni guide posts we’re working on, not only are they pretty fun to write, they’re also useful.
  • Chopstick: If we’re going for favourite posts of ours, I would have to say that my favourite blog on here is the one where Chunks talks about our NSFW Brit Awards blog. It was excellent.

When does the Narwhal bacon?

  • Chunks: At Midnight, but I much prefer Giraffes over Narwhals….
  • Chopstick: At Midnight, obviously. (REDDIT!)

What’s your favourite recent memory?

  • Chunks: Hmm a tough-y. I think it would probably have to be when Chopstick and myself were watching Top Gear. Her TV is right in front of the window and it was foggy outside. A police car drove by and we just saw the lights – which is odd, it’s never happened before. But I then got the image in my head of a police man coming out of the fog and pressing his face into the window in a “Here’s Johnnny!” type of moment. Cue laughing for a solid 10 minutes. Also a little side note: I can’t even remember how we got to that conclusion…
  • Chopstick: Yesterday, Chunks and I were discussing presentation techniques. Let’s just say, her performance is improved if she runs around in a circle, yelling “SNIFF MY FINGERS!” (IDST).

What tips would you give to other bloggers?

  • Chunks: Don’t give up with it, I must have started at least 10 blogs in the past, and only really stuck with this one and my tumblrs. Even if you don’t have all that many followers/readers or whathaveyou, the audience will likely grow in a while there’s always someone else interested in the same things as you. As Jason Nesmith says in Galaxy Quest (Awesome film by the way):

“Never give up… Never surrender!”

  • Chopstick: I agree with Chunk’s advice. I’d also recommend posting 1001 pictures of adorable cats. 

__________

Now, here’s the eleven questions we want our eleven bloggers to answer.

  1. We all live in a ______. What is the missing word?
  2. I used to be a blogging adventurer like you, but then I took an arrow in the sorely-overused meme. Where did this meme come from?
  3. If you could list 5 things you’d never blog about, what would they be?
  4. Why blogging and not vlogging?
  5. Tell us a secret your parents don’t know about you.
  6. Can you use Chopsticks to pick up Chunks?
  7. If you could have a meal with any three people living or dead, who would they be?
  8. Is Paul dead?
  9. Coke or Pepsi?
  10. What’s number one on your bucket list?
  11. Nick Cage as Everyone: what’s your favourite?

And our tags. (Nicking some from Learnolism too.)

HealthFoodAndGreed

Kuuleilani

PlayingYourHandRight

Survival-of-the-frugal

BunnyPudding

Live in Pride with our Survival Guide! – Part 2: Freshers Week.

6 Mar

Okay, so you’ve arrived at Uni, you’ve somehow managed to fit all of your crap from home into the car and then get it all set up in your new room. Now, it’s time to get the ball rolling, so here’s some tips for your Freshers week.

To do:

  • Meet and get to know your House/Flat mates – These are the people that you are likely to hang around with for the most part of the first few months. Plus you’ll be living with them for at least a year, so it’s good to get to know them anyway. 
  • Claim your kitchen space – Depending on the type of accommodation you have you may have a shared kitchen so you’ll want to get in there first and ‘bagsy’ a decent cupboard, I’ve learnt this one through experience. This year I was the last to arrive and ended up getting the cupboards under the sink, and I know Chopstick was also give the shitty cupboards in her house too, in the little alcove with a sloping roof and the ice cube tray for her freezer space. It’s not fun.

One shelf per person usually works out best

  • Have a wander around – It’s likely that you’ve come to a new place in order to go to Uni, so having the foresight to get to know where things are is a good idea. Look for the nearest corner shop, offy, supermarket, the town center, library, park (or somewhere to chill for a while), find out how far away you are from Uni so that you’re not late on your first day – again I learnt this one through experience. 
  • Find course mates – If possible find at least one person who is on your course, or on a joint with your course, this one just gives you a heads up on going to seminars and lectures, it’s a lot less daunting when you know someone and can get lost on the first day together.
  • Try to find your Freshers Week timetable – If you’re Uni has a Freshers Week set of lectures (I assume most do) find out when and where they are as soon as possible, and for gods sake go to them! The are extremely useful, you may think them pointless, but they do help. Even if it’s only to help you find course mates.  Anecdote: With one of my Freshers Lec’s we were meant to split off into groups based upon or region, fair enough. Well it would have been if I wasn’t trapped within the middle of the row and couldn’t get out, so naturally I missed the window to go with the North West and ended up just following a random group which turned out to be the East Midlands room. So I couldn’t really contribute all that well. The upside of being a complete twat is that Chopstick was one also and ended up doing the same thing. Thus a friendship was formed. 

Not mine, but you get the gist.

  • Sort out course books – If you haven’t already got ahead with this one, try and find reading lists and get your books ordered, you don’t necessarily have to start reading them Freshers week, I imagine you’d be in one of two states all that week – drunk or hanging – neither conducive to study. But you’ll need to be at least somewhat ahead of the game.
  • Ground Rules – Without sounding like an arse hole try and set some ground rules for communal spaces. If you don’t get this sorted early on people will start to take liberties. A good example here is washing up once you’ve finished cooking, you don’t want mushrooms growing on things and the sides being covered in toast crumbs – been there done that.

Mine never got this bad – but it was close.

So that’s Freshers in the day time – Freshers After Dark is on it’s way.

Laters! C.

Live in Pride with our Survival Guide! – Part 1: What to bring?

5 Mar

Chopstick here!

Recently, we had a friend come to Lincoln for the day as he’s due to start university here with us next year. We were discussing things that, as a new university student, you should be aware of. There are so many things to list that it actually became impossible to keep track of all the things that were going on. As a result, we’re going to post a few lists over the next couple of days which – if you’re planning on going to university this year – you should really keep in mind.

This will be you in your first university week!

To bring:

  •  Spare bedding – Blankets, duvets, pillows and under-sheets. If you get wasted during Freshers and you vomit all over your only set of sheets, you will not be a happy bunny.
  • Tin openers – Some houses supply them, some don’t. However, if you intend to buy cheap foods, many of the cans don’t have ring-pulls – thus, need for tin opener. Beware!
  • Wet wipes – What if your shower packs up working? What if you need  to get clean quick but don’t have time to shower? What if you’re getting intimate and need a quick wash? All these ‘what if’s can be solved with a wet wipe.
  • All your important documents – when you first enroll into university, chances are you’re going to need some key documents. Include your birth certificate, a bank statement from the last three months and all your housing documentation. You may not want it, but you’ll probably need it. When travelling to university, it would also be wise to bring it up in the car with you!
  • Stationary – During the first week of uni, all of the good stuff gets snapped up. Get it early!
  • Stamps – They sound like an unnecessary thing, but they last forever and sending off forms becomes vastly easier when you have stamps to hand.
  • Food – Fresher’s Week wipes out the supermarkets and clogs up the roads, so you aren’t going to want to go shopping for a tonne of food when you’ve spent all day unpacking. At the least, bring pasta, bread, milk and butter.
  • Alcohol – It can be awkward meeting new people for the first time. As soon as you start drinking, you don’t need to worry about awkwardness.
  • Basic tools – This can range from person to person, but I’ve found bringing an Allan key, a flat-headed screw driver, Blutak, lightbulbs and sellotape to be the most effective kit.
  • Washing-up liquid and toilet roll – Many houses share these products, but you can’t be presumptuous; strangers might not want to share their necessities.

There are so many things people use to bring to university with them that they consider an essential, it’s difficult to compile an accurate list! For more information – or a To Do List – for when you get there, read Chunk’s post here.

WHAT DID YOU BRING?

Take care! CS. c

It’s not that we’re bored with blogging

4 Mar

Considering I had intended to be in the library for a good portion of the day (due to one of my module’s lectures being over for the semester and not having anything else to do on Mondays now) hanging out with a new friend and then ending up in the pub for a couple of pints was a very nice change to my schedule.

She then ended up coming back to mine, playing some xbox and watching Here comes Honey Boo Boo  (Which, by the way, is amazing, it’s on Youtube, look it up, plus I’ll probably end up doing a full post about this at some point, so watch out for that one too.)

A little bit of Go-Go juice…..

Chopstick brought up the topic of podcasts, and how we could make one where we’d chat complete and utter shit, so that our minions could enjoy it when we’re not there. We’ve had a couple of conversations about podcasts in the past  (due to Mr. Chopstick running one. Which, if you’re interested in gaming and geekery you should have a listen too, it’s rather good. Check out The Weekly Geekly Podcast here.)

But anyway, then we started to chat about maybe creating a YouTube vlog thing-a-majig to compliment the blog, we have a few ideas – Uni life, Rants, basic vlogs and the like. We’re not 100% yet, but it could be in the pipeline for the future…