Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The End of Another Year

There's less than 12 hours of 2008 left. Let's make them good...

Driver 2

Yesterday, Dad took me out for my second unofficial driving lesson down at the Cardrome. Last time, I was in a new driver’s car, a little put-put, something small that goes. This time, I found myself in the driver’s seat of a monstrous 2.2 litre Honda, full of power. This was so much different to the car I drove last time, and was actually quite worried about getting into the car.
As we were driving to the centre, Dad was teaching me some of the basics things I need to know and do when I’m in my test, like slowing down and looking both ways at a zebra crossing, even if there is no-one in sight. They’re all pretty obvious things to do, you just need to know to do them, and do them so that the examiner can see. He told me how to stay safe on the road, and other things, before we got to the Cardrome.
It was finally time to switch seats. We began with a prayer, so that we’d stay safe while I was in control, and was off…

-Seatbelt.
-Change mirrors.
-Start engine.
-Clutch in.
-Into first gear.
-Pull the clutch out – find the biting point.
-Put handbrake down.
-Roll forward.
-Accelerate.
-Check mirrors.
-Clutch down.
-Into second.
-Accelerate.
-Brake.
-Look both ways.
-Into first.
-Accelerate.
-Etc.

It went really well, and I really enjoyed it. We were driving around and around the centre until I was tired and mentally exhausted. I learnt basic driving manoeuvres, and even completed a 5-point turn – under pressure with someone waiting to pass. My turning was much better than last time, and I only stalled 10 times, which is a big improvement. In such a big car, I was quite fond of 20 mph, but it was still so much fun! I can’t wait to do it again…

Shoutout 1!

So this is the first shoutout I've done on my blog, and I would like to dedicate it to Sidney's mam, Tammy...! She told me in a message on Facebook that she would keep reading my blog, so I thought it would be cool if she saw herself featured in a post! So,
"Hey Tammy!"
Tammy is a proud mum, loves good ice cream, enjoys sniffing Crayola crayons, is obsessed with sparkly vampires, and can play Guitar Hero on hard - that in itself is incredible!
Check out her blog here!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Intermediate Hymn: 204

Today, I did something I have never done before. Something I wasn’t planning to do, or expecting to do anytime soon. A question which came at me from out of nowhere, as I was playing ‘Silent Night’ before Sacrament today. A question I’m glad was asked, as it gave me a new opportunity…
"Do you want to play the intermediate hymn?"
"What is it?" I asked stupidly. “Silent Night”. My nerves started screaming at me, but my head told me it was a good thing to do. As I sat at the Sacrament table, I prayed that it would go alright, and I suddenly felt excited at the prospect; I would be playing in front of everyone. In the past, when I’ve messed up, I seriously messed up, like, completely stopping. But this hymn wasn’t too hard, and I went over it in my head as the Sacrament speakers spoke, still excited and nervous, waiting in anticipation until the time came.
I got up and walked over to the piano after the second speaker sat down, beginning my own introduction, before the conductor asked for an introduction, so I just guessed and played the ending, before going into the rest of the song.
I loved playing so much! It was so awesome! Yeah, I made plenty of mistakes, but kept going, persevering, carrying on until the end. I was so pleased and happy once I’d finished! It was amazing… I guess I’ll have to do it again sometime. And afterwards, the organist explained to me how to do an introduction, but congratulated me on the good job. Lots of people said I was good, and I know Mum appreciated it as well.
It’s not that big a deal, but it is for me. I really enjoyed it.

This is the third time in a row I’ve mentioned ‘Christmas’ in my post titles!

Well, it was excellent, thanks for asking! Christmas morning came and went, and then we soon settled down for some rest. That morning, everyone else had to come and wake me up to open gifts. I got a bunch of new movies and books and music and money, but most of all socks. You know you reach that age when you get a year’s worth of socks! It was really good, and I really appreciated everything.
I got my sister the sheet music for the entire ‘We Will Rock You’ show, and I got my parents a ‘Date for a Day’, getting them a massage for two, then I’ll cook dinner for two (I guess I’ll have cereal that night!), and then Michael McIntyre on DVD, who is legendarily hilarious. The idea is that they do it all in one day. They really liked it.
After going to church for the Christmas service, we came home and Mum did us her usual brilliant Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings. We began, as we do each year, with salmon mouse, wrapped in smoked salmon, which I’m sure is on of the greatest starters in the world. Then for afters, we enjoyed her homemade Christmas pudding. I don’t like Christmas pudding, but this was pretty good.
The rest of the afternoon, we didn’t really do much. I played my new games for a while, after watching ‘Shrek The Halls’, and then went on to doing some Maths work (I’d better get a good grade.). Then we went outside into the bitterly cold air to walk around the block, which was so refreshing, before we came home to watch ‘Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death’, which was really funny, and end the day off with ‘Zoolander’, which I’ve been wanting to see for a long time, but wasn’t as funny as I was hoping…

Boxing Day was traditional, going round Nan’s house for dinner and games and whatnot. I got up, did some Maths work, then played my games some more. We left to go to Nan’s house about midday, where our second Christmas dinner was waiting for us. The conversation was sparse as we ate, but the food was good. After dinner, we settled down to watch ‘Fred Clause’. I was so tired, so had a nap while everyone else played a chocolate game, before we watched more TV and ate tea. It was a good day.

Yesterday, I went to work as normal, but as there had been two bank holidays, I got 2/5s off of my shift, still earning the same amount, which was excellent! I got up late, did Maths revision, played on the Playstation, and then went off to work. It was so quiet at the store, and there wasn’t much to do, so my shift was pretty chill. Although I did have to slice about 24 apples, into… erm… (1, 4, 8… then cut into sixths… er…) lots, which took longer than expected, and I ended up leaving late…
Which meant we were late to go to the Baptism in the evening. A family was being baptised, and it was great to go along and watch, and feel the Spirit. The Spirit was so strong there, and we also got to write down our testimonies in a book to give to them.
We had to leave early to go out for dinner. We went to TGI’s, and met Dad’s business partner’s girlfriend and kids, and ate with them before going to the cinema. It was a really nice meal: next time you’re at TGI’s, get the Chicken Finger BLT. It’s so amazing. I wanted it to last forever. I couldn’t eat it all, so boxed it up, and ate the rest today… Mmm…! Anyway, it was also his 50th birthday next week, so Dad had bought him a cake and badge and everything, and he was quite willing to stand on his chair and be sung to by everyone! His daughter was so embarrassed, but it was a good laugh. The film was a good laugh too. We saw ‘Yesman’, which inspired me to make the most of more opportunities that come my way. Which I did today…

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Christmas 2008

HAPPY

CHRISTMAS

EVERYONE!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas is coming...

I felt really Christmassy after going out Carol singing on Sunday, and then the next day we had our annual Christmas Family Home Evening, which I always really enjoy. We invite over some of our family, some widows in the ward, some of our friends in the ward, the missionaries, and anyone else we feel like inviting, and read Christmas stories, sing carols, watch the Christmas devotional, and then play a game at the end. This year, it was really good again, and like last year, I was in charge of the powerpoint presentation to go along with one of the storybooks. Mum also asked me to play the piano, so I spent half-an-hour during the day going over ‘Silent Night’, which went quite well. I made mistakes, but tried my best to keep going throughout it; I’m still not very good playing for people.

Yesterday, we went to see a Pantomime for Mutual. It was just a local reasonably amateur version of Cinderella, and was so cheesy, but still pretty good. It had all the traditional Pantomime stuff in it, including far too much audience participation. I just sat back and enjoyed it, not getting too involved. What was funny was the fact that during all the kids screaming whatever it was at the stage, us lot were “Baa”ing at the stage instead of shouting stuff. I thought it was so funny! Sam enjoyed it two, and the both of us got dropped off at Pel’s house for his party that evening.
It was a chill party. There was just music, lots of food, a bit of drink, and then there were fireworks at the end, which was really cool, although I’ll admit, I didn’t feel safe with Pelham setting them off! Hannah gave me my present while I was there: A metre of popcorn…! It’s rad. Haha, love it.

Then today, I got up, and during the morning did some Maths work, played Guitar Hero, and finished off my presents ready for the morning. I left it quite until the last minute this year, but still managed to get it all done. I’m excited to see my family open their presents. As our family tradition goes, we go out to either a show or film, and meal on Christmas Eve, and today we went to see ‘Four Christmases’. It was alright - not amazing from a Media student’s point of view, but it was still a chill feel-good film - and then we went to Bella Italia afterwards. After seeing the trailer for ‘Yes Man’ which comes out on Friday, I decided I wanted to try something new, so had Calimari for starters, squid, floured, and golden battered, something I’ve never had before. It was so nice, and complemented by my main of salmon and the best new potatoes I’ve ever eaten. I just thought it deserved a mention. The missionaries came over when we got home to drop of the coolest card I’ve ever seen – homemade into the shape of a missionary shirt! – and homemade brownies, which are gooey but good. I went out with them to take them to Sam and Fran, and it was so nice just chatting with them about all sorts of things. They really are legends.
Now, were just about to begin to watch ‘The Nativity Story’, which we watch every year, and I think is an excellent film.

It’s that time of year again. I can’t believe how fast it’s come around! Have a great Christmas Eve everyone!

It just gets better...

At the cinema today, during the trailers, ‘Australia’ came on. I’ve seen it already, so was excited to see the trailer, but before I went to see it, I tried to avoid seeing any trailers or previews, so that the main film would be as awesome as possible – which it was. So I saw the trailer for the first time today, and it literally enhanced the main film. I usually hate trailers, as they show you all the good parts of the film: all the funny parts; all the action parts; all the romantic parts, but this trailer is possible the best I’ve ever seen. It didn’t tell you the narrative of the film, or show the best parts, but instead compared the whole film to the ‘Wizard of Oz’, which was referred to in the film, but I didn’t consider the metaphor as intensely as it is portrayed in the trailer. This idea made the film even better than it already is, and I wanna see it again soon. It’s brilliant. Baz Lurhmann is a genius.

By completing the square, find in terms of k the roots of the equation...

Because I have my first AS Level exam the week I go back to college, I’m spending my time wisely, revising Maths almost every day. It’s making me pretty stressed. I really wanna do well in the exam, but I also want to enjoy my break! Why put the exam straight after Christmas? I guess it’s to separate the wheat from the chaff, mathematically speaking. But still, we shouldn’t be worrying about that sort of π at Christmas…

Monday, 22 December 2008

Hallelujah

I’m pretty much addicted to the song ‘Hallelujah’ at the moment. I love it. I’ve decided it’s my second favourite song ever. It’s gotta be the Rufus Wainwright version though. It’s amazing. I first really began to like it when I was at the University of Essex for Drama Summerschool, and we did an emotional workshop involving it, so I always remember those good times when I hear it too. I got the sheet music for it on Friday, and have been playing it so much… I’ve almost got it down. But you know when you like something so much, that you listen to it and sing it over and over and over, to the point that you get sick of it…?! Yeah. The words are just so full of emotion and passion. Love it…

"I've heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord, but you don't really care for music do you? It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift; the baffled king composing Hallelujah..." -Leonard Cohen

Piano Playing

I got my certificate through for the Grade 3 Piano exam I took a couple of weeks ago a couple of days ago. I passed! Haha, yeah, it was pretty good. Of course, my sister got higher than I did, but I’m just glad I passed; we pretty much rushed it, cramming it all into about 3 months or so… I left it all to the last minute, as I always do. I was quite confident as I was going into the exam room, but with me, I always get nervous right before whatever it is I’m doing, so I was suddenly very nervous. I just wanted to get it over with, and although I made plenty of mistakes, I was confident I had passed, which is all that matters. I was looking forward to finally getting to play songs I want to, like ‘What I’ve Done’, ‘Moonlight Sonata’, and ‘Hallelujah’, which I’m enjoying now. I’ve just spent an hour and a half playing the piano, and seriously enjoy playing now; before it was just a chore, having to play for ten minutes each day. Now, it’s great, and I really enjoy it. I also just went over ‘Silent Night’, what with it being Christmastime and all. Last year, I was so proud of it, and spent a long time putting in arpeggios and getting the song perfect, and today I just spent 20 minutes or so going over, and it’s nearly as good as it was. I’m really pleased to see how far I’ve progressed… It makes it all worthwhile.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Carollers

This evening, we had our annual ward Youth Carol singing trip, where we go round to certain members’ houses, and sing to them, and give them a Christmas treat. I enjoyed it last year, and was kinda looking forward to it this year. So we left home, and joined the group to make our way to the first home we were to sing at. Sam joined us, which was really nice, and gave me a friend there. It was great to watch the member’s – most of who are inactive or elderly – reactions as we sung to them, and gave them the Christmas cakes we had individually hand-decorated for a Mutual activity a couple of weeks ago.

This evening, I felt the true meaning of Christmas, being with those I love, and serving others, bringing happiness into their life at this special season. Only now do I feel really Christmassy, and (almost) ready for the special day…

Way With Words

I’m really bad at wording things, or generally speaking to people. Unless I’m sitting down and constructing sentences like I am now, I find it difficult to say what I really mean. Other people assume that just because I’m confident, I should ask for things or talk to people, but I usually just make a mess of it. It’s not too bad, it’s just embarrassing sometimes; I just come out with some of the most random, strangely worded phrases, sometimes in an attempt to be witty, but otherwise just in general conversation. I don’t mind – in fact I think it’s quite funny! – it’s just something I need to work on…

The Art of Film

I’ve recently been able to see two huge new films: ‘Australia’ (Baz Luhrmann), and ‘Twilight’ (Catherine Hardwicke). I love films, the study and development of film, and the whole media in general, and appreciate the meaning of certain camera angles, movement and effects. And I was so excited to have the opportunity to see one of my favourite director’s new film before almost anyone else in the UK.

On Thursday, my family and I went to the Regional Charity Premiere of ‘Australia’ at Empire Cinemas, which was awesome. My Media teacher went along with another teacher from college who’s Australian, and actually knew some of the people and locations in the film. We literally were among the first few to see it in the UK, being I believe only the second screening in the country, as it doesn’t get released until Boxing Day. I was so excited to see it, as ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Romeo + Juliet’ are a couple of my favourite films, and Baz Lurhmann is an amazing legend. The stylised theatrical directing draws the audience in, while the intense writing keeps them watching. I think he’s brilliant, and his new film was brilliant too. It was episodic, eventful, and enjoyable, encapsulating many different genres of film into one epic adventure, full of emotion and energy.
But it wasn’t just a great film; it had a brilliant message, one which left you thinking long after you left the cinema. “Just because it is, doesn’t mean it should be”. Such a powerful line, reinforced with the action on screen. We are all equal human beings, and should treat each other equally… If you haven’t seen it, you should go. I can’t wait for his second in the trilogy.

Then the next night, after our last day at college, my friends and I finally got to go and see ‘Twilight’. We had been waiting a long time for it to open in the UK, even having to wait 16 days after the Premiere… Those that had read the book were so stoked about it, and those who were with us who hadn’t were still a bit confused. We kept explaining, “it’s about a vampire and human that fall in love, but it’s really better than it sounds!” We went to eat before the film at Chilli’s and us lads had a backwards meal. Sweet. We started with chocolate molten cake, and then had mains, before finishing with cheesy garlic bread. It was weird but good!
Finally we got into the screen, and I was so excited as the room darkened. I couldn’t contain myself, and shouted “I’ve met Kristen Stewart!” as loud as I could! Haha, it was great. The film started, and I wasn’t disappointed. A bit rushed towards the end, in the hotel and whatnot, but overall, excellent. My sister and I have been talking about it and quoting it far too much. She’s already seen it twice, and wants to go more times. I think I’ll have to go for another look pretty soon…

So I was impressed with those two films. They were awesome… I you haven’t checked them out, you should go!

Friday, 19 December 2008

School's out! FTW

(For the winter)

So today was our last day at college this year. I didn’t have any lessons to go in for, but wanted to go in and have a laugh. Which I did; it was a brilliant day. Getting up at the usual time was worth it.

During lesson one, I signed out and went to see my good friend Becci, who goes to a different college, but lives just down the road. I hadn’t seen her in so long, and a spontaneous visit was good. We just chatted for a while, about people, education, concerts, movies, seasons, and then I had to get back. Hey Becci!
Back at school, I had the amazing idea of playing ‘Twister’ in the common room. What a legendary game. It was so funny… Because the spinner had broken, those that weren’t playing would take it in turns to tell you where to put what. We got into some weird positions.
Then, a bunch of us started learning a dance from Hannah and Laura. It was an easy dance, but took a lot of practise to get it right, and to the intensely fast beat. In the next couple of hours, we made a video – an epic video – out of this dance, going to all different locations in the school, filming it, and I’m hoping to edit it all together soon. We started in the common room, and worked our way around to the playground, stairs, on the tables in the Science labs (I felt like such a rebel!), in the library, and even the toilets, to get enough footage to work with. It was so funny, seriously, and should turn out excellent. We just all found the whole thing hilarious. Plus, I thought my moves were pretty rad… until I watched them back on the camera. Haha.
After the review, which was actually pretty good, we just chilled out in the common room, reminiscing about old times, discussing fit teachers, talking about giving birth, and bunch of other random topics. The common room emptied slowly as the day drew to a close, with just a few of us left in there as we attempted to throw jelly beans into each other’s mouth.

It was a fantastic last day at college. I’m glad to have a break, but know I’ll still be working a revising throughout the holidays… Christmas is approaching fast!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Why are we here? Where are we going?

Why didn't we buy a satnav...?!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

3, 2, 1,

Action.

After many weeks of planning, ideas being thrown around, storyboards being sketched, and city landscapes being filmed, we were finally ready to shoot our main production. For our main task, we have to plan, shoot, and edit the footage into the first two minutes of a new fiction film, showing an opening sequence, and title sequence. We kept changing the genre of the film, until we decided on a narrative and a plot to match our action-thriller sequence. I was so excited about it, and raring to get going.

We had an original cast, until unfortunately our male protagonist got mumps. We were hoping he would be better by the time the day of our shoot came, but he got worse. This presented a problem with us, as we needed the male and female characters to feel comfortable together for the ‘date scene’. The production team stayed up late last night attempting to fix this problem, but we didn’t get anywhere until we were back in college together. We spent most of the day preparing for the shoot, getting permission from teachers, tweaking cab bookings, and collecting props. Finally just before it was time to begin shooting, we got the cast sorted, complete with costumes, and began to film. We filmed the first scene on school grounds, re-filming the same thing from many different angles, making sure we got it perfect, before we packed up and headed to the taxi waiting for us.

The seven of us, 4 production members and 3 cast members, arrived at my friend’s house where we planned to film while it was still light, and managed to get the majority of the footage done before it got dark. We even used their clock tower to get an aerial shot of our character running along the grass. One of the production member’s dad came along to help us with the driving footage, and we completed all of the outside footage. Finally, we had to use their guest room as a hotel scene, and in the end, it all went really well. After so much planning and stress, it was over, and we got it done in about three hours. It was so awesome directing and filming the project, and I’m hoping with some decent editing, it will look ace too…

That’s a wrap.

Until next time…

Skittles!

Last night in Mutual, we planned a bunch of new games, which was good. Some of them were intense, and some based on luck and skill. The first game we played was called Skittles, and yes, it involved Skittles. It was similar to the chocolate game, but much better. Here’s the rules:

-Start with a few packets of skittles, and a die.
-Each person takes it in turn to throw the die. Whatever number they get is the number of skittles they have to put in their mouth.
-You must not chew the skittles…
-…Until you get a 6. Then you can chew and swallow, but not until you get a six.
-If you chew or swallow the sweets before you get a six, you’re out.
-If you spit the sweets out, you’re out.
-If you can no longer breathe, you’re out.
-Keep going until more and more people drop out, and there’s a winner.

This was so much fun to play. You should try it sometime!

What's going on...?!

Have you noticed how people aren’t posting much on their blogs lately? Well, I’ve been busy living my life, which is my excuse for not posting, and I haven’t had time or made time to write about it. Maybe I should try to do better. Life’s great though. Love it…

Friday, 12 December 2008

Driver

I left college early yesterday, and headed on down to the Cardrome with Christopher, my Young Men’s leader, to learn the basics of driving. I’ve been so excited about driving for such a long time, but when the time came to jump into the driver’s seat, I was quite nervous; I would be in control of… a car.

I’d already driven a couple of times before: the first in my Dad’s car round a field, and the second in a vintage something-or-other my Granddad owns down an empty road in the middle of France. I was quite confident that I’d be alright, so he handed the keys over, and we got started.

Throughout the day, he taught me most of the basics of driving. We began with simply going forward, and I stalled loads of time throughout the day, as I wasn’t accelerating enough, but I soon got the hang of it. We practised emergency stops, and kept practising until I stopped without skidding along the road. I went all the way up to third gear, which proved difficult at times. We did hill starts, which I enjoyed, and was good at! Reversing was good, although I found it hard to actually look behind me… I also had trouble turning the steering wheel correctly, which sounds ridiculous, but I could turn it easily, but my hands weren’t meeting in the middle and stuff.

I only nearly had one little crash during the whole couple of hours we were there, which isn’t bad for the first time driving properly! I was turning a corner towards the set of traffic lights, and over-steered due to my bad turning skills, and was heading straight for the traffic light. I panicked, and tried to correct myself. In this panic, I may have accidentally accelerated slightly, heading towards the collision even faster. Christopher reached for the handbrake, and was about to emergency stop the car, before I regained control, and slowed the vehicle down. Thank goodness we weren’t on the road…

We had a break somewhere in the middle, and my driving was slightly better after that, until I stalled some more, and made some other small mistakes. It was just so exciting, actually driving a car properly. Christopher told me to go round the roundabout, and keep going and going, getting faster and faster, until I felt the back wheels give. That was fun, going round in a circle at 30 MPH. My top speed throughout the whole day was 40 MPH, which was well above the limit, but I didn’t even realise I was doing it!

In the end, I was just driving around, stopping at junctions, traffic lights, and zebra crossings to let the invisible people go… It was an excellent day, and I can’t wait for more lessons! It was so awesome…

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Recent Events...

I have been very busy lately, trying to keep up with the stress of college work, the expectations of preparing for the future, and a good social life. So simply put, I’ll just quickly go through the recent events in the past couple of weeks that I haven’t made time to blog about…

A couple of weeks ago, I was part of the ‘Make Your Mark’ business challenge, where we got off of lessons for the day, and had to follow the rules, and create something new in pretty much a day. We didn’t know what it would be until we went into the room, and were informed that we needed to present an entrepreneurial new service or product linked to the 2012 Olympics in London. We elected leaders, split into rival groups, and then set to work immediately, brainstorming ideas. I was the leader for my team, and we ended up with a children’s indoor playground, themed around the Olympics, where toddlers and children alike can learn, play, and socialize. We incorporated all the Olympic themes, and I thought it was an excellent idea. We had to produce an ‘Ideas’ sheet, a ‘Competitors’ sheet, and a ‘Finance Sheet’, and had until Wednesday midday to send it off. We only just made it in time, after some of my team spent extra time working on it at home. The other group thought of an idiot’s guide to the Olympics, which was a pretty good idea too. But, unfortunately, neither of us got through to the next round like last year, which my teacher was even surprised about.

A few days later, we had a Friday off of school to go up to London and get footage for our Media project, which is coming along excellently. We walked to the train station, and then travelled up to the city, holding a video camera, and carrying a tripod. We went around to all of the major iconic sights, filming each one in turn. We traveled around on the Underground, and I even filmed our journey, though of course made sure I didn’t cause a scene. Only at one point on the Underground did a homeless person start lairing at us having a camera or something, but we just ignored him and kept our heads down… The rest of the day was really good, going to the Tower of London, London Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Eye, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, and other places, stopping for lunch in Pizza Hut. Before we left London, we went into a shop that sold foreign candy from everywhere, from America to Japan… Amy bought me Lucky Charms, which she’s gonna give to me at Christmas… I’m really excited for it! Anyway, I’m sure the film we got will go well with the footage from New York!

The night after I went to see New Found Glory, I was supposed to go to see Simple Plan with Fran, and bought tickets to go with her. I couldn’t decide whether I actually wanted to go or not, so got tickets in case, but then decided that it would really be best if I didn’t; I was worrying about it, going to two gigs in two nights, and so thought I’d rather be stoked about one than worried about having to go to two. So I told Fran a couple of weeks before, and hoped she’d be able to find someone else to go with. In the end, she didn’t, and I felt pretty bad. I want to be a good person, and someone people can depend on, but sometimes I just do too much. I’ve got to learn to find the balance in life, and would now like to formally apologise to Fran about not being able to go. I’m always trying to be my best self, and am sorry when I’m not…

Wow, that was pretty deep. In other news, I’ve recently got over a man-flu. It wasn’t nice. My whole body was aching, and I felt ill and terrible. I had to come home from school early on Monday, and curled up on the sofa with fresh soup, watching TV. It was good to have Tuesday off as well, and I really did spend my time wisely, working through the majority of the day… Thankfully, I’ve just got a slight cold now, and feel much better.

I’d just like to say how grateful I am to have the Gospel in my life. I really am. The rules and boundaries really are there to keep us happy, and are for our safety. In college yesterday, we had a speaker come in, and talk to us about Chlamydia. She described to us some horrific things, and reinforced them with some disgusted images, that I of all people really didn’t want to see. The whole session, I was just thinking how blessed I am to have the Gospel in my life. I love it.

So, all in all, life’s great, and I’m excited for the future. Life goes on, and I think it’s great to make the most of it…

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The TWILIGHT Zone!

I’ve just got back from the UK Premiere of Twilight, and I’m so excited about seeing the film in a couple of week’s time. I really wanted to go to the Premiere as well, and was so stoked to go when I found out what day it was and when. So, after college, Dad drove Charlotte and me to Leicester Square, London, but not until I’d got a camera from the Media department to film the event. I’d done my hair especially for the event like Edward’s, and did a pretty good job of it, looking awesomely cool for a day. Helena, Lewis, and Tom left college at lunch, and went up there early, managing to save us a space near the barrier. We walked into the Square, beautifully lit with Christmas decorations, and pushed our way to the front to join our friends. They put up a bare tree, and pumped out fog, recreating Forks. We had an excellent view of the big screen, the black carpet, the cars, and the stars. Cameras were everywhere, panning the area, presenters talking into their mics. The press buzzing; flashes going off regularly. Everyone there was waiting in anticipation...

Six pm came, and the Premiere began. Alex Zane from T4 was presenting the event, exhilarating the crowd, and introducing and interviewing the stars as they arrived. It was getting dark and cold, but the electricity from the audience kept everyone warm and lit up the night. The first car turned the corner and pulled up, with the crowd was screaming as Kristen Stewart stepped out. She is so gorgeous – seriously – and began walking around the crowd, signing books, cards, posters, and anything else the fans handed to her, after posing for the press. She began one end of the crowd, and worked her way around. Everyone was going crazy as she came towards us. I was doing my best to get footage of her, and didn’t have anything for her to sign anyway, so just pushed my hand to the front, and she shook it. She looks amazing in her dress, and I can now say that I’ve met Kristen Stewart! Soon, Catherine Hardwicke, the director, turned up. She too got a good reception, and I was glad to see the person in flesh who originally had the vision for the film, and worked towards creating that idea, to share it with others. Other people turned up, some of whom people didn’t know, as well as some other actors, singers, groups, and celebrities arrived, but Rob Pattinson was the main focus of everyone’s attention. The crowd surged and went wild when he stepped out of a car, girls screaming his name into the night sky. He went to have his interview with Alex, then began going around the audience signing items and getting pictures with people. He eventually came around to our side, and the audience was crushing together, shouting his name, waving banners. It was a pretty awesome sight. He came really close to us – about six feet or so – and we were anticipating being able to meet him too. Charlotte wanted a kiss from him, and I just wanted to say I’d met him. Suddenly, some power-hungry security guard told us to “Move back, or else he won’t come to you”. Rob then moved across to the other side of the crowd, and didn’t return. Everyone was really mad at that security guard for the rest of the night…

It was an excellent event, and although there weren’t as many stars there as I’d hoped, it was still brilliant to go to my first proper Premiere, and experience the excitement of seeing celebrities. We made friends with the people around us, my hair stayed like Edward’s, and I got some great footage, which I hope to be able to work on soon. Kristen said it best when she said the LA Premiere wasn’t as good as the London Premiere…


Just 16 days until Twilight is released in the UK!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

N F G !

It was pretty intense.

I went to see New Found Glory at the legendary Brixton Academy last night, after being excited for their EasyCore Tour for absolutely months… I saw them supporting Paramore back on 1st February, and they were awesome, so by the 28th, I had tickets to see them in their own headlining show.

So, after another day at college, Fran, Sarah, and I went back to Sarah’s house to eat, chill, and sort out our image, before Nic came over, and we headed up to London on the train. We got to the Academy just after doors opening, with no queue, going straight to the merchandise stand and cloakroom, before heading into the standing area. We pushed our way to the front as Crime In Stereo were performing.

The crowd was pretty still, just watching, with a couple of kids singing along, until the last song, when a push pit broke out. I was psyched for the gig, and after some hesitation, jumped in. It was awesome! Just jumping around, bumping into other people, going crazy to the music… I also managed to get out of the pit, and stand much closer to the barrier than we were, so when the first support band went off, I pulled the other three closer to the stage. We had a potentially good spot for the rest of the concert.

Four Year Strong were on next. They were excellent, and got the crowd going. Their songs are pretty hardcore, and there were more pits forming, which in enjoyed jumping into. The band also got the crowd to start a circle, something I wanted to do that night, so I ran into that too. That was a lot of fun, running round in a huge circle to the music with so many other people…

I managed to keep going to a bar at the back of the standing area, getting drinks in between bands, keeping us all hydrated and cool. I poured water over my hair and face, and down my t-shirt, ruining my new tour tee, not caring what I looked like anymore. We also found Greg, and then Emily and Claire, and I pulled the girls over to join us, weaving in between hundreds of people. We chatted for a while, before Set Your Goals came onstage. They were seriously hardcore. I didn’t like them much, and the crowd went crazy. We were now behind the pit at the front, and people kept jumping into us. I jumped around a bit, but spent most of my time making sure the girls were alright. They got quite into it, pushing people away from them… By the time they went off, the crowd was really crowded, and we waited in excitement for New Found Glory to come on…

Finally the lights dimmed, flags were carried onto the stage and signs lowered from the ceiling as ‘Glory, glory, hallelujah’ played, and New Found Glory bounced onto the stage. The crowd went wild, and I did my best to go along with it, but it was seriously too much; a crowd surfer landed on my head, and I felt my neck crack with potential whiplash. It was awful. I was getting so crushed, that I moved back to the first barrier back with Emily – after Sarah, Nic, and Claire had already moved away from the front. But then my back was being smashed against the barrier, so we moved further back, and ended up behind the bigger most pit, with much more room to enjoy the music. New Found Glory were pretty good, and they played a lot of my favourites, including ‘Truth Of My Youth’, ‘Iris’, ‘Hit Or Miss’, ‘Hold My Hand’, ‘It’s Not Your Fault’, ‘Dressed To Kill’, ‘Kiss Me’, ‘All Downhill From Here’, ‘Tip Of The Iceberg’, and loads more, as well as a new song. It was heckka loud, but it rocked, and I really enjoyed the songs I knew. Emily and I were singing to each other, dancing, and having a good time. New Found Glory are very good live, and performed with so much energy. They went off stage, and the next band, New Found Glory came on, finishing the show with a three song encore. The very last song they played was ‘My Friends Over You’, which is awesome, and I jumped into the pit, making the most of the last song of the night…

New Found Glory are a funny, chill band, and had a great time onstage. Although it was the most hardcore concert I’d ever been to, I was impressed with the pit etiquette, where if someone fell over, they’d help you up, as they did for me at one point, and people helping crowd surfers over the barrier. It was pretty violent, but much better once we’d moved back. We chilled out, had fun, and enjoyed the music.

I left, aching, tired, hungry, and thirsty, and after queuing up for a long time to collect our bags, said goodbye to Greg, Em, and Claire, and headed for Fran’s dad waiting for us in the car down the road. During the drive home, I crashed out for a while, while Fran played music, then came alive again when she put Forever The Sickest Kids on before I got dropped off…

It was a good night.

It was pretty intense…

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Woah.

What a hectic week. It’s been pretty crazy. I’ve been busy every night this week, six days in a row, and out for five of those six days, doing everything from cinema, to eating, to dancing… It’s nice to now have time to relax, unwind, and chill. But it’s been a pretty alright week. If you don’t actually care about it, stop reading here.

Monday was crazy. It was dark, cloudy, and so wet. I walked out of school to a torrent of rain, soaking everyone it possibly could, creating havoc (that’s for you, Meg!) on the roads. Down the road from our school, the road dips to go under a bridge, and the road was literally flooded. A car had got stuck in the middle of it, unable to move. There were puddles the size of ponds floating as obstacles on the pavement, with stupid little kids rolling in it, kicking it at each other, self-inflicting pneumonia on themselves. What pathetic fallacy; it all made me miss Canada so much – the people, the atmosphere, the weather.
That evening cheered me up. As Sam, Fran, and her mum came over for the Missionary lesson, we had a quick discussion, and then watched ‘The Testaments’. I love that film; it’s my favourite ever. I’ve seen it plenty of times, but still cried so much at the end. The Spirit is just so strong, it’s amazing.

Tuesday was much better than Monday. I had a good day at college, which was made better by beginning Film Studies after school. It’s a video-conferencing lesson, which is so awesome! It was weird at first, walking into the board room, with a teacher on the screen and a camera pointing at us, but by the end of the session, I had completely got used to it. We were discussing the different types of narration in ‘Titanic’, and it was so fascinating. There’s so much more to films than I even realise, and it sounds so geeky, but I love learning about it!
At Mutual that evening, the Young Women had requested my talents for their activity that evening; they were doing a ‘Values’ photoshoot, and I was the photographer. I had so much fun, firstly constructing a make-shift studio, then each girl’s pose to match their Value. I tried out different poses, angles, white-balances, zooms, and used some ideas from Heather when we had our shoot in Canada! Emma had the vision that evening; I just captured it. It was a brilliant shoot in the end, and I pretty pleased with the end result.

Wednesday during PSE, a theatre group came in to present an hour long play to us about speeding. It was intense. It was funny. It was awesome. It made you laugh, and (almost) cry, as they presented the story of a boy that accidentally ran over a young girl, causing her death. It was based on a true story, and was just so good. They used so many dramatic techniques, which work so effectively. In the end, it makes you never want to go over the limit.

Thursday evening was good. It was a tiring day, and I was exhausted by the evening, so at 6.30, I retired to bed for a power nap. It worked. Although I slept longer than I intended; after an hour’s sleep, I was up, and running around getting ready to go out. We were going to the cinema with InterAct, to see ‘Quantum Of Solace’, and part of me didn’t want to go again, after seeing it not a week before, but I had said I would, so I did. I felt good for going, and I know Aston appreciated it. Unfortunately, James didn’t feel well, so couldn’t get there, but I think Aston enjoyed the show. It was even better the second time round, but I still don’t understand the story. It’s so deep, nobody can follow it, which pretty much defeats the point, but still, it’s entertaining.
As we were standing in the foyer waiting to leave, we said goodbye to Aston and his parents, and we’re hanging around, chatting. Then, as I stood there, rooted to the spot, one of the most beautiful girls I’d ever seen walked past. Our eyes met momentarily, before I hesitated and looked away. I’m always very conscious that she won’t like me, and so avoided her gaze as she walked past, until she and her friend were walking away. I just stood where I was, playing it cool, as our eyes met for a second time. She was breathtakingly gorgeous, and literally made me gasp when I first saw her. I’ve met some beautiful girls in my lifetime – and you know who you are! – but didn’t get to meet her. She was just stunning, but ironically, I can hardly remember what she looked like now. But do you know who’s even more amazingly beautiful? My wife.

Friday after school, I got ‘Mirror’s Edge’. It’s such a brilliant game! One of the best I’ve ever played. Virtual first person free-running, combat, and shooting for the absolute win! Then, that evening, we went out for dinner with my Granddad, who’s over for his annual trip from his home in France for a week. It was pretty good to go out for a meal, and while the adult’s chatted, Charlotte and I talked and laughed about all sorts of things, texting our friends, and remembering good times.

Saturday, I was pretty tired again, and I had mixed moods during my shift at work, but cheered up towards the end. Straight after work, I had to get changed, and then leave for the Super Saturday Seminary meeting in Cambridge. We got there 25 minutes late, and I didn’t get much out of the meeting, but I know that that was my own fault completely. There was a dance afterwards, but neither Charlotte or myself wanted to stay. During the car journeys there and back, I listened to some of the new music I’ve bought, and it’s awesome! I recommend ‘Every Second Counts’ by Plain White T’s. Incredible album. Buy it.
When I got home, I stayed up late, playing ‘Mirror’s Edge’, and going on the Internet, enjoying some well earned chilling time…

Today, Sam came to Church again, after enjoying it last week. I love how enthusiastic she is about the Church, and how eager she is to learn more about it. It seriously makes me so happy. And here I am. It’s been such a busy week, but it’s been a successful week. I’m enjoying life, though I can feel things changing, some for the good, some not so good, but change is inevitable. I’m trying to keep everyone happy, while trying my best to be a good person, and be the best I can. Now, I just have to continue this, and endure to the end…

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Long Live Our Rocking QUEEN!

I was looking forward to seeing Queen + Paul Rodgers last night for a long time, and restless night after night, followed by a “don’t-ask-me-to-do-that-I’m-too-excited” shift at work, and finally an agitating long journey into London, finished in an explosion of sound at Wembley Arena.

I was so excited, walking towards the beautifully lit building, standing powerfully next to the iconic stadium beside it. I got in, got my wristband, and then spent a bit of time emptying my bladder, buying a t-shirt, and changing tops. I felt much better in my official merchandise. I found Mum, gave her my backpack, then raced into the standing area with Fran. It was quite full when we got in, and I rang Charlotte to see where they were. She lifted Jodie up, and I got on Fran’s back. After spotting Jodie’s head bobbing above the crowd, I took Fran’s hand, and weaved between the crowd towards them. They had got a really good spot, about ten rows back. We had a perfect view of the stage. We all stood in anticipation, waiting for the lights to go down. There were no support bands, and eventually it went dark…

The electricity in the audience exploded throughout the arena as the intro began, bursting through lightning on the big screen, then leading into Hammer To Fall. Instantly, the crowd was cheering and singing along. The concert was very good, beginning with original songs to get the night going, then each member performing solo. Roger Taylor’s drum solo was epic. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was in awe. He was at the end of the catwalk, with just one cymbal, and then slowly, roadies brought more and more of his (second) drum kit to him, and he get faster and louder, beats bursting into the air. It was brilliant. Brian’s solo was awesome too, distorted noise filling the vast arena, pulsing right through your body. The band are brilliant. Throughout the night, the band performed a lot of original Queen songs, some of their new ones, and some covers. Paul Rodger’s did a pretty good job, too, though he knows he could never fill Freddie’s place, he did his best.

I was always waiting for the crowd to really get going, though. There were so many old people in the standing area, and I don’t mind that, but I wanna move about, jump, dance crazily, and scream. That’s pretty much what I do at concerts, but this lot glared at you if you moved. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still, I felt bad that I think I stood on someone’s toe during one moment I was momentarily moshing with Fran, whereas that should be expected at a gig. There was so much space around us, and we could move freely and dance, but obviously not, because the audience didn’t like that. I’m not saying I wanna be absolutely crushed, but lack of space, jumping, and singing so loud, are just part of the experience.

The band, and the music they played, were overall excellent. As the camera swung round in our direction, we jumped around, and it was so cool to see ourselves on the big screen a few times. My favourite songs that night included “I Want It All”, “C-Lebrity”, “Say It Ain’t True”, “Radio GaGa” and of course “Bohemian Rhapsody”, where they used Freddie’s vocals for the first part. It was so moving to see him on the screen, singing so passionately from a past show. They showed pictures and video of him quite a lot during the night, and dedicated songs to him, which was so nice. The band “finished” after Bohemian Rhapsody, and then came back on after the crowd was cheering. Their encore was the best part of the night. “Cosmos Rockin’”, “All Right Now” (-Free cover), “We Will Rock You”, and finally “We Are The Champions”. At this point, the atmosphere got pretty good, and people were singing and dancing, while the people who had seats were actually standing up. We Will Rock You was fantastic. That is such an awesome song. After We Are The Champions, the band took their bows, and left to the English National Anthem, after an epic 2-and-a-half hour concert. It was legendary.

We didn’t manage to get any of the drumsticks the roadies were handing out at the end, but got pretty close. As we were waiting for my parents and the others they were with, we got much-needed water, and talked about our favourite parts. Then, as we left the venue, Fran and I ran through the fountains outside. We jumped through them as the sprinkler went down, and then as I was about to jump back out, another boy collided with me, pushing me into the upcoming water. I was soaked, all up my left side, but it was fun!

The journey home was so nice. It was one of the times I’ll never forget. We stopped for food on the way, so after my chicken sandwich, I enjoyed hot chocolate and a donut at midnight, while driving back in the dark, listening to amazing music streaming through the speakers from my Pod. We were just cruising, the street lights flashing overhead, time to contemplate, relax, unwind, and chill. We weren’t doing anything, but I really enjoyed it! After dropping Fran off home, we got home and to bed at around 2.30am, with aching muscles and amazing memories…

Potentially dangerous.

Ahh! I just hit a glass of water over onto my laptop. Haha, not a good idea… I’ve just about managed to clean it up, and I’m pretty sure it’s working and healthy. Thank goodness… I was more worried about my computer than the table, but don’t panic, it’s all alright.

TIP OF THE DAY: Don’t place beverages next to expensive equipment.

Fun, Food, Films, Other?

Friday evening was really pretty good. I went straight round to Teddy’s house, where I First: stood in awe at his technological setup and stupidly huge disc collection; Two: played the legendary Little Big Plant, story mode and creation mode, for longer than is healthy, unlocking new objects, and attempting to build a level; and Three: watched ‘How I Met Your Mother’, which was funny. Teddy’s is totally ace – Holla Teddy! – and I had a great time round his house. We gotta play online sometime…

When Mum picked me up, we headed off, and ate in Chilli’s, enjoying a soft, succulent grilled salmon, complemented with dry, tasty rice, and vibrant steam-cooked vegetables, full of goodness… Mmm. We had to eat kinda fast, though, so we could get to the cinema in time, and Dad and Uncle Rob joined us before we left.

I finally got to see Quantum Of Solace Friday night, which was brilliant. As an avid Media student, I was, as ever, analysing each individual shot, then taking into account the overall script-writing, special effects, and camera work… well anyway, it’s really good. I loved it. Not as amazing as Casino Royale, but still pretty awesome. I realized that the episodic structure reflected a much more event-based sequence, neglecting the personal insights we received in the prequel. Do you understand a word I just said? Maybe… Anyway, go and see if it you haven’t already!

InterAct

Thursday evening, I got to go out with InterAct for the first time. I signed up to become a volunteer a while back in college, and since our first Circle Meeting back in October, I’ve been looking forward to getting to go out with James and Aston, our new buddies. They’re really pretty cool, and getting to know them during our game of bowling was good. I missed the first day out; I was in Canada, but it was good to catch up with them this time round. They’re already friends together, which made the overall situation less awkward, but I still did my best to talk to them throughout the evening.

As ever at bowling, I just kinda messed around, sometimes being seriously, but usually just lobbing the ball down the alley for laughs. I pick it up, swiftly spin around, and launch it forward in one fluid motion… It was funny! Nearer the end of the evening, Kelly bet me £10 that I couldn’t get a strike, whilst keeping a folded menu standing up on top of my head. Obviously I didn’t have to give her any money if I failed; the chances of not winning are huge. So, I balanced the menu on my head, walked carefully towards the line, then let go of the ball. The menu came tumbling off of my head, as I watched in ironic disbelief as the ball headed straight down the middle, and annihilated the helpless pins standing in its way… Every last one… What the heck are the chances?! Haha, well, it was still a really good evening…

Monday, 3 November 2008

Rest.In.Peace.

Max was an amazing cat. I love him so much. He was so cheeky, playful, and chilled out. We got him and his sister when they were kittens, and have seen them grow up, getting bigger and bigger every day. When he was younger, he used to pick fights with the other cats down the street. He used to eat anything and everything, from ice cream, to fries, and milk, to cake. He would always talk to us, meowing for food, and in the mornings, shouting at us to get up from outside. He would prefer to jump up onto the old barbeque and come in through the kitchen window, than come in through the cat-flap. He would rummage in the rubbish for treats, and sit on the counter before us, watching and sniffing intently as we ate dinner. Slowly, he got old as he grew up, enduring illness after illness. He had acromegaly, and this caused him to also suffer from diabetes. Following this, he had mega-colon, and had his colon removed. Then, his overall condition worsened, and even we were getting annoyed at his permanent little gifts he kept leaving us around the house. Today, he had heart failure, and had to be put to sleep. Now he’s gone. I can’t even remember the last thing I said to him… I didn’t even say goodbye before he was taken to the vet’s to stay there while we were away. I haven’t seen him in a while, and initially I didn’t feel anything, and it’s just starting to sink in right now…

We’ve had such a good time with him and his sister Daisy living in our family. She was such a little character, with the most beautiful, softest fur you ever felt. She was so proud, and clean, even cleaning Max. She’d sit at the window, looking out for hours on end, and when she’d see our car pulling up onto the drive, she’d run out the cat-flap, run around the house, over the gate, and to the front door to greet us, before we could even get out of the car. She used to sunbathe on the trampoline in summer, and snuggle up to you if you were wearing a cosy dressing gown. She had to be put down back in May, after a sudden illness, which we still don’t know to this day. It was so sad going to the Vet’s to say goodbye. Now he’s with her, but at least he’s not suffering, and is reunited with her. They were both brilliant characters, and I love them both so much. I’ve sat here in tears writing this… I love them so much, but at least now they’re both in a much, much better place…

I hope they both had good lives. I always tried to be nice to them, and we’ve got some brilliant stories and memories of them, which I really hope to never forget…

Back to the grind...

Today, I was woken up… Not waking up when I want to, like it’s been for the past week or so, but I was woken up. Now that we’re back from our holiday, we’re back to school, back to routine, and back to the grind…

School was pretty good today. I didn’t exert myself too much. As I walked in through the gates towards class, my friends that had been missing me during the holidays ran over to hug me and greet me. This made me feel awesome; happier, more optimistic. It was a great start to the day, which just slowed down as time went on. By the time I was out of college, it was dark, cloudy, cold, and rainy, and I relived my feelings of dislike for English weather as I was standing outside the school waiting for Mum to come and pick me up. We got home, and by 4pm, we had all the lights on downstairs due to the suffocating darkness that had fallen over the country.

Welcome home, Luke…

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Goodbyes and Flying

Friday morning, we got up, got ready, packed, and cleaned up. It didn’t take too long. I was really upset. I was kinda depressed about having to leave. I really didn’t want to go, not seeing some of the greatest people I’ve ever met for such a long time…

Then Scott came over at about 11.30, after sleeping for 11 hours, and missing school to come and see us! I felt so much better, getting to hang out with him for a while before we left. He’s wicked cool, and we chill, and have a laugh. He followed us to his dad’s optometrist office, to pick up Mum’s glasses that his dad had prescribed. People take halloween so seriously over there; one of the receptionists was dressed fully in a witch’s outfit. Hmmm… But Mum’s new glasses look good. I actually quite like them. Dad should be getting his soon. We then left to go to Scott’s sister Heather’s studio just down the road, to have some pictures down before we left.

Heather is such an awesome photographer. I’m pretty jealous of the cameras and lenses she has, not mentioning the complete set-up including the huge lights in her studio. She’s got some brilliant pictures on her blog (www.silverlinephoto.blogspot.com), and is a naturally ace photographer. We went up to her studio, and she got started, snapping away. She could see what she wanted in the picture, and got us to move around in different places and different positions, getting some really good shots. Scott kept laughing at us as we were first doing our family pictures, so Heather politely asked him to leave while she got Charlotte. When she was done, it was my turn. It was seriously so much fun, posing, staring into the camera, smiling, being serious. I had always wanted to be a model – before I grew up and realised what a vicious industry it actually is – and so had a great time in the studio, posing it up right nice. Before we left, we then had Mum and Dad, and finally Charlotte and I. They were really nice shots, and I look forward to seeing them!

We headed back to Scott’s house, to say goodbye one last time to whoever was there. It was pretty sad, but eventually we left, and had to pack our cases into the car… We had to say goodbye to Margaret and Oliver, which was again, really sad… Before we left to go to the airport, Jared pulled up to see Charlotte one last time. He’s pretty cool, and after he left, we left. We were driving along to the airport, when we realised Dad had left his bag at Margaret’s house. We quickly turned around and drove back, picking it up, before heading off again.

We got to the airport, checked in, and didn’t do too much. I chilled out with a caramel hot chocolate and pumpkin cake from Starbucks, then ate some ‘tatoe tots from Taco Time, before boarding the plane. It was right about that time that the depression and sadness settled in… The flight home was alright. After reading, I talked with the man, next to me, called Phillip, about everything from work, the economy, his life, and the Gospel. Well, I tried to talk about Church, and although he wasn’t too interested, I felt good for trying… After dinner, I listened to my iPod… Slower songs to help me feel better about leaving the people I love so much… I then began listening to Paramore, and must’ve fallen asleep really soon, as I don’t remember any of the ten songs after ‘All We Know, but woke up about four hours later with my headphones still in… I was pleased that I had quite a lot of sleep on the plane, and the rest of that Saturday I managed to stay awake as I chilled out, not doing anything… I went to bed kinda early, and woke up after a magnificent eleven hour sleep.

This morning we went to see Scott’s brother, who’s serving in London at the moment, with a package to give to him, and lots of stories about his family. He’s doing brilliantly as a Missionary, really getting into the work, and working his hardest. I really enjoyed Church today; I felt the Spirit so strongly, and learnt things… Afterwards, we had a good chat with him, and it helped the slight withdrawal symptoms I was having. I’m alright, I just miss them guys… They’re so awesome.

Scott is my best friend, for sure. I can talk with him about everything, and we have a laugh when we hang out. He’s ace. Becca is amazing. She’s funny, creative, hardworking, lovely, and looked gorgeous in her Grad dress. Hilary is so pure, happy, excited, inspired, and cute. Lindsay is always smiley, cheerful, and simply ace. Heather is a brilliant photographer, so inventive and imaginative. Tim is brilliant at DIY, and working on projects. Scott’s mom is always cooking something, and makes brilliant food. She’s always serving others, and is so nice. Scott’s dad is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He’s literally always smiling, always positive, looks for the best in people, and makes the best out of situations. They’ve all made me want to be a better person. They are such a wonderful family, and I miss them a lot right now, but I know I’ll see them again soon. As for Margaret and Oliver, she’s so nice, and too makes such good food, while he’s always making jokes, and some of them are even funny! They’re a lovely couple, and were so good to have us stay for a week. They’ll all such amazing people.

Overall, it was a truly brilliant holiday. We hardly did anything, but it was so good just chilling, hanging out, enjoying life, and each other’s company. Once again, I met lots of great people, and got to know some of the best people in the world.

If you’re reading this, I love you guys!

Mates, Dates, and Brand New Houses

Thursday evening was excellent. We began it by visiting Scott’s family’s new house that they’re building, just a few miles away from where they live now. It’s amazing. Seriously. I’m really quite jealous. It’s huge, has everything you could want, and has a huge garden. I was walking round the building, which they’re still working on, looking around quietly, wishing we could have such an awesome house. Our home is brilliant, and I love it, but their new one looks brilliant… We can still dream…

Later that afternoon, we went back to the Scott’s house, and as our parents went out for dinner together, us kids (people under the age of 26) stayed home and had some wraps Becca prepared for us. She got everything ready, but we had to create them ourselves. I made one, put it in the griller for a few minutes, then when I went to take it out, it got stuck, came undone, and left a trail of excess waste on the grill. Nice. That didn’t work out so well, so Becca kindly gave me one that she was making. It was good. Before the party started that evening, us kids just looked at the Internet for a while, Youtubing, watching funny vids, and then some music videos and movie trailers, before all the adults came back home.

Suddenly there were quite a lot of people at Scott’s house, and we all went downstairs, and hung out for a few hours. At first, there was quite a lot of silence, but we began chatting and laughing soon enough. They were all kids from the school that we’d met earlier that day, which was cool. We got to know them all some more, and had a laugh. We weren’t really doing anything, but it was really nice.

We chilled for a bit more, then eventually, it got late, and people began leaving to drive home. Soon it was empty downstairs, and we went upstairs to chat with the adults. By this time it was getting late, and I kept reminding Hilary that we were supposed to go on a date this evening! It was just for fun really, and I didn’t think anything would actually happen, but then at 11.25, we left…

It was actually one of the most fun dates I’ve ever been on… Even though I was taking her out, she drove me the short distance to the Reddi Mart, which was closed! I was pretty annoyed; it wasn’t midnight yet, so shouldn’t be shut! But she knew a place that would still be open, so she drove us to FasGas, the gas station nearby, and we hopped out to go inside. She got a slurpy, and I got a caramel Aero. Wow, they’re awesome! Anyway, I also bought her a flower – Remembrance Sunday flower, but a flower nevertheless – and paid for the lot. As we were walking back to the car, I walked ahead to open the door for her… which turned out to be locked. That was… embarrassing. So she unlocked it, and I opened the door for her. In the car, we talked about her ex-boyfriend, my best friend, and other subjects… Once we had got back to her house, we even had an awkward doorstep situation…
"I had a good time tonight… … … I like your bangs… …."
It was so funny. So that was that. She’s really cool, and I enjoyed our five-minute date.

We didn’t want to say our goodbyes and leave that evening. We talked and talked, and took picture after picture, savouring every moment. We all love each other so much, and really didn’t want to depart. In the end we left, and I didn’t get to bed until 1 am…

Saturday, 1 November 2008

6. Obtain as much education as possible.

On Thursday, Charlotte and I went to school with Scott. We wanted to see what a Canadian High School was like compared to the British one we went to. We got up earlier than normal, and got ready quickly, ready for Scott to pick us up after he was done with Seminary.

The lesson plan for that day consisted of Social 30, Physics 30, Bio 30, and Math 30. It was a pretty intense timetable, and I couldn’t imagine doing them lessons, in the same order, every single day… We got into Social on time, and then stood as the National Anthem was played. Patriotism is awesome, and there isn’t anywhere near enough of it in England. Then, before the class began, we had to introduce ourselves. Everyone loved that we were British in all of the classes; it was quite a novelty for them apparently. The social class was about currency, and the teacher got me up to help him with the British currency he had. He called me up, and asked me to tell him what the coin was. I looked at it, and handed it back, telling him it was a Canadian quarter. That was funny… The rest of the coins he had trouble with were English, though. When the students had begun the work, the teacher invited Scott to show us around the school, which was ace. It was much smaller than I expected, and didn’t have many students either, but it was still really good to see. We also saw all the graduation pictures from years all the way back to ’75! Once we got back to class, the teacher came over to talk with me and my sister about England, it’s history, and our travels. It was nice to chat, and gave Scott an excuse not to do the work…

Physics was pretty boring. It was like Maths, which I usually enjoy, but I didn’t understand any of it, and it made my head ache. For the majority of the lesson, we were just marking quizzes from a previous lesson, which wasn’t so much fun either. During the lesson, the class was planning a party for the next day, asking which students will bring what food, and written next to Scott’s name after he had told them was “Toad in a hole and crisps”, which I thought was so funny. Nobody even knew what toad in the hole was, and I had to explain. Also during that lesson, I was surprised to see students watching their iPods, sitting on desks, and the teacher simply not caring… It was pretty crazy. Before we left, Scott demonstrated the static machine to us, but I didn’t want a go. It made huge electric shocks between whoever you first touched, which was intense.

Finally the lunch bell went, and we went back to Scott’s house with Rawly in the car, where Sue was making us chicken nuggets and chips. It’s so handy having the school so near to where you live, just going back home for lunch.

When we got back in, it was time for Bio class. We were on chapter 17… For anyone doing Bio 30, they know what I mean. The male reproductive system. There was such a big thing about learning about this, and the teacher couldn’t believe that we learn that kind of thing – just in not quite as much detail with names and stuff – in Grade 8 or 9. The class started after a kid in the class attempted to break the school’s pop drinking record, downing a bottle of soda in less than 7 seconds. It was really intense as he was getting ready to do it, and when he did, it was awesome! He downed it in four seconds, but get disqualified to missing some. Also before the class started, another member of staff came into the room with a moth to put into the fishbowl, which held a piranha. As soon as he dropped it in, this piranha went crazy, and actually caught one of the few goldfish in with it, instead of the little moth. Anyway, Charlotte and I introduced ourselves, saying a sentence in our British accent for them, and then the class began. The teacher did such a good job, not only teaching what they need to know, but applying the stuff to real life situations. The kids in the class learn not just what’s in the curriculum, but how it can affect and influence their own life. Nothing like that happens in England, and I was really impressed.

As soon as Bio was out, it was time for Math. I enjoy Maths at home – when I understand it – and so was looking forward to this most out of all four of the subjects. We got in, and at the beginning of the class, I understood some of it, but had to get a Grade 11 textbook to work from, and still wasn’t much good at that, but by the end of the class, I was a bit more on the ball, and the teacher noticed I understood some of the things he was explaining on the board. Just before class was out, he introduced a new topic – identities. Because I was being taught this kinda from the beginning, I was got the hang of it much more quickly, and managed to answer a couple of questions.

I was pretty tired at the end of school, but still had made notes in all of my classes while I was there.

Photography and Hanging Out

Wednesday we went to Waterton National Park as planned, and we left to go there after breakfast. I got my camera ready, hoping to get some really good shots while I was up there, and I really did.

Photography: The ability to capture and / or create and image in order to represent and idea or present information through inspiring images.
The scenery was astounding, and even my camera didn’t really do it justice, but I still experimented with levels, angles, white balance, and got some of the best pictures I’ve ever taken while I was there. I got pics of water, mountains, pebbles, deer, and even a stag, all in their natural habitat. It was really windy while we were there, so it was difficult to get the very best shots – the water was spraying up onto my lens – but I tried my best and they came out awesome. I was so pleased when I reviewed them. By that time, we were all pretty hungry, and ate in a restaurant nearby called The Lamp Post, which did really good food. We all chilled and took our time, before we headed off to find some bears. The waiter said that we would be able so see some in Red Rock Canyon, so drove through there. I got some more excellent photos of more scenery, getting into all different spots getting good angles, but also all the time worried that there might be some dangerous animal behind me, jumping out from the trees. Thankfully I was safe, and the photos came out really good.

On our way driving back out of the park, we still hadn’t seen any bears, and then suddenly Dad told Oliver to stop. He had spotted bears, and we all got out, and found two bears, one big, one small – mother and cub – walking along the hillside. It was awesome, and I tried to get some shots of it. We were all pleased that we could see the bears, and Dad got to see some more on top of the few he saw back on Monday. It was brilliant to see the bears, in their natural habitat.

When we got back to their house, I just had time for a bowl of cereal (Scott’s favourite meal!) before he took me and Charlotte to his High School to watch the Varsity volleyball match there that evening. It was good to go in and see his school, and we were both excited to go to school and see it all the next day. Their gym is so much better than anything we have in England, complete with scoreboards and spectator benches. When we walked in, Jared, another boy we met at EFY this year, came and said Hi to us. It was really good to catch up with him as well, and then we sat with him during the game, although before the game started, we left to go to his ward’s chapel across the road, where their halloween party was in full swing, to quickly grab some food. Even that makes ours look rubbish. When we got back into the school, the game had started.
The game was really good, and wicked intense at some points. There were some rallies that went on and on, and eventually a team caught that crucial point. As the match went on, I got to know some of Scott’s and Jared’s mates, and we had a laugh, talking about different accents, and shouting things at the court. The game went up to four sets, with Scott’s team winning 3 of them. They did a really good job.

After the volleyball match was finished, we just hung out with some of his friends and drove around. Scott showed us what they do around town for fun. There’s not much to do, so we went to the Reddi Mart to buy snacks, and he bought some Diet Pepsi and Mentos to make the drink shoot up into the air, but it didn’t work so well when he tried it in a car park, so we continued the fun by climbing on the roof of a shed of a Junior High school. That was pretty stupid, more because it’s illegal than dangerous, and actually not so much fun. I felt pretty bad about it afterwards, but I didn’t join in when Jared climbed the school’s main building’s roof, or when the others climbed the granary machines. We did car spins in a pebbled car park, which was kinda dangerous, but so much fun. Then, we went on to an elementary school’s playground, which is always open, and there we played hide and seek, followed by sardines, in the dark. It was really good to be running around the field, trying to find people, and is more fun than it sounds as I’m describing it!

Work and Play

Tuesday morning, we got to get up and chill – after a bowl of Lucky Charms, which are so good! – as Mum and Dad went to the Temple. I sat by the computer, looking at the Internet for a while, checking everything. Then, I decided to spend my time wisely, getting my business essay done. I began it at Margaret’s house, but then had to go to Sue’s up the road to use Powerpoint on her computer. I worked on writing while my sister practised playing the piano. It took me quite a few pages and hours, but I was so pleased I did manage to get it done and out the way. I also played the piano, did some Seminary work, and joined the rest of my family who had arrived in finishing off last night’s lasagne. It was just as good!

That afternoon, I got to go to the Temple with Scott. After changing my clothes, Scott drove me down there, with Mum, Dad, and my sister following in the car behind. It was really good to go into a different Temple and do work, and I felt the Spirit, and enjoyed it. I really learnt something while I was in there as well, which had just been playing on my mind for a while. I love the Gospel so much, and am so glad to be able to have it in my life.

After changing again, we went back to Scott’s house, where his older sister Heather made soup for us for dinner. It was really good. After all of our parents went out again, we were left to look after the little kids, and carved pumpkins. I’d never actually carved a pumpkin by myself, and after looking on the Internet for inspiration, Scott, my sister, and I all had a pumpkin each to work on. Scott had done it every year for most of his life, so his carving of Batman was awesome. My ferret began looking really good, but instead of carving the shape into the side of the pumpkin after taking all the filling out, I thought a simply silhouette would be simple but still look good. In the end, it just looked like a big hole in the side, but after putting a candle in it, and then sticking the original image over the top and putting it in the dark, it looked alright, but had nothing on Scott’s. It was a lot of fun working on it though, and if I could do it again, I’d shave it instead of cutting it, giving the ferret some features. When everyone came back, they loved that I had done a ferret, and I think it was a pretty good effort for my first attempt.

Before the end of the day, we all went back to Margaret’s house to visit, and had a brilliant evening round there. The Spirit was really strong, and we all really enjoyed it. We had a laugh, with Scott’s mock British accent – “C’MON!”. Midnight came and went before I got to bed that evening.

Chilling...

Monday morning I woke up sharply at 7 am, just in time to join my parents for another jog. This time, I jogged solidly to the Temple, without stopping. It was pretty intense, but then I just walked all the way back. It was again so nice to get up and exercise, and then come back to breakfast. During breakfast, we decided to go shopping in the town with Scott’s mom Sue, while Oliver went with Dad to try to see some bears; we were going to go to Waterton National Park, then decided it would be better to go on Wednesday when it would be warmer, but Dad and Oliver wanted to go along anyway. So, we headed off, chilling in the car, and then when we got there, ate in the food court before we got started.

Becca left school and joined us for a while for lunch, and then she left as Hilary joined us. We were just chill, all visiting with each other, as I ate a refreshing Italian BMT from Subway, followed by a cinnamon twist. Nice.

As Hilary left to go back to work, we began shopping, although actually only going to a couple of shops before we had to leave. My sister got some clothes in American Eagle, and I got to go into HMV and buy some CDs, though not as many as I wanted to get. We then headed to Wal-Mart, such an incredibly huge store, to get some food, and then went into Costco. We went round to all the sample stands again, trying each one. Most of them were really good, while others weren’t, although in the end there were quite a few different tastes, which did get a bit much. Before we left, Becca showed us Scott’s favourite treats – Livewires. Just from looking at the box, they didn’t look very impressive, but as we got outside, she let us try them, and they are so good! She gave us a bunch more, and instructed us to give just one to Scott when we got home. On the way home he called us, and we told him we had a treat for him. He guessed it was Livewires, and when we got home, was disappointed that there was only one… It was funny. We felt kinda mean, so gave him some more later.

That evening, we ate round Scott’s house again, where Sue had made a huge lasagne for everyone. It was the best lasagne I had ever had. It was seriously so good. I think it deserves a mention on here. Dad gave the FHE lesson, which was awesome, although unfortunately I was so tired, I was nearly falling asleep. It was a really special evening, with a great message, followed by lots of piano playing, and Scott playing his violin. He’s really good at it. We then finished off the meal with Skor cake that Margaret had made. Ohmy, it’s the best cake I’ve ever eaten. It beats anything I’ve ever made, or any other cake I’ve ever had. It was delicious. Before we left, Scott and I chilled on the Internet, having a laugh. We were just having fun hanging out, which is always ace.

We said goodbye for the evening, and I got to bed at around midnight… It was a great day to just chill out…

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Day 1 and 2

The rest of Saturday was really good. Soon after I was finished on here, we left to drive to a school a while away where Scott was playing in a volleyball tournament, following his Mom in the car in front. I was so excited to see him again - I hadn’t seen him since EFY. When we got there, we bought our tickets to get in, and then bought a lunch consisting of hot dogs before we went upstairs to the viewing area. The teams were just warming up as we got in, and then the game soon began. The tournament began the day before, and they had won both matches, so they were just carrying on. It was the first proper volleyball match I’d seen, and it was pretty intense! Scott’s team won the first game, but then the other team won the second. It was all down to this final game. It was a fight to be the first to fifteen points, and finally Scott’s team won. It was awesome watching, and I think it was the first time in my life I’ve actually felt school spirit! I was rooting for them to win, and really pleased when they did. During the game, two of Scott’s sisters came in and joined us, and it was good to meet Hilary for the first time - she was on a mission last time we were over - and see Lindsay again. Scott came up to meet us afterwards, and we chatted for a while. It’s always really awkward whenever you meet someone again after not seeing them, but that awkwardness very soon disappeared, and we were back to messing around like before. We had to leave to go into town to get some food, but wished him luck for his next game.

We headed to Costco to buy a few things, but ended up going around the whole store, looking at pretty much everything, from cameras, to life-size Santas. We started wondering around, browsing, and then we headed towards the food section. It’s been a heckka long time since I’d been in a Costco, and so I was surprised how many sample stands they had. We were joined by Scott’s sister Becca, and left the adults to get on with shopping, while Hilary, Becca, Charlotte and I went round to all the samples... a few times... ‘trying’ the food because we were hungry. They had some delicious things going; cheeses, chocolates, the best sausage I’d ever eaten, and also egg nog. What a brilliant drink. I tried it, and loved it, so bought some. Their marketing was successful...! The guy on the egg nog counter was a coloured man, and had to have a long white mask over his beard - probably for health and safety issues - which looked similar to a dental mask. He looked like the worst dressed Santa I’d ever seen, and thought it was hilarious. Hilary kept wanting me to get a picture of him, but I thought that would be horrifically rude, although it was funny. In the end we left the store, and as Mum and Dad headed back to Margaret and Oliver’s house, Charlotte and I went with Scott’s mum Sue back to the volleyball game, to see if they had got into the final. Unfortunately the hadn’t, so we just switched cars, and Scott drove us back, where chilli was waiting for us all. Scott joined us for dinner, which was as delicious as ever, before Oliver suggested we go down to the snooker hall.

Becca, Hilary, Lindsay, and their friend Cory joined Oliver, Dad, Scott, Charlotte and I to play snooker. I’d hardly ever played, and so learnt how to play, before I had a game against Hilary. We both sucked at it, but kinda got the hang of it in the end. She won because I kept potting the white. Fail. At one point during the game, I couldn’t reach the balls, so I had to use the Tall Timber... This beastly cue is over nine foot long... I successfully potted the ball I wanted to, but also potted the white. Without even thinking, I just lifted up the cue, and then suddenly there was a loud noise, and the cue nearly fell from my hands, as white stuff was tumbling down onto the snooker table. I didn’t realise there was a fan on above me, and the cue had got caught in the fan, then hit the ceiling and brought some of it down... Oops. It was one of the funniest moments... The kind you’ll never forget. I guess you had to be there, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Hilary and Becca helped me clear it up off of the tabletop using a vacuum cleaner, and it was soon good as new. Also while we were playing, Becca said that as I was eyeing up my shot, I looked like a deer frozen in the headlights, with my eyes moving frantically... I told them just in passing that actually I’m more like a ferret. They loved it, and still haven’t let it go...!

After we had given up playing, we left, and they took us to the Reddi Mart, where they treated us to ice cream and candy (I think I annoyed the girl in there as I kept asking for samples of different ice creams!), before we headed back to their house. When we got there, we just chilled for a while, while they ate dinner, and then we played on the piano, messed around on the trampoline, and then cruised the town at high speeds, before Charlotte and I had to be home for curfew.

I slept wonderfully that night, but still felt dang ridiculously tired throughout Sunday, with the lack of sleep the previous night catching up. We had a really lazy morning, not doing anything except sleeping, before we went to Church for 1pm. I was still really tired throughout that, but enjoyed it. We went home and got changed afterwards, and then went round Scott’s house for dinner. A lot of their family was there, and they have a big family. Before dinner had even began, there were children running around, throwing paper planes at each other. I somehow got involved, launching planes at Aaron, and ducking to avoid the ones he threw back, which was a lot of fun, but then we settled down for dinner, followed by Pumpkin Pie... Ace. We played on Becca’s Mac after dinner, just Facebooking, watching movie trailers and stuff, with Aaron, a cute little kid, sitting on me, wanting to play games all the time. I then asked Becca if she had Garage Band, because our Media teacher recommend that we use it to create music for our upcoming project. She uploading it, and we began playing with it.

We started out by just coping / trying to copy ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay, which sounded alright, but didn’t really work. Then we started messing about with the samples already saved, by mashing them together. It started to sound good. Really good. We put piano in with club beats and synths, and it sounded awesome. Scott, Becca, Charlotte, and I were all sitting on the sofa with the laptop in our hands, and whenever we’d make a good riff, we’d just be so pleased... The kinda thing that makes you go “Woah... That’s good.” We kept playing around, until we came up with a story which we interpreted from the music, before purposely creating tunes to go with the story. The story involved a ferret. A ferret who is created in a lab, called Frankenferret, who wakes up, escapes, enjoys life, meets a fit female ferret, named Ferré, who then fall in love, and skip off together. Then, an evil samurai ferret comes along, and Frankenferret duals with Evil Ferret. They fight and fight, until suddenly, Ferré is somehow caught up and injured. She passes away, and the song comes to an end. It’s seriously radical. The song, I mean, not the death. You should hear it. Maybe you will, when it’s number one. Just look out for Frankenferret by DJ Ferret. It’s awesome.

That’s pretty much all we got up to that evening. A few hours of work lead to just over 2 minutes of tunage. We played it to everyone, and they enjoyed it too. By the time we got home that evening, and I got to bed, it was nearly midnight, but a really good day.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Here we come, Canada!

We left home just before 11 am on Friday, after a much needed sleep in, and finishing the packing which we began the night before. We got to the airport, checked in, and got through security pretty easily. Before we got on the plane, we ate a gorgeous meal in an Irish pub in the terminal, and of course bought drinks and sweets to take on with us.

We boarded the plane, ready for the nine hours of flight, and sat down, wondering where the TVs were. Anyone that’s been on a long-haul flight knows that individual TVs are not a luxury, but a necessity, so we were shocked to find that we simply had a couple hanging down from the ceiling, showing two naff films. The position the mini screens usually are was filled with a TV size and shaped... wait for it... cushion. Check out the pic... (coming soon!) Thank goodness for iPods. I read my magazine while the plane was taxiing and taking off, and then plugged myself in as soon as possible, enjoying some of the best music in the world. I love it just after the plane has left the ground, and the cars and houses look so small. I feel so powerful... Although my sister tells me that this is a simple case of constancy scaling in the perception of distance. Huh. I get fidgety and bored pretty quickly, so I scrapped listening to music pretty quickly, and began taking some pictures for the journey. I get fidgety and bored pretty quickly, so I scrapped taking pictures, and began reading. I’m reading New Moon at the moment, and it doesn’t compare to Twilight in the slightest. But I read it on the plane yesterday, and ohmy that’s a good book. I’m just over four hundred pages in now, and it’s freakin fantastic! I was deep into the story - on a motorway in Italy, in fact (!) - when Mum startled me, and told me to get pictures of the scenery out the window. The scenery out the window of an aeroplane is usually just blue or black depending on the time of day, with a layer of cloud. But I looked out the window, and what did I see? Popcorn popping on an apricot tree! Spring had brought me such a nice surprise! A popcorn ball right before... no, I’m just kidding. It was the ice caps of western Greenland, reaching high up into the sky, surrounded by water, lakes, and drifting ice blocks - yes, that’s right; the melting ice caps shocked me. Apparently this global warming thing is real. I whipped my camera out, and got snapping. I got some ace pics of the experience. The whole thing was just astounding. It eventually passed, and I got back to reading.

The rest of the flight was alright. I tried to sleep, while listening to the D’n’B legends that are Pendulum, but the heavy bass and pounding drums were just too intense, so I stayed awake to listen to it. If you haven’t heard ‘Axel Grinder’, download it now. Right now. Go. It rocks. I also gave in, and watched a programme on the petty little screens, which were now showing something I think was called ‘Chuck’, a spoof spy comedy, which was just brilliant. “Pineapple!

Eventually we landed in sunny Calgary. The first few minutes were actually quite eventful. Before we even got out of the plane, a creepy looking man in a funny hat had his camera out, pointed it at me, in shock I didn’t look away from the lens, and he snapped, then looked at the review, and laughed. He then took a pic of a man on a phone, and did the same thing. I don’t know about over here, but I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in England. I’m sure he was doing no harm, but it felt like such an invasion of my privacy! We got off of the plane, and was in a queue for immigration, and a young boy came and stood behind us. I knew him from the plane ride; he was right next to us. He started talking to us about our holiday, and, just in conversation and an attempt to be a nice person, I asked him if he had to have time off of school to come over. I still call college school, and didn’t think much of it, but when he replied, “I don’t go to school”, I quickly corrected myself and said, “Well, college, whatever, but I still call it school”, and he said “How old do you think I am?! (-He looked about 15) I’m 23!” Oops. I learnt from Megan that you should wink and smile at an awkward situation, but I thought if I did, he might get the wrong idea. We just stood quietly for a while. ... Haha. We got through immigration, got our baggage, picked up our car, and began the drive south to our friends Margaret and Oliver’s house, where we’re staying now. It was ridiculously late/early for us, and Dad did a great job getting us there safely.

We walked through the door, and a delicious smell of freshly baked food wafted towards us. We said our hellos - it really was great to see them again - and then sat down in the living room, and enjoyed fresh scones, complete with butter and jam, complemented with hot chocolate. What a brilliant way to end a long journey. Finally we got to bed and off to sleep.

But it wasn’t long until we were awake again, although we did have a pretty good night’s sleep considering. I woke up just before 5.30am, and got up, read my scriptures, a luxury I don’t often get to enjoy in the mornings, then did some intense exercises to wake me up, and burn off the calories I merrily collected while sitting doing nothing the day previous. My family and I then decided to quickly get dressed and go out for a walk/jog/run. It was brilliant. We walked out into the cold, dark air, the morning sun not yet risen, the area peaceful and calm . We began to walk briskly, the wind chilling our face and legs, and then started to jog around the block, making our way towards the Temple, which was lit up, and is just down the road. It was a brilliant little trip out; I don’t get to run anymore except seldom at the gym, and I truly loved it. It was so invigorating, refreshing, and awakening. Before we got back to the house, I broke into a sprint for about a hundred metres, feeling the ground bounce away into the distance underneath my new New Balance trainers, propelling me forward towards the sunrise. OK, that’s a bit dramatic, but it was a great way to start the day. We got in, got ready, and have just enjoyed pancakes for breakfast. I had one with Nutella, one with syrup, and one with jam... Mmm.

Now I’ve just spent quite a lot of time typing all of this up, but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the day!

[Update]

I haven’t posted anything in a few days, so I thought I’d just briefly update yourselves, myself, and anyone who’s reading, on the recent events that have happened in my life.

On Wednesday, I headed down to the high street for our first Circle Meeting with Interact, where we were meeting James, our new friend. Interact is an awesome charity which helps mentally disabled teenagers learn how to better interact with people and society, through the help of people their own age - us. It was really good to meet him, and we’re actually paired up with another boy and his group, so it’s a nice big group of us, all going out together. We got some dates down for the next month, when we can meet up and chill out. It should be good, and it feels really good to be helping someone as well.

Later that evening, I went down to help out at open evening at the school, as I have for the last few years. I walked with some of the kids who were also at the meeting, and stopped to get a sausage and chips on the way. Once we got there, we hung out for a little while, looking around, before I went to the main event: Media. What a legendary subject. I love it. I just settled down there, and continued edited our footage. Not many people asked me what I was doing, but I enjoyed explaining to the couple that did ask. After a couple of hours, I pretty much got it finished! I was so proud, and just wanted to show everyone! I showed the rest of my group the next day, and they love it too. We’ve just got to add in some sound effects at the beginning, and it’s as perfect as it’s gonna get for a prelim exercise...

Thursday was my Dad’s Birthday, so, although it pretty much was a regular day, we obviously had cards and presents, and also went out to TGI’s for dinner, which was really nice. And if you go to TGI”s there’s the obligatory being sung to, which I think he was embarrassed about, but it was good.

Also, Thursday marked the last day of this half-term at college! It goes really quick, but thankfully we have a week off of school! Should be good...