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…