Thursday, 25 February 2010

Alice In Wonderland World Premiere

I just got back from the World Premiere of Alice In Wonderland a couple of hours back. It was great. It was great, because I pretty much met Johnny Depp. It was so exciting.

I'd been to a couple of Premieres before, so I kinda knew what to expect. Helena and I got to Leicester Square at 3.30pm - surely giving plenty of time before the stars arrive. But already, it was absolutely packed. As we walked into the square, we saw the barriers and queues of people. We walked around a bit, trying to find the best place to stop. There wasn't a single spot - everywhere in front of the cinema and by the unloading was already packed. But, I found somewhere where we might have a chance of a good view, and we headed over there. Plus, we were right behind huge Depp fans who had dressed up as his different characters, meaning that the cameras were all over them. I found out this evening that Helena is a damn good weaver. We had over two hours to kill before the event began, and I'll be honest, it was boring. Really. But, like any event, the wait is well worth it. As we were waiting, Helena was very, very slowly and discretely pushing in front of the guys in front of us. It took two hours, but we got in front of two or three people, getting us very close barrier. It was raining hard while we were waiting, but we braved it with umbrellas. Thankfully, the rain got lighter as time went on, and people put down their umbrellas, giving us a great view of the event. It was getting darker. Finally, cars started to arrive. Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter were one of the first to arrive to huge cheers from the crowd. From where we were, we didn't have a brilliant view of the celebrities, meaning I didn't get decent pictures unless they actually came over to us. Michael Sheen was awesome, and came over to say Hi to us and sign stuff. If you don't know, he was Aro in New Moon. I could imagine him as a vampire as he walked past. Matt Lucas was next. He didn't get over to us, but it was great to see him in the flesh after watching him on TV for years. Anne Hathaway was there somewhere; I heard the crowd screaming and chanting her name. Johnny Depp was next. He was who everyone was waiting for. More and more people had turned up to see him arrive. As he got out of the car, everyone was going crazy, trying to get a glimpse of him. He is one of the most awesome people ever; he made sure he saw all of his fans there, starting with the people in wheelchairs who were eager to meet him. Then, he made his way around the entire barrier, seeing everyone, and signing everything. As he came around to where Helena and I were standing, there was such a surge, everyone crushing forward to see him and get pictures of him. I got some decent pictures, and he signed Helena's notebook for him. He was so thoughtful; the page was wet from where it had been raining, so he flicked through the notebook to find a dry page. I tried to shake his hand, but he was busy signing so much stuff. I was so close to Johnny Depp - a foot away, maybe less. He's seriously so cool. I'm still in awe...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Skiing 2010

B   L   U   E       M   T,       O   N   T   A   R   I   O,       C   A

Skiing in Canada last week was excellent. The snow was some of the best ever. Here's the week...

Day 1
We had to be at school for 10.00am last Sunday to leave for Heathrow airport. I packed the night before, did the final packing that morning, then said goodbye to Mum and Dad at the school just before we left. At the airport, we just bought some food and stuff, before getting on the plane. We were flying with Air India, and it was so Indian. All the seats were bright, and the air hostesses were wearing their sashes. For dinner, we had a pretty curry. And, I got to watch '(500) Days Of Summer' (Marc Webb, 2009), which I absolutely loved! Check the official website here. It's so realistic, and one of the best films I've seen since Avatar. Anyway, back to the trip. We finally landed in Canada, and all got off. Except Lewis. He'd lost his passport on the plane. We waited for him or about half an hour while he was looking on the plane for it - he definately had it, because for a start he actually on the plane, and he was buying alcohol with it on the plane. He didn't find it, and had to be escorted from the plane. Everyone else moved to the luggage belt, all the while watching what was going on. Airport officials were discussing with Lewis and our teachers. Lewis looked sick and upset, and we all felt that way for him. We tried to go and talk to him a couple of times, but weren't allowed. All the sixth formers were watching the scene, and were relieved when we saw them all laugh... Was this a good thing? Finally, our luggage arrived, and then we went onto the coach. I managed to overhear one of the teachers saying that Lewis would get to come with us in about 15 minutes time. Thankfully he did, and didn't get deported back to the UK. Instead, he'd have to get hold of an Emergency Passport before his flight home, which he managed - but that's his story to tell. The coach trip from Toronto airport to the Blue Mt Inn was long and boring. I ended up chatting with Sam and Helena about life, philosophy, consumerism, and other interesting stuff. The bus finally turned a corner, and we could see the floodlit mountain in front of us. We got out of coach, and were greeted with the most beautiful snow on the ground. It was real snow - not the pathetic stuff we sometimes get in England. I was so excited to get skiing the next day. We went inside, had some food (a packed dinner), and then headed to bed. I was in a room with Pelham, Lewis, Teddy, and Mike came in and stayed in our room too. I slept with Teddy, Pel with Lew, and Mike slept on the floor in the middle. It was so good to get to sleep.

Day 2
After seven hours of sleep, we got up and went downstairs to breakfast. It was such a delicious breakfast - pancakes, scrambled egg, bacon, sausages, fruit salad, cereal, fruit juice... Anything you could want. We changed into our ski gear, and collected our rentals. I was outside, looking up at the mountain, holding my skis, and I just wanted to get going. We walked to where we were to meet our instructors, and then got separated into groups after an initiation. I got put into the Advanced class, as I'd known I would be. Our instructor was Ben, who was actually Scottish, and only 19. We started off one the blacks and double diamonds that morning. It was excellent to be skiing again. After two hours skiing, we had lunch, and got to stay with our friends and explore the village at the bottom of the mountain. There were so many restaurants to choose from! We decided on Copper Blue, where I had a Messy BBQ Pork baguette. It was phenomenal. It was seriously so good. We had another three hours of skiing after lunch. It was so tiring, but so much fun. We started doing some runs through the glades as well, but as it was the first day, I wasn't too up for it. Charlotte got moved up into the Advanced group after lunch as well, after falling during the initiation. The only proper wipeout I had all week was on Day 1, where Charlotte took me out. I was so mad at her at first, but then had to laugh it off, and carried on skiing. Once I got back to the room that afternoon, I was in the shower, and I felt dizzy, and not good. I felt like I could vom at any moment. Then I did. Then again. And again. It wasn't good. I really wasn't well. Every time I was sick, I felt better and thought it was the last time. But it wasn't. I just stayed in bed, skipped dinner, skipped the activity that evening, and drank flat ginger ale, which is supposed to be good for sickness. Lewis wasn't well that evening either; he was curled up on the floor and felt like crap, before forcing himself to be sick. I finally felt better and got a decent night's sleep... It wasn't an immense start to the week.

Day 3
I got up, and felt much better than the day before. At breakfast, I didn't eat anything, but drank some green tea, which is, again, supposed to be good for sickness. As I didn't feel brilliant, I went a group down with Lew, into the Higher Intermediate group with the instructor Amanda, who was, again, only 21. It was less intense than Advanced but still a lot of fun. But then I'd had enough just before lunch, and both myself and Lewis went inside. We took the medicine the teachers had got for us, and went to bed. I had an excellent and well needed three hour sleep. The activity that evening was swimming at Plunge! pool, and I did feel well enough to go. We all had a really good time there, and spend most of our time in the outside hot tub. Then, I think it was actually my idea, but we had a competition to see who could stand on the seat in the hot tub the longest, not being in the water. It was cold. About 10 people started the competition, and I think I came fifth, after lasting almost 10 minutes. In the end, there were tied winners, as the two winners had been standing there for about half an hour, and they could've got ill. It was fun though, and so nice to be outside in the cold, but in such a warm steaming hot tub. For dinner that evening, I was so hungry, which was a great sign, so I ate some carrots, and held them down. We played cards in the corridor - mostly Cheat - before going to bed, but Hannah and Helena shouted cheated at almost every single lay, so the game didn't really get going... Haha, it really was quite funny...

Day 4
I went back into the Advanced class with Ben today. It was so great to be skiing again, and we went on black and doubles, and through the glades. I went through them today, and they were so much fun. Actually, one of the funniest moments on the whole trip was when Lewis through a tantrum as we were going into the glades; to get into this one part, you have to ski down a steep slope, with no room to turn, with a huge hill on one side, and a drop with trees on another. Lewis fell over as he tried to go down this first part, and then ripped off his skis, and through them down the trail, and then threw his poles after them, then slid down on his bum... It was hilarious to watch from where I was, seeing him sliding feet-first through the trees... For lunch, we met all of our friends in a nearby cafe, and I had some chicken strips, before heading back out. Skiing in the afternoon was great. It was all going well. Then, on the last ski lift, on the very last run of the day, I lost my ski. It was so funny! We were on the Century Express, and as the lift was pulling away, I accidentally dipped my feet, and my left ski came off. There was absolutely nothing I could do about it! I said to Emi-Lou and Lewis next to me, "Oh, I lost a ski..." It took a moment for them to realise, and then the couldn't stop laughing... It was funny as I was trying to get off as well. Lewis got the attention of the lifty at the top, and they slowed the lift down so I could slide off on one ski. Thankfully, a group of boarders had brought it up for me, and were laughing... It was great. After burgers for dinner, we all went bowling at Georgian Bowl. But it wasn't the usual bowling - in fact, it wasn't even 10-pin bowling - it was 5-pin bowling, with little balls about the size of shotputs, but not as heavy. It was so weird at first, and so difficult to get the hang of. I was getting down one or two pins if I was lucky, until suddenly, strike! Bam! It was immmense. I was so happy. Then, I was back to getting down ones twos. On the first game, I got a score of 80-something, and then did slightly better in the second game with 90-something. I decided to try standing backwards to the pins, and throwing it through my legs. The first time I tried that, I got four out of five down. That was awesome. The second time I tried, I got a strike. That was incredible. Everyone cheered, and it was just awesome. Easily the best strike of the night.

Day 5
We got a lie-in on Thursday, and didn't have to have breakfast until 8.30. We were skiing later in the day, so we got a whole morning of free time. We went into the village, and had a look around all the shops there. Some people bought some souvenirs, sweets, and fudge - the fudge was really good. We had lunch at the cafe. The pizza I got wasn't good, but hen I had an apple, and it was so good. After all that stodge and crap, it was so good to have a fresh, crispy apple. To save walking back to the hotel, we waited for the shuttle, but we were all so cold while we waited... We were shivering, hoping for shuttle to get there quickly. We still had free time when we got back to the hotel, so went to sleep. 90 minutes of extra sleep did me so much good. We went out to start skiing at 2.00pm, but it still felt like 9.00am. The skiing was as good as any day... I just love skiing. We skied for three hours before having dinner. The instructors came in and had dinner with us, which was pretty cool. I wasn't very well again at dinner. I had stomach cramps, so took some more medicine. That stuff works fast. I was out again after dinner for night skiing. Night skiing was brilliant. The pistes were floodlit, and it was quite a surreal but incredible experience. It snowed at the beginning of the night for a few minutes, meaning I had to wear my sunglasses to stop the snow going in my eyes - even though it meant I could hardly see anything. But, it stopped, and I could take off my glasses again... It was so beautiful, the snow shining in the light, and looking down at the town lit up at the bottom of the mountain. It looked like a little toy town. We all had such a laugh that night as well, on the ski lifts. Mike got a bunch of snow on his ski, and then was flicking his ski, showering people with snow. He flicked it onto the guy in front of him on a lift, just as it was pulling away. It was so funny. And our group of friends has started saying "Herrow!" (as in, 'hello!') to each other as we pass on the slopes or whatever, but it's really high-pitched, and I can't say it properly, so when I do, Emi-Lou has fits of laughter... Hahaha, it's so funny, even just thinking of it now. Love it. This was one of the most fun nights. We had to pack when we got back to our rooms, and then I went into the girls' room and watched the half pipe snowboarding on the Winter Olympics. Later that evening, back in my own room, I saw Shaun White win the gold. Did you see that run?! It was phenomenal. You can't watch it on Youtube because of copyright, but it was great.

Day 6
After waking, and going to breakfast, we had to do the final packing before hitting the slopes. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, and you could see for miles and miles around the mountain from the top. There was blue sky, and although the snow wasn't the best it had been, it was a really great day. We all had awesome fun. We all tried to make the most of the very last day, and skied hard. We had races that morning as well (but if anyone asks, we wasn't actually racing, ok?). We found a black slope, split into pairs, and raced to the bottom. I paired up with Lewis, and underestimated his speed. I begun speeding down the hill, then making small turns so I stayed in control. Suddenly, I saw Lewis pass me and take the lead, so I bent low over my skis, and went as absolutely fast as possible. I hardly made a turn, but I wanted to finish first. Afterwards Lewis said that he just saw my helmet come into his peripheral vision, and he sped up. I was literally going the fastest on skis that I ever have. Apparently I was in front by a centimetre, so it was pretty much a tie. That race was so much fun... Before lunch, we stopped at the top of the mountain, and bought Beaver Tails. If you don't know what they are, they're like crispy pancakes, or fried bread, in the shape of a beaver tail (duh!), with different toppings. Check out their website here. I have an 'Avalanche' Beaver Tail, which had Skor pieces on it. It was sooo good. So rich, but brilliant. Then we had lunch, and just had an apple, a cookie, chocolate milk, and lemon-flavoured vitamin water. We had pictures outside before we carried on skiing, with the sun shining, and the mountain behind us. After lunch, we only had 90 minutes more skiing time. We went into the glades, and I managed to fall over on the ice (I'm so glad I had a helmet on), before Lewis came rushing through the trees, stacking it just before me, haha! His ski flew off and bounced off of my shoulder and over me. He'd almost made it, but then he was over... I still love going through the glades, over the bumps, through the trees... We skied on, and made the most of every second. The 90 minutes went far too fast, and we eventually had to finish and ski to the bottom of the mountain. At the bottom, we got 'certificates', and took loads more pictures. Skiing was over. We picked up our cases from the room they were in, I changed out of my ski wear (some people didn't have time to), and jumped onto the coach heading to Niagra. I enjoyed listening to Set Your Goals along the way. And then, it happened. (I'm sitting here smiling about this...) I wanted some of my English Wine Gums I'd brought with me, so got up to get them out of my bag in the overhead compartment. Just as I was reaching into my bag, the coach braked to a stop. There was nothing I could do; I just had to go with it. I was thrown down the centre of the aisle, with my bag still in my hand, and landed on my back, with my legs at a 90-degree angle. Then I got up, and put my bag back in the overhead, and sat down. It was all quite surreal, and people were laughing, but were laughing at how 'ninja' the fall was. Apparently it was so graceful and awesome, people were actually, genuinely applauded it. It was great! Haha! And really so funny! I did hurt my shoulder slightly, but otherwise I was fine, which I believe was a real blessing. We finally got to Niagra Falls, and were staying a night in The Oakes Hotel ('Overlooking The Falls!'). We had (pretty naff) pizza for dinner, before heading over to see the Falls at night. It was so beautiful, seeing the vast amount of water cascade over the edge... It's just phenomenal. It's the second time I've seen it, and it was so immmense. And it was so awesome with the coloured lights shining on it from the buildings. I took my DSLR with me, and got some excellent pictures. Back to the room, and back in the warm, it was time to sleep.

Day 7
Breakfast was at 9.00, and I was the first to wake up at 8.40. Even after a shower and getting dressed, the others weren't out of bed. I went downstairs, where everybody else was eating what was apparently breakfast - there was a choice of croissant, toast, muffin, or a pot of fruit. Maybe we'd just been spoiled all week, I don't know. After breakfast we packed, brought down our cases, and headed to see the Falls again. I got some great pictures again, as we went into the 'Journey Behind The Falls', which was actually just a couple of hundred feet or so lower down the cliff than the public can go. Then, we got a couple of hours of free time, so Teddy, Amy, and myself headed to Subway and Starbucks. The sub was so good. I'd been wanting one all week, and finally had a Subway Melt... Awesome. I got a footlong, and saved half for the coach ride later. In Starbucks, I got a hot chocolate (then ate my cookie from Subway), and a strawberry cream frap, and watched the world go by. I was brilliant. Not a care in the world. We spent at least an hour in Starbucks, just sitting, talking, laughing... The next stop that day was some shopping outlet, with not brilliant shops. I got an excellent new hoodie from Urban Planet (which is like Top Man) which I'm wearing as I write this now, and a caramel apple from Rocky Mt Chocolate. I didn't spend much money. On the coach to the airport, I made sure I had everything I wanted from my case before I sat down. I sat with Laura, and we listened to music, analysed adverts in magazines, and I finished my sub. It was still good. I won't go into boring detail about the airport, but we had a laugh while we were waiting to board, I got some well needed fruit and a fruit smoothie from Starbucks, and then I bought Owl City's Deluxe Edition of Ocean Eyes. We were searched again even more intensely - being made to prove that the electronics aren't bombs, and being told that we can't take water onto the plane. We'd already gone through security, and this was a beverage I'd bought from their own shops. Being the ultimate rebel I am, I got Lewis to sneak it on for me. On the plane, I got a good five hours of sleep, sleeping through the first curry and the majority of the flight. Before we landed, we were circling, which was not fun, but we finally landed, got through passport control, collected our baggage, and then got on the coach. Then Pelham realised he hadn't got his hand luggage with him, so went back inside to see if he could get it. In the meantime, I got myself a Ben & Jerry's Caramel Chew Chew for breakfast. It's become a personal tradition to eat ice-cream from Heathrow after getting back from holiday. The coach ride to the school was long and boring. Finally we got there, where Mum was waiting to pick us up. It was great to see her again, and to come home to a gorgeous roast dinner and marble cake for desert. It had been a brilliant holiday, but it was great to be back home again...

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Awesome Exciting News!

I just got back home from skiing with college at about 3.30pm today. After a shower and emptying my case, I turned out my beloved PC for the first time in over a week. While I was away, Mum told me one of my very good friends from California was accepted to BYU. I was so stoked for her, and so anxious to check my own emails - which I finally got to do today. I saw an email sitting there in my Inbox from CES Admissions, and couldn't suppress a smile from my face. It stated: "A decision has been reached on your application for BYU. Please go to the Decision Notification page where you can view the decision and related information." I was so excited. I clicked on the hyperlink.

"We are delighted to inform you that you have been admitted to Brigham Young University" ... "Through your preparation and personal achievements you have distinguished yourself from a very strong group of applicants. We believe you will make a positive contribution to our BYU community. It is a great pleasure to welcome you to our campus..."

I'm so so so excited. And slightly scared. It's actually real, and actually happening. Now, we've got to try and do everthing right to actually get there. Which involves getting a Visa, organising housing, organising meal plans, getting the appropriate jabs, paying for the tuition... The list is pretty epic. Almost all my life I've wanted to go to BYU, and now I've got a place there. It's quite surreal, but incredibly exciting...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Post-Modernism, The Virtual Revolution, and Not Much New In Life

I haven't been on here for a couple of weeks now... I just haven't been feeling like writing recently, even though I've been wanting to. I've been learning a lot recently. Academically, but such incredibly interesting information. In Media, we've been doing exam prep, and have been studying modernism and post-modernism. It's fascinating! Modernism is all about building a positive future, being your best self, building a utopia, and helping those less fortunate. In contrast, post-modernism is about living in the moment, not caring about the future or consequences. It's excessive, fragmented, in-your-face, shallow, and surface-oriented. I've loved contemplating my own views and position in the world. Should we attempt to stay modern, in a post-modern world? I want to. I think that could be what's wrong with this generation - it can seem as though no-one cares. But this is just my own current opinion. What's yours?

Just as I was packing upstairs, a TV show on in the background caught my attention. It was 'The Virtual Revolution' on BBC2. Check it out here. It was all about consumers' content to trade privacy for free access to sites and services, and how business build databases from the information we provide to promote 'related' products or services to us. Google were the first to create a theory like this, which revolutionised the relationship between consumers and businesses. They created an algorithm which ranks how 'interesting' a website is, by measuring the number of hyperlinks leading to that website. Then, Google could rank the results in an order of 'interest' and 'relevance' fo the searcher. From there, Ad Word was created, and although the service was still free, we were constantly adding information to their database, which would lead to promotion and eventually future sales. It went on to discuss identity, by talking about how social networking sites, such as Facebook, are stripping us of our identity, by allowing us to become the type of person a business can understand and gather information from, rather than our own literal selves. For example, we show other who we are by simply stating what books we like, what films and TV programs we like, what our current relationship status is. Websites and businesses can also push adverts at you relating to things you have written about... It actually scared me, just how much information is gathered about me - far more than I can comprehend. But, still, I'm here on Blogger - owned by one of the world's biggest personal data handlers and most successful businesses Google - sharing my thoughts with the world.

Another reason I haven't written for a while is because not much has been going on. At all. I was texting this one girl, just the usual chat, and she asked what's new in my life. Really, nothing is new in my life. But I'm still enjoying it... Thursday night was excellent; I went to Teddy's house, and we hung out for like, five hours or something. Watching How I Met Your Mother, playing PS3 games, listening to music. We ended up playing cards, listening to Owl City. It was really good times. Then, that night, I laughed possibly the most I ever had in my life. It hurt so much. I don't know why it was so funny, but it really was; I was trying to make up a new card game, and, well, I won't go into it, but I was in tears at how pathetic this new game was... It was brilliant. So, apart from that, not much has happened within the past week or so. I've been out with the missionaries this week, which was really good. And, I've been swimming alot to fulfill one of my goals, and I swum 50 lengths - around 1250 metres - without a break, in 35 minutes. I've really got a lot fitter since I began just a few weeks ago.

Like I said above, I was packing. I'm heading to Canada tomorrow with college to ski. I'm so so so excited! So, I won't be blogging for a while, but I'll be having an awesome awesome time. I can't wait! Yeah, I should be getting to sleep. Go check out that Virtual Revolution, and research post-modernism. It's incredible stuff.

Monday, 1 February 2010

This Will Be The Death Of Us

S   E   T     Y   O   U   R     G   O   A   L   S

Set Your Goals's new album is excellent. I saw them support New Found Glory in November '08, and really didn't like them then. I checked out their first album, but wasn't impressed. After listening to free single off of their sophomore album, and reading positive reviews, I decided to check the album out on Spotify. It was pretty good. I gave it a few more listens before buying it. Now, I love it. I've listened to the whole album about three times today alone. It's hardcore pop-punk that makes me wanna bounce around the room, or car, or wherever I am. Every single song on the album is awesome, and catchy as anything. I'd only listened to 'The Few That Remain' a couple of times before it was stuck in my head all day long. Check out that, and 'Summer Jam', 'Equals', and 'Gaia Bleeds (Make Way For Man)'. It's so intense. Plus, it includes guest vocals from rock superstars such as Hayley Williams of Paramore and Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory.       I'd highly recommend it.

And, I've found how to turn up the bass and treble in my car, and as I pump up the volume, it sounds like I'm at a gig. Nice.