Sunday, 30 May 2010

Slam Dunk Festival 2010

-The Forum, University Of Hertfordshire, May 29th 2010


Last. Night. Was. Immense. It was so awesome. It was so much fun. And it was so loud. My ears are still ringing now. I'd been excited for this concert since I heard it was announced, and it was really brilliant. I went up there with Jake, and we had such a great time. There were so many bands I wanted to see, but the stage times overlapped, so I couldn't see them all. But I saw the bands I wanted to, and had such an incredible time.

We joined the epic long queue to get in after Dad dropped us at the University, and made our way slowly to the wristband stall. We got inside, and it was packed. There were people everywhere, making their way along the merch stands and towards stages. We had no idea where to go, or where the stages were. And we had a backpack with us, because there wasn't a cloakroom, so we took turns carrying it. We looked around at the merchandise, and then headed upstairs, where we found the Glamour Kills, Kerrang! Introduces, and Relentless Stages. We were in the right place. We went into the Glamour Kills Stage, and found a good spot. Every Avenue were on next. They came on stage and began their set. They were pretty good. A circle pit opened up in front of us, although it was pretty pathetic. Jake and I just walked into it, and made our way further forward towards the stage. The band were pretty good. At one point, the main guy decided to jump into the crowd from the barrier to crowdsurf, but as he jumped, he managed to land on a single girl, and they both just crumbled. It was so funny! We all helped them both up, and the guy jumped back up on stage.

We got some drinks, looked at some more merch, and then made our way back to the Glamour Kills Stage for Hit The Lights. Jake was excited for their set, so I took the backpack while he went into the mosh pit. I only knew 'Breathe In' and 'Drop The Girl', but they played with such energy, I actually thought they were brilliant. It was really great.

Set Your Goals were up next. I was so stoked for their set. Jake took the backpack, and I got ready to mosh. The lights went down. The band came onstage. Here's a video that I took of their opening song 'Summer Jam':


The pits were crazy now. I jumped in for a couple of songs, and it was rough. They played some of my favourite songs, including 'This Will Be The Death Of Us', 'Gaia Bleeds', 'Look Closer', 'The Fallen...', 'Our Ethos: A Legacy To Pass On', and some I didn't know from their debut album. One of the things I've always wanted to do was to crowdsurf. I thought that during this set was the perfect opportunity. There were kids crowdsurfing all the time, and as 'Our Ethos...' came on, I thought, 'Yeah, I wanna do it now.' I was actually so nervous. I've got pulled out of a pit before, but never just crowdsurfed. I said a quick prayer, and then asked one of the big kids next to me to lift me up. It was brilliant. I was on top of the crowd on my front. Then, as they pushed my legs forward, I managed to twist around and stay on the crowd, before the security guys pulled me off. It was only about five feet, but it was so much fun, and I'm glad I did it. I thought, like at Brixton Academy, that I'd just go around the barrier and back into the crowd, but I actually had to go out of the auditorium, and back inside through the entrance. The guys this side weren't letting anyone in because it was "too full". I tried to explain that I had just got pulled out, so there was obviously space for me. But then they let me and a few others in when some other kids came out. I managed to weave my way through the crowd and the mosh pit, back towards the front where Jake was standing. In that time, I'd missed all of Chad Gilbert's vocals on 'Our Ethos...', but it was worth it. It was so much fun.

We were sweating ridiculously by now. And we were hungry and thirsty. So we got drinks, and were going to go downstairs to get some food. But just as we were about to leave, we saw that the security guys weren't letting anyone back in, so we stayed inside and waited.

Another half an hour passed, and finally it was time for Four Year Strong, one of my all time favourite bands. They were so immense. They were brilliant. Here's a vid of their opener, 'It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now':


We were right up near the front for their set, and had a fantastic view of the band. We were literally just a couple of people away from the barrier. I had the backpack for their set, but we were so close to the front that it was actually good; everyone was so squashed, that it was good to not have anyone right behind me. They played some of my favourite songs, including 'Bada Bing! Wit' A Pipe!', 'On A Saturday', 'Prepare To Be Digitally Manipulated', 'Nineteen With Neck Tatz', 'Maniac (R.O.D)', 'What The Hell Is A Gigawatt', and some more I can't remember right now. Then they finished with 'Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)' and 'Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die'. The crowd was crazy, and it was seriously so much fun. I loved every second of it. There were kids going over our heads every couple of minutes. And one of the highlights of the night, during a couple of their songs, Josh on the keyboard was singing, and came onto the barrier right in front of us. He was actually on top of us, and pointed the mic in my face - I've literally sung with Four Year Strong! Sooo good. And when Jake ruffled his hair, he ruffled Jake's. Check it out in this vid - here's 'Prepare To Be Digitally Manipulated':


Their set was one of the best I've ever seen. It was so much fun. They're one of my all time favourite bands. Here's some pics:




New Found Glory were up next on the Glamour Kills Stage, but The Rocket Summer was playing at the same time, and we both wanted to see them play. So, we left the Glamour Kills Stage, passing the queue to get into that stage, and then went downstairs to finally get something to eat. We got a sandwhich, and then had to queue to get back upstairs - security was saying it was full upstairs, even though there was a stream of people coming down. We waited patiently, and was soon allowed up. We went up to the Relentless Stage, got a drink, finished our food, and waited for The Rocket Summer to come on. Breathe Carolina were playing while we stood at the bar by the stage, and I actually felt pretty bad for them; there was hardly any kids come to see them, and there was one guy at the back yelling "You suck! You suck!" as loud as he could. Yeah, it wasn't the best music, but that was a bit rude. Anyway, as soon as they left the stage, Jake and I moved forward and got a spot just a couple back from the barrier. After half hour wait, and The Rocket Summer came onstage.

That guy is seriously cool. He's so talented, and just awesome. He opened with 'Hills And Valleys'. Here's the video:


I knew some of the songs off of the new album, but it was great that he played some off of Do You Feel - that's the album I've got. His set included 'Hills And Valleys', 'Roses', 'You Gotta Believe', 'Walls', 'I Need A Break... But I'd Rather Have A Breakthrough', 'Break It Out', 'Do You Feel', 'Save', and a couple of others that I didn't know. Just half hour into his set, he came off stage, and I wondered if he was done, but then I saw him walk through the crowd, and appear on a tiny stage in the middle of the crowd! He had a mic and a guitar, and played in the middle of the crowd. It was great. Then he crowdsurfed back to the stage... So cool. And during the set, he literally made up a song on the spot, playing and recording the drums, keys, bass, and guitar, before going straight into 'Break It Out'. Like I said, he's so talented. We were so close to the front, he was just talking to us, and we could answer. He asked us who his favourite band was that we had seen all day, and almost everyone shouted "The Rocket Summer!" or "You!" y'know, but there was couple of drunk guys - one with a beard, and one with a moustache - in front of us, and moustache guy shouted "Fireworks! Fireworks! Then maybe you second... Maybe..." Bryce was like, "Well, this guy liked Fireworks..." They were really kinda annoying. And their breathe stunk bad too. But anyway, The Rocket Summer was brilliant. I got loads of photos, and had a good time singing along to the songs I knew. Even this set was so loud, and I had to give in, so for the last 20 minutes or so, I used cotton wool, and felt much better. Bryce and his band finished with 'So, In This Hour...', which I love so much, and then finally 'So Much Love', one of their biggest hits. Check out some of the photos I got:




After an hour long set, The Rocket Summer finished up, and we headed downstairs with the crowd. We took another look around the merch stands - I couldn't decide if I wanted a FYS hoodie or not - and Jake bought a Baby Cakes tee. And we saw the singer from Skindred at the Skindred merch stand, but at the time, we weren't sure if it was him or not. I didn't want to go up to a merch guy and ask for a picture. Then, just as we were about to walk out the door and back to the car, I saw Dan from Four Year Strong having pictures with fans. I couldn't believe it. I was so excited. We went up to him, and I got to meet him and talk with him, and get a couple of pictures. He's so awesome, and it was a fantastic end to the night.

The show was just phenomenal, and one of the best I've ever been to. It was one of the best crowds I've ever been in, and the whole thing was just so much fun. Slam Dunk Fest FTW.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Immersion

P E N D U L U M


This album is incredible. I was so excited for this album since I heard about it waay back last year. And I wasn't disappointed when I heard Salt In The Wounds for the first time, either. That song is immense. So, I went down to HMV to pick up a physical copy on the day of release, back on Monday afternoon, and began playing it very loudly in my car. It was phenomenal. It is phenomenal. You should give it a listen or three.

Pendulum have definitely returned to their top form, after the slightly disappointing In Silico album. That album is still good, with some excellent tunes, but this third album is the best they've ever released. They've tried out some new styles, and pulled them off incredibly. My favourite new songs off the album include: 'Set Me On Fire', 'The Island', 'The Fountain', and 'Encoder', but there's literally not one song on the album I don't like. And 'The Island, Parts I and II' are one of the best songs Pendulum have ever created. 'Part I, Dawn' is chill, but so catchy, and leads perfectly into 'Part II, Dusk', which is energetic and loud. Awesome.

Check out their Official Website and Myspace here.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Heatwaves and Revision. And Exams. And Life.

It's been ridiculously hot lately. The kinda hot where you think, 'Oh, it's nice outside, I think I'll go and sit outside in the sun for a while... Oh CRAP IT'S HOT!' Yep, you know the kinda heat I mean. Over the weekend it was hotter in the UK than on some Mediterranean islands apparently. But a lot - a lot - of cool stuff has happened recently. Let's begin with Sunday.

Sunday was our Stake Conference, and our ward choir sung the prelude, and did a musical item as well - the same song as last week...

...

I just went onto my blog to check the URL to hyperlink the sentence above, and I saw I hadn't even written about it. Ok, let's backtrack. So last Sunday was our Ward Conference, and so the Ward Choir had to practise a song for it. Because I'm not a great singer, I didn't want to take part, but Emma, who was organising the choir, and laying piano, asked me to conduct the choir. I agreed, and was quite excited. I knew how to conduct, but I needed to learn how to conduct a choir. There's a difference. And I was actually really nervous. Probably more nervous than any of the singers. Literally, I had the power to add in pauses when I wanted, and bring everyone in when I wanted. It was so much fun. So the song went so well last week, that the Stake President wanted our ward to do the musical item at Stake Conference. I was even more nervous now. But honestly, conducting that choir was brilliant. It sounded amazing on Sunday, and it was such a great experience doing it. Loads of people came up to me and said how good I did, but it really was all the choir and Emma's efforts. They all did really great.

This week has been the first week of exams. We've been counting down for months - 'Three months until exams.' 'Two months.' 'One month'. 'Two weeks.' 'Next week.' It really does come around so fast. I was really trying hard for the exams I had this week - Applied Business (Unit 9) and Decision 1 Maths. The business exam was probably one of the hardest out of all of them, because you literally need to apply the business knowledge you have to decide on the best options for businesses, evaluating your decision using all sorts of tools and techniques. But, I had a blessing on Monday night, and put a lot of trust in the Lord, and it went brilliantly. I was so happy when it was over, because it was such a good exam. Then yesterday, I had Maths. D1 is the easiest unit, but silly mistakes can really pull down your marks if you're not careful. I was careful - and prayerful - and I almost don't want to say it, (but I will because this is my blog!)... Dare I say it? ... There's a possibility I got 100% in the exam. I answered every question, and I'm pretty sure I did it right! But I guess I'll find out in August.

Yesterday, my very good Canadian friend Scott got his mission call. I was so so so excited for him! He couldn't open it until 6pm his time, because he was Skyping his family (he's in Idaho at Uni). The anticipation was incredible. I was talking to him on Facebook Chat, and both of us were just so so excited. He's such a good example to me. It got me excited for my own mission call. I could be getting mine in a year! It's gonna come around so fast, I know it...

Tomorrow, me and Jake are going to Slam Dunk Fest 2010 to see all our favourite bands at one show. It is going to be... incredible. I'm so stoked. Life is good. The Gospel is everything. The Lord is blessing me so much. If there's one thing I could tell everyone, it would be that the Gospel of Jesus Christ literally is true. It blows my mind sometime, just how... perfect, how awesome the Gospel is. Sometimes I wonder, why me? How come I'm so blessed? The Gospel is the best. Life is good. Even though it can be ridiculously hard sometimes, it's important to keep focussed on what's really important in life, and to remember the good times, and good experiences you've already had. Wow, what a tangent. But seriously, :)

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Michael Bublé Live



Michael Bublé Live at The O2 in London last night was phenomenal.

I went with Mum, Dad, and Teddy, and as Charlotte headed for Prom with her friends in vintage Aston Martins, we headed for the The O2 Arena. It really is the most amazing venue in London, and probably the world. It's so enormous, and so impressive. We were so excited walking towards it, seeing Michael's name on the screens. We got inside, Teddy bought some merchandise, and then we went to the box. I took my DSLR with me, but they didn't let me take it inside (instead, they kept it safe in a locker for me). We sat down in our comfy seats, and admired the huge arena. It's huge. It wasn't long until the lights went down...


The atmosphere was incredible as the opening notes to 'Cry Me A River' filled the arena. The curtains opened, and Bublé sung the opening lines - "Now, you say you're lonely...". He has such an incredible voice, and is such an amazing singer. Here's a video of 'Cry Me A River' I got on my phone.


So brilliant. The rest of the night was great. He played some of my favourite songs, including 'Heartache Tonight', 'You Don't Know Me', 'Crazy Love', 'Home', and 'Everything'. It was definately the most relaxed concert I've ever been to, but definately one of the best. The band played flawlessly, never messing up once. They're all seriously so talented. He took time to introduce them all, and they each gave a little solo. Michael is so much cooler and better in real life than even on TV interviews. He's so funny. He was standing onstage talking to the audience, saying "all the wives have dragged the husbands along to his show, and they're probably thinking 'This guy's so gay...' Well, are there any husbands that brought their wives along? Sir, did you drag your wife along tonight? (Man nods) ... He's so gay...!" Hahaha it was brilliant. He literally spoke to the audience, letting one woman come to the front and ask him a question. And when he told the arena that he'd recently got engaged, almost all the women were booing. Hahaha it was so funny. His fiancé is Argentinian, and it's cultural in Argentina for the man and woman to wear the engagement ring, which is why he was wearing one. He was asking how old some of the members of the audience were, and as a couple of young girls at the front said 16, he said "Ohhh, s***...!" He told us how it had always been his dream to sing, and asked a little boy how old he was. When the boy replied 10, he said that's how old he was when he decided he wanted to be a singer. And now he's living his dream. He said "tonight isn't a concert - it's party. Now let's start this party with a... really depressing song." Hahaha, legend.

The concert was immense. I didn't know quite a few of the songs that he sung, but I really didn't need to to enjoy it. It was so perfect, and so chilled, and so incredible. At one point, he walked through the crowd, completely surrounded by women, towards a tiny stage in the middle of the arena. He stood there, surrounded by his fans, and sung 'Home'. He's such a perfect singer! It really was amazing... Here's a few pictures:











He encored with my favourite of the night, 'Feeling Good'. It was incredible. The studio version is already amazing, and I sat there captivated by his voice. He then sung 'Me And Mrs Jones', and finished with 'Song For You'. The final notes of 'Song For You' were possibly the best of the night; he turned off his mic, took out his earpieces, and stepped in front of the closing curtain. Then he sung, a capella, and filled the arena with his voice, without a microphone. Every single person was in awe.

Michael Bublé is the best singer I have ever seen in concert, and the show was amazing. He is astounding, and his voice is literally perfect. 'Song For You' was a great way to end the night. And what a brilliant night it was...

An Awesome Weekend

This weekend has been awesome. I've had a fun time, and really felt the Spirit. I had the upliftment that I needed (-yep, 'upliftment' is a word now). Here's what went on...

Friday
On Friday evening, we were so blessed to have Elder Quentin L Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles come visit our Stake and give a fireside. I was really excited to go and listen to him. His wife spoke first about the importance of Family Home Evening, and then Elder Cook stood to speak.

It was a really great talk. He spoke about the role of General Authorities, some of his own history, and bore his testimony of the Saviour. He served his mission in Britain, and served in our stake (even though it wasn't a Stake at the time), and this is his first assignment since he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1996 to come to England. He even lived in Exhibition Road in London for the last year of his mission. He told us about how on Monday (tomorrow), he is going to the River Ribble in Preston to film his Special Witness of Christ. He explained how he prayed about where he should film his witness, and thought about it for a while, before deciding on Preston. It was there that the first person outside of the US was baptised into the Gospel. I guess you've heard the story of two people running to get to the river before the other to be baptised first? The winner was George Watt, and so was baptised first. Heber C Kimball baptised George, and Heber C Kimball is Elder Cook's great great grandfather. He spoke about how Hyrum Smith and Heber C Kimball served faithfully as missionaries together, and how, so many years later, both great great grandsons - Elder Cook and Elder Ballard - wrote Preach My Gospel. It was amazing. Elder Cook then went on to speak and testify of Christ. Because of what happened in Calvary and in the Garden of Gethsemane, all the unfairness in life, and our sins, are taken care of by the Atonement. We owe it all to Christ. He is divine, He is the Head of the Church, He leads the Church, and He is our Saviour and advocate with the Father. He spoke about how this is such a difficult time to be living, but blessed the congregation to be able to "work through the temporal affairs". He blessed us to know that "in this life, you'll have inspiration to recognise what you're needed to do, but to remember that this life isn't the end". He ended by blessing us with "a firm and strong knowledge of the Gospel, even through difficult times". Christ lives. He is our Saviour.

It was so good to go to that fireside. Just that afternoon I was... disturbed, by a video I saw. I don't want to go into much detail about it, because it's making me feel sick and upset just thinking about it. But it was the trailer for a new film being released in the US and Canada, called 8: The Mormon Proposition. I'm not going to link to it, because I don't want to support the video even on Google's algorithm. The trailer was evil, misleading, biased, and I honestly can't believe that a film like this is being released. After watching the trailer, I did some of my own research on Proposition 8 in California, just so I know what's going on. For a start, I know full well that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not isolate or persecute any group of people, but invites all to come unto Christ and learn of the truth. The film seems to be attacking the Church for actively supporting the Proposition. On the subject of same-gender attraction, Elder Oaks puts it perfectly: "Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like 'homophobic.' In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle. This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach." Read the full interview here. These people, fighting for rights and freedom of speech, don't want to hear the Church's opinion on the subject. Moreover, the LDS Church wasn't the only church supporting Prop 8! Why are the attacks focused on LDS members then? Well, I think members have a pretty good idea why... The adversary's attacks on the Gospel are getting more and more intense. Instead of a film being released showing the amount of really awesome we do, the incredible stuff we teach and service and aid we give, a film is released on the one subject a lot of people have difficulty understanding and do not agree with. It's terrible. The Second Coming of the Saviour must be soon. Please let it be soon. I wanted to post this comment on the trailer on Youtube, but I honestly didn't have enough courage to post it; those in favour of Prop 8 were being ripped to shreds on there. Anyway, this is what I would've written:

"The media can make you love someone, or hate someone - you can't deny that fact. This time, the director is persuading you to have a pretty strong negative view of the Church. This trailer is so misleading. Everything to do with the Church in this trailer has been twisted. And remember, the LDS Church wasn't the only religious organisation supporting the proposition. The Church does not and would not discriminate like this video 'represents'. If you want the real truth, why not talk to an actual member. :) Read this for the Church's stance: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/public-issues/same-gender-attraction. All Prop 8 wants is to keep the original definition of marriage - it isn't looking to take away happiness. And it seems the majority of California agreed with the Proposition."

It's scriptures, like 3 Nephi 2:2, that give me strength and encouragement: "...it was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and vain thing." It amazed me how relevant this was to me last night, and really uplifted me. I'm so, so grateful for the Gospel in my life. It's everything to me. It makes sense to me. I really wish I could tell everyone about it, so that they would have the understanding and testimony that I have. The Gospel gives you such an incredible new perspective on everything, and I love it...

We got to meet Elder Cook after the fireside. I shook his hand, and told him how much I enjoyed his talk. Then Mum got a picture:





Saturday
I did an early shift at work yesterday, because it was my sister's Prom, and we were seeing Michael Bublé at The O2 in the evening. Charlotte wanted me to get some pictures of her in her dress, and with her hair and make-up done, before we went to the show. So, I came home from work at 5, had something to eat, got ready, and then got some pictures. They were really excellent photos. She really did look beautiful. Here are a couple of my favourites:






And then we went to see Michael Bublé. More on that later.

Sunday
Today was our ward conference, and today I got the privilege of conducting the Ward Choir. It was brilliant. I was so nervous, even though I had been practising with the choir for a few weeks. I seriously think that today I was more nervous than they were. But it was such good experience. I had to tell them when to come in, when to pause, how long to hold notes. I was glad to be able to help out even though I'm not great a singing. On the day, it went really, really well. We're going to do it all again at Stake Conference next week. It sounded amazing today, and I hope it will sound even better next week.

When I got home from Church today, I started to sort out pictures and videos from yesterday, and then gave in and slept on the setee for an hour. It was much needed.

So yeah, it's been a good - and very busy, and tiring - weekend.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

"If it matters at all..."


This song is rocking my world right now. 'Matters At All' by Kids In Glass Houses. I can't get enough of it. Actually, I'm gonna buy it off of iTunes right now... Got it. :) It's so epic. And I'm stoked for Pendulum's new album, Immersion. I love 'Salt In The Wounds' - check it out:


Well, there's been quite a lot going on recently. The General Election, leaving our nation temporarily screwed up, for a start. On Tuesday, PM Gordon Brown officially resigned, allowing David Cameron to become Prime Minister with a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. I don't agree with those who ignorantly protest for or against any parties - everyone should have watched those live debates on TV before they made a decision. I think Mr Cameron is a really excellent public speaker, and his presentation of himself is outstanding. But the fact that he left out truths of his own policies on the debates, and sometimes blatantly refused to answer questions, lowered him in my books. I agreed a lot with what the Lib Dems were suggesting, apart from joining the Euro, the VAT on houses, and a couple of other things. SO actually, this coalition might just work. It's not brilliant, but they might be able to pull it off. At least this way, there shouldn't be any radical left- or right-wing policies introduced without Nick Clegg to keep everything in check. And for the record, no, not everything Gordon Brown did as PM was brilliant, but he did a damn good job, and really did have the countries best interest at heart. He did well.

In other news, kids are getting lairier. It actually shocks me how rude and disrespectful they are. For example, Alex and I were standing outside a Yr 8 (Grade 7 for you American lot) maths class during a free, looking for our teacher to hand homework in. As we were checking to see if she was in her usual classroom, a short little Yr 8 boy walked towards us and said - in a mocking tone - "shouldn't you two be in class?". I looked at Alex, and she looked at me. "Shut up..!" I laughed back, dismayed and amazed that he'd have the audacity to talk to 6Sixth Formers like that. We he said to me as he passed to go into the classroom, I cannot repeat. But, it was something along the lines of "Flip off, you cookie", if you know what I'm getting at. He's like, less than half my size, but several times as lairy. And the problem is, he's not the only one. The majority of little kids are like that now. Just need a good slapping.

What else is worth mentioning? Well, I had to get a filling a couple of weeks back. On the 29th of April, to be precise. We went to the dentist for a check-up a couple of weeks prior, and I was told I would need to come back for a very small filling. I was so worried about the needle more than anything else. Ever since I had to have a needle in my big toe for surgery (see here), I haven't thought fondly needles. I was really nervous as I sat down in the dentist chair. I told him I'd be ok, just so long as I didn't see the needle. You know what? It really was ok. It barely hurt. And seriously, the anaesthetic felt so weird numbing the left side my mouth and my lips. Then, the actual filling was fine. I looked at in the mirror when I got home, and it really is tiny. So that was an adventure....

Recently, I've been working hard to get my body into a summer shape. Even though it doesn't look as though summer willarrive for a while here in England, I'm working towards it. I've been going on bike rides, and even started to run - and I hated running before. But on Monday, I decided to run 5k for the first time in my life. I began walking a bit, then running a bit, then walking a bit, then running a bit. Then, I ended up running the last 16 minutes or so, and completing it in under 28 minutes. I was really happy. And I'm working out muscles every other day right now too, lifting weights and doing a lot of press ups. Press ups are the key.

I've been at home today, so it's been good to chill out, focus on some work, watch a film, and now update my blog. I watched 'The International' earlier. It was a really good film, with most realistic fight scenes I've seen in while - I like films to be realistic, where if you get hit, you get hurt. 'The Transporter' doesn't really float my boat. The film was good, but I had no idea what the story was all about. They had to solve a mystery, and... that's all I got. I had something to do with missiles, and Israel. And a lot of people got killed. But it was fun to watch.
I've now got less than two weeks until my exams start, and then they'll all be over in about six weeks. I'm actually so excited to be done. Bring on summer. I've just got to stay motivated, continue revising, and stay strong in the Gospel.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

"Like"

I like the sunshine.

I like the driving with music playing.

I like bearing my testimony of the Gospel.

I love my family.

I'm excited for the future.

So excited.

I like Nutella on my toast.

Sometimes with banana.

I like to think about things so deeply that I rarely come to a conclusion.

I like knowing that there's a God who knows what's best for us.

I like awkward situations.

I like going to concerts.

I like exciting atmospheres.

I like working until it's just how I want it.

I like to talk to people one-to-one.

I like taking photos.

I like travelling.

I like girls.

I really like girls.

Here's a random list of things I like.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Swedish Speedway Grand Prix 2010



Yes. Today, I came home from a spontaneous trip to Sweden. It was brilliant. Dad called me up on Thursday afternoon, and told me he'd spoken to my manager at work, and got the day off so that I could go with him and his work colleagues - Neil and Tim - to Sweden. I was so excited! Friday morning I packed my case before school, and then left almost straight after school. The Ryanair flight from Stansted went surprising quickly, listening to my and reading T3. As we were descending, the view outside the window was breathtaking. The beautiful sea of cloud met the glowing pink sun, with the sky melting into purple. We fly over the islands and into the the city lit up with twinkling lights. We landed at Gothenburg City Airport, where Neil had organised for one of his 'friends' to pick us up. The airport was literally just a metal shed, smaller than the size of a football (soccer) pitch. In the area designated for arrivals, Neil was about to walk out the door when a man stopped him. It was Neil's friend, Pelle (pronounced 'Pel-eh'), and we then found out that this was the first time they had every met or seen each other - they had just been talking on the internet on forums etc. Long story. But Pelle was super nice and really awesome. He was so fun to talk to, and had some great stories to tell.This is him in his shop on Saturday.


Anyway, he drove us to our hotel, showing us some of the sights along the way. We stayed in the Radisson BLU hotel, and it was so gorgeous. It reminded me of a cruise ship. We checked in, dropped our bags in our rooms, and went down to the bar. We all stayed up and had drinks, and talked into the night. I enjoyed my Virgin Coladas, and talking to Pelle about his riding, Tim Burton, and all sorts of random stuff. The rest of us went upstairs at about 1.30am, as Neil and Pelle were just going out to go to another bar.
Up at 8 to get ready before a relaxing breakfast. I had some cooked breakfast, complete with Swedish sausage! Good stuff. We had a relaxing day, walking over to Pelle's shop (see his website here), and then to a fish restaurant he recommended to us. It was the freshest fish I'd ever eaten - delicious. Fresh fried herring and plaice. Mmm. As Neil went out with Pelle and some of his friends for some more drinks, Tim, Dad and I walked back towards the hotel. We left Tim, and went for a wander around the city. Here's a couple of pics.



We ended up at the Ullevi Stadium where the Speedway would be starting in a couple of hours. Some of the Swedish riders were in a tent signing outside the stadium, and so I bought a programme and got it signed. It was kinda awkward though - I was the very last person to get my programme signed (they shut the queue after me), and I didn't know what page their profiles were on, so after fumbling through the pages, just handed them the programme and they found their own page. A couple of them just signed the contents page, which is what I should've done all along! Haha, but it's alright. It was great to get a memento.


We met Tim at the hotel, and walked back to the Stadium. The Speedway was excellent. Even though the 43,000 person venue wasn't even half-full, the atmosphere was brilliant, and the riders were great. It had been spitting with rain all day long, meaning the conditions weren't great. During the first couple of races, the riders were having to get used to the damp track. Chris Harris and Tai Woffinden were riding from GB. It was so good to see Tai there - I've seen him before a couple of times, and he did great considering he's the youngest rider in the tournament. He came third four times, and lost once, getting four points throughout the night. And, in Heat 17, Chris Harris was in front, and would've won, before a Danish rider, Hans Anderson, took him out. Check out the clip here:

In the end, Kenneth Bjerre won the cup with 20 points on the night. It was really tight, with the Swedes especially wanting to win for their fans. They were riding hard, and really wanted to win the trophy... It was a really great night.







After the Speedway, Tim, Dad and I headed back to the hotel for a (reasonably) early night, while Neil went out with Pelle for another few hours. Then it was up early, breakfast, and off to the airport. The taxi driver took us to the wrong airport first time round, and then we finally got to the City Airport, and headed home. I had a great time. It was a really nice city, so clean, and calm, and quiet. Oh, and Tim noticed that the Sky Sports Commentator Charlie Webster was on our flight. I met her back at Stansted, and got a picture with her. She's really nice.


What an excellent trip.