Saturday, 31 July 2010

London; the capital of England and the United Kingdom.


Art on South Bank












"Tell me how much time has passed...?"

It's been a very good week. Every day this week I thought, I'm going to blog today, and then I never made time. It's ridiculous how quickly this summer is going. I had a list of things I wanted to do, but time is going far too quickly.

Monday I had a lazy day. It was a brilliant day. I did whatever I wanted, all day long. I read for a few hours, played piano, went to the gym, and watched a film in the evening. It was great to completely chill out and relax.

Tuesday, I got up and went to the gym. We were going to do a powerplate class at 10.30, but when we got there at 10.30, found out it was at 10. I was gonna just go home, but decided to spend 20 minutes on one of the spin bikes. Heck that is hard work. My legs were weak after that, and I had a close down at work to do that afternoon and evening. That evening, around 7.30, as I was on the Deli, I had an almighty bang, like an explosion, from the chicken counter. I thought someone had dropped something, because that always makes a loud noise, but when I walked over, I saw that one of the fur front panels had exploded, and glass had shattered all over the floor and into the counter. It was terrible. That side of the counter was even off, it being near the end of trade. It certainly added some excitement to the evening. After work, we watched Top Gear, and saw Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise make the top of the leaderboard in the reasonably priced car. It was impressive.

Wednesday I went up to London with Mum on the train. I love that city, and it's so great living near to it. We had no aim, but enjoyed spending time walking along Southbank, then Big Ben, Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus, and Regent's Street. It was packed in the tubes and on the street, with foreign tourists and school groups. But still, we had a great time, enjoying the atmosphere and the sights. I got lots of good pictures, which I'll upload later.
That evening, Dad joined us, and we ate at Gaucho. Mum and Dad had eaten there before, and said it was the best steak ever. I got a rump first off, medium-rare. I was excited to try it, but the first bit I had was chewy. So, I tried another bit more in the middle. That wasn't much better. So Dad called the waitress over, and I got to choose a new steak. I got the fillet the second time, medium-rare again. It came very quickly. I cut into it, and it was easier to cut. It looked delicious. So I tried it, and the outside of it was hot, but the middle was fridge-cold. The rest of the meat was like it, so the did me another one without hesitation. The third steak was good, but still not the best I've ever had. The rest of the food - the sweet potato chips, mushrooms, and roasted vegetables - and the service was fantastic, but I didn't have much luck with the steak. They took it off of the bill though.

Thursday I got up late - well, 10 to 10 - and quickly got ready to drive to my Nan and Grandad's house. They were taking me out for a farewell lunch, and we ate in a posh restaurant called Bartella's. It was delicious. To start, I had the crispy pork belly in honey mustard sauce. I can still smell it now. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten. Then the spaghetti bolognese was really good, and the hot chocolate was excellent. I had a great time talking with them about everything, about the past and the future. I really enjoyed the meal. Then, I had some more time, so we took their dog, Harvey, for a walk. He's a brilliant dog. We he got bored chasing a ball, I played with him, and he ended up chasing me. It was a lot of fun. Driving home took far too long. The traffic was ridiculous. But once I got home, I turned straight back around and went out to the gym. One of the things I've wanted to work towards was running 8k, or 5 miles. I managed it on Thursday, in 45 minutes, 29 seconds, and burning 574 calories. I was so happy. I was watching Simpsons, and then the Speedway World Cup, and that really helped me along.

Friday I was working all day, and then went out to the cinema to see Inception with Mum, Dad, and Teddy. Like I've already written, it was amazing the second time around.

Then today I was working all day again. And then spent some time writing on my blog.

Inception



The is one of the all time best films I've ever seen in my life. It's unlike anything I've ever seen, and is flawless; absolutely perfect. I saw it for the second time last night, and it was even better than the first time; I noticed more details than the first time around. The story is incredible, and completely original, and you'll be thinking about it for days. It's very intense, the entire way through. I was shaking as the title came up at the end of the film last night. There were points in the film when I was close to tears, feeling the characters' emotions. Leonardi DiCaprio is brilliant in it.

It's emotional, energetic, and definately the best film of 2010. Go and see it.

Check out the Official Website and IMDb profile.

Toy Story 3



It made me laugh. It made me - almost - cry. I was excited for this film since I heard about it, a couple of years ago, and expected a lot. And it delivered everything I could've asked for, and more. Toy Story has always been my favourite Pixar movie; it's my childhood film. Now, fifteen years since the original film, the trilogy is complete. The graphics and cinematography were perfect, seeing all the detail in the fabrics, and the 3D was the best I've ever seen - not gimmicky, but natural-feeling, and enjoyable. The narrative was an excellent way to end the series, with twists and turns, and classic Toy Story moments. And I really know how Andy feels having to sort through all his stuff before heading off to college... A fantastic film.

Check out the Official Website and IMDb profile.

Your History Is Mine: 2002 - 2009

F   U   N   E   R   A   L     F   O   R     A     F   R   I   E   N   D


For a while I've wanted to get into Funeral For A Friend for a while, knowing they were pretty popular, and had some good albums. I've had 'Rookie Of The Year' on my iPod for a couple of years, and love it. It's an incredible track. So, I thought a good place to start would be their greatest hits album. It has some of their best tracks from all four albums. And it is brilliant. And I'd recommend it.

Highlights include: 'Juneau'; 'History'; 'Into Oblivion (Reunion)'.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Zoo

Today, we went on an awesome trip to the zoo. We just got back a couple of hours ago. I went with Charlotte, Sam, Teddy, and Chris, and saw all the animals. We got to see all the animals we wanted to - the giraffes, monkeys, sea lions, penguins, kangeroos, rhinos, tigers, lions, wolves - and I even got to feed one of the elephants. It was a beautiful sunny day for the most part, and then managed to pour with cold rain just was we were finishing up. I took my camera with me, and these are a few of the best shots of the 262 I accumulated throughout the day...

















Afterwards, we went swimming at a brilliant pool, with slides, a lazy river, wave machine, and hot tubs. We had fun and chilled out. Even the drive home was so mcuh fun, listening to Coldplay's Viva really loudly, and singing along.
A great end to the day.

This Is Summer

It's been a really good couple of weeks so far. It's actually amazing how quickly three weeks goes by. I'm working three days a week now, so trying to fill what free days I have well. So far, it's been mostly just chilling out. I've been wanting to update my blog for ages now, but only just made time to do so. Here's what I've been up to.

Student Visa and Work
Tuesday 6th July I went up to the American Embassy in London to get my Student visa. I was pretty nervous before I went inside. I'd done all the paperwork and whatnot the night before with Dad, and he drove me up to the Embassy. At just before 12.00, I got in the queue and got inside. You're not allowed to take in any electrical items, like phones or iPods, and can't take in a big bag. So I just took my passport and paperwork in a plastic folder, and about a quid in cash. Well, the next three hours were definitely some of the most boring in my entire life. I sat there for about half an hour in a room packed with people, waiting for my number to be called. I thought that when it was called, it was your interview, but actually, that was just when you gave in the paperwork and fingerprints... I then had to wait another two-and-a-half hours before my interview. It was so boring. There was nothing to do. I bought a drink of water, which was quite exciting. Then I resorted to pacing the back of the room, and reading the descriptions next to various paintings. If you have to go to get a visa, take a book. Finally my number was called, and I went to have my interview. The guy only asked me three questions, and I was free to go. It was definitely boring while I was there, but I was so so excited to get my Visa to go to BYU.

That evening, I had my first close down to do at work. Now that I'm not at college any more, I've got extra hours at work. One of my shifts is a close down, and I was being trained that evening. I actually quite enjoyed it, because it was something new. It's good to have extra hours and earn more money while I can.

BBQs
Teddy had a BBQ and party at his house on the 7th July. It was so, so much fun, and I really laughed so much that evening. Kids were drinking, but it was hilarious. We ate some food and hung out in the early evening before people started really drinking, and then went inside and played Tekken 6 on the PS3. I was playing Clare, and she was shouting as loud as she could: "PUNCH!" "KICK IN FACE!" "PUNCH HIM!" "DIE!" I was laughing so much I actually lost a round because I was on the floor laughing. Then we watched 'Mean Girls' for a while, quoting most of the film. Here's pictures from the evening, first me with a very drunk Clare, then some of the kids at the party.


Teddy had another party at his house last night. It was pretty good, but I felt really really bad at the beginning of the evening. Basically, I was sitting down, and jumped up quickly to go and tell someone something, and accidenly knocked Katie's bottle of J20 that she was drinking, and it managed to chip a tooth. She was fine, and knew it was an accident, but I felt really bad. I kept apologising, and she kept saying it was fine. The rest of the evening I spent playing chess. I played and won four games, against Alex, Sam, Clare, and then Chris. It was Alex's third game of chess ever, so it would have been embarrasing if I didn't beat her, then I got Sam in checkmate after 30 seconds or something stupid. Clare was more difficult to beat, but she was slightly drunk, and didn't have a plan. Then Chris nearly had me. He took all my pieces but one pawn, my king, and a bishop. I managed to get my pawn to the other side and have a queen. In the last moments it was my three pieces against his five pawns, two queens, knight, and king, and I managed to corner him and checkmate him. The game must've gone on for an hour, and I just about won it. Look at me writing about chess games in detail. I was tired after that, and wasn't up to standard on Tekken, so left at about 11 to get some sleep.

Hanging out and stuff
Monday 12th I went round Teddy's to hang out. I took over our 8 octave keyboard to play some songs with him, with him on guitar, but we kinda just messed around and never got around to it. It was this day that I managed to beat him 5-2, but he didn't let me get a pic of it after 4 - 2. Here's the evidence:

Thursday last week, my sister had some friends over, so Mum and I went out shopping while they cooked and watched films and stuff. I didn't get anything, but it was good to spend time with Mum and chat.

I've been to the cinema four times in the space of two weeks. There have been a lot of good releases recently. 'Shrek Forever After 3D' was fantastic, really funny, and a good end to the series. Best line? "Do the roar." Then I saw 'Eclipse', and I'll be honest, I thought it was crap. I'm not a fan on the Twilight series, and this, in my opinion, was the worst film out of all three. Even the book was better. I didn't like it. But I absolutely loved 'Toy Story 3 3D' and 'Inception', but I'll write about those later.

Andd...
So, I've been going to the gym bit, working, playing the piano for hours at a time, and haven't been writing any of the fun stuff down. Sunday was a great day. I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting about Seminary, and people told me it was the best talk I'd ever given. I used the frame from a talk I did at Seminary Graduation, and padded it out with some more scriptures etc. I actually wrote the talk out in note form on the stand before the Sacrament was passed. In the talk, I spoke about how we all start at the same point in life, and it's the little decisions that can make big changes to our character and future etc. I actually used Heavy Rain as an analysis, how both me and Dad started at the same point, and then had completely different endings. I really enjoy talking.
That afternoon, we went out as a family down to the seafront for a walk. It was a beautiful sunny day, so warm, and we just walked for a couple of hours. I took my camera along and got some pictures. That's just about all for now.

D&C 76:22-24

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the bright hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father— That by Him, and through Him, and of Him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Playa Andaluza, Spain 2010



A five star Marriott break in Spain for a couple of days? Yes please. It was great to just chill out, relax, and enjoy the sun. The Marriott Vacation Club Playa Andaluza Resort is right on the beach, with luxurious apartments, four swimming pools, and everything you could want. It was incredible.

We got up really early Tuesday morning and flew Ryanair to Malaga Airport, Spain. Because of some fault with an electrical box or something, we were delayed an hour, just sitting waiting on the plane. They got it fixed and we were soon on our way - I'm just so glad it wasn't a problem with the left falangey. We had a bit of trouble driving to the resort, getting lost a couple of times, but we got there in the end, and it was beautiful.

Each morning we got up and enjoyed breakfast outside, before relaxing all day by the pool. On Wednesday I did an Abs workout in the afternoon then went to the gym, and then Thursday morning Charlotte and I did a body toning class - both with Jose, the personal trainer. He was really cool. No-one else turned up to the class on Thursday, so it was just us three in the studio. Apart from working out, we were just chillin' in the sun. It was so hot there, but I was determined to get my pale body out and get a tan. It worked.

We ate dinner in the restaurant in the resort two nights - which was honestly some of the best food I've ever eaten - and once out of the resort with Sue and Alan. If you ever go to the Playa Andaluza Resort, eat the bruscetta, then the roasted pork meal, and get the white chocolate cheesecake for desert. It. Is. Phenomenal. Maybe the best desert I've ever eaten.

On our last day - well, yesterday - we met up with Elder Siddiqui who's serving his mission in Spain right now. It was so good to meet up with him after sixteen months, and really cool to hear him talk fluent Spanish as well. We went out for lunch with him and his companion, and then talked. He's doing really well at the moment.

It was really so good to just lay on a sunbed in the heat and relax, reading, or listening to music. And there were so many beautiful girls there. I was in my element.
Here's some pictures of the holiday:






Here's the story: the day previous, Charlotte had got a picture with one of our waiters because he looked like someone he knew. As a joke, we thought it would be funny for me to get a pic with a waitress too. That is all. She was kinda cute though...

It was an excellent couple of days away...