Sunday, August 31, 2008

Knock, knocking, knocking on Saxons door

We've started refering to Owen as Grumpys 'shadow'. He will follow him everywhere round the house, even if Grumpy has only got up to put a dirty plate in the Kitchen Owen will still jump up and follow him in there and straight back again. Now admitally this used to be amusing but it's not so funny early in the morning. Mainly because he will follow Grumpy to the toilet and sit out on the landing waiting for him with his tail wagging as hard as possible. However his favourite place is sitting right in front of my door so I keep getting woken up by a loud knocking on my door which always confuses me as I'm never sure if it's Grumpy or Owen's tail!

Two big news items of the day. First is Bosslady has just announced that she is coming back to the UK to visit over Christmas. So along with Sian that's two people finally coming back to visit. All we need now is the other Sian and Nemesis and the set would be complete :-)

Second item, Top secret project two has finally come out into the light of day as it were. Top secret project two was a going away present I was making for Engineseer, whose efforts to slip away quietly into the night were blown good and proper by yours truely today. Basically it was a book and when I say book I mean a 'real book' not a scrapbook, of all of the photos I have taken over the past two years at various YSA activities. A nice little something for him to remember us by.

Church today was okay. It seemed very long though for some reason. I suppose my patientice wasn't helped by everyone going on about how good the new programmes were and how nice they looked. Of course I had nothing to do with these new programmes in fact I'm not sure where they came from and I never wanted to do the bulletins in a 'simple format' in the first place. sigh I guess I will just grin and bear it and keep faith that those highers up do know what their doing, even if the whole pictures not obivous to me.

Oh well it's the start of a new week tomorrow. Hopefully things will go smoothly as it's starting to get very busy as we are now only two weeks away from that time of year where I get to see that Sunday mornings do exist before 8am.


later folks!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Well at least someone found it amusing

We've just been watching NCIS which is one of my fav shows on the TV right now. However in tonights episode they came out with the line
" What's a blog?"
" Oh it something loosers put on the internet"
Of course Grumpy immediately starts cackling away and hasn't stopped giggling since.

Oh well It has been on of these evenings. It seems that the bishopric want the ward bulletin format to change. Instead of keeping with the very simply bulletin which they insisted I do they have now printed off 5000 yes you read that correctly programs for the bulletin information to be printed on. Now two things spring to mind here. One why they did this and not mention it to me at all and I have to find out three hand from the person who got these things printed and second are they expecting me to keep them all at home? I don't have room to keep 5000 of the flipping things. Not to mention Grumpy would probably hit the roof if I tried too. I guess I'll just have to have faith and trust that they know what their doing.

Asides from it being one of those evenings it's been a pretty quiet day. There was the usual shopping, fish and chips for lunch and not doing much all afternoon.

Not that interesting I know.

sorry :-)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sense of time, what's that then?

I have to admit that right now my sense of time is completly screwed up. Usually it's easy to keep track of the week, Monday comes it start of work. Friday comes end of work, Saturday is shopping and Sunday is church. Fairly easy isn't it? But the last two weeks I've had a week off, my Birthday, then conference, then back to work on Tuesday followed by a half day today and now it's the weekend again! When I woke up this morning I really had to think as to what day it is was!

Still hopefully it will be fixed soon before I go crazy. Or crazier, take your pick as applicable to your opinion :-)

The game I palyed againist Engineseer this afternoon was remarkably inconclusive and ended as a Draw. We're going to try and fit in another game before he leaves.

Top secret project one is coming along very nicely now and I should get the first chunk of it finished in time. Top secret project two has now arrived and I can't say a word about that one either or I will totally and I mean totally spoil the surprise. So keep your eyes peeled for the next couple of weeks for when I can talk about it!

Well it's the weekend now, time to relax and try to have some fun.

Later folks!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life after conference

Well that took me longer then I anticipated to write up about conference. It's amazing how much I managed to do that weekend. It was only when I was writing it all down that I realised just what I managed to fit in.

Of course on Tuesday it was back to earth as it were as I had to head back to work. Of course due to me taking a week of Holiday and the bank Holiday I was anticipating a whole lot of work to do. But I was wrong. Although I had a fair amount of stuff to wade through it wasn't that bad and I was able to get fairly caught up with things by the end of the Day which wasn't bad going at all I thought.

The benefits of clearing the garage out were made apparent on Tuesday night when Engineseer came round to drop some stuff off for us to store for a couple of weeks before his parents come over. Yes Geektown is now less geeky as Engineseer and Black Widow have moved out. However before they moved out they needed some help with some cleaning up. Rather a lot of cleaning up as a matter of fact. Worried that Engineseer would be up to the early hours I asked Grumpy if he would be willing to come and lend a hand and he did. We worked on cleaning the kitchen for him and we were quite impressed with ourselves when we finished. It was hard work but Engineseer treated us to some food so that made the work all the more satisfying :-)

Owen wasn't sure what to make of Engineseer and Black Widow when they came round and into our house. We realised later that they were actually the first visitors to the house since we've had Owen over a month ago. Which Grumpy in a deadpan voice said didn't reflect well on us if we didn't have any visitors in over a month!

Due to me getting the date of the conference wrong when I booked my Holidays several months ago I now have a random half days Holiday tomorrow. So I will be taking on Engineseer in a rematch at Warhammer world. Can my Orks win out a second time or will the Tau have there revenge? Be sure to turn in tomorrow...

Okay now this sounds like a TV show :-)

And we're also getting closer to that time of the year where thanks to work I get to see that 5am on a Sunday morning really does exist. Arrgghhhh.. Oh well at least it only comes once a year.

Right I guess that's all for today.

See you tomorrow folks (and I know at least some of you are still out there. Google Anayltics says so :-)


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

YSA Conference: Going Home

It was time to go home whether I liked it or not. As much as I had enjoyed myself it was time to load up the car and head to geektown. I packed my stuff and then went searching for my new aquaintences, making sure to say goodbye to each of them. Now I'm sure your wondering why I've been calling them aquaintences, well I'm not sure if in the time we had I could say for definite that I had become definite friends with any of them but I like to think I have laid some firm foundations that I could build on in future.

I headed for home after dropping my keys off. The advantage of driving by yourself is you can sing as loud as you want without getting funny looks from anyone else. Well in the car at least. It allowed me a moment of reflection about the weekends events. I had been worried to begin with but my fears had proved to be unfounded. I had, had a great time. If not the best time of any of the three conferences I had been too. Sure I would have loved for my close friends to be there, but being by myself had helped me put more effort into meeting new people and it had worked. I think I can safely say I met more new people at this conference then the past two. It seems the University Saxon who was able to speak to new people with confidence and make friends easier and be more confident in himself is still in here somewhere after all.

I pulled onto the drive at home exactly three days and five minutes after I had pulled out of it. After sorting out my gear I found a nice surprise. Not only had I made friends enough with someone to swap email addresses, someone else had added me to their facebook friends list. It seems I had made some new friends after all.

Thanks for staying with me folks. Thats as they say is that about YSA conference for another year

YSA conference 2008 day 4: The Beginning of the end

I woke up with a feeling of regret Monday morning. Not for anything that had happened but more regret that in a few short hours it would all be over. After a quick shower I headed out for my last breakfast.
However despite a generous serving by the staff even a fried breakfast seemed incapable of waking me up. Only have five hours sleep was not proving to be a good thing. I decided drastic times called for drastic measures and after a quick trip back to the car downed two cans of leaded pepsi. It started to have the trick and I began to wake up, of the caffine headache would probably come back and hit me later but c'est la vie.

I headed back to my room to begin packing whilst being past by several 18 year olds who from their conversation had been up all night but weren't tired. In fact they looked like they had downed a crate of red bull apiece. B'ahh, maybe I am getting old.

After the devotional the YSA spread out across the campus to do a quick service project by helping clear litter.
It was then back to the centre for the closing cermony. Which was ala "last night of the proms" The choir sang a song from each of the countries in the UK then the audience joined in. This round robbin was bought to a close by a rousing rendition of callled to serve.
We had barely finished singing when the choir conductor revealed a surprise as this guy entered the hall and played a incredible five minute set.
Following the bagpipe music everyone was up for a repeat ofthe round robin and everyone got to their feet, belting out the songs with passion and the final rendition of called to serve was simply to awesome to put into words.

Then suddenly with the closing prayer that was it.

It was all over

YSA Conference Day 3/4: The Logical Logics

When we want to be YSA can be surprisingly logical (no really) especially when it comes to getting our own way. This usually comes into play on the Sunday night of conference if the organisers say that we should all be in bed by Midnight on Saturday as that’s the start of the Sabbath, then on the stroke of midnight Sunday it’s the end of the Sabbath and it’s playtime : - ) I suppose the organiser could always choose to crack down on this one of these years but I doubt it. You can’t have it both ways and there’s probably nothing worse then a bunch of YSA who decide to be awkward.

Usually what happens is as soon as it's Midnight the YSA head out of the campus and hit the takeaways. So as it wasn't quite midnight I joined the general throng of YSA milling around waiting for the time to tick away.
Almost immediatly I missed my best chance to use a cheesy James bond like line ever. A girl was bounding around introducing herself to all and sundry. She came up to me and announced " Hi My names Totty!" I managed to keep a straight Face and placed it safe when I replied " Pleased to meet you" when what I intially was going to say was " Yes you certainly are." :-)
Now while we were hanging around a girl started putting on a display using these things. Now I say things as I have no idea what their called. The best way I can describe them is that they are two globes which contain lights that change colour, attached to two elastic bits of rope. It was an amazing display and she was very talented. I tried taking a photo with the flash but it didn't work too well. I turned the flash off and got the two great photos you can see above.

As the time ticked closer to Midnight the YSA started to drift up towards the main square. I was walking up there when a group of YSA walked round the corner. It was quite literally a guy with three girls on each arm! They were laughing and joking with their arms linked. The Guy was looking quite pleased with himself and I could understand why. I wouldn't have minded three girls on each arm. Heck I wouldn't have minded one but I digress.

They walked past me and were taking pictures of themselves. At which point one of the girls said how cool it would be if they got a picture of them from behind so the girls could see how their asses (their word not mine) looked like when they walked. So she turned to me and said
" Can you please take a picture of all our (pointing to all six girls) asses whilst we walk?"
I Paused then replied
" Well that's not the kind of request I was expecting to hear this weekend but far from for me not to help a lady"
At which point all the girls collapsed into hysterics and I wondered if I could do this without looking the creepyist guy ever.

Midnight came and we headed out for food. To our complete amazement Dominios choose to shut rather then stay open. So goodness knows how much money they lost out on with several hundred YSA looking for food.

After examing the options I only found food I liked in one take away. The completely orginal and I'm sure in no way inspired by KFC, Kruncy Fried chicken.

Heading back onto campus I ran into K and LP who were from the far end of the stake and sat with them to eat my food whilst they chomped away on Pizza. I smiled and considered the fact that this was definatly turning into the most interesting early mornings I had experienced.

A lot of YSA seemed to have energy to burn and several impromtu games started

A rendition of the pony game/song from EFY also started to mine and K's displeasure as it is a throughly annoying song. I pondered aloud what security made of that and our general hyperactive behaviour. Someone pointed out that they were probably used to strange behaviour as other conferences were held at the site on a regular basis. But I countered with that any weird behaviour at them was down to alchol. What was our excuse?

K was still hungry at this point and wanted Ice cream strangly enough. So we went to find a shop and actually found one still open at 1am in the morning. She went in and came out with a tub of Hagan Daz and strangly enough 100 hundred plastic spoons as they didn't sell them in bags which were any smaller.

We wandered back onto the site again and joined other YSA milling around. At which point a sing along started as a guitar had appeared.

Which included such varied songs as Sweet Home Alabama, Breakfast at Tiffanys and All the same things!
Pretty soon a sensation of burning eyes began to indicate to me how late it was. Or would that be how early it was? I've never sure at that time in the morning. Mindful of the fact that I would be driving home alone with no one to keep me awake I decided it was a good time to retire to bed. I think I got back to my room at around 2.30am and I was asleep almost the instant my head touched the pillow.

It had been a very, very good day

It's time for the Finale

For those of you just joined us your really, really late! You’ve missed parts one and two.

We left our hero (again that’s me, modest I know and I also appear to have developed the ability to talk about myself in the third person Can you smell what the Saxon is writing? : - ) Having survived a first day of westerns, a second day of some real lows and some highs and a third day of even greater highs. Battling through our hero has avoided some obstacles in his path in the form of dismissive girls, an injured shoulder, even nastier girls and over enthusiastic self defence practisers. He has reached some spiritual highs, faced down some demons and found himself making some new friends. Filled with a feeling of peace and a goofy smile fixed on his face can our hero survive his final challenge and make it through to day four, the challenge of the YSA in the Early hours….

Read on dear reader, read on…..

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tune in for the final installment

Tune in for the final installment tomorrow of the YSA 2008 conference report

YSA Conference Day 3 Evening: Ramming that foot on in there

Of course if my humour and charmingness (wait I don’t think that’s a word oh well) were on top form during dinner they seemed to fail me spectacularly whenever I spoke to RN (who used to go to uni in Leicester) sister N, and it wasn’t a case of me jamming my foot in my mouth it was more of a case of ramming both feet firmly down my throat. Which probably was to do with the fact she couldn’t get my sense of humour at all. R on the other hand found it quite hysterical to watch. Oh well at least someone was enjoying themselves.

Getting back to the Centre we quickly found ourselves some seats in time for the start of the Fireside. Elder Kerr one of the Area authorities and his wife were speaking which made an interesting (wow I’m using that word a lot) change from Elder Johnson. It was a brilliant Fireside and you could really feel the spirit from the very start when there was a wonderful musical item.

After the fireside it was time for the Testimony meetings which were a highlight for many last year and many people were looking forward to again this year. We were spilt into groups again and my group (the blues) found itself in the one of the smaller rooms downstairs.

Now for some reason I get very nervous speaking in front of large crowds in a ‘official sense’ as it were, which is one of the reasons I was getting nervous when I gave that talk a few weeks ago in Loughborough. I wasn’t intending to get up but the spirit was just so strong and my heart was just hammering away I just knew I had to get up and bear my testimony.

I’m not sure what I said but I can say I meant it. When I sat down I felt such a feeling of peace and I could still feel the spirit there and for the looks on everybody elses face I knew I wasn’t alone in feeling that peace and spirit. That might sound a bit cliché but I’ve been thinking for ages and I really can’t put into words any better what I was feeling at that point.

All too soon the Testimony meeting came to an end. I really wouldn't have minded if it went on for another hour (even with those uncomfortable seats). But our time was limited as the staff who ran the centre needed to get home. So a large group of YSA began to gather and talk outside. I ran into the American girl from dinner who was talking with N and started chatting with them. However our conversation did get somewhat curtailed as some of her friends came over and started to talk to her included one lad who proceeded to have a indepth conversation with her about the history of the EU. I couldn't believe my conversation had been interupted by the one guy at the conference who could outgeek me on history.
but after the day I had, had I couldn't get mad about it. I just went to my room giggling to myself about the irony. I had finally been outgeeked on something!
Although if I had gone round to corner to find a guy talking about GW to a girl in great depth I was perfectly ready to start a fight to the death complete with Kirk versus spock music in the car park. GW Geekettes are hard to find.
Of course the flaw with that plan was that I realised was that I didn't have the Kirk versus spock music. Of course I then realised that was far from the only flaw with that plan and again collapsed into a fit of the giggles whilst getting changed imaging the kind of the report that the organisers would have to write if that did happen!
I headed out of my room with a big ear to ear grin. Things were great.

YSA Conference Day 3 afternoon: Patiently Patient

But there was a little time before they began so I took the opportunity to sneak back to my room for a quick nap as based on what happened last year I was fairly sure I would be needing the sleep!

Later Walking back to the centre I ran into a few more of the acquaintances I had made from the previous afternoon and was able to have a few quick chats with them, which did really start to help my confidence as not only had they been speaking to me the previous day they were still speaking to me! Which did lead me to reflect that the me from university who found it quite easy to talk to people and make Friends was still in there somewhere. My closest friends might not be around but I was sure that was helping push me out of my comfort zone and talk to people. As I’ve said in previous years the worst they could do was tell me to push off and what do you know. I was right! That would have been the worst but the worst never happened :-)

It was pretty much a standard Sunday afternoon activities as there were several workshops running in various rooms. I decided to go to the one by Julian Jones thinking I had left plenty of time to get a good sit with ten minutes to spare. I got a nasty shock however when I got up to the conference room as it was already full to bursting. My guess is there was nearly 200 YSA already in there. As there was no microphone it was quite hard to hear him and lots of people started to leave deciding to come to the 2nd session. I however decided to play a waiting game and as people started to leave I was slowly able to move up the room. I actually ended up halfway up the room where it was a lot easier to hear him. Plus it was a good example in why patience is a good attribute.

After the workshops it was time for a ‘church history musical’ which sounded interesting even if I had no idea what it would entail. I was walking to the main hall when someone came up to me and introduced themselves and with that it meant that for the first time in three years I had actually met someone who was on the same corridor as me in the halls. He noticed I was alone and invited me to come and sit with him and his friends during the musical. Which was nice as its much more fun in these sort of activities to be able to sit with someone rather then by yourself.

The Musical was ‘interesting’ and for once I’m not using that term in a sarcastic way. It was a lot of fun as well as the members who were performing it were giving it there all. The guy from my hall asked me if I would ever take part in something like that. I answered with a grin that I knew where my talents lie and it’s sure as heck not in singing. I prefer to leave that to people who can actually sing. I did try to take some photos but the trouble was we were so far away from the stage they came out all blurry. Which was a shame as some of the costumes and inventiveness they had to use ( especially in portraying Goliath) were very good (and very funny).

After the musical it was time for Dinner and one plus side of not having any close friends there was I didn’t have to wait for anybody so I was able to tear across campus to the dining rooms as fast as possible letting me get very near the front of the queues. Of course with it being a Sunday and all the guys in suits and white shirts and all the girls in their Sunday dresses the two food choices we had were possibly the worst ones you want. That’s right we had a choice of Pasta with Red Source or Roast Beef with Gravy. Which meant most YSA were eating whilst leaning as far forward as possible and also as carefully as possible.

R was behind me a few places in the queue so came and sat with me for dinner which was nice as I was getting fed up of eating by myself. So we had a good chat over our dinner as we swapped stories and see if we knew any YSA the other knew, a YSA version of six degrees. He asked after Traveller and Sian again and said he hadn’t seen Sian in nearly two years. When I mentioned she had gone to the USA two years ago he smiled and laughed saying that was at least one question answered.

We were then joined by two very nice girls from down south who were part of the choir who decided to sit with us and introduced themselves. One was American too. So what was a really good dinner turned into an even better one as nothing improves dinner like having Female company.

I was feeling quite pleased with myself by this point as I was starting to find it easier and easier to talk to new people by this point as my old confidence seemed to be coming back. And for once my terrible sense of humour seemed to be improving as I was telling some funny stories and the girls were laughing and I’m sure it was with me not at me. Which after the events of Saturday was especially nice. So I’d like to think I made a good impression and was charming. Of course I might be totally wrong but for once let me keep my delusions

YSA Conference Day Day 3 morning: Dressing Down and Dressing up

I was awake a long time before my alarm went off. Only having one pillow was really starting to get uncomfortable and it wasn’t helping my shoulder pain in the slightest. But on the plus side whilst laying that (As it was too early for Breakfast) I was able to reflect on my own time at university and feel immensely grateful that my rooms in my Uni’s halls of residence were much nicer and bigger. The room I was in was okay for three days but I think I would probably go mental if I had to live in them for a whole year.

I wondered across to breakfast in some ‘smart clothes’ i.e a polo shirt, trousers and shoes rather then Jeans and t-shirt as it was Sunday morning after all. I wondered if I show wear my suit but decided against it as I would be wearing it for the rest of the day plus wearing it whilst trying to eat a cooked breakfast with ketchup and beans would have been asking for trouble of the highest order.

Of course when I arrived in the Dining Hall I felt a little underdressed as lots of guys were already in there wearing suits and ties. Fortunately a group came in just behind me which included several girls wearing sweat shirts over their pyjamas and you can’t get more underdressed then that.

Oh right well you can but lets not go there shall we.

After Breakfast I had yet more free time as there was no Priesthood session this year, so the conference session didn’t start until 10am. When I wondered across to the centre for the session I took great pains to keep an eye out for our Stake President so I could try to avoid him before the session as I didn’t want to get caught out like CP did last year.

It was a interesting conference session as rather then two or three ‘long talks’ there were several ‘short talks’ instead. I also noticed that without Elder Johnson there, the Manchester Stake President was presiding.

Halfway through the session the hall started to reverberate with the very loud sound of rain hitting the halls roof. It had been turning cloudy earlier but it now looked like the weather had definitely taken a turn for the worse!

After the session finished it was time for Lunch. Most of the guys in the hall mindful of the problems with queuing the previous day legged it outside as fast as possible. It was almost a case of, *Blink* and every priesthood holder in the room vanished.

Now you have to admit that would be one heck of a magic trick.

It seemed the organisers had learned from the previous days lunch and spilt the boxes into several ‘smaller tables’ which meant everyone wasn’t having to queue in the same place, which meant things went a lot more smoothly. I looked outside to see that the rain had stopped as soon as it had started and blue skies were once more overhead. The Grass was too wet to sit on but you could lean against the wall and have your lunch that way.

It was at this point I met another next acquaintance. R who was attending his last conference as it was ‘retiring’ from the YSA ( he’s 31). We had quite a pleasant Lunch chatting and when he noticed I was from Loughborough asked after Sian . I found this quite amusing as I don’t know what it is about Loughborough but lots of people seem to know the other YSA (or former YSA) from the ward. So I seemed to be rapidly turning into the “ Do you know guy” which was a least a better thing to be known as opposed to say “ Geeky looser in the corner by himself” I’m sure you’ll agree.

With Lunch finished it was time for the Afternoons activities.

The YSA Conference report part 2

For those of you just joining our story. Your late! Where were you yesterday?


Okay a quick recap when we left our Hero ( that's me by the way, did I mention I was modest too) at the conference it was the end of Saturday. Alone and far from home, our hero had taken struggled and reeled from two nasty blows but with help from a unexpected corner he had got back up and kept going. Making the exciting discovery he could infact talk to new people without boring them to Death, he had finished the day on a high and was keyed up and ready for day three.

and now the story continues!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tune in tomorrow

Tune in tomorrow folks, for the Day 3 and day 4 report from this years YSA Conference

YSA Conference Day 2 Evening: Dictionary to the main halls stat!

I was heading back to my room when I came across a group of YSA who were messing around in the main square, one of the guys was teling people whilst pointing to one of the girls

" This girl is evil, oxidise her, oxidise her!"
I paused and looked at him
" You want us to expose her to oxygen?" ( and before anyone jumps down my throat I know thats probably not the right definition) The guy paused
" Wait what?"
" Your asking us to oxidise her?"
" What word do I mean?"
" Try ostracise"

I walked away with a grin on my face pleased that maybe, just maybe I can teach the younger YSA a thing or two. I was almost at my hall when I ran into E one of the students who goes to Loughborough University and will be back at the end of September. She had managed to massivily confuse me the previous night because she has grown her hair and died it blonde so she looks completely different and so I didn't recognise her so I had no idea who this blonde girl was walking down the road towards me waving at me. I met a couple of her friends so that made five new aquaintences in one day! I think more then the other conferences combined. Maybe I could get the hang of this talking to new people and making friends. Plus they were talking to me back which to be honest was a much needed boost of confidence at that point.

After a quick chance it was time for dinner. I got into the queue for the dining room quite near the front fortunatly as it grew very rapidly behind me!

It seemed that this year they had decided to forgo the traditional BBQ and go with a 'standard' meal. Now I'll say 'standard meal' because to be perfectly honest I still have no idea what it was. It was some sort of pasta something, but beyond that I have no idea.

I was only able to eat a bit of it though as it was not good.

With two hours to spare before the start of the ball though I did have a option and yes you guessed it. It was time for another visit to Engineseers brand of generic high street resturant. Which also meant I had two free glasses after that visit. But again as usual I digress.

It did also show a interesting difference between Males and Females. A lot of girls were fretting that two hours was not enough time to get ready in time. Me I was able to go to get something to eat, read a book, take a shower, polish my shoes and still have ten minutes spare to get ready. Mind you I'm not sure why I spent all that time polishing my shoes as people don't really look at shoe do they, but at least I was making a effort.

I got to the dance and the band had already started exactly on time. The refreshments for the Summer ball were 'interesting' in as much as they weren't your typical refreshments. Someone had obivousily decided as YSA we wanted something that tasted nice and would give us lots of energy.

So the trays of refreshments were just trays of sweets ( best comic book guy voice) best refreshments ever!

In previous years they have hired dodgems for just outside the centre. This year they hired a big wheel instead!

The ball was a lot of fun as always with a live band and lots of dancing

The only downside was it finished at 11pm. They were still very strict about wanted us all in bed by midnight! But at least this year they didn't quote scripture.

Just before the end of the Ball I noticed the guy I had met in the self defence class was sitting at the top of the steps in the sports centre foyer clinging onto the railing and looking like he was about to burst into tears. So I sat down and had a chat with him, ironically it turned out he had many of the same fears and worries I had. Talking about not meeting a girl, how he thought people were judging him and he was running out of time. I was a bit surprised he had that viewpoint as it was his first conference and he was only 22. I managed to cheer him up a bit when he mentioned that he was going to BYU and he was worried as he was English no one would talk to him. I pointed out that based on previous experiences with English people going to BYU he was more likely going to have a problem with too many people trying to talk to him and was going to be beating them off with a stick.

I made my way back to my room feeling on quite a high, despite two serious knocks I had made several new aquaintances, been able to help someone else and was feeling very focussed for the day ahead after the devotional at the end of the ball as a guy had sung an amazing song and the spirit in that room was just so powerful when he had finished

Things were good

YSA Conference 2008 day 2 afternoon: unexpected support is always best

I was pleased to see that the organisers had seemed to learn from the problems of last years lunches with the ripped bags and crayfish and rocket sandwiches. It was quite literally a pick and mix style lunch. You would go down to queue pick a cob out of one crate which all had very simply fillings, then a drink, bag of crisps etc. Simple, effective and everyone got they wanted for lunch.

What I hadn't banked on was how hard it was eating alone. It seemed to be everywhere I looked that people were greeting friends with grins and hugs and sitting large groups and there was me sitting by myself.

Tap dance had said to me earlier in the week after I had expressed some concerns about going by myself and she put it bluntly that if I wasn't enjoying it I could always come away early. And I did start to think of that at this point as the incident with the girl scoffing and being dismissive of me was bothering me at this point.

However if I thought that was bad it wasn't nearly as bad as what happened next.

In the afternoon there were three workshops and we had signed up to them the night before. I had decided for my first workshop to try Massage as I have done it for the past two years. When I got there the class was overcrowded as always and as the teacher was late a girl was trying to get everyone organised ready for when she arrived. Myself and another guy didn't have a partner(it was boy/girl) so asked two girls to go with us and choose who they wanted to go with. At which point they started to fight over the other guy as neither wanted to come with me. This fighting went on for a good 15-20 seconds at which point my heart seemed to sink lower with every passing second as this was beyond humilating, especially when the loosing girl decided to leave the classroom. I just sat there with no idea what to do. At which point another girl came in and the organiser pointed us towards each other. I was really ready as this point to call it quit's if this girl looked even slightly unhappy because with no friends, being scoffed at and the two girls fighting I had almost had enough even with the postive stuff that had happened. I have low self esteem at the best of times and I really didn't want what I had left to be wiped out.

However it was at these point that I was taught an important lesson about not giving up and when you need help it will come from the most unexpected places.

The girl came across with a huge grin and introduced herself and I noticed that on her tag it said her homeward was cambridge but before I could ask she beat me to the punch as she noticed my ward and asked " Do you know traveller?" which it sounds stupid but that one question made me feel a hundred times better, because if she was friends with Traveller she had to (and for want of a better term) be one of the 'good ones, because there's no way Traveller would ever choose to be friends with anyone who would be nasty, mean, thoughtless or cruel on purpose. I couldn't help but sit there and smile through the workshop as I realised that maybe none of my friends were there but one of them had still helped me (in a way) when I needed it most

After that the workshop went really, really well and on the plus side after three years I think I've finally got the hang of the hand massages.

After that workshop ended I made my way to the next workshop when I made another new aquaintance ( which was to prove important later) a recently returned RM ( returned missionary for my non LDS readers) from Preston stake. This was also a really good workshop aparts from one small incident where this guy got a bit too keen when we were practising ways to break a choke hold and I couldn't break it and he didn't break it and actually put more pressure on. Fortunately I managed to break it moments before I had to use a actual move on him to get it to break it immediately as it was realyl starting to hurt. I won't go into details of what I thought I would have to do but would have entailed me have to use my knee and trust me he would have broken the grip instantly. To this guys credit he was extremely apologetic when he realised he had gone too far. Although the coughing afterways was a big giveaway to that too.

The last workshop was capture the flag which was also a lot of fun. Some of the other workshops going on around the site included frisbee, football, an assault course, laser tag and art attack to name a few.

I returned back to my room feeling a lot more positive about things as despite having a bad start to the afternoon things had massivily improved.

I may have been knocked down twice but I was back on my feet and still swinging

YSA Conference 2008 Day 2 morning: Dancing fool

I had decided to leave my alarm clock on the far side of the room Friday night and it was a good thing that I did as otherwise I might have just rolled over, turned it off and gone straight back to sleep. But as I had to get out of bed to turn it off I avoided the temptation of going back to sleep. I took a shower wondering why I was paying for the privilage of having to get up at 7.30am on a Saturday in order to get breakfast. But then again I am usually a bit grumpy that early in the morning anyway. Heading out for breakfast I did see something that cheered me up.

Despite us having terrible weather forecast blue skies had actually appeared. Maybe it was going to be a good day after all. I wandered across to one of the resturants taking my time as of course I didn't have anyone to meet. It was the usual breakfast of lots of fried stuff which tasted better then it looked.

I then had even more spare time as the Saturday devotional didn't start until 10am!

The devotional was interesting. Especially as the speaker asked for 'audience particiption' by getting us to talk to people sitting next to us. There were some odd questions especially the one where we had to say what kind of 'sheep we were'. Non LDS readers trust me it will take far too long to explain.

Oh and it's been three years and those chairs in the centre are not getting any more comfortable!

After the Devotional it was time for our first group activities. As I was part of the Blues our first activity was 'date around'

The basic idea is everyone pairs up and a question is displayed on the screen. You then ask each other the question and discuss it. Then a statement flashes up saying " Move if....." some examples were, you've seved a mission, have a brother, been on Holiday this year etc. If this statemet doesn't apply you stay talking to the person asking questions, until a statement applies to one of you.

Sounds simple right?

Well the main problem we had was due to some YSA not listening to instructions half the green group crashed our date around workshop/event/thingie, I can't remember the official title right now, but this meant we had far far more boys then girls . Which meant quite often you were talking to guys instead of girls. Which was fine until I ended up taling with one guy and the question was " What's the msot attractive feature of the person opposite you" If it had been two girls having to answer that question I'm sure there would have been able to do it with no problems. With two guys, there was a long silence before I finally said " This is going to be a akward conversation isn't it?" He nodded and suggested we answered the last question again instead. The only other thing which happened was that people were supposed to be moving around fairly but when one girl was moving around and was supposed to come to me next as I was next in line. she looked at me, scoffed and walked past me dismissivly. I was left standing there like a idiot by myself. I simply tried to grin and not let it bother me but I didn't feel it was a good sign for my chances of meeting many new people at that point.

After date around it was time for our next activity. Ball room dancing. Now in this case not knowing anyone there was an advantage as if I did make a fool of myself there was no I knew to do it in front of!

Fortunatly this class when a lot more smoothly and I had a lot of fun. Plus I met my first really new person who I talked to in depth. What I mean by that is I had exchange plesantries with a couple of people the night before including a group of lads who had been trying to open a door using envelopes, not realising there were keys inside the envelopes they were supposed to be using! F who you can see in the photo below dancing with his partner who had come to the conference from France. It is no understatement to say he was exceptionally smooth with the ladies.

We did the Waltz and the Foxtrot and I was very pleased with myself as I didn't stomp on my partners feet once. What do you know? I do have some rhytum after all.

After dancing it was time for Lunch

YSA Conference 2008 day 1: Get rolling, rolling, rolling!

The route to conference is a fairly familiar one to me now after two years of attending and it's basically the same route I used to travel to get to university. So when I set out I knew there were going to be several 'points' that could cause me problems and would also be a good indicator to me in my own head depending on how long it took me to hit each point as to how the journey was going. I knew I could get to Manchester alright my main concern however was if I would be able to find the campus when I got there!

Luckly as I didn't have anybody with me this year I didn't get stuck in a traffic jam once. It got really slow in places but I didn't come to a complete stop at all and when I got to Manchester I managed to find the campus with no problems what so ever.

However on that point I must admit it was far more luck then judgement.

Anyway arriving at the site I set abour registering and noticed three immediate changes from last year. Firstly we had meal tickets, secondly rather then those stupid wrist bands we had passes to hang around our necks which displayed our name, ward, and the conference title and theme on the ribbom, and lastly we had ti sign up officially for activities with someone taking out names by computer rather then us just writing our names on sheets of paper on the walls.

After finding my room and dumping my stuff I realised as I had left early to account for traffic, and there was none I had masses of time before the first activity started. This couple with the fact that none of my close friends had come meant I was at a bit of a loose end and I had only been there ten minutes!

I decided that the best use of my time would be to find something to eat as there is no 'meal' on Fridays. So I went out the back of the camous onto the main roads to check out my choices from the local takeaways. After much contemplation (probably too much but there you go) I decided that I would stick with something familiar and headed down to the generic High street resturant ( the brand Engineseer works for) and get myself some food. I also got a free glass too but I digress :-)
Heading back to my room I was able to get in a quick nap before the first activity started. It was a wild west evening, with lots of different games. I have to admit it was quite different to what they've done before and it was quite fun.

Time started to tick by and the hall began to gradually fill up with more and more YSA. I was starting to get nervous at this point as I hadn't seen a familiar face at all. I knew a couple of people from the other end of the stake but they hadn't arrived which was quite unlike them. I was getting worried I might have no one to talk to at all!

Strangely enough after this however a lad suddenly stopped me in the corridor with the line

" We've met before but you won't remember me" then he paused and said nothing else which lead me to wonder what the heck he was expecting me to say with an opening line like that. He then continued " I used to date R McR. Least said about that" and he made a cutting motion across his neck " Oh you work for that GW things don't cha?" I nodded " Oh good, well I won't tell any girls what you do for a living. Wouldn't want to destroy what little chances you may have would we? See you later" and with that he disappeared up the corridor still leaving me none the wiser as to who he was, but starting to see probably why I had forgotten him.

Finally some friendly faces arrived but far fewer then I was expecting. ( four girls, 1 lad) and they all had exteneded groups of friends anyway so disappeared very quickly. Leaving me to the realisation that as I didn't know anybody from outside of the stake and the people I did know a bit had their own friends to hang out with I might be in for lonely weekend.

I headed back to my room briefly at this point to swallow of a couple of painkillers as I hurt my shoulder. I almost decided to stay that but after having a frank exchange with mysef I realised that if this weekend was going to be any fun at all I had to get back out there and throw myself into things otherwise I would really be on my own all weekend.

I got back to the hall in time to see the end of the line dancing which was a incredibily surreal sight I have to admit especially as they were dancing to 'modern music' which did make me wonder just how strong those painkillers were and if I had started hallucinating. However I continued to give it a try and kept moving around the hall joining in the activities and trying to make the most of things. even if the hotdogs they were serving were somewhat cold.

The western dance dissolved into a 'regular' one with rather loud music which did make me look round to see if Elder Johnson was around, but I found out from someone he wasn't coming this year which was a surprise.

A guy passed me and looked at my name tag. He suddenly stopped and said
" Are you French?
" Umm no"
At which point the girl with him, ( who was rather nice) said " Shame, I'm looking for a Frenchman" and walked off, leaving me to curse the fact that the one time learning French might have come in handy had come years after I had forgotten it.


The dance ended at 11pm followed by a devotional where we all had to sit on the floor of the sports hall which meant it felt less like a devotional and more like a school assembly.

After it had ended I decided to get an early night as I didn't know anyone around and now was not the time to start trying to talk to people. I headed back to my room to realise that once again I had forgotten to bring a extra pillow.

Oh well,

I felt that the next day could only go onwards and upwards

Are you sitting comfortably? then I'll begin.

I'm baccckkkk...... Did you miss me?

Anyway for those readers who might have started reading after last years conference and have no idea what's about to happen, allow me to explain. For the past two years after conference I have written a indepth report of what I got up to whilst at the conference. Be warned this will go on for a while. Use the YSA conference label to see my reports from previous years.

Anyway before I start on this years report I thought I would briefly review my points from the end of last years report.

Take some cordinal and more munchies. Will help with the social aspect of things. I managed this one too. and we all now know Fraggles weakness Mwah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

be more tolerent. I think/hope I managed this one.

be more open and talk to new people. The worst they can do is to tell me to sod off.

Get footwear that doesn't collapse on me No sign of damage to my shoes what so ever.Learn to ceroc. Oops didn't manage to to that one.beg,

Good Things :A still healthy appreciation for just how unbelievably cool the Leicester YSA are and I would not change them for anything in the world.

I fulfilled my goal and talked to someone outside of the stakeI took part in all of the activities I could.weekend away from everythinga good oppotunity to recharge the spirtual batteries.

bad things :again I didn't make friends enough with a new person to exchange email or mobile numbers but at least I am making some steps in the right direction.Again I let my shyness over ride some urges to speak to people but it wasn't as bad as last year.lets work on these for next year!

Okay after that brief review it's time to start. And as a warning I'll say now, you will be here sometime...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Break in transmission

Well folks after waiting for it for months that time is finally here. In little over an hour I will be hitting the road and heading up to Manchester for this years conference. So this does mean that for the first time this year there will be a break in transmission. Don't visit on Saturday or Sunday as there will be no blog posts. Tune in on Monday for a full break down of how the weekend went and what I got up to.

See you on Monday folks!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's almost time

Well the evening has passed in a freny of organisation and not a little cursing under my breath as I have scoured the house looking for bits and pieces I need for conference. I can always find stuff in this house until I actually need it. Argghhhh....

Well at least I'll have sometime to finish packing tomorrow morning. The current plan is to leave here mid afternoonish to try and beat the worst of the traffic and also allow myself plenty of time to get there. My main concern is getting lost as becasue I'll be on my own I'll be trying to remember the directions and drive at the same time.

Anyway Lunch was very good as Grumpy took me off to a carvery for lunch which was excellent. Although I didn't half feel FUFTB by the end of it. Which is a family saying which means Full up and Fit to Burst!

Secret project two is now complete. Well almost I've just got to wait for it to get here, so that means I can direct all my energys to secret project one. Which I should be able to reveal all about by the end of September.

In my post yesterday I mentioned about something that happened at last years conference
""and the use of scripture to get people to go straight back to there rooms after the ball on Saturday"
and Drat commented that he wondering if I could give a more indepth explanation. In case anyone is wondering there is no scripture that says you should go straight to bed after a ball finishes. As far as I can remember and this was a year ago so I am a little fuzzy on details, the organiser was quoting scriptures with regards to the Sabbath day and how it should be kept holy. He used this as a way to say we should all go back to our rooms and be in bed by mid night as it would then be the sabbath and we would not be keeping it holy if we stayed around to the early hours of the morning outside talking etc. A lot of people did go straight back to their rooms as it's kind of hard to argue with scripture.

Of course this did back fire on the organisers as everyone decided that if the stroke of midnight Saturday was the start of the Sabbath, the stroke of Midnight Sunday was the end of Sabbath at which point they ditched their clothes and went over the road to hit the takeaways. Apparently the dominos stayed open two hours past it's closing time.

We did get a further email from the organisers in relation to the one we recieved yesterday which expanded that any ysa caught trying to sneak into the conference would be escorted from the site and their bishops informed.

That stick their using just doesn't get any smaller does it folks.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another year gone

Well another year has come and gone and yes that means sports fans that it's once again my Birthday. So I'm now up to the big 27 which means I have three more years to leave YSA 'voluntarily' before I'm kicked out.

Anyway, I got a Ipod nano, A CD, a game for my DS lite, a History book and strangly enough a pair of slippers from the Dog complete with Birthday card as well. Well stranger things have happened round it before and no doubt will continue to do so :-)

I went to Lunch with Tap Dance to Frankie and Bennies and then to play a couple of games of ten pin bowling. Which I'm afraid to say didn't go as well as I hoped as Tap Dance beat me on Both games, the first wasn't so bad as she only won by three points but in the second game she resoundly trounched me by nearly 40 points!

Grumpy is taking me out to Lunch tomorrow which will be nice as I don't get to go out to eat that often so twice in one week is good going!

I was also surprised to get a email from the conference organisers today. They seem to have learnt from last year by making some adjustments such as moving scripture study from 6am to 7am ( I still think most YSA will not be getting up for it mind you), but one of the main things which put people off last year was the for want of a better term 'strictness' of the new leaders which seemed to be more on par with a youth camp rather then YSA. For example the leaders buzz phrase of " To some obidence is still an irritant" did get very annoying, and the use of scripture to get people to go straight back to there rooms after the ball on Saturday are two of the worst examples. Engineseer and I were talking this week and we hoped that the leaders would adopt a more softer approach this year as their more experienced and would realise that YSA are not youth and we don't (most of the time) need such heavy handedness. Because it did seem to put a lot of people off and too much bad word of mouth would kill an activity like that. YSA want a fun weekend with their friends.

However based on this email it seems that rather the relaxing they might be tightening up even more. The email initially says
"I've been asked by the organisers of the YSA convention to inform you that there is no provision for YSA to attend part of the convention. You either pay for the whole thing or you cannot attend. "

which is fair and I can understand it. However he then gives a quote from an email he recieved regarding the subject
"The reason for this is that we owe a duty to those YSA who have paid. Remember, the Lord's Church is a church of order. We would ask you to remember that we all took a covenant with the Lord, when we were baptised, to be honest in our dealings. Any YSA who try to get into Conference without paying or any YSA that tries to help a YSA sneak in is behaving in a manner that is in contrary to that sacred covenant."

now before anyone jumps down my throat in no way am I disagreeing with this statement in it's 'truthfulness' for want of a better term. The writer is correct. However in terms of subtleness it's probably on a par with having a large piano dropped from a very great height.

Oh well,

I guess we'll see how things go when I get there.

later folks

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Waaagghhh what it is good for?

Well being on Holiday and all Engineseer and I decided that we should get together to play a game of Warhammer 40,000. As for once we both had a Day off on the same day. So figure cases in one hand and rulebooks in the other we set off for HQ where we were going to use the gaming hall there. And yes ironically these did mean on one of my days off I would still be technically going to work.

Neither Engineseer and I had played for a while so with both of us using new armies and there being new rules, this was going to be a interesting game. I would be fielding my Orks for the first time whilst facing them across the board would be the technological might of Engineseers Tau Hunter Cadre.

This is my Ork Horde on the table next to our ready for me to begin (best emperor palaptine impression) "deploying my troops" or Boyz as their more commonly known

With both armies ready and deployed it was time to begin
The Ork Horde begins their long march towards the enemy.
The Tau send in a fast attack to try and break up the Ork advance
But it's swiftly beaten off by massed firepower

The Ork charge hits home
Whilst the Lootas draw bead on the Tau armour

With the Tau Flank starting to collapse
The Ork Army pushes straight into the centre of the Lines to keep the pressure on!
Orks don't do subtle and turning up to fight in a battlewagon is certainly not subtle! But you won't have make the other boyz jealous!
So after a long and drawn out fight in turned out that my Ork horde has just narrowly beaten Engineseers Tau. However it could have gone either way and I'm sure Engineseer will be wanting a rematch at some point. So time for the Boyz to get some new toys I think. How about some deffkoptas?
Anyway it was a very good day and we had lots of fun. Even if some people consider it sad and geeky :-) That's totally wrong....
It's not sad in the least :-)
later folks!