Wednesday, August 31, 2011

National YSA Conference 2011: Friday Night

The first and biggest change for me ( Asides from the conference moving from Manchester to Nottingham of course) was that that the trip to get there and back would be considerably shorter. It also meant that I didn't have to go quite so OTT on packing because lets face it, if I forgot anything it wouldn't be too hard to come home.

This shortened trip meant that I would not be using Grumpys Car this year, but rather my ever faithful battered little KA. OF course room would be a lot more tigher but it's not like I would be taking anyone with me again ( that's a point to remember for later). Plus it seemed a little fitting in a slightly bizarre as only I would remember this kind of way, as my very first trip to conference was also in my KA.

Now I had tried to get the Friday and the Tuesday after conference off, but was unfortunatly twarted by the holiday diary being full ( the failure to grab Tuesday would especially come back to bite me in the rear). I had even tried to get only a couple ofhours off but that failed as well. However due to some various shift switching, working late and some good old fashioned working through a break I managed to leave two hours before my usual finish time without using up any holiday.

So Bonus :-)

After a quick swing by home to load up ( and even quicker early tea because as far as I knew there was no food places nearby the uni ala manchester). It was time to be off. Now the trip was very quick as even though it was a Bank Holiday I kept to the back roads which I anticipated would be clear ( hey just occasionally I can think things through).

It was also very bizarre as 99% of the trip there was exactly the same route I travelled when I went to my old job. So I got to the campus and.............

promptly got lost. (wow flashback to first conference :-) Because you see I had completely failed to anticipate just how big this campus was when compared to Manchester. I spent nearly ten minutes driving around before finally deciding to break the male stereotype and stopped to think about directions. One quick log into facebook later and I had a clue that I needed to look for the conference centre. So I struck out in that direction wondering if this was right as all I seemed to see was students, students and erhh more students.

But then I saw some YSA. Now I didn't know these YSA and I know it sounds stereotypical but I instantly knew they were YSA when I saw them. So I decided to follow them and what do you know, they lead me straight to the conference centre. ( some sort of metaphor there me thinks :-)

So despite setting out early I was still there a hour after registration was supposed ot open ( see I used suppose there you know where this is going already don't ya?) Well as it turned out, although I had kept to the clear roads, the person with the wrists bands had not. So by the time he had arrived and we queued up, I got to the front of the queue and registered. I had been there nearly a hour and a half! As people poured in, I started to feel slightly depressed at the lack of familiar faces, all the very young faces and if I'm honest a tiny bit jealous as I watched groups of people meet up with their groups of friends, laughing and hugging each other.

It was at this point I decided to tell my mental voice to shut up as I was going to get nowhere if I started off with that attitude.

So after collecting my keys I headed to my hall where I would be staying for the next several days. Which I was pleased to find was maybe a 100 metres top from the conference centre ( hey don't tut I'm getting old, short distances are nicer). Anyway I was expecting a pretty standard room, but had a couple of surprises, firstly we got a kettle and a Fridge! Plus the bathroom was one of these completely wet floor ones, i/e no shower tray which I was sure was going to prove interesting.

So firmly bedded in, I decided to headback to the conference centre, to see what was going on, plus it would give me a chance to play with my new toy ( also important later, hope your paying attention).

However it was at this point I got two further surprises. Firstly that there were girls in the hall. Girls in the hall, staying in rooms in the same hall. EEHHHHHH!!!!! What was going on? I found out later that they were only the girls from the organising commitee as they had put them all in the same hall.

Secondly was I ran into the first two people from Leicester stake. Not literally run into mind you as one of the girls called out to me in her "soft gentle tones", from nearly 50 metres away to get my attention to find out where to go and register.

So into the conference centre I went, there was still a dissappointing lack of people I knew but hey ho. I started wondering around testing out my new toy in some slighty more challenging settings then I had been using it previously. I quickly came across the falconery display and was able to get some great shots despite the rapidly failing light.

Mind you that falcon did seem to be eying up some of the YSA who took turns to hold it and not in a I think your pretty nice and I want to date you kind of way.

So wandering back through the centre I ran into the married couple who were overseeing the conference, who were none other then our own stake president and his wife! I showed a few of the shots I had taken to him as he hadn't seen what was going on outside. At which point he promptly asked that as they didn't have a proper photographer due to budget issues if I would mind taking photos for use in the slide show at the end of the weekend ( see I told you the trailer would be explained that's the slide show in question.) Despite being slightly nervous at this prospect I decided to accept.

So thus I became the unofficially offical photographer.

So this conference was already turning out rather differently and it wasn't just down to the change of location.

Anywho walking around the upper levels taking some photos over the edge, playing with settings and lenses, I was having a rather fun ( if lonely time) but all that was about to change as I suddenly heard someone happily call out my name to grab my attention she had clocked me on the floor above. Yes Phoenix ( there's a long and complicated story behind her code name which I might explain one day it's on the same line of thinking as Drat!) and gang had arrived. I was especially pleased to see her as well she has one of the most fantastic spirits of anyone I have ever met. She just has this way of lifting your spirit and your mood.

So I spent sometime catching up with her before moving back into the main hall to see one of the main events of the night. Medieval dancing, which was just so fun. It also demonstrated the fun of the sports mode on my camera ( it takes a lot of shots in a quick sequence) as it provided some great shots. Among which lot of people caught in mid swing and one guys eyeline not being quite where it should have been when he bowed :-)

Anyway with that it was time for the opening exercises which although different were also comfortingly familiar. One of the comments made by the chairman of the commitee was to encourage people as he had done the previous year to focus on serving other YSA and it would be the best conference ever.

It was at this point I glanced down at the camera around my neck and decided that maybe taking photos would be a form of service ( in a slightly bizarre way maybe but still service none the less) and decided to concentrate on that. Maybe the chairman was right.

You know at that point, I had no idea just how right he was going to turn out to be

Get Ready

Okay folks it's time to settle in, grab a drink and get comfy as for the sixth and final time let us begin what by now is a yearly tradition on this blog.

Why yes it is of course the usual in depth read of everything that went on at this years national YSA conference.

And you'll even find out what the deal is with that trailer.

So get ready..... Coz here we go..............

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Conference video

Break in transmission

Sorry for the extended break in transmission folks. It's been a completely hectic week especially with the YSA conference weekend.

And regular readers will know what that means....

Yes I'm am currently writing up my usual indepth and extended opus and will be posting it shortly.

Until then please have a look at the short video in the next post I'll be well posting.

For those of you who know me on facebook you might find some of the pictures familiar. But how did they get there?

Well there in lies a tale of the dangers of showing iniative. :-)

Stay tuned folks, the full story is coming.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Down at the bottom of the garden


Well I decided to try playing with my new toy out in the garden this afternoon and check out some of the different settings and effects I could get with the different lenses.

The last thing I discovered was that after taking all of the pictures I found that the image quality was at set on the lowest setting. So although the pictures have come out quite well they could have been better. Oh well, c'est la vie. I know'll better for next time.

First up a flower using the zoom lenses.
Same flower using the zoom lenses but trying out the camera's black and white setting

and finally the same flower still using the zoom lenses but changing the shutter speed.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

3 decades and counting

Well considering I'm now officially even older it's not been a bad day at all.

Oh who am I kidding it's been a great day. Especially as I got a totally unexpected present. A rather nifty and very nice digital SLR. Which I haven't stopped playing with at every spare chance I've had all day as it's fantastic ( and I still can't quite believe I have one :-)

Anyway of course slightly lacking in subjects once the battery was charged, I decided to try and get one of Owen. And so this is officially the first photo from my new camera.

I'm not sure if Owen knew this mind but he's looking rather serious in this photo for some reason don't you think?

Of course the camera wasn't the only thing I got as I also got a card and gift voucher for HMV from Owen. Quite how he got out of the house to buy the card I have no idea let alone how he got the gift voucher :-)

I also got a gift voucher for Jessops from my Two sisters Multi-task and speed demon which has already gone on a nice camera bag, some cleaning gear and a memory card.

I'll admit that I've used that voucher a little quick for me but what the heck, I have a shiny new toy and I want to play with it :-)

This afternoon ( after a quick skype chat with Tap Dance whose out of the country right now. Owen is still confused about where her voice is coming from :-) Grumpy and I went to the cinema followed by a visit to Frankie and bennys which was rather nice. I'll admit perhaps not the wildest way to spend a Thirty birthday but it suited me just fine.


LAter folks

Friday, August 19, 2011

One day left to go or to put it another way for whom the bell tolls

Ah inevitability. Seeing as I am unable to make the world turn back on it's axis ala superman style and seeing as I lack a flux capacitor or a cosmic cube I simply have to face fact's that you've won this round and it exactly one hour and 41 minutes ( at time of writing) I will be leaving my 20s behind and passing into my thirties.

Which isn't as scary as I thought it would be. It's more of a sense of C'est la vie.

Of course 10 years ago when I passed into my 20s I was certainly was not expecting to be where I am now ( fortunatly the amount of people who say " everything happens for a reason" has been minimal) which I suppose proves that old adage that the directions you can take in life can certainly be unexpected.

Anyway, the last couple of years have bought all sorts of surprises and I'm sure the next two years will do so as well because after all I am up to some new and different things right now. I'm in the middle of a major bedroom redecoration, I've been practising my art skills and been very pleased with the results as maybe this old dog can be taught some new tricks :-) Plus this week I decided if I ought to get a new "wardrobe" for my new wardrobe and spent a rather scary amount of money ( for me anyway) on some new clothes. Which also cheered me up no end as I found I have dropped a t-shirt size and a Jeans size since the start of the year.

Which might now sound a lot after eight months but considering I had spent so long ( too long!) going the other way it's really rather nice to be going the other way.


that's all for today folks. I'll see you tomorrow when I'll be officially three decades old.


Where's Wall.E?

Not mine before anybody asks but it's so cool I just had to share it. Cluck on the image to see a bigger version.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cartooning 2.1

I've now done so much much drawing I've filled up one drawing pad and I'm now onto my second.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More cartooning.

Or to put it another way, attempting to draw my faithful KA as a characters from Cars.

and yes I know I have screwed up on the wheels but c'est la vie :-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Well finding myself with nothing better to do I went to the cinema last night to see Captain America, mainly as it looked like it's going to be disappearing from the cinema's surprisingly quickly.

Anyhow I was walking into the cinema with my a totally healthy snack purchased from the counter ( and if you believe that you'll believe anything) and I suddenly heard a shriek of

" OMG ( she didn't say exactly those intials but rather the words) Saxon! ( she didn't say that word either but you get the idea)"

My First thought was that somebody from the YSA was there but then I realised that nobody from YSA would start a sentence like that. Which then left the big question. Who was it?

As it turned out I had managed to turn up for the same showing as somebody from work, which is pretty amazing in itself when you conside that people from work come from four different counties, but not only that I had managed to book the seat directly behind hers!

Still the film was very good as it turned out as it managed to weave together quite a few plot points ready for the avengers film next May ( that's avengers as in the marvel avengers not the 60's avengers from the tv as one YSA person thought when I was trying to explain after the showing of Thor).


Later folks

Monday, August 15, 2011

Five days and counting

I've been pondering about this forthcoming Saturday and I've been reminded of the Friend episode where Rachel turned 30 and it shows Joey's less then calm response to this

" Why? We had a DEAL! Let the others grow old"

and lets not forget

" and now chandler, we're all getting so old. WHY are you doing this to us?"

As I have been watching on facebook lots of people I knew from school all hitting the same milestone. Of course I'm up last as it were because my Birthday only just got me into the school year I was in. Which meant I was amongest the youngest in my year at school but at church I tended to be amongest the oldest among sunday school classes etc.

Which tended to be very confusing on a whole number of levels but c'est la vie :-)

Still growing Old is one of thise things you have to accept in life, so I better just try and be gracious and calm about it.

We'll see if I still feel like that in four days time


Later folks


Garfield and Friends (now with added Garfield)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Out of the mouths of.....

One of my nieces got a bit confused this morning when I received my wedding invitation from Physics. Upon seeing me open it she quite crossly told me off and said I should be opened it until next Saturday.

Realising her confusion I explained it wasn't a Birthday card and was in fact a wedding invitation. She accepted this, smiled and then proceeded to tell me off again saying I shouldn't have opened it until tomorrow. I asked why and she simply said because she had said so!

So that told me :-)

Anyway it's Monday tomorrow which means.................

I don't have to do anything as I'm on Holiday. Yah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

later folks

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My body clock isn't the only thing that's screwed up

Well with todays Saturday shift out of the way I can finally look forward to my week off. Even so my body clock feels totally confused right now what with the swapping shifts back and forther.

In fact it feels even more confused then Owen looked when he seemed to be wondering why I was going to work on a Saturday. But then again he's had a very confusing day as he's been trying to understand what skype is and why people have suddenly shrunk into the computer :-)

Still my body clock isn't the only thing that is completely screwed up right now as I came home yesterday to find a letter from the tax people who it seems are only just dealing with the tax year 2008-2009. Yes that's right the tax year from two years ago!

Yes anyway the carming little letter told me that they after totalling up their sums had decided I hadn't paid enough tax that year and had unpaid by a mere £300!!

But they were very helpfully not going to make me pay until next April which for two of you keeping it up would have been in the tax year three years after the year they were questioning.

I was not feeling a very happy bunny after receiving this letter at all.

Grumpys suggestion was to write a letter to the company I was working for at the time to see if they could explain how I wasn't charged enough tax. So I was just about to print said letter off when I suddenly had a thought.

Although I hadn't found my p60 for that year I rarely throw anything important looking out so I must have that p60 somewhere and I had one last place to look and what do you know it was there. ( see kids this is a good example why you need to save those unimportant bits of paper you get at the end of every year) and after looking at the form whatta you know? It said I had paid what I should have paid and not what the taxes people said they thought I had paid.

So now Saxon ANGRY! Saxon SMASH!

Or rather get mildly perturbed and ring up their taxes help line. Which seemed designed to not let you get through to a actual person. Who to be fair was actually quite helpful. He looked up the records and confiremd their P60 on file matched mine and I had paid the right amount. So he couldn't explain the letter saying it made no sense but would pass it on and I could expect a update within 4 weeks with any changes. He then helpfully aded that it was probably just a data entry error so it wasn't a big problem.

Not a Big problem??

A data entry error and I suddenly owe you £300 and it's not a big problem?

Oh well, at least it looks like I won't have to pay it so all's well that ends well I guess. and a good object lesson for all my english readers. Do you know where last years P60 is let alone thones before it? You could need them......

Later folks

Friday, August 12, 2011

And now a message from one of the regulars....

Due to the amusment/bemusement/amazement of some I ( with the big 30 rapidly approaching) am not a Father so I can not comment on family life in that way. However regular readers will be familiar with Drat.

Well he has launched his own site about Fatherhood and focus's on products to give as you may have guessed Dad's a "boost"

So go visit it now at


He'll love to see you and any comments you might have

All is calm, all is quiet

Well it's been a quiet old week as there's been absolutely nothing going on at all, no sir nothing at all...

unless you count all that rioting. Well you do count it? Oh right in that case rather a lot has been going on .

Joking aside it was getting pretty worrying, especially when things kicked off in Nottingham and Leicester. Fortunately that died out pretty quickly what with the rioters in Nottingham being able to miss with petrol bombs from point blank range and the rioters in Leicester choosing to loot poundstretcher.

Seriously Poundstretcher? Of all the shops they could have gone for they go for poundstretcher?

Still I think the riots can be best summed up by a quote I saw on Facebook. " Only in Britain can you have rioters in £100 trainers, organising themselves on £300 smart phones complaining about poverty"

I'm off on Holiday next week, but I have to work tomorrow first. Which I don't mind really as I was scheduled to work the Saturday on August Bank Holiday which really would have caused me problems. However we had to do a bit of a shell game with schedules today as the guy who I swapped the Saturday shift with , well he's been doing my shifts this week and I've been doing his ( as you get a hour less each day to make up for the Saturday). However he really needed to leave early today and I really need to go early the friday before bank holiday ( still with me?) So we swapped shifts again today which means I work one more hour then I had to and he didn't.

Confused? Well I think my manager was a bit as well. But she simply shrugged and said she trusted us to make sure it all added up at the end of the month.

Still for a Friday it's been a good day especially as I aced my kpi's for this month.


Later folks

Did you really think about that before you spoke #6

(overheard in a lesson in Eq's on Fast Sunday. Yes we were talking food then)

Elder 1: I know everybody says we should store wheat but is there anyway of buying wheat that has already been ground ready for use?

Evil, evil Monkey

A baby's bestest Friend

Garfield and Friends( minus garfield and most of his friends :-)

Monday, August 01, 2011

I don't need to know that

I was a little nervous when arriving home I discovered a large rather full A4 envelope from my bank. Now considering the average size of the stuff I get from them is smalelr then A5, I was sure a A4 envelope was no good.

However I was surprised to find that as part of a new push to provide "better" customer service then now give all of their customers a break down of their finances for the last twelve months.

And by breakdown I mean a complete breakdown.

Want to know how much money you paid in each month, well it tells you that. It also tells you how much you paid out each month and helpfully decides to point out to you if you paid out more then you paid in.

It also tells you exactly how much money you have spent on your card and where.

So wanna know how much you have spent on petrol at your local petrol station? It will tell you that. Want to know how much money you have spent on food at your local supermarket. It tells you that too.

this report is incredibly detailed but there in lies it problem. I don't want to know how much I spent on petrol in the last year, I already know it's too much! And I know I can't have spent that much on food shopping in a year.

Can I?

I'm like most people, I'd prefer to ponder on how much I have to last this month and not if I overspent six months ago.

Speaking of which petrol is now up to £1.33. Sigh...... I remember when it used to be 80 pence.


Later folks

A homage not a rip off

It's a in joke from work. It would take too long to explain, but trust me when I say it's very funny

a few random things