Sunday, 31 July 2011

Vancouver, Canada: My Memoirs

On the 4th of June, 2011 I went to Vancouver, Canada, the home city of my beautiful girlfriend Brandi. I was excited to go, because staying with someone in a country lets you understand a lot more what the country is actually like. Here are my memoirs:

- Waiting nervously in the airport for my bag, knowing that in a few minutes I will see Brandi again, and also possibly set sent to prison for not declaring a gift worth over $80.

- Waking up at 5am on the first morning and putting on music, then lying in bed cuddling for hours.

- Getting to Brandi's appartment and meeting her family. I was nervous but tried to be outgoing to make them like me.

- Walking around Rocky Point holding hands. Brandi being my Suga Mama and buying me ice cream (but making me ask, leading to an awkward moment trying to pronounce 'praline').

- Meeting a lot of her family at a BBQ just off the beach at White Rock. Playing croquet, then getting so tired I fell asleep on the grass and got sunburned. Later on that day I tried to swim in the pool in her apartment block and the sun burn hurt too much.

- The looks we got from people as we cycled around Stanley Park on a tandem bike. Scaring Brandi as I lead the bike close to posts, then getting so tired I fell asleep on the grass again.

- Walking around Vancouver City, and going into an arcade to show off my Time Crisis 2 skills. Then going to watch a Canucks game at Cactus Club. I am still amazed at how crazy Canadians are for ice hockey.

- Meeting her grandparents at Rivers Edge, then going back to their house and being amazed at how nice their garden is.

- Being a bit nervous about going to meet Brandi's dad, but it all went well. I was trying to meet all her family early on in the week for obvious reasons...

- Hiked up Minnekada with Brandi and Calvin, and saw the beautiful view at the top. Brandi also unintentionally found a geocache on the way down. We were tired on the evening so we made Thai Food and cuddled.

- Going into Gastown, and trying a Japadog. I will never eat seawead on meat again.

- Wandering around Granville island while we wated to go to Theatre Sports, and amazing improvisation comedy club.

- Made snacks to take around Kadie's house, then got a bit too drunk in front of her friends.

- Went to Ucluelet by car and ferry with Brandi, her mom, sister, and brother. We sang in the car and stopped at Coombs Market for huge ice creams, and saw goats on the roof.

- Got to our amazing hotel room, then went out for dinner. I was able to watch UFC at a normal time in a bar with loads of other people watching it. It was a nice change from the 3am, half asleep viewings.

- Went for a hike in the morning while Brandi's mom and sister ran the half marathon  We laughed as we kept seeing people take wrong turns on the badly marked road. Along the way we had a competition of who can hold their arm up the longest. It was embarrassing, and Brandi ended up winning.

- We walk along the West Pacific Trail and through the rainforest, all the time I was secretly looking for the perfect place to propose.

- I proposed(!!!) and Brandi said yes(!!!). Then spent the whole day nervous for when we were going to tell her family. Slowly slipped my water as Brandi told her family I proposed.

- Walked around a really interesting marsh, then went to a beach and played with some kind of sea-plant-whip. Then walking along the beach rocks at night and seeing a deer.

- Going into the scary caves where I felt like I could have fallen and died at any moment.

- Met up with a few of Brandi's friends, then when we were going back we walked into a surprise engagement party. It was very nice. The first surprise party I have had.

- Drove to Whistler. When checking into the hotel we found out we had the room upgraded and a bottle of champagne from Kadie.

- All the different fast foods. The horrible Taco Bell Tacos (they must have changed the recipe...), the not very nice soft bun from Wendy's, the very bad McDonalds.

- Went up the Whistler mountain on the gondola, and across the Peak to Peak, the longest free span ropeway, and 436 meters above the ground.

- Trying a completely disgusting Caesar drink. Clamato juice... wtf. It is actually clam and tomato. And spices. Urgh. I rarely leave drinks, but my god.

- Made awesome risotto again. Was equally awesome as the time we made it in England. Got drunk while eating it.

- Went to Monkido, climbing across trees and showing off my strength and agility.

- Eat an awesome, awesome Beaver Tail. The greatest thing I've had.

- Went to see Shannon Falls, a really beautiful waterfall, then spent the entire drive home holding hands. No, seriously. It was a challenge. Especially for Brandi getting in and out the car. My hand had gone wrinkly after.

- Went 6-pin bowling with Brandi's mom and Calvin. I did terrible. Then went for Chinese food with her family and I met her other cousins.

- Went to the Chinese Night Market with her cousins, and was amazed by all the Final Fantasy action figures. Eat a crazy potato that was peeled into one long chip.

- Woke up sad because I was having to leave on the final morning. Went to Brandi's dad's house to say bye.

- Sat in the airport trying not to be too sad. Had a long kiss goodbye.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Keys to our new place

I've just picked up the keys to the new flat me and Brandi will be staying in. I will slowly move in over the next month, and Brandi will join me in September until the end of the year.

We are on the top floor of that building (from the one big window to the other). The landlord is crazy, and keeps switching from English to Punjabi mid-sentence, so that could get interesting.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

My 24th Birthday and Captain Vestman Comic

On Sunday I turned 24. How old. 24 now officially puts me in my "mid 20's", though I am not as upset about gaining another year as I was last year. Last year I felt like I was ageing too quickly. I was older than I felt I should be. I hadn't done a lot of things that I had wanted to do, and I felt like my chance of doing them was running out.

At the start of 23 I was looking back to when I was in my early teens, and remembering how I thought that by 23 I would be engaged, and starting to settle down. Wanting to settle down at such a 'young age' may sound crazy to a lot of people, but I am very much the settling down type. Though by the start of my 23rd year I felt like that wasn't slightly in sight.

24 feels different. I felt like I got everything out of my system while I was 23 and now I am ready to settle down. I have met the perfect girl, and I am currently looking for a place on my own (well, for both of us), and planning a marriage. I feel a bit older, but at the same time I don't feel like I am getting old. It may help that I haven't been to one of the student clubs for a while, where it always hits me that I am far too old to be there.

Anyway, my birthday was Sunday and it was a lot of fun. I woke up in the morning and went on web cam with Brandi, and opened the presents she had got me. She had wrote me a really nice letter, sent me two really nice tshirts (she has good style) and sent me an amazing framed picture of a Captain Vestman comic she had gotten made.

I then opened my presents from my family. They gave me much needed money, a binary watch (no programmer should be without), a Playstation game, a board game (which we later played that night), headphones (as I was walking around wearing a call-centre style headset before), a big bag of food and sweets, and other things.

Later in the afternoon we went for a family meal, where my nephews all wanted to sit by me (awh). We were going to go to Clent Hills after to fly my kite, but the weather didn't allow us.

All in all 24 shows a lot of potential and although I still plan on living forever, I haven't minded being a year older quite as much as last year.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Car-onell Bluespeed Retires

On Tuesday 31st May I had my last drive in Caronell Bluespeed, my blue Ford Cougar.

It was a sad moment as I pulled up at my parents and switched it off. I have been through a lot with the car... like getting on Google Street View (a challenge I accidentally succeeded in), getting the annoying parking tickets (and fighting them off), and having my first crash. It was nice driving a manly looking car with Thunder Cats logo's all over it.

Caronell Bluespeed (car-on-ell) was named after Caronell Whitespeed, which in turn was named after Trionell Blackspeed, my computer. When Trionell Blackspeed retires I may write a post about how it got its name.

I do love that car, but it was costing me too much. I need to save money for a house with Brandi, and also the wedding. So with that in mind I downgraded to the new...

Car-onell Blackspeed!

It is £2100 cheaper on insurance, £80 cheaper on tax, and about 1/3 cheaper on petrol. Worth it.+

Sunday, 24 July 2011

122 Poplar: My Memoirs

At the start of June I moved out of my first shared house, and first time living away from home, 122 Poplar Avenue.

- Moving into my first place out of home. Being excited but also a bit sad that I am getting older (though I still will never die).

- First few days getting there, chizzling ice out of the freezer, then cleaning the garden, then me Becca and Tom getting attacked my a massive spider.

- Building the awesome BBQ ready for the summer BBQ parties.

- Bringing the TV outside and having a BBQ to watch the World Cup 2010. It was my first chance to meet lots of people when they came over to watch.

- Amy big spooning me while watching Arre

- For my birthday, having my first proper house party. My house mates bought me a cake with my face on it and some signed boxers (by themselves). I spent the night going aruond with my 'shot gun', giving people shots. We played garden rugby, and Neil passed out under a beanbag outside.

- Attaching a rope around the light, putting an apple in my mouth, pulling my trousers down and pretending to asphyxiwank for when Emily walked in.

- The summer mornings getting woken up by Becca playing Lady GaGa on my computer while fraping me.

- Having a 'smack head' day with Becca, poking the hatch in the garden with a stick, sitting out the front of the house, and watching the ballet while eating McDonalds.

- Amy's leaving party, dressed up as a mime. Slamming Neil through my bed, and Marks big bottle of fish sauce getting smashed on the floor. The smell didn't leave the house for ages.

- Frequently stopping at Karachi Takeaway after a nights out.

- Entering a Dodgeball tournament with the guys in the area.

- Going to Pad Thai and having a private karaoke booth.

- Me, Becca and Tom watching 2 girls 1 cup, and the much, much worse 1 man 1 jar.

- All the nights in Snobs.

- 'Apprentice Wednesdays', with Tom shushing everyone.

- Becca dancing in clubs. Hilarious and embarrassing at once.

- All the amazing house parties.

- The viewings to replace Amy. The girl with "one leg half a millimetre shorter than the other", among others.

- Dress up Monopoly.

- All the big poker games.

- Being able to cycle to work everyday. That was fun, until the rain.

- The last moments as I left my room.

The will most likely be the last time I will live in a house share, which makes me feel sad, but I am looking forward to living with Brandi soon.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Gypsy themed party

Last night I went to a 'Chavs and Gypsies' themed house party and had to think of a costume. Then I remembered in February my friend spotted this gypsy, wearing the Captain Vestman vest on TV.

I looked like scum.

113) Find 10 geocaches: Part 5 & 6

Last Sunday (10th July) me, my mom and dad, my sister and my nephews went walking in the fields opposite my house. Mom and dad had decided that since it was a nice day they would get the fishing nets out for the kids, and let them try and catch things in the little steam (and put them back after, of course).

The walk was really nice. In the first field we went through there were two adult horses, with two foals. The foals eagerly ran over and seemed to enjoy being stroked (petted...). We then went through another field of horses, which made me remember something when I was younger. When I was really young my mom had told me one day that you dream about what you did that day. The day that she had told me I remember walking through the fields with my dad, and in the fields were some bulls so I was a bit scared. That night I had a dream that was me and dad walking through the same field of bulls. The memory has always stayed with me.

The next field was also very picturesque, and had a hill, and past it a small stream running through the meadow. Seeing a place this nice made me instantly think about Geocaching (since part of the reason is to take people to places they should see). I pulled out my phone and saw there was a cache only 100m away from me. I called over my dad and told him to follow, while I tried to explain the concept of the game.

The compass took me to a gate underneath trees, in the corner of the field. Now a little bit practised in finding them, I instantly spotted a place ideal to hide the small box. After moving a couple of twigs and a rock I found this Geocache. It contained a few small toys (the kind of you would in a cracker) and the usual pen and paper.

This cache was one in a series that leads up to Clent. I thought that my nephews would really enjoy the 'treasure hunting' game, so I looked for another (that was only another 200m away) and called them over. They were very excited, and quickly set about following the compass.

It took us down a small hill and slightly into an area covered by trees. Again, I instantly spotted where the cache would be hidden, and encouraged my nephews to look, giving them hints that it 'could' be around the big tree.

Charlie was the first to find the Geocache, and looked really excited when he did, and didn't want to let go of the box. They were eager to look inside, and wanted to take the toys, but instead we decided to just leave a 25c coin.

I decided we wouldn't find any more Geocaches that day, but we would come back and find the others in the series another time. Although they really wanted to keep 'treasure hunting', they were quickly distracted as we walked past the golf range, where they were instead on the lookout for rogue balls.

Ps. As as added bonus for reading this far, here is a cow poo shaped like an electric guitar.

Friday, 8 July 2011

My Third Boxing Fight Soon...

In a few hours I will be stepping into the ring for my third boxing fight. This one is a sold-out charity show, apparently making about £43,000 in ticket sales.
I am a bit less nervous than I was fighting Nigel, because this fight should let me box to my own style hopefully. I am still a bit nervous because I took the fight with fairly short notice (and without much training time due to being in Canada), so my fitness isn't entirely there. On top of it, the guy I'm fighting, for the first time, is heavier than me, and thus heavier-handed than other people I have gone against.

I decided not to have any personal training for this fight, instead adopting my own strategy, so we will see how it goes!

Wish me luck...

Monday, 4 July 2011

113) Find 10 geocaches: Part 4

As part of my 10 Geocaches I decided I wanted to find one in Canada. I had saved a few coordinates for later on when we were on Vancouver Island, yet this Geocache came early!

On the 8th of June me, Brandi, and her brother Calvin went hiking in a place called 'Minnekada'. The beautiful hike started off with signs warning of bears (which were very common throughout the area, but still amazed me). After a bit of walking we went past a lake, then over some interesting stones and roots.

The hike then got a lot steeper as we headed towards the top, which ended in a beautiful view over the area. When at the top Brandi said that we should have thought about getting some Geocaching coordinates.

On the way back down we decided to take a different route. Eagle-eyed Brandi stopped, lifted up some rocks, and found this Geocache firmly placed in a hole in a tree!