Chapter 32: I hopped off the plane at L.A.X With a dream and my cardigan

So Steven is going to be mostly writing this post, as his week was much more interesting than mine. Short recap of my week though: Steven left for a work trip to LA on Monday, and I suddenly had a ton of time on my hands! It was kind of awesome. I went shopping Monday after work and then walked around the city to get home rather than take metro, which was lovely. I listened to some great audiobooks, practised flute for the first time in a decade, had dinner with Mendenhalls on Tuesday and watched the Bachelorette haha, Wednesday I had team bonding drinks with work people, and Thursday I spent watching Moana while I painted. Its been a long time since I had the time to paint, and It was great to get back to my roots. Painting and watching a movie about a little girl who loves her island and the sea, it was a good reminder of the things that I love and where I come from. My new favourite song is "Shiny", it's really the most amazing thing. I spent my long weekend day Friday painting and watching like half a season of Friends haha! I pretty much wanted so many of their clothes, its funny how much of it is back in style. Could their clothes BE any cuter? Haha! anyways, I waited up and Steven got home around 12:30 am, and it was so good to see him again. His beard is HUGE! A week in the California sun seems to have made it spring up like a weed. Anyways, I had a ball on my own, (the house was so clean!!!) but I missed his shaggy kisses and funny stories. He gives me a lot of courage and confidence to try new things and I'm so glad he's back beside me. Heather

PS ("the audiobook I loved this week is called "100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson. Super funny and cute, like Forest Gump meets Dirk Gentlys wholistic detective agency. Read/listen to it)

This week was a pretty incredible week as it commemorated my very first business trip! As Heather said before, I was in LA for a business trip. I left Monday flying business class with Air Canada and I've gotta say, flying with leg room is a completely different experience! I mean, RLS is a thing of the past if you can stretch out while watching Parks and Recreation and eating salmon as your in flight meal. I can die happy knowing I've flown business class once.

I was down in California with my bosses, Andy and Mich, and my colleague Donnie. The purpose of the trip was to film a music video or two for Mich (his project is entitled Oh Mic! You can see some of the lyric videos I made for him here) and some lifestyle videos for Andy's brand. We've been looking at new gear for our production company for a while now so we decided to rent a bunch of it for the trip. We rented the Sony a7sii mirrorless camera which is amazing at shooting low-light photos and video (because we were going to be shooting in the evening/night time) along with a couple lenses and a stabilizing gimbal (which really came in handy).

We were shooting a video for Mich's song WTH? and for the video we had him driving around LA in a 1965 Blue Mustang. To get the shots we wanted I saddled up in the back of a jeep with the gimbal and filmed poking out of the trunk. So I'm filming from the trunk of a jeep carrying nearly $6000 worth of camera gear filming Mich in a vintage Mustang and funniest part was that it really didn't seem odd to anybody. Classic LA. I guess it's totally normal to see stuff like that in Hollywood hills. Stay tuned, the video is gonna be coming out shortly.

We filmed a bunch of other stuff during the week including part of a second music video, a boat and of course the beach. I love the ocean! We hit up Venice beach as well as Malibu beach. We met up with an awesome photographer named Jacob Fischer who joined us for our boat shoot as well as Malibu beach. On the way down to the beach there were a bunch of clouds that blew in so by the time we got to the beach it was completely overcast and the tide was right up to the cliffs. We had planned to film in the caves at the base of the cliffs but they were flooded but we decided to head down to see what we could find. Jacob took some drone footage of the cliffs which looked incredible so that alone made it worth while but as we were walking down to the beach we stumbled upon a marriage proposal. Just as we rounded the corner the guy was kneeling down and we just happened to have our cameras on hand so we snapped a bunch for them. He had a GoPro set up to capture the moment but he got lucky that a couple of pro photographers happened to stumble upon their special moment.

The waves were crashing so hard at the waterfront so we got some epic footage for Andy's stuff but as we were filming Donnie's sandals got swept off of the stairs and we spent a good 15 minutes searching for his sandals amongst the waves. He would have given up pretty quick but he found the first sandal so he was flooded with a moment of hope. Within a few moments we spotted the second sandal but it kept getting pulled out to where the rocks were. After a few minutes Donnie caught sight of it and made a break for it but when he reached it he realized it was a different sandal and it was roughly 5 sizes too small. He never found the second one but it was hilarious while we stood back and watched.

All in all, it was an awesome adventure and I'm really looking forward to editing the


Till next week, Steven

Oh! Yesterday we bought a house plant and a basil plant and the basil plant is GORGEOUS!!!!! It's BAE day!

Chapter 31: Wonder Woman and Ramadan

Hello all! So these last couple weeks have been very full and exciting weeks. Mostly because of the landmark events that took place. First, we saw Wonder Woman!!! It was incredible to see a movie where not only was the main superhero a woman who kicked butt just as hard as any male hero but she was surrounded by other awesome female characters. It was also so cool to see a movie Heather worked on on the big screen. In film there's a test that is used as an indicator for the active presence of women in films and other fiction, and to call attention to gender inequality in fiction. It's called the Bechdal test and consists of four questions:

  1. Does the film feature at least two women or girls?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. Do they talk about something other than a man or boy?
  4. Are they named?

Wonder Woman passed the test with flying colours. Literally, the first 45 minutes was just powerful female characters. The movie starts with a shot of Diana (Wonder Woman) as a child sneaking into a training ground of Amazons training for battle. Often times in film when there is a woman fighting she is choreographed to look delicate and pretty in her fighting and this was not the case for any of the Amazon choreography. At one point I got a little teary eyed. She was also sensitive and strong emotionally, morally and compassionate too. Walking out of the theatre we all felt that this was a ground breaking movie that stands as a landmark for future movies with female heroes. Heather read an article on the effect this movie is having on young girls shared by a elementary school teacher. In it she talked about how all the girls in her class said they wanted to be Wonder Woman and when they couldn't decide which one of them was gonna be her they decided to all just be amazons to save the world with truth and love! It's hasn't been two weeks since the movie came out and it's already having this effect on young girls. We definitely would recommend seeing it if you haven't already.

Last Wednesday the youth in our ward had a talent show for their mutual activity and Heather and Amber decided to participate. For those of you who don't know, Heather grew up doing Highland and Irish dancing and so did Amber. They decided that they wanted to dust off their hard shoes and pull together something for the talent show. They decided this on Monday and by Wednesday they had a choreographed dance and they did an amazing job! Irish dancing being a percussive dance just sounds incredible, especially when performed with hard shoes and it was so cool seeing how good the two of them were even after years of not dancing. The rest of the talent show was fun - there were magic tricks, dances, songs performed and I pulled out my Golum monologue for good measure.

Last weekend we hosted a interfaith break the fast/Iftar dinner at our chapel with a local Muslim congregation. We were one of four groups of LDS and Muslim congregations that got together to share this experience along with our different perspectives of fasting and its benefits from either faith. For those of you who are unaware, those of the Muslim faith are currently observing Ramadan during which they fast every day for a month from sun up till sun down. The meal that they have to break their fast at the end of the day is called the Iftar. A member of our public affairs committee was organizing the Iftar with Sarif, the representative of the Muslim congregation, but couldn't pull it together last minute due to conflicting plans so she asked if we we could take it on and Heather and I were happy to oblige. From what I understand this is the second annual break the fast dinners in our area so we're very excited to have been a part of it.

The dinner was held at our chapel and we began the evening by giving our new friends a tour of the building. We talked about the sacrament and about Christ and the different classes and activities that take place in the building. Then we gathered in the gym and sat intermingled at the different tables and we began the Iftar. It started with a prayer which was presented in the form of a song and it was beautiful. We had a speaker from both parties talk about the reasons and beliefs behind fasting and it was very surprising to discover that we fast for pretty much the same reason. There is a strong focus on the spiritual and putting off the natural habits and desires and an emphasis on clothing and feeding the poor and less fortunate and they spend more time at the mosque than at any other time of the year.

The dinner was delicious. Nearly all of it was brought by their congregation. While we ate we shared personal stories and got to know each other better. We learned that a large majority of the congregation is from Turkey and a lot of them are teachers because of how much of a focus their culture places on education and learning. I got to bring my camera and document the event. We also brought our photobooth set up so everyone could take photos with their new friends. At the close of the night we gave them hydrangeas as parting favours. The hydrangea, as Heather has discovered, symbolizes openness and we thought what better gift to represent the evening. It was a wonderful experience and we all left with a resolve to have events like this more frequently so we don't have to wait till next year's Ramadan.

Until next week. - Steven