Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Zealand's Got Talent #4 - The Audition

We got up at 5am having had approximately 5hours sleep - on our way to NZ's first New Zealand's Got Talent!
Ethan was still in his boxers without breakfast and expecting us to be arriving an hour after what we'd planned.
Being the first people there, standing in line with the constant, heavy rain holding us captive from moving much outside we figured we'd keep ourselves entertained and before long I was pulling out the greatest jokes one could muster up with little sleep.
Cutting a long story short, we were at the front of the line that gradually started building up in numbers, wearing only gumboots, stubbies, a singlet, a fluro orange workers jacket and a beenie all while the rain.... continued to pour from the heavens.
We were interviewed and filmed numerous times - I think somehow the fluro orange and silver reflective strips, and of course the massive ladder towering behind us drew some of the cameras attentions.

We had the awesome support of friends to come and see us audition, unfortunately they weren't allowed in the audition room but were happy to sit with us in the line and hang out in the rain together. Ah... friends.

Here's an insight to the feelings before the audition:

The audition rocked, we hear back in a few days whether we made it into the next round and therefore filmed and shown on TV.
New Zealand.... you do have talent.
Make sure you keep your eyes out for updates! Until next time - keep safe.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Snow in the Sun?

Yesterday my friends and I went snowboarding at SnowPlanet about 20min north of my house. It's a completely indoor snow complex but dispite being miles from anything remotely close to snow, it's made man-made snow inside the complex.
"SnowPlanet - Snow 365 days a year."
It was my first ever experience at Snowboarding, and flip it exceeded my expectations! There isn't much to say other than it is by far the best winter sport around and I have now discovered my winter fix. It's alot harder than I first expected... I was expecting to do some airs and rails before the end of the day but unfortunately I think those expectations were a little high. And so was the top of the mountain on only my second try on the board. Not a good idea.
Point is - find stuff you enjoy. I wasn't too looking forward to winter with it's cold waters and drizzly rain, but finding stuff that gets your heart pumping and your muscles aching is always worthwhile. 
After all, life isn't too much fun when you're just reading books inside.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Zealand's Got Talent #3 - Rehearsal One

The audition can only be 1min 30sec so we've had to be pretty disciplined in what we put in and take out. Hopefully, if we get a chance to get through to the next round, we'll pull out some other awesome stuff that most of you haven't seen before.
Audio quality isn't fantastic - filmed right off my MacBook.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NZGT #2 + Question...

I've been pretty blown away by the really quick interest people have shown in our audition for New Zealand's Got Talent. It's not just me who is auditioning in our slot - it's also some of my best friends Ben and Ethan. Basically, we're 3 drummers from our church who were asked about 2 years ago to come up with a dynamic, raw drumming item for a 'Creative Celebration' service at our church. It went off and was so popular we were asked to perform time and time again, eventually being asked to play in a large highschool assembly and at a cultural arts evening.
For those who are interested, our audition is the 28th of June (two weeks away!!) held in Western Springs. Next post will unravel abit more about what we do, how our rehearsals are coming together and hopefully a short video of a previous performance.

I'm not entirely sure on what to expect in regards to the audition or our chances of progressing to the next stage in the competion, but at the very least we'll be looking to do our greatest performance yet - and hopefully cranking the place big time.

It was pretty classic yesterday - I was chatting to a friend online yesterday about it and as we were talking she said she had found heaps of old highschool photos that I hadn't seen in years. She uploaded them on facebook and so amptly named the album "Dedicated In Loving Memory to Rhys Lake". I laughed... as convincingly as you can through online text and proceeded to look through the photos - circa 2001 - 2005. Within 10 minutes I had an email from a friend I hadn't chatted to in yonks who was in panic and beside himself:
"dude. i saw jo mackie's "a folder dedicated in loving memory of rhys lake" and i was like "NO!!" my heart did a little turn and i was freakin out for a second til I clicked on your profile and saw that it had been updated like 5 minutes ago...
"yeah um thats probably the weirdest thing you've read today but i thought better out than in - i mean, if nothing else, it's nice to know that someone would be gutted if you carked it right? :)"

The thing is, it is nice. I don't know about you but every now and then I wonder what the world would be like if I died suddenly someday. Today. What if for some reason I fell over and cracked my head or tripped into the front of an oncoming car and didn't make it. Now before you all of a sudden start questioning my suicidal thoughts - of which I don't have any! - I think this honestly is a pretty full on but enlightening question to ask yourself. I mean - if for some reason you were no longer here, would the world be any different? Would the world's loss of us really make a difference? To our family and close friends most certainly. But to the world. Is the way I am living, or what I have done with my life so far, made a difference to this world in some way?

Wow - this is deeper than I intended. And I understand that sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves about judging our significance on whether we've helped to reduce Africa's severe hunger or something, which isn't the place or way we are to judge our significance. But what I'm generally getting at is whether the way we're living, or the goals and dreams we have for our lives, are big enough to touch this world. We may not change the world's politics, or single-handedly cure cancer; but are our goals, our commitment, our risk taking, our ideas... our way of living, equal to our potential?

If you died today and somebody put up a photo album online dedicated in loving memory to you - would not only your friends and family miss you; but the world? This isn't a condemnation call or a judgement post - it's simply a challenging question that as much to me a wake up call about my life as it might be to you.

I walked past a sign of a quote by Einstein of which I can't remember exactly but said something like "If each of us lived at our complete potential we'd absolutely astound ourselves". I don't know what my potential is or what I'm going to do with my life but one thing I do know; I want to give it everything I've got.

Circa 2003 - Rhys and monster Bradley

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NZ Got Talent #1

This is going to be interesting.... 
Keep your eye out for updates on our rehearsals... and when we'll be shown on TV.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Winter's a comin'

Since warm water is no longer an option unless I take a very long and expensive trip overseas, surfing may not be on the cards for a while. My friend and I decided once that because it was the middle of winter, and we were so desperate for a surf, we would do a winter roadtrip to find some waves. We ended up at Whangamata Beach, a 2 and a something hour drive, and only staying in the water for 45min. By the time we got out of the water we couldn't move our fingers, our legs couldn't lift our feet off the sand more that an inch, and every ounce of our headspace was screaming out for warmth.
Winter, for some people, can be the season of the year that they most look forward to. For others, it's depressing. Gray skies, rain, cold, wind - you get the point. For me, surfing gives me an opportunity to relax and take my mind off everything that's going on. People sometimes say it gives them perspective. Winter has often produced itself as a great time, movies, friends, food, movies. But, sometimes tends towards a little boring when I struggle to find stuff that gives me the same adrenaline pumping feeling combined with the opportunity to relax and enjoy life.
Some might say I need to harden up and just deal with the constant icecream headaches and numb fingers but I've been thinking of some possible alternatives to swimming around in the wintery water for some waves.

Here are my ideas for some winter sports:

1. Snowboarding
So many people were on the slopes and living it up in Wanaka and Queenstown (the tourism capital of the world!) when I last went down there and the culture is similar to that of surfing. The passion, excitement and adventure that seems to go along with snowboarding makes it pretty appealing. It seems stupid that 15min up the road we have an indoor, all year round, snow mountain appropriately called "Snow Planet" that I haven't even gone to once yet.
This winter looks like it might be the winter for a road trip... 15min away.

2. Skydiving
This was by far the best extreme sport I have ever done. For my 19th birthday I had a chance to jump out of a plane with a friend in next to freezing conditions, 12,000ft above land amongst some of the greatest snowcapped mountain scenery in the world. The cost of the single jump was too much for me to jump right back in the plane and do it again, but since that jump I'm pretty mega keen to get my skydiving licence. Once you do the course you can jump without going tandum and do your own tricks etc. Definitely could be a good contender for an alternative to the winter surf.

3. Basejumping
Again, like skydiving but take the extreme level bar and raise it up 20 notches on the wall. Basejumping is the high of all highs, jumping off buildings, towers and massive cliffs. I've been watching some videos on youtube and seriously those guys are mental. I thought that jumping out of a 5m tree into water was epic... until I saw people running off cliffs and dropping thousands of feet. It is important to keep in mind though that it will be winter, having your parachute instandly freeze to ice like something out of "Day after Tomorrow" isn't always the most preferred way of dying.

4. Icefishing
Not for all people but certainly for some. Eskimos seem to enjoy themselves sitting on a block of ice in a fluffy big-foot jacket, raging icey winds and cold snow all the while peacefully relaxing with a rod in hand. I'm sure the fish from the Antarctic waters defrost after a few days. It definitely is a viable option to attempt, but personally, not for me.

5. Cross Country skiing
Now this seems to be the winter equivalent of summer runs - a favourite past time of many locals. Difficulty stands when running in snow slowly morphs into a slow jog; eventually turning into a swift sliding of the feet; hey presto! Cross Country skiing! The good thing about this is you don't seem to have to run so hard - skis glide across the snow effortlessly and thus reducing the need for so much running. Unfortunately, Cross Country skiing often does work as well on concrete. Having no snow in Auckland really does suck.

So there you have it - 5 alternatives to attempting to do a summer sport in winter. Personally I think the snowboarding might be a real contender for my winter sport alternative, but then again icefishing really does seem appealing.
What are your plans for winter? Any other good ideas for alternatives?

Song of the day - Assassin by Muse.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mmmmm bakery food

I finally finished my sermon. It's called "How do you smell?".

One of the verses I came to is in 2 Corinthians 2:14 - 16 which says "But thanks be to God, who always leads in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."
Christians are called to spread the aroma of Christ. Aroma, as defined by the dictionary, is a 'distictive odor that is pleasant'.
Our aroma is our life.

3 Characteristics of Aroma:

1. An Aroma is a pleasant indication of the baking.
We need to be people who give the right representation of Christ by the life that we live.
Sure, none of us are perfect, but that shouldn't stop us from representing the most amazing person that ever lived - Jesus.
People's understanding of Jesus is confused if we don't live the kind of life that represents who He is.
Jesus' whole life was motivated by a true, deep love for others. We need at the core of our lives a love for others.

2. An Aroma gives people a desire for the baking.
The Aroma of our life should give people an opportunity to see the incredible person of Jesus.
After we meet someone, even if it's only once, we should be aiming to give people an opportunity to know Jesus.
Jesus offers what every person desires - and we should be confident that what Jesus offers is the only thing that will fulfill people.

3. An Aroma needs to be able to be smelled for it to have an affect.

The most amazing aroma is useless if the baking is in the back kitchen or in the warming shelf in the back. The baking is useless if it's not on the front shelf offered to people.
2 Cor 2:14 - 16 says that through us God spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. If we're not willing to let God spread through us the amazing fragrance of knowing Him, people miss out on knowing God.
Only we have the baking that will satisfy people's desire for fulfillment - let's serve it up confidently.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Get ready for the pop-locking and hip-hop popping

One of the coolest things about working part time at a video store is not only that we get as many free movies as we want, but we also often get to watch heaps of the movies of preview before they come into the store. For example, I can watch the new Rambo movie (which according to my friend is "awesomely horrible") before it's even on the release date brochure in Video Ezy.
Anyway, I watched the preview of "Step Up 2: The Streets" last night and needless to say I was inspired to hit the streets with some mindblowing moves. Now although it didn't rate too amazingly on IMDB, aka. the universe for movies, it seriously has some incredible dance moves. There's this crazy guy who plays a 'stunt double' for the School of the Arts performances who pulls of the most insane whirlwinds, jackhammers and toprocks you've ever seen. Yeah... I looked those names up.

I've been working on my moves and it won't be long before I'm hitting the local streets with my original moves. Pity Torbay's nightlife closes down about 5pm. Once I polish off my spiral-backflip to arm-freeze-stall and my head-lock to snake-worm I'll be posting them onto YouTube, hopefully I'll be able to figure out how they're gonna work before someone else steals my ideas and claims them for their own.

I've got another band for you to check out. They're called The Postal Service. Great band.

Keep an eye out for my breakdancing soon to be hitting the community of YouTube with strength.

Next post: the sermon for Sunday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Preach it Preacha!

Hmm. So I realised last night that I'm preaching this Sunday at one of our partner churches in Orewa. I knew I was preaching on the 8th but I think I must have been so focussed on Camp I lost track of dates. I thought that was next week. I'll be spending abit time this week putting together a sermon - stay tuned as to how this comes together.

In other news: this guy is a legend of music. He put out his first album at the prime age of 16, and not only did he record it himself in a friends kitchen he also played every instrument on the album himself.

Stay tuned for how the sermon comes together. It's gonna be great. 

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mon - Sun in true form.

I successfully survived a weekend with 50 something teenagers on cans of V. That's a big statement to be able to say, but all in all it was an awesome weekend for our Youth Camp 2008 near Whangarei.
The weekend kicked off with Rosco, our Bus driver for the charted bus, arriving in the dark with harzard lights on and the techno music pumping through it's many speakers. The atmosphere was electric, various games being played throughout the bus, iPods blaring in people's ears and the constant high pitched screams from teenage girls. A sign of things to come?

After a 2 hour bus trip that slowly slipped into feeling like the whole night, we arrived. We spent for what seemed like forever trying to help back the bus in through the 50m long drive way and began unpacking for a huge weekend.

Generously, 4 of our leaders offered to go up a few hours early to set up the sound gear, lights, projector etc so that when we arrived we could go straight into an evening service. Unfortunately this didn't quite work out the way we'd planned with sound gear playing up and lights not going the way they were supposed to. So instead of an 8.45pm service we had a.... 10.30pm service. I can safely say that is the latest service I've ever had. Hopefully the neighbours will have us back again.

Sat morning kicked off with the cabins having 15 minutes to come up with an original superhero created with a 2 feet of gaffer tape and 1 newspaper. The superhero second from the right came pretty close to the prize because of his special boots and his legendary parrot on the shoulder that can see through walls.
However, Ben's team won.

That's a given --- he had a special mullet. Everybody knows you just can't fail a team that has a newspaper mullet on their superhero.

The afternoon brought with it blue sky mixed with some whiteish clouds and a soapy waterslide. A good hour or two was decently spent on this one. You know how it works; first couple of times down you're getting a feel for how it runs and curves etc, until you start to experiment different combinations and combos of tricks down the slide. Eventually we had a good 20 people progressing from the classic sitting position to things such as the backwards 360 reverse sweep, running jump to standing slide, 10 people ankle-train, frontflip upside-down back slide to 520 arm spin. Ok so I made that last one up but it started getting crazy with somehow the slow people going first and getting smashed at the bottom of the slide by the faster people flying straight into the backs of unknown sliders. 
I can remember of one such incident of one of the guys just standing up from an epic (most overused word at camp so far) ride when one of his mates took out his legs with enough pace that'd give a jet-engined pushbike a run for it's money. You can just see in very realistic form this guy getting absolutely flat-faced on the slide with the momentum of having his legs taken out.

Then came the famous superhero dressup dinner. Some people putting so much time into the costume it was unreal. We had everything from the Incredible Hulk to Powerpuff girls to Batman to Indiana Jones. 

Then walked in the Justice League from Cabin 2 - Cyclops, The Flash, Captain Planet and... GBSS (Grannies Bay Super SurfLifesaver). For those of you that don't know, Grannies Bay is a nudist beach just around the corner of our local beach often populated in summer by many keen senior citizens. The GBSS was dressed appropriately in white tights, white gloves, pink girls undies, pink cape and of course... yellow swimming safety floaties. Memorable to say the least.

3 broken window panes, 1 shaking with a fever guy, 1 gangster rap, 8 mentally wired girls on 25 V's, 20+ thrown water bombs, 5 salvations, 1 overused megaphone, and 50 tired but extremely excited teenagers later; it was a great weekend. A weekend where we were able to have so much fun going on a bus up to a camp 2 hours away to hang out together and enjoy what life is about... fun.
A weekend where we were able to have great food, great music, great games and great times.
A weekend where we were able to connect with God and with mates.
Well worth the time spent organising, praying and not sleeping.