This Month in Review: June

June has finally come to an end. With a month of summer under my belt, I’ve become quite accustomed to my sleeping summer hours, going to bed around 2 in the morning and waking up around 9 or 10 A.M. This summer seems oddly similar to last summer in some ways, but with the addition of work and a driver’s license, my time at home during the day has decreased dramatically compared to last year.

Last year I was freaking out about becoming a Junior. I felt as if time was slipping by, and I wasn’t living life to the fullest. I didn’t have any plan as to what major I planned to study in college or where I planned to go. I was stuck in a maze of confusion.

Now, I’m excited to be a Senior. Time seems to be passing at a perfect pace this summer. It’s hard to believe that a month of summer is already gone, but there’s still a lot of time left. I’ve decided where I would like to go to college. I’ve narrowed the majors I would like to pursue down to a select few. I have many goals for this summer, whereas last summer was mostly carefree. I have a plan for my future, and it looks good.

And no matter how boring, stupid, or disappointing this summer is, it will be impossible to look back on it and say, “I did not do anything interesting, productive, or relevant this summer.” Choosing the college I plan to attend and my major was definitely a necessary task to complete before I begin my senior year. Working during the summer will look good on my college applications and it builds job experience. I’ve also managed to have some good times with my friends amidst all the boredom.

And in between hanging out with friends, working, taking college entrance exams, and making important future career decisions, I’ve been recording the experience here. I see this summer-long blog project as a very productive endeavor. It forces me to write daily, allowing me to practice working with vocabulary and language regularly. This practice will sharpen my writing skills. It also allows me to record my experiences, thoughts, emotions, and everything else that’s going on during this summer. The benefits of this project seem endless…

The best is yet to come. When I look at the calendar for July, I see a packed month. August looks even more enticing, with the main-event of this summer, the week long road trip to Seattle (and other destinations along the way), beginning a few weeks before school starts. I’m excited for July to begin– it’s arrival signifies an end to the incessant boredom and idleness.

July also means that it’s time to start running and working out again. XC, here I come…

– Will

Day 25:

The thoughts running around my head are yearning to be released, so I’ve decided to post them here.

  • It’s hard to believe how fast time passes when you don’t have anything to worry about.
  • It’s hard to believe that already 24 days have passed since I first began updating this blog daily.
  • It’s hard to believe that June is almost over.
  • It’s frustrating to realize that the plans I dreamed of during school for this summer are beginning to slip away.
  • It’s frustrating to suddenly realize that you’ve spent more time at work and at home during the first few weeks of summer then you ever imagined possible.
  • It’s frustrating to be an impatient person who is stuck between getting something he really wants and somewhat needs very soon or waiting and getting it much later.

…and finally…

  • Life is frustrating, hard to believe, and confusing at times, but there’s always light on the horizon.

I’m lost in a sea of mixed emotions about everything. I’ve basically made a solid decision about which college I plan to attend after Senior year, but I’ve yet to make a final decision on a major, or whether or not I would like to double major in two completely different topics. My SAT scores and GPA are well above average and easily meet the admission requirements. The tuition for this college is very reasonable in comparison to other schools, and I won’t end up in a massive sea of debt after I graduate. It’s the perfect distance from home; far enough away from home that I will feel independent, and close enough that I’ll be able to visit home at Christmas and during the Summer. It seems like the perfect choice…

At the same time, it seems too perfect. My SAT scores are pretty good, but I know I can do better, and I’ve already exceeded admissions requirements… That seems a little strange. I did some research, and my writing and reading scores on the SAT were higher than the middle 50% of current students (so I scored better than at least 75% of the other students who attend this school) and my math score falls in the upper area of the middle 50% (this means I probably scored better than around 60% of the school’s current students). This college is nationally recognized for having an excellent journalism program, a major I’m still considering. The dorms actually look fairly decent too– at least on the website (haha).

I guess the only thing left to do is visit the school to see if it’s right for me. Perhaps I’ll check it out when my dad and I go on our road trip…

Speaking of road trips, I’m going to Butte on Friday afternoon. Posts will be added to the site as usual, but I cannot say how the amount of content will be affected during this trip. I may have only short periods of time to write a post, or I may have long periods of downtime in which I can write long, thought-provoking posts about the curiosities of life. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens…

I will definitely be tweeting while I’m in Butte though, so check the Twitter Feed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for updates from the Hill.

I’m going to go get some sleep now. Thanks again for reading and commenting!

– Will

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P.S. I’m also going to be in Butte during Evel Knievel days! That should spice up the blog a little bit. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Prepare to Launch. Destination: Butte

The Final Summer is going mobile this 4th of July weekend. Batteries are charging, mobile WordPress blog posting apps are being downloaded, and other essential gear is beginning to be packed. I’m not sure if I’m going to bring the Snowball with me to Butte. I doubt that I will have any free time to record a podcast when I actually get to Butte, and even if I do, it would be awkward to record a podcast with the rest of my family in the room. I like to podcast in my bedroom, or in the living room when it’s completely empty– but never in front of people. It just seems awkward, like I’m ignoring the other person in the room and instead talking to a rock. I might record a podcast on the drive up. I could even post it while we’re going down the highway thanks to the Mobile Hotspot feature on my Pre Plus…ย  But I’m not going to get ahead of myself on that front. Just look for good blogs this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I’m supposedly going to be the main photographer for the family reunion/surprise 75th birthday party for my grandma/odd family gathering of people who don’t know each other but are somehow related. That should be interesting. I imagine it will go down like this:

Me: “Hi, I don’t know you, but I’m supposed to take your picture. By the way, I might be your great nephew or something. Smile.”

Random Relative (R.R.): “Who the hell are you? I don’t want my picture taken.”

Me: “Cheese!”

R.R.: “Where’s the cheese at?”

I’m kind of excited to meet these other relatives, but at the same time I’m hesitant. My family hasn’t really had much involvement in the planning process of this event, so I have no clue as to what the party is going to be like, how many people will be there, and whether or not there will be a table with markers and stupid “Hello, My Name is:________” stickers. I doubt that it will be that bad, but I have a feeling it isn’t going to be a barrel of monkeys either.

In other news, I need more money to buy random crap I want in addition to the things I actually need. I don’t think I’m going to ditch now when I’m so close to working there for an entire year, so I think I’m going to stick it out until at least October. If I don’t get a pay raise then, I’ll bail. Simple as that. I can easily find another job that will definitely pay the same (or more) wages for less labor. I don’t like the idea of quitting, but I need more money.

I’m looking at laptops, and I’ve found two possible candidates that I can buy with my next paycheck, but I won’t have any money leftover to spend on essential things, like gasoline, nor will I have any money to put towards a vehicle. Blerg. I’m probably going to wait until the next paycheck though, simply because I have too many necessary expenses to tend to currently to spend a large chunk of dough on a (currently) non-essential item.

I’m off from work tomorrow, so I think I’m going to pick up my contact lenses, get my hair cut, and maybe buy some stuff for the trip. Life’s exciting, isn’t it?

– Will

“Ninjas always beat Pirates” or “Why it’s the perfect time to bust out your Jack Lalanne Power Juicer”

The above title is not a fail. It’s not an accurate description of the text within this post either. What is it then? Mission control isn’t exactly sure…

Today was another average Sunday for me. I went to work, I came home, and now I’m typing up this blog post. I have to go to work super early tomorrow morning, so I don’t have a lot of time to type up a legit blog post today. There is a bright-side to this: I’m not going to type a 1000 word post about a completely boring day that you would have to plow through to read. Also, I get off of work at 1 P.M. tomorrow and I have Tuesday off, so the next two days should be jam-packed with enough content to sate your desire for the usual lengthy blog post.

Other web/tech info: my netbook is acting up lately due to a RAM-seating issue. I’ve managed to temporarily fix this by seating the RAM in its correct position with some folded sticky notes. This isn’t a stable solution for the future, however, so I’m contemplating buying a new computer with my next paycheck (I get paid on Friday! :D). I haven’t made a solid decision on this yet, so I may be restricted to non-mobile podcasts until the RAM issue is fixed or a new laptop is purchased. I also will have to see what my paycheck looks like before I plan on spending any money…

That’s all for now. Posts with the usual amount of blog-content (or more!) will be back again tomorrow. If you still want to read more, go to the “Other” tab at the top of the page and check out the Archives and catch up on some of the old posts you’ve missed.

– Will

Podcast Fail

Hey Everyone,

I attempted to make a quick podcast a few moments earlier on my netbook, but due to some unknown technical difficulties, the recording came out glitchy with random “skips”. Fortunately, I typed up somewhat of a transcript for the podcast ahead of time. The transcript is posted below. I’m using it as my blog post for today. Enjoy.

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“I’ll start this podcast off with a quick summary of my day so far: Work. I went into work at 9:30 A.M. and left at around 2:50 P.M. I completed my first solo planogram today, which is kind of cool. A planogram, for those unfamiliar with retail terms, is a “plan” that is used to set products in a certain way on various shelves, racks, or hooks, depending on the individual planogram. In nationwide retail department stores, like Sears, Planograms are used in every department, from softlines– which mostly includes apparel– to hardlines– which depending on the retailer can include electronics, tools, lawnmowers, appliances, and other expensive items aside from clothing. If you didn’t really like that definition, Wikipedia’s definition of planograms is the following: “A planogram is a diagram of fixtures and products that illustrates how and where retail products should be displayed, usually on a store shelf in order to increase customer purchases.They may also be referred to as plano-grams, plan-o-grams, schematics or POGs.” For more information on planograms, check out the full article on Wikipedia… Anyway, I had to set a planogram today– something I’ve never done before– and it was a nice change of pace. They’re not very difficult to complete, but they’re more complex then the typical work a retail associate encounters– like folding clothes and cleaning fitting rooms. It’s also nice to know that my managers are giving me more responsibility. These planograms have to be set exactly as they are shown or else the store can fail an evaluation from a regional manager. I guess knowing that they trust me enough to give me the responsibility to work on a task like that is encouraging and makes me feel like I actually have some worth at that place, even if my minimum-wage pay fails to show it. It’s day four of my week-long “grounding”, so aside from work, not much else is going on. A fireworks stand just popped up in front of the neighborhood, so all of the kids here are running over to the wooden shack to exchange their fistfulls of dollars for small explosives. Last year I was one of those kids. I couldn’t get a job because I was only fifteen years old and I didn’t have a driver’s license to drive anywhere. Blowing stuff up provided a temporary amusement to quell the non-stop boredom. It seems like Jon, Kristin, and I hung out a lot more then, before we all had cars, and when only Jon had a job. Now I hardly see Kristin, and I haven’t hung out with either one of those two in over a week. That sucks. It’s kind of sad to know that one month of summer is already gone. I haven’t really done anything exciting or ridiculously fun in this month either. It seems like it’s just been going to work and sitting at home. I know part of that has to do with money, specifically the lack of money, and the other part has to do with motivation. It’s hard to think of things to do when your brain is so depleted by sheer boredom. And if you do manage to think of something, you want to do it with your friends who often aren’t available because they’re working. Life is frustrating like that. I guess the bright-side to this situation is the fact that a larger portion of summer still remains. I can still make the most of this summer. I just need to start now, or at least next Wednesday when I’m finally released from this bizzare grounding. I need to get out and have some fun, and avoid being stuck in a depthless sea of boredom. I think I’ll end it here. I want to personally thank all of my blog readers and those who listen to these podcasts for visiting the website. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who actually tune in to read and listen to the stuff I say. For thefinalsummer.com, this is Will saying, ‘You stay classy, planet earth!'”

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So that’s what the podcast was supposed to be. I’m sorry I couldn’t record one today, but expect to see another podcast soon.

That’s all. -Will

Hazing 101: How the Upperclassmen “keep it Fresh”

If my past three years of high school have only managed to teach me one thing, it’s that Freshmen are quite possibly the most naive, annoying, stupid, and short individuals to ever walk the halls of West High. Each year they get worse, entering West with a sense of entitlement. I think it’s time for the class of 2011 to remind the underclassmen who’s in charge at West.

We don’t have to physically or verbally abuse Freshmen– that isn’t productive or legal. We just need to remind them who’s in charge by bringing back a lost tradition that we endured when we were Freshmen.

At the beginning of the year assembly, when the Freshmen go to cheer for their class, we need to drown them out in deafening boos AND throw stuff at them.

We had stuff thrown at us during our first assembly as Freshmen. The seniors threw hot dogs, pickles, Twinkies, water bottles, and God-knows-what-else at us, and our class had the audacity to throw the stuff back at the Seniors. The class of 2011 showed the class of 2008 that we weren’t pushovers. We need to reinforce this message to the Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen at this years assembly by bringing this tradition back.

Why should we abuse the Juniors and the Sophomores in addition to the Freshmen? The Juniors and Sophomores did not have a single thing thrown at them from the Seniors of the past two years. This is completely unacceptable. We were hazed. We must take revenge by throwing stuff at people who had absolutely nothing to do with the people who threw stuff at us. Is it logical? No. Would it be appropriate or mature? Not really. Would it reinforce the message that the class of 2011 is a class not to be messed with? Heck yes!

This probably won’t happen though, because the faculty will threaten to cancel a dance and future assemblies, like they have in the past two years, if we throw things at the Freshmen during the assembly. Everyone will chicken out, and we will just boo the freshmen without throwing a single banana. So that plan is out.

Then how will we remind the freshmen that the senior class is a class of badasses? Simple. We get a mob of seniors to wear mirrored-lens aviators, bright orange vests with “Hall Monitor” written on the back, and mustaches (fake or real– your choice). These “Hall Monitors” will also carry air horns, silly string, and maybe a megaphone. Any underclassmen seen clogging the halls will be politely asked to move once. If they decide not to, then the “Hall Monitor” can take a vigilante stand for all the annoyed upperclassmen and decide either to deafen the freshmen with an air horn blast, cover them in silly string, or tell them to “MOVE!” with a megaphone. I’m imagining that clumping will decrease by 80% with this kind of enforcement. That’s a statistic that faculty can’t argue with.

That’ s it for today. I’m going to begin researching my “Hall Monitor Kit” and then catch some Z’s for an early day at work. See you on the flipside, yo.

– Will

P.S. All kidding aside, don’t physically or verbally harass the Freshies… they may be annoying, but that’s not cool. We can show them we’re boss without being completely evil and ill-willed. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blue Tongues and SAT Scores

Today was awesome. I went to Rose Park with my sister. We had a fun time swimming and doing flips off of the diving boards (they were more like flops actually… my back and stomach are still pink). When we weren’t swimming in the slightly frigid water, we relaxed in the sun, occasionally grazing on cherries, tongue-dying Gushers, and one ofย  the three new Mountain Dew “Dewmocracy” candidates, Whiteout (our conclusion about Whiteout: Meh. It’s OK.). It was nice to get outside of the house and have a little fun in the sun.

I love taking random black and white pictures.

Do kitty pools with mushroom sprinklers increase child drug use? Stay tuned…

These chairs are actually pretty comfortable on a sunny day.

GUSHERS THAT MAKE YOUR TONGUE BLUE– OMG!

Blue tongue disease victim.

Another blue tongue disease victim… Tragic.

This chair looked kind of depressed and lonely, so it we nicknamed it the “Emo chair”. ๐Ÿ˜›

We went to the pool at around 4:00 P.M. and left at around 7:00. We arrived home, made our own individual dinners, and watched a movie. We watched Go (you can check it out on Hulu [note: It’s rated R for a reason.]). It’s a pretty awesome movie, filled with drugs, awkward moments,ย  scams, and morally conflicting decisions. If you’re bored and in need of an intelligent movie, you should watch it. Remember to pay attention to the details…

After watching the movie, I remembered that my SAT scores were posted today. I’m somewhat satisfied with my results, but I plan on retaking the SAT in the fall. My scores were well above the required scores to get into the University of Montana, and I could probably get in with my current SAT scores and GPA. That makes me feel confident about my future, but I still need to look for scholarships and other financial aid.

Currently, I’m looking at a freshly printed U of M undergraduate application, casually glancing over the requirements. Life looks pretty good right now. I know which majors I plan to pursue and I know that the school I wish to attend has those majors. I know that I currently meet and exceed the requirements needed to be accepted at this college. I also know that I can afford to go to this college without the fear of being in debt from student loans when I’m 40. I feel as if making the decision about where to go next in my life is almost complete. Life is good, and I hope it stays that way.

Check back tomorrow for new posts, pictures, and a podcast. See you then.

– Will

Welcome to Rock Bottom. Population: 1

Don’t ask what the above picture is about because I’m not sure what it is either.

Everything is going downhill. How? This blog has little, if any interesting content. Sure, it is full of random multimedia content (podcasts, pictures, one sketch, and blog posts) but it isn’t full of any interesting content. Pictures of broken buildings from the recent tornado could be interesting to look at, but there are thousands of pictures of the same rubble posted across multiple websites– YouTube even has a few videos of the tornado ripping the Metra apart. So my pictures, videos, and podcast about the storm cannot compete with the mass quantity of other people’s content.

Nor can this blog compete with the thousands of other people’s blogs about their crappy summer vacation before Senior year.

To the few people who do actually read this blog on a daily basis: no, I’m not giving up. I’ll continue to create posts daily. I’m just beginning to realize that trying to get as many views as possible is impossible without good advertising OR good content. Facebook wall posts can only bring in so much traffic, and that traffic begins to thin after the people who initially checked out the blog seen a post, thought, “Wow, this is boring,” and then never clicked another link in a future wall post because of their initial experience with the blog. Therefore, I need ridiculously great blog content, so that you guys who actually do read the blog begin to enjoy the blog content and then tell your friends about the blog. Clicks add up and life gets better.

This project is becoming difficult. Motivating myself to make somewhat interesting posts on a daily basis for a basically non-existent audience seems pointless. Finding things to write about on a daily basis is also difficult– so difficult, in fact, that I’ve now resorted to writing about how difficult it is (Ironic? Definitely.). If you think reading about me waking up, going to work, and then coming home is boring, imagine living that! And while you’re at it, consider how “fun” it is to write about a boring day. It’s not. Vocabulary can only spice up a vanilla day so much, and even then it’s difficult to avoid adding too much zest.

So what do I need to change? What do I need to do to make my summer, and by association my blog posts, more interesting? More eventful days? More content? More delicious vocabulary? Or an elite combination of all of three of the aforementioned things in one interesting series of daily SUPER posts?

I believe the combination of those three ideas will probably do the trick. However, that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon because I’m grounded for a week.

That’s right– in the midst of this life of complete boredom, I managed to get myself grounded for a week. How? I forgot to wash the dishes and bring the dirty laundry downstairs.

Let me ask you this: am I justified in thinking that this is a completely ridiculous punishment for not completing two basic chores on a day that I, like every other member of the household, had to work?

Before you answer that, let me give you some mostly unbiased background of the situation:

In the past, I’ve been warned that I need to finish all of my chores during the summer. My chores include washing the dishes and bringing the dirty laundry downstairs in addition to a list of a couple of other basic chores. I haven’t been warned about this anytime within recent memory, nor has the possibility of a week-long grounding for not completing every chore been shared with me recently. I also did not have to be at work until 1:00 PM in the afternoon. This means that I had to leave the house by 12:30 PM, and begin getting ready for work at noon.ย  I woke up at around 9:30 AM today. That gave me two hours and thirty minutes to complete all of my chores. I don’t have a lot of chores, but I wasn’t exactly Mr. Motivation after getting a short amount of sleep. Assuming it takes me at least a half hour to eat breakfast and another half hour for lunch, that leaves me with an hour and a half to complete my chores. That’s not a lot of time when you add in checking Facebook, reading Engadget, watching stupid YouTube videos, and posting a review on CNET about my new camera. Now, I know all of the previously mentioned things are lazy activities, and they wasted the time I could have used to wash the dishes and bring the dirty clothes downstairs, but I don’t think enjoying a few leisure activities before work is ridiculous either. I did manage to complete a few of my other chores, but not all of them.

I agree that I should probably be punished in some way or another– perhaps being grounded for one day. But an entire week?!? DURING THE SUMMER?!?! That’s ridiculous. Guantanamo inmates get better treatment! ๐Ÿ™‚ (haha)

I should also mention that my older sister was home today and we both usually wash the dishes and do laundry together. She was not grounded for a week. This wasn’t considered because apparently “…she can’t be grounded– she’s 22 years-old.”

EXACTLY! She’s 22 years old and she’s living at home.* Yes, she’s going to college, but if I get grounded for a week for not doing two chores, she should be grounded or at least placed under some restrictions for a week too. Her punishment: a threat that if she failed to complete her chores again, she would be kicked out.

Now some people would say her punishment is worse. A threat of eviction is pretty scary, but she is 22 years old. She’s going to college. She has a job. She should have moved out already! And they’ve threatened to kick her out multiple times before today. Has it ever happened? No.

So basically she gets off scotch-free and I’m stuck with a ridiculous punishment with little chance of early release. So much for justice…

So this post basically describes my frustrations of the day. Keep checking back here daily for more posts!

– Will

P.S. Leave comments suggesting what you would like to see!

P.S.S. The picture at the top of the post was taken with my new Kodak EasyShare C180 and then edited in Microsoft Picture It! Premium 10.

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* I don’t mind that she’s living at home– in fact, I like having my sister live at home. But she’s getting to the age where the joke about living in your parents’ basement when your thirty is beginning to look less like a joke and more like a possible reality. I want her to live at home for the rest of the summer, and perhaps for the rest of my Senior year. But I sincerely hope that she moves out before I do, or at the very least when I move out, because that’s the way it’s supposed to work. I love my sis, but she needs to be independent.

Snooze-day

Today was a day of sleep. I woke up later then usual at around 10 AM, rolled out of bed, and devoured two toaster strudels.* I watched some TV for awhile, then went back to bed and lazily floated between being awake and asleep until noon. I then attempted to do some chores before I had to get ready for work. On my way to work, I missed the turn to the usual road I take to get to work and I had to quickly re-route my way to work in my head to avoid construction detours. It was an interesting mix up in my usual routine, and I actually made it to work a few minutes early.

Work was actually enjoyable today. I had a five-hour shift from 2-7 PM, which meant that I did not have to close. I hate closing, so knowing that I didn’t have to stay that extra hour or more pretty much made my day. Also, the district manager is examining our store tomorrow, so the closing-shift workers probably ended up staying late, frantically trying to bring the store up to the minimum standards. Once again, I’m thankful that I did not have to close today. ๐Ÿ™‚

On a mildly interesting note, I bought a new camera today! It’s a Kodak EasyShare C180. It’s a basic point-and-shoot camera with a few interesting features like video, 3x optical zoom, high ISO mode, and the other “special” modes for various scenarios. It’s listed on Amazon.com currently for about $92– I got it at Sears for under $25 with my employee discount. It was a display model that was placed out on the floor so customers could try it out, so technically it’s “used”, but it has no noticeable signs of wear. It takes pretty good pictures, and it’s very small in comparison to my other camera, a Kodak EasyShare Z8612IS. The Kodak EasyShare Z8612IS (the big, black camera) has way more features then the C180, including a 12x optical zoom, 480p video, and manual exposure settings, but it’s larger size makes it too conspicuous for spontaneous shots. That’s why I bought the C180– for it’s size and decent picture quality. The video feature was icing on the cake for this camera, but I don’t expect it to be good quality video. I plan to buy an Ultra HD Flip Video camera later this summer to expand the multimedia features of this blog even more. We’ll see how that pans out…

Here’s a stock photo of the Kodak EasyShare C180:

And here’s a stock photo of my other camera, the Kodak EasyShare Z8612 IS:

That’s it for today. As always, look for a new post tomorrow. Thanks again for checking out thefinalsummer.com

– Will

Aftermath

Today I went back up to the Heights to see the destruction caused by the tornado. Because traffic was heavy today, the car moved slow enough for me to take some nice pictures. I also have some video, which I will upload to YouTube later. Even if you see the pictures and video of the destroyed buildings, its nothing like actually seeing it in person. If you can, go up to the Heights and check it out. It’s intense.

Here are the pictures:




That’s it for today, folks. Let’s be thankful no one was seriously injured in this storm.

– Will