It’s a rainy Easter Sunday. The apartment is quiet. I’m typing out this post in the kitchen, listening to a “lo-fi” Spotify playlist. The calm beats mesh well with this morning’s lazy pace. There is no rush to do anything right now.

My last post was a rushed update. I never wrote a concluding post about last Summer. I typed out multiple drafts, but never finished any of them. Time passed, and the moment to write a proper ending felt like it had passed too. It’s now the end of April 2019, and another Summer is on the horizon.

I think last Summer highlighted a lot of my strengths and weaknesses. I am able to find new opportunities quickly (as long as I keep an open mind). I am stubborn. I can be very impatient. I often start new ventures with lots of enthusiasm and effort, but get quickly demoralized whenever I don’t see results in a short period of time. I need to take better care of myself.

Despite all of the change that happened last Summer, I feel like I didn’t make a lot of progress on my goals. I think I had too many goals. I never set up proper markers to measure progress. It’s hard to feel any sense of progress if you don’t know where you’re at.

So, for this upcoming Summer, I plan to keep my goals simple (yet specific). Here’s my list (so far):

  • Ride 5000+ miles on the R3 (over the entire Summer/riding season)
    • Put new fairings on the R3
  • Run a mile in under five-minutes
  • Run five-miles daily (rest day on Sunday)
  • Earn at least one CompTIA certification
    • (Stretch goal: earn three certs)
  • Develop coding portfolio (on GitHub, personal website, etc.)
    • *At least three finished projects (by end of September)
  • Develop a weekly meal plan (in advance of the week ahead)
  • Go on four backpacking trips
    • Go on a backpacking trip in Glacier National Park
  • Read daily
    • Finish one book every 7-14 days
  • Attend Big Sky Developer Conference

There’s a lot of different things on there, and I’ll likely change this list as the Summer progresses, but I think it’s good to start with a broad list of ideas. I can always adjust this as time goes on.

As for this blog, my goal is to post an update at least once a week (every Sunday around 11 AM).

I’m excited for the Summer ahead, and I can’t wait to bring you along for the journey. I’ll post more updates before Summer “officially” begins in June.

Until next time,

-Will

Adapting to Change

Since my post on the 9th, I’ve started working at a new job with an entirely different work schedule. The transition from working evenings (for over five consecutive years) to mornings has gone mostly well. I’ve adapted to the drastically different sleep schedule better than I expected. I enjoy leaving work in the early afternoon (as opposed to later in the evening). The freedom to do something on a Friday night is almost overwhelming. I haven’t had the option to do much of anything during the weeknights for years.

I’m still adapting to fitting things beyond the basics into my schedule. I’m slowly figuring out the ideal time to hit the gym, eat dinner, read, study, etc. Updating this blog regularly was something that I struggled with before this shift in schedule– so it’s not much of a surprise that I failed to write a new post last Monday.

That’s not really a good excuse. I know. I’m working on it.

The change in jobs has been an interesting experience. It’s a fairly small operation– less than 20 people work in the entire building. Everyone who works there is very friendly. There’s a lot of sunlight in my workspace (which is a welcome change after working in the dark minimum-security prison that is Gibson Acoustic). I started there in the midst of a transition; we’ll be moving to a different building in a few weeks. The logistics of moving seems to have placed my training toward the bottom of the list of priorities there (which is understandable– moving an entire shop over to a new location is not an easy process). I’m still learning something, obviously, but I don’t feel like my days are directed in any particular way. I’m asked to help out with some basic tasks on an ad hoc basis, then left on my own to figure out what I should be doing next. My frustration is primarily rooted in not knowing the workflow of my job. The order of operations has never been explained to me, which seems like a misstep in the training process. I would greatly appreciate more direction. I’m not sure I’ll get that direction until after the move though.

Aside from wanting more direction, the job has been a vast improvement over Gibson. I’m glad I made the move. Now, I just need to get the rest of my life back on track (ex. going to the gym on a regular schedule again).

The weather is finally starting to be warm again. Summer is nearly here.

Look for another post here by Friday evening. Until then,

-Will

Eight Years of TFS

Today marks the eight year anniversary of the creation of this blog. The idea back then was simple: I wanted to capture the last summer of my life as a high school student. I daily blogged consistently for the bulk of that Summer. While every post from that year isn’t a gem, the record it provides allows me to go back and relive some of the memories and experiences from that liminal portion of my life.

I’ve attempted many times to revive this blog over the years, with mixed success (“mixed success” might be a bit generous; there’s a long history of failed starts, as an anonymous commenter noted earlier this week). Despite the failed attempts to consistently blog daily over the years, those posts still provide a patchwork quilt of what was going on in my life at the time. The woes of working boring jobs during the Summer, the never fading desire to go on a long roadtrip, and the internal need to always be writing more– these are just some of the things captured over the years of patchy posting.

There are a lot of meta posts on this blog. It can get a bit annoying. I get it. The point of this post is to encourage you to create a record of your own life, no matter what form it might take. The value of being able to look back with the aid of a written record (other pieces of media, like photos or videos, are great too) is invaluable. Other people might not get why you’re doing this– that’s okay. They’re not the audience. It’s something you’re creating for yourself (and the other folks who “get it”).

Thanks for spending eight years (or any other length of time) with me. I’ll see you again soon.

-Will

P.S. I forgot to post last Monday because I started a new job. I have a draft saved, and will likely be posting that in the next few days.

Epilogue & Prelude

I never properly ended the blog at the end of last Summer. In some ways, the lack of an ending is a proper reflection of how committed I was to the blog. I wanted to revive this blog’s initial concept by posting daily for the entire season; I scrapped those plans within a few weeks. While my original intentions behind the blog’s revival were good, I never had the proper motivation in my mind to maintain the sustained effort needed to write on here regularly.

In other words, I never had a clear purpose for posting on here last year.

Summer 2017 was a season spent mostly in the moment. Few things were planned in advance. It was a season of floating along with the current rather than paddling toward a specific destination. The romantic notion of floating along with life’s ebbs and flows is only realized through rose-colored lenses; the human spirit does not thrive without aims. We have been genetically programmed through evolution to be constantly seeking something “better” (whatever that might be depends on the individual, of course). This deep-seated mentality clashes with the pseudo-zen contentment of drifting through life.

I think the experience of life as an early twentysomething is generally spent without solid anchors. Commitment to anything is seen as self-restriction and an assault on one’s freedom of choice. The fear of missing some unknown opportunity or experience, ironically, often keeps one from experiencing things. With time and maturity, the clarity that comes with solid goals and commitments seems less like an anchor to drudgery and more like a pathway to a brighter future. The freedom in the initial choice to commit to something (and the later option to choose again, should that first choice not work out) is what the immature don’t recognize– it seems like a surrender rather than a willing engagement. The reality of the situation only becomes clear from another angle. This truth applies to most things in life: perspective is everything.

2018, unlike 2017, is a year I plan to utilize more consciously. Drifting along is no longer acceptable. I am reclaiming my agency (which was always there anyway), and I am making choices in advance. I am the master of my destiny.

With that, I plan to revive this blog properly. I haven’t decided the format for this coming Summer’s revival (will I post daily, weekly, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, etc.). The purpose, however, is clear: to capture a season of my life in detail. I hope you will join me when this blog restarts (again) officially on June 21st, 2018. (There will be some additional posts on here before then; I will gradually ramp up to posting more frequently as we get closer to Summer.)

I’ll see you again next Monday. Have a great week.

-Will

RESTART:

What’s up everybody? Long time, no see (or post, rather). To avoid the awkward silence that usually ensues between old friends who haven’t spoken in a year or so, I’m just going to plunge straight into the news I have for you guys. So here it is: The Final Summer will be back with new posts everyday this summer, officially starting on May 5th, 2012.

To answer a few questions that you probably have after reading that sentence:

  • Don’t you have another blog? Why are you going back to this one? It’s simple– this is a summer-long project that is 100% isolated to the summer season. It forces me to write everyday, which in turn keeps my writing in pristine condition. My other “current” blog, the wco show, is more of a casual thing.
  • You’re really committing to a daily blog again? Didn’t that turn out poorly last time? While I will be the first to admit that things weren’t exactly “perfect” the last time I committed to a post-a-day blogging venture, I do think the challenge of writing a post everyday is exciting. Plus, it provides me with extra incentive to do something interesting everyday.
  • You have other summer projects already lined up, right? Aren’t you stretching yourself a bit thin? Writing a post for this blog takes maybe 15-30 minutes at the most, and I usually do it at the end of the day. It shouldn’t interfere with my other projects (if I manage my time wisely).
  • I thought this blog was supposed to be “over”– that’s why it’s called The Final Summer, isn’t it? Why are you choosing to revive this “dead” blog now? Yes, that is why this blog was originally titled The Final Summer. It was supposed to capture that last summer before I entered what I believed to be the “real world.” Continuing to make new posts on here isn’t going to change that– in fact, I would say it probably enhances the meaning of the title. The Final Summer is now taking on a greater meaning– it symbolizes an urgency to seize the day. Because who knows– each day you take for granted could be your last. That’s why I’m choosing to revive this blog; posting on here daily will serve as a reminder that each day should be lived to its fullest.
  • Since you’re reviving this blog, will the twentyeleven project ever come back? Hmm… that’s a tough one. At this point, I don’t see the twentyeleven project ever making a full return– a “full return” meaning that all of the original authors come back and start writing posts together again. There may be a point where a few of the authors come back to make a few posts on the blog, or maybe a complete overhaul of the site with new authors, but I don’t really see that happening anytime soon. For now, you can consider the twentyeleven project as a happily “dead” blog, with no potential revival coming up in the foreseeable future.
  • Will anyone be joining you on this time around? The Final Summer is kind of personal project… I feel like adding anyone else to it would ruin the experience. I wouldn’t be against joining a group blogging project this summer though… (*hint*) But we’ll see if that happens.

I’m looking forward to sharing another summer with you guys. Hopefully, it will be much more exciting than our last trip around. Stay tuned, and I’ll see you in a few weeks.

– Will

Three More Days, Folks. Time to get excited.

Only three more days. Three more. Then this site is officially going “live” and the Summer blogging experience begins. Pages will be added, content will be uploaded, and this blog/website-thingy will metamorphose into something unique and awesome. It’s not lookin’ too shabby right now, but it’ll get even better. 🙂

To give you a glimpse into what I will be doing on the “Official Launch Day”, here’s my planned schedule:
1. Wake up early to get ready for SAT.
2. Make sure I have everything for SAT.
3. Drive to a high school that looks like a penitentiary to take the SAT.
(7:30 AM-around 1:00 PM I think…)
4. Go to work at 2:15 PM-7:15 PM.
5. RELAX… and post something here.

It’s going to be a busy first Saturday of Summer, but it’s still Summer. 😀 I’m so excited. Even for the SAT. Then I get to take the ACT next Saturday! Huzzah! More testing! More fake enthusiasm for testing! FML!

Oh well. I guess I have to take those tests to get into college, so I should probably be studying instead of writing this post. 😛 I’ll probably make another post tomorrow that’s actually somewhat interesting to read.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
-Will

This post is really just “filler”.

Honestly. This post is really just an additional post to round out the “May” calendar on the sidebar of this blog to make it look like I’ve been productive over the last month and a half.

…OK, really this post is not just filler. I lied. Forgive me later. Just continue reading and it will all make sense in the end. Trust me– I know I just lied to you earlier but get over it. Jeez– that was a few sentences ago anyway. Haven’t you heard the cliché phrase, “Forgive and forget,” ever?

Here’s the current situation: FOUR MORE DAYS UNTIL SUMMER OFFICIALLY BEGINS. That’s right– four more days until I can officially roll out the welcome mat for this circus tent of blogging chaos. Four more days until I am free of sitting through Klaboe’s hellish U.S. History class (It should really be called “Movies of U.S. History and The twenty minutes of pre-movie CNN while your instructor screws around downstairs instead of actually attempting to educate you class”).

Four more days until the seasonal epic boredom cycle begins. Four more days until my sleeping habits shift from “normal” to “irregular”.  Four more days until summer heaven and summer hell begin.

Summer, like any season, brings it’s good and bad qualities. Some things are both good and bad– for example, hot temperatures. Everybody likes nice warm days with clear blue skies, but we also hate it when it’s too hot. Summer is great because it’s a break from school, but it’s also bad because a 7-8 hour time slot that was previously occupied five days a week is now “free time” and must be filled with other activities to avoid total boredom and maintain sanity. Some people attempt to fill this in with work. Others don’t have this option and are forced to fill the time slot with other activities. Regardless, life goes on and time never stops. Summer dwindles and the workers wish for more money and less work so they can actually relax, and the incredibly bored unemployed wish for work or just something to do. Summer winds down, fears of school coming set in. The rubber band man spreads across television like the plague. His appearance seems to say, “Houston, you have a call holding. It’s your senior year calling, sir. It says that you only have one more year until real life begins. Apparently all of this phony school shit has all been some sad excuse for prepping the ship for liftoff. Should I take a message?”

I’m excited and afraid. I’m ready and hesitant. I’m filled with joy and sadness.

I’m also pretty tired because it’s 11:30 P.M. and it’s Finals week. Perhaps it’s a good idea to get some sleep, no?

Just a few quick notes about the blog: 1. I’m planning on adding another couple of pages to the blog. Perhaps a “tech” page to let the nerd in me out and also a random page for things that don’t fit the main theme of the blog. I’ll be thinking of some ideas this week… 2. There’s a Twitter feed in the sidebar (OMG!) of this blog! I occasionally post stuff there when I can’t post things here (like when I’m in school or away from my PC). Look for updates there if you stop by the blog and don’t see anything new (which should not happen in four more days because I’m planning on updating this blog at least once a day). 3. Videos/Vlogs: Should I do those too? Perhaps not daily, but maybe as a Friday special? Or maybe whenever I feel like it? Lemme know what you think in the comments section.

Thanks for reading. I’ll try to stay sane for four more days. 😛

-Will

P.S. Congrats to all the Seniors out there who graduated from high school recently. I wish I was in  your shoes! 😀 Good luck with your future endeavors.

“Sunshine go away today…”

It’s about 4:30 in the afternoon, and it’s been pouring rain since last night. The sky is gray and depressing, the weather is cold and wet, and the road is covered in puddles with little shiny patches of motor oil from leaky cars. Within the cozy walls of my house I can hear the rain pattering down from the sky at a fast and steady pace. The drops collide with the metal rain gutter and produce a deeper bass clunk that adds to the ensemble of nature’s percussion. To keep things interesting, an occasional gust whistles by, causing pedestrians to shield their faces with their hands or, if they’re lucky enough to have one, an umbrella. The cold urges everyone to move quickly to dry places, and the floors of stores become wet with black puddles from the shoppers’ shoes. Florescent yellow signs proclaiming, “CAUTION! WET FLOOR,” are placed by the entrances for two reasons: for the safety of the store’s valued customers, and for liability reasons in case someone happens to slip on the flooded floor and break a hip. Life goes on in the rain as it did the day before, filled with people worried more about covering their asses then the well-being of others. Bureaucracy is beautiful that way, isn’t it?

The rain has put me in a sarcastic mood against people. I never have really loved or even remotely liked people as a whole, and working in retail has reinforced this disgust. Spend a week in the shoes of an associate at a store that sells clothes and you’ll understand. The first completely destroyed fitting room you find will seem like a ridiculous and unusual event, and that whoever made the mess will eventually get what they deserve through bad karma. Then, you stumble upon more rooms filled with mountains of clothes, some in varying sizes, strewn on the floor but still attached to a hanger. In time, you might find a room where the pile of clothes and God knows what else isn’t on the floor, but in a shopping cart. Hopefully you won’t have a experience similar to mine where during a fitting room check you find a used feminine pad laying on the floor.

That was an extremely horrifying and disgusting experience. It even topped the smeared shit on the wall on my list of “worst fitting room discoveries”. Long story short, I did not have to clean up either fitting room. Fortunately that is not apart of my job description. No, the security crew somehow got the short straw and had to clean up those messes. I hope they’re getting paid enough to justify working at a job that occasionally involves cleaning human feces off the wall…

As I mentioned earlier, it’s raining. Simply to keep with the theme of my last few posts, I took a few pictures of the rain on my patio. Enjoy.

And now the time has come to end this rant against the horrors of people. I just heard the TV set in my parent’s room issuing a news report about the oil leak disaster in the gulf. If you ever want a reminder of how excessive greed and ass-covering are terrible things, simply turn on your television set to a news station. Hopefully God will help to repair this ignorant crime against nature and bring the Gulf back to its former pristine, life-filled state.

“WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

-An excerpt from George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984*

Will

* I’m beginning to read 1984 by George Orwell and that particular passage, the “slogan of the Party”, immediately caught my attention. It’s such a well written motto for a society under constant fear of its government. I think I’m really going to like this novel… (I also would like to note that I’m reading it independently, and not for a school assignment.)

5/22/2010

Today was the Saturday from Hell. I went in to work expecting to work my scheduled 8 AM to 1 PM shift and ended up leaving work at 4 PM. Our district manager visited the store today, which meant that my regular manager was twice as jumpy as usual. As usual, work sucked. Life goes on, and the world keeps moving.

The honeymoon is over. It has been for a few months now. I can barely remember a time where I actually enjoyed work and didn’t constantly check the time to see how much longer I had to wait until I could leave.

After leaving the store today, I came home and kind of zoned for a few hours. I didn’t really do much of anything and a few hours flew by very quickly. At around 8 PM I became aware of the time once again and decided I wanted to do something tonight. I texted Jon first and then Kristin, but Kristin was the first to respond. I called her and learned that her brother was about to go out on the roof to retrieve a ball he had gotten stuck up there earlier. I ran outside to the patio and snapped a few shots of him on the roof for blackmail. 😀 (*evil cackle*) Here’s the pics:

Kristin, on the phone with me, and Dillon, trying to get back inside.

From a distance, to show perspective.

After he finally went back into the house, Kristin came over and we talked about random things until Jon called to let me know he was off from work and able to hang out. He came over to my house a little while later with his girlfriend, Anne, and all four of us hung out at my house just messing around until about 10 PM when Kristin had to go. Then, Anne, Jon, and I went to Denny’s after a short debate over restaurant choices. We had a great time just talking and joking and eating some delicious cinnamon treats and the sampler we ordered until around 11 PM. Then we went back to my house and killed another half hour with occasional talk and awkward silence ’til they had to go. I then spent an hour on Facebook chatting with Kelci about the horrors of work and how basically every job we could currently get right now sucks other then becoming a lifeguard at a pool. We discussed the pros and cons of life-guarding for a while, and then ranted about our crummy jobs until 1 AM rolled around and we both decided sleep would be beneficial. And now I’m here, recounting the boring events of my day to a non-existent audience. Lovely, isn’t it? 😉

Basically, the beginning of the day blew, the middle was a blur, and the end was a blast (in comparison to the earlier parts). I did, however, take a few random pictures during the middle part of the day…

A lovely picture of Stella, my kickass electric guitar.

This was simply a “right place, right time” picture. The slow shutter speed made her tongue a blur.

And this last picture is a picture of me after I finally got home from the visit to Denny’s… God bless Suki for putting up with my me and my jackass friends. She definitely earned her tip that night.

I really wanted to go to bed. Like really bad.

Thank God Summer is almost here. I can’t wait much longer to be free from school. I also cannot wait to go to sleep, so I’m going to end this blog here. Goodnight.

-Will

I’m Ready for Summer to Begin… NOW

Dear Summer,

What is the freakin’  holdup? If I have to sit through one more movie in my U.S. History class while my teacher talks on the phone, I’m going to lose it. Please send me a time machine to skip the next two weeks or just begin now. That would be great. Thanks.
– Will

Two more weeks of school left until Summer begins and the currently large waste of time, school, ends. Basically, there are two more weeks of school until freedom. 🙂 Thank God.

What’s keeping me sane during this seemingly endless wait for Summer? Little things. Thinking about what’s coming. Going outside and enjoying the fresh air. Dreaming.

Unfortunately, I can only show you the “going outside and enjoying the fresh air” part through photography. It was nice to get out and enjoy the warm weather, blue skies and green grass. My cats were also thrilled to get outside and lay in the hot sun. I tried to read The Grapes of Wrath, the book we’re reading in my English class, but after a few pages I capitulated to the desire to take pictures instead. I also brought out my SAT prep book in the hopes of doing some studying, but alas this never occurred. Perhaps I’ll absorb its knowledge through osmosis… That would make carrying it everywhere worthwhile.

‘Twas sunny.

I love random shovels.

KITTY!

Hurrah for Color.

So much for studying…

(Random Note: I wouldn’t consider those pictures to be “world-class” photography or even somewhat good photography, but they add a nice visual to the blog, right?)

So that was my day… yesterday. It wasn’t really interesting, but it was nice nonetheless. On a more positive note, I have Friday off from work (a very rare occurrence) and I’m hoping to go stargazing again with Jon, Anne, and possibly Kristin. If the skies are clear and it’s not too cold, it should happen. I’ll post some pics and possibly a podcast/recording of our random conversations during this event if it actually occurs. The last time we recorded this was about three years ago when we were all Freshman… It’s hilarious to listen to now and we’re hoping to record some more good times like that. (Maybe I’ll post the first stargazing recording on here…. Hmm…)

Well that’s all for now folks. Look for weekly posts on Wednesdays until the Summer officially begins on June 5th*. Until next time…

-Will

* I have my SAT test on June 5th… FML.