The Last Gasp of Summer

Today is the first day of September. Most Americans think of Labor Day as the last day of Summer, but the season doesn’t officially end until September 22nd (the Fall Equinox). In prior years, I stopped posting to this blog when school began, but I’m not in school this semester. So, in 2017, TFS will settle back into hiatus on the 22nd.

I haven’t posted on this blog nearly as often as I had hoped to at the start. This Summer has been a wild mix of lethargy and excitement; the weekdays filled with the same monotonous work, and the weekends jam-packed with new adventures. The whiplash between drudgery and delight made it difficult to write on here regularly. I lacked the energy and enthusiasm to put words down during the week, and most weekends were too busy for me to find time to write.

To make up for what I see as a bit of a failure to post on here regularly (like I had originally planned), I’m planning to post daily until the 22nd. Some changes at work have made the next three-weeks somewhat less dreadful, and I have an extra full-day off during the week now. I’m considering making a video for every day as well, but for now I’ll just promise a new written post daily.


Since my last post, Kelci and I hiked the Alaska Basin Trail in Wyoming to see the 2017 eclipse. My friend, Zach, told me about a group that was going up to the Basin to watch the eclipse and invited us to tag along. We were within the band of totality, which allowed us to see the full eclipse. Seeing the sun disappear, and watching the sunlight gradually fade was incredible. It was as if someone had pushed a dimmer switch on the daylight in the middle of the day. Seeing the full eclipse was also an awesome experience. Pictures of an eclipse really don’t capture the experience of actually being there. The Basin itself had an otherworldly feel to it; we camped on a rocky plateau that was sprinkled sparsely with odd looking trees.

 

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It was a really cool experience, and aside from the five-mile line of traffic we were stuck in for nearly two hours (!), it couldn’t have been better. We were well prepared for the trip, and I can’t wait to go backpacking again.

It’s only 9:35 A.M., but I’m going to get started on this first day off of my four-day weekend (!!!). Until tomorrow,

-Will

Motion Blur

The distinguished and highly reputable Wikipedia defines motion blur as:

“…the apparent streaking of rapidly moving objects in a still image or a sequence of images such as a movie or animation. It results when the image being recorded changes during the recording of a single exposure, either due to rapid movement or long exposure.”

The last few weeks of my life have gone by so quickly that it’s difficult to recall individual events in detail. It’s like a fog of emotions and movement and time all melding into one continuous blur, starting near the beginning of the Summer and continuing on through the present.

I was checking the weather today when I noticed that today’s sunset was around 15 minutes earlier than it was a few weeks ago (the first day of Summer was June 20th). We’ve passed that high watermark of sunshine, and now we’re heading toward increasing darkness until the first day of Winter. Each day will be shorter and shorter until then.

It’s a depressing realization, but it’s also very narrow-minded. There is more to life than sunshine. I haven’t gotten out to ride nearly as often as I wanted to this Summer, but that’s my fault. I should have made more of an effort earlier. There’s still time to lay down some miles before the roads are covered in snow…

I’ll write more soon. Writing during the week is difficult, and it’s nearly impossible on the weekends. I’ll find a way though.

-Will

Life Moves Fast…

My last post was on July 14th, and I had the audacity to end it with: “I’ll write another post soon. Stay tuned.

Obviously that didn’t happen. It’s been almost three weeks since that post, and a lot of things have changed since then.

The weekend after my last post (July 15-16) was mostly uneventful. I went for another hike with Alex, and Eli came along for once. We left later on Saturday evening, and ended up running down the hill in the dark. The path we were on was very steep, and the trail is significantly overgrown in many places. There are also lots of little holes, and the trail is mostly loose dirt and gravel. In other words, it’s a deathtrap. We made it down without anyone getting injured (shockingly), and then went downtown for some drinks with some new friends at 317.

The weekend following that (July 22-23) was very eventful, to say the least. Kelci and her roommate, Ashlee, came up from Billings to visit us. It had been a few years since Kelci last came up for a true weekend visit, and we were all excited to go downtown and have a good time. We ended up dressing up for a classy dinner at the Copper, then pre-gamed back at the apartment, and went back downtown afterwards. It was a crazy night, and we had so much fun.

Kelci and I ended up breaking off from the group for a second to catch some air (we had been dancing) out on the back patio of Bar IX. We locked eyes; there had been sparks flying between us for most of the night. We ended up kissing on the bridge under the fairy lights (it was a cliche scene out of a shitty John Green novel [in the best way]).

After that happened, we went back to the apartment for an afterparty. Everyone passed out at around 5 AM, then got up a few hours later to get brunch. It was a helluva weekend.

Here are some shots from that weekend (thanks to Ashlee & Eli for sharing these pics):

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After everything that happened that weekend (and the literal years of buildup), Kelci and I decided to date. It’s been amazing so far. I couldn’t be happier.

I fill you in on what happened last weekend tomorrow (pinky swear). Thanks for being patient with my inconsistent posts!

-Will

A New Approach

Author’s Note: Until things in my day-to-day life become more interesting to write about, I think this blog will be better served by posts that are more spread out than daily blogging. For now, I’ll post at least once a week. I apologize for the shift in approach, but I think this will improve the quality drastically.

I’ve taken a new approach toward my daily life that I believe will lead to better things over time. I’m working on building greater self-discipline. To start, I’m simply doing the daily tasks required to keep my room clean & tidy that I used to ignore (ex. making my bed, keeping up with my laundry, vacuuming, etc.). These aren’t drastic changes, but they do instill an inkling of personal pride. The lack of clutter is refreshing, and it provides a physical representation of the improvement I’m working toward. Yes, there is obviously more to do, but this is a step in the right direction. I just have to keep moving forward, and eventually things will get significantly better.

Another step I’ve taken (and one that is probably more substantial) toward improvement is learning how to code online. I started working on an online code camp last Sunday, and already blew through the first part of the Front End coursework (which was supposed to take 10+ hours to complete, and I definitely finished it in less than half that time). Getting through the entire coursework will actually give me a marketable skill that I can use to get a significantly better job.

Suddenly, there is light at the end of the tunnel…

Outside of that, not much has changed. I’m not dwelling on that though, because some improvement is better than none. Breaking free from the rut of stasis I was in is an achievement in it’s own right, even if I’m the only one who cares about it.

I’ll write another post soon. Stay tuned.

-Will

The Accidental Hiatus

So, it’s been eight-days since my last post on what was supposed to be a daily blog…

That’s obviously not supposed to happen. I fell into a slippery slope of procrastination (to the chagrin of absolutely nobody who knows me personally), and it just got easier to not update the blog. I initially planned to write a post for each day I had missed (backdating the posts to the missing days), that way I could maintain the facade of this blog for posterity. But that seemed dishonest, and it also seemed like a lot of work to maintain a dumb lie.

The truth is that not much happened. On the 29th, I woke up late, went to work, and grab a few drinks downtown. I went for a hike over the weekend (see the photos below), and I also went for a decent ride on the R3. The 3rd, Monday, was another day at the factory. I went to Butte for the 4th of July (again, not a surprise to anyone who knows me), and also spent some time with extended family at my aunt & uncle’s house. I got some nice shots of the Madison River while I was out there. The days that followed consisted of more work days and little else.

The lack of action and variety also contributed to my absence. It’s difficult to write about the same things over and over again (and worse to read them). As I’ve said before, I need a change. The weekends provide some relief from the monotony, but not enough.

I’m still working on it. Stick with me.

-Will

Tackling Tiny Annoyances at Home

I finally broke down a few days ago and ordered a bunch of small items off of Amazon that have been lingering in the “Saved for Later” section of my cart for months. Everything I ordered came in today, and I wish I did this earlier. The following small issues were fixed:

  • My desktop PC is finally back to 100%. I finally replaced the mechanical keyboard I spilled bore cleaner onto months ago. I also got some new PC speakers.
  • I got a network switch to overcome some annoying issues I’ve been having with our wireless router (and they’ve only been affecting me). It also fixes a shitty bootstrapped solution I was using to connect my Philips HUE hub to the network (via a wireless network extender that was also unreliable due to the aforementioned WiFi issues).
  • New adjustable levers for my motorcycle (to replace the ugly stock ones).
  • 2 extra USB C cables for charging my S8+ (prior to this, the only one I had was the one that came with the phone).
  • 2 aftermarket batteries for my DSLR, so I can go out on longer photo excursions and not worry about dead batteries.
  • A new guitar tuner (so I can play my new acoustic guitar in-tune).

That’s basically it. And even though basically everything on that list was non-essential, it feels good to have finally taken care of those tiny problems. It’s a small semblance of progress in the midst of this period of dreadful stasis.

I’m going for a hike tomorrow, and I’ll be taking my camera out with me to take some pics while I’m outside. Look for some awesome photos tomorrow.

-Will

The Sound of a Broken Record

This blog’s purpose is to record the events of my life during the Summer. Everyday, I struggle to find something new to write about. My days during the work week are essentially identical, with almost nothing changing between them. I wake up late. I go to work. I come home from work. I stay up late and update the blog. I go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The cycle never changes, folks. That’s the problem. I know this. You know this. But it’s like a Chinese finger trap that I’ve walked into, and I can’t seem to find a way out. It’s driving me insane.

I’ve been working on my resume, and I’ve thoroughly scoured the job classifieds on Craigslist. There are other opportunities (to absolutely nobody’s chagrin). I will fill out the applications, and I will fill out some more, and I will not stop until I have escaped.

In the meantime, while I’m still stuck with the evening shift, I need to do something with the earlier part of the day that is available to me. I’m thinking about going for hikes in the morning. Physical exercise, getting out of the house, maybe taking a few photos… sounds like a decent plan to me.

I just need to break the habit of sleeping in until noon.

Brighter days ahead, folks. Keep the faith and stay tuned.

-Will

The Summer Man

One of my favorite episodes of Mad Men is “The Summer Man” (Season 4, Ep. 8). Don is keeping a journal of the events going on in his life, and he’s trying to regain control over his emotions, his drinking, and, generally speaking, his life. He makes a very poignant observation midway through the episode: “People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.” Too often we choose to minimize the imperfections of others, rather than accepting them for who they truly are.

I think the episode strikes a chord with me because of how it humanizes Don. The show rarely gives us access to his inner monologue. Superficially, Don appears to be a man in his prime; the reality of his failed marriage, frayed relationship with his children, his alcoholism, and his complicated identity issues show a man who is barely keeping it together. Seeing Don take positive steps after so many mistakes makes it difficult to not root for him; I want to see Don be better. Anyone who’s seen the show knows that he could be great– he just needs to maintain self-control.

I suppose the same could be said for most people, though. We’re often the root of our own demise.

Time to get back to working on my resume and sending out job apps. See you tomorrow.

-Will

Another Day, Another Dollar

Another week of work begins, exactly the same as the last. Mindless repetition of the same task over and over and over again. I’m on autopilot.

Outside of work, I really didn’t do much. I went grocery shopping after midnight– something I haven’t done in awhile. I forgot how many interesting characters shop at that hour. Walmart is a weird place at 12:30 AM.

I have to get out of this cycle.


“In a sense, neuroscience has offered up a prediction here, one that games obligingly confirm. If you create a system where rewards are both clearly defined and achieved by exploring an environment, you’ll find human brains drawn to those systems, even if they’re made up of virtual characters and simulated sidewalks.” – Steven Johnson, Everything Bad is Good For You (Pg. 38)

I need to clearly define my goals…

Until tomorrow,

-Will

Recovery & Reflection

The hangover after Saturday night’s shenanigans wasn’t nearly as brutal as it could have been. A better strategy of eating and staying hydrated would have probably prevented it entirely, but I suppose that’s something to remember for later. (Though, realistically, avoiding that kind of evening entirely would be much better.)

The worst part about any hangover, in my opinion, is the mental fog/haze. Thoughts don’t feel clear. Cognition is muddled. Everything is a struggle. Hydration, Ibuprofen, greasy food, and a little caffeine helps a lot, but the only true remedy is time. I spent most of the day napping and lazing around the house, feeling shitty about missing the early morning ride I wanted to go on with my local motorcycle group. Wasting a perfectly good Summer day is the kind of thing that can really eat away at you if you let it.

Fortunately, I don’t waste many days like this, and I don’t plan to do it again anytime soon. I think my friends and I were trying to chase the same kind of evening we had a few weekends ago after a wedding, but the vibe just wasn’t the same. Without that kind of significant celebration, it’s just another hollow evening downtown.

This weekend wasn’t entirely wasted, though. I cleaned up my room, worked on my resume, and scoured the job classifieds. If I can avoid the kind of setbacks that happened on Saturday, I should make real progress soon.

I apologize for the late posts! I know that a daily blog is supposed to have new posts daily. I see this weekend as a one-time setback on what will otherwise be a hopefully productive & engaging summer of writing.

See you tomorrow,

-Will