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.

Revival

…and just like that, the long dead blog I forgot about for the past three-years came back to life.

Welcome back to The Final Summer: a seasonal daily blog where I write about the events of the day, my interests and aspirations, and a myriad of other things (including original writing pieces and photography). This blog has over 100 posts from previous active years (the blog was primarily active during 2010; the most recent post before this one was written in 2014), which should give you a decent sampling of what this year’s run will look like. I plan on being markedly more consistent this year than my last few attempts.

Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s dive into a brief recap & today’s post:

SINCE THE LAST POST….

  • I quit my job at the hardware store last summer. I now work at a guitar factory. Today was actually my one-year anniversary there. I have mixed feelings about my “new” job, but it’s better than my old one (I never got a free guitar from my old job).
  • I bought a motorcycle early last year. The picture you see in the header is one that I took whilst on a group ride with some friends. Owning and riding a motorcycle on the street has been an extremely rewarding experience so far. It’s an experience that requires your mind to be completely focused on the present. The result is complete liberation of the conscience– a kind of temporary bliss that you never want to give up. I racked up around 5000 miles on the bike last year alone, and I hope to ride more than that this year.
  • I’m still living in Bozeman. I’m still single. I’m still OK with all that (though I hope to move somewhere else by next year– more on this later).

As I mentioned above, today marked my one year anniversary at the guitar factory. Working at this job has been an interesting experience (and an incredibly mundane, brain-atrophying one as well). I get to work on guitars that cost thousands of dollars, and are considered by some to be the best in the world. I enjoyed wood shop class in high school, so getting to work in a similar environment is kind of neat (though not something I would have ever expected to do back then). While the job is incredibly repetitive, I have the freedom to listen to whatever music, podcasts, and/or audio-books that I want to while I’m working (which does help to counteract the mind-numbing labor).

I feel that working there is holding me back, though. I currently work an evening shift during the weekdays, and this prevents me from meeting new people, as most folks work during the day. The work itself also isn’t very personally satisfying, and I often wish that I was working somewhere that took advantage of my talents. All that being said, I am still thankful to simply have a job, and I don’t think that I’m above working there (or whatever other conceited notion my previous comments may have implied). There is a certain satisfaction that comes with doing an honest day’s work, and I often feel like I’ve worked my ass off at the end of the day. My hands take the brunt of the abuse, and I can feel the carpal tunnel setting in at the end of each shift.

As a writer, this is particularly concerning (for obvious reasons).

It also makes it difficult to play guitar (ironic, eh?).

Outside of work, I haven’t done much today. This job is also the perfect crutch for my night owl tendencies– another reason to get a day job. It’ll take a few days to get back into the groove of blogging, and I promise that future posts will be more interesting than this one.

See you tomorrow,

-Will

….and we’re back. (again.)

Hey, Internet! It’s been awhile. How’ve you been?

Summer 2014 is officially here, and TFS is back for another three-months. If I’ve learned anything from the past three-attempts at a reboot, it is to keep my goals for this project extremely modest. Daily posts are difficult to keep up with, and it’s almost impossible to produce consistently interesting content on a daily basis. I will do my best to post regularly and consistently this time around. As I get back to the project, bear with me; it’ll take a couple of days to adjust to posting on here regularly, and I’ll also try to find the best time of day to post. After I work the initial kinks out, I’ll focus more on the content.

Now that the boring and lame introductory paragraph is behind us, here’s a brief recap of what’s happened since last summer:

  • I’m still working at the hardware store. I’m beginning to grow tired of the evening shifts, and the summer workload is just as bad as last year. My boss will soon be leaving for a “real” job (he recently graduated from MSU), and I’m currently in the best position to be his replacement. I’m not sure if I want the job, but I could use the extra money. My boss doesn’t have any solid plans as to when he’ll be leaving yet, so we’ll have to see what happens as the summer progresses.
  • I’m single. I have been since last September. (Last September was an especially shitty month for me; I totaled the Focus the day after my birthday, and I got dumped a week after that.) I’m trying to focus less on romance, and more on personal improvement.
  • My living situation this summer is much better than last summer. While I loved my old roommate, we had different lifestyle habits that didn’t mesh well. My new roommates and I get along great, and the past several months have been awesome; both of them are currently back in Billings for the summer though, so the apartment is empty. It’s pretty lonely, but I don’t have to worry about waking anyone up if I stay up late. I can also play my music loud and walk around my apartment in my underwear if I want, so it could be worse.
  • I’m back in school again, and it feels great. It’s nice to be working toward a solid, long-term goal again. I’m majoring in biochemistry again, and while that might seem silly, I really think it’s the best fit for me. I also have a clearly-defined goal to keep me motivated this time around. I’m trying to take a class during the summer session, but I still need to work out the details with my adviser. I’ll let you know what happens with that later.

I’ve met a few new people over the last year, but Bozeman still feels deserted during the summer. I really want this summer to be different though, so I’m going to try and get out more often, and hopefully meet new friends. My time as a lonely guy who stays at home and watches too much TV is done. It’s time to get out, live life to the fullest, and finally defeat boredom.

May we all be victorious against that bastard.

– Will

Lazy Days, Restless Nights

Visiting Billings is weird for a number of reasons, but the one that always sticks out is how much hasn’t changed since I left here two years ago.

New buildings have been built in places that were empty fields a few years ago, new people hang out in the places that I used to haunt in high school, and few of my friends still live here. But virtually everything else has stayed the same, and that is what shocks me the most.

It’s like walking into the past, but the things you cared about the most in the past have changed; the only thing that stayed the same was the scenery.

I miss being able to call my friends up and meet them somewhere, and then just go out and do something– you know, the kinds of things that are easy when you live in the same town.

That doesn’t happen anymore, unless we’re all in town for a holiday or some other rare event, and it sucks.

Today was a day that brought that knowledge back to the front of my mind as I spent most of the day bored at my parents’ house. I did some chores to help out, I ran an errand for my dad, and I watched some cable TV (a luxury I don’t have back at my apartment). And while that wasn’t the worst way to spend a day, it definitely wasn’t the best way.

Tonight should be different though, as I’ve made plans to spend time with the few friends that still live here. Hopefully we’ll tear up the town like we used to back in the day.

I’m bringing my camera out with me, so maybe I’ll post some shots of what happened later. Stay tuned.

– Will

P.S. For those of you who also use Tumblr, you can check out my other blog, the wco show, here. (Feel free to follow me on there too, if you like! I’ll probably follow back.)

P.S.S. For the people who just recently started following my blog on here, thank you! Once I figure out how the following feature works on WordPress, I’ll be sure to follow you back.

Motivation to Keep Moving Forward

Yes, I missed another day. No, I don’t have a legitimate excuse for missing a day.

Instead, I’ll fill you in on what happened.

I had an eight-hour shift at work as a cart-pusher, and it was exactly as exciting as you can imagine it would be…

If you have a poor imagination, you could recreate the experience by pacing back and forth in a confined area, carrying a rock from one end to the other, over and over again, for eight-hours (oh, and you get two fifteen-minute breaks, and a lunch break).

After work, I drove an hour-and-a-half to come home for a few days. Now, I’m in Billings, spending time with my family.

The point I was trying to get to at the beginning of this post was how incredibly motivating it was to spend an eight-hour shift pushing carts… I’ll get back to that now.

As I pushed shopping carts back and forth, I couldn’t help but to think about how incredibly menial the task was. I kept thinking about how I could have been spending my time doing something so much more productive, and interesting, and just better than pushing carts.

I scored in the top 10% of the nation on my ACT’s. Why the hell am I pushing carts?!?

It bugged me. It made me frustrated. It made the shift drag on for a small eternity.

….

I can’t wait to go back to school.

 

The Lonely, Bored, and Restless Summer

Today was an especially depressing day.

I awoke late in the day, due in part to an evening spent drinking rum and playing video games (it was Thirsty Thursday, after all). After realizing that I woke up late, my motivation to do anything fun, or creative, or exciting quickly waned, and I lost my drive to go out and do just about anything. I probably wouldn’t have even left the apartment today if my hunger didn’t stir me to pick up some fast food for dinner.

Yes, I do realize that is kind of pathetic. All I can say is that I’m in a bit of a rut.

Being in Bozeman when school is not in session is a different experience. Some things are good: the weather is amazing, the trees are finally looking alive again, and I can work as much as I want without worrying about falling behind in school. Other things, however, are quite bad: Hyalite is closed until next week, most of the people my age went home for the summer, and I don’t have a lot of friends staying in Bozeman for the summer.

Also, I have a fairly large amount of free time (which is nice), but I don’t have much motivation to do anything fun with it (which is not nice).

There are plenty of things that I know I could be doing with this time; I know I could be reading a few books that I’ve been meaning to devour, for instance. I could also be writing more, or at least coming up with some ideas for an extended piece of writing (ex. a novella, or a full-fledged novel). I could be working out. I could be going out for photo shoots.

I know that I could be doing all of those things– I just don’t feel like it.

I don’t know why that I feel this way, either. It’s like some sort of weird funk has descended upon my usually happy and upbeat personality, and I don’t know how to get away from it. I can still force myself to do the things I enjoy, but it definitely feels forced, and I don’t enjoy those activities as much as I used to.

I was hoping that being away from school, and out in the sunshine would help me to break through this, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much.

On the bright side, there’s plenty of summer left to get out of this weird funk. Hopefully, I’ll be over it soon.

Until next time,

– Will

Work, Sleep, Repeat.

One day into my daily blogging venture, and I already missed a day. Whoops.

I would feel more disappointed about missing a day/post if yesterday was more exciting. I spent the first half of the day watching movies and sleeping (my sleep schedule has been really messed up lately), and I spent the second half at work. Fortunately, I have two-days off (today and tomorrow), so there should be plenty of time to do some fun stuff (as well as catch up on all of my “adult” responsibilities– like cleaning my apartment).

I’m debating whether or not I want to spend the early hours of today taking care of all of my responsibilities, OR just going outside and enjoying the nice weather. I charged my camera battery yesterday, and it’s looking beautiful outside…

Maybe I should hop on my bike and head to Hyalite? (Or at least throw my bike in my car, drive to the trailhead, and then bike up the mountain.)

Hmm… decisions, decisions…

I’ll let you know what I did with the day later this evening.

Stay tuned,

– Will

It’s been awhile…

Hello Internet,

It’s been awhile since we last spoke here, and I’m sure you didn’t expect me to come back. And while I know that my last attempt at a reboot didn’t work out, I’m sure this one will.

A lot of things have changed since my last post. I moved out of my parents’ house, and I’m now living in Bozeman. This will be my first summer away from Billings since before we moved to Montana, and I’m not sure how it will turn out. I’m hoping for a fun-filled summer that recharges my enthusiasm, creativity, and thirst for knowledge; I’m also trying to keep my expectations of this summer realistic.

It’s a bit of a struggle.

In addition to moving to Bozeman, I started dating my girlfriend, Sara, in January. She will be living close by (our relationship thus far has been long-distance, as she goes to school in a town that’s nearly three-hours away), and I look forward to enjoying the summer with her.

The last major change in my life since we last spoke is a bit more difficult to talk about. Jon, my best friend since third grade, passed away in February due to complications with diabetes. His passing has left a very large hole in my life, and nearly three months later, it’s still difficult to believe that he’s really gone. Summer vacation was one of the few times during the year where I could hang out with Jon regularly, and it’s going to be especially weird to go through these next few months without him.

But life must go on, and I’ll do my best to remember the good times I shared with Jon during previous summers, rather than dwell on the fun times we’ve been untimely robbed of.

(Many other things have changed since my last post, but they either weren’t worth mentioning, or I plan to share them with you in a later post.)

I hope to reignite the original spark behind this blog during this go-round. I want to write at least one post daily for the entirety of the summer. I also want to keep the content fresh, exciting, and worth reading.

I also want to have a summer vacation worth writing about.

That’s it– that’s all that you need to know about the blog. Hopefully, I will see you again tomorrow (or sooner!).

Stay tuned,

– Will

Friends Alive and Well, Sources Say

Something happened today… something different from the other days. It was something unexpected after days of near isolation. What was it, you ask?

I established contact with some of my old friends today.

OK, so that probably wasn’t the answer you were expecting, but it’s true; after spending a little over a week in almost total isolation (excluding the two or three days I went out and spent some time with friends), it was nice to finally get back in touch with some friends who were back in town for the summer. I was beginning to think that this certain group of friends met up and decided to vote me out of the group (the sad thing is that I’m only slightly joking about this).

I still haven’t been able to get in touch with Zach (another friend from high school, and he also went to MSU with me this year), though I suspect that this may partially be due to a need for space. We spent a lot of time together back in Bozeman (primarily due to the fact that neither of us had a lot of other friends on-campus). After spending that many consecutive months around the same person with little exposure to other people, I can see why he would be a little reluctant to hang out after only a week apart. In fact, now that I really think about it, I’m really not that disappointed that we haven’t hung out recently. We need some space– like a month’s worth of it, and that entire month filled with spending time around lots of different people– before we hang out again. After that, everything should be cool.

The main reason I tried to get in touch with him during the first week off was due to the fact that nobody else was back in town yet. I mean, there were a few people (Jon, Ryan, other people I know who went to school in Billings or Bozeman, etc.), but the list was pretty small.You gotta work with what’s available, ya know?

Fortunately, other people are back in town, and life is good. I’m going to be hanging out with my friend Ashlynn on Friday night, and I’ll be visiting Josh in Forsyth on Saturday. Plus, there should be a TFK event coming up soon, and I might have a job after this weekend. Summer break can only get better from here, folks.

Its time for bed. See you tomorrow.

– Will

mediocre monday.

I think Mondays will always doomed to be the least exciting day of the week, regardless of one’s schedule. Today was not an exception to this expectation; my day went fairly well, it just was not very exciting.

I slept in late today. It was nice to get a full night’s sleep after staying up late, but I really need to start waking up earlier so that my sleep cycle can get back to some semblance of normal. Also, it would be nice to show the doctor that I’m making an attempt to sleep better when I go in for an appointment this Thursday.

I’m not sure if I told you guys about that earlier… Hmm. Well, I have an appointment to see a doctor about my sleeping issues. I also need to get a few shots. It should be a fun morning of needle prodding, questions about my health, and suggestions to avoid drinking caffeine. It should be a “good time.”

An update on the job hunt: I have an interview later this week. It’s a job that could be either really awesome, or really lame depending on the time of day I’m working AND who I’m working with. Either way, I’m definitely looking forward to making money again. I really, really need to save some cash this summer, and the sooner I get a job, the better.

Money and job woes aside, the rest of the day went well. I went over to a friend’s house and played the new Minecraft game for Xbox 360. I was surprised by how intuitive the controls were, and how easy it was to craft objects. I could actually see myself shelling out the cash to buy the game if I had the cash (and a well-functioning Xbox). We played for a few hours, then I left to go home for the night.

Now I’m here, and I’m also ready to get some sleep. Hopefully tomorrow will be a more thrilling day.

– Will