Monthly Archives: October 2010

Assorted Thoughts (Vlog)

I had an early shift at work today and didn’t really have a lot to do afterward. I decided to make a short vlog detailing a couple of a various things that have been annoying me lately… Enjoy. (I do suggest that you use headphones when you watch this video, as toward the end of the video my voice gets much lower… It has nothing to do with the mic, just how I was speaking [my mom was taking a nap and I didn’t want to wake her up haha]). I did a little more work with split cuts and special effects on this video… Let me know what you think.

-Will

Dark-Lighting Photography Equipment

Last year at this time, I was in a photography class out at the Career Center. We had a lot of nice equipment out there– Canon EOS Rebel XTi’s, a portrait studio with professional studio flash equipment, snazzy tripods, reflectors, light metering equipment, and more (we also used old-school film cameras and developed our own film in the darkrooms). As an individual who is becoming increasingly interested in photography, I recently looked over my arsenal of photography stuffs and noticed that a few things were missing…

  1. Flash & lighting equipment ( + soft box diffusers ).
  2. A newer, better tripod that is actually mine ( I’ve been “borrowing” my dad’s tripod for a while now ).
  3. A Canon EOS Rebel XSi with lots o’ lenses… ( Duh. )

Seeing as I won’t be getting a DSLR anytime soon, I decided to upgrade my flash equipment and buy a new tripod.

Digital Slave Flash (w/flash bracket)

The camera I’m currently using in my photo rig, a Kodak Z8612IS, does not have a hot-shoe mount or any proprietary mounts for external flash devices. Because of this, I can’t use an external dedicated flash with my camera. Instead, I have to use a slave flash– a flash that is activated by the on-camera flash. I purchased one off of Amazon.com yesterday, and when it’s attached to the camera with a flash bracket, it will look something like this:

Note: This is not my camera, just an example of what the slave flash will look like when attached to a camera.

The flash can also be placed on a separate tripod to provide fill-lighting in other areas. I also purchased a softbox diffuser for this flash, and it looks something like this: Continue reading

Without MP, I’d be Miserable at Best

I’ve always loved the song “Jamie All Over” by Mayday Parade. While I consider myself a fan of Mayday Parade, I’ve never really explored their breakout album, A Lesson in Romantics, in its entirety. Shortly before I went to bed, I decided to randomly check my Twitter feed (a rare event). On the home page, there was a tweet that said “Mayday Parade’s “Miserable at Best” always makes me cry.” As someone who’s only experienced relatively cheery music from the band, this came as a bit of a shock and I quickly hopped onto iTunes to see what I had missed… and I had apparently missed one of the most awesome songs on the album (albeit the most depressing).

Sometimes its nice to discover “old” music after everyone else has abandoned it.

– Will

The Great Trip Game – A Scored Adventure!

So.  I have wanted to do this for a long time, and I legitimately think that, if I spend the bare minimum and save the maximum, I can go on a cross-country trip next summer (and if not this one, the next.)  And by cross-country, I mean that I’m crossing the country.  In an airplane.  The ocean too.  Until I reach the British Isles.  So I’m going to the British Isles next summer (I hope) and I’ll be there for a  month, I think.  And I’ve only been in an airplane once, so I’m guessing that it’s going to be kinda like the Indiana Jones movies.  Which means that I sleep with a fedora over my eyes while a red line just magically teleports me to where I want to go.


Kinda like this, only not.

Since I am leaving the country, I plan on having a total blast.  Like, such a blast that one could only survive it in a fridge (kudos, you know who you are).  I’m going to see Stonehenge.  I’m going to make faces like every other fucking tourist at the Royal Guard (aka, the dudes in the furry hats).  I’ll probably hop over on a ferry over to Ireland and see if they think Bono is a pompous ass too.  Go up north to Scotland and visit where my family came from.  See the sheep.  And I will drink.  A lot.


This will be me, boots and all. My folks will be proud.

Why will I be drunk ALL THE TIME?  Drinking age is 18.  In both Ireland and the UK. It’ll be the best way to meet people. And by people I mean easy hot British chicks (though I better stay sober enough to tell my syphilis from my crabs).  Awesome.  BUT!  I can’t just have drinking be the main goal – and that’s where this game comes into play.  I’ve decided to make a list of things to do, a Bucket List, if you will.  And I plan on making it awesome.  But it can’t just be any bucket list – otherwise, I have no incentive to actually do them this time.  So, I’m adding a nice twist – points.  I have made my 3-week journey to the British Isles a game.


And yet it won’t take even nearly as long as this godforsaken game.

So I need some help with my list and points values, which are totally open for debate.  I’ve already got it started, but I don’t feel like putting it down just yet.  I’d like to see suggestions and points values from others before I make my own.  Maybe this will set up the path for progeny of other 18-year old Americans like me.  And it will become the ultimate game of “Who can score the most points.” So let’s throw some ideas out there, ladies and gentlemen!

-JoshUA

Shreddin’ in the Basement (video)

After digging my camera out of its cardboard prison yesterday, I decided to go down into the basement and play my guitar for a little bit. I recorded a bit of the random licks I played. All of this was spontaneous– I didn’t plan anything out beforehand. Also, my guitar is probably a bit out of tune (I didn’t dig out the tuner) and I’m a bit rusty (I haven’t played for a week or so). Alas, I still think it’s OK, but not my best stuff. Enjoy anyway.

– Will

P.S. It seems like I’ve been really prolific on the blog lately. Three posts in three days… Intense. To the rest of the twentyeleven crew: catch up. 😛

Rewind: The Sideways News

In the last Rewind: column, I talked about how I became interested in blogging. While digging through my desk and my closet this weekend, I stumbled upon some things I had written way back in Freshman year. Two of the things I found were reflections I penned out on lined paper in the early weeks of Freshman year. One discusses 9/11 and the other is summary of how I felt after two-weeks of high school. Both of these reflections were later posted onto a website/blog that I had forgotten about until today.

The website that I had forgotten about was the old The Sideways News website. The Sideways News was a newspaper that I started with some of my friends during junior high. We would get together during the summer and write various news stories about stuff that was going on in our neighborhood, Billings, and anywhere else we felt like writing about. I tried to restart The Sideways News several times after it “died” during my 8th grade year (essentially, the original website was shut down by my school because I posted a poster with a link to my website on my locker), but I never managed to stick with it for much longer than a few months at a time. I also never managed to recapture the interest of the few “editors” who were involved with the newspaper when it was at its prime… and let’s face it– one man can’t write a newspaper. 😉

During one of this times where I tried to resurrect the newspaper, I started blogging. They were fairly short posts, and I didn’t stick with it very long. The horror known as Freshman Honors English quickly ended my brief period of optimism toward this writing prospect, and I only manged to plod out two posts on that blog.

Eventually, I tried to resurrect the newspaper again, but I was unable to log-in to the old Freewebs account that the website was hosted by. After several tries, I gave up and moved The Sideways News over to the Weebly platform. Having a new website to set up and rebuild recaptured my interest in blogging again, so I set up yet another blog on this website. The posts on this blog take place from the beginning of second semester in Freshman year all the way up to the summer before Sophomore year. It’s amusing to see some of the things I’ve written on this blog… One of these posts is rant about the daytime television horror known as Oprah– check it out if you’re in the mood for a laugh.

Looking back on all of these blogs and websites, I feel like an uber nerd. Seriously, who the hell has/had their own website during junior high? And better yet, how many kids were sent to the principal’s office for putting a poster on their locker that advertised the URL of said website in junior high school?*

That’s all for this edition of Rewind:. Stay tuned for another flashback in a few weeks…

– Will

_________________________

* Yes, I seriously was sent to the principal’s office TWICE for taping a piece of paper with a link to my website on my locker. The first time I was sent in, the office was filled with three teachers, the School Resource Officer, and the principal. I was already nervous because this was the first time I had ever been in the principal’s office for something other than a lame ass award, and it didn’t help that a quarter of the teaching staff AND a police officer were also there. It was a really stupid meeting, and I never really got into any school trouble (ex. detentions, suspension, etc.). My dad did, however, force me to delete the website that was getting me into trouble and also”grounded” me from making future websites for a while… As you can see from the two TSN websites I posted links to above, that didn’t really stop me. 😛

 

Week VIII: Epic Fail.

Last week was the eighth week* of the school year. Assuming that there are 18-weeks in a semester (based off the fact that there are three six-week grading periods), we have less than 28 more weeks of school until graduation.

Holy shit.

It is important to note that 28 school weeks does not equal 28 real weeks. If you wanted an estimate based off of how many days until graduation, then we would have (as of October 16th, 2010 @ 11:04 P.M.) 226 days until May 30th, 2011… or seven months and two weeks.

226 days. We still have a lot of time to kill.

Is it sad that I’m already feeling minor effects of Senioritis? Homework has become more of an afterthought than a primary concern. College applications and essays and emails are always present, like an annoying older sister pestering me to do something. I feel like there is a tremendous load of stress pressing down on me, and all I want to do is run away and escape to a place where deadlines, due-dates, and mandatory assignments are non-existent.

What’s sad about all of this is that compared to last year, I have very little homework. I get out of school an hour earlier, and I only work Friday through Sunday. Nobody is really nagging me about college stuff– however, my e-mail inbox is flooded and my mailbox is constantly filled with applications. I’m putting what I consider minimal effort into my schoolwork and still managing to earn a B in my classes. I’m starting to sleep better, and I’m enjoying most of my classes.

So why do I feel so stressed?

Is it because I expect that I should be investing more time in my college search? Is it because I’m worried about saving money for a car? Or College? Is it because I still struggle to figure out my major?

And if none of those things are the root cause of my stress, then why do I feel so restless?

This week was probably the most stressful week of the year so far. My parents decided to install hardwood flooring in our house, and because of this everything had to be moved out of most of the rooms. I was unceremoniously evicted from my bedroom and my bed was relocated to my sister’s room. Most my possessions lie in brown cardboard boxes in the basement. Privacy is virtually non-existent. My cameras and my journal are inside cardboard boxes. My makeshift weight room in the basement is now surrounded by these boxes. Both of my guitars, my amp, and all of my effects pedals are in the basement.

Some of my most prized tools of creative expression are in the basement.

My laptop is not in the basement. Nor is my iTouch. Aside from my bed, my backpack, and the schoolbooks within it, my other possessions include two sharpies, a legal pad, mail from various colleges, my messenger bag, a Motor Trend magazine, Skullcandy headphones, clothes, and my cell phone. I also have an alarm clock and a small black stool that I use as a makeshift nightstand.

Things could definitely be much worse– I have no doubt of that– and I am thankful for the things that I do have right now. I suppose that the main thing that I miss is privacy. I miss going to bed in my own room, with everything set up the way I like it. I miss doing homework at my old desk with my awesome blue desk lamp. I also miss my kick ass pineapple lamp.

Basically, this week just sucked. I never thought that I would ever leave to go to school in the morning from the La Quinta hotel… but I did on Friday morning. There’s nothing quite like eating a complimentary continental breakfast twenty-minutes before first period…

I’m going to end this long-winded rant here and go to sleep. Hopefully Week IX will be better.

– Will

__________________________

* Based off quick estimation.

COHEED AND F***ING CAMBRIA.

my life. is complete.

 

...I touched Medusa.

 

and for those of you who are assuming that the man playing the guitar’s name is Medusa, i’ll kill you. He’s Claudio. he’s the singer and one of the guitar players for coheed and cambria… and if you’ve ever seen the movie 9, one of their  most well-known, by no means their best, songs is Welcome home, and it’s on the soundtrack. anyway… If i haven’t told you guys already, i went to a lady gaga concert in denver this summer, and this was at the babcock… trumped gaga by a billion. just cuz i wasn’t like a million feet away. in fact, i was in the front. hence the whole touching medusa, the epic guitar. also, coheed was more about the music, not the fans. which i enjoy. lady gaga is SO OBSESSED WITH HER FANS. she literally stopped after every song to make a 5-15 minutes speech about how great and beautiful we all are… and coheed said thanks for coming, and then rocked the hell out. sure, being actually in the pit was a slight drawback, due to the smelly, half naked, sweaty, and hairy bodies pushing me into the stage as though if they tried hard enough, i’d evaporate. but like i said, i touched medusa. and i caught a drum stick. 😀 and i went to the signing at hasting’s before, and since my good buddy jori was waiting there, he let me stand in line with him. where? oh, only THE FRONT OF COURSE! and my best friend Jason let me use a sharpie so i got my CoCa shirt signed by alla them. and even though the dude said no pictures, i totally took one. sneakily. from behind the dude’s shoulder. yep. REBEL. i’m only about half done with this post, so please, if anyone at all is interested in hearing about the rest of it, comment. i’ll tell you anythingyouwannaknow.  🙂

love, kelci

I’m a war of head versus heart and it’s always this way.

Where, oh where has my creativity gone?! It disappeared without so much a note explaining where it’s gone, or when it will be back, or What. The. Hell. I’m supposed to do without it.

Everything I do these days seems to be clouded in a haze of exhaustion/anxiety/guilt (usually about neglecting some sort of work due to the two previous emotions) and it is severely affecting my ability to openly and creatively stretch my mind.

And it’s really beginning to piss me off.

Case in point:

In AP English, our teacher has us writing college essays that are supposed to, in an original and creative way, some way that will cause the reader to take notice, express some sort of interesting or valuable trait within us. Um, creative writing, hello? This is totally my forte. But, instead of finding the task ridiculously easy and only bitching about it to have something to bitch about that others can relate to (which I actually find myself doing quite a bit. Don’t judge.) I actually found myself stuck. Completely.

It was like the creative, witty, funny part of my brain decided, “Okay! Time for a vacation! I’ll be back when I’m back, see ya later and have fun fending for yourself!” *evil snicker*.

So I end up turning in some horribly boring, tedious tripe that has nothing to do with anything going on in my life, and may as well have been written by my dog or my nine-year-old sister.

I’m wondering where my creativity has flown off to. Is it hiding due to the excessive (but manageable, thank God for the defense mechanism of repression) stress of impending college-stuff that is wracking my body/mind/soul currently? Or have I just grown up and gotten to the point of no return, the point where the mundane has invaded my soul and turned me into just another average person of the workforce, doomed to work at a boring job where The Man will work to harness my soul even further, pulling me past the point of mildly boring individual to the ninth circle of hell with the worker drones and the investment bankers?! GAH!!!!!!

I really hope not.

Switching gears now…

Following the whole love life trend that seems to be going on in the blog lately, I’m just going to put my two-cents in about my love situation, because it’s pathetic, and I think blogging about it may help me feel not so hopeless.

It’s that classic, practically-a-bad-80s-movie-meets-Disney-Channel-special situation in which the girl ends up falling for her best friend. Which, in reality, sucks a lot more than the movies seem to let on.

Think about it. Girl and boy spend loads of time together, because, hello, they’re of the best friend variety. They like many of the same things. They make each other laugh. They get along with the other’s family.

Girl ends up realizing that what she had first seen as a goofy, uncoordinated, charismatic friend has become one of the people in which she trusts most implicitly, and she begins to see him as a truly amazing individual, one that she could seriously see herself in a relationship with. They do say friends can make the best significant others, right?

The tricky part comes from the fact that this boy is one of her very best friends, and she doesn’t know what she’d do if that changed, meaning that she doesn’t want to risk destroying the friendship by pushing any sort of relationship. Worse yet, the boy keeps sending her awkward mixed signals (partially because the boy is an awkward individual who has trouble sharing his feelings), causing her to wonder if he’s possibly thinking the same thing, but not giving her enough of a clear signal to act.

She’s caught in a conundrum. She wants to act, yet she doesn’t. She wants to spend so much time with the boy because of how he makes her feel, but yet she doesn’t because it causes her feelings toward him to spiral out of control which in turn makes her hurt.

So she waits. And hopes. And waits some more.  And pretty soon she’ll go off to college and miss her chance, and it’s one big huge suckfest for everyone. Huzzah.

Blergity blerg.

Anyway…

That’s enough for tonight I suppose. I really should start posting pictures. But I don’t want to tonight.

Lyrics, yes?

“I’m a war of head versus heart/And it’s always this way/My head is weak, my heart always speaks/Before I know what it will say.” –“Crooked Teeth” by Death Cab for Cutie 🙂

Thanks for reading my ranting everyone. You guys rock.

Sincerely,

Ashlynn 🙂

TLC: A Senior’s Perspective.

After reading Joshua’s post, The Love Conundrum: A 2011 Discussion, and Kelci’s response to that post, I feel that it is somewhat necessary for me to chime in to the discussion (partially because I’m the “boss man” and partially because Josh invited the twentyeleven blog to discuss the issue).

The Professor’s lecture discussed the meaning of the word “love” and what it means to “love” someone. I agree with many of his points about what it means to love someone and that loving someone does not necessarily mean that you like them in a romantic way. However, modern society has created a distorted connotation for the word “love” and what it means to love someone. Furthermore, clueless younger folk (*cough* Freshmen and junior high students *cough) further distort the word by saying that they “love” their current boyfriend/girlfriend when they are too young to even understand what it means to love someone.

You should not say that you love someone in a romantic way before you graduate high school. You simply aren’t mature enough. Your concept of the word “love” most likely comes from cheesy Hollywood romance flicks and other love stories. There may be a few exceptions to this, but in most cases people in this age group have not lived long enough to realize what love is. (I could discuss at length how ignorant young people are when it comes to love and whether or not they think they “love” someone romantically, but it would take several blog posts and some effort… Something I’m currently too lazy to do. Perhaps another time…)

To keep with the theme of this topic, I suppose it would only be appropriate to also discuss my current “love conundrum”. It involves a “damn” girl who happens to currently fall under my “wow” girl standards. Unfortunately, I’m neither a “damn” guy nor a “wow” guy for her, and she barely knows me… I think she knows my name, knows that we have three classes together, and probably knows that I may like her. Other than that, I would assume that she doesn’t know much about me, nor do I think she would like to know any more about me.

If I look at this from a totally realistic and logical perspective, it’s just a crush. I don’t know much about her beyond the fact that she’s beautiful, smart, funny, and already taken. She’s also very popular and not exactly apart of my crowd… (Or am I not apart of her crowd? I suppose that would depend upon whose perspective you’re seeing this from.)

So yeah, she’s got a boyfriend. As if that wasn’t already a giant roadblock, I also face the whole “she-doesn’t-know-who-the-hell-I-am” problem. In addition to this, I don’t think I really fit her “standards”. For some reason I can’t see her being attracted to a skinny, pimple-ridden teenager who is occasionally stricken by social-awkwardness whenever she’s around… Because of this, I’ve started to combat the acne-plague and also lift weights again, with an emphasis on my biceps and pectoral region. I’m also looking up various tips on how to go about talking to her online, and most of them are simply telling me to do what I already do whenever I talk to girls. (Perhaps I’m mentally just a natural born playa, ya know? 😛 )

Unfortunately, there is no way for me to get a clear face and big arms overnight. Building muscle and getting rid of acne takes time, and in that time frame I may lose any chance I ever had of dating this girl. I also may miss opportunities with other “wow” girls. I also may be just wasting my time trying to “perfect” myself for a girl who will still most likely never go out with me and whom I will eventually become disillusioned with shortly after the crush is over.

This then begs the question, “Why bother trying?”

Imagine it as a thirst for redemption. Two years ago, I was in a very similar situation. I spent a semester thinking about her and how I would love to go out with her, and then I lost my chance. I said “tomorrow will be the day” everyday, and I never made any progress. I wrote songs. I told my friends. They encouraged me, but I failed. I was too scared of rejection. After my final opportunity passed, I was stuck in a state of semi-depression for a few months. I was filled with a sense of ambiguity about the situation and my thoughts were filled with a plague of “what ifs”. What if I did ask her out? What if I was buff? What if I actually took the time and got to know her? What if I didn’t just assume?

After that, I told myself that I wouldn’t let that happen again. Now that I find myself in a similar situation, it’s difficult to just “give up”.  So instead of giving up, I’ve placed myself in a stalemate, and spend my time improving myself rather then saying “tomorrow I’ll ask her out”.

Is it still stupid? Yes. Do I really care at this point? No. When I fall for a “wow” girl, nothing else seems to matter. I make playlists and mixed CDs (one I made recently was entitled “LMH v2.0”). I write extensively about what I’m feeling, what I want to do, and how much I would love to be with her. I’m filled with a sense of hope and optimism. I also begin to change my appearance. I usually begin to start ironing my clothes when this happens, and sometimes I even change my wardrobe up a bit. I become more concerned with my appearance and hygiene then usual (which is usually a good thing). I read. I write. I listen to my iPod. I check out Facebook constantly for status updates. And when all else fails, I blog. (Fortunately, a song hasn’t risen from the chaos that’s going on in my mind.)

So that’s it. Comments, questions, concerns, etc.? Leave ’em below.

– Will

P.S. That was a thousand-word epic of a post… I’m pooped. I also feel like a giant weight has been lifted… It’s refreshing.