Tag Archives: Will

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. 😛

 

I <3 Boobies Bracelets Banned from SD2 schools

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To show support for the movement, many West High students have been wearing the “I Love Boobies” Keep-a-Breast Foundation bracelets (pictured above).  Recently, the superintendent of Billings Public Schools declared that the bracelets were banned and against school dress code. The bracelets were apparently banned after an incident at Will James Middle School, where a group of boys were “distracted” by the bracelets and giggling because they said “boobies”.

Seriously? A couple of middle school boys laughing at the word “boobies” is enough to make the school district ban these advocacy bracelets throughout the entire district?

In an attempt to be reasonable, I could understand why the school district may not allow students to wear “I Love Boobies” t-shirts. T-shirts are a bit more flashy and in-your-face then a wristband, which usually blends in with the other Livestrong-style bands. But a bracelet? You may be able to scare some students in to not wearing these bracelets, but you cannot stop middle school students from giggling at the word “boobies”. This is an issue of maturity, not of decency.

To read the original article from the Billings Gazette about this issue, click here.

Self-Portrait: One-Month Later

One month into my senior year and I’m already reverting to the basics of the past three years of my life: writing extensively, playing guitar, and dabbling in various forms of photography. After going to Wal*Mart this evening to buy toga essentials (a white flat sheet and a three-pack of sleeveless t-shirts [also known as A-shirts, tank tops, and “wife beaters”]), I went into my bedroom and grabbed the acoustic guitar that got me through the crappy part of my sophomore year. I played for a while, randomly combining chords into a slow, hopeful sounding melody. Then I grabbed my camera.

What do you think? Is it stupid, boring, random, meh… OR is it interesting, unique, cool, legit…  or something else? Let me know.

– Will

P.S. I have some video of a bowling trip I went on with Anne and Jon today that I might put up sometime this weekend… Stay tuned.

Numb (Vlog)

Consider this my personal “David after Dentist”-like experience… I really don’t like it when half of my face is numb.

Halo: Reach Finale

*Spoiler Alert*

NOTE: If you haven’t finished the campaign on Halo: Reach and wish to finish it without the plot being spoiled, halt reading the following post until AFTER you’ve finished the game. You’ve been warned.


I finished the campaign for Halo: Reach a few days ago. My initial reactions:

  • Holy shit. They seriously ended a game with a firefight match?!? Now way. And it actually works with the plot… crazy.
  • Every time one of the Noble team died, I felt a new wave of mild grief. It was like losing a comrade…. a virtual comrade.
  • Wow. I kind of want to replay the whole series again now. The ending felt somewhat anticlimactic, which is odd considering that I know what happens next… I guess the knowledge of what happens next makes me want to replay all of ’em to refresh my memory.
  • I don’t like seeing my helmet with cracks in the visor…
  • When the hell did the Chief get on the ship? And why the hell didn’t he at least make a cameo appearance in the game?
  • Kudos to Bungie for letting players use their customized Spartan in the campaign. It’s about time.
  • Did you seriously think you needed to tell me about the multiplayer mode after I finished the campaign?!? Seriously. Multiplayer is what the Halo-series is famous for– most people skip the campaign and dive straight into the multiplayer because it’s so awesome.

Although I wish the campaign was a bit longer, I was pleased with how the game ended. I look forward to mercilessly slaughtering hundreds newbs online. This game has some serious replay value, so if you’re on the fence about buying it after a less then perfect experience with ODST, just buy the damned game already. If you don’t now, you’ll cave later when everyone is still raving about how awesome it is.

To everyone else out there who is not interested in silly things like video games, fear not. This blog is not becoming a gaming blog, and this will probably be my last post about Halo, Xbox 360s, and everything else video game-related for a long time.

– Will

Thanks Microsoft. (RRoD: Round II)

Dear Microsoft,

I’ve owned my Xbox 360 for a few years now. I’ve had a lot of fun times playing video games like Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, Halo: Reach and many other games. The console I owned before my Xbox 360 was the original Xbox, a console that I never had any issues with. I consider myself to be a loyal Xbox fan, but the latest issue I’ve had with my 360 is the last straw. I’ve sent my Xbox 360 to Microsoft’s repair department twice; once for a disc-reading issue and the second time for the RRoD. Both times my 360 was repaired for free and sent back to me with a one-month subscription card to Xbox Live.

I felt that having to send my 360 to your repair department once was an inconvenience. Then, I was forced to send it in again for a known console defect. After sending it in to be fixed twice, I find it completely ridiculous that my Xbox 360 is facing issues again. I never should have had any issues with it in the first place. Producing a product that fails multiple times is dishonest. As a loyal Xbox customer,  I feel betrayed. I feel like my investment into my Xbox 360 console was a complete waste. I’ve purchased four controllers, multiple video games, years of Xbox Live subscriptions, countless accessories, and multiple headsets (that ironically have also gone defective after short periods of use) and now all of those things are useless. Thanks. Now, I’m forced to look on eBay for a refurbished console that won’t cost an excessive amount of money so that all of the money I’ve spent in console accessories and video games won’t be wasted.

So thanks again, Microsoft. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and you’ve lost a customer.

– Will

The Tools That Make the World My Canvas…

Earlier on Facebook, I posted a status update that said:

From a photographer’s perspective, it’s true– you never can have too many cameras. Different cameras are useful for different situations; point-and-shoot cameras are nice for casual spontaneous pics, video cameras are good for (duh!) video, and DSLRs are good for high-quality photographs. Within these different styles of cameras, certain brands also excel at certain features. Some brands are known for having better white-balance, others are known for better lens-quality, and still others are known for ease of use. Because of this extensive variety, owning multiple cameras is more beneficial than simply owning one camera that’s awesome.

Recently, I was scoffed at for wanting yet another camera for my birthday. I already own six (two cameras I use regularly, one cellphone camera, and three “decommissioned” cameras that I rarely use [one of these is also broken]) cameras, and most believed this to be plenty of cameras for one person. Why would I need another?

To explain this better, let’s examine my camera inventory. I’ll start with the unused and obsolete and move toward the new and regularly handled. Let’s begin:

Aiptek DZO-V3T

I’ve been rockin’ this clunker of a video camera since freshman year. Ironically, I got it for my birthday that year. The first day I got it my friends and I started making videos. The first video involved lots of high-pitched voices shouting obscenities and things like “Go F*ck Your Couch!”. We also made a twenty-minute long audio recording of our conversation that night when we were stargazing… Good times.

It still works, but I never use it. It’s video quality is out-of-date and appears extremely fuzzy on YouTube. The audio recording feature still works too. It shoots 6-megapixel still images. (Note: Lens is 8.31 mm with a fixed aperture of F3.0)

LG eNV


This is actually a camera phone, but it took some pretty amazing pictures. I was just messing around with it one day after track practice, and I took an awesome shot of the parking lot from the gym doors on a rainy day. Here’s that picture:

I began to experiment with photography after that picture. After practice, I would walk around West trying to get some more amazing shots. This led to more pictures with more advanced cameras… until we ended up here. It takes 2-megapixel still images, and it also records video. (Note: The lens is 4.4 mm and it has a fixed-aperture of F3.0)

(After taking pictures of West, Canyon Creek, and Missoula with the eNV, I used my parents’ Sony point-and-shoot to take a ton of pictures during a trip to Vegas. Here’s a link to that album on Facebook.)

Kodak C180


Ah, the little blue camera that died. I bought this point-and-shoot from Sears for $20 this summer. It lasted from June 22nd to July 21st; the LCD screen was cracked when the camera bag it was in was stuck underneath a seat that was being moved. The camera still takes pictures, but you can’t use the LCD screen to compose the shots and there is no way to review your pictures on the camera. The camera also doesn’t have a viewfinder… I guess it could still be considered useful if you enjoy blindly taking pictures, but otherwise it’s junk. I keep it around as a token of this summer. It took some good pictures and videos, and it couldn’t be beat for the price. R.I.P. Little blue Kodak C180.

Palm Pre Plus

This is my current camera phone. I used it in the first video I made for the twentyeleven project YouTube channel, and I’ve taken a few pictures with it. It’s not the best, but it’s better than not having a camera at all. It takes 3-megapixel stills, and it’s a fixed-focus camera.

GE A1255

Not much to say about this camera… It was bought as a replacement camera for the Kodak C180. I forgot my main camera, my Kodak Z8612IS, at home during a trip to Fairmont this summer and I needed another camera to take pictures for my blog. We went into the local Butte Kmart and this was the best camera for the lowest price. It has a decent zoom and OK features, but it’s menus are somewhat difficult to navigate. It’ll work as a replacement for the C180, and it takes 12.2-megapixel pictures. It also takes video, but I haven’t tested it’s video-quality. It’s a decent point-and-shoot, but I got a better deal on the C180.

Kodak Z8612IS

This is my favorite camera. I purchased it last year in December, a few months after I started working. It was one of the first big-ticket items I purchased with my own money, and I was so excited to have a new camera that actually worked. I was in a photography class out at the Career Center at the time, so I was ecstatic to discover that this camera had manual features (you can adjust the shutter speed, aperture, ISO…  everything). I use this camera for all of my “legit” photography now, as it has the best lens of all of the cameras within my arsenal. It has an aperture range of F2.8-F8.0 and a 12x optical zoom. It also takes 480p video. It’s amazing. I love it. It’s not quite a DSLR, but it will work until I can justify spending over $500 on a camera.

So that’s it. Those are all of the cameras I own right now. Let’s take a quick recap, shall we?

  • One of those cameras is broken. 6 – 1 = 5.
  • One of those cameras is an old cell phone that I don’t use anymore.  5 – 1 = 4
  • The video camera is obsolete. 4 – 1 = 3.
  • Do you really count a camera-phone as a camera? It technically is a camera, but it’s not a legit one. 3 – 1 = 2.

With that recap, I technically own just two cameras, and not six. Both of those cameras are designed to take pictures, and while they both can take video, it was not their primary design. This is why I’m getting a video camera for my birthday– so I can create legitimate videos with decent video-quality. You’ll thank me later.

Now that I’ve justified my reasons for wanting another camera to the world, I think I’m going to go to bed. It’s 11:44 P.M., and one can only muse about his cameras for so long on a school night. Have a nice day, and don’t forget to comment! 🙂

– Will

Week Two: Frozen Yogurt, Flat Tires, and Sock Monkeys.

The first full-week of high school as a Senior at West High has been eventful. I’ve gone on two field trips for Environmental Science , finished one project in Human Anatomy, aced one AP Stats quiz, created toothpick boat models in AP English, participated in multiple debates about human behavior in Genocide, and changed a flat tire in the movie theater parking lot (and later put the newly patched tire back on in the Wal*Mart parking lot… more on that later).

Life is good. My classes are interesting, but not even remotely difficult. I’m awaiting a huge paper assignment to drop in AP English, but there’s always time for that next week (to be honest, I would have expected her to assign a paper on Friday, that way we would have a three-day weekend to procrastinate working on it). We’re still in the “first-two-weeks-of-school-where-actual-education-is-AWOL” buffer zone though, so the heavy workload should be arriving soon. I’m praying that the ridiculously easy AP Stats homework isn’t temporary. I like only having to spend 15-minutes max. on math homework. It’s nice.

So school’s been pretty good. Nothing beats the 1:55 P.M. early-out, and the days pass relatively quickly. Also, being able to drive the Focus to and from school definitely beats the bus. It’s nice to have the option to go to a coffee shop after school to work on homework or hang out with friends instead of just going home. It makes me feel more independent, ya know? It feels like I can finally take advantage of my license and all of it’s freedoms.

On Thursday, I decided to take advantage of my mobility and join Anne and Jon on a trip to the new yogurt store by the movie theater, Billings Best Yogurt. It’s an awesome place. The atmosphere is nice, and the people working there were very friendly. The moment we walked in the door, we were asked if we had ever been there before, and then given a short tour. The employees there went above and beyond the level of service you would expect at a self-serve yogurt shop, and we’ll definitely be coming back there soon. The frozen yogurt was incredibly delicious, and there were a seemingly unlimited amount of topping choices (gummy bears, M&Ms, chocolate chips, cereal, cherries, and several choices of flavored syrups… you name it, they probably have it). Their prices were also especially reasonable– it only cost a little over $9 for three people with individual cups.

After eating the awesome frozen yogurt, we walked back to our cars and I noticed that I had a flat tire. My immediate reaction was shock, and I stared at the flat for a second completely dumbfounded as to how or why I would have a flat tire.

Then I thought, “I have a flat. Seriously… I have a flat tire… Wow. This sucks.”

I told Jon and Anne about my predicament, and we brought the spare tire and cheap emergency jack out of the trunk. We changed the tires out quickly, and I was mobile again. Jon followed me home in his truck to make sure that I made it home safely on the spare tire, which is of the bike-tire variety and is only designed to go at a max. speed of 50 mph. I made it home without any problems, and life was good. The next day was a little stressful though, as I had to get on the busy South Frontage Road with a speed-handicapped vehicle (the speed limit for South Frontage Rd. is 65 mph, and I could only do 50 mph on the spare). I also had to drive on the highway for a short stretch later in the day for a field trip. I got the tire patched the day after I discovered the flat, so I didn’t have to deal with the spare for too long (thank God).

Here’s a few pictures I took when I was putting the newly-patched tire back on my car (note how small the spare tire is in comparison to the legit tires) :

I’m surprised this stupid thing held the car’s weight.

Gotta love cheap jacks… They give you a sense of security, ya know?

When I was changing out the newly patched tire with the spare tire, only one person in the parking lot stopped to see if I needed any help (which I denied, but thanked the person for offering). I didn’t need any help, but it’s sad that people have become such selfish bastards that they don’t even offer to help someone who looks like they might be having car issues…

Earlier in the week, Ashlynn and I were paired up for a Human Anatomy project. We had to label most of the major regions of the body on a model. The model didn’t have to be human, but something with a similar body type (for example, one group used a toy T-Rex as their model). We were going to use an old doll, but we decided that is was too small for labels. So we went to Target and searched the entire toy section for the perfect model for our project. When we seen the sock monkey, the search instantly ended. We then took the sock monkey to school the next day and covered him in bits of masking tape with various numbers representing the regions of the body we were learning. This is what he looked like after we finished labeling:

That pretty much sums up all of the big events of the second week of high school. I’m going to be posting more videos on our YouTube channel in about a week… I’m hoping to get a new video camera for my birthday. Look for more posts from me and the rest of the blogging crew in the meantime. Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment!

– Will

Rewind: Where it all Began

It all began two years ago. It started off slow, but I was hooked instantly. It’s something I’m still addicted to this day. The addiction has grown immensely since those early days, and now it’s manifested into something big.

I’m talking about blogging.

I caught the blogging bug during the summer of my Sophomore year. I was blogging on MySpace back then, and my posts were random. I had made a few posts during my Freshman year, but I wasn’t hooked then. I truly began to experiment with posting my thoughts, stories, and rants on the internet during my Sophomore year. Looking back, I think of that year as my “epiphany year”; a time in my life where I began to look at the world and examine all its wrongs and try to expose them with my writing. A few people read my blog, but the message was usually ignored or temporarily praised and forgotten (I still appreciate those who were reading my blog when it began– it’s been a helluva road from MySpace to here). I also began to experiment with writing songs in a vain attempt to win a girl who still probably doesn’t even know who I am.

Most people would say then that my blogging was little more than a waste of time. After all, if I tried to expose what I perceived as wrongs in the world with my writing, and nobody really read my writing, what was the point? And what good did writing a bunch of stupid songs for a girl do if she never read them?

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