Archive for the ‘2011’ Category

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My year began on the roof of The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas which, if I do say so myself, if a pretty decent way to ring in the new. As I write this, it is unseasonably warm in New York City which is ironic because exactly one year ago it was unseasonably cold in the city of sin. We sat by the side of the pools, enjoying the view of the Strip below, laughing and joking with revelers and huddling together for body warmth.

Six days later I turned 24, which I still have a hard time believing. For the longest time my residual self-image was a geeky 17-year-old kid with acne and while I have admitted to some aging, I still see myself as a 21-year-old in peak physical condition. *Sigh*

I hate birthdays, always have, but love that mine always happened to fall within Christmas Vacation because it allowed me to do exactly what I wanted to do during the day with as minimal human contact as possible. I decided that for 2011 I wanted to go snowboarding, eat Brazilian food and then watch Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I would post a picture here of me on a snowboard but despite my incessant nagging, Tyler Barlow (who purports to be technologically inclined) has YET to upload them. Fail.

2011, I expect, will be notable in my memory for two reasons: my quarter-life crisis and, similarly, my graduating year at Utah State University. It was the year that saw my transition from rabble-rousing student journalist at The Utah Statesman to starving journalist desperate for work in the daily grind. I went from the editor in chief of a publication, responsible for keeping a steady hand on objectivity while still shining a light on the conversations that the community at large had — and would try to — silence to an intern, scrambling to make any noticeable impression I could between shifts of sorting mail (*note, I never had to sort any mail at The Des, I was extremely well-treated there).

I think I’ll remember 2011 for the stories I wrote, as well. It was the year that I went to Sundance, declared war against the sense of social entitlement at USU, covered the sentencing of Brian David Mitchell, got a statement from the family of a murdered Salt Lake woman and interviewed Bruce Campbell. I stood in crime scenes and red carpets, press conferences and press screenings. I also saw Wood’s Stock hit 1,000 monthly readers, which makes me very proud.

In other student news, I returned to Vegas for to see The Aggies win the WAC championship and lost quite a bit of money on the roulette table (I would say the amount but my mom reads this blog and she hasn’t heard that story yet). No regrets, though. I relayed for life and helped raise thousands of dollars for Cancer research and finally scratched “crowd surf” off of my bucket list at the Hare Krishna festival of light.

Then I graduated, alongside some of my closest friends.

As far as personal growth, I kept my m.o. of falling out of contact with nearly everyone in my life during transitions periods. Admittedly Facebook makes keeping up the appearance of friendship easier, so thanks for that one Zuckie. So, to all of you out there who haven’t heard from me in a while, I’m sorry and just remember that even though I hate phone calls I’m still thinking about you, value our time together and hope you’re doing well.

Also, I’m either maturing — or becoming more introverted, funny how similar that can be sometimes — because most nights after I get home from work I just want to take it easy, read a book, watch some tv and fall asleep before midnight. I’ve managed to compartmentalize my need for diversion to the weekends which is, I think, a healthy thing to do. As a sidenote, I’m halfway through the book I’m writing that I planned on finishing during the summer, then during November, then by January and now by March. Progress, nonetheless.

I lived in 3 different cities this year. Three apartments for a combined total of 8 different roommates. In Logan it was Tony that didn’t wash his dishes, in Salt Lake it was everyone but me, Al and Will and in Queens it’s Jared who, by the way, blew his nose 30 times this morning. Yes, I counted and yes, it was an even 30. I’ve needed a reading lamp since May but I don’t want to buy anything until I’ve “settled.” Right now I don’t care where I live, I just want a reading lamp, a gym membership and some potted plants.

I hate to skim over the last half of the year but it’s too fresh. I’ve seen Broadway shows (best, How To Succeed, worst, Spiderman by a long shot) and concerts, (special shout out to Carbon Leaf, The Decemberists and Ted Leo) gone to world-famous museums (The Met, no contest) and landmarks. I’m working at my “dream” job where I watch endless amounts of movies and tv and interview celebrities but at the cost of my other dream of having enough living space to do pushups in the morning and a front lawn large enough to hose the mud off of my mountain bike (two more items missing from my life, the bike itself and the activity for which it attracts the mud), oh yeah and I really miss driving. And in theory, I’m supposed to meet someone and get married at some point and since my name isn’t Woodstein I’m not sure I’m in the right place. New York has been great, and it will be a fantastic memory looking back after I’ve moved on to whatever comes next.

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Ain’t it Grand?

Uncork the champagne everybody. During September, Wood’s Stock received more than 1,000 views for the very first time.

I started this blog on June 29, 2009. Excluding those first two days, the first month of Wood’s Stock saw 320 views. Over the years that number grew but seemed to plateau in April-May 2011 to the tune of around 800 monthly views. Then, in July — due I’m sure to blog laziness on my part — we here at WS saw our numbers plummet to a pre-2010 level of 417. Shocked and awoken I made it my goal to lift those numbers up, launched the New York Edition and set a weekly post as an absolute minimum.

Obviously, the sheer number of recent posts has helped push those numbers but we’d like to think that we’ve extended our reach recently. Three posts from August and September have already broken into the top 10, beginning with the controversy-stirring “Sexploitation” (106 views) that I’ve been told was passed around the offices of FTND. More recently the “Fall TV Scorecard: Week 1” has shot to number 9 in just two weeks with 122 views.

Truly incredible, however, is the performance of “Underrated Allstars: White Division” which has now claimed the number 2 spot behind the behemoth of which I am most proud, “The Men Your Ben Could Smell Like.” (744 freaking views!). Oddly enough, the White Division outperformed it’s Black Division counterpart by almost 3 to 1. Still, in light of its success I’m already planning another set of Underrated Allstar posts.

So, and most importantly, thank YOU. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I’ve always lived by the simple idea that you should only write what you would want to read so hopefully in some way this whole experiment has been interesting. I’m very proud of some of the discussion that has come from these posts and I know that I personally have learned a lot. One of my first posts was extremely anti-gay and now, 2 years later, I’ve completely changed my views on gay rights.

I would also hope that these posts have been, in some way, useful. Whether it was a movie or tv show you decided to check out, a book you considered reading, or just an idea that you allowed to bounce around your head for a minute before you went about your day. Thank you for your support, and your patience when I get a little heavy and personal.

Moving forward, the New York Edition will focus almost exclusively on entertainment but I’ll try to slip in some creative writing and photos when I get around to actually doing some. For the time being I’ve tried to avoid overly personal posts but come on, we all know there’s another Midnight Ramblings in my head just waiting to bust out.

If there’s anything you want to see More/Less of by all means, let me know in the comments. I check them religiously. And again, thank you all for stopping by.

“Follow” Wood’s Stock to not miss a single beat, and tell your friends ;->

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On friday night, the day before commencement, my friends and I gathered under the glow of Old Main and made sweet music together. My last act as an undergrad, and a bucket list item.

9. Jam in the amphitheater

Then I graduated (more on that later) and with that my senior year, and tenure at USU, was over. By that point I had already gone through the steps and had reached acceptance, some of the hard moments though:

  • turning in the keys to The Statesman
  • removing all of my possessions from the office
  • moving out everything in my apartment and living on an air mattress for a week
  • playing my piano for the last time

There was actually a moment when I was in my room, bare walls and empty, laying down on my queen-sized air mattress and watching the farewell Michael Scott episode of the office. There were just too many parallels and I cried a little bit.

Moving on, here’s how I did on my goals.

1. Sleep on the Quad or Old Main Hill

2. (removed by the hands of fate)
3. Become a true Aggie one more time
4. Clean the sink (again)
5. Sleep in my office
6. Get on the roof of one of the buildings on campus, preferably Old Main
7. Go into the O.C. Tanner Lounge (DONE!)
8. Perform at PoBev
9. Jam in the amphitheater
10. Ride the LTD to Preston
11. Eat at LD’s
12. Eat at the Coppermill
13. Get into the police blotter
14. Become an ULTIMATE Aggie
15. Go through the tunnels
16. Go into one of the Sorority houses
17. Kiss a girl who smokes (I could live without completing this one)
18. Get a picture with Big Blue
19. Fall in love
20. Pull an all-nighter (haven’t done one since high school)
21. Toilet paper someone’s apartment
22. Go to Old Ephraim’s grave (this is going to be hard to do before I graduate)
23. Hike the Wellsvilles (so close, yet so far away)
24. Eat in the Junction/Marketplace
25. Bike down the Old Main steps
26. Crowd Surf

Not bad. Some of those things I COULD have done but when push came to shove it just didn’t feel write to do them all rushed like a smash and grab job. Others, like riding the LTD to Preston, I just couldn’t do without Dave Willis.

So, with that, I’m an adult. Apparently.

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The new Ag Science building and Old Main at USU, sunset.

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Midnight Ramblings: The Villain

Sympathy is such an easy thing to come by. Especially in today’s high-speed, full disclosure world of social networking, all it takes is for someone to put as much as a frowny-face emoticon as their facebook status to receive an outpouring of well-wishers and pats on the back.

Remind yourself, at times, of the examples that your own life, and the lives of your closest friends, has shown you. The difference between victim and villain is seldom decided by right and wrong, but more by the hand that writes the history books. Too often have I watched as the labels are reversed (on the surface, mind you) by an expertly placed plea for pity.

Yet while the ignorant masses may swarm around you, eager to show their alms for your affection, there is one constant truth that the effected parties will always know. One of them, beneath all the convenient tears, is a monster.

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