Posts Tagged ‘tyler woodbridge’

100 Random Facts and Memories

January 26, 2010

1. My earliest memory is of my mom pushing me in a little yellow bucket swing on a bright spring day in my backyard, singing my “ABC”s with me and counting.

2. The first birthday I can remember is my 4th birthday. I received a monster truck board game.

3. I was obsessed with dinosaurs from birth, practically, until about the age of 10.

4. I owned literally every action figure from the first Jurassic Park movie.. I think I still do.

5. It thrilled me when my first band agreed to call themselves The Dennis Nedrys. Dennis Nedry is a character in Jurassic Park.

6. I take pride in being a team player, a role player, the person that does what nobody else wants to do; if it means getting the job done. I’m the guy who “takes one for the team.”

7. I HATE MUSHROOMS AND COCONUT

8. I remember being 4 and “cruising” with my dad in his car, jamming to Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” and Van Halen’s “Panama,” and me responding to the latter by saying “Dad! That’s a country!”

9. I also recall jamming to a ZZ Top record with him.

10. The first three ROCK albums I ever bought were with my first ever paycheck, which I earned being the mascot for the Chillicothe Paints. The albums were greatest hits compilations from ZZ Top, The Doobie Brothers, and Van Halen.

11. I decided to check out The Doobie Brothers because of a Simpsons episode that had a funny reference to them.

12. Lisa Simpson inspired me to take up the saxophone.

13. I’ve been a NASCAR fan longer than I have anything else. Except maybe dinosaurs and reading.

14. My mom began teaching me how to read and write at the age of 2.

15. My mom and I have co-authored dozens of books. They were all created when I was between 4 and 8.

16. I had a slight Colorform obsession.

17. I first had iced coffee with Casey Wolfe and Ansel Benson. I had no clue what I wanted from McDonald’s one day so Casey told me to drink an iced coffee. He created a monster! Now coffee is my favorite beverage.

18. I didn’t have my first kiss until the age of 17.

19. My first car was a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix, green.

20. The first record I ever played while driving it was Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits.

21. Vince Tropea once said that he hears Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded” in his head whenever I enter a room.

22. I’ve been on the front page of the Chillicothe Gazette at least three times, and have been within the pages many a time.

23. I accepted Jesus Christ on December 13th, 2004.

24. I’m a charter member of Lighthouse Baptist Church.

25. I played a year of football at Wilmington College, but I barely played.

26. We played against current Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon, and I was a teammate of LeRoy Kelly Jr.

27. I bought an X-Box on 8/8/08.

28. I met my first love on Halo 3.

29. I used to be a mainstay on the Top 100 Wheelman list on HaloCharts.

30. I’ve wasted the most time playing Halo 3, Age of Empires II, SimCity 3000, and the Madden Football series in my life.

31. I believe I can do anything I want to in this life, I just need opportunity and money to get my dreams kickstarted.

32. As a kid, every payday I ‘d ask my mom to buy me a toy. She told me I didn’t need any more toys. I saw a loophole and I would say, “Mommy, can I have a book then?” That helped boost my love for reading.

33. My favorite fast food restaurant is Taco Bell.

34. My favorite sit-down restaurant is California Pizza Kitchen.

35. I have a constant fear of dying young and/or being forgotten, even though I have no fear whatsoever of the actual afterlife.

36. I don’t think I discovered who I was until after high school, and matured much later than many people my age.

37. I was a mailman for three months.

38. My favorite record is Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood.

39. My favorite color is teal.

40. I want to travel the world.

41. My first concert was Journey/Def Leppard in Cincinnati, Summer of 2006. I went with Derek Kuhner and Scott Miller.

42. On the way there we drag-raced a convertible filled with hot women down the highway as Van Halen’s “Panama” (that song is everywhere in my life) blared through my speakers. Kuhner proclaimed “We’re living in an damn music video!!”

43. One of my clearest memories is the entire Chillicothe Cavaliers Basketball 2008 State Championship Game.

44. Inspired by Ren and Stimpy, as a young child I kept a “magic nose goblin” collection.

45. My favorite TV show is The Simpsons.

46. My favorite movie changes constantly but if I had to pick, it would be Jurassic Park or The Land Before Time for sentimental reasons.

47. I take my iPod with me everywhere.

48. I think my best talents are creative and journalistic writing, traditional lyric writing, organizing events, and playing Texas hold ’em poker.

49. I used to be addicted to gambling. I’ve got that under control now.

50. I’ll never ever forget holding my two baby sisters for the first time.

51. My sister Hayley was born premature and needed extra medical attention. That scared me so much. She ended up being okay.

52. I’m sad that my sisters and I are a generation apart in age, that keeps us from being closer.

53. I wore the numbers 53, 70, 76, 79, and 84 in football. My favorite was 53, I wore it all four years of high school. I consider it my lucky number.

54. I’m interested in medieval culture, politics, history, and warfare.

55. I also want to learn as much as possible about Native Americans, World War II, and The Civil War.

56. I bought my first guitar from Pete Sabatini. The first song I learned, er segment rather, was the intro to Bob Seger’s “Mainstreet.”

57. When I bought my bass the first songs I tried to learn were by Rush. Big mistake for a beginner.

58. I want to learn how to play piano.

59. I love birdwatching, stargazing, hiking, and fishing.. but I don’t get to do these very much.

60. I have an obsession with Italian sub sandwiches.

61. I want to learn how to paint and draw cartoons/comics.

62. I used to be into powerlifting.

63. I believe in extraterrestrial life.

64. I vote not by party line, but by the situation.

65. I think the death of Officer Larry Cox was the worst thing to happen in Chillicothe in my lifetime.

66. My favorite sports team is the Cincinnati Bengals.

67. I want to become a high school teacher, then work my way to becoming a professor. The whole way I want to pursue side projects in novel writing and music making, and perhaps one day start my own studio or restaurant.

68. I decided to make a 16 hour round trip to go to a NASCAR race last year with Danny Russell, with only 36 hours notice.

69. I admit to enjoying the music of Lady GaGa.

70. My first celebrity crush was Shania Twain.

71. I’m a firm believer in The Golden Rule.

72. My favorite beer is Guinness; Extra Stout.

73. I want to own a motorcycle someday.

74. Why stop there? I want to own a NASCAR team.

75. I intend on being responsible with my money if I ever start making enough to save.. so that one day I could do the above, haha.

76. The best concert I ever attended was Porcupine Tree in Cleveland, 2007.

77. Most of my closest friends I didn’t get close to until late in high school, or after graduation.

78. I love epic science-fiction/fantasy sagas.

79. I’d love to be a pilot but my vision is absolutely horrible.

80. So is my sense of smell.

81. I won two Power of the Pen Regional competitions in middle school.

82. I want to take up photography.

83. My grandparents are awesome, I love them.

84. I’d love to be on Survivor, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Jeopardy, and The Amazing Race.

85. I’m a beast at Scrabble.

86. The physical feature I’m proudest of is my teeth.

87. I love roller coasters.

88. My favorite songs are “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, “Shine” by Collective Soul, and “Africa” by Toto.

89. I’d love to own every DVD of The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, The Office, Scrubs, and several other series… because I never really watch TV.

90. I’d also love to watch more English Premier League Soccer.

91. I love clean guitar tones and meaty distorted riffs just the same.

92. If I ever become wealthy I intend on giving back. I believe all humans deserve the same opportunities, if they’ve worked hard for them and been good to others.

93. I don’t think I’ll ever get a tattoo.

94. I want children of my own, but only when I’m financially stable and mature.

95. I’m afraid of hospitals even though I know they’re there to help.

96. I’ve never flown other than a 30 minute small-plane tour of Ross County.

97. I want to drive in an auto race someday.

98. There’s going to be another 100 random facts and memories one day, don’t worry.

99. I’ll always take time out of my day to talk to anyone who wants to have a good conversation, no matter who they are.

100. I really, really like my last name and have a slight obsession with it.

This is so epic.

Radical.

I haven't tried wine yet; this shall be the first

Unveiling My Projects in Progress….

January 12, 2010

THE GREATEST BAND THAT NEVER WAS

Nate Bahre drinks hard, plays hard, and rocks hard. Aleksandr Balanov legitimately believes he’s the second coming of Jim Morrison and is out to prove it. Frederick Ryan Slash Bryan Thomas is a Lovecraft-obsessed hacker who also happens to play the meanest set of skins in town.

How the hell is Albert Shaw going to fit into this motley crew of musicians? The young, reserved bassist unsuspectedly plunges headlong into the seedy world of rock and roll, pulled after one fateful jam session with these seasoned players. They form a band that defies categorization and begin touring around town, facing usual AND unusual pitfalls that every small-town group encounters when starting out. As members wind up in and out of jail, passing around groupies, falling off buildings, stumbling upon evil spirits, and encountering the wrath of jilted family members; Albert realizes that rock and roll ain’t noise pollution. It’s a life-consuming monster that can’t be tamed.

Follow Albert in this rollicking small-town journey that lies somewhere between Spinal Tap, Almost Famous, Dazed and Confused, and the real-life experiences of debut author Tyler Woodbridge.

As we launched into the opening riff of “Wake Up Carl” and I viciously flipped my bass strings, I could feel my worries deafened by the gain and feedback. Standing there on stage, pounding away in what must have been our thousandth time playing the song, it still felt new. I felt new, too.

I looked around at my bandmates, not even trying to conceal my massive grin. Never mind the fact that one of them had tried to kill me. I almost forgot that one had stolen the love of my life in front of my very eyes, and that the other would be lucky to escape the night without getting arrested. These transgressions were trivial, our conflicts had faded. In this moment, as we shared our work and spirit in front of a capacity crowd of twenty five, we were more than just friends, or bandmates, or partners in crime. We were brothers. We were the greatest band that never was.

THE END OF GOOD AND EVIL

In the year 2014, two neighboring nations have been all but taken over by a wealthy family. Sandoval Enterprises have members in government office as their business runs literally everything. As a recession hits, money talks as the family fabricates a false war between the nations of Donia and Nhaliuk to boost a sagging economy. Endless soldiers’ lives are sacrificed in the name of the almighty dollar as sinister men laugh all the way to the bank.

Sooner than later, this maniacal plot is threatened to be exposed on multiple fronts by a special ops soldier codenamed Trigger, a drifting citizen called Jimmy Glencroft, and a devout Christian politican named Eli Radovich. From all reaches of the conflict, they are drawn into an underground multinational revolution that seeks to shake the foundations of politics and war as we know it. Every man and woman involved will be forced to make decisions outside their moral boundary, see life and death through different eyes, and weather the storm of human error. They will need to put an end to this conflict once and for all. An end to both good and evil.

This Is Your History! Blog, Write, Share, Read!

December 28, 2009

I feel as if sometimes we as humans don’t really take the time to think about the future, what it will be like, how the world will change, how we ourselves will change, and what we will leave behind after we die. Twenty years ago, my parents never dreamed there would be a computer in almost every home, life-like video games, 3D movies created digitally, internet, and a phone in nearly every pocket. I’m sure my grandfather is shocked as anyone that rap is mainstream and popular, and my grandmother is certainly thankful for the insane advances in healthcare and technology.

We’ve come a long way, and (somehow) we still have a long way to go. There is much happening in the world every day. The face of the human race is evolving with every minute. Every person in the world has a role to play in how the future will be for themselves, their family, their friends, their city, their country, their race, their planet. It’s up to us to make decisions that will positively impact those around and ahead of ourselves, to further the progress that has been rapidly increasing over the last millenium.

I know, I know. Get to the point, you say, o faithful reader. This isn’t a novel, it’s a blog entry, you say. Okay, okay. Here goes. This is a bit of a “Why I Blog” entry. I’ll explain the turn of events that led to me starting a blog, and what inspires me to try to do great things every day.

It was summer, the year 2009. In other words, it really wasn’t that long ago. I was working 2nd shift at a local truck part painting factory called Vitatoe. Of course, I didn’t like it all. I’ve had several jobs in manufacturing and I can’t stand that kind of work. Playing late night basketball with my friends, spending time with my wonderful girlfriend Ashley during the morning/afternoon, and listening to plenty of great music helped me get through it.

I also spent a lot of time hanging out with my friend Kaila Vest. As some of you may have read, she was born with a condition called Pectus Excavatum. She went into surgery on June 30th. I remember being extremely nervous that morning, even though I had no reason to be. I knew things would turn out okay for her, BUT, it was the first time I’ve had a close friend have a big surgery like this. Needless to say my mind was snowballing about random things and I couldn’t stay calm until I heard Kaila got out of her surgery safe.

Her mom texted me and let me know she was fine, so I was a bit more relieved. I got in the shower that morning to get ready and spend time with Ashley, then go to work. After I got out of the shower, I had a sudden rush of lightheadedness. I literally became dizzy and fell over in my bathroom. I had no clue what had happened, and panicked. I didn’t say anything to my mom, Ashley, or anyone at all. I just went about my business as usual after I got up, wondering what the hell that was about.

Later that same night at work, near the end of my shift, I had the exact same thing happen to me there that had happened in my bathroom. I couldn’t stand still, my heart and my head both rushing, as I paced around the factory floor aimlessly, just trying to keep myself calm and trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I blamed everything on having a pulled chest muscle; the previous day at work I lifted 100 pound truck rims by myself for fifteen minutes. Not the smartest move in the world, but it would explain my pain.

That night my buddy Danny Russell texted me and asked me if I wanted to randomly go to Pennsylvania with him for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Pocono Raceway. Of course, me being the young and foolish adventurer I am, I agreed to it. On 48 hours notice, we were making a 16-hour round trip to go watch some racing. Oddly enough, over the next three days, before/during/after our trip to the race, I didn’t have that discomfort/faintness at all. I wondered why this could be. Sure enough, within the next day after I got back home, it would come back at least once a day. What in the world was wrong with me, what was up with these faint feelings and random discomforts??

After a few more days I finally talked to my mom and dad about what was going on. My mom passed it off as being anxiety, telling me to calm down and relax. I thought to myself, maybe it WAS anxiety. I googled Anxiety Disorder and thought, hey, this sounds like what I’m going through. Random discomfort and faintness, check. Raised pulse and blood pressure, check. Numbness in the left arm, check. Wait, I thought, aren’t these also symptoms of heart attacks or heart conditions? Naturally, I read up on those, and found myself worrying about much more than any somewhat healthy 21 year old needed to.

The more I analyzed my life in early August, the more anxiety-causing agents I discovered. I worked extensively with paint, paint remover/thinner, and other paint-based chemicals. I absolutely hated my job. I had horrible sleep patterns, drank an obscene amount of caffeine, and didn’t have a very balanced diet. I struggled with money (still do), and was constantly either frustrated or depressed. Kaila was still in the hospital, I was having various disagreements with friends, my friends were having disagreements with one another… it just made for a very trying time.

I’ll never forget August 14th and 15th, 2009. The 14th was Ashley’s birthday. I had a great time watching her open her presents, spending time with her, eating Chinese with her, and cherishing her company. It was just too bad that I had to work that evening, as I would’ve taken her to a concert that night instead.

We agreed to make up for that on the 15th. I drove us up to Columbus, where we met up with my uncle, grandma, and sisters for a little bit. From there I took her to Tuttle Mall, where we proceeded to shop around and enjoy some Chik-Fil-A and Caribou Coffee. It was a great day, a fun day, and I was enjoying myself immensely. On the way home I experienced my discomfort that I had been having yet again while driving. I toughed it out and got back to Ashley’s house, where we sat down to watch some preseason football.

Not five minutes passed when my discomfort returned. I stood up and went into Ashley’s kitchen to get a bottle of water and clear my head. That’s when it hit, coming out of nowhere, like nothing I had ever felt before. I felt a surge through my whole body, my chest tightened hard from the middle out, and I could feel my heartbeat gallop into the sunset. I keeled over the table, not having any clue what was wrong with me. I felt to myself, is this a heart attack?! Is this a heart attack?!! Ashley’s family was a tremendous help, sitting me upright and helping me breathe, as I was hyperventilating. They wanted to call a squad right away, but I wanted to see what my family thought first. Ashley called my mom and dad, and they arrived about 15 minutes later to check me out. I was sweating profusely, twitching randomly, breathing rapidly, and still my heartbeat was fast. My family and Ashley’s, and myself, all came to the mutual decision to call a squad.

Not long after the call was made, the squad showed up. I was impressed and happy with how quickly they responded. Three EMTs came in to check me out. My pulse and blood pressure were astronomical, and I told them about my tingliness. They agreed that it was a concern and asked me the usual litany of questions about allergies, family history, personal history, etc. They checked my blood sugar; I was evidently normal. From there they walked me out to the ambulance and it was off to the emergency room with me.

I was very scared from the time my “attack” happened, and that fright just refused to subside. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t calm down, and my “surging” feeling refused to go away. All I could think was, am I dying? Am I ill? What’s wrong with me? Am I going to make it out of the hospital? Is Ashley okay? My family?

I was wheeled on a stretcher into the emergency room. So it began. I was given two separate IVs, one in each arm. They took a blood sample. They took a plasma sample. They checked my pulse, my temperature, my heart rate. My pulse averaged 140 or so during the entire time I was in the ER, and if I remember correctly my blood pressure was 180/100. The whole time I clenched my mom and dad’s hands, or Ashley’s, depending on who was in the room with me.

The madness didn’t end. I was hooked up to an EKG monitor. They took a chest X-Ray. Four different nurses and two different doctors came in to talk to me. The whole experience was both clear and fuzzy at the same time, I didn’t know what to think or feel other than negative, frightful thoughts. I was in the middle of a whirlwind of needles, wires, beeps, pokes, and questions.

Perhaps one of the most frightening tests I went through was this scan where I was slid on my back into a giant, cold, tight metal tube. That’s not the worst part. Before I was slid into the tube they gave me a shot of dye. They warned me it would feel “a little funny.” They should rephrase that and say, “this should feel like the creepiest physical experience of your entire life.” Within seconds after the shot, my entire body felt like it was burning from the inside out. I clinched my eyes shot and prayed fervently, just wishing that somehow it would all go away.

Later on, while I was still laying in the emergency room bed, I had the worst “attack” yet. My chest felt as if it was exploding. I sat upright quickly, feeling my eyes bug out as I grabbed my heart. I moved quickly and without caution as I sprung up, I tugged hard on my IVs. I could hear my mom faintly yelling (if you know my mom that’s an understatement, for her to be faint especially next to me, meant I was truly in a whirlwind) “Help! HELP! He needs HELP over here!” In that moment I swore I was dying. It was the scariest feeling yet. A nurse came over, and saw that my pulse and BP had shot up. She gave me a shot of a drug called Atavan.

I could’ve sworn something was wrong with me. I was dying, or gravely ill, or going insane. My thoughts were all negative. I was saying the most ridiculous things. “Ashley, promise me you’ll never stop singing. “If I ever get out of here, I’m gonna do this.” so on, so forth.. outrageous statements. But I really thought it was all over.

They admitted me to the hospital that night, saying that they were to take more tests in the morning. I couldn’t sleep at all, it was the longest night I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t watch television. I couldn’t listen to my iPod or do anything at all. When a nurse asked me that night if I needed anything, I merely asked her for something to write with. I wrote Ashley a poem and a letter.

The whole night, my thoughts were an endless snowball of negativity. I didn’t think I was ever getting out. I thought about my friends. Did they know I was in here? Would they care if something happened to me? What’s my legacy going to be? How will I be remembered? What have I truly accomplished?

I listened to one album only, Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood, my favorite album of all time. I tried to watch TV, nothing could interest me. My chest remained sore. Every time I managed to drift off to sleep, I awoke within minutes with a chest discomfort/tightness, or a nurse would come in and check on me. I could get no rest.

Morning came soon enough. I was shocked to discover, as I opened my eyes, I had actually gotten one whole hour of uninterrupted sleep. I awoke to a friendly nurse taking my blood pressure. I asked her what my BP and pulse were. 120/85 and 63, respectively. They had both went back down to normal levels since the night before. I was shocked and at the same time, ecstatic. That HAD to be a good sign. For the first time in twelve hours I had a smile on my face.

They called off one test (I had no clue what it was and couldn’t figure out whether it was good or bad that they cancelled it). My only test that morning was an insane experience. They basically took an ultrasound of my chest and legs to check on my heart functions, and to make sure I had no clots of any kind. This was surreal. The computer screen showed a perfect image of my heart. I laid there and watched it pump, churning away, seeing my blood go in and out, moving through my body. I could hear an amplified version of my heartbeat. I could hear the thud of its muscles, and the squishing of my blood. This muscle, I thought, is the only thing that keeps this whole gig running. Its health is vital to my health as a whole. If this little buddy peters out, the shebang goes with it. I was fascinated and found a new appreciation for the heart, its functions, and its role in my survival.

There were a few more hours of waiting. Fortunately, Ashley had arrived and was keeping me company. I was so thrilled, so happy to see her. She was a tremendous comfort. My parents were on their way and I lay there with Ashley, waiting for either my folks or a doctor, whoever it may be that comes first.

The doctor came first, to let me know what was wrong with me. I was much relieved to find out that my parents’ suspicions were true, I just suffered from anxiety. I drilled the doctor with questions, trying to make absolute sure that’s what was wrong. He said I was healthy as can be, no blockages or unusual rhythms or clots or anything. The flushing, warm feeling of happiness covered up any discomfort I had at the time and I felt my thoughts clear back up.

My parents came to pick me up, just in time to see me get a Holter monitor attached to my chest and back. I had to wear a portable monitor for the next day, so if I did have any peculiar heartbeats or arrythmias, they could be detected.

I carried on with my life as usual from there on out. I still awoke nearly every night for the longest time with a sudden rush in the chest, and I struggled getting to sleep. I never knew whether or not I was dying, or if it was just anxiety, or what was going. In the end though, I got through.

After the longest time, my discomforts finally started to go away. After only a handful of anxiety attacks within the month after the first, I stopped having them. As of the writing of this blog I’ve gone a little over three months without anxiety attacks. I look at the steps I took to make them go away..

I took better care of myself. I slept at least an hour or two longer every night. I tried not to worry so much, and I started doing breathing exercises. I reconciled with those I had conflict with. I cut back on my caffeine intake. I took a different job at Arby’s, getting hired there a fortunate two weeks after being laid off at Vitatoe. Anxiety defeated.

I haven’t been the same since that first anxiety attack. It’s odd that it takes thinking one’s dying, to make oneself truly want to live. What if I would’ve actually died that night? Well, I didn’t. I’m not going to take my life for granted anymore. Death can happen by any cause at any time for any reason. I’m not worried about where I’m going after I die, however I’m worried about what I leave behind when I do go. I’m not talking about physical or monetary possessions.

What have I accomplished, what will I accomplish? What have I created, what will I create? How have I touched others, how shall I touch others? I’ve been living my life with a purpose over the past few months. I realize I have a fear of being forgotten. I have a fear of not making my mark on this world, of not having any kind of impact. I made a bucket list of sorts. I started a blog, what you’re reading today. I made more of an effort to manage my time wisely, to spend more time with family and friends and my lovely girlfriend Ashley. I started working on a few novels. I’ve finally started doing so much that “i’ve been meaning to.” Well, I’m finally doing it.

And it took me thinking I was dying to trigger this.

This is my history.

I’m going to die someday. What I’ve written, however, won’t go away. (That’s as long as the Internet’s around, but that’s another story)

This is why I blog and write. I want others to learn from my experiences. I want others to avoid the mistakes I’ve made. I want others to enjoy the amazing experiences I’ve enjoyed. I want my life to be framed and accessible to those who wish to learn about it. I want to reach out to others. I want to make the world a better place one way or another. I want others to feel better about who they are. I want others’ dreams to come true.

It all starts with me… and it all starts with you.

Let’s write when we can spare the time and energy. Let’s share everything that we enjoy, and help others when we can. Take some time to read others’ work, learn a lesson or two, add every experience you have and every fact you can gather to your mind. If we all do this, we all become smarter and more experienced people. We make more of the world around us. We add more to our lives, and to others’ as well.

That… is why I blog. And it’s why you should too.

Tyler Woodbridge on Writing (Part Three: High School)

December 15, 2009

High school dawned. I was busy with football, constantly lifting weights and running and trying to maximize my physical potential. On the first day of school, I realized that I had to drop a class I had been taking for four years (Band) due to the fact that football would interfere with me getting the most out of the experience. I went to the guidance counselor and asked what classes were open. A journalism/newspaper writing class happened to have room, and I managed to get in.

With me having a natural flair for writing that was well-developed at the time, I picked up journalism rather easily, however, at first I had a few minor difficulties. My writing style was a bit too grandiose, I had to practice paring down the words and getting straight to the facts. I also lacked patience when it came to writing draft after draft of a short article, and some of my article ideas were far too ambitious for the deadline space I was given. More often than not I found myself scrambling at the last minute to get interviews or facts that I couldn’t’ve gotten before due to my busy schedule.

My first teacher, Mrs. Murphy, was an odd cookie. I liked her a lot, but sometimes it seemed that she got too caught up in running things “by the book.” She even forced me to write a retraction on a controversial article that I wrote about unhealthy eating/exercise habits practiced by school wrestlers; that didn’t gain me any favors with my wrestling team either. I was given all kinds of throwaway article assignments and received endless grief from her. It didn’t phase me too much at all, as I respected her and learned quite a bit.

Murphy left, and as my sophomore year rolled around I ended up with Mr. Ben Gerard Broschart as my teacher. He was a riot, he was a funny and easy-going guy that ran an enjoyable class. I have no ill statements to make about Mr. Broschart. He was brutally honest about the strength of my articles (or lack thereof), helped me pick up interviews and hone my skills, and made layout nights (I became an editor that year, and was one for the rest of high school) extremely fun. I was very immature and made all manner of mischief throughout my sophomore and junior years; Broschart had to come down hard on me every now and then. I appreciate how he handled my misbehavior, stern yet understandable, and think that he was a very professional yet accessible teacher. If I could list my five favorite teachers and professors I’d ever had, Ben Broschart would definitely be near the top, if not at the top. Hey, he helped me understand and accept U2 and Bruce Springsteen, now two of my favorite artists, so how can I not love him?

Mr. Broschart accepted a job in another school district, and his reign gave way to Mr. Jeff Fisher. “Fish,” as we affectionately called him (no relation to the sensational Marillion singer that I idolize), was barely older than his students, fresh out of college. He was like a perfect mix of Murphy and Broschart. He ran the class by the book while letting us have a little fun at the same time. Journalism remained my favorite class during my senior year, and I accomplished a lot of in-depth projects under his reign. It’s regrettable that I can’t find any copies of my work from senior year anywhere, as that’s the work I’m proudest of and should I pursue journalism again, those articles would look great in a portfolio.

The friends I made in Journalism class are unforgettable and incredible influences on me as a person today. I went from being a shy, quiet, overachiever my freshman year; to being the outgoing, musical, life-loving person I am today, and much of that transition was brought about by the friends I made in Journalism class. I’d like to give a nod here to three of my favorite people from Journalism and thank them for what they’ve done for me.

Kayla Rosebrook, who was already one of my great friends, ended up becoming my closest ally in high school. I talked to her every day in that class, no matter what, and was very close to her for a long time. I’d confide in her about anything and she would do the same. Her intelligence, wit, talent, and friendliness shined through in everything and I know to this day, although we rarely talk, I can still trust her to be a rock solid colleague and friend.

She seems like a completely different person now, but Lara Wheeler and I didn’t get off on the right foot. She went from barely contributing to the paper and hating me due to my overbearing personality, to becoming an excellent writer, a great friend, and a huge influence and support to me today. We became even closer after high school, and shared many things: music, rides, money, memories, adventures. I’m honored to say she’s one of my best friends of all time, and I’m glad I met her, thanks to Journalism class.

What can I say about Jessie Ford? Out of everyone in the class, she seemed to get the biggest kick out of my personality, creativity, boldness, and determination. Profoundly talented and extremely easy to get along with, she was perhaps a bit too encouraging of my insanity. She provided just as many, if not more laughs than anyone else in the class and is now a design professional. Check out her work here. I haven’t kept touch with her as much as everyone else, but when I think back on Journalism class, her face is usually one of the first to pop up. What a great girl.

There were many, many others who made Journalism class a great experience. Alex Buchanan, Tyler Stewart, Allison Hornyak, Chris Germann, Amanda Tootle, Marissa Tackett, Erin Casey Cottrill, Vanessa Triplett, Taylor Harrison, Tripp Lowery, and several others contributed laughs, memories, advice, help, and various other influences. They’re all unforgettable in different ways.

I ended up deciding to pursue journalism in college at Wilmington, where I majored in Communications and played on the football team. I ended up having to leave after my freshman year and have been out of college ever since due to incidents out of my control, but that’s a blog and a story for another day. I’d like to give a nod here to David Goguen, who was one of my favorite professors at WC. He was full of stories and was very friendly and helpful, I can’t thank him enough for the opportunities and praise he gave me.

I also picked up another writing interest in high school: Comedy writing. It all started when myself and my friend Austin Drewyor couldn’t stop making fun of another kid who played on our football team. The kid was unintentionally hilarious in just how stupid he could act, and looked like a small mammal. Therefore, Austin and I took it upon ourselves to start writing comic scripts and drawing cartoons centered around the kid, who we named Muskrat. It took off from there, with us creating endless other characters based on ourselves and those around us. My character was named Kirk, his was known as Toenail, and there was a legion of crazy, epic, random shenanigans written about in the three years to come.

I blame this comedic writing exercise as the reason for my grades being a bit lower than they should have been. Sometimes in class, instead of taking the notes on the board, Austin and I would write scripts back and forth. We’d pass them to our friends, who would cry laughing at the adventures we wrote about. I wasted so much time and energy and effort in these scripts, yet was so proud of them. We actually kept a folder through all three years that we wrote these scripts, filled to the brim with hundreds of characters, hundreds of events, and thousands of laughs. Unfortunately, these scripts have been lost or thrown away, our many hours of effort faded into nothing. Sure, we could probably write many of them again, but the spontaneity was what sparked their genius.

These scripts were a perfect example of my immaturity, my sense of humor, and the ridiculousness of our teachers and the people we knew. Austin and I wrote with coarse language, vulgar explicity, and held nothing back in our quest to bring laughter to the masses. Celebrity appearances, personal insults, drug references, blatant sexuality and tasteless gags abound peppered our Muskrat Scripts, as we called them. Those who enjoy South Park, The Simpsons, Will Ferrell or Kevin Smith movies, and Family Guy praised our work and said that we could definitely have a future in cartoon/comedy writing. I think, if Austin and I ever decided to, we could indeed make our way into the cartoon/comedy world. That’s an avenue I always want to keep open, as writing these scripts was something I enjoyed and could parlay into something useful one day. That is, if you want to count genital jokes, wanton violence, and cruel parody as useful. I like to think it is.

More to come in a future entry… as these are topics I could write about forever.

If you’re a friend of mine reading this and happen to have an unforgettable memory about CHS Journalism class from 2002 to 2006, or happened to have enjoyed a Muskrat script sometime in that time frame as well… post one of your favorite quotes or memories having to do with this topic! Unfortunately I’ve forgotten too much about two things I’ve held dear to me for so long. Your contributions are much appreciated!!