Friday, May 29, 2009

Merivale Art Show

Today was a busy day at school, as the annual Merivale Art Show took place in the Cafeteria. Visual art such as drawings, painting, photographs and graphic design paraphernalia were on display, as well as media work on the computers and carpentry displays on the stage. There was a table packed with ceramics.

My art pieces were also in the show. I produced or contributed to as much as eight projects. Most were drawings, two were paintings, and one was a photograph:

"Work of Frustration" and "Lawnchair Potato," my two paintings. "Work of Frustration" was originally supposed to be an aerial painting of Meadowlands Drive, where I used to live, but it proved too complicated and frustrating so I went crazy.

The show went all day, beginning with the Co-op Breakfast, and I spent all day there. At lunch I had a photo shoot with a representative from the Cancer society, Brooke Ruskin, and a few teachers as a follow-up to an article I wrote a little while ago. Fred had his wooden chest up on stage with the rest of the furniture presented, and in the end I ended up staying after school to get some information and quotes for my interview.

I have many other photos but I'll just post them on Flickr. It was an interesting, very freedom-like day.

One of the last big events of the school year.

Top corner is my yearbook cover which made it to second place.

Yeah, one of the last big events. Then I'm gone.

-Justin C.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dancing the Cafe away and Other Graphic News

Forget the darn ending to that Thursday story, I'm way overdue for it and yet I'm at school without a copy so here's the next bit of news that's overdue instead:

-My first high school dance: I went to my first dance on Friday last week. As I expected, the music was all today - rap, hip hop, dance, etc. So it wasn't something I enjoyed at first. Thing was, I was there by myself, just to enjoy the experience. I have to admit, for the first hour and half or so, I was exceedingly profficient in walking around in a stiff manner, manoevering between people with a fluid-like ease. By 9:30 or so I had loosened up and was performing every jerky body movement I could think of that went with the beat. As a drummer it's not hard for me to pick it out or go with it, so jerk and stomp around I did, if you call that dancing.

-My song writing: I wrote two songs today and yesterday. One's called 'Fredward' and the other's called 'The Moving Problem,' based on her breaking off our 'potential relationship' due to her moving.

-My drum covers: I may have mentioned I now post Madness Drum covers on YouTube. What I do is I play drums to a Madness song and film it, then edit it and upload it to YouTube via my editing software. I've gotten the most comments, ratings (5 star) and shortest amount of time it takes many people to view them on those videos.

-New Madness song Review: Recently I finally went and did my listening to the new Madness songs from their recent Album 'The Liberty of Norton Folgate.' I really like a few of them, but most are just okay and some I don't like at all. Notable songs that I find great are Rainbows, which is uplifting and nice and inspiring, MKII, which sounds beautiful and forlorn, and Bingo, which sounds nice and nostalgic. Other songs that I find okay are Sugar and Spice, That Close, Dust Devil (the big single from the album), NW5, and Idiot Child. Notable songs I don't like are Forever Young (which my friend Duncan actually likes, my god) which sounds a little brooding and down, On The Town, of which I just don't like the sound of, plus the unfamiliar vocals in the chorus, and The Liberty of Norton Folgate, which I just find too long and a little boring.
Critics have praised the album immensely, which is great for the band and I'm happy for them.

-1000th Question: The other day I asked this question on the Madness website and this is what happened:

Mad Drumming

Double Jeopardy!
Category: Madness Drum CoversAnswer: This Canadian teenager from Ottawa spends his spare time often playing drums to this U.K. music group, then uploading the videos to YouTube under the name "CampbellTrain."
Question: Who is Justin Campbell uploading Madness drum cover songs?(Seriously, I do upload them. They've been well recieved, although I can't use the songs in the background unless it's one of the vinyl records I'm playing, as diagetic (background) music should be accepted on YouTube without infringing copyright laws, etc.

And my actual question is if you like them (if you see them), can you please refer them to Mr. Woodgate? Thank you very much.)

Awesome job on MKII and Rainbows, very uplifting and inspiring!One more thing I might want to explain: Yes, I'm happy you managed to find 'synesthesia' on the web, most people can't. In my case sounds, or anything I mentally think of comes across as colors, images, shapes, and forms. When it really made In the City sound so great to me it was because the music produced very plesurable images and thoughts and stuff in my head. Your guitar key-in looked like a nice green blobby line, and Mike's keyboard (not piano) had a rambunctious, random, crazy personality I attributed to it that matched a girl's that I like (she would appear as an image when the keyboard became sygnificant with your guitar). If the tone is slowed down to lower tones the colors become darker, brighter the other way round. Anyway I hope that explains it!
Thank you,


Dear Justin
I have sent this on to Woody very interesting. You are my 1000th reply, so I will send you something as I had planned to do that. Rather, I will get someone to send you somethin but I need you address! all the best Chris

So I should be expecting 'something' from Madness. Or Madness will get someone to send something to me. Wow!!! Totally out of coincidence yeah? I wonder what it will be. I've already sent my address, they should figure it out.

So that's the latest news. I am very late in my English summative also, and the Art show is on Friday. I think I have a driving lesson tomorrow, and a meeting with a few people (including that darn girl, how awkward should that be may I ask??) so I'm pretty busy at the moment.

Expect more news soon.
-Justin C.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thursday - Part 3

Continuation of my Thursday last week. Inspired to write this by Karl Van Dusen.

I walked down the hallway, in the D-wing, toward the Canadian & World Studies office. Getting there, I saw three people walking toward the door and realized they were Mr. Elliot, Mellow, and Mr. Graham, long time no see. He’d been on the outdoor ed. Trip for three or so weeks, and I hadn’t seen him in awhile. He was animatedly talking to the other two, who were happy to be in his company again.
“Campbelltrain!” exclaimed Mr. Graham when he saw me. “Nice new shirt.” Thing was, it was great to see him – but I now saw that all three of them had gone out to a fun catching-up lunch, and without me. I hadn’t seen Mr. Graham in a long time, and this included at school because he was so busy. So I felt a little hurt at this.
“What’s that say on your shirt,” they asked. Mr. Graham took a closer look. “ Athletic school! Cool!”
I looked down at the little logo on my shirt. So. They thought that was interesting. I still felt that I wanted to talk to Mr. Graham, catch up. I expressed this to them, and we walked back toward the gym.
We talked mostly about what we’d done over the past few weeks. I took a look at those lockers again as we passed through the foyer, but she wasn’t there. We continued into the gym but soon I was on my own again. Earlier I had had my interview with Ms. Rafuse, about the hypnotist yesterday. After yesterday’s performance a lot of people had labelled me as a sceptic. That was fine. I just didn’t believe in it.
I located Mr. Elliot. I wanted to vent a little about me less-than-good day, but he said come back in ten minutes. I got that. He had a class to get prepared, he was a teacher, so I didn’t bother him.
I went back to the foyer, then turned around and was heading upstairs when I heard a lot of people coming up the stairs below. I looked over and saw what looked like a class. Then for some reason I just decided to go back downstairs.
“Okay, downstairs,” I muttered quietly to myself. I ran down the stairs before the class could reach the top of the stairs below and the door. I got out into the D-wing hallway and scouted a location to just be. I ran and sat on the low wall of the trans-building hallway link, looking maybe inconspicuous, or conspicuous, or both. All I knew that that I was a tired student sitting on the wall, with no interest in anything.
As I somewhat kept watch of who walked by in the class, I saw that girl again. For some reason, all day I'd started to become aware of her whenever she was near. She was walking along the other side, with a friend, talking. She didn’t appear to take any notice of me, but how could I know that looking in the direction she was heading for? I only noticed her after she passed so all I could see was her back. I stayed on the ledge for a little while longer, then wondered into the foyer. That class had gone into the cafeteria. At first I thought it was study hall, seeing as Mr. Mochizuki left the building during lunch. But soon I would realize what they were doing. I brought myself to the benches to sit with more comfort and sat down. Not five minutes later, while I was sitting there, she left the cafeteria.
Looking directly over at my position, she walked quickly to the girl’s bathroom across the foyer.
Gee, I thought. A minute later she emerged from the lavatory, looking right at me again. I was watching her myself of course, but what I saw was her having her complete attention toward me. I would loot up at her to find her already watching me first. After spending maybe ten minutes sitting there, half-expecting for her to walk by again, I got up and decided to check on Mr. Elliot again.
“Justin, I said to come back in ten minutes, not four.”
“Really?” How could it only have been four minutes? It felt a lot longer, like maybe twelve had gone by. “Okay. I’ll come back in six minutes, I hope I’m not interrupting.”
“Thanks CampbellTrain.”
I walked back toward the foyer once again. Standing at the edge of the hallway into the area, she flirted by again, from the cafe to the bathroom. Looking right over where I was. I had my watch in my hand. It said 11:42. Four minutes.
She came out of the bathroom again. Almost instinctively, I brought my hand up in a wave, but she didn’t respond, just kept her eyes on me. Huh. Soon I walked back toward Mr. Elliot’s room when it became 11:46, but I couldn’t get his attention. I wasn’t knocking or barging in. I didn’t want to interrupt. Maybe yeah, it would do better to just knock, but I did fine with my arm, hand, and head waving silently through the window in the door whenever he looked up near my direction. Soon I gave up and went to the C&WS office, where Mr. Mellow was working at a computer. I knocked.
“Hey,” he said tiredly as he opened the door. I could tell he wouldn’t be interested in the tale of my plights.
“Hi. Are you busy? I wanted to talk to you.”
“Yeah, I sort of am,” he said. “What did you want to talk about?”
“Oh, it’s just this day hasn’t gone good for me at all and I wanted to talk about it, get it out.”
“Uh, well, I don’t have the time right now, I’ve got other issues I have to deal with.”
“Okay. I guess this would be part of it then, because I can’t do another thing I wanted or needed to do.”
Soon I departed with Mr. Mellow working on his issues and me quietly walking around. I again went back to the-oh yeah-foyer, where she again walked across to the bathroom. By this time I had realized that the class had been working on plastering masks, and she had to wash her hands or something like that every now and then. As she was busy in the bathroom, I looked around, wondering where I should be next. I decided to walk into the outer foyer, to the front doors. Looking back in, I saw her go by again, and she looked in the normal south direction where I had been standing previously. Hah! Not realizing I was in the opposite direction, she disappeared beyond my vantage point and into the cafeteria.

The whole thing posed this one huge question: Why was that girl so watchful of me, whether I'm present or not? Why this apparent interest in me?

Part 4 Tomorrow

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thursday - Part 2

Here's the second part of that mildy annoying Thursday. Inspired to write this by Karl Van Dusen.

Approximately six people were hanging out in my English classroom at the end of the period between the warning bell and the actual starting bell. According to the class list there is roughly 24 people in the class, but on average we have from seven to fifteen. A lot of people just didn’t come to class, and usually every class started with six people and then grew as more people filtered in throughout the period, late. On this occasion, me included, the class rounded out to about nine people. The teacher, Ms. Rankin, was missing. There was a note on the board saying she’d be along soon, and that students should read their novels. This didn’t really apply to me – I’d finished the novel, or novella, last week and I’d just finished, the previous night, the second one in the book. It was currently at home because I’d taken it home to read against my better judgement. I say this because I never take stuff home because I don’t want to forget it. And that’s what I inevitably did. It just occurred to me that this happened when I got to class: Usually I hang around the door and walk around outside to catch a few people. As I walked out there, I suddenly noticed this girl standing at the side of the hall across from a doorway. She suddenly looked away – from my direction, I think, – and walked quickly into the room.
The note mentioned above didn’t apply to the class either. They spent ten minutes sitting around talking and walking around, then they declared they were leaving. Which they did. I, angry at the moment due to the fact I had to go straight to class immediately upon arrival, stood outside the door to the room, waiting for Ms. Rankin. As I watched down the hall, very little activity was going on. An announcement came on saying to bring the recycling down the foyer, so I volunteered myself and took it down. Reaching the foyer I saw that that same girl was there, handling the bags that people emptied their recycling into. I had the weird impression as I walked over to another bag handler that she knew I was there. I wasn’t too hard to notice with my purple golf shirt on I bet. I soon walked upstairs to regain my stance next to the door, waiting for Ms. Rankin.
She arrived twenty minutes later, it seemed. When Ms. Rankin got into class and settled in, she then suddenly went away again to check her mailbox in the office. The rest of the class, what was left of it, just read the whole period. It wasn’t very exhilarating.
Photography next period was also a no-brainer, with my friend Fred spending eighty percent of the period working on one question in his book. At the beginning we’d had an arm wrestle on the table, and I’d won. After I’d finished printing a few photos I decided to get him done with it.
“Fred, if you are panning, you use a slow shutter speed, which means more light isn’t as good, so what should your aperture be?” The question was asking what aperture would be appropriate if he were to accomplish a panning shot.
“Shouldn’t it be in the range of like, maybe f/8? Or f/11? The higher the number, the less light is let in to overexpose it.”
He spoke slowly. “Uh....I guess....maybe 8?”
“Maybe. Or 11.”
In the end I ended up dictating, slowly so he could write each and every word down, my thoughtful answer to his question:
If I dictated every word for him, I also dictated every letter. He couldn’t spell ‘appropriate,’ ‘required’ or ‘situation.’ After that he finally got to developing one photo from his negatives in the last seven minutes.
Lunchtime started with me getting a small chocolate milk and rain. My day hadn’t been going too well. I walked to the hallway building transfer and looked out the rain-dropped windows. I decided, after finishing the milk, to check with Ms. Rafuse, who I had an appointment with, and found she was just busy at the moment. That was fine. I headed off to the basement to see Duncan. When I got there I saw that the music department he was in was still busy having their meeting. Darn it. I scrambled out of there.
I tried again later, and got him. I got him walking toward the lockers in front of the hallway toward the T-wing, and I asked him about the bike situation. I stalled for as long as possible, even talking about how there’s an interesting sort of connection between music students despite all the rambunctiousness and action. Then I left to walk in the rain in full visibility of that hallway outside.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday May 14 2009

This is a story detailing my annoying, yet interesting day of Thursday, May 14 2009. Mr. Van Dusen at school suggested I write it all down because I'm a good writer. So here it is - Part One:

Thursday, May 14 2009

I WOKE UP with a mild cough and a lot of tiredness. I woke to the sound of a radio jingle that said “CFRA!” along with bright music. I got out of bed and went downstairs after turning the alarm off.
Preparing breakfast was no problem. I put it in the microwave and took the opportunity to go to the bathroom. When I was done, the microwave finished and I took the bowl out. But after pouring more milk into it, and before eating it, I decided to wash my hands because they felt grimy and dirty from sleeping. They get like that, somehow.
By the time I was halfway through the oatmeal, it was pretty cold. The minute and a half I took to wash my hands had evaporated most of the heat away, and I was left with a lukewarm meal. As I was finishing, something terrible began to happen. Oh no.
I tried to stop it, but it ultimately came. Quickly squeezing my nostrils closed, I sneezed into my bowl. And when I sneeze while eating oatmeal, ninety percent of it ends up splattered back into the bowl. Gross. I rinsed it out and went upstairs to shower.

I walked briskly down the road toward the bus stop. After showering and getting semi-dressed, I put on the new golf shirt my mother had bought me in Montreal. It was purple with blue, green, and white striped sleeve cuffs and a collar coloured with the same strips. Right now I was wearing a red Vancouver fleece, but I’d be taking that off at school. The day was grey and threatened wet weather. It was also windy. I made it to the bus stop with my watch at 6:58 a.m.
Fifteen minutes later the bus arrived, eleven minutes late. It wasn’t the bus that normally comes; instead it was the bus that came after. The original bus that was supposed to arrive two minutes after seven o’clock simply hadn’t come. I was quite annoyed. Annoyed because by the time the bus arrived at Baseline Station, the 116 would have already long passed. And I was right. But as the bus drove up Woodroffe Ave. Fifteen minutes later, it passed Meadowlands, where I intended to get off, right in time for a 111, another bus I could take, to pull out of the stop I was heading for. And that 111 was my last good chance of either bus route for a while. Darn it!
Waiting there, at 7:34 a.m., I expected a horde of 86s. I knew that bus route was frequent, but it wasn’t good enough for me to take. I mentally expected three 86s in the next ten minutes and then, maybe, a 111 or a 116. Instead a 57, an express route that was perfect, came fifteen minutes later. Of course it lost its chance to make the left turn and wouldn’t be turning for the next two minutes, but I eventually got on. There was a small crowd of African-Canadian girls in the middle of the articulated bus, and soon they got loud in their expressions. Re-enacting an argument, they started emphasizing threats and swearing loudly and conspicuously. The driver stopped on the corner of Meadowlands and Viewmount and said through a loudspeaker, “ladies and gentlemen, foul language will not be tolerated on this bus.” The girls quietened down, but for the rest of the ride I was tentative and anxious, expecting those girls to start up again and the driver to associate all teenagers on the bus with them and throw us off. We pulled to a stop in front of the school soon, and most of the people, teenagers, got off, those girls calling out greetings and obscenities to others in the parking lot. God, what a lot. I got away from there and into the building, with four minutes to spare until the bell, unusually.
I still put everything away in my locker and walked off, with the clock at 7:58, to wherever. Normally, when I arrive at school, I like to wind down and get comfortable, walk around, say morning to people I know, just get accustomed to school before it began. If my bus has arrived I would have been there half an hour after I left home. Now, with this remaining time, I got as far as the foyer again before the bell rang, Henrietta Blinder said on the intercom, “get to class!” and I was due for English class. Glancing east down the A-wing hall, I looked for a girl dealing with her locker and stealing glances in my direction, but she wasn’t there.

To be continued......

Oh, and I never continued that CampbellTrain/Fred story of our quest for batteries:

We found them. And completed a few good scenes.

More tomorrow (on this story).

-Justin C.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ah, My First Musical Experience

I went to see a musical.

Some, like myself, would call it my first musical experience. As a student of the school that produced said musical, it's my first experience as a student.

It was a musical called Urinetown. As I needed to write two stories a week as part of my co-op placement with the Barrhaven Independent, this functioned as just that. Thing is, I don't have a great interest in musicals. The kind of music played. The way it's sung. The way the actors burst into song so much. I had been to a Merivale production before, but then it was with my grade 7 class, and I had to go. I remember it being okay, but at that time I was more concentrated on the girl sitting on the other side of my best friend, and the pianist who seemed so good I starred at him for awhile.
This time it was due to my job, and because I was a little interested. I was. And besides, the drama teacher who directed this and I are good friends, and i think it was a nice gesture. Here's what I thought of it:
I was happy that I wasn't late. My mother and I arrived within ten minutes of the show. I was excused from having to buy tickets, but my mother had to pay fifteen bucks at the door. We went in and I met with a few people I knew including the director and a friend. My mother spent the time looking for seats, sitting down in the reserved spots before I had to make her relocate. When the time came, ushers closed the doors, the windows blacked out. All outdoor windows were blacked out in the room, ensuring perfect lighting situations. We sat down and a student, Sam Toews, came on stage to tell people all cell phones had to be turned off, etc etc.
I spent the first fifteen minutes scanning the program and looking up cast members and acts. The show only had 2 acts, and there were ten or eleven musical numbers in each. When I directed my attention to the stage, people were either dancing or acting, and it took a little while for me to understand what they were saying because they were speaking too fast sometimes. I mentally counted down how many songs were left to the intermission.
Eventually the intermission came along and the lights brightened again. People got up and walked around, gathering about in the inner foyer outside. I did some mingling about, moving between rooms, and I managed to catch some nice photos of the sunset outside the doors. Walking back in, my friend Lyndsay came walking up. She was part of the band, playing clarinet.
"Hi, I didn't think you'd be here."
"No. I have to, it's my job." I kept walking.
The second act contained another round of musical numbers and bits of acting. I got the story alright. Part of me liked it okay, and part of me couldn't wait to get through it. Some people were really good and cool. The rest was all support for them. It was a bit funny at times. Eventually they came near the end and that guy Sam I mentioned at the beginning, who played a policeman, noted that it did not have a happy ending and that the town dried up due to free use of the washrooms and the drought.
What I found interesting about the whole thing was that there were some really young people up on that stage, and a lot of people I knew by sight around school were unrecognizable. Afterwards, when I was brought to the library to interview select people (the library was the cast's hospitality area), I saw many people come out that I was quite surprised was actually in the show. I went in to interview the school co-president who played a weird guy, and then policeman/narrator/introducer Sam Toews. After that I was out of there.
The whole experience was interesting. Not the coolest, funnest one, but interesting nonetheless.
At least I got to see a Merivale production as a student before I graduated.
Tuesday I'm spending an hour driving. It's my second lesson and I get out of school at the beginning of lunch. It should be fun. If not so overwhelming.
Now I have to write my article.