Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Legal in Quebec

Did I drop the hint that I turned 18 last Monday? Darn it, I don't think I did.

Oh well. Uh - I am. 18.

But recently I went camping as well. I went to Algonquin Park for two days to get fifteen million bug bites all over my legs and feet and to get wet, as the weather was always unstable.

It wasn't the worst trip. It was fun, going there, hudding under a tarp for the first night by a fire, having the actual fun the second day by going through the Barron Canyon and jumping off a rock, fishing (I didn't, I don't like to fish) then coming back to change campsites because the one we wanted was now free.

I slept okay. I dreamt repeatedly about one darn person. I've been doing this over and over. It's not my real intention. Who can choose what to dream about? But it's not like I'm not enjoying this. In real life I won't see them again so it's nice to see them when I'm asleep but then it's harder to forget the sadness and move on. The third day I woke to rain and eventually we came out and made breakfast.

I timed everything. As soon as we left - 12:51 p.m. - I estimated we'd be at the parking lot at 2:30. And I was right. After the portage it rained as hard as it could and we left soaking wet.

Overall it was an okay trip. Not the best but alright. And when I got home I got my report card and a newsletter, which had the photo of me at Boston Pizza with the teachers and the words.

That's the last that everyone will see of me at that school. Celebrating my 18th with the teachers as well as my graduation.

That should be a good sent off, shouldn't it?

I'm convinced. Yeah.

-Justin C.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Commencement

Today was a huge day for me. It was the day I had to don a black gown and put on a cap that barely fit over my head. It was the day I sat in a chair and watched as my fellow students, comrades, grads, and friends (sort of, in a sense) walked across this stage on which sat and stood all the important people, awards, and photographic moments. I would do this myself.

I got to school for the last time in what will be a long time today, and I was met with a shock at first - just surprised at some of the people that were present who weren't other grads or teachers. After walking around and looking about I eventually got my dress together - I was already wearing nice formal clothes but they would be hidden under my black gown for the whole duration - and lined up with other people that came in alphabetical order. After ten minutes of standing in line we eventually walked into the place, feeling hot and sweaty, ahead of an elder playing bagpipes. We sat down.

The thing about being high on the list, in the 'Cs' is that yes, I get to sit near the front and get my stuff short and quick, but afterword I've got the rest of the alphabet to wait out. When I got a programme I found to my surprise that I'd gotten two awards - a faculty one that meant I had the highest mark in English, and a Special one - The "Vice Principal's Award for Merit" or something - and special awards are for only a select few people who were outstanding. So this was big for me. Walking across the stage myself, the master of cerimonies announced my name was well as the awards, and the Principal shook my hand. I then found out that a) My name would be engraved on a metal plate to be included on an award roster - as in, on the wooden apparatus the silver bowl sits on, the metal plate for 2008-2009 would have 'Justin Campbell' on it - and b) My mother was using, for some reason, my film SLR camera for the moment, which had no film and which she likely wouldn't realize to focus it or know how to use it.
Good thing my aunt was using her camera as well.
After the whole thing and I was completely wet I went to take tonnes of photos with teachers and my mother, etc. I recieved a ridiculous, good-natured, awesome present from the Special Edcucation Department - and I meant to missspell "education" because of their sign - and the present was, unwittingly, as a tribute to my running joke about it, the sign itself.
It's going up on my door now.

But among the fact that it's a huge milestone in my life and a big accomplishment and the fact that I got awards (more awards than my lifelong friend Duncan for the first time EVER) the biggest, most greatest thing to me this day was closure.


Here's the deal. I have to say this. I will have made numerous, slight references to 'someone,' or 'a girl' or 'embarrassing questions.' Well. Thing is, I will never write her name in this context. Why? Because it's respectful to keep someone's privacy a factor when making any reference or notice of them directly. In previous posts I wrote a story about one grey Thursday in May. "Why did this girl take interest in me?" Well. See, I got some closure. The greatest thing of all that I could ever have today was closure. I said goodbye. I said my last ever goodbye I will ever probably say to her. To enjoy where she was going. To have fun. To have her principal shave her hair to a buzzcut.

If you ever read this, well, I don't want to sound weird or false - I may be going crazy about it, but the reason I find this so awesome and happy and feel so good saying one last farewell is because, well, over time (over "very late, running out of time" time) I began to develop a fondness and liking for you. You seemed quiet and gentle and very kind, and also determined. Yes, I may be ridiculous writing this in a blog where anyone could read it, and I understand that you may feel awkward or weird or have thoughts of why this guy would write this stuff here when it should be more private. But there's no more time to be more personal about it I'm afraid. And honestly, you may not feel the same at all about this whole matter, but I will miss you a lot. I wish I'd come 'round more sooner. But I was helplessly ignorant and looking at other, more extroverted, taken girls and hadn't noticed the girl in the background, the one doing the hard work behind that "Merivale Detention," the one who walked by my English class every morning. I do indeed hope that you are graced with a wonderful life ahead, and wish you all the best. It is too bad that the circumstances are what they are. Really. Again, you may feel way different about everything. I have no idea of knowing. But I know how I feel, and it is a sadness that will remain for awhile but will lift because everyone finds happiness, and I know you will too.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage

-Lao Tzu

Again - I write that because I think it sounds very true and beautiful and meaningful. There wasn't enough time to "fall in love" as they say. But I will miss you for a long time and again, while I may sound weird or overbearing or even creepy, especially since I am writing this here, virtually to the freaking world, I only feel this way because of the wonderful person I've known you to be.

Have a wonderful time and don't forget the great stuff you did here too.

-Justin Campbell

(Okay, I had closure today which was great but now I've really done it!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More than a few photos

You know, when one takes multiple photos of an environment that people frequent, like say, school or something, they tend to get one person in more than one photo often enough.

I mean, when I look for someone who may have appeared in the background of any photo I took at or near school, it really isn't that hard. And I've surprised myself often enough when I notice that person again in some other photo.

This has been the case for any past infatuations I've had with any girls at school. And it's also improved my knowledge of what they might have been doing at the time. One girl appeared in my "Merivale Detention" event photos hundreds of times (always in the background). Along with that, she also happened along in my Clean-up day photos, my photos of the skating trip, and no doubt any photos I took in the hallways at that place. All in the background. Another one, that watchful girl with the embarrassing questions, coincedentally appeared in any photo I took with the west hallway link in the background, as well as the art show photos, photos I took after school on the bus (before it left, while it was parked in front of the building with everyone boarding them) that "Detention" event, and no doubt any foyer photos. Hell, I have photos of people in the background taken before I knew them!

This is a good example: While it's an awful photo (I was using a point & shoot without a tripod to try a long-exposure effect of people motion blurring), right there in the orange is my friend Fred. This was taken on September 4th, a few days after I started grade 12. I hadn't become Fred's friend yet at this time. But there he is, right there in one of my old photos. And I had nothing to do with him then.

All this media I have ends up being very interesting and scary, because I have such a visual record of everything and everyone. I really don't have to worry about not having a photo (or video, even) of them, whether they're in the blurry background or at the forefront of the composition! There have been a few darn videos I've made at school where they've also appeared in the darn background.

They say that you leave high school with many great memories. Well, yeah. Only I'll have no problem at all because they're all documented so thoroughly that the result could acurately substitute the yearbook. Several of them.

But that's just me. I tend to be a meticulous record-keeper. I seldom let things go. So it's all good.

-Justin C.

Friday, June 19, 2009

On the Hunt for the exotic left-handed bass

It's just about my 18th birthday, and as usual I'm onto something naturally expensive. So out we went today, after this big important lunch, all along Merivale Road for a bass guitar.

I've always appreciated the sound a bass makes. Whatever I'm listening to, I tend to listen more to the bass than to the rest of the song. It's just always drawn me to it. I love the sound it makes, and I see it as an easy instrument to play. Maybe it's not but I love the thought of creating those sounds myself.
First I went for drums - I'd been pretending to play them for three years and I liked to keep the beat and stuff, and they appealed to me, so I got them first for my sixteenth birthday - and now I'm all for bass. There's just one big problem:

I am a left-handed person. Always been. I write with my left hand, I drum left-handed, and it's never bothered me. The problem is, the left-handed bass guitar is very rare, and more expensive.

And it's very annoying because we went to several places, walking the whole way. From Hunt Club Road all the way to St. John's Music. They didn't have any. Next we went to this pawn shop in the Landcaster mall, and they didn't have any basses at all. So back down to Barrhaven, via the forever-long 176, we went. At Int. Music Land, they did have basses. All the right-handed ones.

To locate a good left-handed bass the salesclerks spent about fifteen minutes looking through files of companies they order from. Then on the net. Finally, they located one - one - from this 'Fender' company in the states.

We bought it. Right away. We'd been everywhere on the hunt for the rare left-handed bass guitar, from Merivale Road (which is supposed to have everything) to Barrhaven, where its commercial centers are growing such that it shouldn't be too hard. But there was another problem:

I have to wait a few weeks before I get my hands on it.

I don't know why being left-handed has to pose such a real disadvantage. It's very annoying. No one is left-handed. The market appeals to right-handed people, and they form the majority of society. We lefties never get much of anything because of that.

It's very annoying

I have to say, BRING THE BASS FOR LEFTIES OUT OF THE 'ENDANGERED' LIST!!! It really makes us work hard to find one. Man. I really can't believe how hard it is to locate a bass that's mirrored to the right one. There's nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes life just poses the odd natural disadvantage.

-Justin C.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Gift Revealed

Man, I forgot to mention that I got their gift.

Madness, I mean. I got the mail two weeks ago and found a package with my name on it. It looked very much like what they would send to me, so I brought it into the house and opened it.

This was what I had recieved:

Yes, this is an autographed photo of the band. Left to right is Lee Thompson (Sax), Mike Barson (Piano, keyboards), Mark Bedford (Bass), Dan Woodgate (Drums, percussion), Chris Foreman (Guitars, and the guy who sent me this), above him Carl Smyth (trumpet, backing vocals), and Suggs (Lead frontman, vocalist).
The other thing I got was their single, 'Dust Devil.' Wow. Like I said, it's an okay song, but I got it right from them so it's special.

I got this on a day that, yes, that girl, asked me an uncomfortable question, so it was good timing. Madness sure do have a knack for timing their affairs perfectly.

Well I am out.

Out of school, yes.

School ended Friday the 12th of June, and now it's just exams and the graduation thing. Plus I have a big lunch with a bunch of people on Friday. My first and last exam, English, takes place tomorrow. Then I'm officially done.

My summe will be short and quick. I know. Every summer I have gets shorter. But this time might be different. I'm going to College this year, not school. I've graduated high school. Now I'm on to my post-secondary education. And I'm heading for writing.

Yes, the main course I choose for college is proffessional writing. I've finally gotten through the darn process of getting in there, now I just have to wait for an acceptance letter and stuff. I need to get many things figured out.

But hey, let's take time to write what I couldn't write in my yearbook write-up due to a stupid 260 character limit:

My time in Merivale High has been a considerable one. These years I've spent learning many things that you wouldn't normally learn in a classroom. I made many friends - albeit adult teacher ones - and a few my own age or close. I had the reputation for having a mysterious cookie container that contained no cookies (it was actually my famous pencilcase) and when I finally went to them, the sprit and school events were actually not bad. End of the year lunches were always great, and I won't forget walking down these halls and seeing and knowing people and having a great familiarity with everything. I may have had some bad classes, i.e. math, but otherwise my time in high school was generally a positive one, and fun. I will miss going to Merivale, taking the bus every morning and riding my bike, seeing everyone I know, and hearing Mr. Graham put 'Our House' on the intercom in the morning.
I bid everything - everyone, every teacher, every hallway, locker, building, classroom, drinking fountain - a fond farewell.

Now, I am off - off to the adult life of fending for yourself, getting along in the world, taking care of bussiness, and whatever. I'm off - to be who I am.

-Justin C.