Friday, July 31, 2009

Timelapsed Backwards

From grade nine to grade 12 I took the bus home. It was a good route because I only needed just that bus to get from Merivale to my part of Barrhaven. But the reason for that of course, is that it was a special school route that specifically catered to students. It wasn't a school bus, a normal city bus really, but it did the job.

One sunny day at the end of May while I was in grade ten, I decided to do something interesting with my camera. The previous day I'd experimented with video on it and tried putting it up against the bus window in the last two minutes of the ride. So the next day I decided to hold it up against the window for the entire ride.

It worked. My batteries handled it, let alone my memory card - and it recorded thirty freakin' minutes of passing buildings, trees, lawns and houses from Merivale Road, throughout Barrhaven, eventually to the road I got off on.

Last night I finally did something with it. Last year I'd put it in timelapse like I wanted to in Premier Elements. Watching it last night, I decided to upload it. And another funny thing is, I'd attached a song's chorus to the 20 second clip. Backwards. So after editing in the street names so people could see where the bus was in seconds, as well as a title scene (taken of the same bus the same day before getting on it) and an ending scene of the bus on the road after I got off with some notes, I put it on YouTube.

My hope is that people who took the bus as well as people who went to my school, yet as well as people living in Barrhaven come across it. It's a few years old now. I did catch a few people getting off who walked in front of the camera after leaving the bus. They show up for about one or to frames. A second has thirty of those frames. That's pretty fast. But it sparks some memories of who got off where, who used to take the bus and old friends and all that stuff. I think it is a good nostalgic video.

Finally, here's some facts and notes about the whole thing:

-The beginning photo is exactly the same bus that it was filmed from on that day, and the girl walking toward it at the side is an old friend of mine.

-The last scene with the words on it was taken just after the bus pulled away, but it also brings up another interesting fact: I was let off in the middle of the road behind my backyard, and the reason the driver did that was because he can finish his route early and turn left; the bus is in the left turning lane in the photo, not the right. Conditionally the bus route continues back down Strandherd west towards Gorman and Tartan, but I was always the last person off (perfect for my video) so what was the point? Had I gotten off at the bus stop that would have already been on Strandherd and so on...

-I started the video to begin when the bus turned into Larkin off of Greenbank Road, thus starting its venture throughout Barrhaven. If I'd began it on Merivale Road (where it was first started) it would have been too fast.

-The driver, who I remember wore a Senators jersey, missed the turn into Maravista Drive, which would lead us down Flanders and back up Kennevale. When he realized this he said he was too concentrated on a Senators game. Was this when the Senators were playing the Ducks I wonder... He missed the turn again the next day and so he went backwards, turning down Kennevale, up Flanders and back down Maravista again.

-The roundabout on Jockvale is brand new in this video; it was integrated in the winter and this is mid-spring that I did this; the little walking islands are a spotless white and the asphalt is still darker than usual. And this would be before the integration of a roundabout at Jockvale and Weybridge.

-As for the song, I'm leaving everyone to guess what it is. I will say that it is by Madness (or else no one would ever guess what it is) and my hint - it's from their album "Absolutely." I originally added this backwards chorus when I exported the proper video to my computer from my editing software, because I think certain instruments such as the sax, bass and piano make it sound better that way. It sounds nostalgic this way I think.

So there's my old video finally released to the world. It's a nice nostalgic old video, of Barrhaven, of the old bus rides from school, of high school in particular, and of old friends and acquaintences who used to take the bus with us. With some Madness added in as well, of course.

Now I'm off to a swim with my friend.

-Justin C.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

If I were a Wizard

Capatilizing on the whole HP6 ruckus, I thought I'd make a fun little anecdote of what kind of wizard I would make if I were one (in the HP universe that is, with everything in the books applicable). And if I lived in the U.K.:

- I would likely be a 'pure blood' wizard'

- I would likely be in Ravenclaw at Hogwarts

- I would not be very prominent anywhere and would not be mentioned in any of the books if I attended at that time

- I probably wouldn't play Quidditch nor come to watch a lot of it

- I would most likely be good at Charms, potions, and Herbology and maybe history of magic

- I would likely know a lot of people by sight and have many connections.

All in all I would likely have the same kind of time there that I did during high school. I wouldn't be surprised if I were quite friendly amongst the ghosts. My high school years in reality were capatilized on having connections with teachers, doing average in everything and going from one small friendship to another, and knowing a lot of people by sight and acquaintance because I'd gone through elementary and middle school with the same people. I didn't do extra-curricular stuff until the end and did not play or watch sports, so my fictitious life in the Harry Potter world would likely be the same. However I probably wouldn't be friends with many of the teachers (0r professors as they in the books).

Actually, did you know, I went through one friend my age or close to once per grade? Every one except Fred in grade 12 has either become very weary in my presence, can't stand my personality or temperament, or got into some fight with me or disagreement and that was it. I've only kept one friend since grade 1, and that's a huge accomplishment. Fred is the only friend of mine that's lasted more than a few months in one year other than that one, but that's because I believe there's a principal involved.

So if I were a wizard...everything would be the same. Except I could perform magic, and my ambition would likely be to work in "Department of Mysteries" in the Ministry of Magic. In real life I am interested in writing novels and screenplays.

-Justin C.

Monday, July 20, 2009

HP Review

Well, I have seen it. The big movie. The sixth incarnation of the Potter series.

It was okay but I have to say not great. The whole series has gotten virtually nothing but awesome praise yet not a lot of criticism. I looked at the reception of this installment and of course it was all praise. But it praises what was only good - the visual effects and the marvelous acting. Don't get me wrong, I agree heartily. The aerial visuals of London at the beginning were cool, and I like that stuff. But did I hear anything about the plot line and the scene transitions? No. To be perfectly honest I thought it was a little too jumpy and compressed. The main thing the directors always go for in creating these movies is time. How long the movie will go. I will agree that the movies should not be four hours long. But some of the measures they take, I find, aren't exactly the right ones. The whole outcome of the result is completely based on time constrictions.

My overall opinion is that I was quite lost in some parts due to the exact scenes just popping up without any foreshadowing (Dumbledore tells Harry he's teaching him private lessons, in the movie he's just asked to his office out of the blue). Some things were rushed on right away such as Harry's interest in Ginny. Some aspects were introduced to the character that I find are the opposite of who he really is. Like attempting to pick up a waitress in a coffee shop at the beginning. They removed stuff that was integral such as at least a hint of the Ministry of Magic, and the Dursleys. Quidditch scenes focused entirely on Ron; I know it was about him largely, but have at least some action on the rest of the court? I may sound fussy. But out of the entire thing, there should be at least some criticism, because nothing's perfect. I noticed director Yates's trademark zoom-through-newsprint effect. One thing that did not get me at all was the 'burning Burrow' scene - that's completely added in. I don't like the implication that Harry just 'goes' to the Burrow in the beginning without the knowledge of any of the Weasleys and just shows up by surprise (actually, I should point out also that the little scene of Ginny through an upstairs window while Harry looks up is also little too common to be featured here, I've seen that kind of scene everywhere - even in a dog commercial).

I won't say the movie was bad at all, because really, it was 'okay.' Not great and not bad. Indifferent. And hey, it was funny too. But they really turned a few things around. I did not expect Ginny to bring Harry into that Room of Requirement to hide that book with him - and then kiss him with his eyes closed. (And even before, they were about to before fire erupted around the Burrow). Wasn't she still with Dean Thomas? The movie didn't show that she was with him or not by then but for the implication that they'd been fighting once.

So, I'm sorry to write just an 'acceptable' review, but everything has its merits as well as its irksome problems. I personally really like the fact they're splitting up the last movie - because they'll have a lot of leeway with coverage of what properly happens. They don't have to worry about time constrictions so much.

So:

All visual/sound/magical effects/acting, direction: A

Plot/story line, cinematography: C+

There's my take on it.

-Justin C.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Prophecy of Madness and Duran Duran

A long time ago, when I was young (before my age was in the double-digits), I used to listen to the radio before going to sleep.
One Christmas prior, I'd gotten a clock radio. Every night when I went to bed, I'd turn the radio on to 93.9 Cool FM. I'd listen until I fell asleep. The radio would turn itself off. I'd go to sleep listening to the popular music of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Today, Cool FM doesn't exist anymore. I believe it's now Bob FM. It's too bad because I miss their jingles and their music style, and I even miss the commercials and the voice of the DJ (called the 'Milk Man'). In the morning if I turned on the radio every now and then a jingle would come on - "coolest hits in the morning....93.9...Cool FM!" - and I actually liked that jingle. Again, the sound and voices put nice images and colors into my head.

But anyway, here's where those two 80s bands, Duran Duran and Madness, come in. It is like an unwritten prophecy. Every now and then, not usually, a commercail pertaining to Cool FM would come on advertising this compilation of hits or songs that was being produced and marketed by Cool FM. Two examples - song choruses - played. One went "Our House, in the middle of our street..." and the other went "Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand..."

I was instantly struck by each chorus as sounding very well put together and nice. One - "Our House" - sounded like it was simple and nicely constructed together and well sung, and the other - "Rio" - sounded fun and cool-sounding. I liked either of them.

Later I would hear each song as a whole and love both of them. Yet I went in the direction of Madness, not Duran Duran. I heard the whole of "Our House" first while being driven home by my aunt. She was skipping through a CD of old songs she'd put together. Of the few that she kept on to play completely, "Our House" was one of them. When it started up it sounded very good. By the time the bass and trumpets had cued in, I was marvelling at the sound. By the time the string section started playing and Suggs began, "Father wears his Sunday best..." I felt like I was in heaven, or something like that. The true harmony of each instrument, specifically the piano, string section and trumpets, was amazing. Toward the end of the first chorus I began to get the feeling it was that song with that simple yet nicely-sung chorus with the lyrics "Our House" in it. I was right. And I couldn't believe it.

Years later I heard "Rio" for the first time. My friend's mother was driving us home from Barrhaven where they'd just moved (I would move there a year later). Coming down Meadowlands Drive, this really stylish, fancy, fast song started up with a recurring guitar sound started. It wasn't very loud, and I didn't really expect that song due to the radio station (The Hot 89.9 doesn't seem to play a lot of eighties music) and it sounded really well polished and exact. That was the impression I got and the first thing I thought was that they'd started up with a big fancy verse, they'd better have an even better chorus to make up for that, because it sounded complicated and well-mastered. Then the chorus began, and I was surprised that that song would have that kind of chorus in contrast to the largely bass-driven, arpeggiator hooked verse. The chorus had a nice, bright guitar sound and it sounded bright and fun altogether. I was lucky my friend's mother took the long way around the block, giving me a chance to hear the whole five-minute song. It was still very quick and slick and stylish-sounding and I liked it.
It gave me the impression that very accomplished, older musicians were playing and singing the song because it was a complicated-sounding piece that was run through perfectly.

But I went straight to Madness instead of pursuing the musical talent of Duran Duran. These two bands have been almost intertwined in my musical pursuits because they don't seem far apart yet they sound very different. I read an interview with Madness's guitarist and the first question was how did the band get on with Duran Duran. I've read lots of other comments about it from Madness's point of view. Duran Duran seemed bigger than Madness due to their big videos and larger notability with them and their concerts.

I went toward Madness because I simply like their sound. A few years after I heard "Our House," my mother got into downloading music and so I downloaded the song. That first night I would listen to it every half-hour. Soon I branched into their other singles. Soon I began to gather knowledge about them. Now I'm virtually an authority on the subject of the band, because I know a huge amount about them and listen to them everyday.
For Duran Duran, I did find out about them. While I don't know everything or care to know about everything, I do like one other song of theirs. It's just interesting that to this day, I hear two choruses, and after that I end up having Madness as my premier source for music as well to a much lesser extent, Duran Duran. I tend to believe that bands don't mix up with other bands too much. But both of them seem much closer together than I thought with the knowledge of the other, that it is kind of funny that they just happened to have each of their star songs showcased together on an advertisement. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it can be a small world. I hear those two choruses, and one band wins out in the long run. The other, which was more well-known, only gets so far. I like "Rio." And "Hungry Like the Wolf." But while I know and like Duran Duran, they will never match Madness. I was mesmerized by "Our House." I was delighted with "Rio."

I just think it's a cool coincedence. Because I will read an interview and someone like Suggs or Chris Foreman will either bring up something about Duran Duran, or they will be asked about them or something. And they were to first two eighties bands I heard that I instantly liked.

Cool?

-Justin C.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If You Think There's Something?

I recently came across a Madness B-side on YouTube. Hearing all of their singles many times before, I tend to be more interested in their b-sides these days.
For any of you born in the CD era (including myself actually), a B-side is that other song included on the opposite side of a vinyl record, opposite its A-side. This would matter for singles anyway. The single (promoted song) is on the A-side, while the decent song to go with it in order to cover both sides of the record goes on the B-side. This makes the manufacturing process much less wasteful; why not use both sides of a vinyl disc and get two songs out of it instead of producing two discs for each song? For whole albums they will put about five songs on each side, if the album has ten songs.

As I was saying before that explanation, I recently came across a B-side of Madness called "If You Think There's Something." It's the B-side of "Michael Caine."
Most of Madness's B-sides I actually quite enjoy; "Please Don't Go" is really well done, and so is "Memories." They offer a different side of Madness that's not so popularized or well-known. And in effect, they show that the band was quite competent musically. Traditionally, the B-side is the side with the song that the producers feel won't be as good or popular. So you come to expect that it won't be that good. That's where you're wrong. While there's not a lot of expectation for your average B-side, that's where Madness (in my opinion) completely nullifies the stereotype. Their B-sides are every bit as good as their A-sides.

However, finally getting to the point, this one song - "If You Think There's Something" - was completely different.
Written by Mike Barson before he left the band for Amsterdam, the song appears to be about conflicting arguments over whether "there's something." And it sounds completely, uh, weird and unusual.

The only other comment I've seen on the song is from this webpage of Madness's videos. According to the reviewer, "it seems to be about nothing at all."*

I wouldn't argue that opinion. What is it about? The furthest we get is "something." So it's about something - or not, according to the lyrics.

I tend to get most of my feelings and guesses from the sound of the music. For the most part it seems that the song has an air of forced calm and positiveness, but there's something uncertain and scary lurking about in the background. The chorus, which I can't help laughing at when I hear it, is very dramatic and fast before going off in an undecided, uncertain tangent.

It sounds similar to me reacting to the probability of seaweed in the water where I'm swimming:

If you think there's seaweed?
Could be that there's not.

As in, the first line would be me reacting to that thought in horror, then figuring, with a heavy air of unknowing, that there might be not. That's exactly what the chorus sounds like, or similar to it. By the way, yes, this means I have an irrational fear of swimming in water with seaweed in it.

In all sense, it sounds very much like the singer is trying to ascertain that things are what they are, he doesn't care what others think, that's how life is, but perhaps there are inconsistencies or tip-offs that things aren't what they are, but they really are, but it's still uncertain, and he's logical and well-meaning, but thinks there's something but knows there's not....
There we go. The song is about paradox.
Still it's not easy to grasp and comes off sounding confusing, insistent, uncertain, and it has an air of forced calmness and certainty that it fails at keeping in the second musical bars.

Still, I can't help laughing at the chorus. It just sounds really funny! Too many guitar strums!

Anyway, there's a minor mystery solved - I think. It's just an uncharacteristic song to Madness, it's very unusual. Really. Indeed.

*Eddy, Geoff. A Critical Appraisal of Madness's Videos

-Justin C.

How it was Written

As usual, the stupid embed tool from YouTube doesn't work (only copies less than a third of the code here) so here it is: I made a video of my writing of the last post, and it is on YouTube. I would have of course put it here as well - but the embedding doesn't work! It drives me crazy.

Here it is.

Update: I put it on Vimeo, where it actually properly embeds, so here it is here:

Blog Entry Timelapse from Justin Campbell on Vimeo.



-Justin C.

A Flock of People

Today, the big day, will no doubt have a lot of people 'flocking' to it. They're going "I Ran (to see the new Harry Potter movie)".

But yeah, I would expect that the theatre is ridiculously full today, all for that one movie. It's always been big. We have one movie theatre here in Barrhaven - a 7 screen complex - and it serves the whole and surrounding area. I will go there if a movie interests me (which is not often).

I won't be going to see that movie today. Because of the frantic stampede already packed in at the theatre. No, I intend on seeing it at least on the weekend when the calm is at least partially restored.

There's a history of days when those movies came out. When the fifth one came out (or was it the fourth?) I was uncannily not the last one on the bus after school. Back then, I was always the last one to get off the bus, and maybe there'd be one other person but not usually. That day it came out, the whole bus was fully packed when I got off. It was really weird.

Every single time I went, however late to avoid the huge amounts of people squished together, we were still in a very full theatre. The series has really become a huge event every few years, ever since the very first. Now it's happening again today.

Maybe I'll go and see what's happening near the theatre. Not inside it of course. But maybe there's a huge line up outside or a large amount of people going crazy near the front doors over the movie. It would make for a few interesting photos - to document what happens when a new Harry Potter movie unleashes itself upon our local theatres.

Look on my Flickr page in the coming days in case there's a photo of several people resorting to sub-human instincts in order to get the last ticket for the day's matinee that I managed to take and post.

By the way, I made yet another reference up there. The title gives reference to A Flock of Seagulls, an 80s new wave group, and the opening sentence also references their runaway hit single I Ran (so far away).

-Justin C.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We all experience this

We do. That thing where we see someone famous on T.V. or in a movie and find ourselves attracted in some way to them. Where there's a sitcom character that looks very appealing in some way, or a movie star that all the girls find 'sexy' or handsome.

I'm not immune to that. In fact there's a few interesting characters I've found myself interested in. Unfortunately, one turned out to be in her fifties when I figured out the T.V. promo photo of her in her teens was from 1965. And that I'd seen her in several movies unknowingly, from Forrest Gump to Mrs. Doutfire. But had I lived in the times of "Flying Nun" and "Gidget," my infatuation with Sally Field would have been more, say, normal.

But hey, that's okay. There have been several big people out there on television and the movie screen that I've found very attractive or appealing. They're actually my age or a year younger/older. For awhile I watched Arrested Development to almost exclusively watch the character of Maeby because her personality and feistiness got my attention and interest. My mother likes to watch this show about Gene Simmons and his family. And I can't believe his daughter is younger than I am (by a year and several days). Not something I'd think of someone who acts like a mature adult and carries herself so well. But I'd never think of her ever looking in my direction regardless of the amount of girls I found that were keeping their eyes on me longer than usual during my days of high school. I even made a list (but won't ever show that here of course). But I shouldn't boast or brag because for all I knew they were merely just giving me a second glance and meant nothing by that.

But the one person I think goes beyond any of the others mentioned here is the one with the red hair. The one who was born the same year as me but is still five months older. I really find her appealing. Unfortunately she is all the way over in the U.K., where everything great is. And I mean that - their music, literature, actors/actresses, movies, culture, everything - England is where the best comes from in my opinion. I like their tea more than coffee. There are a few exceptions that benefit the rest of the world at large in their opinions, but otherwise England is it. Anyway yes, I will have to admit, the one big movie star I do find attractive, and, in a way, am infatuated with, is the magical Bonnie Wright.

Yes, yes, I know, that's ridiculous. What would really kill me is if she would ever come across my words. Kill me as well as surprise me so much that I'd probably faint because no one like that, I doubt, would come across this little outfit of Blogger. Maybe, but I doubt it.

What's important is that when we have these attractions to people who have such prominence, it's best to not think about it. Admiration can be the furthest we can go unless whoever it is also tends to be very big in some way. Not physically of course. I'm never going to dwell on these matters. No one does or should. If one day I become a very knowledgeable novelist/screenwriter without a wife or girlfriend, we'll see. I should note that when I say I'm attracted to someone like that, it's usually to their personality as well as what's on the inside. There are of course physical tidbits that would get my head turned around in the first place, but usually then getting to know them myself or on the screen is what really sparks the true liking or emotion or whatever. And that when I am attracted to them - I'm attracted to them, not who they're playing.

That should clear up any confusion. We all go through this at some time or point. I know I have. Sometimes it can get crazy, but we can't loose focus on what we have in our own lives to love. That's what's important. Oh, and that Radcliffe guy - all I can say is 'good for him,' even though he's acting a role.

-Justin C.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Peeling Black Line

I tried to go swimming today.

When I say I 'tried,' I attempted to, and wasn't very successful at first.

I got there alright. I was fine then. It was entering the pool area. There were no lines outside in the lobby of the Walter Baker Centre. So I just went right in after realizing that, at 18, I was still considered a youth and didn't have to pay the increased adult price. I did what I would do in the locker room, then entered the pool deck to the newly renovated, maintained swimming pools.

No changes were apparent at first. They closed in late May and reopened today. Over a month they maintain and perform routine service on the pools once a year. They probably empty them as well. Sometimes I've noticed big changes, and other times barely any at all.

My first problem I had to get over in order to enter the water and freely swim was the surprise; hundreds of people were already there on the first day. Not to say that there were hundreds of civilians at the pool. Hundreds of children on summer swim camps were there. That would explain the sudden huge amount of persons at this place right when it opened.

Then there was the problem of getting into the water. I wanted to find a free place where it wasn't too clogged with kids or the rare adult (like myself). I didn't want to mix too much with the younger people because I was a lone adult by myself so it would look kind of weird if I did. I know. One time, while with my half-brother at a public outdoor pool downtown, meant for kids (at its deepest it was about three feet), two young adults entered the pool and spent five minutes walking back and forth in a diagonal across the pool, amongst the three-to-eight year olds, talking to each other. They kind of looked out of place and weird. Maybe they came to casually cool down their lower legs, but that wasn't the best place to do it I think. So in my case I had to find a clear spot.

Five minutes later I slipped in. And I couldn't move elsewhere, because again, dozens of kids crowded around me, bouncing in the water, trying to touch the bottom (this was the deep pool), and otherwise hogging the small empty spaces around me. I looked up to see a lifegaurd standing on the deck nearby. He looked oddly familiar in some way. Hadn't I seen some sort of photo of him somewhere?

When I went out into the vast expanse of water in the middle of the pool, I was practically trapped. I couldn't move much elsewhere because people and kids took up this space as well, to swim across. If I tried the ledge, well, you know what it's like at the ledge. Soon I realized the only clear way was down.

So in the end I spent a lot of time on the bottom of the pool, where the only people there were the ones trying to get to the bottom and the very few who could also get down there. I've built up the time I can be under water long enough to be able to get down there and stay down there for as long as almost thirty seconds.

Later, when I was walking along the deck trying to cool off from the hot tub they have, I came up to that lifeguard again. Suddenly noticing me, he whipped around in surprise. There was a look of surprise on his face that almost looked comical. If I recognized him in some way...maybe he recognized me in some way too? Oh! He went to school with me! Years ago! When I was in grade nine and he was in grade 12...but I can't remember his name. And whether or not he was that lifeguard for sure.

We'll see. When I entered the deep pool, I noticed the first difference in the renovations they'd done - a black strip that marked the edge of the ledge people stand on in the deep pool. And it was already peeling off in massive pieces and littering the bottom.

Next year they'll either replace that with a stronger applicant or use tiles. Those things never last. Finally, as all the kids jumped off the diving board they'd been using at all times, swam to the ledge and got out to pack up their towels and leave, the whole pool deck and all three pools were left almost completely empty, with the odd person, couple, adult and straggler like me.
Ah, too boring. Might as well leave. And with that that effort to get in!

-Justin C.

What I am Responsible For

A thought just came to me. A humorous thought that I thought I should think visually with words, I think now.

Everyone has to have put a little effort in some sort of affair, institution or program they were part of. Everyone contributes something. Therefore, I think I would like to bring attention to what I contributed to and was responsible for during my high-school years:

I, Justin S. Campbell, was responsible for contributing or doing these things at Merivale High School:

-Providing a friendly retreat for the teachers to blow off steam by being a nice and inviting person to talk to all the time.

-Knocking someone's yogurt out of their hands while putting forth an effort for some of these teachers at an urgency while in grade ten. They may have half-heartedly complained "my yogurt," after me, but I knew they didn't like it. Who likes yogurt with awful chunks of who knows what in it?

-Being a minor comic in some of my classes in grade nines and ten. These consisted of resetting low glue sticks so everyone had to spend minutes bringing the glue back up the cylinder. As a result the whole art class got new glue sticks. It also consisted of me lazily putting scotch tape over my eyelids in grade ten science for appearances. I found that class hard.

-Bringing the eighties pop music onto the scene with Madness's Our House. I got Mr. Graham, the athletics director, to put it on while in grade ten. Two years later while I was in grade 12 they played it again (though no one noticed) so it must mean that it made some significance. Lovely old days those were.

-At times, being an outlet for girls I liked by accidentally falling in their presence. They may not have laughed in front of me but they were on the inside - what a comical person I was - so that must have let off some steam for them. By grade 12 I made sure to wear a helmut as a precaution.

-Giving the school publicity with my ridiculous photos of everything - from broken windows to graffiti under the stairs - and posting it on Flickr. Also by reporting for the Barrhaven Independent, which isn't what your normal student reads.

-Helping new bus drivers on the school route they suddenly undertook for some reason (maybe the higher pay rate?)

-Helping the reduced efforts and stoppage of a minor drug dealer by unwittingly being best friends with one of his buyers/suppliers.

-Getting underneath a vehicle on safety stands in grade 11 to check for rust damage when everyone else was too scared to trust the safety stands.

-Actually getting Mr. Carpenter's jokes which none of the class seemed to pick up on.

-Being a short-term friend for many people throughout high school.

-Promoting the replacement of the misspelled sign "Special Edcucation Department" by being such a spec. ed.-hold name that they thought I should have it as a special present when I graduated as a reminder of the great times spent there.

-Drafting and then later re-drafting the football playbook and then not giving the plans away to my cousin who plays for the opposing Sir Robert Borden football team.

-Having connections with many teachers so that I had the inside scoop on what my friend's progresses were, so I could coach them on what to do right and how to succeed in that teacher's class.

-Assisting in the conveyance of the newly delivered yearbooks to an adjacent conference room so the school wouldn't be delayed or deprived of the yearbooks.

-Saving the day when I returned a fellow friend's clarinet to them when they left it on the bus during grade 11.

-Being a one-time excited thought-of source of cookies, before the realization that the container held tasteless pencals, pencil-crayons, erasers, calculaters, awful pencil shavings, and bitter scotch tape.

-Looked up the word 'curmudgeon' to please Mr. Joel Graham, which I did, then subsequently labeled Kevin Mellow one.

-Paid for a big lunch for my friends, a group of teachers.

-Was a fun guy to have on normal lunch excersions, with teachers.

-Lightly moderated a bout of swearing between teachers of the phys. ed. department and entertained them.

-Gave it my all with my effort and patience with Frederick King in my helping him with his photography work. And slightly suffered in mine with all that time spent.

-Apparently seemed to make a significant amount of girls either stare, smile, intentionally bump into, tailgate, play songs, and talk to me throughout my years of high school, thus creating a positive atmosphere around us.

-Proved that effort and determination and respect for the environment really shows, in grade 12, when you ride your bike on Earth Day all the way from Barrhaven to school - thirteen kilometres - in cold rain in April, then doing it everyday starting in May. It made me privy to a raffle for a new bike so that helped my interest - but I didn't win.

-Told off a drama teacher that the art of drama is really pretending (and when it's "with heart," it's really "with style"), then subsequently switched right into his second semester drama class. I think that move probably restored his faith in my allegiance with drama so all was well. And contributed to that program by unwittingly making people laugh too much.

-Stopping the freaking out of a computer comm. tech teacher's eyes by stopping an action on the computer screen so his eyes didn't get any worse. When he told me to.

-Cleaned up the sports storage rooms in the basement because I didn't like playing soccer in the basement gyms. I don't think they're clean anymore.

-Contributed to the swim team by showing up at every practise and then achieving a personal best on the team. Personal best, that is - for myself, not for the whole team in general.

-Contributed to the general professional staff atmosphere at school in a small way with my fun adventures with the teachers. Great times we had!

-And Finally, contributed to the yearbook with slightly blurred photos of music-related events, and to the newsletter with several photos of teachers as well as an uncharacteristic panorama of the front of the school (but that wasn't featured on the last newsletter). It lives on in the school website, small and black and white and with weird white lines and alterations to it.

I could include many more but I can't go on forever. You can already tell I've left Merivale High School with my many unknown, mundane acts of contribution (some personal). It's really big in a way.

So I hope I can go on with life knowing with pride that I proved the sand-under-the-science-labs myth true when I once unwittingly ended up down there one day in grade 12. I think the myth is active amongst several spec. ed. teachers. Big.

Yeah!

-Justin C.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Making of a Newsletter

This came out with my report card this summer:

And yes, I am the "CampbellTrain" in there. The photo of me with teachers is the final school luncheon I held with them that I planned for a few weeks. Six out of thirteen teachers made it that day.

So I thought I should give a detailed report on how it was made; why not? I have all the files and records. For this page of the newsletter here, I have some of the material documenting its progress:

This was one of the original drafts of the CHEO design I had to do in graphic design last semester. It's at the bottom corner of the newsletter there with the rest of the class's designs.
Mr. Irving Osterer is the man behind the words and photos. In fact he has had me help him out with the progress. In previous newletters my school panorama was used at the top. It isn't showcased in this edition, but I contributed several photos. The teachers on the front (not shown here) were either stock photos or photos I took. You can tell the difference because my photos look a little differently due to the brightness and color. And the fact they're new, never-before-seen photos.

Here's another behind the scenes look:

You can see that if you look very closely, the poses match exactly. This is my photo of the photo session for the Barbeque, in the newsletter. The same people are pointing, the same expressions are worn on their faces, 'cept my photo is more detailed and bigger.

I have the same kinds of photos taken at those times for other newsletter photos as well. There's a photo for Music Monday. I have my own version of it being taken. I took my own photo of the group of Athletic Letter winners at the Athletic Banquet. The version in the newsletter is of course flashed. Mine's athentically natural color, and not blurry but quite nice I think. And let's not forget the saxophone player on the second page (not shown). That's my photo - they took the background away, leaving just the player. So I happen to know and have all the evidence of how the piece was put together. And I happen to be in it. I have the photos used, photos of the rest of the photos taken to be used, and artwork.

Here's the last bit of newsletter building-block I have in my care:

"On Friday, June 19, Justin Campbell celebrated his 18th birthday by inviting his friends and teachers to a special graduation gathering at Boston Pizza"
Mr. Osterer's photo he e-mailed me after that day.
That's the newsletter for you. From my perspective anyway.
-Justin C.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Post-Canada Day

Right, I am a day late. I know. I spent all yesterday writing about my meticulous ways of keeping and storing things.

However, I did go to some Canada Day event. I went to both experience it and take photo, for, alas, my records. Plus I may send a few to the paper; my telephoto lens got me right to the performers onstage, all of which performed 70s music.

This was the Barrhaven incarnation of Canada Day celebrations. In Clarke Fields, where people went, row upon row they sat. All in front of the stage. In the end fireworks lit up the sky in the west, and I took photos of that too. Also, for the record I got a few photos of the crowd with Jan Harder within. She's the counsellor of Barrhaven and it was in a way, interesting to see such a political figure at such a local event.

Reminds me of the art show back at school, back at the end of May. While I was there, a tall bald man with glasses was surveying the artwork. My teacher and mentor, Irving Osterer, got excited and tried to introduce me to him.

"Justin, Justin, this is a great opportunity for your newspaper co-op! You should interview him! You know who he is?"
"Uh...no, I don't think so." I was stunted for a second. I stared at the man for a second.
"This is Mr. Hunter."
"Glad to meet you Justin."
"Oh, uh, you too....oh....I think I know who you are....you're that guy....on the council....that Gord Hunter guy."
"Yes, that's right."

He's councillor of the ward I spent my childhood in. And it was kind of interesting to meet the guy as well, regardless of my slow recognition of him. Maybe because of all the photos I've seen, he didn't have glasses and his hair was darker, not grey. And his voice sounded different than I thought.
Fond memories.

But anyway it was your normal celebration. With 70s disco music. I will post the best photos on Flickr soon. I'm busy processing them now.

I wonder, last year a band did a lot of covers of sixties bands. This year it was the seventies. Maybe next year they'll do the eighties? That would be nice. Let's hear some Devo! Duran Duran! A Flock of Seagulls! The Police! Madness! Cindi Lauper! The Talking Heads! Yeah!

That would be one Clarke Fields experience I'd go to. I like the eighties. Yeah.

-Justin C.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More than just Photos

I'm a crazy, uptight record-keeper. I really am.

I say this, because I have records of everything. I keep virtually every newspaper I read or recieve and archive it in my bedroom closet.

A closet is normally used for clothing. Mine is used for the storage of old bamboo curtains, inspiration books I sniped from my old babysitter when I was twelve, a Denmark tin cookie container I used as a pencilcase during my formative years of high school, and stacks of newspapers. And some clothing. If you think that instead of a closet I use drawers for clothing, you're wrong. Instead, one drawer has all of my loose drawings I've ever done, both old and new, and almost completely wrecked. Another has all of my printed photos I've ever put to paper.

The third has anything I've deemed as a "document." That is, anything with words or text on them, from old report cards to stories I wrote, articles, journals, old school binder contents, etc., etc. Some stuff is over ten years old.

I'm just a crazy record keeper.

The top drawer holds socks by the way.

Thing is, while I said earler that I take many photos all the time everywhere, and manage to capture things or people more than once in them over time, it's the same for drawings, text, informative sources, even voice recordings. I once had a co-op placement with the Barrhaven Independent (of which I archive in my bedroom closet as well). Every voice-recorded interview with Merivale students and staff, I have stored on my computer. Many I have transcribed into word documents. And don't think they're going anywhere. Both on the computer and physically, I am a one-man operated Justin Campbell/Merivale High School, 2005-2009/Nepean/Ottawa/Barrhaven/Newspaper Archive. You could take a photo I took of me and have one for every month for several years. Video, too. Christ, throughout 2008 I filmed a heck of a lot of material at school, out the bus window during my commutes, almost everywhere, to cater to my interest of fast-forwarding the result and creating time-lapse videos. And for the purpose of record-keeping, of course. Look on my computer and find a thirty-minute video of a bus ride down Merivale Road and through Barrhaven I took on the way home from school in May of 2007 - just to time-lapse the footage into fifteen seconds. Zoom! I have two external storage devices - one 250gig and a 500gig - and one's already full. Each has one Photo, Word, Video, and Multimedia archive going back to 2006 and on to today. You just wouldn't believe the media archival mogul I am.

Here's a great example: A fake newsletter I wrote eight years ago, when I was 10 years old.


This works for people, too. People around me of course. For instance, say you wanted any media-related information on someone who went to school with me at some point. I can find them in photos I took. I could then figure out a pattern - as in, if they were in photos of events I took photos of, then I could deduce they were potentially in student council. Or if they were in a photo taken at a particular place more than once, then I could say they hung out there. Then I'd know which photos to look for. If I interviewed them for the paper, I'd have their voice recording. I have everything. I may even have video, old or new. Video of which I used to time-lapse (but of course I always keep the original video so you wouldn't have to worry about seeing them for a split second because it's moving so fast). Hey. I even have a bloody newspaper article in the Nepean This Week I archived years ago written by a past school-president.

Don't get the wrong idea that I do this to keep tabs on people. I'm not a private investigator. People or places that show up in my files show up due to pure coincedence. Anyone can take photos of a street or shoot a video to speed up in a public place. The thing I like about this, the whole thing I like about keeping records, is that everything changes. I have things before and after. I have myself and almost anyone around me basically growing up in all the photos they've appeared in that I've taken. The historical aspect is the huge thing about it that appeals to me, and that's why I keep these records. Often, when I go camping in the same place, I'll even re-enact a few photos so that I have a photo of the same thing a year later, and can see the differences.

I intend on keeping all this stuff going. When I'm eighty I can look on my computer (if they're still big enough to operate, things get smaller all the time) and look at high-quality, color photos of myself when I was 16, photos of old friends, a video of my old bus route before Merivale Road was turned into a super expressway, articles of political arguments and debate over when the new bridge would be built, and even a voice recording of a long passed away teacher I interviewed for the paper, so I can remember the sound of their voice. I know that part sounds very odd or creepy but it's all part of that historical aspect. I never get rid of anything.

So I am what I am. Your neighborhood archivist who has material on virtually everything. It may sound weird or even suspicious - but come on! I like to keep records! The historical aspect is so cool!

-Justin C.

PS - I actually even have historical photos before I was born. Like an aerial photo of Meadowlands Drive in 1978, or photos of Merivale High School being constructed. Local history is just one of my really big interests, hence my own archiving tendancies.