23 December 2007

disappointment: a day in bullets.

Listening to:

Listening to: ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós
Especially: "hjartaõ hamast (bamm bamm bamm)" [listen]

  • Today started My Destroyed Vacation. The workplace has given me certain responsibilities for the next two weeks that I didn't really ask for nor did I secretly want. Now I've been imbued with powers that eat up any free time I might have had between semesters. Sure, "no rest for the weary" but I need some me time. And some Wii time. That's what she said.
  • Work was super boring. Outside of the biscuits I picked up before work and brought into the Store, the day was bland bland bland. Temporary workers took up all the menial labor that usually whiles my time away and the important work I was "freed" to do took up a good hour, maybe two hours of my ten-hour day. Bo. Ring. Luckily my fellow cohorts were equally as bored so we played tricks on people, tricks that were thwarted by mudsticks. Yes, that's a clever way of saying "stick in the mud." I like mudsticks better. It makes you think more than a cliché normally would.
  • Green Bay lost hard. And they lost a lot. And by a lot. And HARD.
  • Other stuff.

At least Katie and I will do a partial gift exchange tonight. That should pick my spirits up. Giving me presents is how people show me they love me. Thanks, Mom.

Update: Katie came home too drunk unable to do gift exchange. My day ... it's ruined.

22 December 2007


LA of Nick on Ponte Vecchio

My arms are not really as toned as they look in this picture. In fact, they are so not toned that I've been telling people that this is the picture that makes me look ripped.

21 December 2007

help-a-gaarface foundation.

Spoiler Warning: There is an object below that gives away a lot of information about a lot of media properties, most in the past so it's okay but some recent. If you're afraid of having any of the following spoiled, you probably shouldn't look past this:

Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, The Usual Suspects, The Crying Game, The Sixth Sense, Harry Potter, Dallas, The Matrix, Fight Club, 300, Psycho, Lost, Citizen Kane, Soylent Green, A Beautiful Mind, The Village, Donnie Darko

That's how cool this shirt is.

Jamie did an upright thing and got me a birthday gift this year. In return, when his birthday came around, I went to see a movie in his presence that I was going to see anyway and didn't talk to him for the rest of the night. It seems unbalanced. So for Christmas he shouldn't get me a present (you hear that, Gaarface?) while I get him something to make up for my lack of effort.

My problem was getting him something of comparable value to the Criterion DVD he got me (The Royal Tenenbaums) but, as I've said previously, how do I get someone who owns more movies than I even know exist a DVD? Instead I turned to things I know more about (not necessarily more than he but more than I do movies), _________ (to be filled in after Christmas). Although the things I got him were collectively my second choice.

Of all places I saw this on Moviefone and this this is, understandably, sold out. It is a t-shirt. But an awesome t-shirt. I include a picture of the front below:

T-shirt from Threadles T-Shirts labeled 'Spoilt'

Perfect. It's from Threadless T-Shirt, a small company that, apparently, makes one run of a shirt and doesn't bring it back unless there's enough customer feedback. So I urge you, true believers: give them the feedback they need to bring this shirt back. If not for me, do it for Gaarface. Poor, pitiful Gaarface.

19 December 2007

nick campbell, animal.

My semester ended last Saturday with a dinner cooked by my Italian professor and a collection of our take-home finals. Since then I've been essentially free of obligation save from The Store, which holds my foreboding future, essentially a mandatory 40-hour week including a full day on Christmas Eve and closing shifts almost every night. I also worked last Sunday and Monday and will work this Thursday and Friday. Saturday will be dominated by making a video for a friend to give as a present. What this means: my only days lacking in obligation for my break between semesters was yesterday and today.

And yet, here I sit, in a tie and button-down, wearing a fedora, dressed fancy to type in my blog and update my MySpace and Facebook profiles. No trouble, no danger, no real excitement. Last night I stayed up to 3am after going to Landmark Diner, playing Wii for hours with Ian. I got my haircut today and now I'm texting back and forth with Becca.

I am an animal.

Anche: I'm starting to get tired of my music again. I might have to go on another music strike. This is what iTunes has served up to me while I type, most of these songs playing while I searched for that "music strike" post in my old MySpace blog (because I get so enthralled with my own writing):

  • "Demons" by Fatboy Slim (f/ Macy Gray)
  • "One Weak" by Deftones
  • "Coma" by Muse
  • "Lucky Guy" by The Muffs
  • "Under the Influence" by Eminem and D12
  • "Ricky's Theme" by Beastie Boys
  • "Derelict" by Beck
  • "Simple Man" by Deftones
  • "Empty Space" by Teenage Fanclub
  • "Mani in alto" by Jovanotti
  • "Idoless" by The Distillers
  • "Antidote" by The Hives
  • "Icky Thump" by The White Stripes
  • "Last" by Gratitude
  • "Sunshine" by Handsome Boy Modeling School
  • "Exit Music (for a Film)" by Radiohead
  • "Red Elephant" by Sunny Day Real Estate

I went to P'Cheen and scream-talked over the DJ with Jonathan and Erica for about forty-five minutes. I was introduced to many people, mostly as being the recluse and told often enough that my reputation had proceeded me. I'm not sure what that means.

11 December 2007

i froth.

The last piece of advice my dad had for me when we were eating dinner a few weeks ago was, "You want the A. You just need to get the A. Don't worry about anything else." We'd been talking about an HTML project for my Intro to Computer Science class. I complained for an hour about how my instructor was teaching my poor fellow classmates antiquated, deprecated and obsolete code. "His coding vocabulary hasn't been updated since 1997!" I scoffed. "He is still telling us to make sure our code works in both IE and Netscape when Netscape hasn't had a significant piece of the market in years!" I would never fall into the trap of writing incorrect code just for a grade. I would not settle for appealing to his ancient (by web standards) sensibilities. I've been working with web design for eight years. I have principles.

So I worked it all out. It took me a few hours but I got through all his criteria (make it so text sits between two images, make a table of these test scores, put horizontal rules here), plugged in a bunch of text that I was planning to use for a blog post and even some extra stuff because he said he was giving extra credit. For a page including his discontinuous criteria and created with nearly no thought put into it, it looked great. I used CSS for all the style elements (ignoring the <b>, <i>, <u>, and <center> tags he wanted us to use) and commented every piece of it so he knew what parts did what things (such as when he said he wanted us to make the links blue, for which he indicated we should do in the <body> tag with link="", I commented next to the a { color: #00f; } part of my style). I turned in a print out. I knew I had the 100.

So a few days later he passed the code print-outs back. I usually sit in the back of the class so when he was trying to hand mine back he just stood at the front and folded it over, waiting for me to stand up and take it from him. My instructor is small man, certainly from somewhere near or on the Subcontinent, so I towered over him, pulling the packet from his hand. Then, out loud, to the entire class he says in his thick accent:

"You did this in a program so I took 20 points off."

I was shocked. I handcode everything I do. Dreamweaver and the demonspawn that is Frontpage put out horrible code usually. Why would he think my beautifully-formated, web-standard code was put out by a machine?

Me: No I didn't.
He: Yes you did.
Me: I've been a web developer for 8 years. I know how to handcode my stuff.
He: See me after class.

This exchange prompted giggles from some others in the class who asked me, "If you've been a web developer for 8 years, why are you here?" Some buddies in the class answered for me, and I paraphrase: "For a film degree. Bite it."

My heart was pounding. Normally I would try to avoid the confrontation, accept the authority of my teacher and get along with the grade he gave me. But I couldn't wait to see him after class. I couldn't wait for me to show him how I did everything right, everything validated against modern web standards. I couldn't even pay attention in class because I was preparing myself for anything he could say. What about my code looks like it was from a machine? I could barely contain myself.

Class finally ended and I walked up to him. He took the code from me and said again, "You did this on a program." "No I didn't," I said firmly. Then he pointed to the item he believed was his evidence:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">

The Doctype declaration. He said that was something programs inserted into code. I explained to him what this was: a way to tell the browser agent what code was to follow in order to avoid the browser having to make assumptions and displaying code improperly. Programs put that in there to adhere to web standards. I showed him in the code where I commented next to everything he wanted in the document to make sure it was obvious I knew what I was doing. A buddy of mine came up, saying, "Nick's just really smart." My teacher, with balls like cantaloupes, shook his head. "No," he says, "he's not smart." My jaw hit the floor. "But I'll give you the 20 points anyway." He couldn't prove that I did do it on a program. So he wrote my first name down ($10 says those extra points go to the other Nick in my class) and +20.

Amber Rhea warned me, telling me tales of people in the same situation with the same result. My dad, convinced my instructor gave me a hard time because I showed him up, warned me. So now I'll be accepting "Told ya so's."

I don't know if it was what he ate for breakfast that morning but he should probably switch off from the Unprofessional-Os and get on some All-Bran or Frosted Mini Wheats. I have his final in 45 minutes, which includes an HTML portion. I can't wait. I still have his evaluation to do at the end of the year and it's going to be something else.

Update: He offered us something as I walked into class. If we were happy with our grades up to that point (before the final) we could walk out and not take the final but keep those grades. I couldn't be sure what my grades were in that class since he (a) lost some of my homework and (b) might have screwed me on that HTML project. But when he handed the grades back to people, I looked and saw an A (including 100 points for the aforementioned assignment). I ran for that door so quick I almost knocked people over.

24 November 2007


I'm starting to feel as though I only blog to impress myself with my own writing or to offer my Amazon Wish List around the gift-giving seasons. I really do have a lot of poignant posts started but never finished because I get bored with them. I suppose I'm only interested in ego masturbation or encouraging others to buy me things (which is like an ego hand-job really).

Anyway, here it is.

As always, I have stuff separated into different categories but the most important stuff is on the default list. That stuff, for those that don't like to click on links, includes:

  • And by Jonah Matranga
  • Malena Uncut Special Edition 2-Disc [Import]
  • adidas Sambas (black/white -- size 12)
  • The Fountain
  • The Complete Poems by Guido Cavalcanti (trans. by Mark Cirigliano -- or any translation with the original Italian)
  • D&G heavy tweed sports jacket

I know the D&G jacket is a little pricey, but it's worth it; I'll look really good wearing it.

Also: Don't think I forgot about you, Gaarface. I owe you a gift and have been thinking about it. But what do you get the man whose DVD collection includes 50% more movies than I've even heard of?

01 November 2007

script advice from an outsider.

There are times when you have to look at your story and make some hard decisions. You get stuck in a pattern, things start to get stale or you just find yourself writing in a direction for which you're not sure you want to see the result. It's time for an evaluation. It's time to take a long, hard look at your characters, your settings and your plot and see what can be cut in order to add newer and better things. In the end, you may have to write a person off the show.

I know it's hard. You have a lot invested in these characters and to just write them off so quickly is sometimes easier said than done. And things might turn around, right?

The first thing to do is to look at the situations your characters are in and make sure that they are, in fact, doomed. "Doomed," of course, is an abstract concept and depends on the script you're writing. Is your character caught in a cycle that you are far too comfortable writing her into? Is she facing insurmountable odds unnecessarily (and by this I mean the bad kind of insurmountable, the true, tragic kind of insurmountable)? Is your audience rolling its collective eyes at the stale storyline, impossible survival or repeated presence of something toxic and unpopular? If your answer is yes to any of these, it's time to start the process of creating the exit of this unfortunate aspect.

The actual exit might be the easiest part. You want to do it well, with style and grace and keeping in tune with the rest of the script. If the character is usually tranquil and understanding, writing a scene with yelling and screaming is not plausible, no matter how dramatic or entertaining you feel the writing is. Your audience will appreciate a tone that matches the rest of the show (it's why they stay tuned in, right?). You have to make it fit and give him a fitting end. Dropping him off a cliff or shooting him in the face in order to get rid of him is the stuff of soap operas. Your character (hopefully) is not in a soap opera (if your character is, see "Deaths from Which Your Character can be Resurrected and/or The Body Cannot be Identified"). Whether your show is a half-hour comedy or an hour-long drama on the CW, you have a duty to your character to follow the serial you've been working so hard on thus far.

After writing the character off the show you have to resist the temptation of bringing him back into the story. There will be many times over your (hopefully) long series run that you may run into issues of temporary boredom or just a loss of story and you'll get the feeling to bring this person back. Don't fall into that trap. You run the risk that you (and your character) will only fall back into that cycle or will diminish that good progress you made with your writing. Your audience will see this as a step back for your show and you may lose some of your faithful. Your audience is important no matter how good a storyline you have for this character.

So you may think to yourself, "Nick, my character has really made it far enough that I can avoid the pitfalls the old character made in his earlier episodes." That may be true. Try guest appearances at first. Sparse guest appearances. Work that character back in slowly. It's more natural than reintroducing this character and suddenly giving him a major role.

What you're trying to avoid is having your character upstage your series by making it a study of ridiculous recurring characters (think Urkel) or constantly resorting to unoriginal ideas (like the incessant Ben or Noel cliffhangers). If you really want for this character to return, evaluate your script again. The reintroduction has to not be completely ridiculous, unfounded or inherently damaging to your main character. She is the most important part of the show after all.

The safest bet is to leave dead characters dead. Your audience will respect you for it and your living characters can grow and continue on a natural progression. If you're feeling extra creative, maybe throw him in the background as a wink to your historical audience. He who portrays your character might be frustrated with his below-minor role status. But these days he'll probably get a spin-off anyway.


27 August 2007

"sono morto"

stencil graffiti from firenze Cute, isn't it? We saw this stenciled on a pillar near the Arno and were deeply affected by it (Assisi who?). Now that Nicole has it permanently marked [MySpace link] on her body, my mind and internet searching skills are racked by this: where does it come from? "Sono morto" means "I am dead" or "I died" so I'm curious as to how two block people with T. Rex arms within quotation marks represent this. Wildly curious. If you know the answer, please let me in on it.

- - - - - - - - -

Non sono bravo con scrivendo italiano ma ho bisogno di sapere: di dov'è questo stencil? Io conosco che le parole significa (grazie -- il mio italiano non è così brutto) però voglio sapere: chi sta morendo (o era morto) ... chi ha fatto questo stencil ... è soltanto a Firenze ... è la morte in realtà un'orgasmo (così "le petit mort" nel francese) ... sul serio, ho bisogno di sapere!

09 August 2007

wheels, man. wheels.

If you've seen a blue blur streaking through the streets of the city, I have a pretty exciting explanation for you. Well, it's not really a streak ... if you've seen a really tall kid struggle embarrassingly up and down the hills of Atlanta, I can tell you what that is. Nick Campbell is with bicycle.

Sean Kiskel asked me a long while ago, "Nick, why don't you get a bike?" My response: "I find walking to be more stately." And I still believe this. There's a quiet dignity in plodding along unassisted by locomotive technology. It gives you time to think, to run through your day, and, if you're like me, time to imagine what you'd say to Jon Stewart when he interviews you. But it takes FOREVER. I live a five minute drive east of downtown and, somehow, it takes me twenty to thirty minutes to walk to any amenity: grocery store, train station, movie theatre, etc. And it's only getting worse. In the time I've lived in this area (about three and a half years) at least seven housing developments have come up less than a mile from Unit N with no concrete addition of infrastructure. If you keep putting condos up on all the land around the area, how will you build the things you need to help sustain them (gas stations, grocery stores, etc)?

When Erica moved to her new place off a major road that was not at all bike-friendly, she blew the dust off the Blue Devil (a blue mountain bike we bought together many years previous) and gave it to me to store. Now I use it. Jess saw my helmet earlier this week* and said my using a bike was rendering her world crumbled. But I get to places in a third of the time, sweating an equal amount (I'm still drenched in salt and my own filth but all at once while biking instead of steadily over a long period of time while walking) but still giving me more time to sit and watch Boy Meets World. Oh, that Rider Strong.

I'm probably not going to ride in Critical Mass and I'm not going to get all into my bike and talk about it like it's my nephew. I see this bike more like how people who buy jalopies their friends laugh at explain their hoopties: "It gets me from point A to point B." And it gets me there faster than my ADIDAS alone can.

* Jess saw me earlier this week at McCray's while we watched Katie perform live acoustic music. You should come and check her out Sundays at 8ish. She plays her own music and a few covers and she told me that if enough people come she'll cover "Thunder Kiss '65" by White Zombie. Or was it "Leggy Blonde" by The Flight of the Conchords? I can't remember.

10 July 2007

seven seven seven.

First, I would like to point out the power of a MySpace bulletin I saw this evening. Someone has assigned personality traits to each letter so, when an acrostic is created, you should get a peak into the life of whatever the letters spell out vertically. My name is:

N: Loves to have fun
I: You like to drink
C: You are really silly
K: You're wild and crazy

Not bad for a goody-goody fuddy-duddy. I even missed being great in bed (represented by both E and L -- along with "You like to drink," represented by A, I and R, these are the only two repeated phrases which leads me to believe this was created by someone named Ariel) which isn't that far off. I often miss being great in bed.

Zelda has stopped calling me long enough to mention something about 07/07/07.

All I've been able to talk about for the past year is how I want to do something memorable for the holiday of Triple Seven (as, I'm sure, Ringo Starr, Vonda Shepard and Cree Summer were also saying) but couldn't think of anything at all. I didn't have the time to go wrestling alligators, the money to go back to Italy, or the desire to go start the city on fire and laugh at its ashes (though there are days). Nothing was coming to me though. So when the opportunity came up to go back to Trader Vic's to see Dames Aflame, I conceded.

This is probably a surprise to anyone who talked to me after my first trip to Trader Vic's. The incomprehensibly large tiki bar under the Hilton Downtown looks the part but sounds like a movie set. You know how when you see dance scenes or busy indoor situations on a movie or TV show generally the sets are pretty quiet and the sounds are added in later. That's the way Trader Vic's is for most of the week: nothing but the soft whispers of everyone else saying, "Hey, it's really quiet in here." It was like a scene from The Shining (1980). I was ready for Jack Nicholson to ax through the bar at any moment.

So why go back? All in the interest of scantily clad women and the hope that they could liven up the place.

We (Mark, Sarrah, Erica, Jonathan, Audrey, Katie, Jamie, Robin, Jason O'Donnell, Joey and I) showed up at around 8:00 (the show started at 8:30 but we wanted to make sure we didn't miss any of the possible good times and have to deal with the creepy silence again) and crowded the bar until they could find a table for us. The band was just starting to warm up and Dames Aflame ladies were selling raffle tickets. Everyone told them it was my birthday as if that was going to get me a free raffle ticket or some sort of lap dance from Monkeyzuma. I sipped my No Tai Mai Tai and nodded in appreciation to the group of grass-skirt-wearing girls wishing me a happy birthday.

I should pause to say that I've been wearing a lot of ties lately. The week previous to this I got some weird hankering to wear a tie and, even though the knowledge of tying a professional knot has never taken in the past, I suddenly learned how to tie the Four in Hand knot so I've been about obsessed with wearing a tie, even buying two more so I can wear them more often. Let's face it: generally men look better when they're wearing a tie so I looked straight up foxy.

The table as finally ready for us and a waiter walked us back into an impossibly far away dining area. The noise from the band near the bar got softer and softer until it was barely there. It was as if I was Navidson and we were walking into a better lit corridor from House of Leaves. By the time we sat down the music was a faint whisper and we were surrounded by couples on dates and business partners grabbing a meal before bed. Certainly, this was an unfortunate set of circumstances.

But we tore it up anyway. We laughed and drank and howled until everyone around us was gone. Some people had their first experiences with Monkeyzuma. It was good times. Jonathan got me two games for the Wii [which is ridiculous because (a) that's way too much money and (b) my present to him for his birthday that I missed was a hat I brought back from Italy for a fifth of the cost of his present] which I play all the time now (one of those games was the new Legend of Zelda). Many drinks later (including two Coral Reef drinks made from strawberries, mango and coconut cream -- yes, girly non-alcoholic drinks but they were like delicious smoothies) we finally tabbed out to head to the next place.

Again, I wanted to make this a special night, one that, at the very least, when I have to think about doing something, I had to think about this night. So I thought about things I've never done before so my first time could be this evening. When asked where I wanted to go next, I said, continuing the scantily-clad women theme:

"Let's go to the Pony."

I hate lapdances. Well, I don't hate them but I do feel like they are the most horribly awkward experiences I've ever had. Generally, when a girl is rubbing against me, I like to be touching her. So when there's a girl's butt in my face or nipples near my ear lobes at a strip club, I'm not sure what to do with my hands or how my face should look (it's a fine line between appreciative and creepy) or what to say, if anything. I was insistent that I was not to get a lapdance this evening. I was perfectly fine with ogling the women from afar.

The hangers-on for the Pony included Jamie, Jonathan, Audrey, Joey and me. What people say about the Pony is true: the girls are generally better looking. There were two or three I thought were really hot (one of which was Audrey's favorite stripper from many moons ago when the woman was performing a Snow White bit) but it was a different woman, one I was not completely attracted to, who came over to me.

She: "Would you like a dance?"
Me: "Uh ... it's uh ... a little too early in the evening for that ..."

Yeah, a little too early for a naked woman to grind up on you. Way to go, Nick. My excuse was doomed to failure anyway, though, because my drunk girlfriend bought me the dance anyway. So there I was, trying to fix my eyes on whatever I was supposed to, not really able to enjoy the sights of a stranger waving her naked body in front of me with my girlfriend watching, who was slapping me if my eyes even drifted away from her chest or her backside. Seriously, lapdances are the most awkward experiences I've ever had. And I've been in some pretty compromising positions.

But the girls were all great, our server was pretty and nice (she even told the dancer it was my birthday -- although I don't think I received any special treatment) and I saw a lot of boobs. Good times.

It was home after that. Katie went upstairs and immediately passed out in the middle of the bed. I tried to move her but she'd just slip back to where it was comfortable. I huffed, stole a pillow from her and slept on the couch. Some minor drama between some drunken friends kept me and my phone awake for another hour or so but, otherwise, it was a great time.

Someone: Hey, Nick. Have you ever been to the Pony?
Nick: Yeah, man. I went on my 26th birthday.

Enough of this. I have some Zelda to play.

27 June 2007

all the pretty wishes.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

That time of year has once again returned where we mark the occasion of my birth. Sometime very early on the morning of July 7th I will have been on this planet for 26 years. I like presents and Cadbury, such a jealous rabbit, does not like to be left out.

When visiting the Amazon wish list don't forget about the nicely organized lists on the side!

Categories on the side of the main Wish List

Fig. 1: List of More Specific Lists

Anche: My birthday this year is 07/07/07. I want to do something incredibly awesome but I'm far too boring to come up with anything. Help me out. How can I spend this glorious Saturday? Tell me please. I'm open to anything (at the very least I'll hear you out). Audrey suggested an orgy. I'm not sure she was actually suggesting it but that's what I took from the conversation. The point is that no idea is too crazy.

PS: On an unrelated topic, how | about | Jessica Biel?

18 June 2007

how was my trip.

Dear Everyone:

Less than a week ago I was finishing a stay in Italy lasting nearly six weeks. I posted nothing here because my plan was to create a cohesive narrative, different from most of my other stories which are not so much tales as they are weakly-connected highlights. I'm having a lot of trouble doing that. I'm not sure if it's because of my usual memory loss or if it's because I'm having trouble distilling what my trip was.

I kept a journal although toward the end of the trip you could tell I was less interested in keeping track of day-to-day stuff. But at first I was committed to writing down as much as possible, so committed Ugo told me a couple times, "Hey, if you try to write everything down you'll miss the actual stuff going on." Something like that. I paraphrase so that's why it sounds a little like Ferris Bueller.

What I'm getting at is that I don't really have a reliable written document of my trip, just scribbling of things I found important that I swore I would flesh out later that night but never did and now my ailing memory is trying to reconstruct these things. People that have seen me since my return have all asked me, "How was your trip?" Where do I even start?

I've wanted to go to Italy ever since I was 15 when I started reading Dante, a writer that, even when I re-read the same text year after year still puts me in a humbled state of wonder. Ten years later I was there, standing in the same church he prayed in and spied on the woman that impressed him so much he wove her into one of the most important pieces of literature ever written. To be in his city, to see the same sites and to see the city's dedication (possibly remorse and guilt for his exile) to the man -- and I was only in Firenze for three days of my 34ish-day trip.

How was my trip? I don't have words that can accurately sum things up. Any time someone has asked I've struggled with my usual go to words like "awesome" and "amazing." How do you describe my view of Assisi from my bedroom window or being in the presence of thousands of years of history? How can you convey Piazza IV Novembre at night or the throngs at Gubbio during Festa dei Ceri? So far, I've compared the latter to being up front at the biggest concert festival you've ever been to but tighter by a hundred. When I'm asked in passing what Italy was like I don't have enough time to tell them how it really was -- just that, you know, it was pleasant to me.

I saw so many things, spoke (a lot of the time) a different language, made a lot of friends (one of which, sadly, will not translate over into the States -- we had fun while it lasted, Culp), and relaxed. I know that's completely cliché for an American to go to Italy and "finally relax" like I'm Diane Lane and I just spent some time under the Tuscan sun. But I wasn't in Tuscany. I was in Umbria (I'm still working on the map a little bit).

So my trip is a string of superlatives I won't even attempt to write since it'll just make everything sound like a Gene Shallot review. Although it was, in fact, a tour de force.

I can post pictures, some video, maybe even some scans of my notebook but I don't know that I can properly show you how my trip to Italy was. But I'll try real hard.

02 May 2007

secret club.

I was walking down Peachtree toward Bruster's before my exam (I felt since it was 2:15pm that I deserved a waffle cone) when a stranger ran up to me from the Aderhold direction. As a testament to how well my headphones work and how hardcore my music is, I couldn't understand a word he was saying. He looked a little crazy but he certainly wasn't angry. He was happy, jovial even. The man was grinning ear to ear and excitedly spoke with jerky hand gestures. I debated for a moment before pulling out my earbuds.

Me: Excuse me?
He: [with British accent] ... so great!
Me: Wha?

He noticed my confused look and pointed to my shirt. I forgot that I was wearing my Liverpool jersey.

Liverpool defeated Chelsea in the UEFA Champion's League semifinal yesterday in a shoot-out. I recorded it and caught most of the game today (my ineffectual DirecTV DVR cut off the last overtime period and shoot-out -- thanks for nothin') and decided to wear my jersey. Although I didn't think I would elicit any reactions.

So I played some sort of hand game with the very excited guy and he told me "good work." I walked on and got my ice cream cone, only to have people nod and congratulate me as I shoved double chocolate chunk in my mouth. Who knew there were so many people in my immediate area keeping up with UEFA? Outside of Liverpool, I don't really keep up, not even with the Italian teams (AC Milan is the other team on its way to Athens for May 23 tournament).

Apparently there is, in fact, a society only recently revealed to me that will cheer me on for liking a team based on a present given to me bought at Disney. Ahem, I mean, cheer me on for rooting for the Reds! Go Liverpool!

book of face.

When facebook first came around I couldn't join because I was not yet back at university. Then, upon my return, I deemed that facebook was for the youth and that I was far too old (now, MySpace on the other hand ...). And now ... well, now I've collapsed under the burden of the 18,000th person to tell me I needed to be on facebook. And we all know how I react to peer pressure.

So I'm there now. At least the code's a lot cleaner than MySpace. But I'm not sure about this poking business. What's that all about? I don't want to get poked. Who wants to be poked? Poke that.

28 April 2007


My mom and I have been seeing each other on a weekly basis lately, partly because I'm leaving for Italy in a week and a half, partly because she's more willing to come into the city -- probably influenced by the former. On our way back from the High we somehow got into a conversation about Il Purgatorio (because Dante is not usually very far from mind). About three sentences in my mom laughed, shook her head and said, "You and death."

What does that mean? Do I seem death-obsessed? I don't even think I'm morbidly-inclined. Although about 25% of my t-shirt collection does sport some kind death/skull/angel imagery (and I keep buyinig more). And I have three story ideas involvinig pre- and post-apocolyptic conditions. Do I talk about death a lot? I really hope not.

Off topic: Made a new mix CD of loud stuff. Some old, some new, hopefully nothing I repeat too often (I've been accused of being a "repeat offender" when it comes to CDs). There are 18 tracks with 5 rocks song sets separated by "breathers," all of which are hip-hop. This is the kind of CD Joey might like but Erica would hate.

loud. (v042807)

  1. "March of the Pigs" by Nine Inch Nails (iTunes)
  2. "Slaughterd" by Pantera (Last.fm)
  3. "More Human than Human (Meet Bambi in the King's Harem Mix)" by White Zombie (iTunes)
  4. "Shame" by Stabbing Westward (iTunes)
  5. "Rapture" by Deftones (iTunes)
  6. "Aliens (Hearing Aid Remix)" by Cassettes Won't Listen (IGN)
  7. "Reckoning" by Unloco (Amazon)
  8. "Assassin" by Muse (iTunes)
  9. "Compagna Teresa" by Il teatro degli orrori (MySpace)
  10. "Cold Sweat" by New End Original (iTunes)
  11. "Bodies" by Smashing Pumpkins (iTunes)
  12. "Hello New World" by Clipse (iTunes)
  13. "Introduce the Metric System in Time" by The Hives (iTunes)
  14. "The Shape of Punk to Come" by Refused (iTunes)
  15. "1997 (Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's ...)" by Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (iTunes)
  16. "The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out (of Control)" by Thursday (iTunes)
  17. "Throw It On Me" by Timbaland featuring The Hives (iTunes)
  18. "Tasmanian Pain Coaster" by El-P with Cedric (of The Mars Volta) (iTunes)

23 March 2007

why tv is awesome, pt 2

I don't think this episode was on recently but I used this in conversation with Katie the other day:

22 March 2007

why tv is awesome, pt 1.

I have been diseased since Monday night which affords me the opportunity to watch even more TV than I already watch. Now I catch Frasier in the morning and the block of TBS with King of Queens and Seinfeld, Scrubs at seven then it's prime time ... you get the idea. Some may wonder how I can watch so much and still feel like an intelligent person, how I sleep with myself at night. It's all for moments like this:

Also in Italian.

06 March 2007

nick campbell is going green.

Well, sort of.

As far as emissions go, I can't really get much more "green." My vehicle produces a bit of methane but I feel it's negligible. I could probably produce less trash and start recycling but that habit would never form with the daunting task of having to carry my recycling a mile and a half to the Whole Foods on Ponce. Many would be the times I'd say, "screw it" and toss the milk jug back into the trash can.

By going green I'm going to affect the fuel of my sole vehicle. Nick Campbell, gorger of Swiss Cake Rolls and plunderer of fast food, is going to start eating healthier. I hear you snicker a little bit and, believe me, even I'm snickering. But something has to change.

I waste a lot of my days. I go to school and work because of my innate sense of obligation but my free time, time for stuff I want to do, is wasted on Final Fantasy XII and watching TV. My motivation to get out of the house is only to ward off "cabin fever" and, even then, I'm good after a couple hours. My panic attacks have been more numerous (nothing severe or dibilitating ... just commanding more of my attention) and I feel sick a lot more often. Something's got to give and there are a few suggestions that a change in diet can at least help.

I'm not saying that eating some leafy greens with Cadbury is going to unburden me of self-imposed pressure but it can't hurt. If the healthy diet does nothing else I will be physically healthier. And that's good, right? I'm not expecting a full turnaround. Baby steps. Hopefully just acting on my diet will be a nice jolt. Maybe it'll even help with those methane emissions.

earn your way out of a friend's list.

I rarely update my MySpace page anymore. Just yesterday I updated my television preferences which listed Arrested Development as one of my favorite still-running TV shows. The only reason I still go is to check messages essentially (I'm not even subscribed to anyone's blog -- and never have been).

Bulletins will sometimes attract my attention and I almost always pay the price, being witness to a lot of personal surveys of people I know too well from past surveys, posts for events I'll never go to (not that I'm uninterested ... just not motivated), and, the worst, the evolution of chain letters. For these I'm pleased to see the two options at the bottom of each bulletin:

MySpace Button: Reply to Poster

You can send a private message to the one posting the bulletin, celebrating/thanking them for the information/joy they brought into your life or ...

MySpace Button: Delete from Friends

... you can erase them forever so they can never ruin your MySpace experience again.

A little extreme but I like it. Well done, Tom.

03 March 2007

the swiss invade lichtenstein!

BBC News: Swiss in Liechtenstein 'invasion'

Troop: We've been walking for hours. Where the heck are we?
Officer: Fall in line, soldier.
T: Fall in line? The exercise was supposed to end like two hours ago. It's cold ...
O: What are you? A wuss? You're the defender of mother Switzerland's freedom! Cowboy up!
T: I don't recognize any of this.
O: Never been outside the country?
T: Of course I have. I've been to Austria, Italy, Germany ...
O: Apparently never Lichtenstein.
T: Lichten ... we're in freaking Lichtenstein?
O: About a kilometer and a half inside.
T: We're going to get in so much trouble.
O: Don't worry. I have a plan.
T: What's that?
O: We're going to take it.
T: Take what?
O: We're going to take Lichtenstein!
T: Take Lichtenstein? We're barely qualified to take a bath. Look at our party here.
O: What about it?
T: Dietzinger left to take a whiz half an hour ago, Stussi stopped somewhere to make a sandwich and three other guys hurt themselves picking their nose.
O: Really? Picking their noses?
T: They had to lie down.
O: They just need a leader!
T: No!
O: Someone they can believe in!
T: That's false!
O: Some motivation!
T: We're not taking Lichtenstein!
O: I don't appreciate your negativity.

01 March 2007

if my life were a (more interesting) script.


The elegant facade of the symphony hall, complete with rotating spotlights and a red carpet in front, do not quite match the patrons flooding from its doors after a show. Instead of upper-class, middle-aged couples dressed in tuxedos and gowns, we see throngs of twenty-somethings barely wearing an undershirt between their frail frames and the world. One of those twenty-somethings is NICK, a young man cutting a dashing figure in a sea of aesthetic ignorance. He passes a large banner for the Campus MovieFest just as people start to take it down. Nick pulls out his iPod and starts clicking through the menus. Running after him is JAMIE, another young man whose film was just shown at the event.

Jamie (O.S.)

Nick! Wait up for a second!

With one earbud in, Nick turns around as Jamie approaches.


What's up, buddy?


What are you doing?


Trying to figure out why my iPod insists on always playing Paul van Dyk.


Well, we're all going out to drink away the pain. You want to come?


Nah, I think I'll pass. I'm going to see Katie up at ...


Nick, do you want to make movies?


Well, yeah. It's why I went back to school.


So do we. You passed on working on this thing with us and that's fine I guess but it couldn't hurt to hang out with some people that want to make stuff. And we don't bite. It's like easy networking.


Where are you guys going?


Right by your house actually. Meeting up at a friend's off Corley and maybe to Johnny's.


Corley? Where the heck is that?


I don't know. It's a street right by your house, I think.


I'm pretty sure you made that up.


I'm pretty sure I didn't. I'll take it from your changing the subject that you're not into it.


I'm going to visit Katie at the Vortex first but after that I'll give you a call.


All right. Have a good night.


Take it easy, brother.

Jamie walks away and Nick slips his earbud into the other ear. He walks away in the other direction.

int. vortex midtown - night

Nick walks in to a bar that used to be a familiar haunt but is now strange. He sees ARTIE the famous bartender with whom he's decently aquainted and gives him a wave.


Get bent.

Nick retracts his hand slowly.

He walks around to the dining area where three poker tables are set up. At the far side he sees an old friend he (and most people) call STABLER sitting next to someone who, from afar, looks like someone Nick knows very well.


(to himself)

Nathan's here?

Nick mosies on over to the table, gives a wave to Stabler and drops a hand on the shoulder of Stabler's fellow poker player.


Hey, man, what's uh ...

The man seated turns. This is NOT NATHAN.


(looking straight ahead instead of at Not Nathan; muttering)

Oh, g ... you are not who I wanted to talk to.

not nathan

Excuse me?


Stabler, why did you let me tap a stranger?


It happened way too fast, man. Besides, how do I know who you know and don't know.


Who'd you think it was?

Not Nathan

Do I really not know you?


I thought it was Nathan.


Nathan? Well, I mean, I guess a little bit from far away.

Not Nathan

Who's Nathan?


I guess that's what I'll tell myself so that I don't feel so incredibly awkward.

Not Nathan

Is Nathan at least good looking? I'd like to be mistaken for someone that's good looking.


Besides, isn't that Nathan over there making out with your girlfriend?


(spinning around quickly)

The what?



if my life were a script.

I've noticed over the past few months that my posts (especially after reading my MySpace blog) are a lot less personal. Whether that's good or bad is up to you I suppose. The reason why I've written less about myself and more about Italian television schedules is that the mundanity of my "work-and-school, work-and-school" life has not really inspired me to "write home" (so to speak). Don't believe my life can be that uninteresting?

Last night I went to watch a buddy's short film screening at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. After:


The elegant facade of the symphony hall, complete with rotating spotlights and a red carpet in front, do not quite match the patrons flooding from its doors after a show. Instead of upper-class, middle-aged couples dressed in tuxedos and gowns, we see throngs of twenty-somethings barely wearing an undershirt between their frail frames and the world. One of those twenty-somethings is NICK, slightly more dressed up for the occasion but not by much. He passes a large banner for the Campus MovieFest just as people start to take it down. Nick pulls out his iPod and starts clicking through the menus.

Nick (V.O.)


He puts the ear buds in and we HEAR his MUSIC as he starts down Peachtree Street, a major road along which the symphony hall sits.

Nick (v.o.)

Food, food, food. All right. We'll head up to the Vortex and grab a bite. Sitting by myself and eating. I guess I can watch Katie zip around and unintentionally ignore me.

As he stops at a corner to wait on a light he looks up at the large office building in front of him.

Nick (V.O.)

Hi, Colony Square.

His eyes slide up the building until they reach the top where there is a small protrusion, almost like a shack or a small penthouse. He shakes his head vigorously and crosses the street with the light change.

Nick (V.O.)


The MUSIC goes OUT ON THE RIGHT SIDE. Nick is deeply troubled by this and plays with the iPod's headphone connection trying to get it right. The SOUND goes IN AND OUT until Nick gets frustrated.

Nick (V.O.)


Great. An awesome pair of headphones already gone. It's been two months!

Nick shuts the iPod off, wraps the headphones and slips the device into his back pocket. We HEAR the sounds of STREET NOISE now as he walks away.

int. vortex midtown - night

Nick walks in to a bar that used to be a familiar haunt but is now strange. He sees the famous bartender with whom he's decently aquainted and gives him a wave only for it not to be returned. Nick retracts his hand slowly.

He walks arond to the dining area where three poker tables are set up. At the far side he sees an old friend he (and most people) call STABLER sitting next to someone who, from afar, looks like someone Nick knows very well.

Nick (V.O.)


Nick mosies on over to the table, gives a wave to Stabler and drops a hand on the shoulder of Stabler's fellow poker player. He turns to Nick.

Nick (V.O.)


This is not the man Nick thought it was.


(trying to play it cool)

What's up, man?

not nathan

Not much.

Not Nathan holds out his hand for a half-shake/half-low-five. Nick complies with the stranger.

Not Nathan

Just trying to get to the final table, you know?


Right, right.

Nick looks at the cards being dealt for a moment then, as he doesn't know the person he just slapped hands with, loses interest quickly.

Nick (V.O.)

I can't eat here now.

28 February 2007


So many of my fellow students in my film classes use films as their points of reference. They are usually amazed by how many films I haven't seen, so amazed I've started to feel like I need to pad my DVD collection a little more and to Netflix all kinds of classic movies I end up not watching and sending back. I make myself feel better by saying I watch more than my share of TV. Sure, I have trouble naming Howard Hawks films but I can recite lines from just about every episode of The State, rank series finales (M*A*S*H and Mad About You float to the top ... seriously), and remember what two actors has shows that opened both the early-90s version of ABC's TGIF and its resurrection in the late-90s (The Olsen Twins with Full House and Two of a Kind).

It seems natural, then, that I would seek out some Italian television in order to help me with my listening and speaking of the foreign language. In my search I came across the FOXTV Italia site. Some highlights of programming available on FOX:

  • Happy days
  • Malcom (Malcolm in the Middle)
  • Sabrina vita di strega (Sabrina the Teenage Witch)*
  • Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven)**
  • Streghe (Charmed)**
  • Tru Calling
  • Willy, il principe di Bel Air (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air)***

Apparently we're torturing the world with American refuse. I mean porting Tru Calling is just punishment. I think Eliza Dushku is hot but those pouty, shiny lips couldn't save that stinker. Sorry, Italy.

* Aired on ABC in United States.
** Aired on WB in United States.
*** Aired on NBC in United States.

out of the loop.

I am the only one I know that wasn't familiar with Jason Swinks. Katie and Jonathan know him from the bar scene, the Dog People know him through his adoption of a pup through them and I'm getting a ton of bulletins on MySpace about his funeral today at 2pm. He seemed like a nice enough guy, tons of people who cared about him. I guess he was just one of the in-town characters people loved and, since I stay inside all the time, I just don't know him? I blame Final Fantasy XII. Read up on a very popular, very missed young man: Obituary: Jason Swinks.

More in Mourning:
A Bad Weekend for Rednecks, Good Ole Boys, and Girls Raised In The South (GRITS)
Jason Swinks's MySpace profile
Memorial at Star Bar after the 2pm service.

24 February 2007

underdog, live action. no, seriously.

During a marathon blog posting session a year and a half ago, I mentioned the rights for Underdog being picked up for a live-action picture. That's right: a live-action Underdog motion picture. Well, it'll be here in August.

In case you were wondering, yes, the dog speaks. Another stellar effort by the movie industry.

Il trailer di Underdog, il supercane! [Cineblog]
Underdog [IMDb]
Underdog Trailer [Apple Trailers]

21 February 2007

nick campbell is (with parameters) number one!

Oh, how long I've waited for this. I've been on the internet for many years now but, with my relatively generic name, it's been somewhat difficult to make it to the top of a search engine list. Now, finally, I've done it.

Though my own webpage doesn't even come into the top ten, this blog comes in at number one, finally beating the "My Hero" Project by Nick Campbell of Juneau, Alaskam [sic]. Take THAT kid in a big baseball cap writing about his hero Martin Luther King, Jr!

Okay, so you have to type in «"Nick Campbell" Atlanta» to pull it up in Google but there it is. Here's a screenshot for you.

thumb: A screenshot of Google search results

Screenshot of great Google search results. 1024x671, 120KB

It's one of the highest accolades for a person who spends most of his internet existence talking about himself.

14 February 2007

for when your friends can't decide what they want.

Via Lifehacker I have found a solution for my problem of wanting to stuff my face with uncertainty of what I want to stuff it with.* Enter the Wheel of Food, a Wheel of Fortune type randomizer that selects restaurants based on ZIP code. Great for when you don't really feel like anything but you have nothing to eat at the house. And, if you're a gambler, great for randomly selecting a Valentine's Day restaurant (McDonald's is included after all).

I spun it and landed on Food Studio. If you insist, Wheel. If you insist.

* The man explaining the validity of "dangling preposition" is a linguistic professor. So suck it.

10 February 2007

justice in the lust list.

At the risk of sounding jealous and petty, I have to express some serious disappointment in Creative Loafing's "Lust List". My displeasure with the list is nothing new. Almost every year I look at the "hottest" service professionals in Atlanta and think, "Wha?"

I'm starting my campaign here. Nick Campbell is in the service industry. Nick Campbell is moderately attractive (at least interesting-looking). Nick Campbell is at the very least a conversation piece. I'm a great candidate and my answers to the mundane questions would be better. I mean, best celebrity chef Rachel Ray? Why not just say Emeril? BAM!

So, for next year, do Atlanta a favor and think Nick Campbell when casting your vote for the Lust List. It's the right thing to do. I don't think Kenny will mind.

07 February 2007

alla faccia tua!

My Italian class (which has become an exercise in how long an uncomfortable silence can last before the teacher or a knoweledgeable student intercedes) has taught me many things this semester but, possibly, one of the best is how to play the card game Scopa.

I was told this was a children's game, like how I used to play Go Fish or War ... but this is way more fun and, frankly, speaks to how much we believe American children are idiots. The first time I played Scopa I was surprised by how many ways you can score points (sadly, my only reference point of comparison is the time Joey and Chandler played Cups on Friends). But once you get all the relatively complex rules (complex compared to "you have any 7s? No? I'll go fish then.") it's pretty awesome. I've taught just about everyone I've hung out with in the past couple weeks how to play. And I have to tell you:

I am a master.

You should practice.

go slow.

I sat at Lindbergh Center Station, waiting on a southbound train when a soft-spoken man with a duffel bag approached me.

He: The board up there says next Lindbergh train in 11 minutes ... where's the Airport train?
Me: Sometimes the trains don't register on the board. The next Airport train could be here in two minutes or twenty minutes.
He: Oh.

He walked around for a while but I plugged my headphones back into my ears if for nothing else but to avoid any crazy ranting (he seemed the type). He waved me down again, however, and I removed my earbuds.

He: Do you happen to have sixty cents? I'm on my way down to Grady and was hoping I could stop into McDonald's for a cheeseburger.
Me: I think I have a quarter.

I pulled the wad of shelving pins from my back pocket, sifted past my house key and plucked the quarter from the mess. He was grateful and I awaited the usual "God bless you" response. Instead, he looked at me, thanked me and:

He: Don't go so fast. Go slow.

As the southbound train arrived and breezed by me, he reiterated his words, walking away backward. "Go slow. Go slow."

Me: I'll try.

What kind of portent have I been issued?