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.