Mar 30, 2013

An Epic Spring Clean

Generally speaking I'm a pretty organized guy. I'd like to think that it's the editor in me that makes me compartmentalize things so efficiently, but then again maybe I'm just a bit obsessive. Unfortunately, this obsessiveness hasn't extended to my cleaning habits, which are fairly hit and miss. But then that's okay, because it's exactly the kind of thing that you can find yourself sucked into doing by accident on a day off.

Despite not planning to spend an entire day cleaning my apartment, once I started I couldn't seem to stop. I was looking for a book in my collection and started cleaning a shelf, then I was cleaning off the entire bookcase, and then shortly after the vacuum was out. Before I knew it I'd swept and dusted the entire apartment on the back of rediscovering a bunch of my stuff. Funny how much stuff you forget about isn't it?

There's something quite cathartic about cleaning like that. It's like my space is brand new again, and I feel surprisingly proud for doing little more than not being a slob. It must have something to do with the awesome weather we've been having too, as I can't help but stay busy to shake off some of the humdrum of winter. With so many big projects on the go, it's also just nice to finish something in a day and be able to enjoy the outcome.

The point is, my spring clean was a success and a surprisingly effective way to mellow out. With my birthday celebrations this evening, I look forward to waking up hungover tomorrow (on my actual birthday) in a spotless apartment. The timer starts again however to see how long I can actually keep it this way.

Mar 28, 2013

Hull Block / Gaslight Plaza

Constructed in 1912 as the Hull Block (now Gaslight Plaza) this large downtown building is perhaps most famous for housing Eaton's department store from 1941-1991. For decades this location represented the pinnacle of shopping in Medicine Hat, and was a huge retail space.

When Eaton's announced it was closing the Medicine Hat store in 1990 there was an outcry from locals. Competition from malls and free parking were cited as some of the reasons for closure, however mismanagement of the Eaton's company saw the entire national chain go belly up in 1999. The Hull Block was renovated for office space after Eaton's closed, and it's used largely for that purpose today. 

Hull Block ca. 1910s

Gaslight Plaza ca. 2013

Eaton's Department Store ca. 1970s

Eaton's Sign ca. 1975

Eaton's Department Store ca. 1970s

Hull Block (left) ca. 1913

Hull Block ca. 1913

Mar 27, 2013

20 Things To Do Before I Die

Having long been a fan of shows like the Buried Life, and other similar inspirational follow-your-dreams type content on the web, I realized that I'd overlooked sharing some rather obvious blog material. We all talk about this kind of thing, but we rarely think to actually write it down. I felt it was about time I shared 20 of the things (that came to mind while writing this anyway) that I'd like to do before I die. Some of these things are much closer to happening than others, but they're all lifetime goals nonetheless. In no particular order, here are some of the things I want to do before I die:

  1. Travel to Moscow, Russia and take a picture of myself standing in Red Square. This has been a goal since high school, but I'm also hoping to do a bit more after that 10 hour flight.
  2. Publish a photo book of my work. Around the Hat seems like a candidate for this one at the moment.
  3. Write, direct and/or edit a commercially successful narrative short film.
  4. Visit Charlie Chaplin's Studio (now Jim Henson Studios) in Los Angeles. Chaplin and the Muppets, it's like hitting 2 birds with one stone.
  5. Take a ride in a fighter jet - and do my best not to barf.
  6. Buy another old Jaguar and drive it across Canada.
  7. Have this website reach a million people (or more).
  8. Help someone else realize and/or share one of their lifelong dreams. I hope to do this one multiple times in my life.
  9. Own my own slurpee machine. Not a kiddie machine or an ice-crusher, but a genuine industrial sized convenience store slurpee machine.
  10. Visit Abbey Road Studios (and cross the street of course).
  11. Fall in love (and not just with her private parts, haha).
  12. Visit NYC and photograph locations previously made famous in pop culture.
  13. Speak to a classroom of students about video or photography. I think I'd actually just enjoy the experience of hearing students talk about their work, sort of like a live version of some of the questions I get through this blog.
  14. Learn to cook better / healthier meals.
  15. Retrace some of the steps and locations of my Indio trips that I took with Dave.
  16. Attend an opening or closing ceremony of the Olympics.
  17. Inspire someone to create or do something that I can't. I know this is vague, but I hope that by continuing to share and create things, some of that inspiration will rub off and reach people and places that I never will.
  18. See Paul McCartney in concert.
  19. Make more lasting friendships.
  20. Bet big and have it hit on a Las Vegas roulette spin (a few hundred bucks is the most I've won on a single spin so far).
  21. If that last one works out - retire early.

Mar 26, 2013

Toronto Street Postcard ca. 1910

This vintage postcard is one of the oldest in my collection. I posted it today because it was mailed 103 years ago on March 26, 1910. The card shows a downtown scene on the corner of Toronto Street (or 3rd Street) in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The image is likely from years earlier, as the street became increasingly built up around 1910 and vehicles started to become present. As with all of these old postcards though, finding the exact print date is tough.

What's really neat about this postcard in particular is that it highlights the historical storyline of the area. The man who wrote this message was sending it back to his mother and family in Nebraska to let them know that he found land and got 320 acres. According to my research all homesteading plots were surveyed as quarter sections of 160 acres, so this guy acquired two sections. I love these old postcards with stories attached to them, and for good measure I photographed a comparison shot of the street today. 

The same view on 3rd Street ca. 2013