Justin's Life... February 1-10, 1996

Justin's Life... February 1-10, 1996

February 1, 1996


I usually know it's time to get off my behind and start writing again when someone e-mails "Are you alive?" That happened last night.

Lately, I've pretty much just been recouperating since Larry left on Sunday. The week with him was fun, but very exhaustive. --After we got back to Boston on Saturday, we met with his friend Becky Sue for dinner, and Sunday we ran to the computer store before going to the airport.

Sunday evening, I went to VideoSmith and tried to find a movie worth watching. After walking up and down the isles a few times, I noticed only one copy of Naked in New York was on the shelf. There were three before, so I figured they had to be in the previously viewed sale section or had already been sold. I looked around the store to see where the previously viewed movies were kept then went to that table... and there it was. For $8.99, I could have a movie that centered on a red head, showed him nude, and even had a kiss between him and another guy. Needless to say, I bought it without thinking twice (even though I was very low on funds).

A little later Sunday night, Rob called to see if I wanted to go to Luxor's with him. I agreed and at a little before 10PM, we started walking there.

On the way, I once again quized myself on the information on my ID, but when we got there, no one was checking.

And then we were nearly bored out of our minds. The crowd was both sparse and old. Last time, I focused on Ken, Chi-Chi, and Sandi and never noticed, but this time none of them were there. After an hour or so of sitting around, Rob and I went home.

This week, I really can't remember anything too noteworthy. Last night, Rob helped me with CGI scripts and I added the access counter to the main page. After that, we watched Naked In New York and fell asleep. I dreamt about kissing Eric Stoltz. --I really need a red head.

Speaking of which, I've been both really lonely and not, lately. I think Rob and I are closer than ever, but at the same time, I'm longing for a red head like never before. I get e-mail from red heads on a pretty regular basis, but they never follow through. It seems they write once, I write back and then things just die. Guys that say they'll send pictures never do. (I've yet to get a red headed guy's picture mailed to me, but I can count more than ten that promised to send one.) Why is it so hard to find love? Why is it that I get e-mail almost daily saying, "I wish I were a red head." yet no actual red heads have come into my life?

February 2, 1996


When I woke up this morning, I found e-mail from Larry asking if I thought the two of us weren't as close as we were. I wrote back and concluded my letter:

And like I said the other day, I've got RED HEADS waiting in my IN box. So you can just imagine how I've been lately. Actually, I've been pretty lonely. I have Rob here, but I NEED a red head. Someone to drool over... *almost crying* It's been so long since I've had that... years since someone that my world revolved around...

So, it's not you and me that are further apart, it's me and the world and you just happen to be part of the world...


And that about sums up my feelings lately.


After I uploaded that last entry, I found a message from Steve, a 24 Hours In Cyberspace photographer, on my voice mail. I called him back and we talked about possible setting arrangements for the shoot next week. He wanted to somehow include part of my life, such as having me in a pile of e-mail, or even having me surrounded by red heads. My previous dreary mood was replaced with the idea of A) having red heads surround me in a picture (even though Steve & I couldn't logistically figure out a way to get a bunch of red heads for the shoot) and B) being photographed and written about in a real hardcover book.

A little later, I got e-mail from Jens, a red headed doctor/model/dj from Germany. I'd gotten a couple of letters from him before, but he sent pictures of himself with this one... and he was really cute. I called Larry to tell him about Jens and instead of him simply saying "Koool" or something like that, he repeatedly told me that Jens was out of my league. I tried to argue with Larry saying that Jens had seen my pictures and web site before writing me and Larry came back with stuff like "But has he read the diary?" I scanned Jens e-mail and he had made a reference to the February 1st entry. That still wasn't good enough for Larry. He kept telling me that Jens was out of my league and why. My emotional high was killed and I started feeling like some backwards hick from Kentucky setting my sights on some doctor/model/dj god. I still can't believe Larry did that.


Larry called to apologize, but today has still majorly sucked.

Tonight I was printing out e-mail to possibly use for the photo shoot next week when I happened upon a letter telling me to check out a person's page dedicated to web diaries. I put the URL in Netscape and found the page and Justin's Life among the list.

I then clicked my way to find a review saying that I'm completely homophobic and posing the question of if I actually read my own entries. (Incidentally, just to join in the mudslinging, it's been my experience that the people that call me homophobic are the people that aren't "average Joe" and they take offense that I differentiate myself from them.)

So anyway, I further find, beneath the review, a link to a parody of my diary. I click it and am taken to an intro page with statements like, "I mean, he's got to be telling the truth -- why would anyone pretend to be that horrible?" It went on to further call my writing & graphics clichéd and my HTML efforts embarrassing.

So by this time, I'm sorta dazed, thinking "Could a complete stranger really be this hate filled towards me?" But I clicked on the link and was taken to a page very similar to the diary gateway. It had a near same background, used the same color scheme, the same layout, and even contained a "legal details" link. The only differences were the title and sentences had been modified to make it appear as though the author were the most self-centered person alive.

I clicked on the date and was taken to a diary that at first glance could have easily been mistaken for mine. It, too, used the same layout and colors. I started reading, still amazed that I was the subject of this, and came to a link to "My Interactive Search for the 63 year old Woman Who I Just Know Is My Destiny." Yes, someone had actually taken the time to re-create the background and graphics of my red headed knight search to change it to a search for a 63 year old woman. By this time, I was starting to be amazed that someone found me that interesting. The diary and search parody must have taken hours to create. I sorta forgot about the horrible review that started the parody and thought of this parody as something similar to Yeech!, a parody of Yahoo!.

In a pretty positive (yet still a little confused) mindset, I wrote Rob and told him to check it out. A while later, after I'd read a little more and found allusions such as "Raaaad!", I called Rob. He was laughing so hard he was nearly crying. He said, though, that he didn't think it was flattering to me. We talked for a bit and then hung up.

A while later, after I'd re-read part of it and gotten thoroughly hurt/pissed, I received a blind carbon copy of an e-mail Rob sent to the parody's author. In it, he congratulated her for totally shredding me. He said things like
This guy who wants to call himself my boyfriend said that to a complete stranger about me. I was dumbfounded and simply replied "Fuck you..." I couldn't/can't believe he would say that... and to a person that was already acting like I was the scum of the earth. If someone had been picking on him, I would have gone to his defense, not encouraged them and told them how right they were.

To my e-mail, Rob wrote back that he was sorry but that she had some truth that he had to confirm. He concluded, "I'm afraid this has probably gotten you into an even worser mood than you were -- I'm sorry." Can we say, "Duh"? One of my close friends calling me artificial and obscenely conceited. How could that get me in a bad mood?

I ignored Rob's e-mail, page, and voice mail. Soon, though, I was off the phone and it rang. When Rob said "Hello", I dropped the receiver back on the hook. He then wrote to say that he was going to the movie by himself. (We'd agreed earlier today to go see a movie tonight.) I called his house to tell him just how he'd made me feel, but his roommate said he was gone. So I wrote to tell him pretty much the same stuff I wrote here.

Time passed and then I started answering e-mail. I came across one asking for a link, so I checked out the site. In it, I found at least half a dozen of the images were stolen from my art galleries. I really can't believe people are stupid enough to take something on someone's page and then ask for a link. Needless to say, I've been dumbfounded most of the day. (And the parody author can just kiss my furry ass as far as my "smarmy" faces are concerned.)

February 3, 1996


Since I last wrote, Rob e-mailed again to say that he was sorry and realized why I was upset with him. And through the course of several e-mails regarding the parody, I've come to the conclusion of "woo woo." I'm sure Madonna wasn't too happy with Medusa: Dare To Be Truthful, but Larry, Rob and I laughed non-stop when we watched it last week. In the same light, I've realized that the diary parody is a caricature which took several hours to create. And as one reader, Tom, e-mailed, "Being prominent on The Web today is much like being a celebrity in the traditional ways, i.e. Movie/Radio/TV "stars". If you're good you'll always get criticism. If you're bad nobody will even know you exist.". I realized he's right: just think how many "Brady Bunch" parodies exist. Sure, some people hate the "Brady Bunch" with a passion, but there are a whole slew of people that adore it.

February 5, 1996


Last night I was on the phone to Larry when he started telling me how big this whole 24 Hours In Cyberspace project was and how it could be a major opportunity for me.

--Wait: background info, in December I got e-mail from Kathy asking if I'd be interested in participating in an article about on-line diarists. (I didn't even know there were others.) She added that in addition to an interview and 500 word essay, a photographer would come by my apartment on February 8th to take some photos. Not being one to give out my home address to just anyone who asks, I wrote back and asked for a little more information. She wrote back and I agreed. In early January, I did the telephone interview and followed it up with a 369 word essay about the diary. Last week, as February 8th neared, I wrote Kathy to ask about the photographer. He called me that same day and now, the rest of the story...

I told Larry that I realized it was big and I did... just not how big, but that my part of the process was done. The article had almost certainly been written and the photographer would know a lot more about photos than I do. Larry still insisted that I should go to a library and see what previous 24 Hours... projects were like.

So last night, after I finished our conversation, I visited the 24 Hours... web site and found that Against All Odds Productions, the people behind 24 Hours..., were responsible for huge selling books like A Day In The Life Of America, a book that was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year and even merited a cover story on Newsweek in 1987.

I started thinking that I was going to be included in something like that and the adrenaline started pumping. A photographer was coming to take several rolls of film of me... for first a website and then a book and cd-rom. Yowza!

Eventually, though, I managed to calm down and go to sleep.

This morning, I woke up a few hours earlier than normal and began what I'm sure will be one really exhaustive week. First, I figured that I need to look my best for this photo shoot, so I decided a haircut was necessary, just to polish up the edges... so off I went.

After SuperCuts, I walked on down to the Boston Public Library to see a copy of A Day In The Life Of America for myself. (By the way, it's so cold in Boston that my still wet hair literally froze before I made in into the library.)

Anyway, I went inside, found the computerized card catalog, asked for assistance (per the instructions, thank you ) and went to the second floor. As I was walking down the isles, I passed a table with three girls sitting at it. One looked at me and said, "Hey cutie." I smiled back and kept walking.

Soon, I'd found the book and sat down at a table to "read" it. It was huge and almost all the pictures were double page spreads. I looked through it all, still mesmerized by the fact that I was going to be in something like it, and headed back to my apartment.

Once I was back here, I quickly piled my clothes into the laundry basket and pillowcase and proceeded to was them at the nearby laundromat. While they were washing, I took back some videos, bought some Pepsi, and looked for a door mat. (Larry said someone could have stolen my clothes, but who has time to sit for an hour and a half in a laundromat?)

After the clothes were done, I put them away and headed out to Bed & Bath to see about a mat. I was sorta reluctant because of the last time I went there, but the hardware store had nothing and I really needed somewhere to put shoes while the snow melted.

I bought a cheap, dark green bath mat and headed back: I fell asleep a few minutes later.

February 6, 1996


This morning I received a letter asking if I thought my site would be a test kase for the Communications Decency Act when President Clinton signed it into law. The last I'd really heard of the act said that it would be knocked down by the House, but I remembered seeing a blue ribbon attached to Yahoo!'s menu and reading about the online fight for free speech.

So I went back to Yahoo! and followed the link to read that the House had indeed passed the act and President Clinton had promised to sign it into a law on Thursday. What a crock of... (oh, I better stop myself. I could actually be jailed and fined for using the "s" word online: How ridiculous .)

So anyway, I continued following the links and e-mailed the President's staff and faxed a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno before I stopped. I then came back, cropped the art gallery pictures as to not include anything "indecent," and added a huge "CENSORED BY US GOVT." above them. I still can't believe the bill passed, but I don't entirely blame Congress. The US public elects these old farts who probably haven't even been online once. I haven't registered to vote because I thought nothing elected officials did would really effect me, but come the next election, I'll be sure to help kick these constitution violators out... at least that's one thing I'm holding onto, this bill and soon law is unconstitutional. The courts will throw it out, but until then, cropped pictures will remain.


Today I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned: I scrubbed everything from the stove to the toilet.

Tonight I found a message on voice mail from Steve. He said that he was in town and wanted to scout my apartment. (I guess photographers really do use the word "scout" ) I called his hotel and talked to his assistant, who told me they would probably be by sometime tomorrow afternoon. (He said he couldn't tell me for sure because they're also shooting at a prison and are waiting for clearance.)

I'm really starting to get nervous. The idea that my picture is going to be published in a book, a book with major publication, is pretty scary. I've had all kinds of thoughts lately, like "Is my hair one day going to look as out of date as hair from the 50's?" and "This is going to out me forever and in a major way." Mom has already asked me, in her own read-between-the-lines way, if anything gay is going to be written about me. I told her that I was fairly certain of it, and even now, as out as I am online, I find the thought a little intimidating.

In other news, I've gotten a lot of e-mail relating to the parody. Most of the letters have said, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," and called the author everything from a bitch to just plain jealous, but a few have said that I've changed, that I'm a lot more full of myself than I used to be. I really don't mean to be. I'm still just an average Joe. I was still lonely today. I still long for love. I still wish I had more friends. I still don't know where I'm going in life... all the same things as when this diary began. So if I come off as being more full of myself, my only excuse is that I've been on the defensive.

February 7, 1996


Well, it's just after noon and I haven't heard from the photographers. I hardly slept all night from the fear of sleeping through their call or door buzz.

So anyway, I'm sitting here, trying to stay off the phone, waiting for the photographers.


I've been writing e-mail non-stop for three and a half hours. I still haven't heard from the photographers but I'm no longer nervous: I'm too tired to be.


Steve just called to say he's on his way.


He just left. He buzzed the door, came in, looked around for about two minutes, talked to me about his schedele tomorrow and left. At least tomorrow I know he's coming around 5PM, so maybe I won't be a total wreck... but I doubt it.

February 8, 1996


This afternoon I got off the phone from Larry to find a message from Paul, Steve's assistant, requesting that I be at the Boston Public Library at 3:30PM. (Steve had mentioned yesterday that he might want to shoot at the library.)

It was 3:09PM, so I called Paul's cellular phone to confirm that I'd be there and quickly headed out.

I hadn't gotten more than 200 feet from my house when a car sped by and threw water on my jeans. I'd never been splashed by a car before, but it seemed just my luck that today would be the day.

So I ran back to my apartment and wiped my jeans with a wet paper towel before heading out once again.

At a few minutes after 3:30PM, I got to the library and went into the lobby. I didn't see Steve but went on inside to find a guy waving. I could see a tripod next to him so I went up the stairs toward him on the third floor. On my way up, I passed Steve who told me he was looking for the guy to okay his shooting in the library but I could go on up to talk with Paul or just roam around.

So I went upstairs and started talking with Paul. I basically just asked stuff to keep us from sitting there in silence, stuff like, "What time did you start this morning?" He seemed nice enough, but was noticibly tired.

A while later, Steve returned and said that he wanted to shoot me standing on the main floor, looking up at the camera, with people blurred all around. He took his camera and viewed a few possible angles before deciding to set up the tripod on the edge of the stairs.

Once the camera was in place, Steve gave me instructions on what his hand signals meant and answered my question about what to do with my hands. I went downstairs, moved to where he'd told me, and the photos began.

For the next hour or so, I stood smiling with my head cocked at about thirty degrees off of straight up. It didn't take me long to realize that I probably looked pretty stupid smiling at the ceiling, but no one seemed to notice. People walked within a couple feet of me and never even moved their eyes in my direction. I, however, found the situation funny and started laughing.

Steve took roll after roll of film with me standing in the near same position. The only movements I made were out of pains in my neck and legs. He wasn't trying to get me exactly perfect but was trying to get enough people around me blurred in the right way.

At around 5PM, Steve sent Paul down to be one of the blurs around me and to heard people in the right direction. But as he was circling me, I started focusing more on him and less on the camera. (He even had to tell me "Keep looking up." )

Like I said, Paul was tired, so he only walked around me when people were nearing and a photo could be taken. Every time he sat down, I knew Steve wasn't going to take a picture, so I moved my eyes in Paul's direction. He was cute... really cute. But alas, as he was walking around me, I heard him say that he liked the looks of one of the female passers-by. Nevertheless, suffice it to say that by the time we finished at a little after 6PM, I had checked him out so much I knew he wore boxers.

Once we were done, I walked back upstairs with Paul and talked to Steve about web pages. I gave him a card and the three of us walked to their car so that I could sign a release form.

I signed it, thanked them, said good-bye, and left.


It's been about four hours since the end of the shoot, but my neck, back and legs are still sore. I had no idea modeling was such a hard job.

February 10, 1996


Getting up to speed:


Yesterday, I was answering e-mail when I got a call from Erika. She asked if Rob and I would be interested in eating dinner and seeing Mr. Holland's Opus with a group of her friends (Jey, Carmen, Scott, & Helen). I agreed and Helen later called to inform me that we were meeting at 7PM in front of Tower Records. I called Rob and asked him if he'd like to go along. --He'd initially had plans to meet with a friend but hadn't heard from his friend to confirm.-- At 6:40PM, Rob agreed.

A little after 7PM, we met and headed to a Asian restaurant about a block away. I'd already expressed my lack of desire for Asian food to Erika, but once we got there, I made it apparent to the others. (As far as food is concerned, I'll admit I'm a Southern boy through and through.)

So anyway, we all got our plates and went to a buffet of unlabeled items. I took a bit from most of the them, trying unsuccessfully to identify each one, before going back to the table. I queasily ate items that had the texture of a huge chunk of fat. I wanted to spit most of it out in my napkin, but I swallowed anyway.

Soon, I'd divided my plate into the tolerable and the absolutely disgusting. Nevertheless, I knew I was paying $7.95 for this lovely dinner, so I went back and got some of the more tastey items (all things being relative). But before I returned to the table, I noticed a pan full of tentacles. I almost threw up right there: All I could think was, "Did they use the same pans to cook the tentacles as they used to cook the sweet potatoes?" but I made it to the table to tell of my disgust.

No one believed me. They thought I was exaggerating or seeing things, so a few of them went to see for themselves. They came back to say I was telling the truth and with tentacles on their plates. Jey and Rob each ate a tentacle with me cringing.

We paid the bill and left, but not soon enough for me.

For the next hour or so, we hung out at the Pru and Copley Place. Most of the time, I tried to discern Scott's sexual orientation. When I'd met him before at Erika and Helen's dorm, I thought he almost certainly was gay, and Erika said she thought the same.

I managed to walk next to Carmen and ask her, "Are you guys going out?" (because she and Scott paired most of the time.) I'd already talked to Erika and knew the answer, but it opened up that line of conversation. I went on to ask if Scott was gay. She said that she honestly didn't know but had wondered herself. The next thing I knew, we were in the theatre and Carmen was asking Scott about his previous dating experiences... with girls. I wasn't attracted to him but it's always nice to know someone else is a team player.

So anyway, we watched the movie and departed. I stopped by Rob's place for a few minutes then came back to my apartment where I answered some e-mail and fell asleep.

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© 1996 Justin Clouse

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