Justin's Life... April, 1997

Justin's Life... April, 1997

April 1, 1997


This morning I read on AOL:

Accumulations of up to 30 inches of snow were reported in western Massachusetts, while in the Boston metropolitan area 2 feet of heavy, wet snow were reported... Snow, falling at the rate of an inch an hour in Boston, was expected to taper off by midday in most of the region, but strong winds with gusts of up to 30 mph were expected to continue. The winds combined with heavy, wet snow blew down power lines throughout the region.

Those were the days... or so it seems.

As with grass everywhere, it often seems greener on the other side of the fence. When I was in Boston, I remember thinking how horrible the snow was and how I felt trapped in my tiny apartment, wishing I could move to LA where it was sunny all the time and where people were more accessible.

Now, when I read that on AOL, I think back to how that tiny apartment had its great aspects, how it was my little retreat, safe, solitaire, away from everyone when I wanted it that way.

Now, I live with Larry. It's a choice I made, even fought for, but I miss that space of my own. I miss being able to shut out the world if I so desire. I miss being able to stay awake until six in the morning and sleep until two in the afternoon. Sure, it was an artificial world I'd surrounded myself in, but it definitely had positive aspects which I didn't realize at the time.

April 10, 1997


When I haven't mentioned someone in the diary for a while, I usually hyperlink back to an entry which better explains his importance, just as an optional reminder of who he was and how he fit into my life. -- Yes, I used the gender specific pronoun because someone is singular and nearly all someones in my life are male.

Anyway, I started today's diary entry talking about how Larry and I went to visit Frank at his new apartment. (As you may well see, without a prompt, you're probably wondering who Frank is... right?) So I searched the diary entries for instances of the word "Frank" and found the one from April of last year. As I skimmed over it, I remembered all that had happened and it now amazes me how much life has changed in just one year. I rarely, if ever, read back over the entries once they're written and uploaded, and while I've gotten a fair amount of e-mail telling me how the diary has shown my growth as a person, I haven't read it from cover to cover, so to speak, so I really can't comment on that. To me, I'm still the same guy I always was. Sure, I know some parts are more mature, but same parts are still the big 'ole kid. I guess that's life.

Well, I don't think these few little paragraphs quite came off as I'd intended them, but perhaps if you think where you were a year ago in relation to now, you'll realize what I'm saying. Life is a precious thing. Here for an instant, then gone forever. Take each minute in stride, whether it be sitting in a communications class where you think time never passes or whether you're with the one you love. It's all important. It's all part of you.


Now on with the superficialities...

Last week, Larry and I went to visit Frank in his new apartment. It was a guest house, on the small side, and I don't personally think I could live there because of the constant "big-brother's watching" feeling by having the landlords live in the main house, but I knew the excitement Frank felt for it as it represented his moving away from home.

After Frank gave us the mini tour, we all headed over to Dan Tana's, an Italian restaurant on the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Catching up with Frank was fun, the dinner was nice, and seeing Mike Myers (of Saturday Night Live/Wayne's World fame) & a couple nearly falling over the table in lust with each other, provided ample conversation. It was a koool night.

This past weekend, I stayed in town in order to work on a paper for my Communications 201 class, but, of course, I didn't work on it. I thought of some ideas, worked on my History of Architecture paper, but avoided the boredom and complications of applying Lloyd Bitzer to The Birdcage.

So, anyway, I spent most of this week working on or avoiding some sort of school work. I turned in a paper on Architecture on Tuesday, a paper on Bitzer and The Birdcage on Wednesday, and a paper on hazardous water run off (Geology) today. I'm so ready for school to end... and fortunately, that'll happen in under a month.

I wish I had something wonderful or exciting or tantalizing to write, but I don't... yet, life isn't bad. Life is fine. Life is good.

April 12, 1997


You may remember a while back I mentioned in passing a CD-ROM project that I'm working on. Well, I still can't quite say any more about it, but I spent most of yesterday creating an ad to run in one of the local newsmagazines. It's amazing how much information isn't available for the person trying to figure out desktop publishing where the intended medium is an actual publication. -- In other words, when it's to be published in a magazine and not on your personal printer.

Anyway, I first ventured into this uncharted medium a while back when I decided to promote the Koool page with an ad in The Advocate. After I called their advertising department to ask for specs., they sent a media kit which detailed the specifics of submitting an ad, including how to submit it electronically.

As I had no idea what a positive linotronic output or the like was, I created the ad in Paint Shop Pro then transferred it to Larry's Mac where I resaved it in the required Macintosh QuarkXpress format. I sent the disk in and the resulting ad turned out fine... (but garnered less response than I'd thought possible. Having appeared in a magazine with a publication of 76,000 and a total readership of 156,000, the twice run $200 ad spurred less than 400 people to visit the web site.)

Nonetheless, the ad looked fine. So when it came time to run an ad in relating to the CD-ROM's creation, I called a local newsmagazine and requested their specs. They mentioned nothing of electronic submission, but when I called to ask if that was acceptable, they sent a fax with a few lines stating that it should be in Mac QuarkXpress format.

I repeated the steps I'd done for The Advocate ad and sent the disk in... but the resulting ad looked like crap. The text was jagged and the photo looked as though it had been reduced to three shades of gray. I mean, I realize shades of gray are an illusion created by the closeness of the black dots, but the ad looked like it was created by a dumbfuck who didn't have a clue as to what he was doing. It's one of my idiosyncrasies, but I can't stand to be accused (even implicitly) of something that isn't true. Larry knows this and harasses me from time to time by telling someone, "You know, Justin calls it 'Wal-Marts'" just because he knows I don't and because it annoys me when he says I do. Little things like that annoy me, so looking like a dumbfuck in front of 100,000 potential readers didn't exactly sit well.

When I ran the ad in The Advocate, I followed their detailed instructions for electronic submission, a recommended 266 dots per inch. As the local newsmagazine is on newsprint and as I could find no recommended dpi, I went with 100 since the closest thing I could find relating to resolution was "interior signatures line screen: 85 to 100 only." Needless to say, that wasn't the right choice.

After sending several faxes and playing phone tag with the ad rep., his supervisor, and the art department, I got the detailed electronically submitted ad requirements and an offer to re-run the corrected ad at half price. I purchased "QuarkXpress 3.3 For Dummies" and re-did the ad. It's yet to re-run, but I'm certain it'll look much better.

I've seemed to have gotten sidetracked. My point was that there's nothing out there regarding display advertising. In "QuarkXpress 3.3 For Dummies," in a section titled "Working With Service Bureaus," it states, "Many QuarkXpress users end up sending their work to service bureaus (including the in house production departments at a commercial printing press) to print the final copies" (279).

I tried finding "Service Bureaus" in the yellow pages. It's not there. Neither is "Commercial Printing." "Printers" only listed places like Kinko's and believe it or not, in Pacific Bell's Yellow Pages, there's not even a section called "Advertising Agencies." Eventually, I resorted to asking Larry if he'd call the guy who does his print advertising to ask him where I could get a velox printed.

And so, after spending most of yesterday creating an ad to run in another local newsmagazine, one which does not accept electronic submissions, I drove to the place he'd recommended, Electric Pencil on Melrose. Before getting there, I couldn't help but once again marvel at the oddities walking down the street, the girls with their retro clothes and their three-inch soled shoes.

Nonetheless, I made it to the corner of Melrose and Fairfax and went inside. "Dropping off or picking up" asked the girl in her hip hugging velvet bell bottomed pants and shirt. Already feeling slightly dumbfuck-ish, I said that I hadn't done this before, but that I needed to have a "velox" printed. She corrected my pronunciation to "vElox" and acted perplexed for a few seconds.

She hesitantly picked up a form then looked at me and said something about how they had a $75.00 minimum; was that ok? By now, I felt like a complete dumbfuck. There was no way I was going to act like it was too expensive. And so, I feigned it off as no big deal. She then went on to say that I could probably get it done elsewhere for less. Still not wanting to appear like a cheap peon, I asked if she meant like $10 compared to $75 less, and she shook her head yes. I said thanks and left. -- For all the bad press that West Hollywood gets, it has one tenth the pretention of Melrose. Even though I honestly think that she was trying to save me money by recommending I go elsewhere, I still got that sense that she thought she was better than me.

Anyway, after the thoroughly aggravating experience of Melrose, I called Larry to tell him what had happened. He said he'd call his art guy again for another recommendation, but meanwhile, I drove over a few blocks to where I'd noticed a place a couple weeks back with "Electronic Pre-Press" and "Service Bureau" painted on its outside wall.

I went inside and once again said I hadn't done this before, but that I needed a v-E-lox printed from a disk. The guy told me to fill out a form, which wasn't quite detailed enough for me to know what to put where and which fields to enter. So, once again, slightly dumbfuckedly feeling (but no where near like when I was on Melrose), I gave the half completed form to the clerk. He looked over it, changed one thing, and asked if it was a Mac disk. I said yes and he took it, along with my two sheets of paper (one with a rough printout of the ad and the other with a description of the disk's contents) and the disk. When asked, he said it would be ready Monday at noon. It still amazes me how "closed" this whole publishing thing seems to be. One of the sections on the Koool site re-design will definitely detail the in's and out's of the process. It may not be of value to a large number of people, but for those looking, it'll certainly help .


Today's been koool... nothing special. I woke up with Larry, watched a couple movies, worked on the web site, and reviewed the scripting that's been written to automate the Members Edition sign-up and renewal. It should be online and working within the month.

April 19, 1997


My vElox came back from the printers looking fine... for a grand total of $12.00. Well, not exactly "fine". When I read the fine print for submitting it, I noticed that all ads smaller than a full page had to be completely bordered. I wanted a classier look and didn't use a border at all. Nonetheless, I put a frame around the ad then went back to the printers.

Of course, I still hadn't figured out what exactly I ordered the last time since "velox" was no where on the form. All I knew was that I needed to fill in the blue form in the paper output column, and so I did. -- From what I can gather, "Velox" is like "Kleenex" in that it's not really a product name, but rather a brand name which came to be referred to the product just as kleenex is used instead of facial tissue.

I sent the second ad off to the publisher and it should run in the next issue.

Saturday night, I went to my first college party. Erik had invited me to a party at his apartment, and although I'm not really the partying type, I thought it was a good opportunity to meet some other gay guys at USC. I mean, Erik's the only gay guy at USC with whom I've talked in detail more than once.

Erik had said earlier in the week that 9:30PM would be a good time to get there, but when I called Saturday night to confirm if he was still having the party, he said I should get there at 10:30PM or so. When I arrived at 11PM, there were people in his apartment, but Erik was no where to be found.

Having seen Uncle Buck enough to think all the shut door bedrooms were full with people having sex (), I honestly figured Erik was back in his room doing who knows what. I went into the kitchen, figuring he'd be out eventually, and saw Josh, a guy I'd met in drag during Halloween in West Hollywood and whom Erik had brought along when he and I once went clubbing.

I asked if he knew where Erik was and he said that he didn't. I kept looking for Erik, figuring that if he didn't show up soon that I was leaving. In the meantime, though, I made small talk with Josh.

When I remarked to him about how I didn't really know anyone at the party, he said something like, "Well, you've met Marty," as he pointed to this guy across the kitchen. I knew the guy's face was familiar, but I didn't think I'd actually seen him before; I thought it was just that he looked like someone.

Nevertheless, Marty was another guy who'd been in drag on Halloween that I'd met. He'd been wearing a blue wig and make-up; therefore, the face was familiar but not enough to make the connection. Sure, Josh and Marty were neither people whom I could ever see calling a friend, but they were familiar enough to make small talk until Erik arrived so I wouldn't be standing quietly to myself.

Before too long, Erik did emerge. He said he'd gone with another guy to get a new pump for the keg. He then asked me if I'd seen the "Mexican guy that walked past the door" to the living room. Erik was drunk, so I nodded agreeingly even though I hadn't. He followed the nod with saying that his name was Alex and that he was the first guy that had ever entered "his back door" (if you know what I can't figure out a 'nice' was of saying).

Erik then went back into the living room and on towards his bedroom. I followed him and saw the only Mexican guy at the party leaning over a keg, trying to get the pump to work.

Erik introduced us and he shook my hand with his beer covered one.

I don't exactly remember the chronology of what happened next, but somehow I was back in the kitchen, basically just standing by myself. Alex, dressed in a black shirt and tan slacks, was one of the most "normal"ly attired people at the party, and so when he came into the kitchen, we began talking. He told me this, that, and the other and he seemed like a nice enough guy. He commented on the fact that I was wearing cowboy boots and said that he'd been wearing a pair earlier in the day. Basically, the party was divided into two types of people: those with bleached hair, too tight retro clothes, & shoes with soles over an inch thick, and those with natural hair, average clothes, & shoes with soles of average thickness. Alex and I fell into the minority, that category of the latter, and so we talked.

I told Alex of Larry and when he remarked about how the boyish frat dude was his type, I said the strawberry blond standing next to him was mine and told him of how I had an obsession with red heads. "The paler the better," I remember saying.

As time went on, Alex needed to refill his beer and offered me a cup which was filled mostly with foam due to the non-working pump. He and I talked for a few more minutes then I went to see if there were any potential USC friends elsewhere in the area.

Right outside Erik's door, I talked to an Australian guy who seemed pretty koool and had a killer accent. Of course, it just so happened that he was there with his roommate and was straight.

Before heading back inside, a blond guy came up to me and said his name was Aaron. He had e-mailed me a few months back after he figured out that I knew the same Erik he knew but that Erik didn't know that he was gay. (It was his way of coming out to Erik). Anyway, apparently he'd recognized me from the pictures online and we talked. He, too, was one of the more "normal" people there, and we talked of computers and websites for a while.

Eventually, it was nearing 2AM and I decided it was time to go home. I decided I'd say bye to Alex and I found him in the bathroom where the keg was. He came out with a big grin on his face and I said something like, "Did you eat a canary?" He didn't get what I meant, so I said, "You've got an awfully mischeivious smile. Did you eat a canary, you know, like the cat who ate the canary?" or something to that effect.

He leaned towards me and I seemed to feel the back of his hand against my crotch. As the whole night he'd been in my and everyone else's face (i.e. talking face-to-face within a foot of the other person's face) I couldn't tell if it was intentional, but then he said, perhaps slurred, "You know you're a fucking beautiful man," as he ran his hand down the front of my shirt. Normally, in such a situation I would have still felt like I was in control, but Alex was quite muscular. Even at my stature, he could have easily overtaken me if he'd wanted. I didn't say another word, but moved past him in the hallway and out to the door as fast as I could.

I found Aaron & Marty who were standing outside the apartment door and told them what had happened. I then said I was leaving and walked back to the doorway where I motioned for Erik. He walked over and I semi-yelled over the music that I was leaving. When he asked if I'd had fun, I said that I'd tell him about it the next day.

I got in the car and started heading back to the house... worried that if I told Larry what had happened that he'd never let me go to a party again and feeling slightly assaulted. I mean, if I'd been flirting with Alex, it would have been one thing -- still not quite appropriate --, but I'd told him the paler the better. He was far from pale and we'd even told each other the guys whom we found attractive. I couldn't figure it out, but when I got home, I told Larry of what had happened. He didn't seem surprised and when I said I was worried that he wouldn't let me go out to a party again, he said that he would, that I did the right thing by leaving. I wanted to write the diary right after it happened so that the words would have a little more power, but I actually felt bad about the situation... much more than I ever would have thought... strangely enough, I almost felt like to a lesser degree, I'd been raped.

April 27, 1997


On Thursday the 17th, Larry and I left with Peter, the guy who takes care of the day to day operations of Larry's coffee company, for the Specialty Coffee Association of America convention in New Orleans. I went last year went to the convention in Minneapolis and had a great time. We checked out Prince's recording studio and gambled at the casinos, but I managed to never actually go to the convention.

Anyway, due to my class schedule, we left LA to arrive in New Orleans at around midnight. When we got there, we checked into the hotel and went to our room. But before we could get up the stairs, we heard a loud drunk girl and laughed about her having "something" to drink. The hotel desk clerks said that we'd see a lot of that, but we didn't think that much about it.

A while later when we arrived on Bourbon Street for a late night snack, it was more than obvious that the ladies at the hotel were right. Drunks were everywhere, carrying their beers in one hand while stumbling down the street and holding on to their friends with the other.

Eventually we arrived at Pat O'Brien's. They were closing, but Larry did his "Can we still get something if we know exactly what we want?" (even though we hadn't a clue what they served) assertiveness and managed to get the three of us in after the manager said it was ok. Larry and Peter ordered a Cajun style dinner while I opted for the more traditional hamburger. What can I say, I'm a Kentucky boy through and through.

After a few drinks ourselves, we headed back to the hotel, saw Peter off at his room, then fell asleep in ours.

As the coffee convention didn't really start until Saturday, we had time to kill the next day. The three of us, along with Nancy of Oren and Nancy, went to check out the city. Unfortunately, there wasn't too much to see. Basically, there were just a lot of knick-knack shops and people offering to read palms and draw caricatures. (Have you figured out I wasn't that impressed yet? )

Before long, we'd walked around and around and around, not really stopping anywhere. If there's one thing I hate about sightseeing, it's walking around without a purpose or without stopping. Nonetheless, we did just that and ended up at the hotel a little later.

Friday evening, things took a turn for the better. Just before we left LA, Larry'd placed an ad on AOL asking if anyone in New Orleans wanted to show us around. One guy had written back and Friday night, before heading out to a dinner cruise, we talked with him to arrange a meeting the next day. At least if the city didn't entertain us, perhaps we'd meet someone koool.

Nonetheless, the cruise wasn't that bad. The three of us sat at a table with Oren and Nancy on the upper deck. There was a fair amount of shop talk, but I managed to keep myself entertained by people watching. There was no one there who caught my eye, and Oren didn't quite possess the cuteness that I'd thought he'd had before, but I still found him attractive in a quirky sort of way.

After a good while, the cruise was over and we went back to our respective hotels.

The next day I slept in while Larry met up with Peter to go to the convention. Around 1PM or so, he called and said that I should walk through Riverwalk to end up at a restaurant called the Mulane, where we were to meet Mike, the guy from AOL, and his friend.

When I got there, Peter left and a few minutes later, two guys walked around the corner of the building. Larry said something like "two guys... two guys" and we smiled that all knowing smile at each other.

Mike, the guy who'd written and who had the most amazing piercing blue eyes, introduced us to his friend Todd, who was younger and had a goatee. The four of us began walking and almost immediately, I paired off with Todd while Larry paired with Mike. I must admit, I thought Todd was extremely cute... he, too, possessed a quirky sort of attractiveness; he seemed almost like a playful kid, something... err, someone, I haven't experienced since my first days at Boston U. Perhaps I've "matured" too much myself. All I know was that I found Todd very attractive, both in physical and mental aspects.

After walking down a few streets, we arrived at a restaurant called Lucy's and ordered lunch. During the course of the meal, we got to know each other better and I asked them what they did for a living. It turned out they were in computers, and when it came time for us to answer the same question, Larry told them that I had a web site, Justin's Koool Page. They both knew of it and said something like, "You're the Justin?" It was the first time I'd ever met someone who knew of the page, who didn't meet me because of it. I was pretty dumbstruck.

Through further questioning, we found out that Todd hadn't read the diary, but that Mike even knew about Katie.

Once the web site/diary conversation had subsided, we began talking about them and it turned out that Todd and Mike were dating. As time went on, it became more and more obvious that my life paralleled Todd's and Larry's Mike's. I could completely identify with the duality felt by Todd, wanting to be free while loving Mike, and I know Larry could completely identify with the feelings of Mike, having had his share of imperfect relationships, having a family and kids of his own, and wanting to have a permanent married relationship with Todd. It was so koool just talking with someone who was on the same wavelength, who could identify with my feelings and who re-affirmed my thoughts as normal.

After lunch was done and when Mike needed to head off for another engagement, we went with the two of them to Todd's condo. It was too koool. The parallel between Todd and I was even more evident. I've never wanted a house of my own, but instead an apartment. I would have picked a place just like it.

Before long, Mike had to leave for real and so we parted ways. I only wish Todd and he were closer to LA : It would very koool to hang out with them on a regular basis.


After leaving Mike and Todd, Larry and I headed over to the convention center. He said we'd only walk through for a few minutes, but after about 15, I said I was heading back to the hotel. I did and he arrived there a while later.

Saturday night was the second night of foo-foo dinners thrown by coffee folk. This time it was at Antoine's, a restaurant full of "character" but lacking good food. I'm sure it was around $100 a person, but Pat O'Brien's burgers were better. Of course, I must admit that while my opinion was confirmed with Larry and Peter, I probably also found the night a major bore because it was non-stop coffee talk. Everything was somehow related to coffee. The only thing during the dinner that was half way amusing was the poor lady who hadn't a clue that her husband was gay.

From the restaurant, the plan was to go back to hotel then out to Bourbon Street. Todd had said that we might find Oz, with it's towel dancers, interesting, and so, we'd planned to go there to check out the sights.

Unfortunately, during the course of the dinner, Larry'd had a martini and more than a few glasses of wine. All that equated to a little too much to drink. When we were in the hotel room, he was a little too "high-spirited," so to speak and wouldn't stop harassing me. I played back in the same sort of way that I'd agreed with Erik the week before, but he pinched my ears, something I hate, and trapped me in the bathroom, throwing a cup of water on me when I opened the door. Soon after, Peter knocked on the room door and I opened it, saying that he probably didn't want to be there right then. Peter backed out into the hallway, then Larry pushed me outside and locked the door. After repeatedly trying to get him to let me back in, I finally got pissed. He was laughing the whole time, having a great 'ole gag, but I wasn't playing. I said enough was enough and left.

When I walked down the hallway, I didn't know where I was going. I just knew I wasn't staying around Larry until he'd calmed down. I passed Peter, who was waiting for us as he wanted to go to Bourbon Street himself, but he and I didn't really say anything. I simply got in the elevator and went to the lobby.

After looking around for a minute or two, trying to decide whether I should go to the sports bar in the lobby or on to Bourbon Street by myself, I decided on the latter and got a cab.

In our previous walks down the street, I'd noticed several places with scantilly- or non-clad people dancing around on stages. I admit I'm a voyeur as much as an exhibitionist --although more a physical voyeur and mental exhibitionist-- and so, I was curious to see just what exactly what shown in this city of sin. Nonetheless, I'd told myself that I wasn't going to pay any big ticket price to see something that probably wasn't even worth my time. The "No Admission Charge" sign on the front of "Love Acts" caught my eye.

The pictures outside showed male-female couples dancing around on a stage. For no admission charge, I figured I'd just go in, see what was there, and if it wasn't worthwhile I'd leave... Yet when I got to the door, the doorwoman quickly said something about $2 which would be taken off the price of my first drink. Figuring $2 was only $2, I gave her the money, took my ticket, then went on inside.

When I gave my ticket to the guy inside, he sat me in the front row and asked me what I wanted to drink. There was only a woman on stage, I wanted to leave. I tried to say something like "I really don't want anything to drink just yet," but the guy told me that I had to. I ordered the Coors normally $5.75 glass of beer that was still $3.75 as it was my first drink. I was in the den of corruption & deciet and I wanted to get out.

Yet while the guy was gone getting my beer and change, a lady in a sports coat came up to sit behind me. Although she looked perfectly normal, I knew why she was there. She began asking me where I was from and so forth and I talked, wishing the guy would hurry up with my change.

Eventually, the question came, "Wanna come have some fun with me in the back?" "No" I answered. "Why not?" she whined back. "Uhh... I don't know, but nah." (Normally I would have told her the real reason, but I figured that in a place as inherently evil as it was, I shouldn't give her any reason to not like me. "Hey, here's a fag!" I could see her yelling.) She said ok and was gone quicker than grease through a goose. The topless girl dancing on stage then came over and ran her hand across the top of my head. I pulled away and started to get up. Just then, the guy with the beer and change arrived. I got the change, left the beer untouched, and quickly walked outside.

From there I decided that I'd simply go to Oz, where I knew what I'd find. When I got there, I went inside the densely packed club and found just what I'd have found in West Hollywood. There were go-go boys dancing in underwear and guys hugging, nothing that abnormal, and certainly less evil than in the heterosexual "Love Acts."

After walking around for a while and dropping a couple dollars into a couple of the go-go boys' underwear, I decided that it was time to leave and go back to the hotel. On my way to the door, I was squeezing past people when the guy in front of me grabbed my crotch and squeezed. Ironically, that was way more than Alex had done the week before, but it was way less assaulting. The only thing that I can figure is that in the club I expected to be oggled, stared at, etc.. In Erik's apartment, I felt like I was in a secure environment. I felt like Alex was a friend and my guard was down. That was the reason his advances were so offensive.


On Sunday, I went shopping while Larry and Peter went to convention. After I'd picked up a personalized book for Katie and a sign which Larry'd said he wanted, I went on to the convention. After watching Larry and Peter cup some coffees, check out some machines, and so forth, the three of us once again went to Pat O'Brien's where I once again had a hamburger and a purple people eater.

A little later when we decided to go on the trolley, just to take a look at the rest of New Orleans, we got quite a look. The trolley operator was talking to a female passenger when she showed him a brown paper bag inside her purse. When he asked her what it was, she pulled some leaves out and said something about having fun. Even after we'd gotten to the end of the line, turned around, and arrived back to the area around the hotel, she was talking with him. She was not some tourist on a site seeing field trip; she was a lady riding around on the trolley so she could share her stash with the driver.

More importantly, on the trolley, Larry apologized for the night before. Neither he or I are ones to readily admit when we're wrong, so I really appreciated it.

Sunday night, we all went to dinner at a restaurant recommended by a fellow coffee colleague called Irene's Cuisine. After registering at the front desk, we were told we could be seated in 45 minutes, and so, we took a walk around the neighborhood to pass the time. When we got back to the restaurant a little later, we sat in the back and had drinks.

When it came time to move up front and order dinner, we were seated next to a very loud table. What was unusual was that one of the table members was almost certainly a drag queen or transexual. Of course, that in itself isn't that unusual, but the guy with her started talking about how he went to some bar to make fun of transvestites when he was younger. From the tone of the conversation, the guy hadn't a clue as to the true nature of his date. It's amazing how many people are in denial about their true selves.

During the very long time we waited for our dinner to arrive, Larry asked me what I thought of the bar room waiter whose name was Shawn. He seemed cute enough to me and Larry still wanted to go & check out Bourbon Street for himself. He wanted me to talk to Shawn to see if he wanted to go along.

Yet, I'm not really one who easily makes small talk, so I gave him "the eye" and although he smiled a couple times as he walked by, I could never tell if he was indeed gay. Meanwhile, we kept waiting for dinner to be served. Eventually we started getting pissed. It was nearly two hours after we'd ordered and dinner still hadn't been served. By midnight, Shawn had said that it would only be two minutes ten minutes ago. The manager came over to apologize and when Larry asked him what the problem was, he responded that it was just that the kitchen had been busy. Five minutes later, it still hadn't arrived and so we got up and left... without paying.

Larry and I went back to the hotel and ordered room service, which was guaranteed to arrive within 45 minutes. In the meantime, we called the restaurant and talked with Shawn. Larry gave him the phone numbers of the hotel and of back in LA for business purposes (so that the owner could call to apologize), but then he indicated that we wanted to know if he wanted to hang out. He said he was going out for a drink in the quarter a little later, but we didn't hear from him. I must admit, I was nervous, wondering if he'd call, but, oh well... room service was nice & there in 25 minutes. We fell asleep shortly thereafter while watching Mars Attacks! on TV.

Monday afternoon, we got back on a plane and headed back to LA, back from the city of Sodam and Gomorrah. I've never been so glad to get back from a trip.


This past week was the last week of school. Of course, I've still got finals, but on Thursday, when I walked out of that last class, it felt like I was finally free.

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© 1997 Justin Clouse

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