Justin's Life... November 1-15, 1997

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November 2, 1997 - Sunday


Well, Halloween night itself was not bad. Larry, Jason, and I took Katie around the various neighborhood houses trick or treating then finished the night checking out the sights in West Hollywood. Having been there last year, I didn't particularly find it shocking... or even that interesting. I had no costume myself and in a last minute attempt to do something, simply wrote "Boo Humbug" across my forehead.

Yesterday was another nothing great/nothing too bad day... until Larry, Jason, Katie and I decided to go bowling. Bowling, in and of itself, was fun, but it was when Larry said, "I wish we had a camera" when things started taking a turn downward. See, I did have a camera. In my daily ritual of moving everything from my pockets the night before into the pockets of whatever I'm wearing the next day, I had the camera I'd put in my pocket on Halloween night.

And so, I got up and started taking everyone's picture. I took pictures of Larry bowling, of Jason bowling, and Larry took more pictures than I could count of Katie bowling. Yet when I asked Larry if he'd take my picture, he ridiculed me. Our relationship has a lot of "harassment" in it, so that was nothing big. What was "big" was that he continually got up and took pictures of Katie yet didn't take one picture of me, even when I asked him more than once. Instead, it was something to the order of the world didn't need another picture of me and that Katie was four years old and way cuter. I'd taken no more than 5 pictures on Halloween, there were more than enough shots left to have taken ten pictures of Katie and only one of me... yet that didn't happen. Not one damn picture.

I mean, I realize it was just a picture... but that's the point.


November 4, 1997 - Tuesday


Well, by the end of Sunday, the bowling/picture deal had subsided. The four of us went bowling again and a couple jabs were made about the photo deal, but it was no longer a big deal.

Yet, earlier today when I was thinking back about it and the past few days, I thought about what Cher said in Clueless. When she was thinking about the great qualities of the people she knew, she commented, "Dionne and Murray, when they think no one is watching, are so considerate of each other." That's the way Larry and I function... when we're alone together, we have the best of times. Yet lately, we've hardly been where "no one is watching." Jason's been around nearly non-stop, so not only have he and I had our little "I'm better than you" wars but each of the three of us has been trying to most impress the other with our biting wit. It's starting to take it's toll.


November 5, 1997 - Wednesday


Remember a while back when I mentioned that we had to come up with presentation ideas for my gender class and my idea was chosen as one of the two? Well, today was the day of the presentation...

This past weekend, I taped a bunch of clips from The Price Is Right together to form a montage of images showing the fondling of the prizes by the beauties. ("Fondling" is not my word, but rather one I got from reading the book Come On Down!!!: The TV Game Show Book). In between the clips taken from The Price Is Right, I put clips of myself talking about going to the taping and how I wondered how the formation of children's gender roles was influenced by seeing the women do such trivial tasks and be represented purely as objects. I wanted to edit the tape on Larry's new computer, but that didn't work...

Anyway, I taped together the clips using two V.C.R.'s and brought it to class today realizing my cheesy mug would be on screen in front of the class about eight feet tall. So... we began the tape. It played and I sat there thinking how long it seemed on "the big screen" when I knew from before that it was only six and a half minutes. (It could be no longer than eight, so I timed it.)

When the video was finally done, I was the first of the group to talk. I read my script... "script" because I wrote every single word that I was going to say. For our presentation to reach the thirty minute time requirement, we each had to talk four minutes. Timing myself at home, it took me three so I told myself that I'd slow my speech down. Of course, being in front of a group, I was nervous so it came in way under four... somewhere nearer two and a half I would guess. If everyone did the same thing I did, I thought, we were sunk... yet they didn't. In fact, they all talked much longer than the required four minutes.

Our presentation was more like forty minutes... and it was great. The other members each managed to talk about their particular subject great. They each provided a different take on the same situation and the member who did the conclusion was perfect. Having only heard each of our generalized foci before the actual presentation, she managed to create a conclusion which referenced us and even brought in facts that we'd revealed only minutes before. I was beyond impressed... with everyone. And as for the video, each of the members made a point of thanking me for it and saying that it was great. I told them that I talked short and each of them more than made up for it. I mean, it was just such a koool feeling. The six of us managed to pull off our presentation, work with each other, and do it.

Of course, now I have to start studying for that computer science midterm at 2PM.


November 15, 1997 - Saturday


A lot's been happening lately... most notably, last weekend, I went to Kentucky for a surprise visit. I only called my brother on Thursday to tell him that he had to pick me up at the airport that night, so it was a big surprise for everyone.

I didn't take notes on the trip, but I did use a microcassette recorder to keep tracks of my thoughts. To begin the rather lengthy Real Audio clip, click here.

Just so you know, my voice gets a little high (just like my dad's) when I'm surprising my mom. I'm not quite sure if my voice is affected for the cassette recorder or not, but listen to the unedited clip if you want. (Of course, being relatively unedited, it's not quite as concise or focused as the journal entries, but perhaps it adds a new dimension.)

For those of you without the RealAudio player, a rough transcript of the tape follows, but basically, I decided to surprise my parents after seeing the movie Soul Food. It had a lot of parallels, especially the part about the family being a group, having dinner every Sunday until the grandmother went to the hospital. It pretty much happened exactly the same way with my family in Kentucky. Each Sunday we would go to church and stay at my grandmother's for the rest of the day. As my house wasn't connected to city water, my mom usually did the laundry at my grandmothers while my brother and I hung out with the cousins. As soon as my grandmother got sick, though, the extended family unit pretty much fell apart. Long story short, due to my bum uncles, my grandmother lost her house and had to move out. Due to years of smoking, her health was failing. A couple years after having her house foreclosed upon, she died and my mom's brothers could best be described as vultures. I have no desire to speak with my uncles, but that's another story.

Surprise Trip To Kentucky Tape Transcript        RealAudio Version
Hey guys out there in Cyberland. I thought I'd add a little new feature here. Actually, it came about because I was heading, I'm heading to Kentucky later today and I wanted to capture the moment of surprising my parents, yet I didn't want the intrusiveness of a video camera, so I bought a little microcassette recorder and I'm going to put it in my pocket, and turn it on before I go in the house and surprise my mom. So you guys can hear it all. All her boo-hooing. So, anyway, I also thought this would be another way way to add a little more personal touch to the web page. The sound quality of this little microcassette recorder is decent, but it's going to RealAudio anyway, and, it shouldn't be a problem. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy it and that's it for now.

Well, it's 12:35. I just got finished with class and I'm leaving USC's campus. Stop get a bottle of water to take on the plane, then I'm going home, then on to the airport. I was actually thinking about the whole thing and surprising Mom and I'm already nervous. So, she's just gonna flip. I mean, like boo-hoo. Totally.

It's 2:30 now and I'm here at the airport by myself and I'm waiting to see if I can get upgraded to first class though the magical powers of knowing the right people. Um, I'm probably going to get on first class without paying anything extra or using any frequent flyer miles, or whatever. I haven't ridden first class before, usually just say that it's for the old guys, but I guess it should be fun.

It's 2:45 and I'm now waiting for them to call my name. I wish I could go like get a magazine or something, but supposedly I'm supposed to wait here and see if they're calling my name for the uprgrade to first class. Ok. Later.

2:55. They just called my name and I got my new ticket. So I'm in seat 2B, up in the big rich ass leather seats and all the old men. So, OK, I said I'd never do it, but that was when I had to pay for it myself. Since I'm not paying for it, it's another story. So OK.

Well, I made it to the (Cincinnati) airport after the time my flight was supposed to have left, but my flight is now not leaving until 45 minutes after that, so it's leaving at 11:30, but my brother's supposed to be at the airport in Lexington to pick me up at 11, so I won't get there 'til like 12:15 or 12:30. So, I tried calling to get ahold of him, I called my mom and asked for him in a really hick voice so she wouldn't know who it was, but she said that he wasn't there. He's at his girlfriend's house, but I don't know his girlfriend's last name.

I just now realized, it's 11:12 here, so my brother's already at the airport in Lexington, so there's no way to get ahold of him, even if I knew the number. So, I guess I'll just be here and getting on the plane in about twenty minutes. Looks like they'd sat boarding by now, but they haven't. So, uh, that's it, uh, who knows, but first class was unbelievable. I'll have to write about that in detail. I mean, I thought the difference was just the seat size, but the treatment, they're like dessert for dinner, and like wine, like just, oh my gosh, such a difference. Ok, anyway, more on that later. Bye.

It's 11:25 and the flight's supposed to leave at 11:30, yet they haven't said anything about boarding or I don't know, I guess this airport's so small, like nobody even needs to pre-board. I'm confused. I'm going to go ask.

Well, supposedly the plane is supposed to be on the ground in four minutes, so I suspect the people have to get off of it then we'll get right on. Uh, it's probably a small propeller plane, so it shouldn't take too long to clean up, at least I hope.

OK, we're finally getting on the plane at 11:35. Hope my brother isn't going to kill me, ok, bye.

I'm here finally, my brother's here, he's picking me up. It's 12:20 in the night. I gotta wait for my luggage then we'll be off to surprise Mom.

Ok, my brother's going in the house with the cake. And he'll come out and I'll see him in a second, then it'll be big surprise, surprise 'cause he's going to tell them that his girlfriend's here. So my mom's just going to like pass out and you guys can hear it, so just listen along. And here it goes. I'm leaving the tape recorder on now.

Brother: Look what I found.
Me: Surprise!
Mom: What are you doing here?
Me: Surprise!
Mom: What are you doing here? What are you doing here? How'd you get here?
Me: I flew here.
Mom: What for?
Me: Just 'cause.
Mom: Where'd you get him?
Me: At the airport.
Mom: Well, how'd I not know it?
Me: 'Cause it was a surprise!
Mom: Honey, gosh, tell me, what's going on here?
Me and my Brother: Nothing!
Me: I had this trip planned three weeks ago.
Mom: You didn't tell me to turn the (water)bed on.
Me: I'd been trying to tell you as subtly as I could, but you wouldn't turn it on.
Mom: Now tell me, I think I'm still crazy.
Brother: He and Larry called today and asked me if I'd pick him up at the airport at 11, but his flight didn't get there until 12:30, so I waited there an hour and a half. They told me I couldn't tell ya.
Me: Yeah, he didn't know until today.
Mom: And I didn't hear you pull up right now just now, or you come in, or anything.
Brother: See, you were supposed to look at this cake and you would've known.
Me: I don't know what it says.
Mom: I still, what are you doing here?
Me: Surprise trip to surprise my mommy!
Mom: No, you don't usually surprise me.
Me: I know.
Mom: So what are you doing here?
Me: Nothing, I had this trip planned three weeks ago.
Mom: What is today?
Me: November
Mom: Look who's here.
Dad: Honey, what are you doing here?
Me: Surprise.
Dad: Golly, well, honey, honey, how nice. That is a nice surprise. We didn't know you were coming home.
Me: Nobody did. I didn't tell him 'til this morning.
Mom: You knew today. All along you knew that.
Dad: I can't believe he's home.
Mom: I still can not believe this. Tell me why you're here.
Me: I'm here...
Mom: There's a reason.
Me: No, there's no reason. I booked my ticket three weeks ago.
Mom: Well, when do you have to go back?
Me: Sunday
Mom: Well, what's today? Tell me again.
Me: Thursday.
Mom: Two days?
Me: Yeah, well, I gotta go to school.
Mom: I know, but (laughter).
Mom: I still can't believe this. I gotta figure something out here.
Me: I saw that movie Soul Food. I got all sappy. I booked the ticket and then I said I wasn't going to tell you about it and that was before you got on the phone and said "ahh, I miss you" and then even that day, I was like, "ahh, I should have told her that I was coming next week."

Kentucky Observations Tape Transcript        RealAudio Version
The next day, Friday, it's about 11:40 in the morning. Uh, you know actually, last night, I'm glad to be home and everything. What really like shocked me is what how small the housed seemed. Ya know, as a kid it was always bigger, and I've been home since then, but for some reason this time, this house just seems so small. I don't know. Not like a necessarily bad thing, ya know, it's just that the house seems so small and old.

We're now embarking on the Kroger experience. We just had Cracker Barrel lunch where everyone knew us by name, and now we're going to Kroger, the grocery store, because Mom wants to go as the experience because it's the grand opening of the new megastore.

Things of note that happened in the Kroger store: I overheard one group of women say "I love their salad bar." They had eight kinds of Grands biscuits. And I saw one gay guy. That was it.

Ya know, I noticed in Kroger. The guys are like all farmboys here, which has a certain appeal after being in LA for a while. You know, just sorta a dopey innocence. LA hardens people. A guy can look!

Oh yeah, and speaking of which, I don't know why it seems so different like I was only gone since like the end of July and now it's November 7th today, but uh, it just seems like everything, it's been so long since I was here. Ya know, building wise everything seems the same. It was just like I'd forgotten. Normally when I come back, it's like oh well, I've been gone, but it's just like getting back on the bicycle. I don't know. People are way friendlier. In Kroger, I even decided I'd be way friendlier too. I was talking to the lady cutting the turkey in Kroger, telling her how she was really good at it. It's just a whole different culture.

Well, it's 2 o'clock Eastern time now and I'm here at the horse barn. Like I said before, my dad trains horses with my brother. I'm waiting here for him to train a few more then we're going to head home.

Ya know, I said there was one gay guy in Kroger. Ya know, and he was like obviously gay. Like two earrings ya know, and he was like checking me out. It's like the paradox. The guys here are cute in their sorta dopey innocence, but how do you find a gay one who's not obviously gay. Like me, I headed to Boston as soon as I could to get out of here, so I could like start to date. I think it's like Larry said before: The best guys are like from the mid east who move to somewhere else, on to the big cities, because they still have that whole sorta morality and innocence buried into them. I think that's true.

It's 2:15 and it looks like it's going to take a little longer to train the horses than I thought, so I'm going to another grocery store to buy a pumpkin.

By the way, I'd appreciate any feedback about this. Whether it was worth your time, or whether you spent too long downloading the clip. What do you think of the little baby tape recorder going along and catching my comments? I think like this, for a trip to Kentucky, you know, usually, I'm like always with the notepad writing detail after detail after detail. You know, I'm just here to like chill, not to write down every piddly detail that happened, but this way I can still talk and it's not the hassle of carrying a little notepad. You can e-mail me at justin@koool.com.

Well, that had no pumpkins at the grocery store, but I did manage to get a pumpkin pie which I saw on the way in. What was worse was that there were like three checkouts open and two were really filled with customers and one was the expresslane, and since I had only that, I went to the express lane and the express lane cashier was a girl who asked me to go to her senior prom I think when I was a sophomore or junior in high school. So I went with her. It was a big catastrophe. Ya know, not because of the whole gay thing, but because ya know, she was pretty poor, and it was prom, so we were spending the big bucks and going to the restaurant that cost like $80, which in Kentucky for two people is unbelievably expensive. So we just had monetary clash there, which I just couldn't quite understand. You know, prom is like when you rent the tux, buy the dress, you go all out, but so anyway, it ended up a not too great night and I ended up at the house by eleven. I don't even think we went to the prom. I don't remember any prom except my senior year when I went as like a third to Amanda and her then boyfriend Curt... not really a third, but we ended up leaving all together. So, yeah, that was not fun going to her checkout. I tried to avoid it, but the lines were just too long. She didn't even look at me, but I know she had to see me 'cause she made absolutely no eye contact whatsoever.

And, I ruined another shirt. No last night it was a pair of jeans 'cause my mom who is always painting something decided to vanish a table which I sat down upon while I was on the phone, so a pair of shorts got varnish all over them, and when I was in there apparently all the pumpkin pie boxes were covered in grease. I have no idea why there would be that much grease there, but an expensive sweatshirt is now stained. It just seems odd 'cause nobody wears nice clothes here... not that I'm a clothes, I mean, my clothes are pretty much like whatever, but here the average clothes are like below "whatever". And, eh, like I've already ruined a pair of shorts and a shirt and I've only been here less than 24 hours.

There's a little more, but I've been digitizing and transcibing for over three hours now. It's not that interesting, but if you let the audio clip keep playing, you'll hear it.

Click here to move on to the next set of entries.

© 1997 Justin Clouse


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