Justin's Life... October 1997

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October 1, 1997


About two weeks ago, I got an envelope in the mail which had my address on it, in my handwriting. I couldn't remember what I'd sent away for, but when I opened the envelope and found four tickets for a taping of The Price Is Right, I was pretty excited.

Today was the date on those tickets, and so, Amanda and I got up at 4:30AM to go to the studio. -- After having heard that people camp out all night just to get in, I called to ask a Ticket Center employee. He said that some people get there as early as midnight and that a lot of people are there by 6:30AM. No way did I want to sit there for hours and not get in, hence leaving at 5AM.

Anyway, while it was still dark, we arrived at the studios. We asked a security guard where to park then proceeded to get in line. We managed to get on the first bench. We were one of the first fifty people there. We'd for sure be getting in.

And so we sat, and sat, and sat. We noticed at least a dozen different shirts proclaiming love for Bob Barker and in particular noticed a group of women wearing shirts stating "Pick My Sister". When the bench behind us had filled up shortly thereafter, we noticed a group of college age girls. At first I thought they were a sorority, then I realized they were more like a gang. Whatever happened, we did not want them to win, that would have been simply "unfair".

At 7:15AM, the crowd coordinators moved the people on the benches closer together. For measurement purposes, they sat exactly fifty people on the first row: We were about ten or so from the 50 end.

Around 45 minutes later, the crowd coordinators came back on the loudspeaker and said that they'd be assigning numbers. Once we got a number, our place in line was established and we could leave. They concluded by saying that we should return by 9:30AM and sit on the west side of the building where ticket processing would begin.

Amanda and I got our numbers. She was 33 and I was 34. My favorite two digit number, and I got it. Perhaps fate was looking kindly on me.

From the time we got our numbers until around 9AM, we walked around the Beverly/Fairfax area. We went in Sav-on, Lucky, and K-Mart to pass time. When we got back to the lot, not many people had returned, but we sat on the 30 bench and waited.

As time passed, everyone pretty much began talking to everyone else. The returnees told the newbies about the procedure and we talked about the various things we'd do if we won. In particular, Amanda and I talked with these two black women. They both had taken off work to see the show and I honestly hoped that if we didn't get on, that one of them would.

When I next checked my watch, it was 10:13AM and the crowd coordinators had just finished giving us our name tags. Sitting there doing absolutely nothing except waiting made time go by beyond slow. In turn, Amanda and I analyzed the people around us to speed it up a little. There were two younger guys, Ryan and Douglas (They had name tags after all. ), who were perplexing. They didn't look gay, but they set our gaydar off. They were together and they were just too young to be talking to the other people as much as they did if they'd been straight. And one of them used a word, which escapes me now, that a straight person would never use.

Sitting on the other side of Veronica and Vanessa (The two black women) were Mauro and Michel who were undoubtedly gay. Mauro, the shorter, muscular of the two, kept making eye contact. Amanda even said that he winked at her. (In hindsight, I guess I could have striked up a conversation, but at the time, I just kept looking and not looking trying to figure out what the point of looking was.) Of course, I probably would have been more inclined to strike up a conversation if Michel had looked at me/us in the same way as Mauro did. He was a pretty boy of sorts, a Canadian as it came to be found out. He had the palest blue eyes which caught both Amanda's and my attention. Of course, I'm also sure that they had to be wondering about the combination of Amanda and I. I even said something out loud about us being married.

At around 11:30AM, the contestant interview process began. As we passed in front of the producer, he said our name (which was still on our nametag) then asked where we lived and what we did for a living. I, of course, had thought about my response. Richmond Kentucky played better than Los Angeles and I was a USC student majoring in communication.

Yet, whenever he said my name, I balked, just like I did at the Hollywood Squares try-outs. I started answering his second question before he answered it and even then I tripped over my words. If they were using the same qualifications as Hollywood Squares, I was out. If, however, someone really nervous, who would totally express their excitement on camera, was more their style, I still had a chance.

When the fifteen second interview was done, we were placed on yet a different set of benches and waited for the 250+ other people to complete theirs.

Finally, at around 12:45PM, we were taken into the studio... and it was small. I'd remembered from the Tonight Show With Jay Leno taping that a studio was much smaller than it appeared on TV, but for some reason I thought The Price Is Right would be bigger. I mean, they had to have room for all those cars and boats.

Anyway, we got to sit on the rightmost (from the camera's viewpoint) side of the middle section. We were right next to the aisle. I told Amanda that if we couldn't win, at least I hoped someone our aisle would so that when they passed to get on stage, we could act like fools and be on camera.

For the next hour, the game played and for the next hour, they didn't call our name. The closest we were to anyone winning was the last contestant of the show who was one of the "Pick My Sisters" women and in the row behind us. When I saw her coming, I waved like an idiot at the camera and while I didn't get to see the monitors to make sure, I know that we were at least on camera during that time.

When the show was over, my hands tingled from clapping. I'd yelled for every contestant and ooh'd and aah'd on cue. Remarkably, the show was less exciting when it was right there with us. Instead of being more excited about the contestants on stage, I was less concerned. At home, I've yelled at the TV and even been overjoyed at times. Today I yelled what I thought was the right price, but I put no feeling into it.

When we left, I put the postcard they gave us in the mailbox and jokingly consoled Amanda about our not winning. Vanessa, Veronica, Douglas, Ryan, Michel and Mauro were also among the empty-handed, but at least it was quite an experience. I know my VCR will be running on the air date, November 20, 1997. For those of you who are interested, I'm in the third row back on the camera's right side of the middle aisle wearing a grey and blue shirt over a grey t-shirt. Guess I still have 14 minutes and 45 seconds left in my fifteen minutes of fame.


October 8, 1997


I've been on campus since about 9:45 this morning. I'll continue to be here until around 9 or 9:30 tonight. But, it's not actually that big a deal. I'm not fretting over it.

Instead, I'm sorta pissed off about my classes today... well, rather the grades I got (or will get) on my midterms.

Starting from the beginning, this morning I went to my Comm 395: Gender, Media, and Communication class. The TA told us that we were going to pick groups for our group project and we ended up going around the room throwing out ideas about areas of gender which we'd like to focus on. I usually sit in the back row and today that made me the last to speak. Before, the TA had tried to fit the other classmates into the groups defined by the first rows. I mean, basically it was the people on the first row who came up with the ideas for possible projects then the people on back were asked to choose one. By the time it got to the back row, there were three groups, one focusing upon Lallapaloosa and an all-female counterpart, another focusing upon anorexia on campus, and another focusing upon gender in film. I'm not the biggest music fan, so I had absolutely no idea what the Lallapaloosa group would be about. The anorexia group didn't strike me as the most interesting either. If I had to choose, I wanted to be in the group focusing on film.

But when it got to me, I said that last week I wasn't in class because I went to a taping of The Price Is Right and that I thought about focusing on the portrayal of women in game shows. Well, the rest of the class seemed to think that was a worthwhile project and before I knew it, we'd gone from three groups down to two. The guy who'd wanted the film group said he wanted to switch to game shows and the anorexia project couldn't find any partakers other than the creator. By the time we were done, four of the nine other people in the class ended up wanting to work on the game show project with me. Koool.

So, no, that's not what I'm really pissed about... actually, that was quite good and it made me feel like I had an idea others liked as well.

What I'm pissed about are the two classes that followed. In my Comm 202 lab, I got back my midterm. A "C"... not the best grade in the world, but what was even more off putting was that it appeared that my essay hadn't even been read... but we couldn't complain in class. The professor's rules were 48 hours later and in writing.

From my Comm 202 lab, I went to my CSCI 101 lecture where I took the first midterm. I figured it would be pretty easy. I knew how to write the programs and had gotten the homework done without any problems. Yet when I got the test, it wasn't of anything we'd done in the homework, but rather tiny sections of the book. Case in point, most of the grade will come from writing a program which reads data out of a file then prints the results back into another file. We did no homework about manipulating data in files and it's only two pages in the book, yet without exacting knowledge of how to open data files, access the information, and write to another file, you fail... a large chunk of the 45% of the total score problem. My only solace is knowing that if I didn't know it, maybe several others didn't as well.

When that was done, I came here to the computer lab and wrote:

                                                  Justin Clouse
                                                  Comm 202

Midterm #1 Grade Appeal

Section III. Essay Question #1

In answering the question, I wrote:
"In a utopian narrative, an idea of life more efficient, more pleasant, ad more focused upon living (instead of the requirements mandated for living) is present."

The word "present" is underlined with an arrow pointing to the grader's comment "What about vision of future?"

It would seem that whoever graded my essay simply looked for keywords and ignored the actual words on the paper. A more careful reading would have noticed my use of the word "idea" and discerned the word "present" as a synonym for "included" instead of simply assuming it mean "now." An idea comes to fruition in the future. After all, if it is already present, it is no longer an idea but a reality.

Perhaps the person grading my essay had already read several others that day and therefore simply skimmed mine. However, I feel that assigning a grade of 60% to an essay without bothering to read it is unacceptable. While grading on the inclusion of key points is one thing, grading by simply looking for keywords without reading the essay is another.

Please review the attached copy of the above mentioned test page.

Justin Clouse

I grabbed a bite to eat then came back again to write this. It's still another hour until my last class of the day. Oh well, just thought I'd add a little cheer to you guys out in cyberland.


October 11, 1997


Thursday night Amanda and I went to West Hollywood. As she leaves on Sunday and the weekend is being spent in La Jolla, it was the last night to take her.

Anyway, we went to Axis and started dancing. After exchanging glances with a couple of people and thinking about telling one guy, via his friend, that I thought he was cute but I was taken, I saw Christian and his boyfriend. They came over and started dancing next to us.

A while later, I put a dollar in the go-go boy's bikini and he pulled the front of it down so far that I saw everything but the top (if you know what I mean ), but I was remarkably unnervous about the deal. Geez, I guess the past two years from where I was literally weak in my knees to now where I can put a buck down a guys G-string without a blink really say a lot.

OK, sorry there's really nothing that great to tell... if I'd written sooner I know I could have recalled more minute details, but...


October 13, 1997


I'd rather be fishin'.

I've seen those bumperstickers more times than I can count and always thought, "What a loser." I hate to fish. It's one of the most boring activities that I can think of... yet today, I'd rather be fishing. See, I'm suffering from mind meltdown. Everything seems to be giving me problems... everything from internet connections to today's homework. Case in point, today's homework for my computer science class was:

The pressure of gas changes as the volume and temperature of the gas vary. Write a program that uses the Van der Waals equation of state for a gas,

(P+(an^2)/V^2)(V-bn) = nRT

to display in tabular form the relationship between the pressure and the volume of n moles of carbon dioxide at a constant absolute temperature (T). P is the pressure in atmospheres and V is the volume in liters. The Van der Waals constants for carbon dioxide are a = 3.592 L2 * atm/mol2 and b = 0.0427 L/mol. Use 0.08206 L * atm/mol * K for the gas constant R. Inputs to the program include n, the Kelvin temperature, the initial and final volumes in milliliters, and the volume increment between lines of the table. Your program will display a table that varies the volume of the gas from the initial to the final volume in steps prescribed by the volume increment. Here is a sample run:

Please enter at the prompts the number of moles of carbon dioxide, the absolute temperature, the initial volume in milliliters, the final volume, and the increment volume between lines of the table.

Quantity of carbon dioxide (moles) > 0.02
Temperature (kelvin) > 300
Initial volume (milliliters) > 400
Final volume (milliliters) > 600
Volume increment (milliliters) > 50

0.0200 moles of carbon dioxide at 300 kelvin

Volume (ml)              Pressure (atm)

  400                      1.2246
  450                      1.0891
  500                      0.9807
  550                      0.8918
  600                      0.8178

Well, it's been way too long since my high school calc class for me to remember how to manipulate that equation so that P is on a side by itself. I tried various steps yet still came up fruitless. Finally, I wrote the program and put a note where the equation would have been. I mean, I knew how to get the table to output using a "for" statement. That was the purpose of the assignment, that was what the previous chapter had explained. Yet, I'm sure I'll get major points knocked off because the program isn't functional.

Amazingly, no one said a work about the mathematical part of the problem when turning it in a minute ago. I know it's a class for engineers, but I still would have figured a 101 class would have had others like me.

Anyway, that's how my day is going today.


October 15, 1997 - Wednesday


Well, a couple of you wrote to explain how the problem is solved:

Hi Justin,
The equation is P={nRt/(V-bn)}-an*2/v*2 where n*2 stands for n squared and v*2 stands for v squared.

To make P stands by itself, it might help to think of P as the prince surrounded by bodyguards, namely the 'addition bodyguard' i.e an*2/v*2 and the 'multiplication bodyguard' i.e (V-bn).The addition bodyguard is closer to the prince, P. The multiplication bodyguard is further away from the prince. To get to the prince, you will have to kill the outer bodyguard before having to deal with the inner bodyguard.

To nullify the bodyguard,you will have to divide if the bodyguard is a multiplication type , and subtract if the bodyguard is the addition type.( i.e do the opposite).Thus we have to divide both sides of the equation with (V-bn) before subtracting both sides of the equation with an*2/v*2.

I know its too late since you have already passed up your assignment. Hope it will be of use for future algebraic manipulations. Hope I don't sound like a geek either.

By the way, thanks for your ramblings. I enjoyed reading it. Bye!

From a voyeur,


Perhaps many have jogged your equation solving memory, but if not:

(P + an**2/V**2)(V - bn) = nRT    divide both sides by: (V-bn)

to get:

P + an**2/V**2 = nRT/(V - bn)     subtract from both sides: an**2/V**2

to get:

P = nRT/(V - bn) - an**2/V**2          QED

I think its like riding a bike - you never really, deeply forget.


I wrote both of those guys back and thanked them for their time. It amazes me that it was that simple and I forgot it. Of course, it amazes me even more that you guys would actually take the time to write out in specific detail how to solve the problem. Stuff like that really gives me that "Whoa, koool, they like me." feeling.


October 24, 1997 - Friday


There are a lot of names in this entry; some that I haven't mentioned before and others which I've only mentioned rarely. They connect to each other and to me in this manner.

  • Christian - USC student who found this web site when he was doing the "Semester In Washington D.C." program over a year ago. He, in turn, told his friend Erik that he should meet me.
  • Erik - USC student who met me because of Christian's distant introduction. He and I have since hung out quite a bit and he's one of the names you're more likely to remember.
  • Leif - USC student who's Christian's boyfriend. He's a freshman but seems to have no problem dealing with us 21+ boys.
  • Tom - USC student transfered in this semester who put an ad in AOL's "Just Friends" section to which I responded. He and I hung out quite a bit last week but a COMM 395 midterm took most of my time this past week so I didn't write about it.


No lessor words (or font) would do it justice... but I'm jumping ahead of myself

About three or four weeks ago, I told Larry that I wanted to have a Halloween Party. That was about the same time that Amanda and I went to Knott's Berry Farm's Halloween Haunt, so he suggested that we (he) should simply pay everyone's admission into the park and have the party there. After Amanda and I went and saw how koool it was, that sounded like a great idea.

And so, last week I created interactive invitations for the party.

Of course, it was only when I was getting ready to order the tickets (after everyone had confirmed) that I realized that Thursday, the day Larry and I had agreed on going and the day I'd told Erik and Tom orally, was October 23rd and not the 24th. I'd had people confirm for two different days.

So I quickly sent out an e-mail stating:


I used the calendar in my checkbook to get the date of the Halloween deal... it should have been Thursday the 23rd instead of Friday the 24th. Is that a problem?


Everyone, except Jeff (who didn't respond the first time), wrote back to say that Thursday would be fine. And so, this past Friday I ordered eight tickets, including one for Jeff just in case he didn't have a chance to get back with a "yes" answer.

Wednesday afternoon, as a sort of pep talk, I sent out this letter:

Hey Dudes,

Tomorrow's the day!!!

Just to reiterate...


People wearing costumes will not be let in the park, so if you come here in a costume, you'll be forced to redress in my clothes. (Yeah, I know some of you would like that, but let's just save some time and wear normal street clothes. (Erik, your "normal" retro clothes should pass. *grin*))


You will be patted down and metal detectorized before being let into the park.


We'll leave here around 6:30PM (hopefully) and the park closes at 2AM. So if you have any homework due Friday, you better have it done before we leave. For those of you who need/want rides, let me know. Just remember, everybody that gets picked up will have to be taken home... at around 3AM. (Remember, Knott's Scary Farm is in Orange County.)


The most important thing... I haven't had a party in years, so let's all just have fun. I'm really psyched about it and think it'll be great. For those of you who are overly masculine (yeah, right, you're all gay!), you'll appreciate the production values of a 1000+ munsters and decorations EVERYWHERE even if you aren't scared...

Call me or let me know if there's anything you're unsure of...

And by Thursday afternoon everyone except Jeff was going and a replacement for his ticket was found without a problem. (Sidenote: I never sent that letter to him about my picture, but he and I are still at odds. It's pretty much a mutual apathy now.)

And so, after my classes finished yesterday, I hurried home and began preparing. I ran to Costco to buy hors d'oeuvres and a pizza. I sat out the ingredients to make turkey sandwiches and put Scream on the t.v.. I was all set and ready for the first guests to arrive.

But when I logged onto AOL, I found e-mail from Tom stating that neither he nor his boyfriend (who I hadn't yet met) would be coming because he wasn't feeling well. He'd confirmed the night before so I wasn't too happy that he cancelled at the last minute. I wanted him to go and it left two $36.45 tickets with no users.

At 6:15PM, the latest that everyone was supposed to be here, no one except Jason had arrived. Larry was still at work and no one had called to say they were running late. I was beginning to get quite antsy.

Thankfully, by 6:45PM, Erik, Christian and Leif had all arrived. The "youngsters," as Larry later referred to us, had all arrived.

By 7:05PM, Larry arrived with an employee of his and his boyfriend -- They filled the two extra tickets. They later came to be referred to as the "adults."

After everyone ate some food and talked for a while, we left for the amusement park. The youngsters all went in the van with me while the adults went in the car with Larry. When we got there, we all joined back up and took the park by storm.

We began by riding Montezuma's Revenge. I rode with Erik who cowered over the handbar with his eyes closed. He's such an extrovert otherwise, I thought it was more than a little amusing that he was scared. From there, we went to the Jaguar and onto one of the mazes... yet my words seem just to be chronology without relaying the moment.

It was koool. It was beyond koool. All of us just hanging out, acting crazy, chilling out, posing for pictures with our eyes half closed, riding roller coasters, talking about everything and nothing, waiting in line and occasionally being scared. It was AMAZING. It was everything that I wanted. I was euphoric. I am euphoric. I must have thanked Larry a dozen times since last night... it was just such a great time. Spectacular is the only word to describe it.


October 30, 1997 - Thursday


Well, the euphoria of last Thursday night has finally worn off... but not before I took time to write Christian, Erik, and Leif each thank you letters. -- I would have written one to Larry but he play harassed me for those dozen vocal thank you's and I'm sure he has no doubt as to how much I appreciate the night.


It was great to get to really meet you Thursday night and I sincerely want to thank you for going. It was particularly koool talking to you one-to-one, sharing our dating experiences. I value/appreciate your sharing yourself with me. I may have known you only one night, but what a night. All through my childhood and adolescence, I always wanted to be part of the gang... and here, three years into college, I finally acheived it. I've practically been euphoric ever since (and I'm not one to walk around in a perky mood ). If you enjoyed Thursday half as much as I did, I'm sure you'll agree that we all have to do something (a movie, putt putt, whatever) on a more regular basis.

Anyway, I'm out of room. I just wanted to personally thank you for a truly spectacular time.

Thanks again,


Thanks for going to Knott's Berry Thursday night. I had more fun than I've had in a long time and you really help to make it happen. As most gay boys, I always felt that I never really belonged. I so wanted to be part of the gang, yet I never was. Well, here three years into college, I finally felt like part of the gang. Not only part of the gang, but able to be my true self and part of the gang. You helped to make that happen and I've been almost euphoric ever since. I mean, the night couldn't have been better. I got to flirt with you and got to know Leif. You even let me put your picture online... and so, I want to sincerely thank you for making Thursday a truly special night for me. Before we'd even arrived back here at the house, I was already thinking that we have to all hang out together on a more regular basis. Geez, I can't really say how GREAT a time I had. It was simply spectacular!



Thanks for going Thursday night to Knott's Berry. I had more fun thant I can remember. I mean, as a kid and through high school, I always wanted to be one of the gang, yet I never was. But Thursday, I was part of the gang... and you helped to make that happen Ans so, I sincerely thank you for your contribution to Thursday. I mean, I've practically been euphoric ever since... and you know, for me, euphoria is a real rarity, so we've all go to do something similar (perhaps a movie, putt putt, etc) on a more regular basis.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated Thursday night.

Thanks again,

In other news, today I got back my COMM 395 Gender, Media, And Communication midterm... and I got a "B+" It really looks like this'll be my best semester at USC so far


October 31, 1997 - Halloween


Ever have one of those days where you're just waiting for the nuclear bomb to wipe you off the face of the earth? Today's one of those days... at least as far as this little corner of the world goes.

I got up and began working on a video I'm creating for my Gender class presentation. It thought I'd be able to create it on Larry's new computer using non-linear digital video editing, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how to capture the video in a format large enough for playback to television. I tried various ways and it was always either too small or it didn't record at all. Finally, beyond frustrated, I gave up and decided I'd simply use two VCR's to edit the pieces together. It won't look anywhere near as koool as it would have if I could edit it together more precisely and use overlays, but oh well. At the least, when the time comes, I do know how to edit digital video where the output is also digital.

Fairly frustrated and feeling like I was going to bounce off the walls, I tried to calm down. As I was sitting in the kitchen, I remembered that Christian had said Wednesday (when I had lunch with he and Leif) that he'd sent me something in the mail to the address here, so I went out to the garage to check the mail. Passing the door, my shirt tail got hung and it ripped.

Everything seemed to be going wrong, so I decided I'd run to Costco to pick up some stuff Larry'd said we needed. I got half way through the store when I left my cart to get through the crowd. When I returned thirty seconds later, it was gone. Someone had stolen my cart. I walked around the area looking for a cart with the items I'd already chosen: If I'd found the person I was definitely going to say something... yet the cart was no where to be found.

Not wanting to go back outside to get another cart, I simply went back through the store and carried all the items.

Now, I'm back here... waiting for the Halloween trick or treaters to come by and torch the house.

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© 1997 Justin Clouse


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