Justin's Life... April 3rd - 5th, 1998

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April 3, 1998 - Friday


The next day of skiing in Telluride wasn't wonderful either, though not because the snow was making it hard to see. Rather, the snow from the day and night before accumulated to be over two feet. Skiing downhill in places other than the ten feet or so wide spot that was groomed was more like plowing. I mean, I tried staying in the groomed area, but with five feet long skis, turning back and forth as you go down the hill in a ten feet area is near impossible. And so, there were several times I skiied out of the groomed area and my skis went so far down into the snow that I could only see my knees. Going down that far into the snow didn't really make skiing that difficult, but the differing resistances on a fourth of my body did cause me to fall... a lot. I mean, I was skiing along for a bit (read "ten seconds") and then all of a sudden I'd fall. I think it was due to the snow having various densities, but I also know that I kept trying to lift my leg up... I guess subconsciously trying to get above the snow again.

Before we left, I took a few of these pictures:

Me inside the commissary Me on the walk back from the slopes, covered in snow. Larry after initially falling in the snow. Larry after falling in the snow and not being able to get up. Snow

Then, the next day, we headed back to Los Angeles... but met some difficulties, not counting a plane so small that the cockpit wasn't even separated. I wrote this letter to United Airlines:

                                  9903 Santa Monica Blvd #170
                                  Beverly Hills CA 90212
                                  March 30, 1998
United Airlines
Customer Relations--WHQPW 
P.O. Box 66100 
Chicago, IL 60666

Dear Sir or Madam:
Upon arriving earlier this afternoon at the Montrose, Colorado airport, I was informed that my flight (Flight #7679 to Denver) was delayed and that the unexplained delay would most likely cause me to miss my connecting flight (Flight #1699 to LAX).

When the plane landed in Denver, it was nearly ten minutes prior to the connecting flightís departure, but any remote chance I had of making that flight was removed by the security check, which for some unknown reason was required AFTER the flight had landed in Denver instead of before boarding in Montrose.

Of course, my fun filled day of traveling is not yet over as the new flight (Flight #1631) which was scheduled to depart at 4:55PM is now delayed due to mechanical problems. Iím sitting in the Denver airport, typing this on a notebook computer, upset that Iím experiencing delay after delay.

Long story short, Iíll be missing my 7 oíclock class at the University of Southern California and my grade will suffer because of the repeatedly delayed flights, delays which have not been weather related. It was going to be tight, getting from LAX to campus after arriving on the 6:17PM new connecting flight, but now it is impossible. I want to know what possible remuneration you have for myself and my fellow traveling companions Larry and Katie [Lastname]. For the most part, I enjoy traveling on United Airlines, but I need to know that your airline values my business.


Justin Clouse

Upon getting into LAX, I left Larry and Katie in the plane seats and hurriedly got to the curb to catch a cab, leaving my luggage for Larry to pick up. When I got to class, it was 7:35PM... and my entrance was more than noticable. Especially considering the class is about fifteen people and we had a guest speaker. I explained the situation to the professor afterwards, but it really pissed me off that we were supposed to get back before 5PM and ended up not getting back until after 7PM.


April 5, 1998 - Sunday


Ever have one of those days where you just can't stop thinking? One of those days were it's just impossible to shut your brain off. You're watching a movie for film class while thinking about what you need to write online... oh well, maybe that one's specific to me, but you get my point.

Well, all this week I've been thinking. Like Monday night when the plane was landing and I was looking out the window. I realized that each of those lights represented someone and that someone saw the world from his viewpoint. I mean, think about it. You wake up, brush your teeth, eat your lunch, do whatever you do, and the whole time, you inherently think that you're the only person doing it, know what I mean? You may know that others are doing the same things and having just as egocentric views, but how often do you really think about it?

Of course, looking down at those lights, I was late for class and trying to think about how it didn't really matter in the big scheme... and, ya know, it doesn't. Who really gives a rat's ass whether I was late to class or not? I mean, does it really effect anything? Yet how often in life do we get so caught up in the little stuff, like whether we're late to class. A lot. So, the next time you're late for something, just think, in the big grand scheme of eons of years and even decades of your life, it doesn't matter whether you're late to class or didn't get your homework done or missed the new episode of South Park. What does matter is that you're changing the world's of the people around you. And you are... no matter how unimportant you personally think you are, you're changing other's lives. Realize that.

I mean, it may seem that I've got the wonder life, but this week, in addition to thinking non-stop, I've also been going from depressed to happy and back again. I went to the mall yesterday to go buy some tennis shoes because I thought they looked cute on someone a few days ago. -- I didn't have any white tennis shoes.

And so, I went to the Glendale Galleria's Robinson-May and bought two pairs of sandals and a pair of tennis shoes. I probably spent too much money, but when I wore the new $35 sandals this morning to the store, it was "hot dog, look at my reflective blue sandals" It gave me a little pick me up. It caused me to have a fleeting, illogical joy, so that was koool.

And when I was buying them, I was amazed at how people were at the mall. I mean, it sounds so crazy, "Amazed that people were at the mall," but I'd forgotten about the days when I went to the mall and just hung out, back in the days of high school when things were relatively care free.

And, when I was buying the shoes, the salesman was flirting with me. I mean, he was so far from my type that I didn't even pick up on it until I was leaving, but when I paid and was getting my shopping bag from him, he said it was time for him to punch out and started walking with me. I then realized that he had been flirting and was making more than ample opportunity for me to hang out/get his phone number/etc.. My type or not, it's koool to have someone flirt.

So anyway, remembering those days of hanging out at the mall, I came home and called this guy named Brian who I met a month or so ago. He wasn't at home and didn't return my call, but that was ok.

For what it's worth, I know this entry hasn't been the most coherent or chronological... but that's ok. Because life goes on... and that's the point.


April 7, 1998 - Tuesday


Last night, in my film editing class, I watched various people get shot, one person get his ear cut off then be doused with gasoline, and another guy shoot himself in the mouth so that his brains splattered on the wall behind him. I was repulsed.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not some bleeding-heart, but why is it ok to show all that in a film and yet it's too much to show two people having sex? I mean, where is that? I would much rather kids watch two people having sex, no matter how explicit, than for them to see one film where a person is enjoying physically torturing someone else. Sure, he might just be having a one night stand, but at least the experience was something of mutual pleasure... I mean, think about it. Just that word, "Pleasure" has a sort of taboo quality. It's almost considered evil to get or receive pleasure... at least from my Kentucky moral viewpoint. I mean, earlier this week, after I'd finished watching the first of the three required films for this weeks class, Network, I told my mom of my "rather them watch a porno" standpoint and she couldn't understand it. I mean, it's that engrained into American's heads that it's ok to watch gory killing but it's bad to watch sex... and I just can't understand why.


April 8, 1998 - Wednesday


Earlier this month I got a letter from a guy saying he was coming to California, asking if I'd like to meet him. Well, actually, I got two letters like that, and there lies the confusion.

Somehow or the other, I got them confused, thinking they both were coming last weekend. Well, one came last weekend and one is here right now. One came last weekend, as in came to LA, and one is here, as in sleeping in the guest bedroom here at the house. And basically, the reason one is here here while the other is not all lies in their e-mails.

Long story short, one guy sent this picture and the other guy sent none. Yes, it was cropped just like that, and No, his face wasn't blurred out when he sent it... but regardless of how you look, why would you take a picture that close up, not smiling, simply staring dead on into the camera and then send it out as representative of who you are? As honest as I try to be here, this is still a world of marketing. I mean, I don't normally post a picture like this, not because I'm trying to deceive anyone, but because this picture has no particular significance and there are other pictures where I look way better.

So, anyway, the quick moral of today's lesson, boys and girls, is get a great picture of yourself and use that when you talk to someone via e-mail because like it or not, we live in a visual world.

Now... back to that guy in the guest bedroom.

He called the day before yesterday to say that he was in California and that he would be in Los Angeles the next day (yesterday). Of course, he called the number listed on the main web page, which is a voicemail only number, and didn't leave a number where I could call him back... and, as school's been taking up most of my time, as the voicemail message is a major pain to change, and as I had no reason to invest that much energy in him, I figured he'd eventually figure it out and hopefully leave a number where I could call him. The next morning he did, and so, I called his friend Courtenay's cell phone and gave the two of them directions to the house. -- Something I don't normally do, but I did make them promise they weren't going to kill me.

When they got here, I was expecting an on-the-large side gal and a thick-rimmed glasses computer nerd. The on-the-large side gal thought was due to my knowing a Courtenay in Boston of that description and the thick-rimmed glasses computer nerd was due to Chris's Neuroscience degree. Neither were anything near that.

Courtenay is a thin, dare I say attractive, girl in her early twenties. Chris is a shorter (5'9") thin guy with sideburns (read "koool"), dimples, a hairy chest (I saw it peeking out from the top of his shirt while the three of us were talking on the deck.), and a valley-girl-meets-Einstein personality. In that, I mean Courtenay and I were, at my suggestion, counting the number of times he said "like" while he was talking four hundred words per minute about academic stuff. Needless to say, we were cracking up and got to the laughing-so-hard-we're-crying point more than once.

By the time Larry got home, about an hour and a half after their arrival, I'd flirted a little, but nothing too major. For the most part, it was flirting by picking on... and I could tell although Chris wasn't acting like he liked it, he really did. For example, after one playful "chastizing," I said something like, "Awww... it's ok... come on, you need a hug." He darted over and gave me a hug as fast as he could. Of course, I said that because I wanted to hug him in an "I-think-you're-attractive" way, and of course, he took me up on it because he wanted to hug me in the same manner. And, of course, I immediately explained that, in detail, to Courtenay after it occured.

Anyway, during dinner, I found myself almost flirting with Courtenay (hence the "attractive" descriptor above), so I said something about it, and she knew exactly what I was talking about because she was thinking how she was flirting with me, too. It's been quite a while since I've flirted with a girl, but the reason, I would presume, was, as she said, "because we know it's safe."

So, anyway, when dinner was done, the four of us headed back to the house and began watching the Romy And Michele's High School Reunion laserdisc. And being a laserdisc, the only place we could watch it, the only place with a player, was the bedroom. So the four of us piled onto the bed and watched the movie. My left leg was draped over Larry and my left hand was laying on Chris's arm most of the time. When that move was over, we began watching some really cheesy horror movie called Rumpelstilskin. Before it was over, though, everyone was incredibly sleepy and so off to bed we all went. Chris and Courtenay downstairs in the guest bedroom. Larry and I in the master bedroom. Before we started watching Romy and Michele, Chris did say that the hot tub would be koool if I had some trunks he could wear, but saying that was as close as anybody got to seeing anyone else naked.

Overall, it was a really koool evening... koool for me and koool for them (They cancelled plans with another friend of theirs just to say here to watch movies.)

Courtenay and he are awake now. I'll let you know how it goes.


April 15, 1998 - Wednesday


Life has been crazy busy lately. Hence another one of these butt-crack-of-dawn entries.

So, anyway, after I wrote that last entry, Chris, Courtenay, Larry, and I spent a few minutes in the kitchen talking over a casual breakfast, then I headed off to school. Before I left, we made loose plans for the weekend, with Chris, tentatively, going to La Jolla with Larry, Katie, and I, and when I got back, Chris and Courtenay were back on their way to Orange County.

So, Wednesday passed, then Thursday came and I spent the day in class. Chris said he'd call at 5PM, when my last class ended, so, of course, I had the cell phone on waiting. It was closer to six when he called, but he was faux apathetic about me picking him up that night "if I wanted." I busted him on it, saying that I had no real desire to drive an hour down into Orange County if he didn't want me to, and he confessed that he did.

So, I get directions, drive to Orange County, pick him up, then drive back to LA. When we get here, it's between eight and nine o'clock and somehow we get the idea to goto West Hollywood clubbing as he's never been there before and I hadn't been in at least six months, if not a year.

So, we go, eventually find a parking space, and have great fun just walking down the street playing around, hand in hand, me hugging around his shoulder, etc. We see the line for Axis is all the way to Santa Monica Blvd (read: "a while") and then walk to Micky's. We go in, have a couple beers, and get on the dance floor when the beers are done.

Now me, I'm not much of a dancer. I mean, I can blend in with all the other drunken fools, but I'm always a little self-conscious about it and I've never "grinded" or whatever (dancing up close to another person and moving in sorta rhythmic erotic manner). But, Chris likes to dance and he liked me and I liked him, so I gave the grinding a shot. I laughed several times, but I managed to get in there and have some fun.

So, anyway, when the dancing was over, I drove back to the house and Chris went to bed downstairs and I went to bed upstairs with Larry, telling him in pretty detailed fashion all that had happened.

The next day, Larry, Chris, and I didn't goto La Jolla, but instead went to Six Flags Amusement Park. We did the "waiting in line" thing to an extreme. In fact, spending the whole day there, we only rode three rides. I mean, it was a fun day, and all, but I did get sunburned and we didn't get to do a lot of actual riding of rides. I did take several pictures that day; it's just that none of them came out that great.

So, anyway, after we got back to the house, Chris and I "somehow or the other" (I know, but I can't say... sorry) managed to have the house to ourselves and ended up naked in the hot tub. That was really nice in and of itself, especially considering Chris's initial "hot-tub-only-if-shorts-included"†mindset Tuesday night (In other words, "especially because he was putting aside his self-consciencousnesses and letting me into his truly personal space"), but it was even better because Larry was completely koool with it. In fact, it was Larry who made sure we had the house to ourselves. -- I'm sure he would have stayed here too if he could, but in order to get everyone else out of the house, he had to leave with them.-- Basically, Larry had given Chris his seal of a approval. He knew Chris was a really nice guy and so it really didn't matter if I was in the hot tub lusting after him and he was in the hot tub lusting after me, know what I mean? It's an amazingly unselfish attitude to have and I actually love Larry all the more because of it.


Easter Sunday was spent with a couple female friends of Larry's here at the house, and it was really nice. As opposed to the Thanksgiving turkey breast, we had an entire turkey and it actually felt like a real family dinner. I hadn't seen Kathleen in a couple months and I just met her (straight) friend Sieta that day, so it really seemed like a holiday dinner, where you re-get to know people and meet new ones at the same time. It was nice.


Monday night, I had to give my oral presentation in my film editing class. The movie choices, Nine Months and Back To The Future, were my partner's, so I pretty much trashed Nine Months, saying that no amount of editing could make it worth watching.

Then yesterday... well, I had to write this letter to my professor.

Dr. [Lastname],

I'm writing because I can't in good conscience go ahead with this semester's [class name] term paper without informing you of what has been happening and what is happening in regards to my group. Long story short, I've done about 90%, if not more, of the work thus far.

For example, after meeting with you and deciding on the topic of personal ads, we discussed our "game plan" and left campus that day each agreeing to do some research to see what literature was available for study replication before we met with you again.

The next Tuesday, Canace had some articles she'd found online, James had virtually nothing, and I'd found two or three articles from Sex Roles (including the one about transgendered personals which you may remember joking with me about).

And so, we met again on a following Tuesday, and seeing as how our paper was going no where fast, I suggested this time that we each find four articles, note ones of particular interest, and highlight hypotheses we could use in our paper. When we met the Tuesday after that, Canace did not show and James had done neither the research or the highlighting, saying he had to work, etc. etc.

By this time, it was completely obvious that I was going to be doing nearly all the work, but I figured that was simply the luck of the draw and I'd bite the bullet. I created a code sheet, xeroxed 200+ copies of it, then gave the code sheets and identical copies of the Sunday Los Angeles Times personal ads section to Canace and James. (By this point, frustrated at the lack of contribution, I flat out said that I had been doing most everything but that THEY were going to do the coding. They agreed to that and agreed to each code ten ads (to check their intercoder reliability) before the next class (last Thursday).

Yet today when I talked with James (Canace didn't show for class this morning), he said they still hadn't even done the ten.

I cannot in good conscience complete this paper, putting each of our names on it, when neither Canace or James have done anything to contribute to it. (I honestly think neither of them have stepped foot into Doheny (the library) in regards to this paper. I mean, they are both willing to meet and meet often, but as I explained to them in no uncertain terms, "We can meet to hell freezes over, but it's not going to finish this paper.")

And so, I'm writing you to let you know just what is happening. At this point, I'm completely ready to do the paper myself (since that's what's happening behind the scenes anyway). James's and Canace's contributions have been nil. In my eyes, it's no different than if they'd allowed me to study for a midterm and simply copied my answers, and to be honest, I'd rather get a D on the paper and bring everyone down than complete it myself and put all our names on it.

Please let me know what I should do.

Amazingly, the professor wrote back a letter which started, "My apologies." He went on to explain that he understood and was sincerely sorry for the problems. He said that I should turn in a paper by myself. He even said I could turn it in "late" if that would help. I was grateful and impressed.

Of course, now, this morning I have to face the two other project members and inform them that I've talked with the professor and am essentially "dropping" them. I mean, they totally deserve it, but saying, "You guys aren't doing jack and I'm moving on without you." isn't exactly easy to do.

Oh well, I'm sure I'll make it through.

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© 1998 Justin Clouse


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