Justin's Life... April 1st - 27th, 1999

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April 1, 1999 - Thursday - April Fool's Day


Last night Larry called around 5:45PM to say that he was coming home to go out to dinner with me. Normally, he gets home around 7PM, but as there's been a lot going on with his company lately, he's hasn't been getting here until around 11PM.

Anyway, last night he called to say that he was coming home and that we were going out to eat. When he got here and asked where we should go, I suggested Gladstone's in Malibu. He wasn't especially keen on the idea of driving that far, but I couldn't readily think of anywhere else I wanted to go. Truth is, I still associate Gladstone's in Malibu with my initial trips out to California when Larry took me there in the BMW convertible (which he's since sold). I was starstruck by the car and driving to Gladstone's with the top down when it was much too cold to have the top down, turning the seat warmers on high was an adventure... it's something sorta like those buttercups which I wrote about last month.

So, anyway, without explaining all that reasoning to Larry, the three of us (Katie included) arrived at Gladstone's around 7:30PM. A few minutes later, we were seated and ordered our dinners. But before the dinners came, a downpouring of cocktail sauce hit the area. Although no one seemed to know from where it originated, it was all over; on the seat, on the table, on Larry's shirt, on the lady's sweater behind us, and even smack dab in the middle of Katie's head. It was too funny, like a cocktail sauce bird poop right on the top of her head and I couldn't stop laughing.

Of course, my laughing started Katie laughing and when the waitress eventually came over to wash it out of Katie's hair, well, you can imagine.

So, anyway, it was a nice night.

April 7, 1999 - Wednesday


Not a lot has happened this past week. On Saturday, David busted my balls via e-mail about what I wrote above then Sunday he came down to La Jolla and spent the day with Larry and I. It could have gotten ugly, but I unsent my response e-mail (an AOL feature) and David said on Sunday that he was angry when he wrote his letter.

Anyway, that's past now... but so is the spark. We're just friends now and it sorta sucks, but at the same time I've finally started to realize that life is an ever changing thing. Even if, say, I were to go back to Kentucky and Chris and I were to hang out again, it would never be like it was. It would never have that all engulfing innocence. I'm too sure of who I am now. I could never go back to that timid teenager, so desperately wanting to be hugged. It just couldn't happen... and though different circumstances, the same thing has happened with David.

Movies nearly always end right as everything is just beginning to go good, right after the boy gets the girl, right after the big resolution is made, and I think that makes us think that the rest of the characters' lives were just as perfect as that moment. That's a dangerous thing. It sets us up for stuff that never really happens... Even as Larry and I are happier now than we ever have been, it still doesn't have the initial buzz that it did when I lived in Boston. It's sad when you realize that... but I guess part of getting older is learning to "appreciate" it.

So, relatedly, Shawn is coming this weekend and has the potential to provide that new buzz. What is it that we find so attractive about newness? I mean, if he were older or more comfortable with who he was, he wouldn't be nearly so "enticing"... but because he's young and never met a gay guy, I have a sort of charge from being the first to show him that he really can be gay and happy. (Quite ironic considering that the words used to be synonyms. ) He's like a concrete visual that I'm making a difference in this big ole world.

So, anyway, Shawn is coming in two days and I so want to impart on him that he can be all that he ever wanted. And ya know, from how he's been going since we first talked, I don't think that's going to be a problem.


While writing that entry, I got e-mail from Shawn:

Subject: Packed and Ready to go :)


Yeah I know it is only Wednesday but really there is only one more day left to go, Thursday! I am really excited, so I just wanted to email you and I will call Thursday to make sure everything is a go :)

Thanks again!

Perhaps that enthusiasm would spark anyone.

April 9, 1999 - Friday


If you've ever thought about starting an online journal, you better have thick skin before taking that leap. Today I got one of those oh so nasty letters that comes once every six to twelve months or so. At issue, my use of the world normal.

For some reason, this particular reader has decided that Larry and I not only have an open relationship, but also cheat on one another (which seems to be a contradiction). After writing about that, he also said:

Having said that, wouldn't you say that your a "normal gay man living a non-normal gay life"? Why do you think society is so against homosexuals? Have you ever heard that gay men are after nothing but sex? If you have, then can you relate that at all to what your living?

Well, if you read your diary, you would certainly think that gay men do have casual sex and quite often...which is not normal Justin, it isn't no matter how you want to candy coat it.

You are the typical gay stereo type exemplifying why the heterosexual society doesn't want to give us the rights inherent in being heterosexual.

You see, I believe one day you will realize that all of this running around you are doing with other men, and if you even tried to keep count you probably couldn't...will become clear to you one day regarding understanding that you don't love Larry the way a "normal" heterosexual married couple loves each other (and I prefer to think two men can love each other no differently than a man and a woman).

So, I guess my issue here is that you should stop leading young gay men to believe that you are a "normal gay man" and that your life exemplifies that...because it doesn't, period.

I could've gotten myself all worked up about it and gone on some long monologue about how my life is normal, but I just wrote:

--- Slightly edited for clarity as I was a little worked up when I responded. ---
Perhaps you've been reading something I haven't been writing, because Larry and I don't cheat on one another or have an open relationship... and I defy you to find one person that I know personally who says my life is immoral (like you make it out to be) or anything but normal. Normal, of course, is subjective, but if a heterosexual couple had a relationship as honest or as caring as Larry and I do, they'd be very well off... and perhaps considered abnormal by their friends in cycles of failed relationships.

Anyway, that's all the justification you're going to get. All I can say is that if you don't like it, don't read it and start your own web site to show the world what someone who's never been in a real long term relationship thinks is normal.


Of course, I should use the first sentence from his e-mail as a measure of perception skills:

A reader here in Santa Barbara, who if you can remember, thought you were short?

But perhaps I've been writing that I was short, too.

April 14, 1999 - Wednesday


Having seen just one far off picture of Shawn, I really had no idea what he looked like when I went to pick him up at the airport. I did know that he was 5'9" and a tad on the chunky side, but that was about it. (Of course, as always with blind meetings, I was hoping a young Robert Redford would step off the plane, but figured that was unlikely. )

Anyway, after split-secondly mistaking two guys for Shawn, I heard a "Hello" behind me. When I turned around, I didn't see Robert Redford... but instead a guy slightly more akin to Drew Barrymore's character in Never Been Kissed.

And to be honest, I was pretty confused as to what to do next. I mean, I knew we had to get in the car and go to the house, but I didn't know what to do after that. And to be really honest, all I could think was how horrible the weekend was going to be.

I mean, on one hand, before I'd gotten to the airport, I'd figured Shawn was a little off kilter as he was a boy scout until just last year... but still, perhaps a part of me was hoping he was a drop dead gorgeous off kilter boy scout, know what I mean.

So, anyway, the day went on and as we talked more and more, I came to realize that Shawn was basically a thirteen year old, in both appearance and social maturity. Now some, even most, would see that as a bad thing, but I've finally reached a certain maturity level where I "realize" that I can rip apart a thirteen year old and bring him to tears with the greatest of ease. I don't need to prove it to myself. I don't need to make myself feel better by making someone else feel bad.

And so, as the weekend progressed, we talked about stuff like that. We talked about his family. We talked about his life... and I made him feel special. I made him feel like he mattered, something I don't think his family has ever done. And when we got in the hot tub, it was probably one of the least sexually charged times I've ever had naked in the hot tub, but it was sweetly intimate. I held him... and when he asked if I would hold him again, I just knew that it was the right thing. As he told me how secure he felt with my arms around him, I told him that I felt that secure every night as Larry curled around me and that one day, he'd too have that feeling on a regular basis.

Now, would that behavior be considered "normal" by the guy who wrote that last letter? I doubt it... but I have absolutely no doubt that it was the right thing to do. If making someone feel secure and special with no ulterior motives is abnormal, then find me guilty. Of course, from the exclusively supportive e-mails I've received, I really have come to realize that normal is subjective. "Normal" does not equate to "average". They're two different concepts, and as one e-mail said:

Don't take the letter writer who proclaimed that you're not normal too seriously. As you said, "normal" is subjective. Unfortunately, however, many people (gay and hetero) define "normal" in hetero terms; and, as we know, heteros are no more standardized than we are -- there are many differences they refuse to admit.

I, at first, had a problem with you describing yourself as normal; but, after reading and "knowing" you a little better, I made the assumption that by "normal" you mean "a regular Joe -- no better, no worse than anyone else." (Hope that's a fair assessment.)

Now, could your LIFE be described as "normal"? Not by anyone I know! (And I'm only going by my perception of your life, since I don't know you personally.) Very few of us live a, seemingly, luxurious life in California; on a whim, jetting to Las Vegas (or wherever) for the weekend; flying in 'net friends, expenses paid; going to the beach house to relax; attending college without a monetary care; etc. Not that I begrudge you any of that -- actually, I'm a little envious -- but most of us don't live like that.

So, if someone said that your life is not normal, I would tend to agree. If someone said that you are not normal, I would disagree.

My life's not quite that glamorous, but I would have to agree in that it's not that typical. So, the verdict: I have issue with my life being considered abnormal or immoral, but I can appreciate how my life is not average or typical.

Anyway, Shawn and I made it through the weekend and both left a little more matured than when we started. As he wrote Monday morning:

Well I have made it home, a little disappointing though, I went out of the gate to find NO ONE, kind of disappointing that I sat there and waited an hour and a half before I was picked up but that's life.

On the flight home in the darkness I remembered two songs that strike my fancy for that weekend (BTW I have not been to sleep yet so my english is not proper and hell it might not even make sense :))

But the two are Sarah McLachlan's "I will remember" and the one that reminds me of you and Larry is "The Wind Beneath my Wings". I did shed a tear going home, and even as I am writing this because I truly did have a wonderful time. You just never know what kind of an impact two people can have on a person can you?


You know that drained feeling you have after futzing with your computer, trying to get something installed, but it never works? That's the feeling I've got now.

See, today the PacBell guys were supposed to come install a DSL line here at the house. Of course, no one knew when they'd be here (just sometime between 8AM and 5PM), and when they did get here at around 1PM, they found that someone else hadn't done his part, so it doesn't work.

Now, supposedly, someone will call tonight or tomorrow so that the not done part can get done, but I'm tired of waiting around. Even after the guys (who were certainly nice enough) got their stuff all installed here, we waited for almost two hours for supervisors/technicans/etc. to never call back.

They've now apologized and gone, but I've skipped class, exhausted a whole day, and have nothing to show for it. Not the best feeling, for sure.

April 18, 1999 - Sunday


After writing that last entry, I needed a break, so I headed to the Virgin Megastore to buy a couple CD's and maybe a DVD or two. When I was there browsing, my cell phone rang with Larry on the other end. He said that a phone guy was at the house, which I couldn't believe, but I hurriedly paid for my CD's and drove back.

When I got there, I led the guy to the minimum point of entry beneath the house where he worked for an hour and half, all the while bitching about his rough job. When he was done, it still wasn't working. He said that it worked at the B box (whatever that is) 100 feet away, so the problem was in the last 100 feet, somewhere in the wiring under the street. As such, he was turning it over to the technicians, and that's all he could tell me. No estimated time for functioning. No who would call next. Not even if it would eventually work. Nothing.

Then, the next evening, as I was leaving to go to class, I casually looked at the DSL modem and saw that the light wasn't flashing. I turned the computer back on and PRESTO! It worked!

10 megabyte video clips downloaded in REAL-TIME! The little speed meter on Netscape that normally reads 4.5K was now reading 104.5K. Koool!

And Friday it was still working. Amazing.

April 22, 1999 - Thursday


I'm having a bad day.

First, I was driving to pick up my mail this morning when I decided to give David a call. Larry and I went down to his apartment last Wednesday and the three of us went out to dinner in Long Beach, but it was more of the same distance that I'd seen the night I'd gotten ticked. It wasn't terrible, as Larry was there, too, but even he noticed how things were less than Kosher.

So, anyway, today I called David and told him that I missed him. His response was that it hadn't been that long, just a week, since I last saw him, and I went on to say how I meant I missed the old non-distanced David. His response, "Get used to it." Needless to say, I was stunned.

I was opening up, "admitting weakness", and really just saying that I missed what we used to have, that I missed hugging on him, and interacting with him... and WHAM! "Get used to it."

I don't think he was trying to be nasty, but it sure wasn't what I was hoping for by telling him that I missed him. We continued talking for a bit and then I told him that he probably needed to get back to work.

Amazingly, Larry told me last night how he'd written him and gotten a really sweet letter back, with hugs and love and all that stuff.

So, anyway, that was the first "mood lifter".

Next, I got to the mailbox place and got my mail. On the drive back, I was reading the various letters and junk when I came across one from my credit card company. A while back I had to dispute a credit card charge with an absolutely abominable online company, Superb Internet, and the last I heard, the charge had been fully reversed.

Without going into all the details here, Superb Internet didn't do what they were supposed to do and the president of the company ended up telling me, "I strongly suggest you get some professional help to you with your delirious state, where you are unable to see the world as it is and continually twist the truth and believe that everyone is out to get you. I'm sure you can get help for your condition."

Of course, he probably hadn't anticipated my inadvertently receiving the following intracompany letter where he admits fault later that very same day.

Justin Clouse decided to cancel his service after all, despite my continous attemps to prevent him from doing so. This is the second customer whose loss can be largely (I'm not saying fully, though) attributed to your incomplete Linux server setup. He also wrote:

In e-mail received from Tim on January 29th, he wrote "We have been bogged down lately with new server setups and new services being offered. Trying to make time to fit all of these in, and still give 110% effort in providing techincal support sometimes proves difficult." and in his last e-mail, he wrote "Thank you for your patience" twice. No one has EVER apologized for anything or given me any assurance that similar things won't happen in the future. How am I supposed to deal with a company that sees itself so autonomously?
He has a good point re: your message. It really sounded not very good at all even when I first read it that you said that you've been so "bogged down." In the future, in such cases - of which I sincerely hope there will be none - please write some more "excusable" excuse, as opposed to something like that

Now, his service will end on March 1st, so don't take his server down now. Let it be as it is. At least now this is a properly setup Linux server, so when there is a new client for it, it will just need to be cleaned up and renamed (but, don't touch it until March 1st. I'm still hoping, probably in vain, that he'll decide to annul his termination request later this month).

I earlier wrote to you that:

If he still cancels, some -8 at the least, if not -12 or more, will be in order. But if he doesn't, no "-" at all.
I'll set it to "-8." Sorry, but the loss due to this is rather large, esp. since this is the 2nd linux client in a row doing this!! And even more so if he decides to dispute his credit card charge.

ALSO - IMPORTANT!! Please, ensure to send me all mail forwards VIA 2nd DAY GUARANTEED DELIVERY (FedEx, or express mail). I still got your last mail forward via snail mail, and there was some stuff in there that needed a reply within 10 days, but was over 20 days old. It is VERY important you forward me all the mail, if any, via 2nd day (ie. next Monday) delivery every Friday. I will reimburse you for the costs, of course. If you don't do this, the loses can be very great. **Please confirm this. Also let me know how and if mail was forwarded last Friday.


Haralds Jass

So, anyway, I thought that last letter made the case pretty open and shut. How could the credit card company, or anyone, not see "This is the second customer whose loss can be largely (I'm not saying fully, though) attributed to your incomplete Linux server setup." and "please write some more "excusable" excuse, as opposed to something like that" and "the loss due to this is rather large, esp. since this is the 2nd linux client in a row doing this!! And even more so if he decides to dispute his credit card charge." How could anyone not side with me?

Yet today's letter from the credit card company read, in part:

Because your claim with SUPERB INTERNET does not qualify as a billing error, we may not be able to resolve this claim in your favor.

It's been close to three months since the credit card dispute first started. ARGHH! So, anyway, that's been my day thus far.

April 25, 1999 - Sunday


I stayed in town yesterday so that I could meet with my Comm 320 group while Larry, Katie, and Spencer went to La Jolla. The plan was to get various sections of the paper from the other members, rewrite their sections, write the rest of it (the results of our observations), and have it ready by tomorrow. Actually, the plan was to have the other group members completely turn in their sections by the 4th, and then by last Friday, and then by yesterday, but...

Anyway, I met the group, one person didn't show, and two others didn't have their sections done or bring the research articles like I'd asked. I, of course, couldn't write the paper without the parts, but I didn't freak. Pretty amazingly (at least to me), I'm totally not concerned about this paper. As I told them, I'll do the best I can with what I've got. I know my grade will be no worse than a "C" (passing), and at this point in my "academic career", the fear of losing that 3.6 GPA isn't a big concern.

So, being at home alone and not having anything to do, I decided I'd play around with the video camera and make a little video to include here. At first the camera wouldn't work, but when it finally did an hour or so later, I took "you" on a car trip. Of course, when I got back home, it was a major ordeal digitizing and editing everything and at 3:45AM, I finally went to bed completely frustrated.

Right now, I'm still trying to get it all working...


Adobe Premiere absolutely, unequivocally SUCKS. I've finally just given up trying to assemble any sort of anything in Premiere and am now converting the capture to a format usable by QuickTime 4.0 Pro. Premiere's ETA for conversion: "about 3 hours".

April 26, 1999 - Monday


Needless to say, it didn't work as planned. Premiere did convert the video into one with a usable codec, and QuickTime 4.0 Pro's rudimentary editing features did allow me to add opening and closing credits... but QuickTime 4.0 Pro created proprietary output as well (ARGHH!) which, in turn, wouldn't go into the RealVideo encoder.

Anyway, I am now encoding a completely new unedited capture (which was re-encoded into a usable codec by the capture software (as a separate step)) into RealVideo, bypassing Premiere and QuickTime entirely.


Hooray! It's done!

Zipped 80Kbps Version
8.5 MB
Clearer Version For Download
Added May 10, 1999

Is anyone reading this? I figured for sure someone would send me e-mail about the video... after ALL that work getting it to work. But nothing.

April 27, 1999 - Tuesday


Thanks for all the responses. It appears that there are some problems getting the 28.8 and 56K videos to download entirely. I'm not especially happy with the speed of the current server, but for the time being, I think I'll redo the 28.8 and 56K videos into a smaller format... but for now I've got to write the group's paper.

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© 1999 Justin Clouse


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