Bricks and Musings   
Bricks & Musings 2003
General Writer Spouting off

    There is always something to comment about and nothing is off the table. Sometimes, I just gotta get up on my little soapbox and pour my heart out. It is always interesting to look back at what I've written in the past. Feel free to comment.

The Tarheel Writer - On the Web since 24 February 2003. Celebrating 20 Years on the Internet!
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Monday, December 1, 2003 - 1:55AM with clear skies and 31 degrees
    *sigh* I didn't go to the visitation. I just couldn't do it. This was their time, after all. To throw up memories of the past at a time like this, just wasn't something I wanted to do. But I just had to see them. If nothing else ... I just had to SEE them. So ... I went to the funeral. I arrived about five minutes before the service and sat down on the very back pew, next to a friend of my mother's from church. He asked me if I knew the brother that had died. I told him that I knew him vaguely, but the twins were the reason I was there. He nodded in understanding. My heart was pounding! I nervously read through the bulletin I received when coming through the door. My pounding heart almost came to a stand still when I saw that one of the twins would be giving a eulogy. About that time, a man entered the church from the front and asked everyone to rise. I tried desperately to see the twins, but they remained hidden behind the standing congregation. It was only after everyone sat down, that I got a brief glimpse of them. I followed the service along with the bulletin. The time for the eulogy was fast approaching.
    This is the perfect time to remind you that the last time I had seen them was when I told them I was gay. My blood pressure must have been absolutely through the roof. One twin stood and walked to the pulpit.
    There he was ... the boy I had, and, sigh, probably still do love with all my heart. Don't get me wrong! Jeff is my one true love. But the boy at the pulpit was my very first. He was the main reason that I suppressed my sexual orientation for fifteen some odd years.
    The next thirty minutes were like a dream. Yes, Father Time had played his evil spell on both of the twins, as he had done the same to me, but, alas, not nearly as cruel as I have seen his wrath on other classmates and friends from that era. They were both handsome. They weren't cute anymore, but very handsome. BUT, the one thing that I realized, it wasn't the absolutely breathtaking cuteness of their appearance from oh so many years ago, it was them ... their personalities ... their demeanor ... their being ... that was what attracted me to them in the end. Yes, I had been attracted to their physical beings at first, but the truth be known, I had fallen for not that that can been seen, but for that that lies beneath.     What do I do now? ... I have no idea. Whether or not I choose to try to contact them remains to be seen. I do know that there is one chapter of my life that remains open ... the chapter of the twins. Until the day comes when I can close that chapter, my heart still retains an open wound ... a wound that will not heal without ... conversation. That conversation, I can only hope and dream for ... for it will close perhaps the largest and most significant chapter of my life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - 11:00PM with clear skies and 39 degrees
    Life gave me "wake up call" today. Hehe, well, more like a slap in the face or a punch in the gut. I picked up mom from the beauty parlor and was taking her to the church when we drove past the twins' house. The local undertaker was there in his limo. Mom saw him too and says "Oh, I just heard at the beauty parlor that one of their boys died."
    My heart was instantly in my throat. My pulse pounded. I broke out in a cold sweat. I almost missed the stop light just past their house. My mind was awash with emotion. All that hidden away love came bounding back as if the Hoover Dam had suddenly burst open. I was assaulted with flashes of memories of their dazzling smiles, their unwavering loyality, their bubbling personalities ... looking me in the eyes and grabbing me behind the neck, pulling us forehead to forehead and him saying "Damn, I'm so glad to be your friend." Which was followed by a bone crushing hug.
    We drove on to the church and I stayed in the car while mom went in to tend to her business. I looked at my cell phone. I looked back up at the cloudless Carolina blue sky. I grabbed the phone and quickly dialed 411. After getting the number to the funeral home, I dialed. When the lady answered, I asked which one of the sons had died. She asked me to hold on for a minute. I held my breath. My heart pounded in my chest. A tear rolled down my cheek. The few seconds seemed like hours. She came back on the phone with the news I was waiting for. She calmly told me the name. The whoosh of air from my lungs thankfully didn't carry through on the cell phone. I thanked her for the information and hung up.
    The death had been the twins' oldest brother. Relief flooded though me and was immediately followed by an immense sorrow. I had known the older brother but hadn't been close to him. He was a few years older than me. I was saddened at his death, but I was more sadden by the fact the twins would be greatly effected. The relief in knowing the twins were still alive and well left me weak. Mom got back in the car and commented that I looked pale.
    I've been giving this whole thing a lot of thought ever since. Why had I been so greatly effected? My love for Jeff is unquestioned, but there's still that little place in my heart for the twins. I truly had been in total love with them and ... yeah, still am. It's a love that can never be what I wanted it to be, but it's still love. I still to this very day love them very much.
    Now, a decision has to be made. Do I go to the visitation? Do I walk through the line and see them for the first time since I told them I was gay? How would they react? How would I react? Why oh why does life have to be this complicated?

Thursday, November 6, 2003 - 9:00PM with a steady, cold rain
    A tragic event has kept my mind occupied ever since I saw the local news report yesterday. It left one young girl dead, one in critical condition and a young boy with a shattered life. It was seven twenty in the morning, yesterday morning, when seventeen year old Brandon was on the way to school. A mother, her six year old daughter, Ana Marie and Ana Marie's cousin Brenda were patiently waiting at the bus stop. The big yellow bus, traveling north on the two lane road, came to a stop and turned on its flashing lights and extended its stop sign. Brandon, driving his Honda Prelude south on the same road, thought that he could get past the bus before it came to a stop.
    Ana Marie and her cousin Brenda stepped onto the pavement toward the bus. Neither they nor Ana Marie's mother saw Brandon's car hurtling down the two lane road at fifty-five miles per hour. But the bus driver did. She screamed at them, waving out the bus window, but they didn't hear her in time. Ana Marie's mother watched it all unfold in front of her. Brandon's car finally came to a stop one hundred and twenty five feet past the bus. Ana Marie and Brenda lay on the pavement in front of his car. The bus driver performed CPR on Ana Marie, but she was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Brenda continues to cling to her life in ICU at the hospital.
    I guess the first emotion is shock, then perhaps horror, then sadness, then anger ... especially from the mom. Anger toward Brandon. I guess that's a natural reaction for her and probably for a lot of you reading this.
    The sad truth is, a kid made an error in judgment ... an error that will live with him for the rest of his life. Yeah, at least he'll be alive, not like Anna Marie, but he's going to have to live that scene over and over and over for the rest of his life.
    Here's a parallel story. It's about Captain Rostrom of the SS Californian. Captain Rostrom slept the night away despite repeated interruptions from his crew about strange rockets being fired from a strange ship on the horizon. He made a judgment error and ignored it. As Captain Rostrom slept comfortably in his warm bed, over fifteen hundred people died when the RMS Titanic sank ... a mere five miles away from the snoring Captain Rostrom.
    A judgment error? You betcha. How did he deal with it? Captain Rostrom killed himself. That's exactly the kind of pressure and remorse that Brandon will have to deal with. Yes, he took the life of a six year old girl, devastated her family and put a five year old in ICU. But the fact of the matter is, he ruined his life as well. How does one live with the results of that judgment in error? I don't know Brandon. I don't know any of the people involved in this story. But I do know that a stupid, STUPID judgment in error ended with horrific results ... for everyone involved.
    I guess this would be an appropriate time to give a speech on safe driving ... but, I think I've already done that ... or more specifically, Brandon has.

Sunday, October 12, 2003 - 12:53AM
    Five years ago on this date and at this exact time, a young twenty-one year old man slipped quietly from a coma into the cold arms of death. It was a Monday back then. Six days earlier, on October sixth, this young man was savagely beaten, tortured and left for dead. It sounds like a typical six o'clock news story, only this story is anything but typical. This story is about Matthew Shepard ... a young gay man whose life was savagely stolen and became a martyr. Yeah, his name has become a rally cry for acceptance of diversity and for stopping hate. How his mother gets up and speaks day after day is beyond me. She is one very strong lady. I admire her courage.
    The realization that this is the fifth anniversary of Matt's death floods my mind with all kinds of thoughts, stirs my heart will a myriad of emotion and causes my fists to clench tightly together in rage. Matt suffered a horrible, agonizing, extremely painful, drawn out beating and was left tied to a fence to die in the cold of the night. Why? Good question. Was it robbery? Was it gay panic? OR was it simply pure hate? Perhaps it was a bit of all of these, but the fact of the matter is Matt is dead and there's nothing the you, I, or the killers can do to bring him back.
    NOW, here's the real kicker! Our esteemed President George W. Bush has declared the week of October 12th through the 19th as "Marriage Protection Week." The declaration is timed to start the day after "National Coming Out Day" (Saturday, October 11, 2003) and to begin on the anniversary of Matthew Sheperd's death. This is a great big ol slap in the face of all homosexuals! We set aside one day of the year to celebrate Pride and Coming Out and now our president declares the week following that day for our collective gay noses to be rubbed in the salt of inflamatory anti-gay homophobic descrimination! How the man can have the gawl to do that is beyond me. I was pissed at the way he swaggered into Iraq under false pretenses anyway. Now to do this ... makes me furious!
    But ... sigh ...
    Today, let's put all the negative emotion on hold. Let's pause a moment to remember that a life was lost five years ago. A vibrant life full of hope and promise. The life of a son, of a friend, of a fellow student, of a young gay man. We should celebrate in the fact that through his death, the eyes of so many people have been opened to the hate that seems to run rampant in this country. That makes Matthew Shepard a martyr. Today, my thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Monday, October 6, 2003 - 5:45PM - 73F outside and a beautiful fall day
    It saddens me to think that people can be so mean. Our society has come a long way in its acceptance of people who are different, but, yes, there's still a long, long way to go. That's a given. On the other hand, I think what saddens me to most is that parents actually throw their kids to the street because they're gay! Somebody give me a great big ol fuckin' break! Better yet, give me the parent's address and I'll go kick their ass! Jeez! This really infuriates me to no end!
    I've read a ton of stories on Nifty and other sites about how school kids get tormented by other students and about parents who throw their gay child to the street just because the child is gay. Makes for great reading because the kid always makes it through the experience and usually falls in love with some gorgeous guy and they live happily ever after. In real life, that's not always true.
    Take the case of Justin Bogdanik of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Justin had been a high school student who was kicked out of his family home. He dropped out of school and ended up living at the YMCA. One of his friends described Justin as loveable, eccentric, and one of the sweetest people you'd ever want to meet. He liked music, enjoyed going to the park with his friends and wanted to go into the military.
    Justin was found dead. He had been drugged and assaulted then dumped in a ditch on the side of the interstate where he later died. He had last been seen climbing into the cab of a white tractor trailer rig. The driver has been found but has yet to be charged. That's not the important part of this ranting. The important part of this ranting is the fact that Justin's parents threw him out of the house. They simply could not get past the fact that their son was bisexual. I hope they're real happy now. I'm sick to my stomach.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 11:45PM - 61F outside and windy
    In the Tarheel State, we take our hurricanes seriously. On the eve of the land fall of Hurricane Isabel, I just can't help but be glued to the TV and the National Hurricane Center website.
    Check these two photos of Isabel taken from a ship. Awesome, absolutely awesome!
    My family has owned property along the southeast North Carolina coast since 1968. My father, being the avid fisherman he was, found this little barrier island that hardly had any development and promptly bought a fifty foot lot. Anyway, I basically grew up spending a lot of time on this little barrier island. Hell, I learned to drive at the tender age of thirteen. I would take our four wheel drive and zoom up and down the humongous sand dunes that covered the island. But that's, hehe, another story. Anyway, when dad died in 1995, the house came to me and my brother. It's STILL my mother's house, but legally, it's belongs to my brother and me. So, I guess you could say I have a vested interest in hurricane activity along the North Carolina coast.
    Before I venture any further into this musing, let me say right off the bat that I'm not one of those spoiled little rich brats. I busted my ass for everything I have. Yes, I am fortunate that my father busted his ass for everything he had, but by no means was I ever raised with a silver spoon in my mouth. I usually used my fingers! LOL!
    That being said ... let's move on. I was talking about hurricanes. Seems lots of people have a fasination with Mother Nature and her awesome power. There's the people that actually pay other people to hunt for twisters. And there's the people that do it on their own. Then there's the people who actually decide to stay and ride out a storm that packs over one hundred mile per hour winds. I've been known to be ignorant (not knowing any better), but I've rarely been stupid (knowing better but doing it anyway). Well, that's not completely true. As a teenager, I was basically stupid. Hell, we all were!
    ANYWAY ... I was talking about hurricanes. The coolest thing I know about the Brunswick Barrier Islands (where our home is ... NO, it's not a cottage! It a fukkin' home!) is that they run East/West. Check out the map. No matter which way a freakin' hurricane comes, we never get pounded head on from the surf.
    I'm bustin' my ass, with a hell of a lot of help from my best friend Davin, to establish a webcam at the house. It faces directly west and the sunsets are absolutely awesome! Better yet, this would be the perfect time to actually SEE what the hell's going on down there. With a simple weather station working in conjunction with the cam, you'd get the visual and the stats at the same time!
    At some point in this blabbery, I was talking about hurricanes. *sigh* I wanted to tell you about the Gray Man. Awesome ghost story! According to legend, the Gray Man appears before a significant storm to people walking the beach on Pawley's Island, South Carolina. If you see the Gray Man, and heed his warning of leaving the island, you and your property will not be hurt or damaged by the soon to arrive storm.
    One such story is of a young woman who saw the greyish figure approaching her on the beach. He warned her to leave at once that a storm was coming. Then the figure faded into nothing. She was so taken aback by this vision that she immediately gathered her family and left the island. Later that day, Hurricane Hazel struck. When the woman and her family returned, their house was completely undamaged. The towels were still on the line! The houses on either side were completely destroyed ... nothing left but sand. So the legend goes that if you see the Gray Man, and heed his warning, nothing will happen to you or your property. Cool story, huh?
    Now, I've got to get back to the National Hurricane Center website. Oh, BTW, the best way to prepare for a hurricane is to make sure your insurance is paid up! LMAO!!

Friday, September 12, 2003 - 2PM - 79F outside and a beautiful day
    I'm sure you've heard the expression "having too many irons in the fire." If you haven't, it means you're too damn busy! Welcome to the writer's world. Too damn busy. I just realized, in looking back on my last two entries, that they were about being too busy. Aargh! Am I stuck in a rut?
    The cooler fall air has caused me to think about camping. I am sooo overdue to sleep under nylon! After hiking seven hundred miles on the Appalachian Trail, I find myself to be quite a home in a tent, or right there under the stars, for that matter. You guessed right, plans for a weekend in the North Carolina mountains are currently underway. By the way, if you want to know more about the Appalachian Trail, check out The Appalachian Trail Conference. For more information on actually hiking the trail, you can check out Brian's website at
;    Work continues on The Nineteenth Year. I'm getting some wonderful help from a new friend in London. Since our trio is on the way there, he will be invaluable in making descriptions very accurate. I'm just about to finish up Chapter 7 and suddenly realized that I hadn't posted Chapter 6, so it was uploaded today.
    A very happy "Welcome Aboard" to Ed the Editor! Ed is assisting in keeping my English proper. Hehe! He's got his work cut out! All of the currently posted Nineteenth Year chapters have been updated and now have proper punctuation. Sounds trivial, but to a reader, proper punctuation makes the reading easier. So, I strive to be correct in my commas, periods, etc. And thank God for Spellcheck! Even though it's good, it's not always correct, so I continue to rely on several very good friends to keep me in the good graces of my past English teachers! Davin, Cody, Rio and now, Ed are invaluable! Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - 8PM - 79F outside
    It's interesting to me how people can become sooo wrapped up in their lives that they forget what's really important. I can't tell you how many friends I have that get so wrapped up in work that I don't hear from them for months. After waiting to hear from them, since I was the last one to make the call, I finally give in and once again make the first move. Then all I get is "I've been sooo busy." What the fuck is that all about? You're sooo busy with your career that you completely ignor your friends? If you're that busy, what else are you ignoring? Hey, wake up and smell the freakin' coffee! There's a hell of a lot more to life than a paycheck! Don't even start with the excuses. I don't want to hear it. Because I've heard it all before. One day, you're gonna look up in the mirror in the morning to shave and suddenly realize you've got grey hair and retirement is just a few years away. How many friends fell by the wayside while you were concentrating on work? How many of those friends could have made a huge difference in your life if you just spent a little bit of time with them? Huh? How many?
    Look, I'm just as bad to work my ass off and forget people. But when I get hit up side the head with the realization that I haven't heard from so and so in a few months, I pick up the phone and give them a call ... or drop them an email ... and better yet, get in the fukkin' car and go see them. Nobody's perfect, but work should be work and when it's quittin' time ... quit! Whoever invented the briefcase should be taken out back and promptly shot. Briefcases are for taking work home. Hell, you've already put in a full day and now they want you to take work home? Time for a career change if you ask me. And, once again, I'm a fine one to talk. I work from home. At least I don't need a briefcase.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003 - 10PM - 68F outside and it looks like another thunderstorm
    OK, who's the asshole that sped up the clock? Why do I never have time to do anything? I'm reasonably wise with my time, so why don't I have any extra. I don't even have time to take time to make time. Aaargh! To quote Sean Connery in the movie Indiana Jones and the Search for the Holy Grail ... "This is intolerable!" Hey life! Slow down!
    In an interesting twist ... sometimes, ya just gotta say screw it. Screw the responsibility. Screw the people who constantly depend on you. Screw them all. Sometimes you just have to have a break. Sometimes you just have to have a walk on the beach when you should really be working your ass off. Sometimes you have to. Sometimes you have no choice ... you have to take a break ... if you want to retain your sanity!
    I am having an absolute blast writing The Nineteenth Year! In the latest chapter (Chapter 5 for those who haven't kept up ... shame, shame, shame) there's a thunderstorm. I wrote that right after I watched a tree get hit by lightning just across the street. I was sitting here in my office talking to a client when I saw a bright flash of light that was instantaneously followed by a huge clap of thunder. I jerked my head around to look out the window and saw huge chunks of wood flying through the air from the top of a really tall Poplar tree just across the street. One huge limb fell like it was in slow motion and slammed up against the neighbor's house. That's the closest I've ever been to actually seeing lightning strike ... up close and personal. So I took that expereince and added it to the latest chapter. Kewl, huh? Well, it was at the time. The next two days I got to listen to chain saws as they took the tree down. The lightning cooked the tree through and through. There was a huge foot wide strip of bark missing from the top to the bottom where the lightning raced through the trunk. I still get shivers thinking about it.
    The Episcopal Church made history this evening, confirming the nomination of the church's first openly gay bishop, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson. Gene spent a majority of his time at the church's convention with one of this daughters and Mark Andrew, his partner of thirteen years. The church plans to vote on offering blessings to same-sex couples before the convention ends Friday. The Episcopal Church has really got some balls to do this and it will probably end up splitting the church in two ... one for conservatives and one for those with open, accepting and loving hearts and minds. I am extremely proud of the church and even more proud for Gene and Mark. Congradulations!

Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 2:30AM - 70F outside and foggy
    It's official. I've reached old age. I'm a grandfather. Egads! How can this be? I don't feel like a grandfather ... but I am. One look at that absolutely beautiful nine and a half pound boy in my arms and there's no doubt about it. Me, a grandpa. This one will take a bit to sink in. In the mean time, I'll continue to act like my usual self, which isn't anything like my real age. Which brings up a good point.
    First of all ... if you're 14 and reading this, read on. You'll get something out of it. If you're 60, please read on as well. You might even get something out of it too.
    I had a lengthy discussion with a friend of mine recently about age. We were discussing people we knew who were in the "blue hair" stage of their lives. One was sick all the time, struggling just to maintain. The other was out playing tennis and golf. So what's the difference. Why are these two people of virtually the same age so different? Is age just a number? Is it all in your head? Well, in my opinion, it is and it isn't. This isn't exactly a cop out, but the truth. There are two types of age ... first is the obvious ... physical. You may have heard the saying "you're as young as you feel." Well, there are days when I feel 14 and there are days when I feel 98. I'm reasonably sure you have felt the same way. Aging physically can present many challenges. Generally speaking, though, as long as you take care of your physical self, you'll live to a ripe old age, unless you get hit by a bus.
    The other type of aging is mental ... some people call the measure of this age your maturity level. I'm sure you know someone who is really 16, but they act like they're 30. And the vice versa is also true. I'll let you in on a little secret. A lot of 40 something year olds I know act like they're 12. Bugs the hell out of me. But I've always been impressed when someone figures it out at a very early age. I guess that's where you hear "my, my, he certainly is mature for his age." There's that word again ... mature.
    So what does all this mean? Hell, I don't know. But I have kinda figured out one thing. Most people perceive themselves at a certain age. In other words, no matter how old they are, they always think of themselves as being a certain age. Mine's 24. Why 24? Because my 25th birthday was absolutely the worst birthday of my life. I turned a quarter of a century old. I felt terribly old that day. So, I'm 24 ... in my head. And I'll be 24 until the cows come home. Hehe ... if I was a cow and had a nice green pasture and some big ol horny bull to keep me company, I'd never come home! So I guess I'll just keep on being 24. I like that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003 - 84F outside and a looks like a thunderstorm is brewing
    I still think I'm too young to be a grandpa. Yeah, I know. My middle daughter is expecting her first child ... any minute. And it's a boy! But I'm still too freakin' young to have a grandson! I still have a very strong urge to walk down the dirt roads of my past and kick cans or rocks or whatever's handy. That's not what adults do. Adults put on ties and go to offices and work. Hell, I can't even to that. I sit around in shorts and a tee shirt all day and write. When I was in the hormone years ... hehe ... 12-15 ... I'd spend a lot of time at the lake. There were lots of dirt roads. They used to pour oil on them to keep the dust down. Much like the way they put tar down before they pave a road today. Don't try to explain the environmental issues that brings up, just listen to the old man ramble. LOL! Anyway, me and my buddies would walk down the roads kicking rocks or whatever and just having those wonderful early teen conversations. It would be hot as hell. Shirts would come off as we walked and we'd end up swimming and water skiing and having a blast. Sometimes when I need to escape from a particularly rough day, I stretch out on the bed for fifteen minutes and relive some of those wonderful walks on those blazing hot dirt roads. Now that was living!
    Times were much simpler then ... the only drug was Pabst or Bud and there was no such thing as AIDS. And there certainly weren't any fags. To get caught even looking, was the kiss of death. Just the brief mention of anything gay brought on an onslaught on insulting remarks and accusations. Shit! I bolted myself in the closet for fear of my life!
    I've come to realize that I like today much better than I did back then ... just because of increased acceptance. If I had been born in 87 instead of when I was, I probably never would have gotten married ... cause I'd just accept who I was and be who I really am ... gay. But, I wouldn't have the wonderful children I have. There's so many things I wouldn't have ... including friends I've made through my writing. So I have no regrets ... but it sure is nice to escape back to that time ... even if it's only brief memories to escape a shitty day.

Saturday, June 28, 2003 - 71F outside and a perfect evening
    The recent Supreme Court decision can not pass without comment ... HALLELUIAH!! To say I'm surprised is an understatement. In one fell swoop, the court demolished every sodomy law in the country. What two consenting adults do behind their bedroom door is none of the government's business. This is a major step forward for gay rights.
    The nation's third largest Boy Scout Council, Philadelphia's Cradle of Liberty Council denounced the ban on gays last month. The Boy Scouts of America in general are losing tons of contributions because of the National Council's anti-gay stance. Almost immediately, the Philadelphia Council started receiving donations; however, the Philadelphia council quickly reverted to the anti-gay policy when the National Council threatened to take action if the acceptance policy continued. The contributions immediately stopped. It seems to me that the lack of contributions because of the anti-gay policy should be a wake up call to the BSA.
    It's been pretty busy around the writer's house. Demolition has finally ended in the basement and construction starts Monday. Hopefully, if things go well, the basement will become a comfortable suite for Jeff, me and the cats. I've only been waiting for this for nine months. Finally, Jeff will be able to move in and stay. The commute has been killing him and being apart has not been good for our relationship. Just a few more weeks. I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 71F outside and a perfect day
    My two week vacation was, well, good and bad. It was good in the fact that I got away for two weeks. It was good in the fact that I learned a whole lot more about sailing, navigation in particular. Since I eventually want to retire on a sailboat, that's a very good thing. It was good that I finally got to visit the west coast of Florida. It's really beautiful there. It was good that I got to spend two weeks with my lover and our really good friend Charlie.
    It was bad too. Jeff and I spent the first week at each other's throats. He couldn't do anything to make me happy and I couldn't do anything to make him happy. It was frustration in its purest form. I learned that being apart from Jeff dulled our communication ability. I used to be able to know what he was thinking by just looking at his facial expression. I can't do that anymore. I used to be able to complete his sentences. I can't do that anymore. Living apart has had more of a negative effect than I thought. I'm just glad we were finally able to figure that out. Communication is vitally important to any relationship! So now we're working on that. I've learned to not take things so literally and to ... talk. Not just to say words, but to convey emotion, ideas and thoughts, and to express my love. Maybe you've figured that out about me. Being emotional and all. Because I'm a very emotional person. What the hell does that mean anyway? Ever heard the expression "he wears his heart on his sleeve"? I guess that's me. It can be good and it can be bad. I tend to try to make it good most of the time.
    Taking a lap top computer on my vacation was a bad idea. It sat there and taunted me. I felt compelled to spend some time writing. I usually sat there and stared at a blank screen. But I did manage to write another chapter of The Worm. And I also decided to change the name to The Nineteenth Year. It's much more appropriate. So check out the second chapter. Oh, the first chapter got a rewrite, so there's some changes there too.
    I've kinda been remiss in answering emails. It makes me feel like shit that I'm not getting back with people any quicker than I am. I guess being away and not having any responsibility and returning to more than my fair share of responsibility has been a bit overwhelming. Hell, it's been totally overwhelming! I'm still struggling with getting back up to speed with life in general. I'm getting there, slowly.

Thursday, May 1, 2003 - 66F outside and still hot as hell inside
    It has been a week from HELL! Work, work, work! Aaargh! But, hey, since I work for myself, who do I have to complain to but me? Hehehe! A few days ago I had two accounts call me ... two accounts that owed me money from like two years ago ... they wanted to pay their bills! AND, they wanted to do more work! Jeez! Can you believe that? Well, I didn't, until I deposited the checks. Now I believe!
    I'm OUTTA here! Yep, headed to the sunshine state for a little R & R. In fact, two weeks of sun, fun, sudz and speedos! OMG! I need it soooo bad! There's been entirely too much shit going on around the writer's house to deal with, BUT ... I'm taking a lap top with me and hope to write a few more chapters of The Worm. Things are progressing nicely with the plot and I'm stoked ... really inspired!!
    The reading binge is still in full swing. There are so many wonderful stories out there!! I've recently completed two powerfully emotional stories. I can't explain why I'm drawn to stories like these. Perhaps it's because of Davin and his recommendations. Thanks Dav! Hehehe! I really, I mean REALLY do appreciate it! You're one in a million man and I love ya! I find myself reading ... and eventually crying my eyes out. Jeez, I sound like a silly little wimp ... crying over a freakin' story! But you know what? ANY writer that can drag that kind of emotion out of me has done what he/she intended ... they've made me feel the emotion .. no, they've made me experience the emotion! That's what writers do ... they suck you in to the story and let you experience the emotion first hand ... and that always hits me like a runaway locomotive! Yeah, there's tons of sucknfuck stories out there ... and I'd be lying if I said I didn't read one or two of them and wank like crazy (blushes furiously), but the stories that really make a lasting impression are those with a story of love. And not just boy meets boy and boys fall in love ... but more like boy meets boy and falls in love, but is too afraid to tell him, wrestles with it for chapter after chapter, confides in his best and closest friend about what is going on and finally, he finally tells the object of his affection ... only to be rejected and then to eventually find out it was his best friend that he really loved and who really loved him all the time! And we, as readers, knew the best friend loved him all along, agonizing over the character's blind obsession with this other boy. Now THAT'S a recipe for a great love story!
    Back when I was in high school, I was desperately in love with twins! Yeah, I know what you're thinking ... but I really was in love. Not just a casual lusting kinda love ... but a butterflies in my stomach kinda love. They were wonderful ... blond haired, blue-eyed angels ... and I became obsessed. Long story short ... this infatuation went on for three years until I couldn't take it anymore and told one of them. He was very nice, even hugged me ... and I haven't talked to either one since ... and that's been, ah, twenty-five years ago. Needless to say, my heart was broken, not just broken, but tragically broken! I think I cried for at least two weeks. But ya know what? It's funny how things work out ... funny in a weird sense ... because sometimes there are things, people, items, whatever ... that you think you really, really just have to have ... but you end up not having ... and in the long run, it was for the best. I'm not saying that I regret anything ... and it's not that I would change anything .... it's just one of life's little lessons that really, really hurt. It has and always will be one of those memories that I will be able to recall instantly at any given moment ... with absolute crystal clarity. It was a defining moment in my life that I will never, ever be able to forget. *Sigh* Yeah, I still, to this very day, love them both with all my heart.
    Ton's of stuff ... yeah ... *stuff* ... has been on a rampant journey through my mind ... causing all kinds of stress. I guess I'm letting it all get to me. *Sigh* It is indeed time for a vacation.
    In reading back over this entry .... I realized that the last two paragraphs were kinda down ... shit ... they were pathetic! I sound like such a ... a... well, shit, I can't come with a good word. Anyway, I'm upbeat about life ... I'm upbeat about work ... I'm upbeat about the man I love ... it's just all the shit that seems to ooze to the surface of everyday life conjures up memories ... vacation? Damn right! I'm ready. You just be ready for a couple of riveting chapters of The Worm when I get back! Hehehe!

Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - 66F outside and hot as hell inside
    Who said remodeling is fun? I wanna take 'em out back and beat the ever lovin' ... well, you get the point! The HVAC folks were here yesterday and today. We have no ducts in the house at all, and that means no AC. Even though it's 66F outside, it's probably 80F inside. I'm sitting here in front of the computer in shorts with no shirt and sweating profusely. God I stink! A long hot shower is in my near future.
    When I moved back in with my ailing 79 year old mother, I never even considered the small ramifications. I only looked at the big ones. Well, I'm here to tell you, the small ones definitely need to be considered! I had an extensive discussion with the HVAC man today (he's really helpful and very good with what he does), but the discussion lead to the realization that I had a lot more demolition to do. At 8:30PM, mom announces that she's going to bed! Now how in the hell am I supposed to rip two by fours from the basement ceiling and be quiet? There's no fuckin' way! So here I sit with all this demo that needs to be completed and I can't do it because she had a rough day with her sorority at the country club and she's worn out! Aaargh!
    Please don't get me wrong. I love my momma to death and there's nothing I wouldn't do for her, but, jezz, gimme a break.
    The lady at the county landfill knows me by my first name! That's only because I'm there like twice a week with another trailer load of shit I've managed to rip out of the basement while mom's awake. The lady's really nice, but she doesn't give me a break on anything. She charges me the ten bucks for the weighed 900 pounds of crap I wanna dump. Plus, the guy who runs the giant bull dozer knows me too! "How's yer mom today?" he asks as I back up to offload my shower stall, sink and commode. Jeez!
    I'm really venting here and I apologize, but I felt it necessary to get it off my chest. Thanks to Jay, Davin and Cody for listening to me and offering encouragement! God it's GREAT to have friends!

Saturday, April 26, 2003 - half moon and 59F
    Taking a few minutes to reflect on what has happened in the last forty-eight hours would be like confessing to a major crush. I have been struggling with a major problem. The problem was not being motivated to write. Yeah. Not being motivated to write ... it sucks! But my motivation has returned! I can't tell you where it came from ... but I can tell you that I have had majorly deep conversations with Douglas DD, author of The Survivors, and Paul, my technical advisor on The Watchers. I expressed my frustration with my lack of enthusiasm for writing to both of them. Dani U/Dream suggested that returning from vacation leaves one in a lazy state. I whole heartedly agree. I've actually felt guilty! Yes, guilty! In fact, I've felt like shit for not writing. I felt like I was letting someone down ... mainly, me. After all, I'm the Tarheel Writer ... and I wasn't writing!
    Between yesterday and today, I actually finished the first chapter of The Worm. It was incredible! The words flowed effortlessly. I didn't even have to really think about it ... they just flowed! It was an awesome feeling! I guess I wanted to share my frustration with not being able to write. I should have shared it earlier, when I was really hurting. Perhaps a meaningful email from one of you would have put me on the right track. I should put more trust in my readers ... my friends ... than that. Sorry! It won't happen again.
    This Bricks and Musings Page had kinda turned into an on-line journal or sorts. I just kinda write what's on my mind ... and it's fun to go back and read what I had to say a few months ago. It will be fabulously fun to read all this shit a year from now!

Thursday, April 17, 2003 - sunny 70F
    I just finished mowing the lawn. It's such a monotonous task. You can't do anything else but daydream while pushing that damn loud assed contraption back and forth. It suddenly hit me that perhaps someone that knew me in high school might find this website. So this comment is directed at you: I'M GAY! I was then and I am now and that's the way it is! And if you were cute, yeah, I probably checked you out. I don't say this to be an asshole. I say it because I was too scared to say it then.
    I'm not what you would call a flag waving queen and I don't go around wearing one of those shirts that says "I'm not gay, but my boyfriend is." I have been to Gay Pride in Atlanta a couple of times. What I really enjoyed about going was being able to walk hand-in-hand with Jeff and not have people stare at us. It was really nice to walk through the park and be able to kiss in front of five thousand people and not worry about it.
    On the other hand, if you ask me, I'll answer it truthfully. I have nothing to hide, but I'm not gonna throw it in your face. There's plenty of other people doing that and I contribute to them on a regular basis. Without activists, we wouldn't have the very minimal rights we have now. With so many ignorant people contributing to the religious hate mongers out there, I feel I need to do something.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - sunny 73F
    I just emerged from a week of reading a one hundred twenty-six chapter story! Jeez! Thanks a lot for the recommendation, Christian! Hehe! First of all, I'm not a great big fan of boy bands even though this story was about just that, N-Sync to be exact. The author deals with lots of issues few writers deal with ... physical abuse, rape, gay marriage, and adoption. Since I'm adopted, that part of the story really hit home. I've written a brief introduction to the story in the recommended reading section.
;    Spring is here and so is the tree sperm (pollen ... hehe) and Jeff is suffering his way through it. Jeez it's been tough on him. I'm glad I don't have allergies! They're a royal pain in the ass for a lot of people. If you're among them, sorry ... hang in there!
    I've received a few emails requesting some more personal information and you'll find those questions addressed in About the Writer. Thanks for the emails by the way. It's really great to hear from new readers and to hear from old friends. If you haven't said "hey" in a while, drop me a line.
    A lot of things are going on around the house that I haven't really taken the time to explain, simply because I thought they'd be boring, but they are having an effect on my psyche. I recently moved back in with my mom. Now let me say this up front ... moving back in with your mom, at any age, ain't easy. I did it for her, as her health won't allow her to remain by herself. Since I work out of the house, it made perfect sense to my brother and me that I should move in with mom.
    Moving a son, his lover and two cats in can be quite an undertaking, as I'm sure you can imagine. (Bo and Smokey ... he's a tiger and 19 years old while she is a 15 year old soft-furred smoky colored ball of shedding fur ... jeez pass the vacuum cleaner) We decided to remodel the basement into a suite for Jeff, me and the cats. I told mom early on that I didn't want to move in and take over. I wanted to respect her privacy as much as I wanted her to respect mine. Well, so far, so good. But the remodeling has run into problem after problem after problem.
    So I remain here with mom while Jeff is staying at home with the cats. He's packing all our belongings and preparing the house for rental, while I deal with the plumbers, electricians, and HVAC people. If I hear one more person tell me "next week" I'm gonna scream!
    And while all this is going on, I'm trying to write, but not being very successful. But still, I'm pushing myself and making some headway. Perhaps when all the dust settles, literally, the plot will thicken and the pages will start popping out like fireworks on the Fourth of July!

Sunday, March 30, 2003 - snow and 36F
    I can't believe it's snowing! It's not sticking, but it IS snowing. It was 80F yesterday. It's screwed up weather like this that the environmentalists will blame on global warming. And who knows? They may just be right.
    My friend and fellow author Dani reminded me that it's so easy be lazy after returning from vacation. Oh, that is sooo right. I've been completely "vegging" out. I've even stooped to watching prime time TV. It's not something I regularly do and it was only once, so overlook my brief weakness, K? I'm usually tuned in to Discovery or something like that. Rarely do I ever venture to the likes of "Survivor" or "American Idol." And you'll never catch me watching Rikki Lake!
    I guess I can't let the war in Iraq continue without making a comment. I was going to keep my mouth shut about the whole thing, but America is being bombarded (bad use of the word) with media coverage, so it's on everyone's mind. I'm from the camp that believes the weapons inspectors needed more time. I don't understand the motivation behind the current administration to spend billions of dollars in this war, while the economy has gone to hell in a hand basket. Enough on that. You're here to escape from all that bullshit!
    Two very close friends have come down with Mononucleosis ... Mono. I haven't known anybody that had that for years and years. It comes from stress and working too hard without proper rest. It's a common viral disease among high school and college students ... two groups who don't get enough rest. The recovery time is long (up to six months) and the illness leaves you completely drained of energy. So if you're burning the candle at both ends, only do it for a short period of time. Then get some rest.
    I'm trying to write some each day. With three projects currently underway, I'm waiting for one of them to take off. So far, no one story has stepped up to the plate. I'm anticipating a break through shortly though. Things have kinda been up in the air around here. But now that things are settling back into a semi-normal routine, I have a feeling one of these stories is gonna demand all my attention. I'll let you know which one it is.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - rain and 51F
    The second chance to get away from it all was a welcome relief. I needed a getaway to recover from my first getaway. LOL. Jeff went with me this time and we went by plane instead of doing the drive. Much easier, but takes just about the same amount of time. Security was a pain, but is one of those necessary evils.
    I got the chance to catch up on some of the stories I'm following and to get some more work done on the website. The Suggested Reading page is up and About the Writer is also up, so be sure to check them out.
    I went by the cemetery today to visit the grave of my first love. Van died in 98 just a month after spending a weekend with me. Nothing could ever bother him. His glass was more than half full ... it was overflowing. He was a true joy to be around. His grave site is just off the main road and I pass it about every day. I had noticed the plastic flowers someone had put by the marker had fallen over, so I stopped to set them up. It was a Christmas arrangement. So I decided to go to the florist and order some nice spring flowers. I look forward to putting them on his grave next week. Van was a very special young man who will always have a special place in my heart. I miss him ... very, very much.

Friday, March 7, 2003 - cloudy and 36F
    My return to colder weather has been a return to reality, but the batteries are charged up. A really long drive gives one the opportunity to think ... a lot ... no distractions (phones, fax, etc). The Keys were great and now I have a suntan. I'm gettin' some strange looks at the grocery store! Many thanks to my really good friend Charlie for sharing his sailboat. There's something about putting a 38 foot sailboat on its ear in a good stiff wind that really gives you a feeling of exhilaration! And I won't even talk about the great seafood! Yummy! All in all, it was a great trip. And I'm going back ... yep ... this coming Wednesday. Guess you could say I didn't get enough. LOL.
    I'm still working at a feverish pace to answer all your emails. Be patient with me. I don't like to just say "hey, thanks for the email." I'd rather spend a little time and "visit" with you. From the get go of posting "The Watchers" on Nifty, I decided I wanted to be sure to not just answer each email, but to really take the time to say more than just "hi." So if you've sent me an email and haven't gotten a response yet ... hang in there. I'm getting to you as fast as I can.
    I'm working on the "About the writer" page. A lot of emails expressed an interest! I am flattered by all the attention and I promise I'll do my best to put something together that will satisfy your interest. If there's something specific you want to know, drop me an email. I don't want to do one of those "boxers or briefs" things, so that's not what you're gonna find when it's finished. So fire me some questions if you want to and I'll answer best as I can.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003 – freezing rain and 29F
    It is truly a humbling experience to receive soooo many wonderful emails. I am trying desperately to respond, but the incoming is exceeding the outgoing despite my best efforts.
    The internal struggle for ending The Watchers became insanely intense during this month. I had several long email "conversations" with other writers discussing the rather volatile emotions I was experiencing. I had a specific idea in mind when I started The Watchers. At the end of Chapter 11, I thought it had run its course, but the characters insisted the story continue. After Chapter 19, the insistence was no longer there. They were ready to rest. Notice I said rest, not retire. Yes, I left it open for a sequel. Who knows?
    During the writing of the last two chapters I was assaulted with all kinds of ideas for more stories. Two of those are going to receive a lot of attention in the coming days and weeks. One story is centered around two wonderful people I met through the posting of The Watchers. Their story is so compelling, it must be written, with a twist of course. I'm calling it "The Worm" as a working title, so look right here for updates. This is the page where I'll kinda ramble around a little and hopefully keep you up to date as to what's going on with the writer.
    So I'm off to the Florida Keys for a long weekend. This freakin' winter has been unreal around here. Ice, then snow, then more ice, then sleet, now more ice. I'm outta here! I'm going where the only thing cold is a beer! I'll be back next week! Until then do what the writer does ... be yourself, don't put up a front, and always remember the glass is half full til you drink it ... then it's time for a refill!

Monday, February 24, 2003 – sunny and 63°F
    Wow! I can’t believe this site is finally up. I’ve been meaning to do it for quite some time, but never seemed to take the time to do it. I’m really glad I did! It’s a real exciting time around the writer’s house. Thanks to Davin for setting me up!
    Today is also kinda sad, but still kinda happy at the same time. The last chapter of The Watchers was posted on Nifty today. It’s sad because it’s over. But it’s happy too, cause now it’s time to move on to other projects. And that list is getting longer and longer. Two projects are taking the front burner and I’ll be venting my frustrations and celebrating my triumphs during the writing process right here. So check by every so often to see what’s going on.
    I call this page Bricks and Musings, first because I love to ramble. And second, every once in a while I get hit with an idea … and it usually hits like a ton of bricks! So, there’s the reasoning for the name of this page. And while I’m rambling on, nothing else is getting done. Aargh! So I’m gonna jet and try to get a few more pages constructed and posted.

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