Thursday, December 28, 2000

Thursday, December 28, 2000 - 11:19 p.m.

Thursday, December 28, 2000 - 11:19 p.m.

Poor Lori is still sick. She's been sleeping downstairs the last few nights because she's had trouble sleeping. I feel so bad for her.

Lots of people at work are sick, too. Yesterday it sounded more like a hospital. I told Wendy if sick people kept insisting on coming in to work then I was going to stay home because I didn't want to get sick.

Of course, I wore the wrong sweatshirt tonight on my walk -- it didn't have a hood. My ears got really cold. I also think that it was just colder than usual out tonight. I hope I don't get sick.

Work was ok, my computer was running really slowly and so it took all afternoon to do something that would have otherwise taken an hour or so. On the plus side, it's done and I can cross it off my to do list. Tomorrow is a short day, but I expect to have to work longer because it's the last day of the year and I'll need to get some campaigns ready for the new year.

It's also payday for Lori and for me and we still have several hundred in the bank from before. Yay us. That's pretty cool. And the bonus isn't too far off. That will erase a lot of debt.

I'm really tired so I think that's all I'm going to write for today.

Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Tuesday, December 26, 2000 - 11:19 p.m.

Tuesday, December 26, 2000 - 11:19 p.m.

Lori took the day off. But she came in to work at lunch time and brought food and we had lunch together. It was very nice.

Of course, there was nothing to do at work today. I let Lillian go home early and Dave go home early because they said they were sick. I mostly played on epinions all afternoon.

We've discovered that the problem with the computer is actually related to Internet Explorer. No thanks to the losers at Earthlink who never bothered to respond. So now we're back to using crappy Netscape again. But that's fine because now the DSL connection isn't responding at all.

I must have walked at least 5 miles tonight. I feel pretty good. I left at 9:35 and didn't get back until 11:10 and walked almost non-stop (only stopping to wait for walk lights). I don't know if it's doing any good, but I enjoy the walks. It'll be nice being able to walk with Lori once her foot is healed, but I also enjoy the solitude of my walks.

Anyhow, some more recapping. While in college I stumbled onto a website. I didn't like its design and it had some coding errors. This was when the internet was really in its infancy. I wrote to the guy and gave him some suggestions. He liked them and commissioned me to do a layout for a television guide grid. I did and he sent me a check for $40. Then for nearly a year he bugged me to do more work for him. I finally agreed and I would do 10 hours a week for $20 an hour and every Friday there'd be a check in the mail for $200. It came from a publishing company in Wisconsin which was weird since this guy was supposedly in California, but the checks all cashed fine, so I didn't ask a lot of questions. Then in late March of my senior year Kevin and I drove down to California where I met David Cronshaw for the first time. He was working at KCAL 9 TV right outside the Paramount lot. The website, was his hobby site, a way for people to find out more about local television stations and a way for people who worked at television stations to connect with one another. I found out that an executive from NBC had found the site, contacted his friends in Milwaukee at the publishing company and that they were in the process of converting it into a business, which is why I was getting paid and paid so well. So I went back to Washington and at the beginning of May I talked to Jeff Rowe and he offered me a job for $30,000 a year plus $1,500 in moving expenses. I said sure and got a check in the mail pretty quickly for $1,500. The day of graduation (May 19, 1996) Bria (my then girlfriend) got into my Audi 5000S and I got into the U-Haul and we began heading towards Los Angeles.

Originally we were supposed to tow the Audi and we would be able to drive together to keep each other company and to make the drive go quicker. Turned out the car didn't have the clearance to make it up onto the trailer. Bummer, but I was very lucky that she agreed to make the trip (I had purchased her a ticket to get back). I had already lucked into an apartment in a complex I found on and David had been by to say it was very nice looking. It was a second floor corner unit and I really hardly ever heard my neighbors. I quickly became spoiled. The day we got there David showed up with a laptop that was borrowed from NBC and I used that until Jeff finally completely left NBC. At that point he brought over his own personal Mac and I used it until we bought computers of our own for TVnet. We didn't have offices for several months, we all just worked out of our apartments as they put together the staff and looked for office space. When we all needed to meet, we'd meet in my apartment. Finally we got office space that -- get this -- was 10 minutes from where I lived. They had been looking at Santa Monica, but Jeff lived in Encino and David out in Woodland Hills and they got tired of the commute just from the number of times they went out there looking for office space. So we were in Encino and it was pretty cool. Greg Frank joined the team during his summer breaks from school (his dad was a big guy at NBC and friends with Jeff) and we added Jon Ofstead -- who Lori and I still work with running -- and Camille - [redacted]. She got hired to be MIS but she didn't like MIS so all she did was try out new technology stuff. Not to mention she didn't understand MIS. There was Nadine who I didn't get along with at first but after I left she and I became friends over AIM. Later there was Michelle who was really awful, Jessica who was really annoying (an actress-wanna-be biding her time). There was Crazy Mary who shaved her head and was good friends with Camille. And Larry Laffer. Most of you won't remember this but there used to be this serious of hilarious games where you played a character named Larry Laffer and you were supposed to walk around different locales trying to get women to have sex with you, but you were so pathetic that it never happened. Anyhow, this guy Larry was a nice enough guy, but he was a salesman and he never sold anything. He would borrow my laptop when he went on sales calls outside of Los Angeles and when he brought it back the cache would always be full of porn websites. There was Matt who had been there longer than me. But then again, he lived somewhere far away and worked remotely. He did a lot of freelance work and also had a full-time job. He made lots of money. And then there was Scott Teeman. I picked out Scott's resume when we were looking to hire someone because Greg was going back to school. Scott eventually got stolen away to do writing projects but he and I and Jon were great friends and we had a lot of fun in the office. Until late December when Jeff asked Scott what he saw himself doing in 5 years. I guess Jeff didn't like the answer because Scott wasn't working there much longer. Then in February, Jon was gone. And then in April 1998, I was gone.

But while I was there, we totally improved the site and did a lot of things. First, we changed the name. First to UTV: The Ultimate Television Network. But then we got sued by United Television, a group of television stations. Internally, they used UTV, but never externally. Well, they started slapping it on all their press releases and had lawyers send us letters. So, we changed the name to UltimateTV. (I came up with both names.) UltimateTV was a great name. When Tribune bought JDTV, the publishing company, they sold the name UltimateTV to Microsoft and DirecTV and changed the website's name to Really lame name.

I designed the grids for their television guide (ironically launching nearly two and a half years after I developed the first grid for David that got me noticed), built a store called -- which was sold to an outside company and a site called UltimateMovies. It was a little side project they let Jon and I build one afternoon because we heard that E! was going to build a similar site. But they didn't let us work on it much after that and after we left we built a better one called We also designed the site for Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. It was later taken over by another company. I think that was one of the reason they got rid of so many of us, because they lost the contract for Buffy. The site was really cool and the only thing that remains is this thing called "The Postingboard." The postingboard is a very simple message board. You type a message, it appears at the top pushing all the others' down. The reason it was so successful is that stars from the show would come on from time to time to talk to the fans. (I had set it up so that they had access to codes that would let them put in their name and no one else could put in their name, plus they could post in color while no one else could.) 9 months after I built, people started planning a party. It was a grand party, held in February in Los Angeles. It was attended by about 200 fans from around the world and most of the cast and a lot of the crew from the show. It became the "First Annual Postingboard Party." I was a celebrity. It was pretty incredible. A lot of the fans in Los Angeles get togther for dinner almost every week. Most of my friends down here are other fans of the show. (Lori and I even have a Christmas party every year just for Buffy fans.) We have another friend who throws a second party each year on Halloween Weekend in Las Vegas that's well attended and now preferred over the Los Angeles party that's gotten to be too big and too loud. I'm not attending the party this year and I never post on the postingboard anymore. Most of the people who were there when I was posting regularly are now gone and the stars rarely show up anymore and hardly anyone there would even recognize who I was. But back in the days there was a girl living in Oregon who wanted to move to Los Angeles. I had talked to her before on the board but didn't really know anything about her. She planned a trip down to go apartment hunting and she wrote to people down here asking if anyone wanted to get together while she was in town. They contacted me and someone else scored us a bunch of tickets to a comedy club and we all went, I met her, and that's pretty much the whole story. She went home after that weekend and we spent every night typing on the computer until morning learning more and more about each other. (I was mostly unemployed at the time, having already been fired at that point.)

When Tribune bought JDTV I got a check for $5,000. That was very cool. I can't believe Jeff and David haven't jumped ship yet. It's gotta suck being there. The site is so bad. The look was changed somewhat after I left, but I think it only got worse. Jeff had a different idea each week and they always conflicted one another so we were constantly running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to fulfill all his demands without pointing out to him that they conflicted last week's demands. We were all too immature at that point and too stubborn. It was a small company and we all thought we ran it. It's a shame really. I have a lot of fond memories of my time there. I know there were a lot of unpleasant ones, too, but I've mostly blocked them. I do remember an email from Nadine which simply said "F_ck You" which I printed out and taped to the side of my computer for all to see, but I'm happy to say that I've blocked so much from my head. I do know at one point I had a gigantic desk, probably 8x4 on the main section, a maroon marble on cherry wood, but that wrapped around to the side and behind me with cabinets to the ceiling and the wrapped around some more with room to have a refrigerator right in it. It was only there because we were subletting and someone told us it would cost $4,000 just to have it carted away because the marble was so big and so heavy. I loved that desk. It was just too cool and I loved showing people pictures of me working at it.

Anyhow, that's the story of my first job here in California and a little bit of info into how I met Lori.

And that took over 30 minutes to type.

Sunday, December 24, 2000

Sunday, December 24, 2000 - 7:19 p.m.

Sunday, December 24, 2000 - 7:19 p.m.

I don't like Christmas being on a Monday. That meant an extra day before Christmas to sit around doing nothing. I'm not big on days off.

I just got back from a walk. It was at least two miles, to the office and back. I stopped in to check on my campaigns, all of which were pretty much ok, except for one thing which I hope I was able to fix.

Today was really boring. I watched Home Improvement shows until Lori came down and turned on a black and white movie. I used the computer, but it keeps crashing and I've tried everything. I think the only option left is to drop it out the window and call Prudential. It's so frustrating.

Anyhow, I'm not much in a writing mood, so I'm not going to write much tonight.

Thursday, December 21, 2000

Thursday, December 21, 2000 -- just after midnight

Thursday, December 21, 2000 -- just after midnight (so, it's technically Friday)

I took a pretty long walk tonight, was gone almost two hours. I did stop at a grocery store and a drug store to buy a couple of things, but I still think the walk was at least 4 miles. Yay me.

Work today was pretty non-existant. Wendy came in for a little while to tell everyone about their merit pay and to confirm our bonuses (no merit pay for me because of the contract). Then she was gone again; she had asked for the day off. It was so dead. Frank took orders for Taco Bell, went and got Taco Bell and then later said "Oh, it's on me. Happy Holidays. Bet you wish you ordered more, huh?" That was cool. I overheard Cynthia telling Becki that she was going to start looking after the bonuses were paid. It'll be sad, our core group really hasn't changed too much in a year. We've had a few temps and Faye, Kathy and Millie left but that was a year ago. Sue's one year anniversary was yesterday. Maybe Lillian is newer, but mostly we're all the same as we were a year ago. I think that's pretty spectacular. I watched L.A. Story in the afternoon because I had nothing better to do.

Ok, more catching up time. Let me tell you about my friend Kevin. I met Kevin my freshman year at the television station. We were both interested in student T.V. because it offered so many opportunities for us to goof around and play with cool toys. I really met him and got to talk to him when he called me to ask me to let him into Foss Hall. He had printed out enough copies of a flyer to put one under every door in every dorm on campus trying to get himself voted into some office for ASPLU (Associated Students of PLU) as a write-in candidate. It didn't work. Anyhow, our first year we did quite a bit of stuff together with the station. He lived in Hong and I lived in Foss. At the end of the year, he got a faculty member to sponsor the "Media House". PLU owned a number of houses near the school and with a faculty sponsor, students could live there. (The faculty sponsor didn't live there.) We got a four bedroom house about half a mile from lower campus, bordered by the school's 9-hole golf course. (At one time it had been 18, but they reduced it to add more buildings.) We lived in that house for one year and then Campus Safety decided they wanted the house so we were told to get out. Our other two housemates Wayne and Jon graduated, so that left Kevin and I. We were allowed to pick wherever we wanted to live so we picked a place called Evergreen Court which was little two-bedroom apartment style dorms. We lived there for two years, working at the television station and sometimes I would guest on his radio show. We got to be really good friends and drank lots of beer.

Because of Kevin, I ended up coming down to California on my senior year Spring Break. I had already been working for TV Net, but coming down to California made me realize that I belonged here. Sometimes I miss the snow and rain, but then it rains and I no longer miss it (people down here don't know how to drive in it, and because it rains so infrequently, the ground gets really slick from dirt and oil when it rains). After college we moved down here and then he suddenly moved back up there to start a wedding video business. Unfortunately, it didn't all come together the way he had hoped, so he came back down here. We don't see each other as often as I'd like, but he lives in Anaheim. Well, he used to up until about a week and a half ago when he moved to South Pasadena. Of course, now that he lives in South Pass., he finally got hired at Disneyland. (He would apply every year as a lark and they'd never call him back and this time they hired him as he was turning in his application.) He's also working for Dick Clark Productions. He doesn't like a lot of the people who work there and my theory is that they act the way they do from having worked there so long, so I've told him to be careful. This is a very brief description of Kevin, but it's a start.

I always feel so guilty sitting down here and typing after having been gone out walking so long because Lori's usually getting ready for bed. She was doing other stuff so she's just now getting ready for bed, so I'm going to call this good for the night.

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 11:12 p.m.

Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 11:12 p.m.

I walked a little over 2 miles today. It took about 45-50 minutes to walk to my office and then back home. I'm happy about that. But I also ate some cookies at work and some M&M's here so I don't know if this will offset it. I hope it will and I hope the exercise will increase my metabolism so that I can take it on better and keep it off. Of course later as the pounds start to drop I will need to start working out so that I can improve the tone, too.

Lori told me this morning that she doesn't like my rubbing her back in the mornings. I thought she liked it and I had done it several mornings recently as we lay there wishing we could sleep in longer. That put me in a bad mood for most of the day. She felt bad, but in truth, I'd rather have learned now instead of her laying there each morning getting mad at me while I thought I was doing something she liked. She does like having her back rubbed after work, but not before work. She's a grump in the morning.

Definitely not a morning person. She ended up cheering me up later when she called because I was being goofy and she was getting frustrated but not annoyed with me. She wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas dinner and I kept saying that I didn't want ham. Unless it was thinly sliced and rolled up. I even offered to roll it. She said I could cut it, too, but I want it cut really thin like they do it at the deli.

Work itself was somewhat boring. But in a good way. Nothing much of interest happened today. I did my work and had some extra time. I ended up taking a longer lunch than planned. Originally I was going to go to the mall today and buy the stuff for Lori's Christmas stocking but I didn't because I was grumpy at her. I didn't like being grumpy but that just made me more frustrated that I couldn't change my tune. Natasha even noticed and asked me what was wrong. Sue brought in this card with a pig that looked like Babe on the front wearing a hat and scarf. Inside was a non-descript holiday greeting and a scribbled signature. Candace mistook it for "Sam". Then someone came around and gave us all amazingly wrapped gifts from Kevin. The gift? Pretty dumb, a framed picture of a gumball machine you can hang on the wall. The interesting part is that it's a working gumball machine. Someone had opened each one and slapped a Warner Bros. logo on each one. The boxes looked old, like they had been sitting in a warehouse for years. I told everyone that I was going to put mine in for the gift exchange tomorrow.

We have another cat, Morticia. It was Lori's cat. Carol and Morticia don't get along very well and can't be very close to one another. We used to think Morticia was really mean but then we learned at (I miss that some cats have an imbalance where if you pet them too long it starts to get uncomfortable and they will go from purring to biting. So we're more gentle and pet her for shorter periods of time and she's really mellowed and become a much more pleasant cat since then.

That's going to be it for the night again. No time to summarize anything else that's happened in the past 9 years. At this rate, it will be several years before I find the time.

Monday, December 18, 2000

Monday, December 18, 2000 - 11:45 p.m.

Monday, December 18, 2000 - 11:45 p.m.

I'm not sure if I did any better. Last night we went to the party even though I didn't
want to and I had a lot of fudge and other not so good foods. And then we were forced to go look at Christmas lights even though I didn't want to. At one point I flicked my lights off and on at someone and they stayed on. I had to pull to the side of the road and turn the car off before the lights would reset. Well, the trouble got worse. Near the end, the "check engine" light came on. We ended up having to drive from Torrance back to Glendale using only surface streets because the car wouldn't leave second gear.

So we did 30-35 milesan hour the whole way. Not fun. I took the car in today and found out a $17 sensor had failed. They repaired it and I had the car back and it was under warranty so it didn't end up costing anything.

Our big boss Kevin (Senior VP, New Media) hosted a buffet for us this morning. It was
pretty cheap and the food wasn't that good. Lori and I both got sick and we think it was because of the eggs. I ended up not really eating anything else for the rest of the day. I asked Lori to bring home Panda Express, which she says is pretty healthy.

Work was pretty boring. Not much at all happened today. The stock price went down $10
today, even though the FTC approved the merger on Thursday and the Dow went up today. I
don't understand stocks. I wish I did, I want to make some money. I hope to have more
time (when?). I ended up watching 90 minutes of TV I had just watched last night.

I just got back from walking an hour. I figure this was between 3 and 4 miles. That's
gotta be worth something. The question is, how much? And will I be able to consistently exercise to where it does my body any good?

So, I have all this stuff to catch up. I think tonight I'll do some easy things. I think I'll talk about Carol. Carol is my cat. She was probably born on or around April 15, 1997. I bought her not too long after. When the vet examined her, he said she shouldn't have been sold so soon after birth. Carol is -- of course -- named after the Carol you read about many years back in the last set of journals. I know it's a weird name for a cat, but I honestly couldn't come up with a good name so I decided I would honor my memories of Carol. Carol is hard to describe. She is all white underneath, so when she lays on her back she looks like a totally different cat. Her face is part white and part dark. She is a short-haired cat who is dark on top, mostly black with a kind of peanut-butter-slash-tan-type color mixed in. Her markings make her kind of look abyssinian, except that they are long-haired cats. Her tail is almost striped, but in the dark colors.

She ripped up the carpet in my first apartment because I kept her in the big walk-in closet at night when I slept because I was scared that I would roll over onto her when she was little and then later on because she wanted to run around at night keeping me awake. I was kind of mean to her but she's forgiven me. She sleeps a lot. Every morning she follows me into the bathroom and sits on the floor while I take a shower.

When I get out of the shower she talks to me. Otherwise she isn't a very loud cat. I've taught her to sit and now I don't always even need to say it, if she wants something, she'll sit. She's very nervous around other people and if kept in a room where there are other people, she will sit at my feet. She also plays fetch. She will bring milk rings for us to throw, but she wants us to work, too -- she doesn't bring them back to you, she brings them back partway, so that you have to get up as well. And if you ignore her, she will pick it up and drop it repeatedly onto some surface that will make noise until you go and get it from her and throw it. She's really cool.

I was going to talk about my cars, too, but I think I've written enough. I have so many things to catch up. Lori, UltimateTV, Warner Bros., Blockbuster, Kevin, Allison, Bria, Barbara, Amy, Pacific Lutheran University, California, and the list goes on. Over time I will try to get everything caught up.

Sunday, December 17, 2000

December 17, 2000 - 3:52 p.m.

December 17, 2000 - 3:52 p.m.

So it's been just over 9 years since I've kept a journal. Since I last wrote, I went to
college, graduated college, moved to California, helped start an internet startup, worked at Blockbuster as a second job to make more money, got fired from Blockbuster and then got fired from the internet startup. Got a cat, got a new car, on my third cell phone, lost touch with a lot of my friends, made some new friends. Then I got hired to work for a studio, got married and here I am today.

It's probably 75 degrees outside and we're sitting in here with the air conditioning on.
We're talking to Lori's mom on the phone and the stereo is playing country music. My neck is really sore. We've been on the phone for 40 minutes.

It's just days before Christmas. It'll be our second Christmas as a married couple and
probably the last year we don't establish set limits on how much we should spend. I got Lori a lot of presents... the biggest one is a water-jet that's supposed to give a jacuzi-like feeling in a regular bathtub. I've seen good and bad reviews on the internet for the product, so we'll see if she likes it. The other big one is a foot-bath thing. You can use it with water or without water. It does all kinds of stuff. I think she'll like it. She's been soaking her feet more later. (She has plantar-facisitis -- an injured muscle in her right foot. I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong.) Mom and Dad are sending bath salts and stuff that will go with the bath. I also got her gift certificates for Bath and Body Works and Bed, Bath and Beyond and a couple of other presents that I'll talk about later.

I'm tempted to bring everything up to date all at once, but we have a Christmas party to go to in Torrance in an hour. We're going to be late because it will take at least an hour to drive there and neither of us are ready to go.

I have several reasons for starting to write again. One, I am unhappy with my weight. I think if I'm writing about it, I might be more mindful about taking care of the problem. Two, I'm worried about my job. On Thursday, the FTC approved AOL's plans to take over Time-Warner. I work for Warner Bros. Online and I think as part of AOL, we will be incredibly insignificant. I work for Advertising Services. We handle the ads on all of the websites, and we use software that we bought from an external company. AOL has its own software, only it's several years behind what we use. But we've been told that we will be switching to AOL's software in the middle of next year. CNN also protested and was told the same thing. And if CNN is being bossed around, we're incredibly insignificant. I have a contract with Warner Bros. through next September, but it's likely that they could try to get rid of us earlier. I am trying to set money aside, but with all the bills we have to pay, I can't get nearly as much as I'd like set aside. And my third reason for writing is that I would like others to know how I've felt throughout time. I don't know if this means Lori at some future time, should I die, or maybe future children trying to understand where their dad is coming from. I'll admit it right now. I don't know everything. Sometimes it seems like parents do, but I'll spoil the secret and admit right now that I don't.

I hope that the focus of my emails won't devolve into "I'm fat and broke.", I will try to touch on other things as time goes on. My increased interest in my own spirituality is a big deal to me.

I didn't attend church much during college because I wasn't that interested. The on-campus church was too weird and the real church right next to the campus was just a bunch of old people. My girlfriend at the time dragged me a few times, but I just wasn't excited to go to church. Then my friend Allison took me to a huge non-denominal Christian church down the road. We sat in a large auditorium with fold-up basketball hoops and peel-back carpet and folding chairs. Every Sunday we would sing songs, really celebrate God and His gifts to us. And then at the end we'd stack up all the chairs.

Lori's dad attends a similar church in Sacramento and we've found a church kind of like that in Pasadena, except that it's so large that they don't have to have their sanctuary double as a gym. I'll write more about the church later and the previous church we attended in future emails. We've also met a lot of young Christian married couples because of this church. We had an opportunity to go to a party last night. But it had been a long day and Lori was really tired and didn't want to go. I did and I lied and said I didn't because I wanted her not to feel guilty. It was more important to me that she not be stressed. Because of our party and because of all the hectic-ness of the season, she'd been up late every night all week and was really tired (both of us
fell asleep last night during the sermon at different points) and because of her foot (we had been at the Warner Bros. Holiday Fair all day and that was a lot of walking) I didn't want to drag her to it. We ended up staying up late anyhow and so we didn't go to the bible study this morning. I was a little disappointed when I realized that there probably won't be one next week and then the following week we'll be going to the old church so we won't see everyone again until next year. But I really wanted to sleep in. But then I didn't get to because the stupid neighbors next door had their stereo up too late. Is it too much to ask that people in apartment complexes be respectful of their neighbors? I guess so.

This is really long. And I have 9 years to recap. I will try not to be really long in future entries, but I can't promise anything.