This is part of an online diary that Byron Case wrote between February and June 2001, while living in St. Louis, Missouri, and then back in Kansas City. The last entry is the day before his arrest for murder.
February | March | April | May | June |

Thursday, February 1, 2001

     At last! A new site layout! A few of you were complaining about the way Monochromatic v1.1 looked. I'm ashamed to admit that the word "Geocities" was used as an adjective more than once. I hope the new aesthetics appeal to your most delicate sensibilities, O dearest reader. Also, this journal is something new which sprang to mind after being bombarded by requests for the latest dirt in the life of the "Emperor of Ennui". Seeing as how I'm not online as much as I used to be, I'm hoping this will help to appease your voyeuristic desires. Incidentally, you have Bianca (and my temporary lack of broadband internet access) to thank for that. :-)

     For those of you still at a loss for knowledge of recent Byron history, Here's a brief overview: After moving to Saint Louis on September 13th, I moved in with my friend and former K.C. coffeehouse addict, Jaime. Almost two months later, I was still struggling to make some semblance of a social life for myself. On Halloween I was invited out to coffee by Bianca, a local girl who I had met online. It turned out we were each other's "mysterious stranger" from the coffeehouse and had just failed to recognize the pictures on the other's respective websites. It took us all of two days to officially start dating.

     Meanwhile, Jaime and I had just about had our fill of each other. Between my own distinct lack of money and her often-irritating "P.C." mindset, our respective patience was wearing thin. Bianca invited me to move in with her if things got too bad (which they had) and I jumped at the offer. Her lease ends at the end of the month, and we've found the most wonderful apartment in the Soulard district. Photographs will be posted once we've settled in. Our plans for the near future include an April wedding. Please push your jaw back up, your soft palette is showing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2001

     You may or may not have noticed that these entries were made before the site actually went up. Rather than having a whole lot of blank space here and trying to play catch-up later, I've decided to just "run with it" and make entries anyway.

     Packing sucks, but we're really happy to be moving. We get the keys on Thursday and the first order of business will be to retrieve my kitties from their semi-negligent caretaker, Jaime. (I had to leave them with her temporarily because Bianca's current apartment doesn't allow pets.) Speaking of kitties, my beloved has found an amazingly lazy, overweight cat of her own. His name is Fred, and he'll be joining Bast and Isis in the first-day exploration of their new home. Cats make me happy.

Monday, February 19, 2001

     Between my bad knee and Bianca's bad back (and just about everything else), the move went as well as could be expected. Neither of the friends she attempted to enlist were available, so we had to move my damned king-size bed on our own. 'Twas not fun. Fortunately, our labors were not without rewards. The bed is infinitely more pleasant to sleep on than to carry up two flights of stairs.

     Bast and Isis initially turned on each other with the introduction of Fred into the household, but by yesterday evening, all was well again. Now they all just kind of ignore each other... which suffices. As for the ferret, well, none of them are quite sure what to think of it. He just kind of squiggles around without any direction and that confuses their little kitty brains. As long as they're not trying to eat it, things are going well.

Tuesday, February 20, 2001

     So, um... yeah. Bianca and I have been "Simming" our asses off. For those of you unfamiliar with The Sims, it's the most addictive PC (and now, Mac) game one can own. Check out the official website for the full skinny. Among other things, this game is to blame for the lateness of this site's completion.

     Getting back to the point, my name is Byron and I'm a Sims Addict. I play about once a day and just can't seem to stop. You'd think a game about little people going to work, paying bills, and trying to stay on good terms with the neighbors would bore your socks off... but somehow it doesn't. The game is almost infinitely expandable, and to date I've downloaded over 200 objects (chairs, lamps, home decorations) and well over 50 extra skins (clothing and heads). I've even made skins of Bianca and myself. Granted mine looks kind of like my face met with a terrible pigment mishap, but hey, we do what we can.

Wednesday, February 21, 2001

     Kristina called me from work today, which is good because I was starting to go into withdrawal. I told her how the apartment is still in shambles (boxes everywhere) but she was welcome to come for another visit from Kansas City. "Bring Jeff if you want," I said. Her reply was noncommittal at best. ‹sigh› I need to get out more, but social ineptness and lack of personal transportation prevent my doing so.

Mental Note: Finish the damn site, already!

Saturday, February 24, 2001

     I awoke this morning to the Commodores' "Brick House" being played over loudspeakers. By the time I was conscious enough to realize it wasn't a frightening memory of Empire Builder, "Jungle Boogie" was already playing. Bianca and I shuffled to our bedroom window and realized that today was the first day of Saint Louis' Mardi Gras festivities. From our vantage point above the street, we set our eyes upon the Gyro-sish-kabob-turkey-leg-pretzel-funnel-cakes-french-fries-cheese-fries-bratwurst Stand as the source of our morning meal.

     We had more than our fill of funnel-cakey goodness. Bianca couldn't eat more than a fourth of hers, so guess who got a second (almost whole) chunk of fried, sugary yummies. :-) God, I love funnel cakes.

February | March | April | May | June |

Sunday, March 4, 2001

     So, yeah. Bianca and I went to the GeekLife shindig last night. Having never been to a technology convention, I've never seen such a high volume of geeks in one place at any given time. I drank about half a pint of Kikkoman® soy sauce on a bet. Note: Soy sauce and cheap American beer do not mix in the stomach well. The results are apparently a lot of foam followed by fluid, black projectiles. Regardless, a good time was had by all... even those in the bathtub full of chocolate pudding. Their site has the full skinny (including pics and a QuickTime movie of the events).

Tuesday, March 6, 2001

     The site finally went up today (obviously) but is still missing a section. "Black" will be a little while coming, I'm afraid. I'm working on Flash animations and every time I think I have something set in stone, a new, better idea comes to mind and I'm forced to tear it all down and start from scratch. Rest assured, it will be the most intricate part of this site. I do feel awkward making the site available as an unfinished work, but I've long passed my self-imposed deadline and people have started to ask questions. :-) You know who you are.

     On an unrelated note, Gary Numan has finally annouced the confirmed dates and locations of his U.S. tour!!! I've been waiting for this for some time. We'll be going to see him at Chicago's House of Blues assuming that the show there isn't sold out by the time I have the cash. Christ, I need a job.

Thursday, March 8, 2001

     So, I've been working a lot with Transmogrifier (a utility used to create objects in The Sims) these past few days. It started out with simply changing the colors of objects, but the obsession grew... much as my obsession with making skins grew into an attempt at making new meshes for them to fit on. My most recent creation is an easel to go with my Johnny the Homicidal Maniac theme. FYI - "Johnny" is a comic book character created by Johnen Vasquez and is not for the faint of heart. You are of course welcome to visit the official Slave Labor Graphics site and buy me an official "Spooky" squeak-toy. C'mon, you know you want to. Anyway, back to my point: Bianca is thinking of making a website to let our skins and objects available, but I just don't know if we'd get many hits. "JtHM fans who play The Sims" seems like a pretty narrow niche to me. Comments from Sim-addicts happening across this site are welcome.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

     It is currently 6:38 in the morning and I am still awake. Bianca is sleeping soundly to my left (in the bed) and I have just sifted through over 1,000 job listings in the Saint Louis area... finding only one worthy of following up on. Either I'm too picky, underqualified, or this city sucks for mid-level IT jobs. Any way you slice it, I may be looking for my next paycheck to come from another hotel. This fact is more than marginally discouraging when coupled with the fact that for my first month or so of work, I will be forced to give a small chunk of said paycheck to this city's piss-poor public transportation system.

     On an unrelated note, it is in these wee hours that I am able to solve so many of the world's problems... in theory, at least. For instance: a few moments ago, I realized that the juggernaut of pop-culture could be greatly downsized if people would just stop paying money for that new Barbie Clone or Boy Band X CD. This, sadly, asks too much of Western society, and as such, is useless information. Alas, I am left knowing the secrets of the universe and being powerless to think hard enough to realize I'm probably wrong.

     Screw it. I'm going to bed.

Monday, March 17, 2001

     We ran out of Pepsi tonight. As with all such beverage emergencies, I immediately donned my coat and grabbed some cash, heading to the nearest convenience store. Our last "hit" had been well over fifteen minutes beforehand, so time was running short... withdrawal would set in shortly if I didn't act fast. After turning out of the alley which leads from our parking spots to the street (and vice-versa... funny how that works), I approached one of Saint Louis' nine and a half trillion stop signs. This particular intersection is a simple one: two streets, four stops. Simple. Anyway, I'm no more than a nanosecond away from coming to a complete stop, my turn signal is on, and having already looked left, I proceed to look right for the "all-clear". It seems to be given, but looks can be deceiving. Out of nowhere, this chowderhead in a 1990something green Taurus blasts through the intersection. I couldn't begin to estimate how fast he was going, but I'm certain that land speed records were being broken. Fortunately, there wasn't an impact. I'm sure if there had been, I'd be in ICU right now screaming to the cops about some dumpy chick in a baby-shit-green-Ford needing a good pistol whipping. So I continue on my way to the nearest convenience store, cursing audibly to myself all the while.

     I find a 7-11, park the car, buy my sodas and head out the door thinking, "Mission accomplished. Now I can go home and drink my soda and forget all about my hatred of the human race." Being a convenience store in an urban setting, there is naturally a bum standing outside, begging for money. As I'm fiddling around in my pocket for the car key and wrestling with three two-liters of Pepsi, Mr. I-haven't-brushed-my-teeth-since-before-you-were-born comes up and asks if I have any spare change. Normally, this kind of behavior is tolerable, but when my hands are full and I'm fighting for my keys against the dark forces residing in my pockets (not to mention the death wish for humanity I've had all day)...

"No, sorry. I don't have any change," I mumbled.
"Aw, man... c'mon. All's I need is fifty cents for some cigarettes."
"Um, no,"
"Whadd'ya mean,'No'?" he asked, seemingly surprised by my refusal.
"I mean, 'no'... as in: a negative response to an inquiry. 'No'."
"Man, if you could just spare fifty cents... I mean, it's just..."
"Do you have a job?" I interrupted, having defeated the pocket demons, keys firmly in hand.
"Well, neither do I. And while I'm not as bad-off as you seem to be, I don't exactly have the money to go throwing change at people. Even if that change may, in some small way, be contributing to their eventual death." I said, getting into the car and starting it.
     And you know what? I'm okay with that. Sure some people are going to be offended or upset after having read it, but really! What do you expect from a guy who just spent a good couple of hours reading population statistics and complaining about people's refusal to stop breeding? Without the breeders, that homeless guy probably wouldn't be around today. In fact, the irritating beggar at your local convenience store wouldn't be either. Lower the population and chances are you're going to get a higher standard of living. But as usual, I digress.

     After a wrong turn (and two accidental illegal ones, one of which was in front of a cop) I returned safely home to my darling Bianca. We partook of the Pepsi and as my cares began to fade away, I decied to sit down at my computer and make a journal entry before all the spite was washed away by cool waves of sugary cola goodness. I guess I should have gotten started sooner.

     By the way... I went ahead with that idea for a "Sims" page. You can check it out here [dead link] if you're really that interested/bored.

Monday, March 19, 2001

     Bianca just left for her mother's house in Illinois. I don't know how to phrase this in a manner consistent with proper sentence structure and decorum: she called off the wedding... and us. She's been pretty despondent lately, and like the blind idiot I am, I assumed she was just in "one of her moods". I don't know what I'm doing. My writing is shit right now. She said I could stay here (in the apartment) until I find a job and get back on my feet, but there's no chance of me being able to do that. I can't spend the next month or more here, in uncomfortable silence, as I tear myself apart over what I did or didn't do to bring this on. She insists it wasn't me, and I believe it to a degree. She says, "I'm only 19 and I don't know what the hell I'm doing with my life!" but it seemed to me that she has her shit together more than I do. As far as I can tell, my only real option is to go back to K.C. and just deal with my "demons". All I know is that I can't be around her right now.

     I know it's been said a million times before, but really... why me? Kristina once said, "I don't know why you get shit on by women so much," and really, I never really knew. Perhaps it's because I offer myself so openly to people. My life is an open book, and people mistake my honesty for the sharing of something intimate and special, even though it's just something I do. I shouldn't be typing this. I should be making some phone calls.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

     I woke up with a headache and feeling as though I was going to throw up. It was about three in the afternoon and I had to shower and be ready in time to leave for my appointment with the probation officer, which was at four-thirty. The trip in rush hour would take a good forty-five minutes. Bianca drove me, and aside from me having to give directions, we sat in silence the whole way. I told my P.O. the whole story and that I was going to have to move back to Kansas City. She seemed unsympathetic, but I was able to illicit a "Jesus, you've been through a lot! I don't know what I'd do..." when she asked why I moved here in the first place. I spilled it all, of course (including the saga of Kelly and the tragedy of Justin and Anastasia). It made me feel just great knowing that this came from someone who hears about hard-luck cases all day.

     My mother's on a road trip right now, so I have to wait until she gets back to find out if I can stay with her. According to my Probation Officer, I need a "home plan" before she can transfer my case back to K.C. This essentially means that I need to find out where I'll be staying before I leave. Does this not seem like common sense to anyone else? Who the hell goes to another city with no money in their pocket and no place to stay (besides the homeless, I mean)? Wait... I guess, technically, I am homeless now. Great. More bad news.

     Reading over this, I realize that my defense mechanisms are pulling in overtime. I hate this. When will situations like this stop? Is just a little stability too much for a guy to ask for? What the hell am I anyway, a "bad situation magnet"???

Thursday, March 22, 2001

     Someone, please, shoot me now. I don't know if I can handle this for much longer. I haven't brushed my teeth in two days. I slept for almost 16 hours last night. I haven't showered in... I don't even remember. I can't bring myself to eat, because the food in the kitchen isn't my food... it's hers. I've been sleeping on this futon downstairs that angles my head in just the right way to give me a headache. That's right, they're her pillows, so I don't like using them. Did I mention that I feel sick? Friday, March 23, 2001

No hair... again. I don't know why I have this strange fascination with being bald... or why I do it when I'm extremely depressed... or why it makes me feel better. Does this seem odd to anyone else?

     I've been keeping myself adequately distracted with stupid and useless crap online. Here's a disturbing link I stumbled across a few minutes ago. It's not for the faint of heart, but it's the best argument I've seen yet for NOT bearing children.

     Anyway, to get to the point: My mother IMed me this evening, having gotten my numerous messages. It seems the rental car she used for her road trip has no mileage restrictions and doesn't have to be back until Sunday, so she volunteered to drive out here to get me first thing tomorrow. For all the complaints I may have about her personal belief system, she's an amazing mom and I love her to death. As if all this weren't wonderful enough in and of itself, the added bonus is that I'll be able to bring my computer and a few other important articles back to K.C. with me– a luxury I wouldn't have were I to have taken a bus or train.

     I'm going to miss Saint Louis, I think. I truly wish things had worked out between Bianca and I, but sadly, that can never be. The time we spent together was precious to me, and this latest blow has raised a lot of questions for me, such as "Why does this keep happening?" and other things that deserve contemplation before I attempt to date again. She's left her mark, that's for sure. I hope my return to K.C. works out well. At least I'll have my friends back.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

     My mother doesn't believe in using frivolous luxuries and new-fangled contrivances such as central heat. It's not that she doesn't have a decent share available to her, she simply chooses not to use them. Rather than bask in the creature comforts of the 20th century, she chooses instead to employ the use of many, many, many blankets to keep herself warm in the near-freezing environment that is her home. At last check, the thermostat was set to keep the house at a balmy 40 degrees (Fahrenheit, sadly), which displeases my fingers, toes, and various other extremities. I've slept here once, and am about to do it a second time. If no further entries are made within the week, chances are that I will have died of pneumonia or have been frozen alive within the icy confines of my bed.

     I'm getting very tired of telling the tale of my latest drama to every passing acquaintance. Nothing makes a miserably depressed person more miserably depressed quite like having to explain the reason for their miserable depression ten or more times a day. At least I have the senseless meanderings and company of the Staff to keep me from obsessing over the loss of Bianca... for the most part. I still can't sleep well and occasionally get incredibly nauseous and feel like hurling myself into traffic, but other than that, I'm doing pretty well.

Friday, March 30, 2001

     Today, I worked a bit more on a redesign of the Staff site. With any luck, I should be finished by the end of this coming week, but am not making any promises. After a few hours of this, I started getting restless and decided that I needed coffee. Having no coffeemaker here, such a decision involves a trip to "my" coffeehouse. Having no car, such a decision also involves either getting a ride or borrowing the car from my mother (better odds have been cited playing Russian roulette). I was granted the former by said parental unit, but getting back home was to be my own responsibility. Here, my troubles began.

     No one I knew was at the coffeehole, but one of the Staff cars was parked in front. Foolishly, I waited around for the return of said Staff member, enjoying a fine cup of French roast (the flavored house coffee today was something called "pastry swirl" and evoked a resounding and seemingly unanimous "eew" from all patrons partaking of it). When midnight rolled around and the coffeehole closed, there was still no sign of anyone. Desperate, I subtly attempted to catch a ride with an acquaintance, who not-so-subltly snubbed me without hesitation. I probably deserved it.

     To make a long story short: I walked. Here's the map. The little house icon is where I started, the red star is where I wound up. By car, this would only have been seven miles and about 20 minutes away. On foot, it was about eight miles and took about two and a half hours. I'm not even going to start about the blisters I got. In the end, I could take it no longer and called Mum from the payphone at a closed Conoco station. She wasn't too pleased at being woken up, but frankly, my feet hurt too bad for me to care.

February | March | April | May | June |

Sunday, April 1, 2001

     I believe (thanks to an $800 tax refund) the sucessor to my previous automobile may be a 1972 Pontiac LeMans currently for sale in Cleveland, MO. From my understanding of the seller, the car has a 1965 GTO engine with only 100 miles on it and runs and drives. These words are, for those unfamiliar with the "Five Hundred Dollar Car Purchasing Ritual", all the incentive one needs to drive almost eighty miles for a test drive.

     My hopes are high that this fine assholemobile will meet all of my expectations... and then some. Of course, I still have little idea how one might get to Cleveland but if the name gives me any clues, it should prove quite the little adventure. I'm keeping my fingers tightly crossed on this one.

Monday, April 2, 2001

     The redesign of the Staff site is finished and ready for viewing. I have to admit that I'm pretty impressed with myself, but the other Staff members have yet to see it, so the bigest hurdle still remains in front of me. Another gripe: the host server is still slow as hell, so I'm going to have to look into a new place to store the damned thing. At least it looks good.

Wednesday, April 4, 2001

     Tonight at the coffeehole I was having a conversation with some fellow coffee addicts when one of Bianca's friends (and former fuck buddy), John, came up and interrupted. Apparently, he'd been sitting there for some time and I had failed to recognize him, having only met him twice before. An awkward situation ensued as I stumbled through the traditional "How have you been?" and "Better, yourself?" routine. I assume he knew about the breakup, considering he didn't ask what I was doing back in K.C. or where Bianca was. After the moment got too uncomfortable for both parties to stand, he left, and one of my companions proceeded to ask, "Do you want some more salt for that wound, or shall I put it away now?"

     What followed was a long and involved conversation about being oblivious to problems in a relationship and the nature of the human race. Big fun. I think I'm going to turn-in early tonight.

Thursday, April 5, 2001

     Speaking of the Pontiac LeMans, (see April 1st) I may be coming back with a new(ish) vehicle on Saturday afternoon. If I do, rest assured that no good will come of it.

Saturday, April 7, 2001

     The story I am about to tell is true. No names have been changed for the protection of certain parties, because I'm sure we'd all rather just laugh at them for being involved. Be warned, however... while I jest and kid, this is a chilling tale of a demonic automobile— hell-bent on taking is unwitting driver and passengers to an early grave. My tale begins with beer...

     Last night was one of drunken revelry and foolishness at F.C. and Conrad's house. A Ford Fairmont parked in the front yard sustained substantial damage from axes, swords, and a Red Rider BB gun and a good time was had by all (except this quiet girl who was scared). Big fun. Long after Conrad went to bed and Dave and the assorted others went home, F.C. and I stayed up for several hours talking philosophy and stuff. We had plans to go out to Cleveland, MO this morning and take that LeMans out for a test drive, but as the hours ticked by we realized sleep was going to be minimal (three or four hours, at best). If memory serves, we did in fact get to sleep, but not until well after dawn. When I woke up two hours later, we took our sweet time with the morning cigarettes and left for Cleveland in F.C.'s "sweet" RX-7.

     The directions to Cleveland included such choice items as "first paved road after water tower" and "cross the wooden bridge", so hopes were running high that this car would be worth driving a lowered Japanese race car down a pockmarked gravel road. After much bitching and gritting of teeth, we pulled into the seller's driveway and there she was— a symbol of all that is asshole-ish and trashy— a patchy primer grey and forest green Pontiac LeMans. I knew that if this car ran, it's asshole powers could overcome anyone... even the prudish likes of Ms. Manners. Just imagining a 60+ year old woman throwing back domestic beers (pinkie finger extended) and swerving to hit small woodland creatures while cackling about good posture gives me chills.

     The owner was waiting in the front lawn. He was a diminutive college student, no more than 5'7" with scraggly facial hair and about six visible piercings. Rural Missouri has obviously become quite cosmopolitan since my last visit. We got right down to business and looked at, smelled, touched, tasted, prodded and, finally, got into the car.

     On the gravel, it seemed to drive well enough, even if the brakes were light years beyond pathetic. There seemed to be a good deal of give on the steering wheel, but I wrote it off as nothing, given the current road conditions. I shouldn't have. The moment the beast's wheels touched pavement, her tires screamed and she tore off to the right... only she went too far right and almost took us off the road. I was able to steer (barely) left and avoid flying into the pasture, but was forced to make another course correction after that, to avoid going into the opposite lane. There was almost 180° of give... this car may as well have been on motorized, spinning casters.

     When F.C.'s turn came to drive, he assured me it wasn't as bad as I had told him and that he'd "surely driven cars in worse condition before". His apology for disbelieving me came shortly after a very near-miss with an oncoming farm truck. We expertly deduced that the front-end was "fucked", told the owner "no thank you" and I promptly bought Dave's 1975 Chrysler Newport for $450. Exceeding the size of Conrad's '77 Cordoba by well over a foot, this vehicle will be the longest Staff Car yet. Be prepared.

Sunday, April 8, 2001

     Some people don't know what I do when I'm bored. Usually, I sit and think. Today, I was not only bored, but also tired from painting that house (don't ask). Anyway, I thought a bit about future modifications to the Newport and these are some of the possibilities I considered:

  • Front impalement spike
  • Roof-mounted periscope
  • "Jet engine" tail lights (give off nice, bright red glow)
  • Four-foot tall tail fins
  • Transform into two-door fastback/hatchback
  • Swivel mount roof cannon (similar principle to periscope)
  • Caltrop dispenser
  • Remove trunk and install rumble seat/couch/gunner's post
  • Landing platform (complete with lights)
  • Satellite dish array
  • Cover car in human hair acquired from local barber shops

Wednesday, April 12, 2001

     It's been a depressing couple of days for me. The car refuses to start and we narrowed it down to the accelerator pump, which seems simple enough until you have to go looking for one at a parts store. Out of all the years Holley® has made carburetors, mine would be the one to be discontinued. At least my life is predictable. As if the car thing weren't enough, I've been hit hard by what one friend has begun to call "Bianca Syndrome". The grief comes and goes, but mostly just keeps on coming.

     The tiny light at the end of my tunnel is that there's another Holiday Inn here that's looking for a front desk manager. You might remember this position from the job "Holiday Inn Westport: Part One". I checked with my old manager there to see if she might be hiring, but sadly, she had just filled everything. Given the rave recommendations she's given me in the past, I'm sure she would offer me something if she had it.

Sunday, April 15, 2001

     Truly, the Easter spirit moved me today. Conrad, Dave and I sat on the couch at Ground Zero (a secret, dreaded place where "it all goes down"), smoking cigarettes and talking about the creation of a concentration camp for people we don't like... for such things are commonly discussed there. Potential torture techniques kept coming back to the "lemon poultice", but possible activities did stray into the realm of "turning the wheel" and forcing the hungry to "gently braze these succulent lamb chops and immediately dip them into motor oil". Those not in compliance will be shot. I'm sure Jesus would approve.

     A welcome event did occur on Friday that I failed to write anything about for fear it would make my entries seem trite and meaningless (no comments, please). I located a company in Texas which claims to have the part I need to bring the Newport back to life. For a mere $2 plus shipping and handling, she will run once more— unless countless mechanics and mechanically-minded people are just plain wrong about this. In the event of the latter, I will have to kill myself, having had my beliefs regarding the order of the universe utterly obliterated. Here's hoping...

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

     The tickets for the Numan show have been ordered and the hotel reservations have been booked. We'll be staying at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers for only about $55 a night thanks to an acquaintance who happens to be employed by Sheraton. I'm really looking forward to the show... a lot... even if Brahm and I have to share a bed.

     Some of you may be interested to read a Pathology of the Hundred Acre Wood (a.k.a. Winnie the Pooh and friends). It seems some Canadian group of developmental scientists feel that our pal, Pooh, has ADHD and OCD, and perhaps will develop Tourette's syndrome after the time the book is said to have taken place. I truly hope this page is the end result of some Canuck doctors having fun, but one can never be too sure.

Thursday, April 19, 2001

     The part I've been so anxiously awaiting finally came in the mail today (and it's about time). The carburetor had been sitting in pieces on a table in the garage for upwards of a week and I was starting to get annoyed that my car's entrails was so "scattered". The installation of said part onto the appropriate portion of the carburetor took about ten seconds, as I only had to snap off an old rubber cup and snap the new one back on. It was a significant amount of time later that the carb was successfully put back into the car, and even longer to get the damn thing started, thanks to the now bone-dry fuel lines. Once it finally started, it ran just fine (aside from needing a tune-up and minor timing adjustment). This makes me happy, as I will now be able to go out looking for work... finally.

     Needless to say, I drove almost immediatly to the coffeeshop to celebrate my new self-relocation abilities. Had other coffeehouse-type acquaintances been there to share in the glory and general wonderment, I doubt I would have come home so early. Of course, they shall see it soon enough.

Sunday, April 22, 2001

     Aside from a leaky fuel line and desperately needing the timing adjusted, the car is still running adequately and seems to get me around with only moderate inefficiency. Granted, the chance of a fire or explosion was high on Saturday (before the leaky fuel line was tightened more), but that just added to the joy of driving.

     Today I stopped over at Ground Zero to lend a helping hand with a little "accident" that "happened" on the back porch. It seems that about a month ago, a Jar of Doom* was made that could not be properly contained due to it's acidic qualities. When the pungent contents began to eat through the jar, it was relocated to the porch and was placed under a bucket to keep the odor from spreading. This worked until the bucket and jar were moved, and the escaping fumes that followed made this one of the most noxious jars yet created. Gas masks were required for the cleanup.

  *A Jar of Doom is a jar filled with all sorts of nasty biodegradable things and left for months to sit in a warm, damp place. The end result is an indescribably foul stench that typically spreads a great distance. Most Jars of Doom have been known to cause gagging, severe nasal discomfort, watery eyes and nausea.

Thursday, April 26, 2001

     Later tonight, Brahm and I depart from Kansas City and head via bus (our friends didn't want to make the drive to here after all) to the magical land of Omaha, NE where we will meet up with Mike and Christianne. From there, we will be driving to Chicago and taking Greyhound back to Kansas City on Sunday night. If I take any interesting photos, expect them to be posted here by Tuesday. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've still got to pack my bag.

Monday, April 30, 2001

     The trip was nothing short of wonderful. We reached Omaha (via bus) by 3:30am on Friday and were met at the station by Mike. After a brief tour of the staggering expanse of nothingness there, we drove to Mike's apartment, picked up Christianne and hit the road almost immediately. The closer we got to Chicago, the more silliness ensued. I think we were just sleep deprived, but there was mindless hilarity in abundance at our last rest stop. We wasted a good twenty minutes there, acting like idiots, before getting underway again.

     After battling Chicago drivers in rush hour for well over an hour, we arrived at our hotel and immediately went to our room so that we could all clean up. Our view was great during the day but was even nicer after dark. By the time everyone got changed/showered/shaven we were all starving, so we took a three-minute cab ride to Giordano's for their famous stuffed pizza. My first experience with actual Chicago (as opposed to impostor Chicago?) pizza was an excellent one. I heart thick crust.

     With a whole lot of pizza under our belts we left Chris at the hotel to work on her Flash project and went out in search of a club called The Metro. By the time we reached the place via train, the Sister Machine Gun show was over and people were being kicked out. Fuel, the bar next door to The Metro, was open and had atmosphere enough to plant our asses and drink for a few hours. Following that, the guys had one final drink at an Irish pub before we headed back to the hotel.

     Day two: the day of the show. I could scarcely contain my excitement. We opted to kill the daylight hours at the Museum of Science and Technology, which was a fantastic idea. The museum was host to far too many exhibits to see in one day, but we did our best. Of particular interest were the human fetus and body slices displays. Following the museum, Mike and Chris got some time to themselves while Brahm and I went back to the hotel to get ready for the show.

     "And what about the show," you ask, "How was it?" It was positively incredible. Our tickets were pre-ordered and were waiting for us at the door Chris didn't want to fight her way to the front of the crowd, so she paid $160 for our quartet to have a private opera box. The box was right next to the stage and made every tortured expression that passed over Gary's face visible. The two opening bands were quite good (especially Gwen Mars, the second band to play) but when Numan came on stage, they had both been forgotten. He opened right up with an emphatic "Pure" and proceeded to perform a perfect mix of old and new. Much to my surprise, he played "Cars", the most overplayed song of all time. I had assumed that he was sick of it. The evening progressed, and we got drunker. Afterwards, I would have waited outside the stage door like some rabid groupie had I been anything less than raging drunk. Only Chris recalls how she got back to the hotel.

     Our final day was spent at Navy Pier, where we rode the ferris wheel which afforded us a nice view of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago. There were also some damned fine fresh-squeezed lemonade available. For the most part, the place was just a tourist trap. The restaurant we ate at was called "Perchies" and had the worst service we had yet seen in the Windy City.

     Mike and Chris drove back to Omaha early, leaving us to fend for ourselves on the last leg of our trip. While impatiently waiting for the city bus to take us to the Greyhound station, circumstance intervened (and granted us a little comfort before our much-dreaded bus ride) in the form of a kindly limousine driver who offered his services for a measly $10. Of course this meant that Brahm and I would be arriving at such a dump in such a nice vehicle. Our suspicions ran high that a mugging might be in the cards. Luckily, such was not the case and the people were actually quite sedate so we had some bus station food (That was food?) and waited for our ride.

     Today, I slept. :-)

February | March | April | May | June |

Saturday, May 5, 2001

     I hate that so many entries here are about the car. Most likely that's not going to change until I have something more interesting to mention. Anyway, it turns out that the Newport's entire carburetor is bad and needs replacing. I found one for $130 at a local auto parts store but it won't be in until Monday afternoon, so until then I'm just going to have to drive around leaking gas. Hehehehe. I'm gonna die.

Sunday, May 6, 2001

     Last night was fun. Brahm and our mutual friends Chad and Robert "the Wop" went out to drink at the Velvet Dog. I recall a very different crowd the last time I was there, but assume the Masquerade Ball for this particular bar and their across-the-street counterpart, the Empire Room, a whole lot of suburban fuckholes decided to invade the place. We ended up having only one drink apiece, then ran away to drink in comfort at Robert's place. When a sufficient degree of intoxication was achieved, a party game called Catchphrase was brought out and resulted in one of the silliest group activities I've been involved with in a while. "...and a good time was had by all."

     On my way home this morning, the Newport got a flat tire. I have, or had, a new-ish full size spare in the trunk. This fact alone made changing the tire (which seems to have gotten too hot on the highway, causing the ancient rubber to give out) an amusing song-and-dance. Never before have I had fun changing a tire. I am a sick, sick man.

Monday, May 7, 2001

     Hear Me: There is a Beast which liveth in the City of Kansas. And the residents did all fear her mighty roar which was like unto a big fucking Dragon or something. The Keeper of the Beast, who's name was Byron, did sayeth unto the townsfolk, "I am He who driveth this Piece of Shit. Thou wilt fear me, and cleareth the roads before Me, lest I smite thee with mine awesome Tank." And the townspeople did, and all was well.

     It looks as though the carburetor was the problem after all. I am now able to peel out and do all sorts of other nasty things. Err... I mean; I could do those things if I was a completely inconsiderate sack of shit... but I'm not. So I won't. Um, yeah.

Tuesday, May 8, 2001

     Despite it not being quite the position I inteded to interview for, I succeeded in wooing a potential employer (another hotel) into becoming an actual employer. I dare say that it was about goddamn time, too. The formalities will be taken care of tomorrow, but I've already been given word that I'm pretty much in. This is where the arduous process of rebuilding hits overdrive... I think.

Thursday, May 10, 2001

     I've been listening to Gwen Mars obsessively today. It's a strange thing for me to see a band live and hear their studio work afterwards, but they were quite wonderful live and their recorded stuff is pretty good, too. Thus-far, the songs I like most are "Radio Gun", "Hurry Up" and "Strawberry Ice"— all of which (I'm pretty sure) were played when they opened for Gary Numan at the House of Blues. Any band with courage enough to use a bubble machine while opening for Numan is truly a band I can dig... even if their lead vocalist is disturbingly short and thin. :-)

Sunday, May 13, 2001

     Mother's Day. Hooray. I really shouldn't sound so bitter about it, we had a fairly enjoyable time at lunch. I was able to aquire some potted plants for her yard/porch that she was quite pleased with. I wish I'd thought of plants earlier. Moms are suckers for plants. Anyway, after lunch I came home to reformat my hard drive (not exactly a cause for joy by itself) and discovered that Bianca had called while I was gone. I'm sure it was regarding my cats. She only calls to complain about one of them doing something unbelievably out-of-character, and asking when I can get them. If I could have helped it, I would never have left my babies. In honor of this latest deep-blue funk, the "art" section now has another poem... one that I wrote last week during a particularly sour evening. It's quite terrible. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

     As I write this, the neighbor's cat, Spooky is eating raw chicken breast off the recently-welded pitchfork attached to the hood of my car. I'd take a picture of this most disgusting act, but it's too dark out and I don't want to scare her away from her meal with the camera's flash. The chicken came from a package in Kristina's freezer and had been there since before December 6th of last year. Impaling it on the fork seemed like a good idea, but I'm sure I'll regret it once the meat starts going bad (see Stinky Meat). I just hope Spooky doesn't get sick.

Friday, May 18, 2001

     Well, it finally happened. Today was my first day at my new job. Repricing medical claims isn't exactly what I hope to have a career in, but it pays quite well and is a short-term assignment to tide me over until the staffing agency lands me something better (which shouldn't be hard, considering how I scored on their tests).

     The workplace isn't bad, even if there is a lot of nepotism going on there. The person running the show is Kathleen, a woman who appears to have gotten hit with the "sag stick"... but only on one half of her body. Her entire left side hangs noticeably lower than her right. It's quite scary. Kathleen's sister is Gay. No, I mean her name is Gay. Besides her unfortunate name and being a heaping bowl of ugly, she has nothing to do with my story. Tom and Candy, however, have everything to do with my story. Tom and Candy, you see, are Kathleen's children. It is their job to handle the more advanced claims and assure the rest are error-free.

     Candy is quite round. Perhaps a more accurate assessment of her size would be "corpulent". Really, she wouldn't be so disgusting if her ball-like form didn't cause the floor of the third-story corporate office to shake when she walked. Tom, sadly is worse. His presence is inevitably announced by such a great vibration, my chair rolls slightly every time he thunders past my cube. I'm certain this man's six foot frame weighs in at a good 700 pounds. I'm surprised he can walk, really. To make matters worse, he has "FUCK OFF!" tattooed on the knuckles of his right hand and I think he drives a Camaro. How this got past the dress-code Gestapo is a miracle. Like I said before, though, the job itself is tolerable.

Sunday, May 20, 2001

     After the coffeehole closed last night, I went to Robert's place to see if Brahm might be paying a visit. He was, but by the time I arrived, everyone was already quite sloshed on cheap merlot and watching "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". Halfway through the movie, Brahm excused himself from the room and without my knowledge, firmly attached a whole chicken to my pitchfork. Needless to say, I was highly amused and generally pleased with such a gift.

     Since then, I've been driving around and getting some interesting reactions. About 60% of the people who notice it (I'm not sure how you couldn't... but that's another tangent.) seem to appreciate my sophomoric humor and laugh/honk/smile/wave. I'm brightening their day a bit and probably giving them a nice little anecdote to tell the coworkers on Monday. Those who scowl or give disapproving looks obviously enjoy being generally miserable in the doldrums of everyday life. Either way, everyone gets what they want and I get the satisfaction of knowing that I was responsible.

Monday, May 21, 2001

The chicken is ripening well. As such, I'd say my plans are unfolding nicely. Tom, my behemoth supervisor at work saw me getting into my car this afternoon. I have no explanation for the chicken that would make sense to a 600+ pound badass, sadly. Tomorrow is bound to be an interesting day on the job. For those of you curious (you sick bastards), I've included a photo of my little joy with this entry.

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

     Alas, she too has left me. Our torrential rides through town are never again to be. How I will miss her sloppy, undulating carcass adorning my hood. I speak, of course, of the chicken. There was a bit of a confrontation today at work and I was obliged to remove it to save myself from being fined. (Who knew rotting chicken posed a potential health risk?) Mournfully, I pulled a plastic bag from the back seat and slid both her and her smaller counterpart delicately off their skewers and when no one was looking, tossed them into a nearby shrub. That'll teach 'em to come between me and that which decorates my car.

     I seized the opportunity and took the Newport to the car wash for a good scrub, then drove it home and began prepping it for a first coat of paint. This, when followed by the actual painting, turned into a five hour chore. Running out of daylight while spray painting a car makes it a bit difficult to ensure good coating, so I pulled it under a street lamp and did the best I could. The results were decent, if not satisfactory, but a second coat is definitely required. Plus, I still have to do the Landau roof and trim (door handles, turn signal pods, wheel wells, etc.). As usual, photos will be available upon its completion.

Saturday, May 26, 2001

     On my list of decent, interesting, and generally enjoyable people to be around, "Mailman" (who's real name is Mark) was nowhere to be seen. This is not because I dislike him, simply that we have never talked about anything even remotely meaningful until tonight. Sure, there have been moments over the years when I would be sitting at one coffeehole or another and we'd default into a conversation, but those conversations always seemed very basic. Tonight was pleasantly different and, after the coffeeshop closed, he and Mindy (another coffeehole addict) and I went to the lawn of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and drank honey liqueur from Germany. Remarkably tasty stuff, that.

     During the course of our conversation, I gained a new respect for him. It seems that he and I are more alike than I would have imagined. Not only that, but our recent experience with significant others is uncannily similar as well. There's not much I enjoy more than meeting kindred people who are able to share their personal experiences without feeling embarrassed or shy about them. I have a feeling that we'll be talking a great deal more as time goes on.

Monday, May 28, 2001

     Besides helping Kristina move, it was an incredibly lazy day. We were finished by four, and opted to fall down at Jeff's place (Jeff being Kristina's boyfriend). I managed to buy a carton of smokes on my way home. It is now 8:00pm. I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

     As expected, Gwen Mars rocked my ass. I don't think Brahm's ass was quite as rocked as mine, but he enjoyed the show regardless. Edie, you missed out on a great time. Shame on you!

February | March | April | May |

Sunday, June 3, 2001

     This has been the worst weekend I've had in ages. Before I even left work on Friday, I had a sore throat and a mild cough. By the time sunset rolled around, I was feeling dizzy and disoriented. By the time I got home, I was downright ill. My Friday night was spent alternating between sleep and vomiting... not exactly my idea of a great time. By Saturday, the nausea had cleared, but I was left incredibly tired and weak (causing me to sleep all day).

     The ten-day data entry assignment I was so happy to have behind me had turned into a fifteen day assignment without my knowing. I was informed on Friday afternoon that I was to show up on Monday. With as sick as I still feel, I doubt I'll be going in. When I signed on, I told them data entry was out of the question but made an exception considering the short duration of this assignment. They didn't even ask if I'd be willing to work longer. Bastards.

     Today, I was forced to leave the house, still feeling generally unpleasant, to replace a burst coolant hose in my car (which has been sitting at the coffeehole for the past two nights). I made a brief effort to be social with F.C., but my head became too clogged with snot to even think, so I headed home to write this and take a nice, long nap.

Monday, June 4, 2001

     Must... get... more... sleeeeeeeeeep.

Thursday, June 7, 2001

     In compliance with my work's policy on sick days, I went to see a doctor yesterday, knowing he would write me that form that proves I missed work for a reason. It turns out I have a pretty bad case of something not unlike strep throat, curable by either a barrage of shots a three-pill-a-day-for-ten-days regimen of über-penicillin. I opted for the pills.

     What I find humorous in all this is that I was walking around for the past two days, suffering no discomfort whatsoever from the heat. Meanwhile, several people around me who were normally pretty resilliant to that sort of thing, complained their asses off. This was truly a first for me, and I thought this might be the first summer ever for which I would adapt to the temperature a bit. Such was not the case, however. It was just my 103° temperature... which could possibly explain the blurred vision and feelings of vertigo I've been experiencing on occasion while driving.

Sunday, June 10, 2001

     As a warning to those who have yet to see it, "Requiem for a Dream" is NOT a feel-good movie. Not only is it not a feel-good movie, it contains some of the more disturbing imagery I've seen in a film. The words "haunting", "beautiful", and "twisted" describe it quite well. Friends (and you know who you are), you must see this movie! See it with friends, see it with enemies, see it with the lovers of people you don't even know... just see it.