"Are You Where You Wanted To Be?"

      I have been pondering this question a lot since I lost my job in April 2000 and much more so since I lost my last job in September 2000.

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      As I sit and think about this, I listen to tapes of my past when I used to run my own radio station from my basement in 1992. I sit and think about what was going through my mind then - what do you want to do with your life? where do you want to be in 10 years? 20 years?

      I look around me and realize I got side-tracked.

      High school didn't mean shit to me, but what I was developing for myself and accomplishing on my own during that period means a great deal... and what is sad is that most a lot of that irreplaceable time has been forgotten with the kick in the ass of growing up. Expressing one's self has been replaced with earning a paycheck to survive.

(Image: DJBRIAN business card cutout) Often I think about what or where I would be now if I had decided not to go to college. Placing myself into that moment before August 1995 I was basically your average 15 year old... of course I was 18 but that's (Image: WBTN actual transmitter) beside the point. Running my own radio station was my first real outlet of expression, my first real experience where I overcame myself and began to understand the feelings that made me me. The microphone held no grudges, put up no boundaries, and was there whenever I had something on my mind that bothered me, excited me, made me laugh, or cry. It was always there to listen to me. And in listening to me, I began to realize the therapeutic benefit of expressing myself. I began to come out of my shell. I miss having my own radio station so much. It has since been side-tracked with the Internet and computers, a playing field all on it's own that encourages such behavior.. but it's not the same :-)

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      So then came college, and the decision forced-upon me to hang up my life and start a new one. With college came depression, the new struggle for acceptance in a world where I basically isolated myself. Luckily, college hands you more diversity and therefore more people in a similar predicament. The ones like myself became friends on the spot. :-)

      My only true outlets in college were my few friends, my bantering on the college radio station (which of course is more produced and a lot less real like my own private open-mike), and a new outlet...

the Internet and computers.

     Within one week of (Image: BriaNet, animated gif) learning how to email I had my own web site up, and it never went down. It never got smaller either. Anything that ever happened to me, any conversation I had, any social interaction, any highs or lows, anything I was ever thinking ended up on my web page. This of course started trouble on quite a few occasions when my usually kept-to-myself opinions became public discussion pieces.

      Needless to say, I was being heard and at the same time was hiding in my room behind the keyboard and screen. I would leave only for food when absolutely necessary, to shower once a day (at most), and definitely to do my radio show once a week on the college station.

      Running the computer and obsessively learning what I could taught me a lot about web site HTML, how servers work, as well as basic computer understanding. When mp3s started appearing on the internet, this was like a link to my past and a dream come true as for the first time my current new love of computers and the internet was joined with my old love of DJing and music. Only one other love has survived (besides my love of music and collecting mp3s) through what I like to call the "transitional" period of my life, and that is my Snowflake.


      One other part of my life that college destroyed (aside from my disc jockeying and music collection prior to college) was my (back then almost a fantasy-based) relationship with Mary, who happened to live 1800 miles away.

      When I finished my first year of college, excuse me -- barely finished, I failed -- all I did was my radio show and computer, barely went to class. Looking back it seems like the end of the first semester just creeped up and overcame me. There were periods I didn't leave my building for what it now seems like months. Who's to say if that is true... ask my college friends and they will tell you I would "disappear" for a week at a time.

      As I was saying, once I finished that year the plan was simple -- to reunite with my love in an attempt to get things back on track. I always tell people, (Image: Mary, summer 96) the most craziest thing I have ever done in my life was spend $500 of my own money, made working all summer at the Great Mistake, on a plane ticket to fly to the middle of nowhere, Wyoming, to meet the girl I fell in love with over the phone. It was love at first sight... well, craziest until this -- The 1st craziest thing I ever did was surprise her that summer after college. July 1996 I pulled off the greatest stunt up to that point in my life; actually it probably still is the craziest. Avoiding everyone with the truth, even eluding friends, I drove to Wyoming in my 1985 Caprice Classic and surprised her.

      It was hell dealing with her verbally abusive step father, but just to see her made it completely worth it. Following that trip, her step-dad's revenge on both of us was to invade her privacy completely, humiliate her, and sever contact between us indefinitely. As you can imagine, I felt as all efforts had only made things worse, but I knew it was worth it. I missed her so much after that, and eventually I let time wear away at the pain I felt and I did my best to forget...

(Image: Marist Rotunda pic)       College started again and this time I was on academic probation, which basically means you fucked up the last quarter and if you don't fix it this time you don't get to come back. Probably by the beginning of November when my attendance had fallen WAY DOWN and my computer and sleeping time went WAY UP I realized I was not going to pass. I dropped the two classes I was failing to temporarily push my average back up, but I knew that would only fool my parents... and it did. Alone, I dabbled with trying to find love, first over the computer...

      Now you have to realize back in 1996 only guys were online, and if a girl was online there was a reason. My roommate continually warned me of this and of course I was dedicated to the belief that I had lucked out and things would be different and the girl I was falling in love with online and over the phone would be the perfect one... and of course she ended up being a 250lb. (psychological -- added for affect) mess. So I felt stupid, and tried showing affection for others, all of which hated me and told me I was immature and to leave them alone. At least 3. I was crushed.

      Christmas came along and with it was my best friend - my computer, which I was on non-stop all night and slept all day. That was the second year I missed most of the holidays. I was depressed, I was engulfed in my world of expression online, and besides my small circle of friends at home I avoided everyone. Actually more social interaction went on online than it did in reality, but what did happen online, for the first time, affected reality in some small way.

      Wasn't long before the parents discovered I wasn't going back to school. From that point on I got the pressure of getting a job and making money to support myself. That started immediately and lasted until I finally did get my job in April. But, until then, in February...

      Driving to Wyoming last summer taught me about a drink called "Mr. Pibb" from a soda machine in Iowa, and that winter Pete introduced me to a girl (girl = TARGET OF BRIAN'S AFFECTION). I tried and tried to get her to like me, and she did, but only as a friend and besides that she had a boyfriend (Image: Anna) who was a major ass hole and did everything HE could to deter my efforts, including kick my car and slander me and all my friends, and even turn friends against me. It was a big mess and needless to say, I got out of it looking better than he did. That is history. Now, the tie in is that the girl Pete introduced me to had a bottle of Mr Pibb in her refrigerator, which immediately caught my attention. I had not even though the word Pibb since the last summer.

      Being that I was home doing nothing and obsessing on having a girlfriend, just someone to listen to me, to hold me, etc, I had a new quest. This quest started as a joke in my mind but there came a point where I needed to do something to... well, just to do something. I decided I was going to drive to Virginia and get some Pibb. Well, I took Jake and Jody, minors back then, to Virginia with me.. we found Pibb, and we came back. (Image: Crash pic of car) I crashed, of course, minor detail to the story ;) Everyone was safe, no injuries, we made it home. My car made it, crunched of course. It was snowing, it was cold, and actually the coldest day of the year when we got home (-30). Now faced with leaving ... the state!, crashing, and risking minors across state lines, having to deal with my parents that morning was tough. I avoided them for 6 hours, and Pete's mom helped me do a little thinking about the future, and planning for work and a job, or possibly going back to school. It helped me relax and make it easier to approach my parents. They weren't pleased at all. But, my father must have done something like that in his past, because from that point on he did everything he could to help me fix the car.

(Image: Caldor logo) (Image: Picture of Mary from 96)       May 5th is when I finally ran out of money and started working at Caldor again. And of course, eyeing the young female coworkers, knowing I never had a chance. May is also when Mary called me for the first time in almost a year. It sparked something in me, as I knew it would if I ever heard from her again. Who is to say if those feelings would not have returned if my course had been different from July 96 onward.

      I tried as much as possible to hang out with my college friends that summer, but of course work pretty much tampered with that as best it could. Needless to say, I had fun that summer.

      As all went back to school, I worked through September, Oct, Nov and Dec. During that time I had reestablished a relationship with Mary, although not a very true one from her side. Unfortunately I was not there to stop the outside influences from coming in, and well needless to mention this time, shit happened, and we were once again cut off.

      About January I had come in contact with a gentleman in Nebraska while trying (Image: Inventive Media exterior) to find a suitable internet provider for Mary (before we stopped talking again) and he offered me a job. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I accepted. He sent me $500 to fix my car and then another crazy stunt... moving to Nebraska without telling my parents or Mary. My friends knew, everyone at Caldor knew... and my parents didn't :-) Probably only a week was the amount of notice I gave myself, and 3 days notice for my job. I didn't want it to be too perfect -- what if a huge snow storm fucked it up. So, when everything was perfect, I gave my notice. Over the PA the last night my boss said "Everyone wish Brian good luck in Nebraska". I left the next night with 36 hours of Howard Stern tapes in tow.

(Image: Howard Stern pic)      One thing not mentioned in this story is how I became a fan of Howard Stern and his show, and his crew. For once, I had someone to relate to, and to learn from. Howard taught me a lot, and helped me teach myself a lot - someone to give me a different (or sometimes the same) opinion to compare mine with. Throughout high school and college, and Nebraska, I try to catch some Stern whenever I can. Even today.

      Back to the story...

(Image: Super User - Nebraska friends)
      Off to Nebraska, new friends, new job, new life. I learned a lot. I was friends with all my coworkers and the customers I worked with loved me. It was great. The problem was I didn't interact well socially the way my friends did. In Nebraska, everyone smokes. Everyone drinks. And that's it. So as you can imagine it wasn't very entertaining for me to hang out with them all the time.

      And, I knew I was 40 miles from Mary. I so badly wanted to see her, to see how she was doing... but I knew if I entered her life from that course I would be stuck with her like that. I knew it was best to leave us apart, so I did. So when she would call (my NY # which I strategically left connected that forwarded to my new NE #) I wouldn't say a word of my location. I'd make jokes like I was there, but she wouldn't believe me, and that's how I wanted it to be.

(Image: Kacee pic)       I did my job, I got my pay, I stayed online. Then in March 1998 a girl, customer's daughter, made mention to me that she liked me and wanted to meet. She had seen my web site of all things. So, my boss has me go to her house to deliver their new computer, and hook it up, and show them all how to use it, and it was cool. I was happy cause I finally found a girlfriend..

      As we got closer, I spent more and more time with her, and learned more and more that the way she was disturbed me. I would be encouraged to drink, smoke pot, and the behavior appalled me. What broke the straw was when she did acid in front of me. She knew how offended I was by the things she did, and she did it right in front of me. I knew I could never get close to her like I had thought I was.

(Image: Mary, Jan 1999)       I was seriously depressed again, and thoughts of Mary came back into my mind. I knew we were perfect for each other before, and all I wanted was to have it again. That is when I made my presence known. I left a ring she had given to me in July 1996 at her place of work for her to receive the next day.

      We got back together, I continued to work, she worked, and things were okay. Little did I know the emotional roller coaster that was brewing ahead of me. While I was happy, Mary was depressed and into habits that she had gotten into thanks to the outside forces I had no control over the years before. Those dragged her down, and me with her. Yes, we had extremely happy moments and were much in love. Having said that, Hell is the best way to describe our relationship for the next year. And, with that, my job performance was lacking, but I managed to survive.

(Image: Picture of windmill from Nebraska)       We broke up in May of 1999 when I realized I couldn't take the stress on my heart and soul anymore. Of course, despite our break up, you would occasionally catch us together. Eventually we realized (again) there was something about us that could not be broken... but not jumping ahead too far, more shit hit more fans (you wonder why it's so windy in Nebraska) and more depression. That, and on top of it my hair started falling out.

      Sept. 1999, Mary and I get back together and things go well, then more shit, then things go well, then a lot more shit. Thanksgiving 1999, she got mad at me and kicked my car and I made her leave. Later that day was no better as I became severly sick with a stomach virus and couldn't keep anything down, not even water. I became dehydrated and checked myself into the hospital; a bill I still owe $270 on. That weekend was 95% shit. :-)

      Of course, despite all the prior shit, something wasn't right without Mary, and by Christmas we were back together. This year I was off to New York for Christmas. Mary was alone in Nebraska for that one as she had made plans to work and couldn't get out of them. Also, it's ironic because I think Mary got deathly ill on Christmas kind of like I did on Thanksgiving.

      January 2000 after coming back from being with my friends, I realize I need to go home. At this point I didn't care about work the way the boss wanted me to, I did everything I could to make money on the side using customers from work, I'd call in sick all the time, go in late, etc. My mind had made itself up! It knew that anything to better itself (meaning ' less stress) was a very good thing, and that taking care of itself had precedence over anything else of importance.

      Mary decided to move to South Dakota to pursue a new job, and I encouraged her. Believe me, after the shit I had been through and the chances I had to follow dreams and the liberating feeling that came from it, I knew better than to step on that for her, so I did everything to make (Image: Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD) her feel good about it. She was off, and I was doing my thing. Of course, you can never separate us for too long. We began to miss each other and I went up to visit on a weekend. 7 hour drive on a Friday night, and 7 hour drive back Sunday... and it was so much fun being with her and having her show me around her new town.

      Turns out she went through much of the same disappointment with the social scene as I did when I moved to Scottsbluff, and she wanted to come home. On top of that, the fact that her job didn't work out because of their stupid policy of having a high school degree or GED, which she didn't at the time. She did get her GED while up there, but not in time to get her job back. I visited her again, and it was all very good, and then 2 weeks later she moved back.. it was a week before my 23th birthday.

      She looked for work, I did my minimum work, and my side work. Of course, my boss decided in April 2000 that my work didn't meet his (staff's) requirements and he fired me. Immediately I began doing LOTS of work on the side to make ends meet. Mary was a huge help...

      There was a robbery at my former place of business, and of course I was prime suspect #1. Gee, thanks. Rumors began circulating, destructive ones for Mary and my's relationship, and ones that blatantly struck at my character. It wasn't easy. Then, Mary lost it one night, and more shit hit another one of those fans you see on every corner in Nebraska and Wyoming.

      I had been contemplating getting the hell out of Nebraska since January, and it was more and more becoming a clear reality. That night, the decision was made, and packing the cars began. I organized a garage sale the next day, made about $300... I was looking for someone to drive my older car as I have two and obviously driving a mile and walking back a mile to get the (Image: Mary driving my old car back to New York) other car would take months *duh* :) Then Mary faced me with my decision to leave. I really wanted to get the hell away from all the bullshit I was being thrown (or splat and tossed by the fans I guess), including from her. Mary did not want me to leave without her, and based on our past you can guess that our separation would not happen. ... So, I gave her a choice. Drive my other car and come with me, or stay. She chose to leave. Nothing like 3 day's notice for moving from Wyoming to New York :) And we left.

      May 5th arriving at my parents' house, surprise, of course. They were not happy at all. Mary flew back May 16th to get her car and more stuff, and I looked for work. She came back, again surprise, this time just to my parents. They, again, were not happy, and tried to drive her away. More shit, more fans, more mess.

(Image: Brand Olde PCs logo)
      Good news, I got work, she got work, we got our own place. July 1, 2000. She didn't have work anymore. We found her new work August 1st. All good.

      Sept 6, 2000, I lose work, this time because of my new boss' wife and her attitude towards my attitude. And, almost running parellel to this event, I was working for my friend on a web site -- mind you something I would much rather be doing then working for someone else. He decided that he didn't want my overbearing excitement for the project to jeopardize his participation (which I must insert: all the content was his) so he cut me off from that as well.

      I since have been unemployed. Mary is supporting me on what little she makes, but it is not enough and I have to get a job or get unemployment very soon or I'll be fucked.

(Image: Brian and Mary, Sept 2000)      So here I am, present day October 21, 2000, wondering what the hell happened to my dreams. When I started writing this, I had the idea in mind "Are you where you wanted to be?" and as I have just updated myself on my recent history I wonder "what happened?"

      Where should I be? What direction am I meant to head in?

      I am stuck, folks.

      Before college, I had my microphone, my friends, and my identity. College changed many things, one of them being my outlet. Computers became my voice. Once I left college, computers continued to be my voice. Once I left for Nebraska, computers were still my voice. I added Mary, of course. I moved back to New York, and worked fixing computers.

      Now I am doing nothing, but reminiscing.

      I am at a point in my life of reflection. Also, an important point. From this point I move forward; forward in any direction I choose... ... but I need help.

      Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to when I was happy playing music, doing corny talk shows from my basement, speaking my mind into an inanimate microphone, and not go to college at all. Many speculate I'd be a full-time disc jockey if that were the path I had chosen. Who knows. Maybe I'd have to go back further to when I was 8 years old and etched my mind's ability to be late for things and kick my own ass. Perhaps go back to Summer 1995 when Mary was here and ask her to marry me. Maybe go back to Summer 1996 and pop my tires so I wouldn't go to Wyoming to see Mary.

      I could sit here and say "what if" to a million experiences and decisions/choices I have made in my life, but the only good it will do is to delay and distract me from what I really need to do, and that is to make a decision for now.

      My knowledge has increased with life's experiences. Despite this, I don't know what I want to do with the rest of my life. I can't just sit on my ass and do nothing, although if it were profitable it would be my first choice ;)

      I know I love Mary and I know she loves me, and I have definitely learned that Mary does care about me. I just look in her eyes and I know it. Every day I know it more and more. (Image: picture of me)

      I know I am intelligent and pick up on anything interesting you could teach me, and I know if I put my mind to ANYTHING I can get ANYTHING I want accomplished. I have proven it to myself countless times during my life, and I know that part of me will never die.

      I need a change... I need to change back to the way I was before, the way I thought, my process of thinking.

      I just have to remember how I did it :)

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