I tried a little experiment this morning with DJing live to my Twitch channel, and I don’t think it went terribly badly…so I’m thinking I may do this on a semi-regular basis.

Background: Like many, many people…I used to be a DJ. ;) Lately I’ve been missing it, so this is a way for me to start practicing again. I have no visions of getting back into clubs or anything along those lines (though it’s always a fun fantasy), but this should at least help scratch the itch a little bit.

I’m using djay Pro 2 and a Pioneer DDJ-400 mixer, and figured out how to use OBS (with some assistance from Loopback to route the audio stream from djay to OBS so I wasn’t just broadcasting whatever my computer’s internal mic could pick up) to stream to Twitch. I’m also recording the video and audio output locally, and will upload those to my YouTube and MixCloud accounts within a few days after broadcasting.

Here’s the video for my first attempt (the audio kicks in at about 45 seconds).

And here’s the audio on MixCloud.

In the future, I’ll figure out how to keep the Twitch chat channel up on a second screen so I can take requests as well (on the off chance people actually stop by to watch and listen live).

It’s an experiment, and I’m not sure how long I’ll keep doing it, but for now, at least, it should be fun to play with.

From The Eternal Shame of Your First Online Handle:

Those of us who came of age alongside AOL must contend with something even more incriminating than a lifelong Google profile: A trail of discarded online aliases, each a distillation of how we viewed ourselves and our place in the world at the time of sign-on. The dawn of the Internet was an open invitation to free ourselves from the names our parents gave us and forge self-made identities divorced from our reputations IRL.

(via kottke)

I’m actually kind of lucky in this respect. I’ve only ever used one online handle, and while I’ve deprecated it a bit these days in favor of my real name, I still actively use it as a login name and occasional identifier. Most anyone who’s interacted with me online for any appreciable amount of time will recognize my online alias of djwudi.

A long time ago (though not in a galaxy far, far away), I was over at my friend Royce‘s house when his dad remarked that I “looked like a young Woody Allen.”

For a time, this little nugget of trivia was known only to Royce’s family and my own. At some point during my later high school years, though, a few things (namely, frustration at their being so many other Michaels in my age group, and a teenage-angst fueled desire to be “someone else”) led to my deciding to adopt the nickname of “Woody” full-time. It started with the yearbook and theater crew (both of which I was very involved with), and began to spread from there.

In the post-graduation years, I used “Woody” almost exclusively, in the social world and at my jobs. It wasn’t long before there were more people who knew me by “Woody” than by Michael.

Round about 1992 or so, the Anchorage alternative scene was somewhat in hibernation, especially for those under 21. I talked my way into a DJ spot at one club, then moved on to another, and then another, eventually spending around eight years DJing alternative/goth/industrial/retro/anything-but-pop for the Anchorage scene. My “DJ name” was obvious: DJ Woody, or, depending on how I felt when writing it out on flyers, DJ Wüdi, playing off Royce’s pseudo-Germanic version of my nickname.

The DJing eventually moved on into past tense rather than present, but as the world of the Internet grew, I soon found that short, unique names were both desirable and valuable, and that smooshing everything together into “djwudi” produced a string that, to date and to my knowledge, has not been used by anyone other than myself.

As the years have gone by, I’ve returned to using my given name in the real world and online, but I still claim djwudi on any site I sign up for.

Give It A Crablouse For many years now, I’ve had the idea for a mashup bouncing around in my head. In fact, it has been rattling around in my brain for so long that it wasn’t even originally thought of as a “mashup” — just a mix I wanted to try. However, I’d been missing a crucial piece, so it never got beyond the conceptual stage.

Until now. Thanks to a little assistance from Mike Dickenson in supplying me with the crucial missing piece, I’ve finally been able to get this out of my head…and, hopefully, into yours.

Proudly presenting the second of my contributions to mashup culture: Give It A Crablouse (5.2 MB .mp3).

Sources: The Lords of Acid‘s “The Crablouse” (“In Its Native Environment (Album)” and “Whatever You Do, Remain Calm (Instrumental)”) mixes, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ “Give It Away“.

Oh, alright already. Naysayers be damned, here’s my entry into the ‘twenty-five random things about you’ meme that’s currently flying around Facebook (and, to a limited extent, creeping out into the rest of the blog world). Some of these, people will know. Others…perhaps not.

Though I’ve been ‘tagged’ to do this by a few people on Facebook, I will not be ‘tagging’ anyone else. As with all memes, if you want to do this, do it. If you don’t, don’t. I won’t be bugging you about it either way.

  1. I knew a serial killer. When I was a kid, Robert Hansen, a.k.a. the “Butcher, Baker” serial killer, lived on the same street as our church’s priest. My brother and I and Father Schmidt’s kids would go over to play with Hansen’s son. I don’t really remember this, and only found out because, while idly leafing through mom’s copy of Butcher, Baker, I saw a photo of the basement where Hansen did some of his killing and mentioned that it was a creepy looking room. Mom then glanced up at me and said quite calmly, “Yes, you never did like it down there.”

  2. I spent a number of years — nearly a decade, if I remember correctly — singing in the Alaska Children’s Choir. Actually, when I started, it was two separate organizations: the Anchorage Girls Choir, which had been in existence for a few years, and the Anchorage Boys Choir, of which I was one of the first members. A few years later the two merged into the Anchorage Girls and Boys Choir, then became the Anchorage Children’s Choir, and finally settled as the Alaska Children’s Choir.

  3. I played the violin (never terribly well, as practicing was never high on my list of things to do) from Elementary through High School. I’ve often wished that I’d gone for the cello rather than the violin, as I much prefer its tone, and might have stuck with it longer and more conscientiously.

  4. I’m starting to regret starting this post, as I’m only on item number four, and I’ve likely already typed more than most people do for their entire 25 things list.

  5. My online pseudonym, “djwudi,” is a somewhat bastardized onlineification (yes, that is a word) of “DJ Wüdi,” which for a number of years was my offline pseudonym.

  6. I was given the nickname of “Woody” as a child by Royce‘s father, who declared that I looked “like a young Woody Allen.” I started using it regularly around the end of my High School years, when I got tired of there being multiple Michaels in nearly every classroom. I didn’t return to going by Michael on a regular basis until I moved down to Seattle in 2001.

  7. As may be guessed from the “DJ” part of my pseudonym, I was once a DJ. I spent close to a decade playing for various clubs in Anchorage, the most well-known being The Lost Abbey and Gig’s Music Theatre. Both were all-ages, non-alcoholic dance clubs that catered primarily to the punklings, gothlings, ravers, and street kids running around Anchorage.

  8. “Wüdi” comes from Royce and I horsing around and creating a bastardized pseudo-Germanic form for my nickname.

  9. In my teen years, I went through a brief period of light shoplifting. The items my itchy little fingers went after? Books. The ones I can remember now were a leatherbound, gilt edged edition of a Batman graphic novel, and a selection of paperbacks from the Erotica section that onetime Alaskan bookseller The Book Cache used to have conveniently close to the door. Most were by the surprisingly busy author Anonymous, though I did at one point end up with a copy of John Cleland’s Fanny Hill. All of these ill-gotten goods are either lost, stolen, or somewhere at my parents’ house, as they’re not on my current bookshelves.

  10. I spent something over a decade more or less avoiding television. I would probably still be a snobby “Kill your TV” evangelist were it not for Prairie, who has managed convince me that while yes, the commercials do have an unfortunate tendency to make you want to claw your eyes out, some of the shows are actually quite enjoyable to watch.

  11. If I could ditch all of my pants and stick completely with a selection of Utilikilts, I would. Unfortunately, neither my job nor the lack of insulation on my skinny bod will allow me to do so, so while at work and during chilly months, I put up with wearing pants.

  12. I’m running out of time to get this finished before Prairie gets home.

  13. I’m a person of habit, at times very likely bordering on slight OCD. I had not noticed this until Prairie started pointing out all the things I do just so every time, from how I make my lunches in the morning to how I lace and tie my boots. Now it’s a combination of amusing and annoying when I catch myself.

  14. One of the areas where my anal retentiveness is most evident is my iTunes library. At the moment, my library is about as organized as I can realistically manage it. There are areas where I’d like it to be more organized — the ‘Composer’ metadata field, for instance, is in absolutely horrid shape, generally speaking — but I can control the impulse to keep tweaking. Maybe.

  15. I was once told by a group of girls at one of the clubs I was DJing at that I “did good things for the Macarena” when I came out to dance to it. During the height of the songs popularity I’d put it on (hey, I was getting requests…and besides, I have a weakness for “bubblegum” pop, no matter what the era), hop out of the DJ booth, and do the dance. Of course, the dance itself is really simple, so to really have fun with it, you need a few improvisations and embellishments, a bit more sway in the hips…. Apparently whatever I did was worth doing, because this group would stop dancing and gather to watch every time. Good for the ego, no matter how silly it was.

  16. As expected, I ran out of time midway through the preceding paragraph. It’s now twelve hours later, and we’ll see if I can finish this before I have to head off to work.

  17. I am constitutionally incapable of saying something in five words when it can be said in fifty…or fifty, when it can be said in five hundred. It’s a trait that I share with Dad. Before I settled on naming my blog ‘Eclecticism,’ it spent about a year or so titled ‘The Long Letter’, after a quote attributed to Pascal: “Please excuse such a long letter — I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

  18. While I tend to identify as (a somewhat lazy) Episcopalian and liberal Democrat, my socio-political-religious views can in many ways be summed up by the Wiccan credo that has always stuck in my mind as, “An’ it harm none, do as ye will.” Do what you want with whom you want for however many twinkies you want…as long as you’re not bugging anyone else in the process. If everyone involved is all cool and copacetic, great! More power to you. But the moment you’re involving someone against their will (and this is a pretty broad category, from secondhand smoke or overly loud music all the way to emotional or physical assault), that’s not cool.

  19. I haven’t even quite made it to number twenty, and I’m running out of interesting stuff to put in here.

  20. No matter how silly I know it is, I’ve always been a little bummed that I was never able to parlay my 15 minutes of fame into some form of job running around as one of the Seattle technorati. I’m not even sure what kind of job that would be or how I could have done it, but it would’ve been nice if my notoriety had actually led to something better, instead of just being an extended blip of insanity and then fading back into obscurity.

  21. Wall calendars are useless to me. The calendar currently on the wall of my office is currently displaying October of 2008, and the only reason it even got changed to that month (back when that was the month) was because Prairie did it for me.

  22. Somewhat related to the last point, I’m often incredibly absent minded. I tend to find it obnoxious and occasionally slightly depressing; Prairie, while not immune to being sometimes inconvenienced and annoyed by it, overall (rather amazingly) manages to find it amusing and a little charming — kind of an “absent minded professor” thing. I just consider myself lucky that she sees it that way.

  23. I find that getting out and “going bouncing” — socializing and dancing at one of the local goth/industrial clubs — is just as important to me as quiet alone time is for recharging and keeping me on an even keel. As nice as quiet nights at home are, I need to get out and go bounce around for a while every so often or I get a little stir crazy. Mom once told me about an alternative description of ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ that believe comes into play here: while I’m in many ways the classic introvert, this tendency to use social occasions to ‘recharge’ gives me some definite extrovert tendencies.

  24. Again, somewhat related to the last point: while I was too shy to express it much during my high school years, once I came out of my shell in my very late teens and early twenties, it became obvious that I was a shameless and incorrigible flirt. This has shown no signs of letting up to this day.

  25. In a way, I have Royce to thank for my meeting Prairie. Many years ago, he and Jana Herd combined every abnormal fetish, -philia, and -phobia they could come up with into one single phobia: “Pseudocoitoxenohematomysonecropyrobestio-acroclaustro-ochlohydrophobia: The fear of being forced to pretend to have sex with the unfamiliar bloody infected corpse of a flaming animal at 15,000 feet in a small crowded wading pool.” This has provided entertainment for me for years.

    During late ’90’s and early 2000’s, I spent a lot of time in the Yahoo! chat rooms, and one of the chat names I used was a version of the above phobia, edited down to fit the Yahoo! profile name length limitations: pyropedonecrobestiality. One day in 2001 after moving to Seattle, while I was hanging out in the Seattle chat rooms under that name, Prairie saw me, and decided that anyone who’d come up with a name like that had to have a sense of humor and at least two brain cells to rub together, and she said hello. A friendship was formed, and things progressed from there.

    So: I owe my relationship to publicly professing an urge to copulate with the dead, flaming corpses of young animals (and I bet that that’s a phrase you never expected to read) — which itself traces back to Royce.

Okay. I’m done. Uff-da.

Back in the mid- to late-’90’s, Anchorage used to have a fairly active skinhead community. I can’t say how they might have compared to similar groups in other cities, but as far as Anchorage went, they were well-known, and fairly “hard core.”

For a long time, I didn’t have a whole lot of contact with them. I’d see them around town every so often, but usually, that was about it.

A few years before, back in high school, a girl I knew was dating one of the leaders of the skinhead scene and I ended up having a couple chances to talk to him, as well as another skinhead a few years later at a party. Those conversations ended up being a lot more interesting than I expected them to be, too, as these guys weren’t your typical skinheads. They’d each gotten into it when they were younger for all the usual reasons that kids are drawn into any sort of gang culture: power, community, a sense of belonging, friends. For people like these guys, the racism aspect of the typical skinhead persona had little to do with why they joined.

In the case of the second guy, who I spent time talking with at a party, he never really developed the racist bent that so many others in the scene did, and instead delved more and more into the roots of the skinhead and nazi movements. Eventually, while he still carried the look and general presence of your typical skinhead, he ended up approaching it not as a reason or excuse to denigrate other races, but simply his way of recognizing the history and background of where he came from. He had pride in his family and his personal history, but he wasn’t racist at all — in fact, his girlfriend was a beautiful asian girl.

I wasn’t entirely sure why he chose to continue to wear the uniform, as there is certainly a very strong (and often not undeserved) stereotype associated with the skinhead look, and for whatever reason, he didn’t run with the SHARPs (Skinheads Against Racial Predjudice), but that was his choice. In any case, it was a very interesting discussion — while the skinhead stereotype generally tends to include double-digit IQs, some of them are amazingly intelligent. It’s how they choose to apply that intelligence that can make all the difference between whether they’re interesting or frightening (for a good example of the latter, see American History X).

Of course, all too often, people like that are the exception, and I ended up having a couple of memorable run-ins with the Anchorage skinhead crowd.

One night, I and a couple of friends were hanging out at VINL (Village Inn, Northern Lights), our general place to go when we didn’t want to be at home, but didn’t have anything better to do. We had a booth along the outside wall of the smoking section, and had been there for around an hour or so.

About five tables away from us were four of the local skins. We didn’t pay much attention to them at first — either letting sleeping dogs lie or wrapping towels around our head, pick your mental image — but after a while, it was obvious that they were paying attention to us. Glances were shot our direction, and the occasional muttered “faggots” would drift our way.

To this day, I have no idea what caught their attention, or why we became the subjects of their ire. The only even semi-reasonable prospect I’ve ever come up with was that I was wearing a shirt for the band Black Happy — but that explanation seems a little far-fetched even for me to count as probable. Whatever it was, though, when they stood up from their table, rather than leaving, they came over to us. Three of them stood at the end of the table, blocking us in, while the leader of the group sat down next to me.

I don’t have a really clear memory of the next few minutes. The goons were standing mute, while the leader spent a good five minutes spouting off, giving us a good long spiel, about how we should be proud of our race, stand up for our fatherland, and so on. The usual jingoistic propaganda that you tend to hear from either skins or Karl Rove.

We just sat and listened, saying as little as possible. In my head, though, I was going off on the guy — and as I’d just spent the previous summer in Germany, I had a whole spiel ready to go in German. Never opened my mouth, of course, as antagonizing the guy didn’t seem like the brightest approach…but it was brilliant stuff, I tell you.

At one point during his diatribe, one of the other three went out to the parking lot, got their car, and drove it around until it was parked directly in front of the window we were sitting by. He then switched over to the passenger seat and got something out of the glove compartment. I don’t know what it was, but he was being very careful to keep it down and out of sight. Draw your own conclusions.

Eventually, things wound down. The guy stood back up, tossed a few last verbal threats our direction, and then they went out to join their friend in the car. They didn’t leave, though. At first, they just sat in the car, talking and watching us. After a little while, they drove off, only to circle the block and come back to park in the parking lot again. This went on for about another half hour, until they finally left.

More than a little shaken, we stayed put for another hour or so until we were pretty sure that they were actually gone, and then went home.

Later in the year, I talked my way into my first public DJing gig. A new all-ages club, City Lights, had opened up in town, catering primarily to the top-40/hip-hop crowd. I started by just dropping by every so often with a couple friends to check things out, and struck up a conversation with the bartender. After a few visits, she got me in touch with the guys running the place, and I managed to convince them that there was a fairly large untapped market in the local alternative community, and eventually they agreed to give us a chance.

Things went well for a couple months, and then one night about an hour after we opened, who should come in but the four skins that had harassed my friends and I — only this time, they were accompanied by the leader of the local skinhead community. I wasn’t terribly sure what to make of this, but they didn’t look like they were out to cause any trouble, and they just walked to an open table against the back wall of the club and sat down to watch.

Ten or fifteen minutes later, the leader walked up, with the guy who had been the primary antagonist at VINL trailing behind him. “Hey — can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Sure,” I said, and cued up a slightly longer song.

“Look — the guys told me what went down a while ago. They want to say they’re sorry,” he said, and gestured over his shoulder at the guy behind him, who was studiously avoiding looking at me, preferring to scan the crowd on the dance floor.

“Oh,” I said, more than a little unsure how to proceed from here. “Um…okay.”

“Eehh, don’t worry about it,” he went on. “They were a little drunk, just blowing off some steam — nothing serious.” I just nodded — I wasn’t entirely sure I bought the explanation, but I wasn’t going to start arguing, either. “Look, we were wondering if you could play a few tracks for us,” and he held out a stack of three CDs.

“Um…well, yeah, sure,” I said, and took the CDs. “Why not?”

They went back to their table, and a few songs later, I tossed in the songs they had marked. All three songs were really high-energy, aggro skinhead punk. The skins moved onto the dancefloor (which cleared out rather quickly), and spent the next few minutes lightly pounding each other in a quick high-speed mini-mosh. The songs ended, and as I put something else on, four of them went back to their table while the leader came back up to the DJ booth to get the CDs.

“Thanks a lot, man,” he said as I handed him the CDs. “No hard feelings, right?”

“Sure, no hard feelings,” and I shook his hand.

“Good. Look, you ever run into any trouble, or need a hand or something — get ahold of us. You’re a good guy.”

“I appreciate that.”

And back he went to the table.

I never had to take him up on his offer, but from then on, anytime I ran into him around town, we’d say hi and chat for a few minutes. He and his boys occasionally showed up at the club, but never had me play anything for them again. They’d just walk in, grab a table, hang out and chat with each other for a while, then leave, never causing any problems. And for a year or two, if I’d needed it, I could have had the skins at my back.

It’s a weird little world I live in sometimes.

I’ve been thinking about the weddings I’ve been at or involved in lately — James and Stacey’s last month, Casey’s tomorrow, and possibly two scheduled for next summer. It got me thinking back to one of my favorite weddings that I’ve been part of — which, unfortunately, led to more problems than I ever wanted to have to deal with.

It was all about Travis and Lana…

This all happened quite a few years ago. Let’s see…I was DJ’ing at the Lost Abbey, and living in a condo behind East High School in Anchorage that I’d rented with my girlfriend Becca (though she had left me to live with someone she’d had an affair with at this point), which would put it around ’95 or so. I’d known both Travis and Lana for quite a while, Travis from the clubs and around town, and Lana — well, Lana I first met when she was dating my little brother. While I wouldn’t have put either of them in my ‘close friend’ category, I thought I knew them fairly well, and that we were decent friends. Little did I know….

Anyway, Travis and Lana met, dated, and after a while, decided to get married. Being a couple of club kids, though, they were determined to make their marriage something (ahem) ‘special’. That they did — and, even given the problems that followed, I still have very fond memories of that particular wedding.

The wedding was held at the Lost Abby, on a Saturday night, right at midnight. This was back before the Abby started on its self-destructive spiral downwards, so we were getting a lot of people in there every weekend — and midnight on a Saturday night was not exactly a sparse hour for the club. I think part of the motivation was to get as many people there as possible, whether or not they knew them — but I think they also knew that when dealing with a lot of kids ranging from 14 to their mid-20’s, many of which were carless, this was the best possible way for them to have all their friends at their wedding.

Their ceremony was a thing of beauty — in a twisted, dark, pesudo-gothic sort of way. They got their friend Ben to perform the vows, and just before midnight, I finished the song that was playing and asked everyone on the dance floor to open up a space in the middle, and then explained to them what I’d been told the ceremony was going to be. Travis, Lana, and Ben took their spots in a triangle in the cleared space in the middle of the dance floor, and when they were ready I started playing Ministry’s “Jesus Built My Hotrod“, an eight minute-long high-speed industrial noisefest. As they recited their vows, the entire assembled masses moshed in a circle around them for the length of the song. Once the song and their vows were over, they’d given me free reign to follow up with a song of my choosing — so, given both my sense of humor and the spirit of the event, I chose “Love American Style” by X-Calibur, featuring the lyrics, “Being in love really sucks / being in love really sucks / a kiss and a hug and a couple of fucks / being in love really sucks / babies cost a lot of money / please don’t make me fuck you honey.” What can I say? They loved it!

So that was the wedding — one that I’m not likely to forget anytime soon. One of the most bizarre I’ve ever been around, but a lot of fun, and greatly enjoyed by all involved, even those that showed up at the club with no prior knowledge of a wedding that night! Cool stuff.

But, of course, all good things must come to an end.

Not too long after the wedding, Travis and Lana came knocking at the door to my condo. They were struggling a bit, and needed a place to stay for a week or so while they found their own place. Sure, no problem — I’m always willing to do what I can to help out my friends, and have a tendency to be trusting (sometimes possibly to the point of being naïve, something dad and I have talked about in the past as being a trait we share), so the two of them moved into my living room for a week or so.

A few weeks after that, they were still looking. I’d gotten a bit tired of having them in the living room, so I let Travis and Lana set up shop in the second bedroom. Things were fine that way for a while. Then…well, you never seem to see things heading downhill when you first start treading that slippery slope, do you? As I said, I like helping people out when I can…and suddenly, there were all these people that Travis knew, or met at the club, who needed a place to crash for a night here, a night there, a couple days every so often. The first wasn’t a problem…the second wasn’t a problem…but they just kept coming. The road to hell being paved with good intentions, it all seemed okay at the time.

Even I can only pull the wool over my own eyes for so long. After a while, it was a little too obvious that in addition to the number of people going through my house, there were a lot of other things working their way through. What amazes me today is that it took me so long to hit my breaking point. The drug trafficking I could cope with most of the time — usually, it was restricted to what at the time were the ‘big three’ drugs of the Alaska counterculture scene: pot, acid, and ‘shrooms. I did find it necessary to mention to Travis that I was less than thrilled when I caught word of a little cocaine having passed through at one point, though to my knowledge, that was a one-time thing. Turning a blind eye to the car stereos that would occasionally appear and disappear was probably not the best thing for me to do, though those are so easy to move that there most likely wasn’t much I could do about them.

I did throw a minor fit, however, when one day I sat down on the couch and felt something hard poking me. I reached down between the cushions, figuring there was probably a remote or something shoved down there — and pulled out a rifle, holding it by its muzzle. Even better — the fool thing was loaded. Had that trigger caught on anything…well, seeing as how I’d just sat on the ‘business’ end of the rifle, I don’t want to think about exactly what portions of my anatomy had just been endangered. Even then, however, that wasn’t enough for me to put my foot down…saying ‘no’ is something I’ve since worked on, but at the time, didn’t happen nearly enough.

The last straw, when it finally happened, was a doozy, though. It happened on a Sunday morning — I’d spun at the Abby that Saturday night, and we had the usual (at that point) post-club bodies littering the condo. I don’t know what time it was — probably not as early as it felt, but I’ve never functioned very well in the mornings, and when you’re up ’til 4am DJ’ing, “morning” is a very relative term. In any case, I was woken up by the sound of repeated pounding on the front door. It went on long enough to convince me that it was probably something important, so I worked my way out of bed and made my way downstairs. As I scanned the living room, I realized that I could probably only come up with names for about 5 of the 10 or so people scattered across the floor.

As I opened the front door, it became all too apparent just why the pounding hadn’t stopped, as I was greeted by the none-too-friendly faces of two Anchorage Police Department officers flanking Mike — a friend of Travis’s that had had a falling out with Travis a week or two earlier. They asked if they could come in and as I didn’t know of anything illegal on the premises (at that particular point in time), I said sure. They were somewhat surprised by the number of people gathered in the living room, and had me go through and wake up those that hadn’t already been awakened by this point so that they could do an ID check of everyone on the premises. I still wasn’t too sure what all this was about, but Mike cleared that up rather quickly when he went to the back sliding door, opened it and took the officers to the carport stall where Travis had parked a VW Minibus earlier that weekend.

As it turns out, that Minibus was actually Mike’s. Travis claimed that he had bought it for Mike, but that as Mike had not repayed Travis the money for the van (a staggering $50, if I remember correctly), he had taken it upon himself to ‘repossess’ the vehicle. In essence, I found myself in the unenviable position of harboring a stolen vehicle in my carport — and as the sole leaseholder on the condo, it was my legal responsibility. I, of course, wanted nothing to do with it — I had my own car already, and had no need for a stolen VW Minibus (that, incidentally, Travis had apparently spent much of the previous day attempting to disguise by spray-painting the bus a different color — a fact not lost on either Mike or the police officers, which didn’t do much to bolster Travis’s claim that the van was actually his). I turned the van over to Mike, and the officers discovered that in addition to the current brouhaha, there was an outstanding warrant for Travis’s arrest for unpaid traffic tickets.

I decided at this point that I’d had more than I could take, and while Travis was sitting next to me, handcuffed and waiting for the officers to take him downtown after they finished the ID checks on the rest of the assembled riffraff, I called my landlords and gave them my one month notice of intent to leave.

The next month turned into a very interesting one. Travis ended up being bailed out the next day, and within the next week came through the house while I was at work and cleaned out all of his and Lana’s possessions — along with a fair amount of mine, some of which I discovered immediately, some that I didn’t realize I was missing until long afterward, almost none of which was ever recovered. Once I went in to clean out the room that Travis and Lana had been inhabiting, I found that they had done a fair amount of damage, from (apparently forcibly) removing the blinds from the windows to staining the walls with soot from cheap candles and incense. There were knife marks in the banister from where Travis had decided to practice his knife throwing, and down in the kitchen, much of the molding had been broken off of the counter top when Travis had climbed up onto the counters to place things on top of the kitchen cabinets. All in all, far more damage than my security deposit was going to cover.

So, I did what I could to clean up, salvaged everything I could, and left. It was definitely a learning experience — and was a major motivating force in my finally learning that no matter how much I like to help people out, there does come a time when I have to think of myself and my welfare first and say “no” to a request for help. I’m also much better at determining when a given situation is starting to progress beyond the bonds of where I’m comfortable, and actually saying something about it, rather than just continuing to plod along, hoping that things will change. It’s a shame that it took this severe of a kick in the ass to get me to realize that, but, at the same time — I could have learned this particular lesson much later, or never at all.

A silver lining to every cloud, eh?

In any case, that’s the long and sordid tale of myself, Travis, and Lana — one of the coolest weddings I’ve ever witnessed, and one of the most bizarre (and, looking back on it, quite possibly dangerous) instances of my trust being abused that I’ve ever gone through. I’ve not heard much of either Travis or Lana over the years since then — the occasional random rumor floats through the rumor mill, but not much more than that. I’m fairly sure that they ended up getting divorced a couple years after all this happened, and I’ve heard various rumors connected with Travis. What the truth is, I’ll probably never know — and, to be quite honest, I think I’m happier that way.

Ah, well — ya live, ya learn, so it goes, c’est la vie, que sera sera, and innumerable other cliches.

I’m still here, and in my world — that’s what counts.

Ooers…talk about a (potentially, at least) agonizing decision.

A while ago, a guy I was talking to online about dj’ing pointed me to a webpage advertising positions for DJ’ing aboard a Carnival Cruise Lines ‘Fun Ship’. I figured what the heck, and sent off an e-mail. Yesterday when I was checking my e-mail, I finally got a response, inviting me to call if I was still interested.

So, now comes the question. Seeing as how I just landed this position with Xerox/Andersen, and that I know they’d like me to commit to at least a year, do I stay with the safe bet with good future opportunities? Or do I chase a dream to see if I can get a spot on the cruise ships? Ergh…I’m at least going to call the number I was given to talk to the Carnival people to see exactly what the deal is — talking can’t hurt — but until I know more about it, I’m not sure.

It sure sounds like a great opportunity, though. Get a six-month contract to go tooling around on cruise ships to who knows where, and have a blast doing it. Here’s a blurb from the webpage linked above:

The Carnival Disc Jockey entertains in the Dance Club each evening and at private events. During the light of day, he can visit beautiful tropical ports, relax at any of the deck swimming pools, or exercise in the fully equipped health facilities.

Sounds rough, doesn’t it?

Well, there’s no way I can make a definite call until I talk to the people.