Wes' Journal -- 1996
From the two weeks December 14-28, 1996:
- Our friend Jay Chancey died Friday the 13th. We've put him on our friends and acquaintances of Wes' who have died page -- along with a fun anecdote from earlier this year.
- The paper version of the 1996 Christmas letter was mailed out December 13. Right before we mailed them, Wes contacted one of his Oregon-based cousins and asked the cousin's opinion as to whether we should mail them to the parents (Priscilla and her siblings). The answer was an emphatic "No!" So, just so everyone knows, all of the family except the so-called adults (and Priscilla's children) will be receiving our Christmas letter. The other adults and Priscilla's kids (but not Priscilla herself) will receive alternate cards.
- It was a very busy week for Wes. He had an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor appointment Monday, then a related CT scan of his sinusses Wednesday. On Thursday he went and saw his internist. (The latter was to get all-new prescriptions for '97, as his prescription drug coverage is changing.) He's pooped!
- We have three new additions on our Link to Us page for this update:
- Our e-mail pal Pat's "Bigdog's Home Page", which is on the SMaQ Ring, where "nudity is encouraged,"
- Rainbow Query, a service to "search the Queer Internet," offers full text search capabilities. (This is also on our Search Page.) and
- The Other Queer Page, "the beginnings of a comprehensive listing of the best of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender resources available on the Web, ranging from coming out to getting involved in the fight for equal rights."
From the week December 7 - 14, 1996:
- The 1996 Christmas letter is out! The next installment of The Letter Wars finally arrives...
- Both Wes & Tom have new bloodwork numbers. Check 'em out on the T-cell and viral load pages.
- We have two new additions to our "Links to Us" page this week:
QPlanet!, which Yahoo! has designated as an official "COOL SITE" on the net!", and
Wesley Perkins' page. Wesley and his hubby call themselves a "magnetic couple" since one is positive & the other negative.
- And, once again, Wes got two more things from his nose 12/1, something you don't even want to hear about on 12/3, and some slime out 12/4.
From the week November 30th - December 7, 1996:
- This page was black December 1 in recognition of World AIDS Day.
- We won two new awards!
- The "Les Bois Award" for web page "Twistedness", issued by the Idaho Gay Page "to recognize gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendereds who have contributed to the GLBT community through web page craziness; a page that is so different, unique, cRaZy, and bizarre that it absolutely MUST be recognized!" There are four Les Bois awards, and we are the first recipients of the Twisted award!
- "The Freedom Award" issued by "freedom.co.uk", "the gay search site", "to recognise and praise Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered WWW sites...content is the most important reason. We are looking for sites which contribute something to our community."
- We have exceptional additions to our "Links to Us" page this week:
- Gabi Clayton's page. "This page is in honor of one of my two sons, Bill Clayton. Bill was openly bi-sexual. In April of 1995, he was assaulted in a hate crime. On May 8, 1995 Bill committed suicide... Please remember him, and speak out to end discrimination, hate speech and violence against people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered. If you would like to know more about what happened to Bill, please read Bill's Story.
I've also added it to the top of our Political Links page with an introduction...
- Daniel Greene's Home Page. I met Daniel at a dinner party November 8 while I was visiting my college roommate, John, in San Diego. He is one of those rare people with an amazing spirit that just radiates. Plus, he has one heck of a singing voice. His page also gave me a good overview of writing HTML for any browser. (I haven't implemented it, but know where to look...)
- Beverly's List of LesBiGayTrans Resources. Beverly has handily categorized links by topic for easy finding.
- PFLAG - Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, has been added to our Gay Links page.
- The Pergatory Guestbook Server went out of business this past week. I'm sorry to see it go. We have a backup of most comments, but lost a couple.
- As of December 2, we are now back to using an LPage Guestbook.
- Tom was intrepid again this week: He installed a new gas heater in our garage apartment. Not only that, but he made our special, once-a-year coconut cake -- from scratch!
- And, lastly, Wes got another thing from his nose 11/28.
From the week November 23rd - 30th, 1996:
Wes & Tom celebrate their five year anniversary November 24th!
- "Kent Clark's Home on the Net" and "The Rainbow Award" are now on our [former] "Links to Us" page!
- Wes & Tom's Cool Site is now find-able in Infoseek.
- Wes enjoyed his trip to San Diego November 14-19. John & John (John2) threw a dinner party on his last night, and he got to meet several of their friends -- including Jim P (who runs the Bears San Diego site) & Daniel G.
- Wes also has one remembrance from Gay Day at Disneyland on the 15th that he'd like to share: "You know it's Gay Day when you're riding the '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' submarine ride, a queen -- spotting crustaceans on a rock through the window -- screams 'Crabs!' and everyone else goes 'Eeeek!'"
- Not one to be resting on his laurels, Tom was very intrepid while Wes was gone: He installed two new sinks, refinished the front of a dishwasher, took a gas wall heater off the wall & scrubbed it down, plus installed a new faucet. What a man!
- On the 21st, Wes had his blood drawn for T-cell and viral load counts. Look for a new immune system chart soon!
From the two weeks November 9th - 23rd, 1996:
From the week of November 2nd - 9th, 1996:
- Wes will be in San Diego visiting his college roommate the week of November 14-19, so that's why there won't be an update during that period.
- We got another award! It's hard to describe just how tickled we are at being one of the November 1996 recipients of the "Rainbow Award", presented for GLBT excellence on the Web.
- M. J. O'Neill's Web Pages is now on our [former] "Links to Us" page. This is a massive collection of links.
- Katrina's Home Page is now on our [former] "Links to Us" page. Katrina is a teacher-to-be, an AIDS educator, and all around Cool Chick.
- What happened this past week you might ask? Wes intentionally reformatted his hard drives on two machines after one became unstable. It was a long week of software re-installations.
- It's been a while since we added something fun, so with this update we've added Bizarre Historical Trivia to our Fun Links page. It bills itself as "a new tidbit of ancient weirdness every week."
From the week of October 26th - November 2nd, 1996:
- Tom's mom went back in the hospital on the 27th. So, Tom stayed out of town with her (& his dad) for almost a week. She's out now, and he's back home. All are tired.
- Alan & Steve's Playroom, which has long been on our Gay Links page (and which had a major overhaul this month) is now on our our Links to Us page.
- Tony Gardner's HIV ZONE is now on our our Links to Us page. (Rumor has it that Tony has a beefy boyfriend...)
- Wes' Friends and acquaintances of Wes' who have died is now on the AIDS
- Way back in July, Wes & Tom's doctor -- Patricia Salvato (whom we happen to adore!) -- presented a recap of her trip to the XI International Conference on AIDS. Recently it was published by Body Positive. We're including Patsy's AIDS recap here as it is a really nice overview.
What a week! Look at all this stuff!
From the week of October 19th - 26th:
- We won an award! Yes, we received Tony Gardner's AIDS Awareness Award. Check it out at the bottom of this page.
- Wes' first lover, Rodney, celebrates his 50th birthday October 25! Send him a Happy Birthday note & tell him Wes sent ya!
- Wes' friend & former co-worker, Adrianne, who lives in SFO has her birthday October 26. Please send her a silly note, too!
- Steve Schalchlin's Survival Site, which has long been on our Gay Links page (and was recently added to our new AIDS Links section) is now also on our Links to Us page.
- The Homosexual Agenda is now on our Links to Us page. "The Homosexual Agenda" is normally a code phrase used by religionist right people to slander gay rights. In a spoof of that crap, "The Homosexual Agenda" refers to a wonderful collection of resources for homosexuals.
- Verbify Your Queerness is now on our Links to Us page. This site has
coming out information, a gay knowledge quiz, the dating handbook, essays on the gay life, links, and more.
- Every single .HTM file on the site (some 100 or so) was updated to reflect a cool new © 1996 by Wes page.
- All the non-Letters .HTM files were updated with a groovy little hotlist at the bottom of each page. (The Letters files were previously updated with a little hotlist to facilitate going from letter to letter.)
- We moved the "What's our site about?" section to up above this one after seeing that the first paragraph is what showed up in an InfoSeek Ultra search. (The way it was before resulted in a search yielding "What's new..." instead of giving an explanation of what the whole site is about.)
Nobody has died in a while. That's kind of nice. It's also a bit weird. Of course, dying seems to happen in blotches. Then again, maybe it's the advent of protease inhibitors. No, not entirely: I read in the gay paper and see that plenty of people are still dying. I'm just fortunate in that they aren't my friends dying right now.
From the week of October 12th - 19th:
- Wolf's site has been added to our Links to Us page. This Netherlands-based site is full of explicit (Dutch) safer sex information. (It's fun to read and try and figure out.) Wolf also includes some of his photography.
- Shawn Decker's My Pet Virus has also been added to our Links to Us page. Shawn is a 21-year-old hemophiliac who has a fun sense of humor that is reflected throughout his site.
- Tom's mom -- who had had complications from her Friday (10/4) surgery, and was back in the emergency room after she vomited THREE QUARTS of fluid Wednesday (10/9) night -- wound up being readmitted to the hospital. They never figured out what caused it (a CT scan showed nothing abnormal), and she was released Friday 10/18. We're glad she's back home.
- Wes' sore throat from his trip to Fort Worth quickly resolved with antibiotics. (He thinks it was sinus.)
From the week of October 5th - 12th:
- AEGIS (AIDS Educational Global Information System) is now online and has been added to our AIDS Links page. AEGIS is one of Wes' favorite resources, previously only available via a long distance call to their BBS in California. With 3 gigabytes of information stored in 300,000+ files, AEGIS is the largest data warehouse dedicated to HIV disease.
- Tada! Wes fixed all the guestbook links in The Letter Wars section. They now point to a Guestbook! page which points to our new Pergatory Guestbook, plus the former "new" LPage guestbook, and will include fun e-mail we've received.
- Tom's mom seems to have some complications from her Friday (10/4) surgery: She vomited THREE QUARTS of fluid Wednesday (10/9) night. (Wes can't imagine how exhausting that must have been.) Luckily, the doctor thinks it's something relatively simple to correct.
- Wes went up to Fort Worth (Mansfield, actually) to see his 14 year-old nephew, Michael, play football. Wes & his brother-in-law Dan also installed more memory in Wes' sister Genevieve's computer, so that she can now run Windows & be on-line. Now that he's back, Wes has a sore throat.
From the week of September 28th - October 4th:
- We celebrated Tom's 44th birthday (10/3/52) this past week!
- Tom's mom had surgery this past Friday (10/4) and things went fine.
- Wes must secrete mosquito pheremones -- they've been awful! Just the other day he had nine bites from three mosquitos -- in the house! (Well, it could have been from more mosquitos. Three is the number that he managed to mash.)
- We added a ton of AIDS-related links. Related, we moved the AIDS-related links from the Health Links page to their very own AIDS Links page. We've also added ADD Help to the Health Links page.
- Trish, another interesting Aussie lady (she has had home waterbirths, which I hadn't heard of before we "met") is now on our Links to Us page. (Each of her children also have cute pages!)
- Wes has still only fixed the link to the "new" LPage guestbook on this page, not within The Letter Wars. (Wes has been very busy, including being domestic. Yes, just today he baked 50 pounds of sunflower seeds for the squirrels to eat. [Baking them prevents the spillover from the feeder turning into thousands of sprouts.] Earlier in the week he had 3 health-related appointments. Plus, a sponsee turned out to be a pathological liar. The latter was a very rude awakening.)
- Wes has something possibly weird going on: The veins in his shoulders are showing up. He's never noticed them before. Now they are visible as a pair (left, right) of three veins. Is it because he's been working out, or is something not right? Hmm.
From the week of September 20th - 27th:
- Fall has finally arrived! Yes, earlier this week it was still getting up to 90 degrees. But a cold front came through and the highs are in the 70s. Very nice. Plus, we have a young squirrel who is entertaining us. He does these funny little hops & flip/rolls near the bottom of the kitchen tree. It's really a hoot to watch.
- Our friend Michelle Turner's site has been added to our Links to Us page. (Michelle, if you will recall, is the one who suggested transparent .GIFs to Wes.)
- Infoworld's "Window Manager" columnist Brian Livingston has an excellent (and brief) 3-part series on getting rid of GPFs -- plus a utility to help. Check them out at Livingston's article archive. Our friend Louis was the one to point us to this solution -- since Wes' machine has been GPFing like crazy lately. (Very aggravating.)
- LPage's guestbook has burped several times in the last week, so only the link to it from this page is currently working.
From the week of September 13th - 20th:
- We finally have a woman, Laura Bowly, on our Gay Links page! Laura is a lesbian singer-songwriter from California, and tours on both the Mainstream and Women's Music circuit. Check out her site -- which also includes fun gay stuff and some cool use of scripts -- at her label, Small Dog Records.
- WebCastro HotLinks, which has long been on our Gay Links page, is now on our Links to Us page. (The site
really screams for a browser that supports tables and forms. Plus, Webcastro's home page uses
Macromedia's Shockwave for Director to produce a morphing logo.)
- Freedom Search, a gay search service, has been added to our Search and Gay Links pages. (You can find us in this U.K.-based site.)
- All pages referencing the LPage guestbook are being re-worked to reflect their updated URL (address).
- The Search Page has been re-worked so that the logo graphics for the various companies are also included as links themselves.
Since I spend much of my time on the computer, that also happens to be what gets in here a lot:
From the week of September 6th - 13th
- The letter "holders" in The Letter Wars section have been re-worked so that now you can navigate to the "Next" letter (and "Previous," if you need a refresher) without going back to the index.
- The LPage guestbook now has a colored background to match the rest of the site. (Oooh. Big deal. But it does look nicer.)
- It's only been a few weeks since we featured Shannon & Toby's Home Page, but they've done a really, really sharp overhaul. Go back and take a look.
- A wonderfully relevant excerpt from More Tales of the City has been added to The Letter Wars section.
- Our friend Frank White is in the hospital on a ventilator. Seems he got some kind of pneumonia (they can't figure out what), and after 3 days of having a really hard time breathing, some other friends convinced him it would be easier to get oxygen if they'd knock him out and put him on the ventilator. (The knock-out is so that you don't freak that a machine is breathing for you.)
9/6 update: Frank is off the ventilator and doing better!
- Our friend Harvey is doing the 300 mile Boston-NYC AIDS (bike) Ride this week. We're very proud of him. Other than the physical endurance required (he's been training for a year), he managed to raise $8,000 in sponsorships.
Here's what Harv had to say afterward, on the 12th:
From the week of August 30 - September 6
The ride was fantastic and very moving. There were about 3,100 riders
and several hundred volunteers who supported, fed, and serviced us through
the four day, 311 mile trip from Boston to New York. Included in
the 3,100 riders were the "positive pedalers" -- a group of HIV + riders.
It started last Wednesday, Sept 4th, with registration in Boston. We all
had to make sure all our pledges were in, check in our bikes, attend
a mandatory safety orientation, and stand in several long lines just
for the hell of it! Of course, there was merchandising -- AIDS Ride
t-shirts, riding jerseys.
The ride itself was four days: 100 miles-day 1; 74 miles-day 2 (lots
of hills!); 83 miles-day 3 (lots of rain and hills); and 53 miles-day 4 (lots
of NY potholes and torrential downpour!). We had three nights
in camps with tents for everybody.
There were many moving moments: rememberance for those on
whose behalf we're doing the ride, hundreds of people along the
route cheering us on, and riding into the closing ceremonies with
many cheering us home.
The spirit and commitment of the 63 people who sponsored me by
donating over $8,000 to the Boston-NY AIDS Ride was with me
throughout my 2,000 miles of training and the 300 mile ride itself.
Although I and most riders I know want to do the AIDS ride again,
I wish very sincerely that we could say that the need for this event
was no longer there.
Update on what's below:
- My sinuses didn't get any better. So, I've changed antibiotics and have an appt. to get my nose sucked.
- I got sick and didn't get to go to the boot camp graduation.
- My cousins ran out of time and didn't visit my sister.
Yes, it was a kind of sucky week.
From the week of August 9 - August 16
- Bob Dole gets skewered in an article reprinted in the Things From Wes' Mind section.
- What's been making Wes soooooo tired?! (We're talking 3 1/2 hour naps kind of tired...) Could it be? Yes, indeed: Wes has yet another sinus infection! Now that it's diagnosed and antibiotics have been started, things should quickly get better.
- Our friend Lynn, the amazing woman responsible for ABLED! magazine (for those of you not familiar with Lynn, she's a C.P. quadriplegic who puts out a quarterly magazine, ABLED!, for women with disabilities) is getting on the 'Net. Wes & Lynn are going to an Internet class together 8/30. Look for ABLED! on the Web in the coming months. (For inquiries, send e-mail to ABLED!)
- My cousin "Dean" & his fun family (family names are in quotes when they are changed to be consistent with the pseudonyms used in The Letter Wars) visit my sister Susan on the 1st. On the 5th, Wes goes to San Antonio to see his cousin "Cybil"s son "Jerry" graduate from boot camp. As you'll recall, all of these people were supportive through last year's caca, so of course they are some of our favorite people!
- Wes got his 8/16 bloodwork results 8/29, so they're charted on our T-counts and viral loads pages. In other news, turns out Wes also has a positive CMV PCR titer. (This test only recently became commercially available. And, as Wes' doc sez, "remember, the significance of this is unclear.")
- Mark Siegworth died way back in June, but we only found out about it 8/29. So he's now on our Friends Who've Died page.
- Wes has been working on transparent .GIFs for the site's graphics in response to a helpful woman in Australia named Michelle. Check out her beautiful site.
- Tom got the results of his 7/24 duodenoesophagoscopy 8/9: He has esophageal candidiasis. What's this mean? Tom now fits the clinical definition of AIDS.
- Our acquaintance Mark Nicholson died 8/7, so he's been added to Friends and acquaintances of Wes' who have died
- Our friend Rob tested positive this past week. He's understandably a bit freaked.
- Our friend Amy went into the hospital Thursday the 8th. (She'd just gotten out about a week before.) Seems she's gotten sepsis from her Hickman (chest) catheter.
- Shannon & Toby's Home Page, two handsome young men in love, has been added to our Gay Links page.
- We've zipped the files on The Letter Wars page for downloading.
Tuesday July 30, 1996
I drove up to Fort Worth on Friday to visit the family. The main reason was my brother-in-law Dan's 40th birthday & my nephew's 14th. It was a nice visit. On the way back, I saw two bumper stickers that made me laugh:
- "If you tailgate me I'll flick a booger on your windshield" (on a Ford Escort)
- "If you get any closer I'll fart" (on a custom van)
Tuesday June 25, 1996
Tom is on the Houston news for his participation in the Salk Vaccine study.
Monday June 17, 1996
Wes was awakened at 6:30 this morning by a Sheriff's Deputy at his door. Normally Wes would welcome him right in, being the agreeable sort that he is. But that was not to be the case today. No, dear readers, the Sheriff had something much more mundane on his mind. He was serving Wes with notice that he is a co-defendant in his very first lawsuit! "Was it something malicious and egregious that Wes did?" you may wonder. You decide: The lawsuit alleges that two years ago, Wes loaned a five foot stepladder to a neighbor. The neighbors in turn lent it to a contractor, who was installing gutters on their one-story house. The contractor gave it to an employee to use. That employee is the Plaintiff. He alleges that the ladder was defective, causing him to fall, and the fall caused a foot injury. He is suing the ladder manufacturer, Builder's Square, the neighbors, and Wes for $147,005.69. Wes is amused (particularly with the $5.69 part), but will take the proper contact-an-attorney-etc. steps to protect his heretofore unbesmirched Ladder Reputation.
Thursday May 30, 1996
We had some excitement last night about 10 p.m.: Lightning hit a tree 3 houses down & it, in turn, took down a power line. Our house was one of the few unaffected (it takes its feed from the cross-street). But it was cool to hear this big "Boom!," have our lights flicker off momentarily, hear the screech of our battery backups' alarm -- and still not lose power to the computer I was working on. It just kept running on the battery backup until the power stabilized. _Really_ cool.
Plus, the big boom brought out the neighbors. I got to meet two new houses of people I didn't know before. Tom remembered about Mrs. Coleman, our 76 year old neighbor. Her son, Pat, lives with her, so we figured she'd be fine -- if he were home. So, Tom gave me a flashlight & I went & shined it through their garage windows: Pat's truck wasn't there. I went around front & knocked. At the same time, her neighbor John from across the street came over with a little battery lamp for her. And, just a bit later, John's next-door neighbor Laura came over to tell Mrs. Coleman that if it got too toasty she could come over there and spend the night. I sat with her in the semi-dark and visited (she's always fun) until Pat got home a little while later. She said it sure was nice living in a neighborhood where all the neighbors looked after each other. I couldn't agree more. We are very blessed.
Monday April 22, 1996
Well, the postscript to the April 4 entry below was I should have gone out anyway. It didn't rain.
I've been feeling a bit melancholy today. Bil died Friday. That's part of it. But it also makes me think of my friend, Burt. I really haven't had a nearby best friend since he died, and that's been over a year and a half ago. I feel a bit lonely. I asked Tom tonight who his best friend was, besides me. He said he didn't really think he had one. I told him I felt the same.
I went out last Saturday with a new friend named Tim. It seems that we might make good running buddies. He has a similar world-view as I do -- and a weird sense of humor. Plus he lives just about 10 blocks away. Biking distance. So, tonight I asked Tom if he'd feel jealous if I did have a best friend. (Burt was involved with my friend David by the time Tom moved down, and I was involved with Tom being here, so we didn't see each other nearly as much as we had before. Then he died. So, I haven't had outings with a best friend impinging on my time with Tom since he's been here. It made me wonder how he'd feel. Jealous? Glad to have some private time? Happy for me but more aware of his own loneliness? I really don't know.) He said no; it would be fine. But I wonder.
I don't feel it often, but tonight I feel acutely lonely, even though Tom is only 10 feet away, lying on the couch watching the first episode of The Winds of War. I'm sure it has something to do with Bil's death, and the things it brings up. Perhaps it doesn't help that I went for my blood draw today. That's always a reminder, too.
This has happened before. My sponsor's primary advice is usually to go "work with others" to get outside of myself, since "self-centeredness is the root of most of our problems." Yeah, but I don't feel like visiting sick people just now. Maybe I should just link up with a newly-sober drunk: Their problems always seem so acute, as opposed to the more general malaise I feel when people have died. Their acute problems are a reminder of how easy my life really is.
Thursday April 4, 1996
I've been working on the "People I've known who have died from AIDS" page and am tired of it. That's a lot of people. I feel like going out, but it's supposed to rain: The ad for the car -- which is clean -- appears in tomorrow's paper.
Wednesday March 27, 1996
The pecan tree outside the office and kitchen started budding today. The squirrels are having lots of fun.
We went over to our friend Bil's today. He's getting ready to die, it's just not coming soon enough for him. Though I'll be sorry to not have Bil around, I appreciate that he has the strong support of people who love him and he is being cared for 24 hours a day.
Well, I had sinus surgery in late January. There was an airfare sale on through late February. Wanting to take Tom to Hawaii, but knowing of the then-upcoming surgery, we booked our trip for the last week of February. The surgery went well, and I was all recovered in time for the trip. But when we got to Hawaii, it was cool and VERY windy (as in 40mph). I got pneumonia. The weather kind of spoiled the trip for Tom, which was disappointing to me. So, when we returned, I spent most of March recuperating and working on the Web site. I was particularly disappointed with the trip, since it was our last big trip before our income drops when my private disability policy ends in December.
Wes & Tom's Cool Site
The Letter Wars (aka The Homophobe Hellhole)
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Things From Wes' Mind
© 1996 by Wes