Lucid Confusion Presented by Internet Brothers

30th of December 2000

     Grand opening. She may be mini Kitty, but it's all Jen.

     But with the new, sometimes we must withstand painful departure. This netbro will miss you Six. Please keep in touch.

     Good thing I'm not a professional web designer. Sometimes the whole process just seems like a black hole. I spent seven hours last night working on a new layout and design for this page, then dumped it all in the recycle bin this morning. Too complicated to maintain. Still need to trash the holiday motif before the end of the weekend. Back to basics.

29th of December 2000

Very rare, posed photo of this mysterious man      Today is my little brudder's birthday. Hard to believe he's 45. Still skis the moguls though. He's all the way out in Colorado, so I can't give him a hug, but you can help by sending him a happy. And girls, he's still eligible.

 
 


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     The college football bowl season has turned into a great success for the state of West Virginia. First, on Wednesday, the Marshall University Thundering Herd handled the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Motor City Bowl. Then on Thursday, the WVU Mountaineers clobbered Ole Miss in Nashville's Music City Bowl. Almost Heaven.

28th of December 2000

     Been meaning to mention this for days; finally remembered. jenett is doing some interesting work with his digital camera.

     When Zeldman killed his web awards it helped me recall an article I wrote about this time last year. It included a plea to new award givers to act responsibly:

     "Allow me to leave you with a final thought to consider as you develop your entry into the world of web awards. In the early days, web awards were a great way to bring traffic to your site. Many took advantage and pasted their graphic on every web space that applied. Consequently, the value and reputation of awards in general took a nose dive. To recover, new award programs need to offer a conscientious, quality approach."

     "Please divest your plan of self-seeking promotion, it has become a tired and bothersome methodology. Instead focus attention where it rightly belongs; on the very best sites and the people behind them." — Jeff Clark, December 1999

27th of December 2000

     Back to work after 11 days off will be kinda tough. At least it's a short week followed by another long weekend. Still no word on the corporate merger, so we enter another new year with everything just as much up in the air. With the change in administrations imminent in Washington, that could delay federal approval even longer. Day at a time, Jeff, day at a time.

26th of December 2000

     My thoughts yesterday created a conundrum of sorts. I received a very polite email expressing happiness for the positive changes in my life since getting sober, but also concern that I categorized other drinkers as somehow worthless by comparison.

     At the end, that's how I did feel — worthless — but it wasn't always so during my 20+ years of active alcoholism. For many years I was quite productive and functional. I was very successful on the job, achieving several promotions, some even unexpected. I had many friends and companions, traveled the country and enjoyed a carefree existence.

     But alcoholism is a progressive, insidious disease; particularly in late stage. Eventually all that positive energy and emotion stopped. My entire life became a black box that revolved squarely and completely around drinking. I came to hate myself; I never bought any new clothes; I would sometimes go days without eating; I nearly destroyed every meaningful relationship I had with those who cared about me.

     In a word, yes I became worthless, at least to this lucidly confused mind — but that's not what I tried to convey yesterday. My life has changed in so many ways since I stopped drinking, most (but in fairness not all) for the better. If you knew me when I drank, you would have wanted me to stop too. However, that was me, and only me.

     I can't, and won't, classify another person's drinking habits. I can only relate and characterize my first-hand experiences. I wasn't picking on anyone but myself. It is entirely up to each individual to confront their personal issues and deal with them in their fashion. If I offended anyone else with those blurred Christmas recollections, you have my sincerest apology — but I won't apologize for my recent happiness, joy, and freedom — because recovery is the hardest thing I've ever done.

25th of December 2000

     This is my 48th Christmas. Memories are few, they generally fall into the three stages of my life. As a youngster growing up with my family, Christmas was always everything a middle-class American kid could want. Mom, Dad, and my brother; plenty of presents under the tree; visits from and to the grandparents, aunts and uncles. It was joyful and spiritual, loving and enriching.

     Beginning in my third decade and for the next 20 years, Christmas was the Dark Ages. I was (am) an alcoholic. I have no stories to tell. Sure, I went places, sobered up long enough to behave for a day with family, somehow managed a half-hearted effort at sharing — but there are no memories, only pain.

     My first Christmas in recovery was 1993. It has been a gradual awakening, but the childhood joy is returning. It is a uniquely different kind of joy. Seeing the smiling faces from the perspective of parent and grandparent is even more rewarding than the loot collection of youth. Tis definitely better to give than to receive. My heart is finally capable of giving.

     I witness the relief on the face of my wife Lynn. She doesn't have to walk on eggshells wondering what my drunken mind will come up with next. I don't have that empty, lonely pit in my soul that comes from a life devoid of spirit. Instead I am serene, content, fulfilled and alive. I can accept love, and return it. It is a feeling I don't want to let go. I wish the same for you.

24th of December 2000

Bluzz of the Week      Sunday means Bluzz of the Week. Through this feature, I'm searching for the brightest, funniest, most controversial or otherwise intriguing comments from the previous week's forums and blogs. In this season of family and friends, and giving of one's self, it's nice to encounter folks who share life's experiences with those in need of a helping hand. If you find a true treasure you'd like to nominate for future Bluzz of the Week, even if you wrote it yourself, please let me know.

     I located this on the Award Sites Forum and thought it might be a good pick-me-up for anyone suffering from a holiday attitude check. Penned by my friend Ellen Z., the words offer a virtual hug that may just rub off on us all.

     "We have all been at a stress point at some time in our lives when we just wanted to rage at something we found to be unfair. No one faults you for that, especially given your current situation.

     "We are here to try and help each other. The purpose in this forum may be to help each other with our award programs, but in doing that, we become friends. We share being human and having things going on outside of the Internet that cause us each stress. I think that if I asked others here to post their "real life" problems, that the list would be exhaustive and might make most of us feel like we had no problems at all.

     "I come in here to escape my own problems. This place has become a real place to me. It's a coffee house with lots of tables and chairs in it and folks sitting around discussing things about awards. There is a wonderfully kind waitress who is always right there when your coffee cup is empty and she smiles when she fills the cup.

     "I keep candles lit next to the computer to remind me that I have friends who need my thoughts and prayers to help them heal, whether that be a physical illness or a problem in their lives. I have lit one for you, in the hopes that whatever healing it may bring to you will help you to see that we all really do care about you in here.

     "Talking about things that bother you (that are not the "main" problem you are dealing with) can sometimes help to give you a break from the stress. I encourage you to do just that. Give yourself a break. Come on over and join our table, there's a nice waitress standing here waiting to fill your cup." — Ellen Z.

23rd of December 2000

Florida Orchid - Nice tree, huh?      There's no place like home. The vacation was great for relaxing, hugging Mom and Dad, forgetting about every day stressors. Still, there's nothing like your own bed and licks on the cheek from a passel of ecstatic pooches. Thanks to everyone who wrote while we were gone. It is wonderful to feel the warmth of friends.

     The arctic cold that has gripped a majority of the lower 48 stretched its merciless fingers all the way to central Florida. Our day at Disney World was one of sleet and mid-40's temps. Fortunately we were prepared. Rain suits and layers of fleece made it tolerable. No golf — frost on the fairways is a discouraging signal. The beach offered wind chills more appropriate for wet suits than bikinis. Oh well, at least we got to go.

     We were quite lucky on travel days. No snow or ice in either direction, though the remnants were painfully apparent throughout the South. There were tornados less than 100 miles west, fog slowed the traffic packs and record-breaking low thermometer announcements littered the radio dial.

     Mornings of 25 degrees in Florida feel awfully cold, but it still can't compare to the minus reading here on our first morning back. The kids did a nice job with the dogs, the water lines are still functioning and our daughter will be home from Cleveland at any minute. There's a lot to complain about, but so much more to be thankful for. We are blessed with loving parents and thoughtful children. The gracious kindness of our family and those in our lives are warming the heart and enriching the soul. Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

 

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