Brand X on New Year’s

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


I had a very busy New Year’s Eve lined up in 1995. First, I was supposed to house manage a dinner theater show for Ken. Then, I would sing a few songs as part of a Brand X show at JonMartin’s basement. Finally, I would travel to see the girl who was about to be my girlfriend up in Haverhill. If I was lucky, I would make it through the day alive.

There’s not much to tell about the dinner theater show, except that it went relatively smoothly and there was a pretty packed house. I did my thing and then KenMills and I drove back to JonMartin’s to do the show. The band was waiting for us. We were running late and they were annoyed we’d had to do this crap at all.

The set-list for the show went like this:

  1. Man On The Moon (REM)
  2. Fearless (?)
  3. Runaway Train (Soul Asylum)
  4. Faded Memories (Martin/Mills, Johnson)
  5. Dominated Love Slave (Green Day)
  6. Satin (Martin, Mills, Johnson, Clark)
  7. Country Feedback (REM)
  8. Goodbye Cruel World (?)

The things I remember about the show are sparse. By the end of the house-managing gig I already had a massive headache. I suppose it was good I only sang on one song out of the eight and did very little on any of the others.

It does make me wonder what the point of me being in the band was at this point. I sat in the corner for most of the damn show.

The New Year came while we were playing. I’m not sure what song it was. I do think, however, that it might have been Beth the Bassist, our future bass player, who let us know. It was her or one of her friends, I think. There weren’t many people at the show.

That’s about it. After the gig, I got out of there quickly and headed up to Haverhill to see Louann.

TV For Christmas

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


There are two presents that stick out in my memories of Christmas 1995. One of them was something I gave and the other was something I received. The gift I gave, with a little help from my brother and my cousin Billy, was a copy of my Dad’s band’s old tape. The gift I received was a television to bring back to my dorm room at Bradford.

The night before I had Billy, John, and myself locked up in my room upstairs winding tape into a new cassette and then taping it onto a brand-new tape. It was tedious but the result the next morning was worth it. Dad was quite pleased and we have a picture that proves it. He looks totally shocked.

I wasn’t particularly shocked about getting a TV. I think I had asked for it. It was one of the coolest presents I’d ever received. This would make me even more popular with my roommate, who had been traveling across campus to catch TV shows and such. Now we could watch movies and whatever in the comfort of our own room.

The rest of Christmas 1995 is a blur, but those two gifts make it stand out as one of the best I celebrated in the 90s.

In Rachael’s Room

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


As the snow came down hard on the night before we were to depart home for Christmas, Russel and I stayed over in Rachael’s room in Academy Hall rather than in our own Cluster House at the back end of campus. It was strange to me to be sleeping in the room of a girl who I was merely friends with and he had just started dating, even if there was no one there.

There was some concern that the back part of campus might lose power and we didn’t want to walk all the way across for breakfast in the morning. So, Russel stayed in Rachael’s vacant bed and I stayed in her roommate’s vacant bed.

When we got up in the morning we watched Point Break. I don’t know whose movie it was, but it was okay. It’s that one with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves and Keanu infiltrates Swayze’s secret gang or something.

Though I was extraordinarily uncomfortable with the whole thing, I was grateful that Rach had allowed us to borrow her room for our final night of the Fall semester.

Claire - The Other Girl From Pennsylvania

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


A word must be said about Claire, the other girl from Pennsylvania, who it seemed everybody was in love with in one way or another. I remember Larsen being close to her, and Russel, and of course I dug her too. I don’t remember ever being properly infatuated with her, but I do remember that she was a sweet girl and she came from a town that Billy Joel had written a song about.

She either only stayed for the one semester (Fall 1995) or just freshman year. She wasn’t there long but she was there long enough to leave lasting impressions on people. We all missed her when she was gone and I’m not sure if anyone knows what happened to her.

I couldn’t omit her from this journal though. That would be an amazing error and a careless omission.

Childhood Lost

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


The completion of my first semester art project, a five or six page sequential-art piece titled “Childhood Lost”, was quite appropriate. In every way, I had begun to lose what little was left of my innocence during my first semester of college. The heartbreaks continued, both creatively and in the love department. My life was a mess but strangely, it wasn’t bothering me nearly as much as usual.

After crushes on Tori and Rachael broke apart or nearly broke apart friendships, I should have known better than to pursue someone else close to me, but I didn’t. The next target of my affections was Tammy, who ran the literary magazine I worked for. She was older than me and unattainable, but still I imagined things.

Unknown to me, there was a girl who was lurking in the shadows who was interested in me. When I figured out who it was I wasn’t particularly interested in her, but when she finally said something to me… Well, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The important part of this story is that I was working on a deeply personal comic strip during the latter part of my first semester at Bradford and it was for class and the whole thing was sort of a convergence between school, love, and my passion for storytelling. The story of a boogeyman coming out of the shadows to steal the beloved stuffed animal of our hero was straight out of my nightmares and it represented a lot when the boogeyman took off his mask and looked exactly like the scared avatar I’d created for myself.