Haven't Seen Me in a While?

Man, is this really Greg Larson? The guy I went to High School with? The guy I used to game with? The guy I used to know at EveCon 5? I don't recall him being called "Grig" or "Punkie" though...

Since I have had a few people "looking up old friends" on the web, and finding me, and asking if I am who they think, and what's happened to me since then. Well... it's been a life, let me tell you. I am writing this page so you can catch up. Just choose a year where we left off, and see if I am the person who you think I am. :) In high school, I was a nerdly fellow, who kept to himself mostly, and left his gothic and twisted thoughts and humor to himself and his close friends. To some, what was going on behind the scenes may be a shock to those who have later said, "Oh, man, I didn't know..." Well, now you will.


But before you read this, the first few years may seem REALLY depressing. Yes, it's true, I did go through a lot, but to save space and so you wouldn't be stuck reading some dull and boring life story, I just covered the facts, which makes a lot of this sound far more uglier than I really feel about it. So keep in mind that while up to 1993, my life seems like a horrible calamity, it wasn't so bad, I learned a lot from it, and I had support from some of the best friends in the world, and my family who kept me going. Blessed be to them all.

1987 - The Year of Infamy

EveCon 4
BaltiCon 22
Disclave 87
PhilCon 50

My Uncle, who also had a terrible childhood, refuses to talk about it, and instead says, "My life didn't start until I joined the Navy." I kind of look at it in that light, but with the recent high-school mates I have been finding in the last few years, many of them know only half the story. Some of this may come as a shock to you. At the end of 1986, what with my favorite cat dying, my mother deciding our house will never celebrate Christmas, turning 18, and spending New Year's with a friend in Houston, it was already full of ups and downs. After being guest artist at EveCon 4, I was told I had an irreversible heart condition, and unless I had all kinds of bypass work, I would die within 2 years (this later turned out to be a grossly wrong assumption and what was years later diagnosed as a heart condition that was *not* as bad as that).

Three days later, January the 10th, my mother committed suicide. My father was away, so I had to handle everything until my father got back from his business trip. He was furious, and told everyone it was a heart attack or a stroke (the story changes with each person he told), but then he didn't have to deal with the police interrigation like I did. But I went along with the story for a few years, because I didn't want to face that fact, either. Fairfax county put me up in a psycho ward for a while until it was determined I wouldn't kill myself. During this time, my father began dating again. I lived at my friend Kate's house for a while, which put a strain on our friendship and her parent's patience. So I moved back home, which was not really much better. I graduated High School in June, and was accepted to George Mason, which I planned to start in September. But I didn't have enough money for full classes, despite my job and my mother's social security. So I was forced to leave my house to live with the FanTek folks: Bruce, Cheryl, Liska, and a Philadelphia girl named Debbie.

Shortly afterwards, Kate cut our friendship off, citing psychological problems we were both having, which I won't deny on my end, but losing her as a friend was the most painful mistake I ever screwed up. Then Mason screwed up my classes so bad, I was forced to demand my money back, and three days later, I lost my job. It was like God wanted to sever my connections with McLean forever, which in retrospect, was a good thing. I was jobless for two months, I spent a lot of time with Bruce, who taught me a lot of things, like driving, lawn care, and the art of video watching. Near the end of the year, I finally got a job working at Crown Books. It was at the FanTek House I gained the name "Grig," and kept it ever since.

1988 - Things Improve Vastly

EveCon 5
BaltiCon 23
Disclave 88
CastleCon 1
PhilCon 51

After Christmas, Crown Books wanted to promote me, so I became manager of a store closer to home in Rose Hill, Alexandria. EveCon 5 came and went, and if you want to see a FanTek con from the inside, live at their house for a while. Fascinating stuff! After a failed fling with another girl, I met someone named Joanne who adopted me as a spiritual student, and who later introduced me to another girl from West Virginia named Christine Ely. Christine and I fell in love. Bruce announces he's running another convention called "CastleCon," despite his earlier statements that running more than one con a year is insane. I get involved in the planning of that. I got my first computer, an Atari 1040ST, and started writing again (besides for the FanTek Castle). One story I wrote was "Punk Walrus Saves the Day", which spun off new stories about the Walrus Punk Rock Star, and I started doing readings at conventions.

At CastleCon 1, after a long distance relationship, I proposed to Christine, and she accepted. We planned to get married in June of next year. The FanTek house was told they were near the end of their rertal agreement on the house, so I moved out and lived with some friends of mine, Tim and Anita, and their dog Bull. Tim was also my senior manager at Crown, and soon I learned the mistake of having roommates that work with you. Work starts to suck, and finally in December, I quit Crown Books so that Tim and I and his wife don't kill each other. I spent Christmas in West Virginia to be with my sweetie, and so that relations with Tim and I cool off.

1989 - Grig Takes a Bride

EveCon 6
CastleCon 2

After coming back from Christmas, I got a job working at a bank, and took some classes here and there. Classes were okay, but the bank job blew chunks. I hated the bank since the first day, and left it after just three months. I immediately started working for a cutlery company called Chesapeake Knife and Tool, a very odd and fun place where I was assistant manager for two years. My time and money now cannot afford classes, so I didn't take another semester, despite my fairly good grades. I start to plan the wedding, which my father won't help at, and Christine's family cannot afford. So Christine and I paid for it ourselves, and we became married in June of 1989. We moved into a new apartment in Alexandria, and had an obnoxious roommate move in with us "only for a week" that turned into 3 months and $600 in 1-900 numbers before leaving us in debt. It was at this time we learned despite the precautions we were taking, Christine was pregnant. Baby would be due in early July. Christine quit her job at Kay Bee Toys, and started working for Sunglass Hut. We got credit, and started shopping for a car. Things looked pretty good. EveCon 6 came and went.

1990 - Grig Gains a Son

EveCon 7
CastleCon 3

After living off of meager income for a while, and with Christine having no insurance, and me and my heart problems, our medical bills begin to mount. Good news is, my heart problems were seemingly misdiagnosed or cured themselves (I personally think it was the stress of living with my parents, but who knows), and all my ailments can be currently treated with medication. Bad news is, Christine's pregnancy isn't going so well. Because she has to work standing up, and couldn't quit because we needed the money so bad, it causes all types of medical problems. Then the recession hit the DC area. Christine finally goes into labor 2 weeks late, and after 40 hours in labor (yes, that's forty hours), in a difficult birthing where she and the baby almost die, my son, Christopher Raven (CR for short) is born early Friday morning in July of 1990. A day later the doctors are optimistic he'll survive, despite severe lung and heart deformities. A few days later, they become optimistic Christine will live, despite a 106 deg fever, collapsed lungs, and double pneumonia. Sunglass Hut fired her because she took longer than a week's vacation for the delivery. Despite how bad that sounds, it saved us from paying $40,000 in hospital costs since now she was unemployed. Our hospital bill was enormous. No insurance, and another $15,000 in debt. CastleCon 3 went on without me. Christine didn't return to work until three months later, where she took up an office job in Rockville. My work, however, becomes unstable. I got a modem, and helped start the FanTek BBS. My BBS handle was, of course, "Punk Walrus," after my books. From there, the nickname "Punkie" started. I begin to focus my computer knowledge, and try and break into the industry. Our money situation is now horrible, the phone and electricity keep getting shut off, we're two month's behind in rent, bill collectors are calling us, and we're eating Ramen and Tuna for weeks at a time. Christmas almost doesn't happen, but luckily, the local Koinonia Foundation helps out, and I found out just how great my friends really were, because they helped with food, education, and legal assistance. It is around this time I got into the Computer Science department at the University of Maryland, studying UNIX and LAN administration remotely on the Bessel server.

1991 - Grig Takes on New Challenges

EveCon 8
CastleCon 4

After receiving church donations of food and friends helping us out, we limp along until Spring, when I get laid off from Chesapeake Knife and Tool. My first attempt at getting a new job back at Crown Books ends after 3 months due to a district hiring zone problem ("You cant have another full timer, get rid of him!"). I start back at the school thing, but can't get a job, and run out of money for school. I stay with the remote work-study thing at the University of Maryland, and my first forays into the world known as the Internet. I kept looking for work, but was either turned down because of my education or experience, or in most cases, never called back at all. Part of the problem is we have so little money for anything, that we cannot afford a sitter for our son so I could look for work. My interviews had to be late at night or with CR present, and this didn't help. We also had no car. We did have a car for a few months, but it was in poor shape and then blew a rod. So this is the time when I was taking care of my son, now a year old. I also joined a local comedy group called "...and the Prune Bran Players," based out of UMD at College Park, Maryland. This persuades me to become one of those poor, starving writers you always hear about. I figured I was already poor and starving, now I could write, which I had copious amounts of time to do so. I decide to take up a writing career, and actually get published in Ellery Queen, Reader's Digest, Gateways, and a few other magazines that paid me a few hundred each. I decide to publish my first book. I work various odd jobs to bring in some extra cash, but then Christmas brings an eviction notice.

1992 - Lose a House, Gain a Book

EveCon 9
BaltiCon 27
CastleCon 5

We had 2 months to move out, we were very behind in our rent. We needed to move out anyway, because CR is still living in a crib in our bedroom. We move into government housing, when rent is based on income, and CR gets his own bedroom. Unfortunately, it's in Reston, far away from any jobs. But my grandmother moved back to Sweden, sending me a large check which paid off a lot of debts, and got us a used car. I continue pounding the pavement while writing my book. Christine gets promoted, but her boss is mean and cruel. She starts looking in the insurance industry for other positions. I become head writer for Prune Bran, and my works propel my fame even further. My book gets finished, but takes forever to get published. The editor and publisher are at odds, and fight back and forth. Finally, just before EveCon 10, it was published, to much fanfare.

1993 - Still a Starving Writer

EveCon 10
CastleCon 6
Disclave 93

My book was an underground hit. I immediately make plans for breaking into the literary biz, but stay realistic about my goals. This realism, coupled with the fact I had applied to over 300 jobs in two years, suddenly added up to a friend of mine going, "Oh yeah, my company needs someone in your area! Give them a call!" One call, two interviews later, I was Assistant Manager of Cargo Furniture in Springfield Mall. Four months later, I was Manager. My book promotion evaporated under the light of a steady income with bonuses. I quit Prune Bran, partly due to a real job that I worked 50hr/6 day weeks, but in reality, the group had more politics than Rome at the height of its empire. Typical "band breakup" syndrome. Later that year, like Rome, Prune Bran crumbled. I blossom as a manager of crate furniture. Then my house flooded, ruining a lot of my work, signed book collection, and all our financial records.

1994 - Grig Goes Traveling

EveCon 11
There is no...CastleCon 7

This was my year to travel. It started out with company trips. First, Virginia Beach, then Las Vegas. Then I start getting letters from relatives in Sweden. My grandmother isn't doing so well. By winter, she's calling for me on her possible deathbed, so for the first time since I was three, I travelled to Europe and visited Sweden. My grandmother got better. This was also the year I won manager awards, and we really started to catch up on our old debts. I started writing a sequel to my "Saga of Punk Walrus" book, but with little promotion, my book sales decline. Our house floods again, and the the landlord tries to blame us. The house (and houses around us) were old, crumbling, and unsafe. We think about moving. My son is diagnosed with chronic asthma, and we have to get a machine to hook him up to for really bad attacks.

1995 - More Traveling

EveCon 12
CastleCon 8

Cargo sends me hopping about the continent again with trips to Cancun, Dallas, and a dude ranch in San Antonio. Our house floods once more, and the second floor floorboards start rotting through. We can't move because we're under a contract, so we start gathering evidence in photos and paperwork. I begin to think not only about moving, but about leaving Cargo. Cargo was nice, but I was sick of retail. I started looking around, and sending out resumes. I start getting more involved in the Punk/Goth community, and discover a lot of my roots, and face issues I hadn't addressed since before high school. I start getting into techno. I start getting back on the Internet, and start making more connections. My son starts school.

Well, that about catches you up to when this web page started. If you want to see more exciting things, you have to read the online diaries, starting with 1996, when I actually started keeping an online diary.

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