Old 04-14-2009, 07:48 PM   #1
Dman176
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Hello, everyone,

For those of you who may not know me, I’m Damon (a.k.a. “Dman” or “Suggie,” or whatever nickname you prefer), and I’m a long-time member of Al’s Place whom you have not seen around here for the better part of 3 years. For those of you who do know me or may remember me, and for those of you who I’ve come to know and consider my closest online friends over the past 7 years, I’m sure many of you have wondered what happened to me. I feel like I definitely owe people an explanation, and I will try to give one; so much has gone on with me, though, that I’m almost sure I’ll probably forget to mention something…but I’ll do my best. This is going to be a bit long, so I apologize in advance. I’ll try to make it as short as possible.

First off, let me just start by saying that it was never my intention to be away as long as I was. A big reason for my absence has to do with my own self-esteem and issues that I’ve been dealing with that made me feel “ashamed” to continue posting until I resolved them. I sort of felt “unworthy” to be around everyone here, and the longer I stayed away, the harder it became to just come back and attempt to catch up as if I’d never been gone. Of course, I realize now that there’s just no way I could possibly hope to “catch up” with the discussions, so I’m not going to even try. That’s not to say I haven’t checked in from time to time as a “guest.” (I’ve mostly kept up with announcements about the convention and other developments in the QL-verse.) Plus, I’m pretty sure most of the “old-timers” (you know who you are) have gotten the occasional forwarded e-mail from me, and in some cases I’ve chatted with a few of you. But for the most part, I’ve been dancing around the issues I’ve been having for the past several years and haven’t really been online at MSN or Yahoo Messenger all that much. I think the reason is because I was subconsciously trying to “avoid” and separate myself from the online community I’ve come to know and love for so long (more on that in a bit). I’ve been realizing lately that I need to balance out the different aspects of my life in a way that will no longer keep me “stuck” in one place for too long. In other words, I need to make major changes in my life that will allow me to move closer to my goals while at the same time not feeling guilt when I take time for myself every now and then. Does that make sense?

Anyway, last year, I was originally going to post about my anxiety issues and the difficulties I had in socializing and expressing myself to people I met for the first time, especially women. However, a lot has changed this past year that sort of makes a lot of what I was originally going to say a moot point now. Sometime around 1994, I was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), although this was never conclusive due to the fact that I was also suffering from clinical depression. But, basically, this was the general consensus I was struggling with for a long time. (I’m 33 now.) I also have two younger brothers (Luke, who is now 20, and Quinn who is now 18 ) who are both autistic and currently live in a special home out in Port Jefferson, Long Island.

Last year, things came to a head with my family and me, and I suffered what I believe could only have been a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for about 4 days. Shortly before that happened, I was re-diagnosed with mood disorder (borderline bipolar). (For anyone who remembers when I used to regularly post, this might make a little bit of sense now: how I would often be overly excited about something one day, and then easily irritated about something or someone else the next.) After my hospitalization, I was placed in the hospital’s “partial program” where I basically attended group therapy sessions with other patients similar to myself for approximately 4 weeks. This helped me get through a number of issues that have been plaguing me for my whole life, plus I met some interesting people, some of whom I still maintain contact with. Currently, I am attending the IPRT (Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitative Treatment) program, which helps people with mental disabilities become more independent and move them back into the workplace. I am also currently living with my father until I can get back on my feet, which I hope will be sometime within the next few months. The most important thing is that I now look at life a lot differently after my mental break and am taking the necessary steps to move forward.

Yet, there have been a couple of other obstacles over the past year that very nearly dragged me back down again. Late last summer, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and in September, she had a mastectomy followed by months of chemotherapy, which ended right before the end of the year. Right around that time, my father also found out that the company he’d been working at for over 30 years was closing their doors, leaving him out of work for a while. A few months back, there was a radiator leak in my mother’s house that caused a tremendous amount of water damage. The house is currently undergoing major renovation. And to top it all off, my grandmother (my mother’s mother) passed away last month after having a bad fall. So, needless to say, I’ve been feeling like life has been constantly kicking my family and me while we’re down and not letting up. Things are hopefully starting to look up, though.

Going back to what I was saying about the online community and “staying away,” I think a lot of that had to subconsciously do with the feeling of betrayal I felt over a former member of this very board we all knew as Andrea (a.k.a. Yoshihira). To those, like Brian and MJ, who know of whom I’m referring to, no explanation is needed. To newer members, let’s just say that she came off as a sweet and quirky girl whom almost everyone felt comfortable around. Back in the day, I would innocently flirt with her; she claimed she was in her early 20s and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. We started developing feelings for one another, and when I finally wanted to meet her, she would come up with weird excuses as to why she couldn’t. With MJ’s help, we finally figured out the truth that she was a lot younger than she led us all to believe. “Andrea” wanted to fit in and she never meant any harm. She simply got in over her head and didn’t know how to get out of it. She apologized to everyone here (especially to me) and subsequently left the board. Needless to say, I was heartbroken, but I forgave her. I took a short break from the board but returned after a couple of months. But I think that subconsciously since then, I have been overly cautious of anyone who joined the board that I felt were dishonest and/or “threatened” the peaceful community we established here (I was one of the moderators). Plus, there were so many new members joining, practically every day, that I started feeling like this board just wasn’t the same as it used to be. But I feel that I’ve worked past all that now. I probably still won’t post as often as I used to, but I’ll definitely try as best as I can to make my presence known around here.

Last, but not least, there is the issue of the Virtual Seasons. The regular readers, I’m sure, are aware that it is currently on hiatus until certain issues are dealt with. Those issues, I’m sorry to say, mostly deal with my inability to get the final chapter of my multipart storyline done in a timely manner. I’d like to go on record right now and say that this problem had absolutely nothing to do with my co-writer Mike (MikeKraken). In fact, the reason I enlisted him in the first place was because I knew that I needed help to put my idea together, and I think he’s a talented writer. I alone am responsible for the 3-year delay in getting my “Fate’s Wide Wheel” 2-parter finished, and for this, I am deeply sorry. Regardless of all the recent problems I’ve been enduring, there really is no excuse for my tardiness. I should have had the ending all figured out long before my “crisis” occurred. All I can say is that when I envisioned my idea, I pretty much had almost every detail figured out except for how to resolve the paradox I created in a “logical” manner. The big mistake I made was thinking that I would “cross that bridge when I came to it.” So, when the time finally came for Mike and I to “fix everything,” I had a really hard time being satisfied with just about anything we came up. I wrote myself into a corner and didn’t really know how to write my way out of it. And as a result, I have not been able to write nearly anything for the past 3 years. Add to that my waning interest in Quantum Leap (especially after becoming a huge fan of Lost, Heroes, Jericho and other shows) and my stubborn refusal to let someone else finish my story for me, and I lost my motivation to continue writing. This is the other reason why I “stayed away” and felt “ashamed” of being here. Plus, I had ideas for a QL-based ARG (alternate reality game), similar to what they did with Lost with “The LOST Experience, where you look for real-world clues on different websites, videos, interactive activities, etc., which would have went on for a number of months leading up to the convention and the 20th Anniversary. I would have discussed it with Brian and a few others, but, for obvious reasons, the timing was all off for me this past year. Perhaps it could still be done.

Suffice it to say, I promise that I will do everything in my power to finally finish this story, which will allow MJ to get TVS up-and-running again. I have a much clearer picture now of how to do it, and I think the best thing to do would be to start from scratch. (So, Mike, if you’re reading this, contact me, buddy. I’m thinking more along the lines of a TNG “All Good Things…” type ending involving Tom, Connors, and Sam, from different eras, each leaping to a specific point and “sacrificing” themselves to “fix” the paradox, thereby restoring everything back to normal.) That’s just a little hint of what to expect. I actually do still have other QL ideas, but I will most likely offer them to other writers and see what they can do with them (if MJ approves).

Whew! Well, I think I’ve pretty much said all there is to say. Again, I apologize for this “novel,” but I felt I really needed to give people a good explanation for my absence (more to the long-time members than the newer ones). If anyone, new or old, wants to contact me off this site, you can find me on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/people/Damon-Sugameli/575580144 Just leave me a message telling me who you are (if you’re someone I don’t know, mention Al’s Place), and I’ll add you.

Thank you. Until next time!

Damon
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:51 AM   #2
alsplacebartender
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Welcome back!
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:52 AM   #3
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Welcome back, Damon!

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Old 04-15-2009, 12:59 AM   #4
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I may have no right to say this, being a new member that came on after all this, but I think that it's good that you're back. I think you bring a lot of great conversation to the boards, and you only add to the comfortable atmosphere of the forum.
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:08 AM   #5
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Welcome back, Damon.
As one of the 'old' group [currently feeling really old, but that's another story!] I have to say we've missed you, buddy.
You have my email, if you ever want to chat, or moan, or just touch base, you know where I am.

Take care, my friend. Good to hear from you again.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:06 AM   #6
QL Damsel
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Damon,
I want to go on record here and say that the reason for QL: The Virtual Seasons going on it's hiatus is NOT your fault. I know that you have been gone, and I appreciate your willingness to finish your trilogy. The reason for TVS to go on it's hiatus was a multiple thing.

You see, the way I was running it I wasn't giving myself enough time to get everything done that needed to get done. I was setting times for people to get their story in to me so that I could have time. The time would come for the story to be in and then... did they get their story in to me? No. They didn't. It became a hassle for me to actually get things done. So, I finally had it.

I put it on hiatus. I am going to bring QL:TVS back this fall. So, if anyone who is reading this would like to make sure that I have stories to go on TVS that are in cannon with what we have going on, then by all means, I'm willing to take them, look them over and make sure that things are right with them, then put them up on the site and feature them. It may not come back with one a week as it once was, until people start writing more. But, I'll be damned if I'm going to hound people to get their stories into me by a time period.

I will NOT promise to deliver something to people and then make others make me into a liar. I will not let that happen to me any more. Because that is essentially what happened.

Damon, I'm not mad. I forgave you a long time ago about what happened with TVS. OK?

No matter what, you are my friend, and that's all that matters.

Sincerely,
MJ
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:18 PM   #7
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Oh, MJ, I know it wasn't entirely me.. and I know you're not angry with me. I just felt like I inadvertently started the "trend" of people not getting certain stories in on time. The main thing is that this has been weighing me down for a long time now, and I need to finish this in order to properly "move on." And, I do seem to remember suggesting to you that the seasons should now be shorter. A lot of shows have shorter seasons on TV now anyway. Plus, they usually divide a season into 2 halves with a "mid-season finale," go on hiatus for about a month or so, then return. It might be easier on you to follow that trend. See, aren't I always trying to help you out?

Anyway, thanks all for the kind words. And, "ohboy," no need to worry. You have the right to say whatever you feel. (Oh, and by the way, I'm into video games myself. Not really into the Breath of Fire series, although I tried to play through the first one. I love Chrono Trigger, though.)

Until next time,
Damon
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:41 PM   #8
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Pleased to meet you Damon, it seems more and more of the Al's Place Originals are coming back to Al's Place.
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:26 PM   #9
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Welcome back Damon. Missed you man. As TG077, the old crew are getting back together again, which is great.

I myself, am not the frequent visitor I once was, so you're not alone.

I'll add you on Facebook in the coming days.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:07 AM   #10
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Damon, I have been apart of the Al's place community for 2 yrs now. I haven't been to active in the boards until recently but I have to say I look through older posts and have read a lot of your additions to them. I can tell that everyone who has been here longer than me really enjoy you being on the board. So I would like to say welcome back and we all look forward to you being active again on the site and look forward to future discussions.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:08 PM   #11
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Damon, I haven't been around much either. I've been lurking, but haven't really logged in, just read as a guest. Glad to see you back. (says the other MIA old poster. LOL) And very glad to hear you are doing better. :HUG:

Just been a lot going on with me with the move (and now another move coming up in a few short months--gotta love the Navy), working, and now the pregnancy. I really haven't written much since before the wedding myself. I really need to get back to that!
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