Artist in the Making

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 No comments

Lately I’ve been getting a chance to explore my artistic side.

Last year when I was unemployed, I enrolled in a beginner’s drawing class. Kysen had taken the class and recommended it to me knowing that I was interested in finding a class to take. I drew a little when I was a kid, mostly just trying to copy pictures in books. I enjoyed taking this class. The teacher spends a lot of time trying to get you comfortable with the idea that you’re not going to make a perfect representation of anything, that it takes a lot of practice to get better,  and that you should find a way to work that is fun for you. Most people in the class most likely had some drawing experience because their drawings were so much better than mine. There were times where I got really frustrated because I wasn’t showing any improvement, but eventually something clicked and I started doing better. My drawings are still very simplistic, but I think I made a lot of progress by the end. One cool thing is that for 2 sessions, we got to draw a live nude model.

Drawing

I’m currently in the middle of the next class, which is an intermediate drawing class. It’s for intermediate drawers or beginning paintings. You get to decide whether you want to draw or paint. I decided I wanted to paint. He told us that this time we would draw a model almost every session. In some ways, I’m starting from square one. Painting is hard. There’s really no instruction in technique (not that there a lot in the previous class) and you spend most of the class doing things however you want to. For the first half of the class, beginning painters are doing something completely different from the rest of the class, rarely working from the model. I had a lot of fun exploring colors and brushstrokes and doing a lot of abstract work. This past week I worked from a model for the entire class and got a little frustrated, but some encouraging words lifting my spirits at the end. I think it will take is a LOT of practice for me to get better.

Painting

I’m sure one of these days my work will be featured in a museum. Not really, but at least I’m having fun and getting to express myself.

Changing Hosts Again

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 2 comments

I know I just did this less than 2 years ago, but I have changed hosts for this site again.

The host that I moved to was great for the first few months, but after that the service became unreliable.  I moved all of my sites to that hosts as the domains came up for renewal. It wasn’t until I had already moved some of them that the issues arose.  I think the company was bought out by a larger company around this time.  If I recall, it took over a month to move my last site due to some bug and they were swamped with so many tickets they couldn’t get to mine quickly. Once the sites were up, they ran smoothly until last fall when the sites started going down. It’t not just this blog, it’s my podcasts that are unavailable for long periods of time.

As much of a pain as it will be to move 6 sites, I’m going to bite the bullet and try to move them all over the next couple of weeks. This site seems to load so much faster than it did before. Hopefully, it’ll be reliable.  The host has a lot of good reviews online, but so did the other one.

Here’s hoping I won’t have to do this again anytime soon.

Christmas 2016

Saturday, December 31st, 2016 2 comments

The Christmas season has been fun this year. Even though the snow was an inconvenience at times, it was nice getting an unusually high amount of it for Portland this year.  I’ve spent a lot of time at home due to the snow and the fact that people work from home a lot during the holidays.

I didn’t have trouble getting into the spirit after the great Friendsgiving I had at my friends Matt and Zach’s place.  I may have dialed things back a bit because I’m living with someone who is not really into Christmas.  I think Kysen was going through some emotional stuff at the Friendsgiving celebration, but he had a good time.  We even went to see a movie that night. During the Christmas season, I still listened to music, sang songs, watched Christmas specials, etc., but I didn’t do it much around him. He was a good sport and tolerated it when I did.

We decided we would have more of a Solstice celebration. We decorated a little potted tree that Kysen normally keeps in his room.  We crafted some ornaments and even hung John Lennon and Yoko Ono sock puppets on it.  We took a photo in front of the tree with Reese, who wouldn’t be still.  We put the tree up the night of my accident. A little later that night, Kysen got a piece of headlight from my old car and put it at the base of the tree.
Family Christmas photo

I gave Kysen his gifts on December 21. He gave me my Solstice gift on my birthday because my birthday present hadn’t arrive in the mail yet. He gave me my birthday present on Christmas eve because it came in the mail that day.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were on a Saturday and Sunday.  We spent Saturday grocery shopping, art supply shopping for a class I’m taking soon [I think I forgot to write about the class I took in the fall], and getting some stuff for a tank Kysen bought (I think he got it the day before). I actually got a nano tank while we were out.  We spend Saturday organizing and cleaning and getting the tanks ready for fish. We had salmon and rice that Kysen cooked for dinner. One Sunday we finished organizing and were really lazy for the rest of the day. Kysen did some painting and I played video games. I used my slow cooker for maybe the second or third time to make Indian food. It turned out well. We watched Sausage Party while we ate.

What did I get for my birthday and for Christmas:

  • a homemade candle
  • a mermaid bathroom hook
  • Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
  • Weird Oregon: Your Travel Guide to Oregon’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
  • 12-month PlayStation Plus membership card
  • a Broadcast tank top
  • Game of Thrones shot glasses
  • Imploding Kittens (the Exploding Kittens expansion)
  • Drawing the Head & Figure
  • a bag of cleaning rags
  • a Super Mario Christmas tree ornament
  • a video game centric drinking cup
  • MacBook Pro (gift to myself)

It wasn’t a traditional Christmas, but it was great to spend it with someone I care about. We spoke the other night about New Year’s Eve. Neither of us have plans, but we’ll figure out something.

This year has been a mixed bag.  Some of it’s been really great, and some of it’s been really difficult.  Life is still good though.  I met all the goals I set for myself last year. I think the last time I met all my goals for the year, I didn’t set any goals for the following year.  I think I’ll just wait a few weeks and see if I want to set any goals for 2017.

I hope everyone has a happy New Year.  Take care of yourself.

PDX Gaymers

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 No comments

I started getting involved with the PDX Gaymers  meetup group either early last year or the end of 2014.  It’s mostly a tabletop gaming group which holds events at different places around town.  I’ve met a lot of people through this group.  I “met” Kysen at one of my first meetups with them last years.  I have “met” in quotes because we just recently realized that we met each other briefly a few years ago at a going away brunch for someone I knew.

I became an event organizer and hosted a few events in the western suburbs where I live.  Those events didn’t have a high attendance. I think most members live in the city and prefer events there.  I also hosted a an event at a video gaming place in Milwaukie. They were very welcoming and wanted to be inclusive of the entire Portland community. They have since gone out of business. I wish I had hosted more events there, but it was so far out of my way that I had trouble finding the time or motivation to go there. Now it wouldn’t be a problem. I went to that part of town a lot when Kysen lived there, so it doesn’t seem like a big deal now.

A few months ago, the owner of PDX Gaymers sent a message to members explaining that he was too busy to run the group because he had recently become a business owner. I didn’t hear anything update after a while, do I talked to Kysen about it.  Kysen has been hosting a monthly game night at the Q Center since last year.  It’s the only monthly meeting of this group that I attend on a regular basis. Kysen and I decided that we would take over leadership of the group.  We thought the group served a great purpose of maintaining a safe space for gaymers to get together and it would be a shame if it went away.  The previous owner was okay with it, so Kysen and I officially took over on October 1.  Since one person has to be listed as owner/organizer, we decided that would be me. I made Kysen c0-organizer.

Running the group is easy. I don’t think the previous owner really did anything except pay the twice annual fees to Meetup. I hadn’t seen him at an event in a long time.The people who host the events do most of the work, which is still very little.  Kysen and I did have to deal with one conflict before we took over, but since then it has been quiet.

I think the group is pretty good.  We have 2 monthly events that take place in public places.  Occasionally one of our event hosts will host a game night in his home. I do want to find a replacement for one of our monthly events that dropped off because the host was too busy to continue it.  Also, I want some more video game based events since we haven’t had anything like that in over a year and I see that a lot our members like video games as well. We have about 850 members and membership has been slowly increasing since we took over.  Hopefully, things will continue to run smoothly and people continue to have fun gaming together.

[I just had an idea to send out a survey to get an idea of what people want.]

Accidents Happen

Monday, December 26th, 2016 No comments

On December 1, I was in my first real accident where I was the driver. I don’t count that time in high school where I backed into a classmate’s car. Yeah, I was in an accident with John about 9 years ago, but he was driving then.

I was on my way home after work and the car in front of me stopped suddenly.  I was unable to stop in time.  I later found out that the car in front of him had stopped suddenly, which is why he did.  My airbag deployed and I got hit in the head.  I remember sitting there for a little while, shocked and upset and not really sure what to do.  I think the first thing I did was try to start my car to get it out of the road. Once it wouldn’t start, I knew that it was a goner. It was smoking a lot, so probably shouldn’t have tried that.

I don’t remember all the details of what happened afterward. I remember getting out of the car and the other driving talking to me at some point and telling me I needed to call the police, which I hadn’t thought to do.  I got back in the car and could hear on my Verizon hum thing a conversation between whoever handles the hum emergency services and 911.  I maybe had noticed something was going on with the hum earlier. I guess they detected I was in an accident and called for help. They were sending police my way and started asking me a lot of questions. They even offered to call my sister, who is listed as my emergency contact.

Firemen arrived and asked me a lot of questions just to make sure I was okay. My car was totaled. The other car just had a damaged rear bumper from what I could tell. A police officer  came and took a statement. No citation was issued. The other driver is a contractor at Intel like I used to be. He said he was a little sore but didn’t need to go to the hospital. I was feeling a little pain in my groin region, but not much. I must have been hit by something. It took a while but the tow truck arrived and towed my car to my place. It was there for a weekend until GEICO arranged to have it taken away.  What was weird is that when I started my car to drive home that night, it was making a noise that it had been making intermittently for weeks. I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want to have to buy a new car anytime soon. I had planned on taking it in for regular servicing in just 2 or 3 days.

my car

Overall, I was pretty lucky.The guy who owns the building next to mine told me a few days ago that he saw the car and figured whoever was driving the car was in the hospital. A neighbor told me that he saw it and didn’t see me for a few days and wondered if I was okay. The night of the accident, I started feeling some knee and back pain and I started having headaches.  All went away within a week except for the back pain. Ive been seeing a chiropractor about that.  I know the other driver has seen a doctor too. One time I was driving and I though I was about to hit a car in front of me.  I braked pretty hard. It turns out that there was no car in front of me. 

GEICO has been a pleasant insurance company to work with for the most part. They paid me more than I would have expected for my old car. They reimbursed me for the cost of having my old car towed to my place. They are taking care of my medical bills and the other drivers. Since it’s my first accident, I quality for accident forgiveness.

I was in a rental car for 5 days before I got a new car. I’m not big on cars and don’t like spending lots of money on them.  I just want something to get me around town.  I’m constantly tempted to give up driving and take public transportation everyone. I went to a dealership to look at a used Nissan Leaf, but it wasn’t there anymore. I probably dodged a bullet on that one.  Having an electric car would have been a pain.  I ended up with a 2016 Kia Rio.  I never thought I would buy a new car, but I did. It wasn’t a perfect car, but it had all the audio features I wanted. I spent a little money today getting some upgrades. Now it’s about 90% perfect. I can live that 10%.

Having a new car isn’t a bad thing. I just don’t like the way it happened.  Since then I’ve been a little extra careful making sure there’s enough space between me and the next car.  We’ve had a lot of snow an ice over the past few weeks, so I stayed home as much as I could.  I don’t need any more accidents.

Roommate and New Job

Sunday, December 25th, 2016 No comments

There’s a little under a  week left in the year, so I’m going to try to spend some time over the next week getting caught up on all the blog entries I’ve been meaning to write. Some of these topics may have been mentioned on Facebook or previous posts.

Back in October, I got a roommate. My new roommate is my good friend Kysen.  I never thought I would have a roommate again. I didn’t think I would live with anyone else again unless I was in a relationship. But Kysen’s lease was ending and his roommate was moving to Astoria, so he asked if he could use my extra bedroom.

I lived alone for over 8 years before Kysen moved in so it was an adjustment getting used to sharing a home with someone again.  We’re different people when it comes to cleanliness and organization, but .  There were a couple of nights about a week apart where I went out and came home to find a decent amount of stuff rearranged.  I ended up liking what he did, but I just wish I could have been a part of it.  Thee are times where i still have to ask him where things are because I don’t know where he put them.  Overall though, I think we are both happy living with each other.

Intel logo

In November I got a new job. I’m an now a Cloud Software Engineer at Intel. It was about 6 weeks from the time I interviewed until the time I started.  It all came about because of a contact that I have on Twitter.  I’m working on the same campus that I worked on as a contractor. I love my team and the work I’m doing.  We work hard and we have fun socializing and engaging in random nerf gun fights. I’m so much happier than I was before. What a difference being happy with your job can make in all aspects of your life!

There’s been a lot of change in my life, but it’s been for the better. Life is good.

I Kinda Understand Coffee

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 2 comments

Ok, forget all that stuff I said about coffee a month ago.  I think I get it now.

One day I needed to get to work early because I needed to leave early [I know I haven’t blogged about my new job yet].  I woke up at 4 am after going to bed at midnight.  I decided on the way to work that I would try some coffee to see if if would help me stay awake. We get free coffee at work.  IT WORKED WONDERS!!! I had 2 cups and I think I was alert the entire time I was at work that day. I didn’t feel bad afterwards.

Since then I’ve had one cup first thing every morning.  I like starting each day off feeling energetic.  The only downside is feeling like I have to go to the bathroom a lot of the time.

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I Don’t Understand Coffee

Sunday, October 30th, 2016 No comments

I don’t understand coffee.  I don’t get everyone’s fascination/obsession with it.  I like to have it every once in a while, but I’m not a coffee fanatic.

To tell the truth,  I kinda roll my eyes whenever I come across a joke or meme about how people can’t function without their coffee or how they can’t speak to someone until they’ve had a certain amount of coffee. One of my biggest regular annoyances is when I want go somewhere to get a snack and I have to wait in a line of coffee addicts with orders that each take a while to make.

Coffee just makes me wired and paranoid for a little while and I feel like crap afterwards. Then I need to use the bathroom.  It’s not worth it for me.  I guess I’d rather be groggy.

So, I guess I’ll never understand the coffee obsession and I’ll continue judging people who are coffee fanatics :).

 

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Wallet Update

Friday, September 30th, 2016 No comments

Two days after I wrote the last post was my last day at my job.  I left early that day after a going away lunch.  When I got home I checked the mail and I had a letter from TriMet saying that they had something that belonged to me.  The letter was dated August 29, the day I wrote the previous post.

My assumption was that maybe the person who had my wallet just tossed it on a bus. My cards were already canceled, but I figured I would at least have my license, which is probably how TriMet got my address. Having it back would save me the trouble of having to replace some of things inside.  I immediately drove to the TriMet lost and found. It turns out that an eyeglass case with my license it in had been left on a bus.  It wasn’t my entire wallet, but it least I wasn’t going to have to spend time at the DMV getting a new license.  I wonder what this person was doing with that one item and not the other stuff in my wallet. Who knows?

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When it Rains, It Pours

Monday, August 29th, 2016 2 comments

A week ago today at work , I heard a rumor that some decision had been made that would affect us and we would find out Wednesday the latest how it would affect our team.  On Wednesday, I was told that our project was canceled and I my last day at work would be the last day of the month, which was a week away.  My company normal offers me bench time when I’m between assignments (which has only happened twice), but this time they are unable to because there’s no room on the bench currently.  Our biggest client has made major cutbacks, so that hurts us.  The next day HR called to schedule an exit interview and told me I would be paid until the Friday after my last day. Even after some frustrations over the past couple of years, I hate that it’s ending this way. Hopefully I won’t be out of work for too long. I don’t like the idea of blowing through my savings.

The guy I dated earlier in the year, Alex, changed his name to Kysen.  Kysen suggested that we go out to eat Saturday night after a beach trip to Rooster Rock with some friends.  Kysen had spent Friday night at my place since I was giving him ride to the beach. Our group ended up dwindling Saturday morning, so I ended up driving everybody.  While we were eating he told me that he would just spend Saturday night on my couch was well and we could finish watching the season of Drag Race that we were watching the night before.  After we finished, we were both were having trouble getting our cards to go through. Kysen suggested I go to an ATM to withdraw money.  I left the restaurant and I’m pretty sure I pulled out my wallet to call the bank but just decided to wait and try the ATM. Once I got close to the ATM, I realized that I didn’t have my wallet with me.  I went back to the restaurant and didn’t see the wallet there. I thought I may have accidentally left the table without the wallet.  The wallet must have fallen out of my pocket like my phone did earlier on the beach.  I retraced my steps and later Kysen joined me and we retraced them again, to no avail.  I was holding out hope that someone honest found it and would return it or that the restaurant had it, but the next day I found out that the person tried to buy TriMet passes with my card. I also saw a weird charge on it at the restaurant we ate at. I think I’ve cancelled everything that was in the wallet.  There was a blank check in there for emergencies, so I closed my old account and opened a new one.  I still need to get a new drivers license and passport.  Hopefully, there won’t be too much damage caused by the person that has my stuff.  I realize that I rely on my debit card too much because it was difficult figuring out how to eat Sunday because I couldn’t go to a branch and withdraw cash until Monday.  I bought a new wallet today. I’m starting over.

I’m trying to stay positive. I always bounce back from these kinds of things.  Hopeful it’ll be sooner than later. Some good news, please.