Rose City Comic Con 2017

Sunday, September 17th, 2017 No comments

The second part of my vacation was Rose City Comic Con.  I think it had been a couple of years since my last RCCC. I’ve been a little burnt out on conventions lately.  They’re fun, but exhausting.  They can also be expensive. In spite of that I decided to make my return this year.

This year the con expanded to 3 days.  On the first day, Friday, I got there a little after noon. The con didn’t start until 1:00.  As soon as I walked into the building, I saw a my friend Joshua, so we hung out that day. I wasn’t expecting to hang out with anyone that day. I kinda like having the freedom to do my own thing at cons.  Josh was cool though, so not much was different than if I had been there alone. After I got my badge, we went to Brent Spiner’s panel. Afterwards, we walked around the exhibit floor  and I got to do one of my favorite con activities – taking pictures of cosplayers. After this we saw a panel on writing LGBT characters. I don’t think either of us found it too interesting, so we left early. We caught the end of a panel featuring 2 cast members from The Munsters and then we saw Kate Sackhoff’s panel.  I left after this because I was tired. I missed the Weird Al panel that was coming up next.

The next day traffic near the convention center was a mess. I didn’t leave as early as I should have and ended up spending an hour inching traffic before I eventually made it to a place I could park.  I got some more pictures of cosplayers.  I got all of my autograph and photo ops taken care of back to back to back.  First was a picture with Rose McIver, then Rose’s autograph, then a picture with Brent Spiner and John de Lancie together.  Originally I had planned on doing them over 2 days, but that changed when I found out Brent Spiner and John de Lancie were doing a photo together.  Rose McIver was so adorable.  I had no idea she was from New Zealand, so I was shocked when she asked me how I was doing with an accent. When I walked up to Spiner and de Lancie, they joked about my RCCC shirt asking what it was and were it is.  After the photo ops, I could just chill the rest of the day and the next day. No more lines.  I saw John de Lancie’s panel and Rose McIver’s panel before going home.

On the last day, traffic was much better. After roaming the floor for a little while, I think I spent the rest of the day in the main panel room. First was Ming Chen. Then Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie. After that was some stars and a producer from Z Nation. And finally William Shatner.  I got a bite to eat after that and went home.

I’m glad that I went back to RCCC this year.  It was a blast. This con has come a long way since first year when it was in that hotel and there wasn’t any air conditioning in the exhibit area.  Right now I have a desire to start going to cons again. We’ll see how long that lasts.

I had a great vacation and it was hard to go back to work Monday.

Lastly, I’m too tired to go through the trouble of posting pics from the con. You can find them on Facebook.

 

Road Trip to the Painted Hills

Monday, September 11th, 2017 No comments

Last week for vacation week for me. I think it’s been a while since the last time I had an entire week off, not counting last year’s unemployment.

I didn’t really have any plans for my vacation except that I knew I would go to Rose City Comic Con. I was content on playing video games or watching TV the rest of the time. On Thursday of the week before, I reminded Xander that I was going to be off for a week (not surprisingly, he had forgotten) and he suggested that we take a road trip to Crater Lake. The next day I remembered hearing about fires in that part of the state and I went online to discover that the lake wasn’t visible most of the time because of the smoke. So, on Saturday Xander suggested that we should go to the Painted Hills instead. The plan for whatever idea was to leave Monday and return Wednesday since we had to host game night Wednesday. Xander found a cabin near the Painted Hills which was very inexpensive, but didn’t have running water and used a generator for electricity.

We left Monday around 2pm with Reese. I usually leave Reese behind because he can be a handful and having a dog can limit what you can do. We almost took him with us on a trip to the coast a few weeks earlier, but left him behind in the end. My biggest concern on this trip was keeping him cool. He has a lot of fur and doesn’t handle heat well. The owners of the cabin promised us it would be hot. The Airbnb listing for the cabin did promise air conditioning, however.

Early in the trip we we through the Gorge. There was a big forest fire started there a couple of days before by some kid throwing fireworks. It got smokier and smokier the closer we got to the the place where the fire started – the Eagle Creek Trail. Xander, our friend David, and I hiked this trail a little over a year ago. We made a stop in this area because I wanted to get gas. I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that the gas station was closed. The scene at the gas station was somewhat apocalyptic. We couldn’t see any fire, but we could see enough smoke coming from the trees to know that the fire was close. A flock of birds flew overhead along with helicopters. There were cars pulled over on the side of the road. The sun was red. We let Reese out of car and he seemed very confused. The interstate we took was closed later in the day and it is still closed a week later.
Eagle Creek Fire

The rest of the drive down wasn’t quite as interesting. We listened to podcasts and the radio. At times it seemed like we were the only ones on the road. I guess it’s a benefit of travel on Labor Day. We saw lots of windmills up close. We drove through some really small towns. We were on a lot of winding roads, which I hate. Why couldn’t they just build a straight road there? As we were getting close to the end, we encountered some livestock in the street and some people, along with their dog, trying to herd them. They got all of the cows in the other lane, but I was afraid that if I moved at the wrong time, the cows could charge my car and do some serious damage. Eventually they got all the cows into the grass and we could safely pass.

We drove the last part of the trip in the dark. I don’t like driving in the dark in unfamiliar areas, but oh well. A city with lots of light would have been fine, but it was hard to see at times. We arrived at our destination in Dayville, OR around 9pm. The cabin owners had told us to look for a steep driveway. We didn’t know just how steep. My car could not go up this steep, unpaved driveway. We got out and decided to walk even thought we didn’t know how far it was to the cabin. It was hot outside and going up the steep driveway was hard on me and Reese. When we got up to the top of the first hill, I was winded and we couldn’t see how much farther we had to go. Xander decided to scout on ahead. I was looking for other places we could spend the night on my phone. Even if we made it to the cabin, I figured it would be hard getting all our stuff from the car to the cabin. And walking back and forth for two days would be annoying. Thankfully, a few minutes later a truck came back with Xander and the owner of the cabin. He took us to get our stuff and drove us to the cabin. It would have been a pretty long walk from where we stopped to the cabin. He told us that we were the first ones since they started renting the cabin in December that didn’t make it up the driveway. He left the keys to the truck with us and told us we could use the truck to get back and forth. We never saw either of our hosts again after this because they were working and we were out a lot. The cabin was roomier than I expected and it really cooled down at night. Since we left most of our entertainment in the car, we just hung out for a while and went to bed.

Our hosts lived off the grid. They use a generator and solar panels to provide electrify to their home and the cabin. They had a solar shower outside the cabin and an outhouse as a bathroom. There were also horses in a pen outside the cabin.
cabin

We headed out to the painted hills on Tuesday, which was about an hour away. More long, winding roads. Once we got close to the trailheads, you could see the hills and they were amazing. We didn’t actually spend that long on the trail. Just long enough to walk around a bit and take some photos. All of us were getting really hot. I think it was in the 90s and the time and it was supposed to get up to 106 later in the day.
Painted Hills

Once we left we went back to Dayville, we went in search of a watering hole. Xander had it in his mind that he wanted to teach Reese to swim, but we couldn’t convince Reese to get in the water. Xander got in a little and I put my feet in the water.

After this we decided to drive to the nearby town of John Day. It’s still a mystery who John Day is.  I promised I would prepare a powerpoint presentation on him one day after we got back. We drove around the city a little, got some pizza, and headed back to a picnic area we found along the way. After eating, we took a walk around and came to stream with some deer in it. Reese went down to the water and took a drink, but still wouldn’t get in.  We stopped to take some photographs on the way back.
cows

The cabin was still hot when we got back so we hung out outside for a while before we went outside. We couldn’t get the air conditioner to work. We had a Magic the Gathering tournament. Late in the night we watched a movie called “The Road to Galveston” on a VHS cassette that was in the cabin.

We got up pretty early to drive back home the next day. Much of the drive was smokey and we couldn’t see too far in the distance. We drove through areas that looked like it had been affected by fires in previous years. It’s sad to think that so much of the state is burning.  The drive seemed to go on forever. We made it back around 2pm on Wednesday. There was some ash in the air, which I had seen people posting about while we were out of town.

A couple of hours later, Xander and I hosted game night at the Q Center. I was so out of it. I played a couple of games and spent the rest of the night on the bench outside talking to people who were taking breaks. Lately, we’ve had this tradition of going for drinks after game night, but I was too tired. We went home.

On Thursday, I did a lot of cleaning. The rest of my vacation was devoted Rose City Comic Con, which I will talk about later

I’m glad that I got to go on a road trip with such a great friend and my dog. They were great company and we had very few problems. I wonder what the next adventure will be.

I’m So Tired

Saturday, August 26th, 2017 No comments

I’m so tired.

Politics. The President is constantly doing and saying terrible things.  The constant outrage over what he’s doing is also getting to me.  If it’s not the President being terrible, it’s Congress.

I’m so tired.

I know that sometimes I try to do too much and I feel like I have to be doing something every minute of the day. I need to relax more. I don’t sleep enough. There’s always so much to do. Even work has contributed to me not getting enough sleep this past week.

I’m so tired.

I’m still in pretty pitiful shape. It seems like the slightest bit of physical exertion leaves me winded. It’s hard to even take my dog on walks.  I’ve said this before, but I really have to get serious about taking better care of myself, even if I’m never in as good of shape as I was in 2.5 years ago. It’s hard to get into a routine though. There’s so much stuff to do.

I’m so tired.

I just need a little rest.

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Summer Begins

Monday, July 31st, 2017 No comments

Portland Pride 2017
I’ve probably said this before, but here in Portland we say that summer officially begins on July 4. By then we can be pretty sure the rainy season is over. This summer has gotten off to a great start so far.

The gaymer meet up has been fun this month. We’ve had good turnout this month and last and it’s been a lot of fun playing with new and old members. We’ve got some ideas for new events that we want to try soon.

On the 4th, my friend who recently changed his named to Xander (formerly Kysen, formerly Alex) went on a hike/photo taking adventure with his friend David. Xander and I started doing this in April I believe. It’s fun exploring the city on foot and we’ve gotten some pretty great photos.

The following week Xander and I went to see Blondie and Garbage at Edgefield Amphitheater. It’s the first time I’ve been to this venue since I saw Foster the People there in 2012. It was a great show! Both bands sounded great. Shirley Manson is a queen. I’m more of a Garbage fan than a Blondie fan, but I think I had more fun during Blondie’s set.

The next day I went to my first Hillsboro Hops game. I had bought tickets to games before, but ended up not going. I won a ticket to this game from work. Intel had it’s own tent area where we could eat and hang out. I didn’t stay in that area long because I wanted to watch some of the game. The Hops weren’t doing well and I had other things to do that night, so I ended up leaving about halfway through.

The following week I went to my first Portland Timbers game. Once again I won tickets from work. I rode the MAX into town for the game, because I didn’t want to deal with parking at the stadium. There were a lot of Timbers fans on the game. The atmosphere inside the stadium was excellent. I can see myself going to more games in the future. I left at halftime to beat the crowd back home. It was a pretty lopsided loss for the Timbers.

Spider-Man and Girls Trip were good movies. I plan to see Dunkirk and Atomic Blonde soon. It’s been nice having a movie buddy (Xander) so I don’t have to see movies alone and I have someone to talk to the movie about when it’s over.

I’ve starting exercising again on a regular basis. I’m not back up to 6 days a week like I used to do. Most of my workouts are at the gym at work, but sometimes I go to my old gym. I even went on a bike ride with Xander one day. Now I just need to start eating healthy again.

I have so much more stuff that I want to do this summer. I probably won’t get to it all this year. I remembered yesterday how bored and lonely I felt in Mississippi before I left. I’m glad to have so many options for how to spend my free time.

Portland Pride 2017

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 No comments

This past week was Pride Week here in Portland. As usual I didn’t do anything during the week. I did all of my celebrating on the weekend. Well, one thing I did do during the week was pick up one of the rainbow badges that I see so many LGBT employees and allies wearing at Intel.

I drove past the Pride Festival on Saturday, but I figured I would wait until Sunday to go.

On Sunday, I marched in the parade for the first time. I was happy to be marching with Intel. Like I said on Facebook, I know a lot of people are cynical about corporations getting involved with Pride. Some think that corporations just throw money at it for good PR. From what I’ve seen, I believe that companies like Intel see the value in employees feeling comfortable being themselves at work. We had large group marching with our float. Apparently a lot larger than normal. It was so much fun walking along the route and being cheered on by the crowd. Everyone was nice, including the drag queens doing commentary at a couple of the bars along the route. People seemed genuinely excited to see us. I saw some friends in the crowd and I was later told by friends that they saw me. The only negative was that the speakers in our float that were playing music lost power early on even though they were supposed to have a 4-hour charge. Oh well.
Portland Pride 2017

After we got to the end of the route, I went to the festival. I didn’t stop at as many booths as I normally do because I was tired and had stuff to do at home. I got food samples for Reese, bought a Nike Pride shirt, and took a picture with underwear models like I do each year.

As I was leaving the festival to go back to my car, a homeless guy called me the f word because I didn’t have any change to give him. I was still flying high from my experience that day, so it didn’t bother me at all. That guy is going through some stuff I can’t relate to. Since my car was along the parade route, I decided to watch more of the parade. Yes, it’s a LONG parade. It turns out that the parade was almost over at this point. Intel’s float was #33. The last float was #164.

I had a great time at Pride this year. Even though I was exhausted Monday, I hope to try to fit more activities in my schedule next year.

Yet Another Tattoo

Thursday, May 25th, 2017 No comments

Wolf Tattoo

I got a new tattoo the last weekend in April.  Lacey at Tron City Tattoo did a great job.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out. A while back I started thinking about getting a wolf or a pair of dice for my next tattoo and ended up settling on a wolf.  I found a design online and Lacey gave me 2 more options based on that design.  One showed the wolf snarling, but I decided I didn’t want it to be aggressive.

The wolf wasn’t meant to be a reference to anything in particular, but many assumed that it is Ghost from A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones. I’ll go with that.

What next…

Grimm

Saturday, April 8th, 2017 No comments

Grimm cast

A week ago last night, the series finale of Grimm aired. It was never in the top tier of shows that I watched in terms of quality, but it was a lot of fun and one of my favorites.

I started watching the show at the beginning.  The concept sounded interesting.  I think I made it through the first 3 or 4 episodes before I decided to pass on it. It was good, but I was being picky about which shows I spent time watching.  When I found out I was moving to Portland, which is where the show was filmed and set, I decided to get caught up on it. I’m glad I did because it got better. Grimm was a freak-of-the-week with an overarching story. The mythology of the one the things I liked the most about it.

One reason I enjoyed watching Grimm so much was that I got to see my city on TV every week.  Portland really did set a good mood for the series.  It was cool when they mentioned a place and I could say, “I’ve been there.”  I plan on visiting a restaurant they mentioned during one of the final episodes.

One of my favorite memories of the show is getting a chance to be an extra in season 3 just a few days after I met its star David Guintoli at a convention. Too bad my scene was never used.  I was a great crime scene onlooker.

David Giuntoli

I was pretty much always behind on Grimm, sometimes a season or more.  I follow all of the main cast on Twitter, and they spoiled a lot of plot points.  That didn’t take away from my enjoyment. When I heard Grimm had been renewed for a shortened 6th and final season, I was disappointed but also glad that it would have a chance to wrap up the storyline.  This isn’t the kind of show that could go on forever and not many shows that I watch last 6 seasons.  I got caught up in time for the 6th season premiere, got behind again, and then got caught up for the series finale. Not the best series finale I’ve ever seen, but far from the worst. I’m happy with how things ended.

Well, Grimm is done. I hope another show comes along soon to take its place in Portland and in my heart.

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Sick of Being Sick

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 No comments

Back around Valentine’s Day, I got pretty sick. When I went to see a doctor, I was diagnosed with stomach flu.  I had thought it was something I had eaten.  I was miserable that first day. Over the first few days, there were times that I woke up in the middle of the night and had to rush to the bathroom.  When I went to see the doctor my blood pressure was unusually low so they gave me some juice to drink while I was there.  This lasted about a week.

I’m just now getting over some kind of cold/crud that I’m sure I got at work. A few people came down with this. The person who was patient zero was sick for a while , but for me it was over and done with in about 2 weeks.  I had sniffles for a day or two, but the rest of the time I had a bad cough. I’m glad it’s gone.

Hopefully I can go a few months without getting sick again.  Being sick is no fun.

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.