Portland Pride 2022

Monday, June 20th, 2022 No comments

What a great weekend this past weekend was! It was great to do Pride in person again for the first time in 3 years. Portland was ready. I don’t know if this one was bigger than 2019, but my Uber driver yesterday said she had never seen so many people in one place.

On Friday night I skipped the event I was supposed to go to because the line was too long. I found out later the line was basically nonexistent about 15-30 minutes later. Oh well. I went to a new bar (opened last November) called The Queen’s Head, which is owned by the guy that used to coach the rugby team I played for a few years ago. They were having a party there. I had a great time.

On Saturday, I went to a local underwear store’s block party. I spent a lot on sexy underwear that I’ll probably never wear. Next I went to Crush and met up with some friends who were bar crawling. I knew a few friends were going to be there, but I didn’t know how large the group would be. They all screamed my name when I walked through the door. Soon after that we went 3 doors down to a new bar called Sissy Bar that had just opened about 3 days before. So many new gay and lesbian bars have opened in Portland recently and more are coming soon. Anyway, this place smelled new. We had so much fun. Around this time the sun came out. It was pouring when I first went out. I was tired so I left the group and went home to rest. That night I went to the Stag for a while. I was thinking about going to either Gaylabration or Blow Pony, but I was so tired from being on my feet all day that I went home. Besides, I needed to be up somewhat early the next day.

On Sunday I got up to march in the pride parade for the 1st time with Nike (there’s an announcement I forgot to make here). A while back I mentioned my issues with how much I can move around. I was nervous about the parade because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it to end. I almost decided not to march, even that morning. I’m glad I didn’t change my mind. As usual I saw so many people I know along the route watching the parade, some of whom I met in the past year. Nike required us to wear masks, which made it even more difficult for me. By the end, I was huffing and puffing pretty bad. There were 2 or 3 times were I did take my mask off for a second just to get more air. I’m glad the parade does stop every so often for a few seconds. Once a train stopped us for a while. If it wasn’t for those breaks, I might not have made it. I don’t know how I feel about the new route this year. I went to the festival after I finished marching, which was basically a mud pit after all the rain we have received recently. Afterwards, I was supposed to meet up with some friends, but I was sweaty and exhausted. I wanted to get in a little rest before it was time for the PDX Gaymers Pride Game Night I was hosting later. I say game night, but it was 5-9pm and the sun was still out as we were leaving. Usually our Pride Game Night is on a Saturday, but I was having trouble finding a venue for Saturday night and I decided I wanted to enjoy myself on Saturday this year. I didn’t get much rest before I had to leave, but Game Night was a blast though. We had a great turnout. More proof that people are eager to be social.

An interesting thing is that although the parade and Fathers Day are usually on the same day, this year Juneteeth was the same day. Since it’s a new federal holiday, I don’t know if that’s common. Before the parade, one guy stopped to wish me a Happy Juneteeth. Very nice of him.

This was a very good weekend. I love how happy and proud and excited everyone gets. I love spending time with friends. I love the random run-ins with friends, some of whom I only see at Pride every year. I’m glad to live in a city that’s so accepting of everyone. I made a great decision moving here.

Pride 2022

R.I.P. Dustin

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022 No comments

It seems like there’s been a lot of loss in my life lately. A few weeks ago my friend Dustin posted on Facebook that he’d had a heart attack and a surgical procedure. After a few days at his parents’ house, he was back home in Nashville recovering. A few days later (exactly 1 month after Reese passed), he died.

I first met Dustin when I was finishing grad school in 2005. I was when I was meeting my first gay friends and beginning the process of coming out. We were introduced by a mutual friend and Dustin introduced me to a lot of people who became great friends. We hung out a lot in those days. I remember going out drinking, going to parties at his place, or going to watch TV or movies at his place and not being able to stay awake. I was an early riser because but most of them got to sleep in. That first year he was having a birthday party (or anniversary party as he liked to call them), and when he found out I was about to graduate, he started telling the guests that we were also celebrating my upcoming graduation, which I thought was really nice. For some reason he kept inviting me along for stuff, even a 3-hour trip to Memphis to go to a gay bar.

Dustin was hilarious, smart, and kind. Sometimes he could be the mean, sassy gay guy with his jokes but looking back I don’t think he ever meant any harm. I don’t have any pics of us together, but I took this pic below at his place, which I think was dubbed Casa de Barnes that night. [They were playing in the rain, but I was keeping dry] Dustin is the 2nd from right.

Dustin was the biggest Mariah Carey fan I know. He was obsessed! If you look at his Twitter and Facebook pages they have Mariah on them. I guess a lot of people were mentioning her when remembering him because on the day of his visitation she posted a message saying she wishes she could have had a chance to talk to him.

Although we follow each other’s lives on social media, it had been 2 years since we really talked. He was an editor at USA today. I looked back through old messages and saw us quoting Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Strangers with Candy.

I’ll miss you, Dustin. Rest easy.

R.I.P. Reese

Monday, April 11th, 2022 No comments

For those that don’t follow me on social media, Reese passed away today. He’d gradually gotten worse recently and this weekend was just bad. He was ready to go and it was time to let him go. I’ll say more later. Right now I’m remembering him. Tomorrow will be the first time in over 2.5 years I’ve woken up without him nearby. We never spent more than 8 days apart during his lifetime. I’m glad he’s not sick anymore. We’ll get by without him.

June 27, 2008-April 11, 2022. Get you some rest, my little prince. You deserve it.

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Time Marches On

Thursday, March 31st, 2022 No comments

I’m feeling pretty positive about life lately all things considered. Work is going well. I’ve had so many great experiences with friends this past month or so. I’m once again grateful for the friendships I have and it’s nice to be out and about again post Omicron peak. My friend Cody and I were both saying that we weren’t going to let the pandemic take another year from us. I’m taking precautions, but I’m out enjoying my life.

The biggest negative is that Reese has taken a bit of a turn for the worse. I’ve had almost 5 months to get used to the idea that he will be leaving. I take solace in the fact that he won’t be sick anymore.

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A Decade in Portland

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022 No comments

As I’ve been saying on social media, today is the 10th anniversary of my arrival in Portland. Moving here is still one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was brave, picking up everything and moving so far away from everyone familiar. I don’t regret it.

There are so many more career opportunities available here than where I was. I might still be working for the university, but I’d be bored. I’ve had a chance to experience some exciting things here.

There are so many cool things to do here in Portland. I was pretty bored in Starkville. Portland gives me a city feel without being too big. And I’m not that far from several major cities. There’s so much going on that I can’t do everything I want to.

Last, but not least, I have met so many great people that I would not have have met otherwise. I’ve never felt more accepted than I have here. I love my Portland family.

I’m looking forward to the next 10 years here. I’ve grown so much personally and professionally in the past 10 and I think there’s more to come.

Linked below are my posts from 2012 about my moving experience.

Goodbye, The Expanse

Friday, January 28th, 2022 No comments

I don’t watch as much TV as I used to and I’m way behind of most of the stuff that I do watch. So it’s not that often that I get to see a series finale. Two weeks ago today, the finale of The Expanse aired. I saw it the night before because it was released on Amazon a little early.

I got into The Expanse right away when I started watching it. I know a lot of people say it takes a few episodes or that whole first season to get into. But you are rewarded for your patience. I kept saying it was the best TV show that nobody was watching, though over the last few seasons I found out more and more people I know were watching it than I realized. The characters, the acting, the writing, the special effects, etc were all top notch.

I remember being very disappointed when Syfy cancelled it after season 3 and so happy when Amazon Prime rescued it. I don’t know how true it is, but it sounded like Jeff Bezos made the decision himself because he was a fan.

My viewing of the show was erratic after it moved to Amazon. I didn’t see most of season 4 and all of season 5 until the weeks before season 6 debuted. I got to watch it week to week again for season 6. Even though it was only 6 episodes, I got used to having new episodes to watch on Friday. And now it’s sad that I don’t have new episodes to watch.

I’m going to miss following the crew of the Rocinante and the Belters and the Earthers and the Martians. I’m looking forward to rewatching the series again, maybe in a few years. I’m sure I’ll pick up on things I missed because of my erratic viewing of the show. I may even try to give to books another try. Reading that many books was a daunting task when the series was about to start. And since the show didn’t cover the last 3 books, there’s hope for more of the show in the future.

Right now I’m just trying to find something to fill the Expanse-sized void in my TV schedule. I don’t know if there’s any outer space show out right now that comes close, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open.

Christmas 2021

Friday, December 31st, 2021 No comments

I remember thinking a while back that I was going to really get into and enjoy this holiday season. Reese’s diagnosis and the omicron variant put a damper on that. Reese has mostly good days, but he’s been very needy. If I go to take a shower I can hear him wining when I get out. I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep for a while. But it wasn’t all bad. I put a tree up for the first time in a while. At work we got gift cards for GrubHub so we could have a meal together on Zoom one day

I had my first Christmas dinner on the 23rd with my friends Aaron and Josh and some mutual friends. We ate a lot of food, played Bomberman and that Exploding Kittens like Star Wars card games, and did a secret elephant exchange.

I spent Christmas Day with my friend Nir doing the Chinese dinner on Christmas Day thing again, except this time we ordered takeout instead of dining in a restaurant.. My friends Robert, Alex, and Jer were there as well along with one of Nir’s friend who I didn’t know. We played Codenames and chatted and ate so much food. We never got around to watching a movie.

What did I get for Christmas and my birthday this year?
  • Nike shoes
  • plates
  • Sagrada (board game)
  • Mulholland Dr (Criterion Collection)
  • Wayfarer Series
  • protein pancakes with bourbon-aged maple syrups
  • Trailblazers calender
  • Captain America mug
  • chocolate candy
  • Star Trek pride shirt

    I didn’t really treat myself to anything this year like I normally do. Over the summer I got a new TV and receiver, both of which support 120fps so my gaming consoles will be able to live their best lives. Maybe I can count that.

    Overall I would say that this was a pretty good year. It was great getting out and being able to see people, go to events, and be social again. It’s hard to describe just how much that has meant, especially after 17 months of isolation.

    There’s been a damper later in the year. Reese’s diagnosis, a friend passed away, Betty White died today.

    Next year I have to make health a priority again. I was making so much progress, but the last few weeks my diet has gone to crap again and I haven’t been exercising at all. And of course I struggles getting around most of the year like when I went to Rose City Comic Con.

    I also want to make getting a fulltime job with benefit and PTO a priority. It’ll make me feel a little more at ease and I’ll actually be able to have some real vacation time. I’ve had 2 contracting jobs this year. Hopefully, I’ll be an FTE someone by the end of next year.

    Speaking of vacation time, I hope that my travel plans don’t get screwed up by one thing or another. I’m supposed to be going to Chicago in April. Let’s hope that happens.

    As usual, I want to wish everyone a happy New Year. Take care of each other!

  • Thanksgiving 2021

    Sunday, November 28th, 2021 No comments

    Thanksgiving weekend is ending. It was a good weekend.

    I worked maybe an hour on Thanksgiving and 2 or 3 hours on Friday. Monday – Wednesday were pretty light at work as well. I’ll be glad when I’m working full-time again and don’t have to work on the last 2 days of that week at least.

    I had Thanksgiving with my friends Aaron and Josh in Tigard, who I’ve been spending more and more time with lately. They ordered a pre-cooked dinner from New Seasons and all they had to do was warm it up. It was delicious. We played Xbox games and played a Star Wars themed card game that’s a lot like Exploding Kittens. I played games on my own at home before and after. The only thing I didn’t get around to doing was resurrecting my tradition of working out early on Thanksgiving day. At one point I thought I would work out at home after I got back from Aaron’s but I should have known that wouldn’t happen.

    Friday – Sunday, I was at home pretty much the whole time playing video games, watching TV and movies, reading a book, and making sure Reese was okay. It was a nice, relaxing weekend for the most part.

    I am fortunate.

    A Fighter Begins His Final Fight

    Sunday, November 28th, 2021 No comments

    I haven’t talked about this publicly yet, but a few weeks ago Reese was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer sucks. We started treatment the next day and for about a week and a half he seemed to be getting better, but after that he started going back to where he was. He’s still with us now, but I don’t know how much longer he will be.

    Reese has been through a lot with his knee and back issues that are common in his breed and he’s recovered each time. The first occurrence was before we moved to Portland almost 10 years ago now. Four years ago this month, he was told he would probably never walk again and 2 weeks later he was running to greet me at the door like he always did. Even now with everything going on, he’s still running around the living room and barking at people at the door as usual. I’ve done what I could to prevent him from aggravating his back and knees, but I don’t think there’s anything I could’ve done to prevent this.

    Everything right now is making sure he’s comfortable and happy and his quality of life up for whatever time he has left. At 13 and half I knew he had more years behind him than ahead of him, but it’s still too soon.

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    Checking In

    Sunday, October 31st, 2021 No comments

    Wow, time flies. It’s been a while since my last post, so I figured I’d pop in with an update like I do.

    Life has been great. Between spending time with friends and PDX Gaymers events, I’ve been busy. October especially with all the Halloween things. My friend Aaron had a Disney-themed party this year. I dressed like a Sith Lord and everyone seemed to like it. PDX Gaymers had a Halloween game night again and my friend Jer also had a party. I’ve come to enjoy Halloween these past few years. I sympathize with those who don’t get into it but have to watch as everyone else is excited about it. It’s kinda how I’ve felt about Thanksgiving and Christmas most recent years.

    Speaking of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it feels like a sprint from October until the end of the year. So much happening and work usually has end of the year deadlines. At least I have a few weeks to catch my breath though before things really pick up again.

    Work at Nike is still great. I’m not sure that there’s any chance of being hired full time. Not on this team, at least. I received an offer from a team at Intel to return there. A generous offer. I didn’t even have to go through an interview process, probably because I was recommended by one of my old managers. I ended up turning it down, mostly because I didn’t think I would like the work and I would be unmotivated to come to to work every day. While this was going on, a team that includes some of the people I last worked with there also wanted to make an offer, but they couldn’t because of the other offer. It’s nice to feel wanted. I still feel the mental effects of that year of unemployment I had.

    I got my covid booster on the 20th. Thank goodness for vaccines. So glad that I’m able to go out and have fun again this year.

    I went to see the Trailblazers play the Clippers on the 29th. Aaron got tickets through his work. Floor seats! So weird being that close to all the action.

    Oh, early in the month I went to see a Bianca Del Rio show. Wendy Ho opened for her. They were both so funny. I’ve never seen the early seasons of Drag Race, but I want to go back and watch them.

    There’s more stuff coming up, but I’ll save it for another time. Happy Halloween!