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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.

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.