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Portland Pride 2018

Sunday, June 24th, 2018 No comments

Last weekend was Portland Pride weekend, which ended a great pride week here in in Portland. Pride has become one of my favorite times of the year.

I actually didn’t do anything during the week, but I did live vicariously through people who were out doing stuff.

On Friday night, PDX Gaymers hosted a Pride weekend event at Guardian Games.  I put this together at the last minute. I’ve been in touch with the leader of Seattle Gaymers lately and he asked if we were planning anything for Pride.  I had never thought to do anything for Pride, probably because there are so many other things going on and I assume people would be more interested in that than gaming.  I rented a private room at Guardian.  I advertised the event as a stop before going to a party or just a quiet alternative to going to a party. We had a good turnout.  Everybody that came stayed until the end.  The room was cramped with that many people, but we made it work.  I think everyone had a good time.

On Saturday, Xander, our friend David W, and I went out to the festival and walked around the waterfront area. It was Xander’s first Pride. I like going to the festival every year, but there’s really not much to it and I don’t think they were into it as much as me.  We left soon afterwards and got some drinks at a bar and later got some ice cream.

On Sunday, I marched in the parade again with Intel.  We had a much smaller group than last year, but we were a lot closer to the front of the parade, so there wasn’t as much waiting around.  It was fun marching again.  It was touching to see how many people were genuinely happy to see us. I saw quite a few people I knew along the parade route, including someone I met at the game night on Friday night.  Some people shouted my name.  A couple of people came into the street to hug me.

Portland Pride 2018

That night, Xander and I went to see Kathy Griffin perform. I had never seen one of her shows in person, but Xander had.  Several of my friends were there, including some I saw along the parade route earlier.  Portland is a small city. Kathy was great.  She was on stage for a little under 3.5 hours.  The time flew by and we were laughing all the way through.  The show was mostly about her ordeal with Trump with other stories mixed in.

This was my favorite Pride yet. It’s great seeing the community come together and celebrate. Next year I want to do even more!

Remembering My Grandmother

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 No comments

I knew that we were coming on the 10th anniversary of the passing of my grandmother.  A few weeks ago, I went through old posts and figured out today was the day.  You can see what I wrote a few days after her funeral here.

I still think about her quite often. I wish I could go to Mississippi and visit her.  I’d love to know what she thought about my life these past 10 years.  I think she’d be proud.

Mr. Cameraman

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018 No comments

Around Christmas time my co-worker Daniel told me that he had bought a camera and was taking up the hobby of photography.  Since then we’ve bonded over love of taking pictures.

A couple of months ago he told me that he wanted to make a video and that he wanted my help doing it.  He wanted to go to his hair salon and film a haircut tutorial video featuring himself and his stylist.  I had never filmed a video before, but I thought it would be fun.  We used his roommate’s camera and his lighting and gimbal. We got together at his house a couple of days before to practice some of the shots he wanted.

The day of filming was fun.  I was worried that the footage would turn out to be bad, but Daniel was very pleased with what we got.  He did all the editing.  Check out the finished video below.

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Flash Update

Monday, April 30th, 2018 No comments

Life is busy. Guitar lessons. Exercising. Taking on more responsibility at work. Moved desks twice. Planted a garden. I want to go to Mexico. More detailed updates as time permits.

Goodbye Portlandia

Saturday, March 31st, 2018 No comments

Portlandia

Last week I had to say goodbye to another long-running show that I really enjoyed watching.  I started watching Portlandia when I found out I was moving to Portland. Their second season was about to air on IFC.  They did a 8 seasons total. It wasn’t the funniest show around, but there was something funny in almost every episode. It didn’t just make fun of Portland. It made fun of modern life in general. As always, it was great seeing my city on TV. I even got to be an extra in one episode.  Check out the first sketch in Episode 7 for Season 3 or google ‘portlandia gay wedding’ if you want to see it.

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Starting Over

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 No comments

I started seeing a personal trainer again.  I’m starting over when it comes to fitness. I feel like I do better fitness wise when I have someone holding me accountable.  I at least want to get on a routine.  I’ve been eating healthier food as well, though I haven’t been perfect with that.  Hopefully, I’ll start seeing results soon.

I started taking guitar lessons as well.  I never had any formal training.  It’s been so long since I really practiced.  I think of myself as a newbie.  I’ve been having fun learning pieces of songs I listened to in the 90s.

I decided to retire my gaming desktop. I’m not planning on getting another desktop for the time being.  It’ll be the first time in 20 years that I haven’t had a desktop.  I’ve always kept a desktop around for gaming during that period.  Who wants to play games on a laptop? (I’ll admit that I have played some games that aren’t too intensive on laptops.)  Early on I would go back and forth from gaming predominately on a PC and gaming predominately on consoles.  Around 10 years ago that changed.  Even though I kept upgrading my desktops, I could never make PC gaming a lasting habit.  I haven’t given up on PC gaming, however.  Playing Overwatch at the Microsoft store has shown me that if you have a powerful enough machine, laptop gaming can be enjoyable.  So I invested in a relatively inexpensive gaming laptop and I am writing this entry on it. Trying something new.  I like that I can bring it downstairs to the living room and put it away when I’m done with it.  I’m installing games on it now.  Maybe I’ll review it once I’ve had a chance to play a few Overwatch matches on it.

 

So Much to Do

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 No comments

The year has gotten off to a busy start. As usual, there’s so much to do and not enough time to do it. I’ve known for years that I’ve havd too many hobbies, but I’ve had people comment on it recently.

I’m getting some stuff set up for photography. I want to start painting again. I’ve started playing guitar again. There’s gaming stuff that I want to do.

It’s going to be a busy year. Stay tuned.

 

Christmas 2017

Saturday, December 30th, 2017 No comments

Christmas has been different this year.

I didn’t do much for Thanksgiving. I’m not that big into holidays, but Xander and I had made it a point to hang out on holidays. That changed earlier this year. On Thanksgiving, Xander was working his new dog sitting/housesitting job.  We did have lunch at My Father’s Place and ate breakfast food.

I wasn’t feeling the spirit this Christmas season.  I never even got all the way through my Christmas mix once, which I think is a first since I made it in 2006. It did snow on Christmas Eve and there was some left on Christmas Day. My vacations is Dec 22-Jan 1.  I let Xander borrow my car for work, so I was basically here by myself for 6 days in a row, Christmas being the 5th day of that.  It would have been difficult for him to do what he needed to without a vehicle. He didn’t come back home at the end of the day on Dec 24 and Dec 25. I wasn’t too happy about being alone and stranded on Christmas day.  My vacation has been better since the 26th.  It’ll have a strong finish.

Since presents are one of the few things I still like about this holiday and I always document my gifts, here is what I got this year for my birthday and Christmas:

  • beer mug
  • Reese’s, Kit-Kat, Skittles
  • Rocks
  • The Incredibles on blu-ray
  • Texts from Dog calendar
  • Armada by Ernest Cline
  • Artemis by Andy Weir
  • Mississippi State socks
  • Guardians of the Galaxy expansion for Legendary
  • Vanilla bean and warm tobacco pipe scented candles
  • Star Wars droid storage containers
  • Thor and Hulk pop vinyls
  • voucher for Naked Wines
  • several Christmas cards
  • Pandemic and Shadows over Camelot board games (gifts from myself)

Once again, my friends did well.

Overall, I think this has been a good year personally.  Lots of fun, but some of what I’ve gone through and what close friends have gone through has made it challenging at times.  Hopefully, 2018 will be easier.

The main goal I have for next year is to live a healthy lifestyle again.  My success criteria will be having normal cholesterol and glucose levels when I have my annual exam in December.

I hope every one has a happy New Year.  Take care of yourself and each other.

My Poor, Poor Dog

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 No comments

This has been a stressful month!

I guess it was around the middle or end of October when Xander and I noticed that Reese’s back appeared to be bothering him. The last time this happened was about a year after his surgery. Rest and medicine helped, so we tried that this time. For about a week it appeared as if he was getting better. Then suddenly his back started bothering him again. On November 2, he was in a lot of pain and couldn’t walk.

I took him to the emergency room that saw him last time. The surgeon who operated on him works there now. They examined him and they think he had a slipped disc. They think the best option was to operate on him. They said there was a 30% chance of him walking again. The total for everything would be around $12,000.

Unfortunately, due to being out of work for a while, some unexpected expenses, and a few purchases I made, I didn’t have enough cover that. They sent me home with many kinds of medicines and instructions for strict bed rest for 2-6 weeks.

It was an adjustment getting used to caring for a dog that can’t walk. I had to pick him up and carry him outside to do his business and hold him while he’s going it. Eventually my back started hurting. He was set up downstairs, so he wouldn’t have to be handled any more than necessary. I slept on the couch just to be close by. He needed painkillers and potty trips a lot so I was getting up in the middle of the night frequently. We pretty much had to hand feed him and bring water to him. I’m really grateful I had Xander here to help out.

I felt really bad about not being able to get him the help he needed. I called the only other place in the area that could perform this type of operation and they gave me a much better estimate. I started a fundraiser and explored other options and was able to raise some of the money. I called my regular vet’s office and they suggested that I call the vet school at Oregon State University. OSU said that they could operate on Reese if I gave them a downpayment and they would finance the rest. Yay! I even managed to negotiate a small enough downpayment that I would be able to take him in on the next payday. I set an appointment for the surgery.

At some point when I started taking Reese out to potty, I noticed that he could balance himself on his legs for a few seconds before he had to sit down. I’ wasn’t getting my hopes up because the doctor said he would never walk again. A few days later, I put him down and he started walking away from me to go pee. A few days before his scheduled surgery, he stood up and sat by the door to let me know he wants to go outside. His hind legs veered off to the side, but he could walk. A few days later, he started walking straighter. He was able to go over to his bowl and get food.

I took him to Oregon State anyway on the day of his appointment. The doctor said that he didn’t think surgery was a good idea and Reese had a great chance of recovering without it, though he may never be as he once was. He said dogs don’t often need a 2nd back surgery. He recommended continued rest and a special back brace. Around the middle of December, we can discontinue bed rest and start going on short walks.

Since that day, his walking has gotten better, though it’s still not the same as it was before. In past week and half or so, he’s started back running to the door when I get home from work. A lot of other little things are returning to normal, like hanging out around the table when we’re eating and looking for food. I built a ramp so he won’t have to jump down a step to get outside.  The hardest part now is keeping him off furniture and stairs.  This morning he came up the stairs while I was busy. My barrier that I have on the stairs didn’t work.  In December I’ll put his couch steps back in place.

I’m so glad that Reese has shown so much improvement. I’ve gradually eased up on the pain medication over the past couple of weeks, mostly because he was running out. All he’s really getting right now are CBD dog treats. I don’t think he’s in a lot of pain. If he takes a turn for the worse, I’ll start the medicine again.

I’m grateful for all the support I’ve gotten from my friends. They helped keep my sane. I’m trying to let myself relax a little bit. Hopefully that will come soon.
Reese sleeping

Overwatch

Sunday, October 29th, 2017 No comments

Overwatch

I have been Overwatch a LOT lately. When the game 1st came out, I played it for a while, but got distracted by other games. That always happens with me. I played it on and off after that, but over the past few months I’ve been a little obsessed with it. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t play it for a least a little while.

One reason I like Overwatch is because it’s one of the few online multiplayer games that I’m not terrible at. I don’t know if I win more games that I lose, but with certain characters, I kill more than I die. I can actually carry a team at times. When the game was first released, I got a little frustrated at some point because I wasn’t winning much. Either the great players left or went to competitive mode when it was released or I got better. Maybe a little of each. I haven’t been doing that well over the past few weeks, but I’m guessing that a lot of players have come back to the game because of the Halloween content. In some multiplayer games like Call of Duty, you have to do play well to see the best stuff in the game. When I played CoD, I never got to do drops and other cool moves no matter how much I played. In Overwatch, I’m pretty sure I’ve done everyone’s Ultimate move.

Overwatch has different character types and each character is so different. My main characters are Solder 76 and D.Va. I also play Symmetra in certain scenarios. I’ve been trying out Mercy, Sombra, and Osira recently and I’ve had a decent amount of success with them. Lately, I’ve been starting out each session with a Mystery Heroes match or two and it’s been great getting experience with characters I don’t use much.

Earlier this year, the Microsoft Store at Pioneer Place reached out to PDX Gaymers (the meetup that I organize) about having events at their store. They’re trying to build a gaming community here in Portland. I’ve hosted 2 Overwatch events at their store recently and I’m hosting another one this weekend. The next event is an Overwatch/Heroes of the Storm event and it looks to be the biggest event we’ve had at the Microsoft Store yet.

Overwatch is my game right now. I can’t remember the last time I was this into a game. I’m glad that I’ve found something that I can really get into and is still fun after all this time. Blizzard knows how to make long-lasting games it seems. If you want to play, I’m “longklaw” on PSN and “longklaw#1434” on Battle.net.