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PAX 2019

Sunday, September 8th, 2019 No comments

This past weekend was PAX West in Seattle. I rode up with Cory and Chris. We met up with mutual friends and friends of just theirs throughout the weekend. We decided to go only Sunday and Monday this year instead of all 4 days.

We drove up on Saturday. We left that morning because Cory and Chris had been invited by a friend to attend the Blackberry Festival in Bremerton, Washington. We arrived there around 1:30. We met up with our friend Justin, one of his friends, and one of Cory’s friends. We had fun walking along the boardwalk taking in the sites and food. I had some good blackberry cider and tasted some wine. I bought a bottle of wine to take home. We also met 2 groups of random strangers and had a good time talking to them. We took the auto ferry across the sound to Seattle. We had sushi with a friend of Cory’s and her boyfriend. I think we made it to the hotel around 10. The hotel was about 7 blocks from the convention center.Blackberry Festival

Cory and Chris left early for the convention center Sunday so they could get in line to get tickets to play a game. I think they both got to play the ones they wanted to. I think I made it there around 10, which was 30 minutes after the convention center opened. Because of all the shootings around the country, they had a different procedure for entering, which involved going through metal detectors. It was so great being back at PAX. Since we were only going to be there 2 days, part of me felt like I needed to hurry to see everything, but it turned out to be plenty of time. I tried to check out every square inch of the main floor. I didn’t make it to any panels this year though. Friday and Saturday are the best days for cosplayers, so I didn’t get as many pics of them as I normally too. I played a game called Code Vein, which I think I want to buy. I saw a lot of indie games, which I still need to go through my notes and further research many of them. I got to meet the guy the guy who created Gloomhaven, a popular board game. There was an indie game expo a few blocks from the convention center that day. I went later in the day. I bought a game because it reminded me of Deja Vu, a game I played on the NES. I met up with Cory, Chris, and our friend Tyler James there. I didn’t feel like being out late, so I went back to the hotel room and ordered Subway on Uber Eats while they went out to dinner.Code Vein

On Monday I got there a little earlier than the day before. I had gone back and forth the day before about whether or not I wanted to get there early to get tickets to play the Final Fantasy VII Remastered demo. I had finally decided not to when I went to bed. When I got up I got a text from Cory saying we needed to check out before we left. They were downstairs getting breakfast. After we checked out, we starting heading toward the convention center and met up with Tyler James along the way. The 3 of them wanted to do some XP thing that requires you to go to certain locations in the area, so I went to the convention center by myself. I arrived right as they were about to start letting people in. I decided to stop by the FFVII booth even though I figured they would be out of tickets. Luckily, they weren’t. The ticket gave you a time range to come back and line up to play the demo. I hope this system becomes popular at PAX. I know several companies were using it this year, if not all of them. During my first few years at PAX, I remember hearing about people waiting in line 8 hours to play demos of some of the more popular games. This was my first time trying to play one of the more popular games and it was pretty painless. I went back at my allotted time and had to wait about 30 minutes before I could finally play. First they played a short movie for us and then we got to play. It was awesome! Before I went back to play the demo I went to the annex to check out some PC games and the console free play section. I watched a little of the Rocket League tournament in the arena on both days. Other than that, all I did this day was play board games. I played Wingspan, which I had been interested in for a while. I’ll buy it some day most likely. I met up with Cory, Chris, Justin, Tyler James and his husband Shawn Tyler, and a friend of TJ’s. We played a couple of rounds of Coup before we called it a wrap. Cory, Chris, and I left for Portland. We stopped for pizza along the way. I made it back home around 10 that night.

PAX was a blast again this year. As usual, it lit the gaming fire in me again. I play Overwatch almost every day, but my goal is to make time for other games. We said that next year instead of going 2 consecutive days, we may skip a day in between and do some things in Seattle. There is a small part of me that wants to go to PAX all 4 days next year. Crazy, right?

Aunt Bert

Sunday, September 8th, 2019 No comments

I found out yesterday that my Aunt Bert passed away on Wednesday. She was my mom’s sister. Her funeral was today. She would have turned 80 next month.

I lived with my grandparents up through 9th grade. Around 3rd grade we moved into a house right across the street from Bert and her family. I would go across the street to play at my cousin’s basketball goal, but I didn’t go inside much. Sometimes I would see her outside though.

After I moved out, I would go to my grandparent’s house on holidays, and she, her husband, and her children would come across the street to visit at some point. Sometimes I would leave before they got there and would find out after the fact that I had barely missed them. Whenever I would see her, she would want to know about me and how I was doing.

I remember her as kind, caring, and intelligent. I can’t hear the word “memorandum” without thinking about her.

RIP, Aunt Bert.

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End of Summer

Friday, August 30th, 2019 No comments

It’s Labor Day weekend and the unofficial end of summer is upon us.

This has been an usual summer for Portland. Usually I see very little if any rain during the summer. This summer there have been days where the rain poured down. A few weeks ago it got really chilly for this time of the year. Some people were saying that we never had a real summer or that we had a faux summer.

The past week or so we’ve had some really hot temperatures. We still haven’t had any triple digit days, and we usually get a few of those each year. Mid to upper 90s is enough.

It’s been a great summer. Lots of time with friends and dogs. I’ve gone out dancing some, which is rare for me. Lots of PDX Gaymers events. Competed in an Overwatch tournament. Got to take me car for a couple of good drives. I’ve gone to the beach for the first time in years. Football is back!

I’m getting ready to head to PAX tomorrow. Let’s end the summer in style.

Here We Go Again

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 No comments

A week ago today, my entire team found out that we were being eliminated, including management. That’s around 30 people. It really sucks because I enjoyed being on this team. Some of them have been working together for 10 years. I’ve been with them since early last year, when my previous team merged with their team. It’s not just our team that’s being eliminated, pretty much all the engineers in our division were being let go. It’s all cost cutting. The work we’re doing is being outsourced to teams in Ireland, India, and Poland. The term they used is that they were “right-sizing” the organization.

The good news is that I’ll still get an employee until October 31 and I can spend that time looking for a new job. I guessed what was happening last Tuesday when unusual meeting invites started going out, so I started updating my resume then. I’ve sent it out to a few contacts and applied for a few positions. There’s an internal job fair at Intel next week and there’s a good chance I’ll find another position then. I just don’t know if it’ll be as exciting as the one I’m currently losing. I’m not just limiting my search to Intel though. Hopefully, I’ll have something definite by October 31.

I don’t know how people have 20+ year careers at one company. I keep getting laid off every 2-3 years.

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Portland Pride 2019

Sunday, June 30th, 2019 No comments

Two weekends ago was Pride Weekend here in Portland. Pride has become one of my favorite times of the year. The positivity and excitement is infectious.

The Out in Tech group that I participate with had a kickoff event the Wednesday before Pride Weekend. They had a makeshift “photo booth” and I used my camera to take pictures. It was fun.

On Friday night I went to Crush to hang out with friends and have drinks. I have a core group of friends that I have become close to this past year or so. I spend a lot of time with them. They’re great people and there’s so much positivity and love between us all.

Saturday night my PDX Gaymers group had its 2nd annual Pride Game Night. We had a great turnout. Probably bigger than last year. My only regret is that I didn’t play games with new people who I hadn’t met before that night. Game Night was early enough so that people could still go to parties afterward. I went to Blow Pony. Blow Pony is a monthly dance party that I’ve been hearing about probably since I first moved here in 2012. I keep saying I’m going to go one of these months but it had never happened until now. It was awkward going by myself, but I did run into some people I knew.

Sunday was the parade. I marched with Intel for the 3rd year in a row. A lot of people don’t like the idea of corporations being involved in Pride, but my corporation does a lot for it’s LGBT employees. My manager actually marched in the parade with his wife who works for another company, but he did stop by the Intel float to say hi. Two of my other teammates marched to show their support, one bringing his wife and daughter and the other’s girlfriend was somewhere in the crowd. Once again, I was amazed by how excited the crowd was to see us. I didn’t see as many people along the parade route that I know as I did last year, but I know that some people saw me.

After this I went on the Big Gay Boat Ride with some friends. It’s an annual event that I had heard about, but never thought much about going on myself. At this point I was exhausted and at the end of my energy. I still had fun though. There were drinks, food, and a drag show. Two contestants from Rupaul’s Drag Race were there, but they weren’t two that I recognized.

Portland Pride 2019

Pride month ends today. The suburb of Hillsboro had it’s first Pride celebration and Beaverton had its first Pride parade this month. It’s so exhausting, but enjoyable and fulfilling.

Optimism Feels Good

Friday, May 31st, 2019 No comments

Another busy month. Busy is good, right?

I’m having fun with the dogs. Max is settling in nicely. He finally seems comfortable sleeping in the bedroom with Reese and myself this week. Reese’s leg bothers him sometimes, so I’ve tried not to do anything too strenuous with him. He started limping a little bit last month, but it’s been a while since he’s had any trouble walking as far as I can tell. Fingers crossed. I want to take both of them to some events soon.

I’m dealing with an algae bloom in the saltwater tank. I don’t think I even mentioned here that Xander and I set up one in January. It’s more expensive and more work, but I think it’s worth it. This weekend I’m doing more work on it and cleaning out the filters in all 3 tanks.

I don’t know if the weather getting better has anything to do with it, but I feel so optimistic right now. Life is pretty good. I’ve spending a lot of time with great friends and I’m constantly meeting new people. Work is good. My dogs are good. I got a promotion and a big raise recently. I’m catching up on a lot of things wasn’t making time for before. I think this is going to be a great summer.

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Max

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 No comments

Two weeks ago today, I brought home a new dog that I named Max. I’m so grateful to have him, but there’s a small part of me that can’t believe I have 2 dogs to take care of now.

I’ve had the thought several times over the years of adopting a second dog, a playmate for Reese. Sometimes I even searched online for local dogs that were available. Each time I convinced myself it would be a bad idea, mostly because of the time commitment. And I got lucky with Reese. He’s well behaved and was easy to teach. A new dog might not be the same way.

This time I convinced myself that it would be okay. I’m home usually when I’m not at work. Reese could be his company when I’m not here. My hours are pretty flexible, so I can work from home some if I need to.

I found a local rescue, Street Savvy Dog Rescue, and filled out an application for one of their dogs. I was disappointed to find out that the dog I applied for wasn’t available at Street Savvy. They use an external website to list their dogs and somehow I must have ended seeing dogs in a different location. The manager of the rescue, Barbette, told me about a dog they had coming in from Mission, Texas that she thought I might be interested in. I believe they rescue all of their dogs from Texas. They called him Milo. She told me where to find a video of him and once I saw it, I immediately fell in love. I found out he would available at an adoption event at PetSmart a couple of days after he arrived in Portland.

I believe it was a little under 2 weeks from the time I saw the video to the time he was in Portland. In the meantime, I cleaned up my place and purchased some new stuff for him. The day before the adoption event I contacted the Barbette to make sure he had arrived and would still be at the adoption event. Everything looked good. I filled out another application and sent pics of my home. I kept a lot of this close to the vest because I wasn’t sure if things would work out.

The day of the event I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t sure what the process would be like. I didn’t know if it was a sure thing that I would be able to take him home or if I would be competing against others who were interested. It turned out that I worried for nothing. I met him, filled out the papers, paid the adoption fee, and took him home. Most of his vaccinations had already been taken care of. They even gave me a collar, some food, a leash, and a blanket.

Max

Max has been great to have here. He’s very agreeable and sweet. He’s slightly bigger than Reese, but he loves to follow Reese around. Reese doesn’t like being licked in the face all the time, but hopefully Max will learn. They think he’s a basset hound mix and about a year old. He can be stubborn at times. He likes to pull on a leash. We’ll be working on that. I’ve already signed him up for classes. He’s not as hyper as Reese, but he’s pretty similar in temperament.

Max in the car

I’m looking forward to many adventures together.

Good luck, Xander

Saturday, March 16th, 2019 No comments

Today my roommate and closest friend Xander left to move back to his hometown in Pennsylvania. Without getting into too much of his personal issues, he felt that leaving Portland was the best thing for him. I’m going to miss him tremendously. Since I left home, I haven’t lived with anyone longer than I have him – around 2 years and 5 months. He said that he hadn’t lived with anyone as long as me. Things have been tense around here lately, but I still have so much love and respect for him. He’s my chosen family and he’s been an important part of my life these past 3 years. I hope he finds happiness in PA, but I’m sad that I won’t get to see him every day anymore. His plan is to eventually come back, but plans don’t always go the way we want them to and who knows if he would be here long-term. He only took 2 suitcases and a backpack full of items to the airport (he shipped his computer the day before), so maybe he’ll come back one day for the rest of his stuff.

He told me Wednesday night that he was planning to leave today. It’s something he’s been thinking about doing for a while, but I wasn’t sure if or when it would actually happen. The past few days have not been great because I didn’t want to see him go. However, last night we went out for drinks and we reminisced, laughed, and cried the whole time. After the tension of the past few months, it was great to express these emotions. I left him at the airport about 7 hours ago and things already feel so different. I’m looking forward to the time I get to see him again whether it be on the East Coast or West Coast or somewhere in between.

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Jury Duty

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 No comments
Jury Box

I received a summons once during my freshman year of college from my home county in Mississippi. Since I was off at school in a different part of the state, I got out of having to go. I’ve kinda regretted that since then and sometimes I’ve gotten a little jealous when people I know were summonsed.

Over 20 years later, I finally got another summons and last week I had to report. I was excited about the possibility at first, but then a major deadline came up at work for the end of the month. I figured I would be there a day, possibly two, and then I could get back to work.

I reported to the courthouse on Wednesday of last week. They had 15 cases and not enough jurors, so people who didn’t get selected for for one case would be recycled and could potentially be on another case. They mentioned a 4-day case and also 1-day cases. After we watched a video, they selected a pool for two 3-day cases pretty early on. Then they selected a pool that didn’t have to go because there wasn’t going to be a jury trial for that case after all. I think at this point we found out that there were 1 or 2 cases left because the others had been settled, rescheduled, or the defendant waived their right to a trial by jury. They called my number for the next pool. We all thought this was going to be a 1-day case, but it turned out to be the 4-day case that was mentioned! Shit! I knew that I was going to have to work nights to meet my deadline if I was picked.

After a lunch break we were taken to the court room where jury selection would take place. We found out the charges and were asked questions by the judge and lawyers. I was in the jury box from the beginning which meant I was going to be in the trial unless I was eliminated. The attorneys bumped a lot of people from the box during the challenge phase and each time the juror was placed by someone else from the pool. I thought some of my answers would show favor toward the prosecution, but I was never bumped. When selection was over, we were sworn in. Shit! Shit! Shit!

I’m not going to go into all the details of the trial. It was a sexual abuse cases involving a girl and her stepfather. We were there Wednesday – Friday and came back to finish the following Wednesday (yesterday). I feel sad that the girl’s life has been affected by this and her mother didn’t believe her that anything had happened. The defendant was found guilty by a unanimous vote on each of the 5 charges that we considered. I was sitting right next to the witness stand, so I got a close up view of all the witnesses. I tried to look straight at everyone at some point when they were speaking, especially the victim. After the verdict, we got to ask the judge questions. She said it was one of the toughest cases she’s ever had to listen to. We found out there were 8(?) more charges that he waived his right to a jury trial.

One funny things is that on Monday I went to the gym. Some guy hesitantly walked up to me. I figured that we knew each other from somewhere but just didn’t remember where. He asked if I had been on jury duty the week before. When I said yes, he said that he was sorry I got picked and they stopped the challenge/bumping process right before they got to him. Once he said that I remembered him and remembered him answering questions.

I’m glad jury duty is over. I wish my first experience didn’t have so much stress involved. I managed to get my work stuff done pretty early and we will meet our deadline. It’s nice just be able to talk about the trial now even though I’m still not going into a lot of details. We couldn’t even talk about it in the jury room until deliberations began. I’m glad that I can google information about the case now. Last night, I googled the defendant and found a whole list of charges. I can’t be summonsed again for two years. If I’m ever picked again, hopefully it won’t be as serious of a case.

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What’s in a Name?

Thursday, January 31st, 2019 No comments

When I was in college, I noticed that a lot of the servers had names that fit into themes like Egyptian gods, car names, types of trees, Disney characters, etc.

When I got my first real computer in college I gave it a name: Battleship. I named every major piece of electronics I got (usually new computers) that lets you set a name. It would take me a long time to come up with a name that I was satisfied with. 

At some point I thought to use themes. That makes it so much easier to come up with names since I already have a pool to choose form. Some themes I’ve used over the years: the colonies in BSG, bodies of water, houses of Westeros, natural disasters, X-men, and Norse gods. I’m currently using the planets of our solar system. I actually have a list of what I’ve used and what I could potentially use in the future.

The only issue now is that I have so many electronic devices, it’s sometimes hard to remember off the top of my head what name corresponds to each device. If I see a device named Hurricane on my network, I have to think for a sec or check my list to know which one that is. If I want to play music on a specific device, I have to remember which device that is.