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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.

A Brand New Car

Monday, December 31st, 2018 No comments

I got a Kia Rio after my accident 2 years ago. I was pretty happy with it at the time. It was cheap, compact, and got pretty good gas mileage. Over time I became less and less happy with it. It was loud, takes too long to accelerate, and always made me nervous when I had to go up hills. Portland is a very hilly city. The noise was the main drawback. It was hard to hear people in the car with me. I was still making car payments and I didn’t think there was an easy way to get rid of my own car and get a new one. The value of the car was depreciating quickly.

I started asking about options at Nissan and Toyota dealerships over the summer. I loved my old Altima and I’ve always heard great things about Toyotas. They all promised they could work with me to buy off my old car and put me in a new car. It seemed too good to be true. I never went to any of the dealerships, mostly because it’s a hassle and also because I didn’t want to be disappointed.

In November, I made an appointment with Kia for routine maintenance on my car. A few days before they called and asked if I wanted to look at new cars while I was in there. They wanted to buy the Rio from me. I told them I would look at anything but a Rio. I saw some cars I liked, but in the end I decided I didn’t want another Kia.

A few days before Thanksgiving, I got a message from a Toyota salesman I had corresponded with about 5 months earlier saying they had good Friday deals that weekend and I should come in. So I went in on that Saturday. I drove a Camry and loved it, but the payments were going to be a little more than I liked, so I got the best Corolla they had. My only complaint was that it didn’t come with satellite radio, but I had that installed later. I’m not a car person, but I think this car is great for me. I really do love driving this car. It’s roomier, more powerful, quieter, more fuel efficient, and I think it looks cool. I don’t think I’ve taken a picture of it yet, but here’s what it looks like. The color is called slate metallic, which to me sounds pretty badass.

2019 slate metallic Toyota Corolla

Christmas 2018

Saturday, December 29th, 2018 No comments

Overall, this Christmas has been much better than last year. We actually decorated a tree this year, which we didn’t do last year. There were times when I wasn’t feeling the spirit much, but it always came back. One of the things that helped me get back into it was Overwatch’s Winter Wonderland event. The music, skins, and map decorations are so festive it’s hard not to feel happy, at least until the match starts.

I won’t go into too much detail, but someone close to me is having a hard time and it has put a damper on my mood at times, but we can usually turn things around.

I took a 2-week vacation from work and 1 week is now over. I think I think this is the longest vacation I’ve ever had professionally. So far I’ve done exactly what I planned: played lots of video games, watched a lot of TV, worked on my podcast websites, worked on projects at home, and spent time with friends. I listened to my Christmas mix all the way through this year, but I don’t think I heard “Last Christmas” at all, which is a shame.

I know material things aren’t the most important part of this time of the year, but gifts are still one of my favorite parts of Christmas even though the excitement isn’t the same as it was when I was a kid. I always feel fortunate that people think about me. Here’s my haul this year:

  • Princess Mononoke on blu-ray
  • Marvel trivia box
  • Dancing Groot pop vinyl
  • Lucio and Junkrat pop vinyls
  • Jupiter’s Legacy Vol 1
  • Lunch bag for work
  • Card game and emoji toys (I regifted these)
  • Rainbow socks
  • Tardis fish tank ornament
  • Many Christmas cards (I’ve forgotten to mention these in previous years)
  • Some stuff I treated myself to:
    • Gloomhaven, Founders of Gloomhaven, and Spirit Island board games
    • a new car (post coming soon)
    • an Instant pot

Overall, this has been a fairly good year. There were difficulties, but I think I got through them okay. Professionally, I was thrust into a leadership position around mid-year, and recently I got great feedback about how I’ve been doing. I think I surprised a lot of people. Health-wise, there have been ups and downs, but I’ve done well these past few weeks. I’m eating more home-cooked meals and less junk food. I think I’ll have a workout partner in January, so that should help keep me motivated.

I’m so ready to take on 2019! I think some good changes are coming! I know that January 1 is just another day and it doesn’t mean that anything is going to change, but I think it’s a good opportunity to start over or make a course correction.

As always I hope everyone has a happy holiday season and a great new year! Take care of each other!

Thanksgiving 2018

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 No comments

Thanksgiving weekend was last Thursday.  I was off from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday.  I worked from home Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was nice being out of the office for a while.

I was dreading the holiday because it looked like I was going to be spending it alone.  Then I went from having nowhere to go to having 2 places to go.  Xander and I went to our friends Tom & Stan’s potluck brunch and then to a friendsgiving hosting by one of Xander’s friends.  I baked a sweet potato pie for each one and Xander took bread.  He had dog walks and dog care in between.  It was a long day, but satisfying.

Now unto Christmas!

Work Work Work Work Work

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 No comments

Things are busy as usual.  I have some help now.  I’ve been leading a small team (4 people now) and I got some great praise about how well I’ve been doing. The company is doing well. I’m enjoying my work and enjoying life.

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