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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.

Christmas 2015

Thursday, December 31st, 2015 No comments

Another Christmas has passed and another New Year is coming. I was thankful not to spend Christmas alone this year. Thanksgiving was a little tough. Seeing everyone post pictures of food and family while I was sitting at home playing Fallout 4 was a little sad.

Luckily, my friend Joel invited me to a Christmas dinner party that he was going to. He’s in the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus and some of them had a fun party that night. My company and my runner’s group had Christmas parties the week before, so this was my third one this year.  I had a great time and it was fun connecting with new people.

What did I get for Christmas?

  • Blue Snowball microphone
  • Star Trek shirt
  • The Firefly board game
  • A wooden box that I plan on painting and keeping stuff in
  • A pair of briefs
  • Guitar Hero Live
  • Game of Thrones coloring book
  • Game of Thrones season 4 soundtrack

I hope I remembered everything. I’ll be getting something from my sister and family later.

This year I decided to end my tradition of watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy in December. It’s just becoming harder and harder to find the time and this December I was trying to re-watch all of the Star Wars movies (The Force Awakens was awesome, btw). Last year was I believe the 10th consecutive year, so it’s probably a good time to end it. I’m a little sad because my favorite traditions are ones that I’ve started myself. I always said that the year couldn’t really end until I heard that Annie Lennox song at the end of the third movie, which I always watched on New Year’s Eve.

I think I stopped setting goals for the upcoming year after I moved to Portland. In case I’ve never said this before, I hate calling them resolutions. I posted some 2016 goals on Facebook the other day and figured I would post them here to make them easier to find. Some are repeats of things I did this year. #1 will be completed on January 1 and #2 may happen before the end of basketball season.
1) Go on at least 1 real date
2) Attend at least 1 pro sports event
3) Get more sleep
4) Get organized again
5) Keep doing the good things I started this year
6) Take more pictures
7) Not forget about this list

Usually I don’t do out on New Year’s Eve, but I am tonight. It might be the first time I’ve ever done so. I’m going to a private party at my friends Ez and Andrew’s place. I was also invited to hang out with the Chorus people I spent Christmas night with, but I had already committed this one. It should be a great time. I guess this will end my tradition of buying a bottle of wine for myself on New Year’s Eve.

I had such a great 2015. I put myself out there more and made many new friends. I don’t have a lot to complain about, and what I do I hope to change in 2016. I hope everyone has a happy and successful 2016.

Christmas 2014

Sunday, December 28th, 2014 2 comments

Christmas was good this year.  I was in the spirit pretty early on, but sometime the week before I lost it a little bit.  I got it back though in time for Christmas.  I was alone here in Protland, so at times I did feel a little lonely.  It was hard seeing all the photos on social media of people with their families and good food.  All I had for dinner was a piece of chicken and some veggies. At least I had Reese and he’s good company.  Next year will different hopefully.

What did I get for my birthday and Christmas?

  • Spartacus: The Complete Series on blu-ray
  • Microwave (I bought for myself)
  • King size wine glass
  • Serenity: Leaves on the Wind hardcover
  • Portlandia: Season 4 on DVD
  • Labyrinth on blu-ray
  • The Neverending Story on blu-ray
  • Interstellar soundtrack
  • GIRL by Pharrell Williams
  • Twin Peaks soundtrack
  • Requiem for a Dream (the book)
  • Touch and Go paperback by Lisa Gardner
  • Game of Thrones map poster
  • Game of Thrones blanket

Austin Vacation

Monday, August 18th, 2014 No comments

I spent most of this past week in Austin, TX.  My buddy, John, asked me to come down to see the Nine Inch Nails / Soundgarden show with him.  Since then, a new guy named A.J. has come into his life.  A.J. joined us on this trip.

John and A.J. drove to Texas and I flew down on Wednesday of last week.    It was my first time meeting A.J.  All we did that day was eat and go to a club.  I knew that a friend I knew growing up worked at a bar in Austin.  I figured out which one it was and we went there for drinks and music.  Tony is the name of the friend.  I can’t remember when I first met him, but I knew him up until the first year or so of college at Mississippi State.  He then moved to Texas.  It was good to see Tony.  I got a free drink and we all got free shots.  I hope to see him again the next time I’m in Austin.

We slept late on Thursday.  We went to eat lunch at a lounge in a nearby hotel.  We also changed rooms because the beds were too small.  That night was the concert.  It was hot out there, but it quickly cooled down.  I can’t remember the name of the opening act, but there was too much screaming and yelling.  Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails were awesome!!!  Both bands played the song of theirs I wanted to hear the most, “Spoonman” from Soundgarden and “Closer” from NIN.

On Friday, John and I got massages while A.J. went to the gym.  It was a very good massage.  It was different from what I’m normally used to.  This guy advertises himself as a Reiki Master.  I don’t know a lot about it, but I noticed that he was rubbing me very quickly and sometimes it burned.  John and I were both tired for hours afterward.  We got some food and did some shopping after that.  Later we went to the one of the Alamo Drafthouses.  I had never been to one of these before.  We saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The movie wasn’t that bad, but it was far from great.  The experience was great, so I really enjoyed myself.

On Saturday we went to Hippie Hollow, which is a clothing optional resort.  I mostly just wanted to see some sights.  It was hot, so we didn’t stay long.  It was nice being in the water though.  After that we went to Franklin Barbecue, which we heard is some of the best barbecue around.  It was pretty damn good.  That night we chilled at the hotel and drank more.

On Sunday we said our goodbyes and left.  They left a few hours before me, but we each made it to our respective homes around the same time.

I had so much fun on this trip!  I definitely want to go back to Austin one day.  I drank more than I normally drink over several months, but I don’t regret anything.  I can’t wait to see John and A.J. again, whenever that might be. I enjoyed getting to know A.J. on this trip.  He’s a great guy.  I wish I could hang out with all of my distant friends more often, but I’m grateful for the time I do get to spend with them.  Until next time…

Tori Amos

Sunday, August 10th, 2014 No comments

Time to catch up on blogging.

Back on July 18, I went to see Tori Amos perform and the Oregon Zoo. I was a fan of her hit songs back in the 90s when she first became famous. It wasn’t until I met my good friend John that I became a big fan of hers. I haven’t heard much of her more recent stuff, but I was still excited when I heard that she was coming to Portland.

I knew that the zoo has a summer concert series, but I had never been to see a show there before. It was cool. Not too far from the left of the stage you could see elephants roaming around. I wonder what they must have been thinking while the concert was going on. Tori had an opening act. It was a man and woman, each with a guitar. I’m not an expert on British accents, but they sounded like they were Scottish or Irish. After they left, Tori took the stage. She was wonderful. She didn’t have a band. It was just her and a piano and/or a keyboard. I recognized a lot of songs, even if I couldn’t remember the names or lyrics. Some of the songs I know by heart. I had a little bit of a moment during “Little Earthquakes”. I’m not ashamed to admit that. At one point she stopped playing to tell the security guys to allow some girls to keep dancing down front. Very cool.

All in a all, it was a great show. Not the kind of concert I’m used to going to. If I get a chance to see her again, I’m sure I will.

Nostalgia Kicks In

Saturday, May 10th, 2014 No comments

I know I’ve mentioned my good friend John on here before.  We’re both big music fans.  When we first started hanging out back in Starkville, MS, we spent a lot of time introducing each other to new music, mostly songs by Tori Amos and Pearl Jam.  He’s a big Tori Amos fan.  I had heard some of her big hits, but he introduced me to many more of her songs.  I’m a big Pearl Jam fan.  He had heard some of their big hits, but I introduced him to many more of their songs.  I made copies of many of my Pearl Jam albums for him and he did the same for me with his Tori Amos albums.

John has hundreds of CDs.  A lot of time he had to shuffle through his many CD cases to find a particular song that he was looking for.  If we were going somewhere together, sometimes it would take a long time to leave because he had to find the right song to listen to.  I suggested that he  get mp3 player.  He got the idea, but never got around to buying one.  At one point I was researching a Zune (yes, a Zune) for myself even though I didn’t have nearly as many CDs as him.

We became roommates after a while.  When he got a job out of town and had to move away, I got him an iPod as a going away present.  I didn’t get myself an iPod until later that year.  John had to leave pretty quickly, so he didn’t move all of his stuff out of our apartment immediately.  I spent the next few weeks ripping all of his music to his iPod.  I even put a lot of Pearl Jam songs on there.

This is around the time of the year that he started that job 6 years ago.  He  tells me that he still uses his iPod every day at work. Every once in a while I’ll get a text or email with a lyric from a Pearl Jam song that he’s discovered or gotten into lately.  Today he sent me lyrics from a song called “Wishlist” and I immediately starting getting nostalgic.

Man, why are most of my close friends so far away?

Pearl Jam, Portland 2013

Saturday, November 30th, 2013 3 comments

I had such a great time at the Pearl Jam concert I went to last night. Pearl Jam is my favorite band ever, for those that don’t know. Instead of Black Friday, I celebrated Pearl Jam Friday! I saw them 4 weeks after I last saw them at Voodoo Fest.

I woke up around 7am and I saw online that there were about 14 people in line for general admission seating as of 6am. I didn’t have time for that. I had a few things to do early in the day. I went to go pick up my tickets at 2:30 when the fan club’s will call windows opened. Each show (not counting Voodoo Fest) had a general admission “pit” area on the floor right in front of the stage for fan club members. Behind the pit was a seated section for fan club members. I requested tickets in the pit. I’ve been a member of the Pearl Jam fan club since 1998. That gives me a great priority because my membership number is fairly low. If people let their membership expire, they start over and get a new, higher number. Back when I saw them in 2000 and 2003, I got 4th and 2nd row seats. I’m sure that my priority and the fact that a lot of people probably chose to get Seattle (Pearl Jam’s home base) tickets instead of Portland helped me get the GA floor seats that I wanted. You have to buy fan club tickets in pairs. I found someone in a Facebook group I’m in to buy my other ticket. She and a friend were coming from Italy to attend a few shows on the tour. I can’t remember if she said it was her first time in the U.S. or just her first time in Portland.

The will call line was really short. After that I tackled the LONG merchandise line. Merchandise is very popular on Pearl Jam tours. They have unique stickers, t-shirts, and posters for each stop on the tour. Fans trade with each other or sell it online. It took my about an hour to get through the line. I picked up a poster, a t-shirt, and 2 stickers. I’m usually not into this type of stuff, but for Pearl Jam I’ll make an exception. After that I went to put my merchandise in my car and warm up using the heater a little bit. I parked in the garage next to the arena.
tickets and wrist bands

After about 45 minutes in my car, I went to wait in the GA line. The sooner you got there, the better. I didn’t’t have a bad spot, but I definitely wasn’t going to be right up against the rail. I met some pretty cool people in line. There was a father who was there with his teenage son. After about 2 hours there, we finally got to go inside. Everyone rushed so they could get a good spot. My spot was 4 people deep, slightly to the right of the center of the stage. Nice!

About an hour and a half later the opening act, Mudhoney, came on stage at 7:30. I don’t know much about them, but apparently they were a precursor to grunge and they greatly influenced Pearl Jam. They played for only 30 minutes. Thank goodness! I was tired of waiting. Then at 8:30, Pearl Jam took the stage.

Oh my goodness! This was an amazing show! It’s not just my opinion. The crowd was really into it. I later saw posts online from people show saw the setlist (it changes every night) and thought it was exceptional. There was a 60ish pot-smoking lady who was there with her daughters. I danced with her and one of her daughters some. Pearl Jam played a few songs from the new ablum, which I’m not as familiar with as I am the older stuff. Most of the show was older stuff that I could sing along to pretty much word for word. They played “You Are”, which they haven’t played in years. I was also surprised to hear “Sometimes”, “Rats”, “Deep”, and “Mother”. They didn’t play one of my favorites “Do the Evolution” like they did in New Orleans, but they more than made up for it with one of my favorites from the same album, “Low Light”. And they played many of the hits like “Alive”, “Even Flow”, “Black”, “Porch”, and “Rearviewmirror”. They were really into it and had lots of energy. At one point they mentioned that this was the best crowd they’ve had in Portland since ‘92 or ’93. The building was packed. There were a few times when I’m pretty sure Eddie was looking right at me while he was singing. I tried not to look away out of nervousness. I don’t usually get nervous around celebrities. Also, there was once were he spoke from the stage to a couple immediately to my left and a guy immediately behind me and to my right. They made a couple of mistakes during the show, but they laughed it off instead of getting upset about it. During the last song, “Rockin in the Free World”, a bunch of people came on stage to play with them, including Sleater-Kinney and Peter Buck from R.E.M.
Eddie Vedder

They left the stage for the last time right at 11:30. They played for 3 hours!!! 3 HOURS!!! After all the standing, jumping up and down, and dancing, it was hard for me to move my legs to leave the building. I could barely move for the last few songs. I ripped part of my thumbnail off during the show somehow. I have no idea how it happened.

My only complaints I had about the night were because of the pit. The couple that Eddie spoke to was rude to people and didn’t’t care that they were being rude because it was the husband’s birthday. And you had the people who would try to push their way up closer. There were times when it was so cramped that I couldn’t really move. I didn’t mind that we were bumping into each other a lot, but it wouldn’t have been nice I could’ve moved my arms more. I had to be a dick and shove some people back who tried to get in front of me. They should’ve gotten there earlier if they wanted better seats. The couple who was being rude earlier actually stopped some people from sneaking in front of me, so in my head I forgave them a little. Every time I would start getting upset, Pearl Jam would play a song I really liked or Eddie would say something cool and I would start to feel good again.

So, yeah, I had a great time at the show. Right now I believe it’s my #1 concert ever. I’m excited to buy the official bootleg in a few months! I’ll make every effort to be there the next time Pearl Jam is in Portland. My favorite part of the night was one of the many times Eddie came down front to interact with the crowd. This time he came into the crowd a little right next to where I was. There were only about 3 people between me and him. If I hadn’t hesitated and moved forward when others did, I could have been one of the people that got a fist bump. I waved at him and he either waved back at me or to the guy standing near me. Look at the pic below and see how close I was to one of my idols.
Eddie Vedder closeup

SETLIST
1. PENDULUM
2. LOW LIGHT
3. SOMETIMES
4. INTERSTELLAR OVERDRIVE
5. CORDUROY
6. LIGHTNING BOLT
7. MIND YOUR MANNERS
8. ANIMAL
9. DEEP
10. SIRENS
11. EVEN FLOW
12. YOU ARE
13. GIVEN TO FLY
14. INFALLIBLE
15. AFTER HOURS (Lou Reed)
16. SPIN THE BLACK CIRCLE
17. RATS
18. LUKIN
19. LAST EXIT
20. REARVIEWMIRROR

ENCORE 1
21. THE END
22. YELLOW MOON
23. ALL THOSE YESTERDAYS
24. JUST BREATHE
25. MOTHER
26. STATE OF LOVE AND TRUST
27. WHY GO
28. PORCH

ENCORE 2
29. BETTER MAN / SAVE IT FOR LATER (TAG)
30. WASTED REPRISE
31. LIFE WASTED
32. BLACK
33. ALIVE
34. ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD (with Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, and all of Sleater-Kinney)

Voodoo Fest 2013

Saturday, November 9th, 2013 1 comment

This past weekend I went to New Orleans for Voodoo Fest. I met my friend John down there. We’d been looking forward to this since we last met up in Reno back in June. This was the first time I had been to New Orleans and Voodoo Fest since Voodoo Fest 2007.
Voodoo Fest sign

On Friday, I flew to New Orleans. It is a LONG way from Portland to New Orleans. My first stop on the way there was at L.A.X. My plane landed around the time of the L.A.X. shooting that was in the news. We did sit on the runway for a while before we parked. Maybe the shooting was why. Everything was calm in the area I was in. I didn’t even know about the shooting until I got on wifi and checked Twitter. Once we made it to New Orleans the local news interviewed some of the people on our flight about it. John picked me up at the airport. He was worried because one of the flights from L.A. to New Orleans was delayed because of the shooting. After taking my stuff to the hotel and catching up a little bit, we headed to Voodoo Fest. We missed Macklemore & Lewis, but soon it was time for Pearl Jam. They put on a great show! They are an excellent live band! They played a few songs from the new album, but it was mostly older favorites. They played the songs I would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t hear: “Given to Fly” and “Do the Evolution”. I was surprised to hear “In My Tree”. John’s not as big of a Pearl Jam fan as me. He really likes “Do the Evolution”, so I’m glad they played it. After the show, I think we drank before calling it a night. We slept for 11 hours. I blame it on the jet lag and staying up late.
Pearl Jam

On Saturday I think we got something to eat and then headed back to the park. While walking around the park, we heard the end of Paramore’s set, but after that it was time for Nine Inch Nails. They started a lot earlier than the schedule said, so I’m glad we got there early. They also put on a great show. I’m not as big of a NIN fan as John. They played the song he really wanted to hear: “Reptile”. I think they played a lot of new songs, or maybe just songs that I’m not as familiar with. I got more pumped up during “Wish” than I did the entire night. They played one of the songs I really wanted to hear: “The Hand that Feeds”. I wish they would have played “Closer”, but it was still a great show.
Nine Inch Nails

On Sunday, we skipped Voodoo Fest entirely. We had talked about going to see Kid Rock and The Cure that night, but decided against it. It was too much of a hassle going to the park and back. We did some shopping and then hung out with one of John’s old friends, Elizabeth. She lives in New Orleans. I’ve hung out with her a few times over the years. She’s very cool. We did a little bar hopping and lost some money at the casino. Then we went to a club where Elizabeth’s boyfriend was DJing later in the night. We ended up leaving before his 2:30am performance because we were all tired.
friends

On Monday, I flew back to Portland. It’s always sad coming back after having a great time with friends. I’m grateful that I got to go. Both Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails play in Portland later this month, so I’ll get to see them again. I got sick on this trip like I did at P.A.X. John is suffering the same symptoms I am. I think my next trip will be February at the earliest. It’ll be nice to spend time at home on weekends.

Favorite Music of 2012

Monday, December 31st, 2012 No comments

Once again, I looked at my last.fm profile on New Year’s Eve to see what music I listened to the most during the year.

Top 10 Artists
1. Revision 3 [podcasts]
2. Jay and Jack TV [podcasts]
3. Foster the People
4. Fiona Apple
5. Pearl Jam
6. Nicki Minaj
7. The Smashing Pumpkins
8. Rob, Chris, Robin, and Boston [podcasts]
9. nerdist [podcasts]
10. Mumford & Sons
10. HBO Podcasts [podcasts]

Top 10 Songs
1. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
2. Foster the People – “Houdini”
3. Foster the People – “Helena Beat”
4. Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
5. Foster the People – “Call it What You Want”
5. Foster the People – “Waste”
5. Foster the People – “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)”
8. Fiona Apple – “The First Taste”
9. Foster the People – “Life on the Nickel”
10. Birds of Tokyo – “Head in my Hands”
10. Foster the People – “I Would Do Anything for You”
10. The Naked and Famous – “Young Blood”
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Monarchy of Roses”

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Red Hot Chili Peppers

Sunday, November 18th, 2012 No comments

A few days ago, I got to see one of my all-time favorite bands, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, at the Rose Garden. I’ve been looking forward to this concert for about 5 months. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was one of the first albums I ever bought.

I had a great time at this show even though I was in the beginning stages of a cold that is still with me. The cigarette and pot smoke were irritating my sore throat. The opening act was The Rebirth Brass Band out of New Orleans. They were good, but I was really eager for the main attraction.
rebirth brass band

The Chili Peppers were great! Yes, they’re getting up there in age. They don’t look as good when they take their shirts off as they did 20 years ago. The songs all sounded great. It was a good blend of old songs and new songs. There were 2 songs that I didn’t recognize and I think they were both from the new album. Lots of energy. Great jams and great sing-a-long moments. I will definitely see them again if I get a chance to.
red hot chili peppers

Setlist

  • Monarchy of Roses
  • Around the World
  • Snow (Hey Oh)
  • Scar Tissue
  • Can’t Stop
  • Ethiopia
  • Throw Away Your Television
  • She’s Only 18
  • The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
  • Right on Time
  • Universally Speaking
  • Under the Bridge
  • Look Around
  • Californication
  • By the Way

Encore:

  • Chad & Mauro Jam
  • Suck My Kiss
  • Soul to Squeeze
  • Give It Away