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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?

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!

Rose City Comic Con 2018

Sunday, September 30th, 2018 No comments

Three weekends ago (the weekend after PAX). I went to Rose City Comic Con. I went back to work after a week long vacation after then and was swamped, so I didn’t have time to write about it.

I won’t do a blow-by-blow as usual, but I will say that this convention, unlike PAX, was more about panels.  There was some cool stuff on the exhibit floor (such as a Dragonball Z exhibit), but I spent most of my time there taking pictures of cosplayers.  I did some artwork from local artists like I normally do.

I went to panels featuring Kristen Bauer, Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members (Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, and Michael Dorn), David Tennant, Felicia Day, Overwatch voice actresses Lucy Pohl and Charlet Chung, John Barrowman, Catherine Tate, Karl Urban, Smallville stars Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum, Michael Rooker,  and Evangeline Lilly.

I didn’t get any autographs this year, but I did get photo ops with Tenant and the TNG cast members.

They had a board game section which I didn’t check out because I didn’t see anything being played that I was interested in.  Maybe next year.

I ran into my friend Daniel on the second day, but we didn’t hang out long before we got separated.  Again, I kinda like doing my own thing at cons.

I really enjoyed being at RCCC again this year.  It was a exhausting having cons 2 weekends in a row, but I don’t regret it.  I think RCCC is later in the month next year, so that won’t be a problem. I’m so glad to have an event like this right in my back yard.

PAX 2018

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 No comments

Finally, I have returned to PAX!

This past weekend, I went to PAX for the first time in 4 years.  I think it was still referred to as PAX Prime the last time I went.  Now, it’s officially PAX West.  I wanted to go this year if I could get badges, but when I missed the onsale I resigned myself to staying home. Luckily, my friend Cory had bought extra badges and sold me one of his sets. I went with him, his partner Chris, and our friend Cody. We rented an airbnb in Burien, which is right outside of Seattle.

I drove to Seattle Friday morning on my own, parked at CenturyLink Field and took a Lyft to the convention center.  I met Cory and Chris to get my badges and headed off on my own to a Life is Strange panel.  This ended up being the only panel I saw that weekend.  There weren’t a lot interesting panels as far as I saw on the schedule.  Gearbox, Major Nelson, and Destructoid, some of my favorites from years past, weren’t on the schedule this year. Does Destructoid still exist? There was a Giant Bomb panel one night, but I think we went out as a group that night.  I spent the rest of the day at the convention center wondering around, taking pictures of cosplayers, and checking out video games.  I met the others (Cody had arrived by bus in the meantime and had been picked up by Cory and Chris) at the airbnb, and we went out to a brew pub for dinner.
D.Va cosplay

The next day we all went together to the convention center.  We split up shortly after we arrived. I really liked going around on my own.  If I’m trying to keep up with others, I might miss something I’m interested in, like an interesting cosplayer.  I did more of the same as the day before and I also played some video games and board games.  I actually waited in a long line to play a game, which might be a first for me.  I bought one of board games I played – Dice Throne.  We went to Pike Place (my first time) before heading back to the airbnb. That night we took a Lyft to the PAX Pink Party, which is an LGBT event.  It was an okay party.  Cory and Cody met friends of theirs.  I briefly met with somebody I’ve known online for a few months – the president of Seattle Gaymers. We stumbled upon another party downstairs, which was much better than the Pink Party.  I actually danced and sang in front of other people.  After this we got some food at Sizzle Pie and headed home around 2 in the morning.  I think we were all feeling old at this point.
Group Photo

On Sunday I was very tired and sore.  I tried to find activities that would allow me to sit down.  I did wait in another long line to play a game and get pictures of cosplayers.  Also, I played more board games, played some Jack Party Pack, and watched some fighting game competition in the Arena area, which was in the main exhibit area this time.  That night, they went out to eat with a friend of Cory’s, but I decided to go back to the airbnb.  I was pooped.
Cosplayers

I decided to drive back early Monday morning.  Xander had to leave Reese here by himself Sunday night because he had another dog to sit. This was the first time I’ve ever gone out of town and left Reese at home and not at a kennel or dogsitter’s place.  I didn’t want Reese to be here by himself too long. Also, I was exhausted and I don’t think I had another day in me.

It was so much fun getting to go back to PAX!  I’m glad that I went with people I know this time.  Just being around so many people who share the same passion as you is amazing. It was great rediscovering my way around the convention convention center. There’s so much there and it seemed like each day I found an area I had forgotten about, though some things had moved or changed.  I’m 4 years older and a lot more out of shape than I was the last time I went and it showed.  I was tired and sweaty a lot.  I needed to rest often.  When I was with the group, I had a hard time keeping up. I ended up skipping parties and panels I was interested in because it would be hard for me to get there.  I guess that’s motivation for getting in better shape before next time.  I’m really hoping that next time will be next year.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.]

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.