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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!

Walla Walla Sweet Onions

Sunday, August 19th, 2018 No comments

As many of you know, I grew up in Mississippi and lived there pretty much all my life until 6.5 years ago, the exceptions being 15 months in New Orleans and a summer in Ohio.

I went to college in 1997, around the time the Internet was starting to take off. The summer before college, I would go one of the local libraries just to get online for a little while. At some point while in was an undergrad, I discovered IRC. I had barely been outside of the South, but I was able to chat with people everywhere. My favorite chat room (weren’t they called channels?) was one dedicated to pro wrestling.  I was a big fan at the time. If I were still a big fan, I’d probably have a wrestling podcast or at least listen to wrestling podcasts.  This particular chat room was mostly a guy named Sean and his friends in Walla Walla, Washington.  And me.  But most of the time it Sean and his close friend whose name I can’t remember and me along with the occasional stranger who popped in.  [I just listened to some audio files Sean recorded and sent me dated April and May 2000. One had a reference to an incident involving a user named after the Pokemon Psyduck.  You have to have been there, but  it’s why I still like Psyduck to this day].

We had fun chatting about wrestling and whatever else popped up in our mind.  I guess Sean was my first online friend.  In the social media age, I’ve made so many online friends.  I’ve met many of then, planned vacations with them, stayed in their houses, etc.  I never got to meet any of those guys.  At that time the Pacific Northwest might as well have been Australia in terms of distance and the idea of meeting someone from a chat room probably would have been weird to me.

Sometimes they would joke about Walla Walla and how the only thing Walla Walla is known for are its sweet onions.  Here in the Portland area, I see Walla Walla sweet onions in the grocery stores.  Maybe you can find them all over the world, but I never noticed them until I moved here.  Whenever I see them, I think about that chat room I used to hang out in about 20 years ago. I wonder that happened to those guys.  We lost touch at some point.  I wonder if they’re still living in the PNW.

Here’s Sean doing the DX “suck it” sign [a wrestling thing].  Look at that fine picture quality.
Sean from Walla Walla

Portland Pride 2018

Sunday, June 24th, 2018 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

Portland Pride 2018

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

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

Mr. Cameraman

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018 No comments

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

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

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

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Flash Update

Monday, April 30th, 2018 No comments

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

So Much to Do

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 No comments

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

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

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

 

Christmas 2017

Saturday, December 30th, 2017 No comments

Christmas has been different this year.

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

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

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

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

Once again, my friends did well.

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

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

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

My Poor, Poor Dog

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 No comments

This has been a stressful month!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m So Tired

Saturday, August 26th, 2017 No comments

I’m so tired.

Politics. The President is constantly doing and saying terrible things.  The constant outrage over what he’s doing is also getting to me.  If it’s not the President being terrible, it’s Congress.

I’m so tired.

I know that sometimes I try to do too much and I feel like I have to be doing something every minute of the day. I need to relax more. I don’t sleep enough. There’s always so much to do. Even work has contributed to me not getting enough sleep this past week.

I’m so tired.

I’m still in pretty pitiful shape. It seems like the slightest bit of physical exertion leaves me winded. It’s hard to even take my dog on walks.  I’ve said this before, but I really have to get serious about taking better care of myself, even if I’m never in as good of shape as I was in 2.5 years ago. It’s hard to get into a routine though. There’s so much stuff to do.

I’m so tired.

I just need a little rest.

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Portland Pride 2017

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 No comments

This past week was Pride Week here in Portland. As usual I didn’t do anything during the week. I did all of my celebrating on the weekend. Well, one thing I did do during the week was pick up one of the rainbow badges that I see so many LGBT employees and allies wearing at Intel.

I drove past the Pride Festival on Saturday, but I figured I would wait until Sunday to go.

On Sunday, I marched in the parade for the first time. I was happy to be marching with Intel. Like I said on Facebook, I know a lot of people are cynical about corporations getting involved with Pride. Some think that corporations just throw money at it for good PR. From what I’ve seen, I believe that companies like Intel see the value in employees feeling comfortable being themselves at work. We had large group marching with our float. Apparently a lot larger than normal. It was so much fun walking along the route and being cheered on by the crowd. Everyone was nice, including the drag queens doing commentary at a couple of the bars along the route. People seemed genuinely excited to see us. I saw some friends in the crowd and I was later told by friends that they saw me. The only negative was that the speakers in our float that were playing music lost power early on even though they were supposed to have a 4-hour charge. Oh well.
Portland Pride 2017

After we got to the end of the route, I went to the festival. I didn’t stop at as many booths as I normally do because I was tired and had stuff to do at home. I got food samples for Reese, bought a Nike Pride shirt, and took a picture with underwear models like I do each year.

As I was leaving the festival to go back to my car, a homeless guy called me the f word because I didn’t have any change to give him. I was still flying high from my experience that day, so it didn’t bother me at all. That guy is going through some stuff I can’t relate to. Since my car was along the parade route, I decided to watch more of the parade. Yes, it’s a LONG parade. It turns out that the parade was almost over at this point. Intel’s float was #33. The last float was #164.

I had a great time at Pride this year. Even though I was exhausted Monday, I hope to try to fit more activities in my schedule next year.