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A Little Less Crazy

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 No comments

Things have settled down a little bit this past month. People are still protesting every night in Portland and maybe in other cities, but the news isn’t covering it as much.

More of the country is opening up. There have been spikes in covid cases. Some places have put a hold on opening up. I got tested last week and I was negative.

I’m still interviewing and still getting passed over. I got some bad news on a position that I really wanted. Hopefully, something will happen soon.

I did take on some contract work to complete a short project for a local company. It’s been nice to write code again on an actual product.

Crazy Times Got Crazier

Saturday, May 30th, 2020 No comments

I haven’t mentioned COVID-19 on here in 2 months. While March felt like it lasted forever, April and May have flown by. I think that’s a sign that quarantine life has become normal.

The monotony of daily life is still there. The Zoom activities have helped. I started watching Drag Race weekly with people from Out in Tech. I’ve been streaming on Twitch more and that’s been a lot of fun.

People are starting to relax. The county I live in is entering Phase 1 of reopening in 2 days. The county that encompasses most of Portland will follow in a couple of weeks. Most of the state and many parts of the country have already reopened. I actually went to a park in the city yesterday. I was nice to be outside for an extended period of time.

This past week has been tough and intense. Another black male killed by police officers. The President’s bad leadership made the situation worse. Protesting and riots are happening all across the country. There’s been protesting here in Portland the past couple of days and even longer in other cities. Police are often using force to break up crowds. It feels like we could be on the brink of some major here. It is promising to see the entire country so fed up with racism. Whatever happens, I hope Trump loses in November and we can start to heal as a nation.

RIP Bailey

Saturday, April 4th, 2020 No comments

Last week I found out that one of my furry friends had passed away the week before on March 18. He was almost 13. Bailey was my roommate’s dog. I lived with him from 2007 to 2008 and got to take care of him a time or two even after he moved out. He’s probably the first dog I really made a connection with. The last time I saw him was in 2015. He remembered me and licked the top of my head like he used to do. I mention him in a few entries on this blog.

Happy trails, little fella.

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COVID-19 and Me

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 No comments

So this is what living through a global pandemic is like.

I think most people in the US are beginning their 3rd week of quarantine. I had already started canceling and skipping events about 2 weeks before then. If my memory is correct, I haven’t had any in-person social activity since the end of February. Trips to get food don’t count. I am going crazy over here. The dogs are great, but it’s not the same as being around humans. The loneliness and depression have definitely crept in. It was already bad from not working, but not being able to go out has made it worse. I envy people who are in relationships and don’t have to quarantine alone. Maybe they envy me.

I’ve had video chats with friends and I’ve arranged some online events with PDX Gaymers, so that has helped.

My trip to the UK and France in the beginning of May has been postponed. Once Expedia gets caught up, I should be getting a voucher that I can use up until April 30, 2021.

Other than inconveniences, things have been pretty good. I’ve made good progress on some video games, TV shows, and books. I’ve seen a lot of movies. I’ve done so much cleaning and organizing.

I got pretty sick a a few weeks ago. I think it was the first full weekend of the month, but this month has felt like a year, so who knows. It started out as puking and feeling lightheaded. I couldn’t sit up for long and I was sleeping pretty much all day. I figured it was food poisoning because I ate something the night before it started that didn’t quite taste right. A couple of days later I started sniffling and I had a sore throat. I was all better within days. I don’t know if it was coronavirus or not. Coronavirus seems to affect people differently. I’ve had some tightness in my chest most days for the past 3 weeks and sniffles. Could just be allergies. Could be paranoia. I had one of my daylong colds yesterday, but I’m all good now.

I think coronavirus started to hit home for a lot of people when celebrities started getting sick. Most of us I would imagine don’t know someone who has tested positive for it or has died from it. I’m thinking that before this is over, we’ll all know someone who has. I’m worried about my friend Xander who works in hospitals. He told me the other day that he had to perform CPR on someone who they think has coronavirus. They were waiting for test results to come back the last I heard. I’m hoping that he remains healthy and safe.

Not the downplay the serious of the virus and the lives lost, but I guess it could be worse overall. I don’t want to get too much into how our president mishandled the situation, but he it could be even better. Hopefully, this will pass soon and we can get back to some sense of normalcy.

Wizard World Portland 2020

Friday, January 31st, 2020 No comments

This past weekend Wizard World Comic Con came to town. I didn’t realize it until the 1st day, but I hadn’t been to a Wizard World Comic Con since 2014. Something’s always coming up. They think they changed the time of year a few times and maybe it was cancelled one year, but I’m glad it’s back in January.

I went Friday late afternoon and the 1st thing I noticed how short the lines to get in were and how few people were there overall compared to Rose City Comic Con and to the last time I attended. They weren’t using up nearly as much of the convention floor and were not using the big rooms for panels. It makes me wonder if Portland just can’t support 2 big conventions like this or if of Portland is just more loyal to the locally founded RCCC. Whatever the case, I hope Wizard World continues to come back.

One thing I liked about this con compared to Rose City is that it felt far more laid back. You didn’t have as many people screaming orders and herding you the whole time. The celebrities seemed more accessible. I saw John Glover go watch the band play on the entertainment stage and he started dancing. The food court area was near the bathrooms everyone was using on the floor. Sometimes I would sit there and relax if I had a long break in my schedule. I saw people like Chandler Riggs, Sam Levine, Michael Rosenbaum, Erica Durance, and Laura Vandervoort go to the bathrooms that everyone else was using. No I didn’t bother them because I didn’t want to be creepy. I’m just used to the celebrities at cons being out of sight unless they were on a panel or doing an autograph signing or photo op and secreted off when they were done. There weren’t people or signs saying to not take photos of people at their tables and I feel like I could’ve gone up to anyone to say hi. I didn’t though.

They had an entertainment stage at the entrance where they would have bands playing, karaoke, trivia, etc. I didn’t realize until after the first day that the person MCing the events and dancing around was Kato Kaelin, who gained notoriety during the OJ trial. I went to see panels featuring Chandler Riggs, Ross Marquand, Holly Marie Combs, Emily Swann, Smallville cast members Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, John Glover, Erica Durance, and Laura Vandervoort, and Craig Parker. I had my picture taken with Thomas Dekker and the Smallville cast. I ended up missing panels with Thomas Dekker, Sam Levine, and James Marsters so I get my Smallville cast photo done on Saturday so I could skip the last day of the con. There just wasn’t enough going on and I needed a rest.

On Saturday night Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum did their Smallville Nights show that they have been doing in different cities. There’s no recording of any kind allowed at these. That apparently is the reason why Tom was convinced to do it. He’s more of an introvert and I don’t think he really likes conventions, but this allows him to be himself.
There were a couple of times where Michael was goofing off and would get right in my face and yell, but it was all in fun. They told stories, acted out scenes from the show, and then would direct audience members in acting out those same scenes. I got picked to play Lana Lang in the graveyard scene in the pilot while someone else played Clark. I think Tom thought it would be funny for me to wear a wig, not realizing it wasn’t my first time in a wig. They all thought I looked good.

I spent over $500 on Smallville experiences that weekend. I don’t regret it at all. The online communities around Smallville, Heroes, LOST, and other shows helped me get through hard times when I was feeling lonely and different back in Mississippi. I made many friends and continue to be friends with them to this day. I’ve met many in person, traveled with them, and we’ve stayed in each other’s homes. I don’t mind spending money to spend a little time with some of the cast members that helped make it possible.

I had a lot of fun at Wizard World Portland this year. It was low key and I liked that. The first day I didn’t even take my DSLR with me. Once I saw how low key it was, I decided not to bring it the rest of the weekend. All of my pics and videos were made using my Pixel 4. It was nice not having to carry my big camera around and not feeling stressed to get as many good pictures as possible.

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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