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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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A Brand New Car

Monday, December 31st, 2018 No comments

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

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

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

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

2019 slate metallic Toyota Corolla

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.