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Christmas 2019

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019 No comments

Wow! I had so little Christmas spirit this year! Between not working, being by myself so much, and the warm weather, it didn’t feel like Christmas. I didn’t start listening to Christmas music until Christmas morning and after that I was done with it.

Like Thanksgiving, I thought I was going to be spending the day hanging out alone with the dogs. Two days before, my friend Nir invited me to a Chinese dinner and a movie night he was organizing. The day after this I was invited to dinner at my former co-worker Aaron’s house, but I had to turn them down. My friend Jer and a guy named Dallas who I had recently met at a PDX Gaymers event were there for Chinese dinner, as well as some people that I had never met. I knew that people went out to restaurants on Christmas, but I didn’t know Chinese dinner on Christmas Day was a thing. This dinner was an experience. Some people’s orders weren’t quite right. The water tasted bad. I was pretty much told I couldn’t have what I wanted and I was told what I would get instead. After dinner, we saw Little Women, which was really good. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did.

A few days after Christmas, we had a holiday party at Alex and Robert Lee-Olson’s house. It was a great time. I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in while. I’ve been a little bit of a hermit lately and some people’s schedules or location make it hard to get together often.

I don’t care what people say, presents are one of the parts of Christmas I still enjoy. What did I get this year? I hope I’m not forgetting anything.

  • dog treats for Max and Reese
  • a book on dog massages
  • Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair
  • The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss
  • a Black Panther build a bear
  • Astral Chain
  • a cross
  • Thor, Dr Strange, and Tony Stark pop vinyls
  • Reese’s candy
  • A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin
  • many wonderful cards
  • some stuff I treated myself to
    • a web camera
    • board games Pret-a-Porter, Ecos, 7th Continent, Shadows of Brimstone, Anomia

2019 was a tough year. Two of my closest Portland friends moved away, Xander and then Cody. I don’t think I ever wrote about Cody leaving. I lost my job a few months after being promoted. I got sick with a bad sinus infection in October and have been sick pretty much since. I’m feeling the effects of not eating well and not exercising. Sitting here at home all day has taken a physical and emotional toll on me. I remember writing about how optimistic I was earlier in the year, but all that optimism left for a while. I’m feeling optimistic again about the new year, but if things don’t change soon, I could be right where I was.

I decided to set goals for next year. Since I successfully completed every goal the last time I did this, I think one reason I stopped doing it for a while was so I wouldn’t fail. Here’s my list.

  • Lose at least 30 lbs
  • Go on at least 1 date
  • Arrange at least 1 dog play date
  • Leave the state of Oregon at least 3 times
  • Beat at least 3 video games
  • Learn at least 1 new board game
  • Attend at least 1 Meetup I haven’t been to before
  • Buy a new bike and ride it
  • Go to a convention or festival that’s new to me
  • Arrange a photoshoot so I can put my photography equipment to good use
  • Don’t be so self conscious about how I look. Post at least 12 pics of myself on social media

We enter a new decade tomorrow. This past decade has been great to me. I spent the first 2 years in Starkville and last 8 years in Portland. Deciding to take a risk, uproot my life, and move to Portland was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This decade has had some struggles: heartbreak, unhappiness with health and career, and some bouts of loneliness and depression. But overall it’s been great. Don’t they say your 30s are the best years of your life? So far I can’t disagree with that. Some of things I’ve done in this past decade:

  • moved across the country
  • met a lot of online friends, traveled with them, stayed in each other’s homes
  • became a social butterfly
  • traveled out of country for the first time
  • did a lot more traveling than I did before
  • became a leader at work and in the community
  • became a dog parent for the 2nd time
  • started podcasting
  • worked for one of the top tech companies in the world
  • dated a guy for the first time
  • started going to conventions
  • took up new hobbies
  • made many great local friends

I hope everyone has a happy New Year and a great decade! Take care of each other!

15th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019 No comments

The first weekend in October my friend Matt A. from California came up to visit. I know Matt through podcasting and I met him in person at the Twin Peaks festival a few years ago, but hadn’t seen him since. He had presented the idea a few weeks earlier of him coming up here and traveling to Seattle for the GPB Festival. I was all for it.

Matt flew in from Denver (I think) on that Friday night, where he had attended another festival. From what I understand, Matt works for a chain of stores and helps decide which beers and how much they stock. So this is like work for him. We watched that Stephen King movie In the Tall Grass, which had just debuted on Netflix.

We got up pretty early Saturday and got some donuts from Voodoo Donuts before heading to Seattle. We stopped at a brewery at met someone Matt knows, I think it was the manager. We then went to the festival which was a lot of fun. We drank sample after sample of pumpkin beer for hours. Since Matt knew some of the people there (I think they worked for one of the breweries), we got extra drink tickets. There’s a giant pumpkin beer filled with beer. Later in the day they had a costume contest near this giant pumpkin and later on a parade. After the parade they tap the pumpkin and served beer from the pumpkin. Leading up to them tapping the pumpkin, the excitement is building up. They had music playing. People (including Matt and myself) were holding cornstalks, dancing to the music, and chanting “TAP THAT GOURD!” It was kind of crazy, but fun to be a part of. After we left the festival, we had dinner with Jonathon Pope, a Washington resident who I know from podcasting but had never met before.

Sunday we drove back to Portland. We visited a couple of breweries around here. I took him to Powell’s. At this point Matt was feeling sick, probably from all the traveling, and I was starting to get sniffly too. He tried to get his return flight moved to Monday instead of Tuesday, but it was going to be too expensive. Matt wanted to play board games on this trip. We played one game at one of the breweries earlier and we ended the night playing board games with some of my local friends at the Lucky Lab.

On Monday, we didn’t do much. I remember going to a brewery, playing a game there, and getting a tour of the brewery’s expansion. That night we watch Hereditary and Midsommar.

On Tuesday, I had an interview so I had to take Matt to the airport earlier than I would have liked. We stopped at the library in Hillsboro and played a couple of games before heading to the airport.

I’m so glad Matt got to come visit, see Portland, meet my dogs, and play some board games. I wish more people would come visit -hint-hint-. The only negative is that once the sickness he gave me fully kicked in, I was miserable and out of commission for 2 weeks. Oh well, it happens.

Last Day at Intel

Thursday, October 31st, 2019 No comments

Today was my last day at Intel. I can’t say that I’m happy about it. I’ve been there the past 3 years as an FTE and was there on and off the previous 4.5 years as a contractor. The have been ups and downs the past 3 years have been fantastic. I’ve grown so much as a developer and leader.

I’ve hardly been in the office the past 3 months. The area my team occupied is a ghost town. I went in yesterday to clean out my desk. Today I had my exit interview and turned in my equipment. At least I got to keep my badge.

Feelings can change, but I feel like this might be it for me with Intel. I’ve been shoved out the door too many times by them when their business needs changed. We’ll see though. Never say never.

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End of Summer

Friday, August 30th, 2019 No comments

It’s Labor Day weekend and the unofficial end of summer is upon us.

This has been an usual summer for Portland. Usually I see very little if any rain during the summer. This summer there have been days where the rain poured down. A few weeks ago it got really chilly for this time of the year. Some people were saying that we never had a real summer or that we had a faux summer.

The past week or so we’ve had some really hot temperatures. We still haven’t had any triple digit days, and we usually get a few of those each year. Mid to upper 90s is enough.

It’s been a great summer. Lots of time with friends and dogs. I’ve gone out dancing some, which is rare for me. Lots of PDX Gaymers events. Competed in an Overwatch tournament. Got to take me car for a couple of good drives. I’ve gone to the beach for the first time in years. Football is back!

I’m getting ready to head to PAX tomorrow. Let’s end the summer in style.

Christmas 2016

Saturday, December 31st, 2016 2 comments

The Christmas season has been fun this year. Even though the snow was an inconvenience at times, it was nice getting an unusually high amount of it for Portland this year.  I’ve spent a lot of time at home due to the snow and the fact that people work from home a lot during the holidays.

I didn’t have trouble getting into the spirit after the great Friendsgiving I had at my friends Matt and Zach’s place.  I may have dialed things back a bit because I’m living with someone who is not really into Christmas.  I think Kysen was going through some emotional stuff at the Friendsgiving celebration, but he had a good time.  We even went to see a movie that night. During the Christmas season, I still listened to music, sang songs, watched Christmas specials, etc., but I didn’t do it much around him. He was a good sport and tolerated it when I did.

We decided we would have more of a Solstice celebration. We decorated a little potted tree that Kysen normally keeps in his room.  We crafted some ornaments and even hung John Lennon and Yoko Ono sock puppets on it.  We took a photo in front of the tree with Reese, who wouldn’t be still.  We put the tree up the night of my accident. A little later that night, Kysen got a piece of headlight from my old car and put it at the base of the tree.
Family Christmas photo

I gave Kysen his gifts on December 21. He gave me my Solstice gift on my birthday because my birthday present hadn’t arrive in the mail yet. He gave me my birthday present on Christmas eve because it came in the mail that day.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were on a Saturday and Sunday.  We spent Saturday grocery shopping, art supply shopping for a class I’m taking soon [I think I forgot to write about the class I took in the fall], and getting some stuff for a tank Kysen bought (I think he got it the day before). I actually got a nano tank while we were out.  We spend Saturday organizing and cleaning and getting the tanks ready for fish. We had salmon and rice that Kysen cooked for dinner. One Sunday we finished organizing and were really lazy for the rest of the day. Kysen did some painting and I played video games. I used my slow cooker for maybe the second or third time to make Indian food. It turned out well. We watched Sausage Party while we ate.

What did I get for my birthday and for Christmas:

  • a homemade candle
  • a mermaid bathroom hook
  • Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
  • Weird Oregon: Your Travel Guide to Oregon’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
  • 12-month PlayStation Plus membership card
  • a Broadcast tank top
  • Game of Thrones shot glasses
  • Imploding Kittens (the Exploding Kittens expansion)
  • Drawing the Head & Figure
  • a bag of cleaning rags
  • a Super Mario Christmas tree ornament
  • a video game centric drinking cup
  • MacBook Pro (gift to myself)

It wasn’t a traditional Christmas, but it was great to spend it with someone I care about. We spoke the other night about New Year’s Eve. Neither of us have plans, but we’ll figure out something.

This year has been a mixed bag.  Some of it’s been really great, and some of it’s been really difficult.  Life is still good though.  I met all the goals I set for myself last year. I think the last time I met all my goals for the year, I didn’t set any goals for the following year.  I think I’ll just wait a few weeks and see if I want to set any goals for 2017.

I hope everyone has a happy New Year.  Take care of yourself.

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.]

Accidents Happen

Monday, December 26th, 2016 No comments

On December 1, I was in my first real accident where I was the driver. I don’t count that time in high school where I backed into a classmate’s car. Yeah, I was in an accident with John about 9 years ago, but he was driving then.

I was on my way home after work and the car in front of me stopped suddenly.  I was unable to stop in time.  I later found out that the car in front of him had stopped suddenly, which is why he did.  My airbag deployed and I got hit in the head.  I remember sitting there for a little while, shocked and upset and not really sure what to do.  I think the first thing I did was try to start my car to get it out of the road. Once it wouldn’t start, I knew that it was a goner. It was smoking a lot, so probably shouldn’t have tried that.

I don’t remember all the details of what happened afterward. I remember getting out of the car and the other driving talking to me at some point and telling me I needed to call the police, which I hadn’t thought to do.  I got back in the car and could hear on my Verizon hum thing a conversation between whoever handles the hum emergency services and 911.  I maybe had noticed something was going on with the hum earlier. I guess they detected I was in an accident and called for help. They were sending police my way and started asking me a lot of questions. They even offered to call my sister, who is listed as my emergency contact.

Firemen arrived and asked me a lot of questions just to make sure I was okay. My car was totaled. The other car just had a damaged rear bumper from what I could tell. A police officer  came and took a statement. No citation was issued. The other driver is a contractor at Intel like I used to be. He said he was a little sore but didn’t need to go to the hospital. I was feeling a little pain in my groin region, but not much. I must have been hit by something. It took a while but the tow truck arrived and towed my car to my place. It was there for a weekend until GEICO arranged to have it taken away.  What was weird is that when I started my car to drive home that night, it was making a noise that it had been making intermittently for weeks. I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want to have to buy a new car anytime soon. I had planned on taking it in for regular servicing in just 2 or 3 days.

my car

Overall, I was pretty lucky.The guy who owns the building next to mine told me a few days ago that he saw the car and figured whoever was driving the car was in the hospital. A neighbor told me that he saw it and didn’t see me for a few days and wondered if I was okay. The night of the accident, I started feeling some knee and back pain and I started having headaches.  All went away within a week except for the back pain. Ive been seeing a chiropractor about that.  I know the other driver has seen a doctor too. One time I was driving and I though I was about to hit a car in front of me.  I braked pretty hard. It turns out that there was no car in front of me. 

GEICO has been a pleasant insurance company to work with for the most part. They paid me more than I would have expected for my old car. They reimbursed me for the cost of having my old car towed to my place. They are taking care of my medical bills and the other drivers. Since it’s my first accident, I quality for accident forgiveness.

I was in a rental car for 5 days before I got a new car. I’m not big on cars and don’t like spending lots of money on them.  I just want something to get me around town.  I’m constantly tempted to give up driving and take public transportation everyone. I went to a dealership to look at a used Nissan Leaf, but it wasn’t there anymore. I probably dodged a bullet on that one.  Having an electric car would have been a pain.  I ended up with a 2016 Kia Rio.  I never thought I would buy a new car, but I did. It wasn’t a perfect car, but it had all the audio features I wanted. I spent a little money today getting some upgrades. Now it’s about 90% perfect. I can live that 10%.

Having a new car isn’t a bad thing. I just don’t like the way it happened.  Since then I’ve been a little extra careful making sure there’s enough space between me and the next car.  We’ve had a lot of snow an ice over the past few weeks, so I stayed home as much as I could.  I don’t need any more accidents.

Roommate and New Job

Sunday, December 25th, 2016 No comments

There’s a little under a  week left in the year, so I’m going to try to spend some time over the next week getting caught up on all the blog entries I’ve been meaning to write. Some of these topics may have been mentioned on Facebook or previous posts.

Back in October, I got a roommate. My new roommate is my good friend Kysen.  I never thought I would have a roommate again. I didn’t think I would live with anyone else again unless I was in a relationship. But Kysen’s lease was ending and his roommate was moving to Astoria, so he asked if he could use my extra bedroom.

I lived alone for over 8 years before Kysen moved in so it was an adjustment getting used to sharing a home with someone again.  We’re different people when it comes to cleanliness and organization, but .  There were a couple of nights about a week apart where I went out and came home to find a decent amount of stuff rearranged.  I ended up liking what he did, but I just wish I could have been a part of it.  Thee are times where i still have to ask him where things are because I don’t know where he put them.  Overall though, I think we are both happy living with each other.

Intel logo

In November I got a new job. I’m an now a Cloud Software Engineer at Intel. It was about 6 weeks from the time I interviewed until the time I started.  It all came about because of a contact that I have on Twitter.  I’m working on the same campus that I worked on as a contractor. I love my team and the work I’m doing.  We work hard and we have fun socializing and engaging in random nerf gun fights. I’m so much happier than I was before. What a difference being happy with your job can make in all aspects of your life!

There’s been a lot of change in my life, but it’s been for the better. Life is good.

I Kinda Understand Coffee

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 2 comments

Ok, forget all that stuff I said about coffee a month ago.  I think I get it now.

One day I needed to get to work early because I needed to leave early [I know I haven’t blogged about my new job yet].  I woke up at 4 am after going to bed at midnight.  I decided on the way to work that I would try some coffee to see if if would help me stay awake. We get free coffee at work.  IT WORKED WONDERS!!! I had 2 cups and I think I was alert the entire time I was at work that day. I didn’t feel bad afterwards.

Since then I’ve had one cup first thing every morning.  I like starting each day off feeling energetic.  The only downside is feeling like I have to go to the bathroom a lot of the time.

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I Don’t Understand Coffee

Sunday, October 30th, 2016 No comments

I don’t understand coffee.  I don’t get everyone’s fascination/obsession with it.  I like to have it every once in a while, but I’m not a coffee fanatic.

To tell the truth,  I kinda roll my eyes whenever I come across a joke or meme about how people can’t function without their coffee or how they can’t speak to someone until they’ve had a certain amount of coffee. One of my biggest regular annoyances is when I want go somewhere to get a snack and I have to wait in a line of coffee addicts with orders that each take a while to make.

Coffee just makes me wired and paranoid for a little while and I feel like crap afterwards. Then I need to use the bathroom.  It’s not worth it for me.  I guess I’d rather be groggy.

So, I guess I’ll never understand the coffee obsession and I’ll continue judging people who are coffee fanatics :).

 

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