My uncle Dennis passed away a week ago today. Like most of my relatives back in Mississippi, I hadn’t spoken to him in a few years. I wish I had seen him more recently. For several reasons, I didn’t make it back home for his funeral. It’s one of the bad things about being so far from family.
I remember Dennis living with us early on when I was living with my grandparents and other relatives. He made us kids laugh a lot. I remember one time he had accident with a saw and having to be rushed to the hospital.
Years later after he was married and had a son, I remember helping babysit his son when my uncle would leave him with my grandparents. My mom suggested the name they gave the son. I remember there being some problems in the marriage. I think that maybe he was drinking, but I’m not sure. Dennis turned things around though. He’d been a pastor for over 15 years I think when he died. He started his own church in Jackson.
Whenever I saw Dennis at family events after that, he still had his great sense of humor. He was always nice, even when he was trying to get me to go to church. He was always a big guy and in the end he died from a heart attack. He was 57.
RIP, Uncle Dennis.
I’m pretty sure I never showed off my tattoo that I got last October. It’s an ouroboros. I like the design. In a sense I was going through kind of a reinvention last year, so that’s what it symbolized to me. It took a long time to finish. I may have gotten it in a different spot if I could do it over again. It’s in a pretty safe place if you’re concerned about aging and weight changes, but I think it looks a little odd with my other tattoo because of the differences in length. Maybe I’ll get something else to fill it out, but I did say no more back tattoos…
A couple of days ago, Portland had it’s annual World Naked Bike Ride. Events like this are held in different cities across the world. Every year since I moved to Portland, I’ve wanted to take part in this event, but I always backed out the day of for some reason or another. I didn’t feel like going out for some reason or it was too cold or I didn’t want to go alone or I didn’t like how I looked. This year the weather was perfect, I had people to go with, and I don’t care how I look.
Alex and I had been talking about the ride for months, so I’m glad we were able to go together. Along with us were a couple that I know through Alex, Bill and Steve. We met up at Alex’s place and rode our bikes to the park where the ride was starting. It was a long ride to the park, partially because we got lost. I was already tired by the time we got to there. I really need to stop skipping cardio days at the gym. Apparently you could start getting naked at 8 and we got there shortly after 8, so there were lots of people already unclothed. Our clothes quickly came off and we found a spot to wait in. While we waited we ate some food and took in all the sights and sounds. It was just so much fun being around so many naked people. Yes, I like being naked and looking at naked people. No, not everyone was completely naked. From what I saw most of the women and a decent amount of the men were only partially unclothed. Some people were fully dressed. Some people had on body paint. I think I will do that next year. There was a playground in the park and surprisingly there were children playing while they were surrounded by thousands of naked people. They were eye level with my crotch and the only time I was uncomfortable was when we were looking for a bathroom and went near the playground. I know this event is supposed to be a protest again oil dependency, but for me it’s just about having fun being naked and about being comfortable with your own body.
The ride was supposed to start at 9, but it was about 9:30 before we were finally on the road biking. The route took us through the streets of Southeast Portland. The streets were blocked off. There were so many people along the route watching, cheering, taking pictures, etc. There were lots of people watching with their children. I could hear that some of children were amazed to see so many naked people. It didn’t take long for the group I was with to get separated, but we weren’t really trying hard to stay together. I only saw a couple of accidents. I narrowly avoided a few crashes when people would suddenly swerve over in front of me without looking to see if anyone was in their path. The ride was 6 miles long, a lot of it going downhill, so it wasn’t too bad. My butt did start hurting after a while and there were things sticking to my seat, but I managed. I actually never saw Bill and Steve again the rest of that night. The route took us close to Alex’s place. Alex and I met up near the end destination after the ride, put some shorts on because it was getting a little chilly by this time, and rode the short distance back to his place. After that I headed home.
I’m glad I finally got around to participating in the naked bike ride this year. I hope to do it again next year. Maybe I can convince some more friends to come along.
Not a whole lot has happened around here lately. I make an appearance here and there at birthday celebrations, but I mostly stay home. I’ve been sick for most of the past couple of months. Whatever I have is spreading around the lab I work in. Some days it seems like everybody’s coughing. There was actually a 2 week period where I was feeling file, but when I came back to work one Monday, another guy and I were both sick again. I feel better than I have in a while today, but the sickness is still lingering around.
Alex and I stopped dating about a month ago. It was his choice. Nothing happened. He decided that he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship and just wanted a friend that he could be himself around. I never made that post about him that I promised. We met in the spring or summer of last year at a gamer meetup and became friends after we kept seeing each other at various events. When I made that Facebook post at the end of the year with the goal of wanting to go on one date this year, he told me that he had been wanting to ask me out for a while. I’m glad he did because I would’ve never known. We had lots of fun together while it lasted. I was always happy about the fact that we me the old fashioned way and not through an app. We still talk to each other every day and we’ve hung out a few times since then.
Alex did get that job at The Wet Spot and usually works there a few days a week. I’ve added more fish and plants to my aquarium. I’m trying to resist the urge to keep adding things. I’ve cut myself off, but Alex says I could probably get a few shrimp. Right now I have 8 cherry barbs, 5 black skirt tetras, 5 cardinal tetras, 4 algae eaters (otocinclus), and 4 bronze cory catfish.
Pride is this weekend. I’m not sure if I’ll do anything besides go to the festival. I feel like I should do more, especially after the shooting in Orlando last weekend. I can’t wait to not be sick again.
I want to start drawing again. I guess Alex rubbed off (he’s a painter). I used to draw some when I was young, but it was mostly trying to reproduce picture in books. I also think I want to do stuff on Youtube and stream on Twitch more often.
Hopefully, this summer will be more eventful. I have lots of ideas, just not of time.
Alex and I signed up to take swim lessons together at Portland State. He already knew how to swim, but just wanted to become more comfortable being in public pools. I had never really learned to swim. I’ve signed up for classes before, but either couldn’t go or stopped very soon into the class. We plan on doing some watery things this summer.
This class was short, only 4 sessions. We missed the first one because we were signed up for the wrong class and got our class an hour late. We just got in the water on our own. Afterwards, Alex said it didn’t feel bad at all being in the pool. That was the last time I saw him at the pool. He was busy during the other 3 sessions.
Over the next 3 sessions, there was 1 other person in the class on 2 days and just me on 1 day. I became more comfortable than I have ever been in the water. I swam without any kind of flotation device for the first time in my life. I couldn’t go for very far, but I was able to move. I got pretty good at kicking and doing a breast stroke. I need to practice more. I never really got the hang of treading water, but I can work on that more on my own. 3 45-minute sessions isn’t that much time.
I’m so glad I took the class. I might sign up for another one a little closer to home. Or I might just watch Youtube videos and practice on my own. Look at me. I’m a swimmer now!
I now have fish!
Growing up with my grandparents, I remember having an aquarium. We had gold fish and I’m sure other kinds. I don’t remember much except that sometimes we would wake up to find that sometimes one had jumped out of the tank.
In high school, when I was living with my mom, I decided to get my own tank. All the fish I got quickly died. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong and this was before I had the Internet to use for research.
I think I was in college when I got a betta. I think he died a few months later.
Alex has mentioned to me a few times that he worked in a fish store when he was younger and I told him about the my last unsuccessful attempts at fish ownership. He told me how he had helped friends set up tanks and kind of helped them take care of the fish. A few weeks ago we went to a fish store in Portland called The Wet Spot (heehee) and looked around at all the fish. I figured out about how much I was willing to spend and this past Saturday we went back. I got a 23-gallon tank/stand kit, some decorations and some other necessities. I’m glad Alex was there to tell me what to get. I think being there reminded him of his time working in a fish store, which was one of his favorite jobs. A couple of days later he submitted a resume actually applied for a job there to work around his school schedule. He’s had 2 interviews and thinks he has a good shot at getting the job. That night we set up that tank at my place and let it warm up. I didn’t have time to go back and get fish the next day, so we went back on Monday. We got a few more decorations for the tank.
Alex helped me pick out some good, hardy starter fish that will help get the tank ready and are not so delicate that they’ll die easily. I have 8 red barbs and 5 black skirt tetras. They all seem to be happy so far.
There’s a lot more that goes into a tank than I realized. The starter fish are going to produce the chemicals that you need for a healthy tank. There’s all this regular maintenance that I’ll have to do one a month or twice a month. It’ll be fun though. I’ve heard that it can be an addictive hobby and that most people have multiple tanks. I’m going to try to limit myself to just one. I wonder what I’ll add to my tank next.
I may gut punch the next person who tells me I’m too quiet, I need to talk more, I need to be more outgoing, I’m too shy, etc. I had a great weekend this past weekend, but I got tired of these kinds of comments. After 30 years of this, I’ve had about enough.
I don’t think of myself as shy. I am fucking social butterfly. I’m not nervous around people. Yes, I’m reserved. I often like to listen more than I like to speak, especially in groups. I usually think before I speak. But that’s not the same as being shy. I’ll talk when I want to talk. Fuck off!
Being quiet does not mean I’m not outgoing. I picked up my life and moved across the fucking country. I go out socializing almost every week. I have an organizer role in 2 of the social groups that I’m a part of. I’ve made loads of new friends. I’ve done some dating. I joined one sports team and might be joining another one this week. How much more fucking outgoing should I be? I realize that not everyone pays attention to what I’m doing, so they might think that I’m a hermit that barely leaves the house and barely has human contact.
So, people should stop trying to change me to be more like them. Maybe they’re uncomfortable, but I’m great. I’m in one of the best periods of my life.
I love social media and I spend a lot of time blabbering on and on using social media each day. For some reason when people aren’t engaging with your posts by liking, commenting, replying, sharing, etc, it’s easy to feel like no one is reading them. It’s almost like you’re shouting into the void or just talking to yourself.
Every once in a while I’ll run into someone in person or chat with someone and they’ll make a comment about something I wrote on Facebook. I sometimes get a little self-conscious, but only for a second. I did put it out there knowing there’s a chance someone would read it.
Just recently things I’ve said on Facebook have let to party invitations, a subtle offer for sex, and an actual date. Some old friends that I’ve talked to or chatted with have asked me about Oregon. So, yeah, people are reading.
Maybe there needs to be a button to say “I read this but I don’t have anything to say about this right now.” Or maybe they should tell you how many times it’s been read. I’ll just have to try not to feel like no one is paying attention just because they’re not liking my posts.
Saturday, February 27th, 2016
I’ve been hearing a lot of talking about this week’s episode of Black-ish, which from what I hear dealt with police brutality and institutionalized racism. I haven’t watched the show since early in the first season. I wish I had kept up with show. Maybe I’ll get caught up one day.
I luckily haven’t had any major incidents with police. I did get stopped while walking my dog one time because I supposedly looked like somebody they were after. It was embarrassing, but there was no physical harm done. Most of the overt racism I experience is getting called names online.
Over the past few days I’ve seen several black friends on Facebook admit that they had similar feelings to what was expressed in this episode on the night President Obama was elected in 2008. It’s like everyone’s been keeping that inside for over 7 years and now it’s safe to admit it. Personally, I don’t remember being especially afraid for Obama’s safety before election day. I talked to my sister that night after he won. There were fireworks going off where I was in Mississippi. She and her husband were having a celebratory glass of wine in Georgia. She said that she hoped he could be kept safe from the crazies and would be able to carry out his term. Wow! I hadn’t thought of that. I don’t think about that all the time now, but even after 7 years there are still people who hate that he’s president simply because he’s black. I’m friends with some of them on Facebook. I hope he’s able to finish out his term and lives a long, happy life after he leaves office.
Saturday, February 27th, 2016
What a difference a week or few can make?
I haven’t been to rugby practice in a few weeks. It was taking up too much time and I had things that I needed to work on at home. I missed a week of and at the next practice it dawned on me that I wasn’t having fun anymore. It was resenting the amount of time I was having to devote to it and it was starting to feel like a job. It was supposed to be recreational fun. A lot of the people who were coming out to practice weren’t coming out anymore and I was missing them. For now, I’m taking a step back and just supporting the team. Today the Lumberjacks play their first game and I’ll be out there cheering them on. Maybe I’ll be out there playing sometime soon.
I had a great Valentine’s Day weekend with the guy that I was seeing, Alex. The next weekend (which was also last weekend) things were different. Simply put, he’s got some things he needs to work through, so he needs to take a step back and just be friends. It was a shock to me because everything was great up to the moment he told me this. He assured me that I hadn’t done anything wrong, though. We’ve been in contact throughout the week. We had drinks last night and I feel optimistic.
That’s how life goes sometimes. Life is still good.