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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.

Thanksgiving 2019

Saturday, November 30th, 2019 No comments

Thanksgiving was fairly low key this year. Since most of my friends were planning to spend time with their families either out of state or in this area, I had resigned to spending Thanksgiving alone, working on the fish tanks and playing video games. A few days before Thanksgiving, however, my former co-worker Aaron invited me to spend Thanksgiving with his family. I was happy, because although I’m not big on holidays, I still think you shouldn’t spend Thanksgiving and Christmas alone if you don’t want to.

I had to do some last unexpected shopping for sweet potato pie ingredients. It ended up not turning out well. I didn’t start cooking until a couple of hours before I went to Aaron’s and I tried to make it without dairy products. I don’t know if that was the difference or not, but it seemed mushy and under cooked. Since I was running late anyway, I decided to just take a game to share. For dinner we had Aaron and his wife Marissa, Aaron’s brother and his wife and her daughter, and someone named Zeke who knew everybody but I was never sure how he was related to everyone. A couple of guests ended up not coming. The food and conversation was good and we played the game I brought, Anomia, and had fun. Everyone left shortly afterward.

After I left I kept up my Thanksgiving Day movie tradition by going to see Knives Out. It’s such a good movie, one of the best I’ve seen this year.

I’m glad I ended up celebrating Thanksgiving. Bring on Christmas! Even though I feel lonely at times and don’t have a job, I have a feeling this is going to be a fun holiday season. There won’t be someone around who hates the holidays dragging my mood down. I’m looking forward to Christmas and the New Year so much!

Halloween 2019

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 No comments

This was my favorite Halloween ever. Looking back, one of my goals for 2012 was to go to a Halloween party because I had never been to one and had never even dressed up for Halloween. It didn’t happen. Growing up, I would help hand out candy to the kids in out neighborhood. Lately I watch horror movies in October, but that’s about as close as I normally get to celebrating the day.

I wore an afro wig to work in 2014. I went to my friend Aaron’s party bus/fundraiser to finish the movie he was making in 2015. I dressed as a pimp. I was the only one who dressed up that night. I went to Xander’s fundraiser party in 2016 and dressed up in something of a costume. I just wore a pink wig and had fake scars on my face and carried a sword or a trident or something.

This year Aaron invited me to the 2nd annual party he had at his house. It fell on the Friday before Halloween, which was on a Thursday this year. The theme was villains. I wanted to do Harley Quinn, but I couldn’t find anything that would fit me. After looking at costume ideas for a while, I decided to do the Joker in a nurse’s outfit from The Dark Knight. I ordered the costume and used a wig and face paint I already had. It didn’t take long. I figured it didn’t have to look great because it’s the Joker. Aaron’s party was a blast. Surprisingly since a new Joker move just came out, there was only one other person dressed as the Joker. He was more a Pacific Northwest Joker. I scared a few people that night who didn’t know that I was behind them and were startled when they turned to see me. A couple of people asked to take my photo, which made me realize what cosplayers must feel like. I also scared a 7-Eleven customer before the party and an employee at a different 7-Eleven after the party asked to take my pic. Next year’s theme is heroes.

The next night PDX Gaymers had a Halloween event at Guardian Games. I dressed as the Joker again. Only 2 other people came in costumes, but it was still a great time. I went to a gathering late at my friends Robert and Alex’s house afterward. After that I stopped by Subway and the employee there said that I low-key scared the shit out of her.

Joker close up

On Halloween night itself, my friend Jer had a party at his house. I didn’t dress up for this one because I was tired of dressing up. A bunch of trick-or-treaters came by his house. I kinda wanted to give out candy to them, but I didn’t. Afterwards, I briefly stopped by 2 bars and people were having a great time celebrating Halloween. As much as I’m kind of tired of bars, the energy can make me feel young again. I might try to do more of that next years, especially since Halloween will be on a Saturday.

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.

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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First Camping Trip

Monday, September 15th, 2014 No comments

This past weekend I went on my very first camping trip. I went with my friend Alston and his girlfriend Stephanie. We went to the Keenig Campsite, which is about an hour from here in the Tillamook State Forest. Originally we had planned to go fishing one morning, but that trip turned into a camping trip.

Somehow I wasn’t notified that they were planning on going out there Friday afternoon. I left Friday after work. I did leave work about half an hour early though. When I got there they had already started the fire and were preparing to cook dinner. Alston and I got my tent set up and we ate dinner. That night we stayed warm by the fire and chatted the whole night. We didn’t have enough light to do much else. I think we all underestimated how cold it would get considering how hot it was during the day. We went through all of our firewood that night. None of us really slept well that night. My sleeping bag did a decent job of keeping me warn, but it could have been better.
camp site

The next morning we ate breakfast and went to get more firewood. We overcompensated quite a bit. We walked around a nearby camping area and visited a museum there. Once we got back to our campsite, we went fishing. Back in the day when I went fishing with my cousins and uncle, I just used a simple pole. This time I had a rod and a reel. It took a little getting used to. I could never get the bait out far enough to do much good. The good spots were already taken. It was fun to get some experience using the equipment though. Next time will be better. After not sleeping well the night before and being in the sun fishing for too long, we were tired so we had lunch and rested a while before playing cards. Alston wasn’t feeling well, so he rested some more while Stephanie and I went on a good walk. After that I was tired, but thankfully it was time for dinner. After dinner we chilled by the fire for a while and called it a night early.
Keenig Creek

The next morning we had some breakfast, packed up all of our things and left. We didn’t come close to using all the wood, so I brought the rest home. I might actually use my fireplace this winter. I was so glad for my heater and cell reception on the way home and my shower once I got home.
empty campsite

I had a great time on my first camping trip. I definitely want to do it again, but probably not until next spring or summer. I learned some lessons. I know there are a few things I want to buy before I go again. A lot of people had their dogs with them, so I might take Reese with me next time. I’m sure he’d enjoy it out there.

Austin Vacation

Monday, August 18th, 2014 No comments

I spent most of this past week in Austin, TX.  My buddy, John, asked me to come down to see the Nine Inch Nails / Soundgarden show with him.  Since then, a new guy named A.J. has come into his life.  A.J. joined us on this trip.

John and A.J. drove to Texas and I flew down on Wednesday of last week.    It was my first time meeting A.J.  All we did that day was eat and go to a club.  I knew that a friend I knew growing up worked at a bar in Austin.  I figured out which one it was and we went there for drinks and music.  Tony is the name of the friend.  I can’t remember when I first met him, but I knew him up until the first year or so of college at Mississippi State.  He then moved to Texas.  It was good to see Tony.  I got a free drink and we all got free shots.  I hope to see him again the next time I’m in Austin.

We slept late on Thursday.  We went to eat lunch at a lounge in a nearby hotel.  We also changed rooms because the beds were too small.  That night was the concert.  It was hot out there, but it quickly cooled down.  I can’t remember the name of the opening act, but there was too much screaming and yelling.  Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails were awesome!!!  Both bands played the song of theirs I wanted to hear the most, “Spoonman” from Soundgarden and “Closer” from NIN.

On Friday, John and I got massages while A.J. went to the gym.  It was a very good massage.  It was different from what I’m normally used to.  This guy advertises himself as a Reiki Master.  I don’t know a lot about it, but I noticed that he was rubbing me very quickly and sometimes it burned.  John and I were both tired for hours afterward.  We got some food and did some shopping after that.  Later we went to the one of the Alamo Drafthouses.  I had never been to one of these before.  We saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The movie wasn’t that bad, but it was far from great.  The experience was great, so I really enjoyed myself.

On Saturday we went to Hippie Hollow, which is a clothing optional resort.  I mostly just wanted to see some sights.  It was hot, so we didn’t stay long.  It was nice being in the water though.  After that we went to Franklin Barbecue, which we heard is some of the best barbecue around.  It was pretty damn good.  That night we chilled at the hotel and drank more.

On Sunday we said our goodbyes and left.  They left a few hours before me, but we each made it to our respective homes around the same time.

I had so much fun on this trip!  I definitely want to go back to Austin one day.  I drank more than I normally drink over several months, but I don’t regret anything.  I can’t wait to see John and A.J. again, whenever that might be. I enjoyed getting to know A.J. on this trip.  He’s a great guy.  I wish I could hang out with all of my distant friends more often, but I’m grateful for the time I do get to spend with them.  Until next time…

Rob and Bess’s Wedding Weekend

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 No comments

This past weekend I went down to Houston to attend the wedding of my ex-roommate and friend from college, Rob, to his fiancee Bess. I think the bride and groom started dating for the first time in 1996. 18 years later, they finally got married.

I arrived in Houston late Thursday, but didn’t do anything. It was my first time in the city other than for layovers.

The day before the wedding, Friday, us guys got together and played a round of Top Golf. There were friends from college along with relatives and friends of the bride and groom. It was a lot of fun even though I wasn’t any good. I want to try to find something like that here in Portland. Later that day I went to the rehearsal dinner. I don’t think I had ever actually met Bess until this dinner even though I heard about her in college. I pulled up in the parking lot at the same time that she did. She’s great. I ate a ton of food. To finish the night off, the 4 of us who knew each other in college played tabletop games in my hotel room.

The next day was the wedding.. I hadn’t been to a wedding since my cousin’s in 2004. It was a great wedding. It seemed to go by quickly and it was very sweet. Later that night we went to an Astros game since the newlyweds weren’t leaving for the honeymoon until the next day. The Astros lost, but it was fun to catch a Major League Baseball game. We said our goodbyes that night.

On Sunday, I met up with a friend, Susan, for coffee. It was nice getting to meet her in person after only knowing her online up until then. I hope to see her again next year. Later that day, I arrived back in Portland, minus my luggage, which had been sent to Atlanta by mistake. I got it back earlier today.

I had a great time over the weekend. It was great seeing people that I hadn’t seen in over 10 years. At times, it almost felt like nothing had changed. We need to get together again sometime. Hopefully, it won’t take another 10 years.

Nostalgia Kicks In

Saturday, May 10th, 2014 No comments

I know I’ve mentioned my good friend John on here before.  We’re both big music fans.  When we first started hanging out back in Starkville, MS, we spent a lot of time introducing each other to new music, mostly songs by Tori Amos and Pearl Jam.  He’s a big Tori Amos fan.  I had heard some of her big hits, but he introduced me to many more of her songs.  I’m a big Pearl Jam fan.  He had heard some of their big hits, but I introduced him to many more of their songs.  I made copies of many of my Pearl Jam albums for him and he did the same for me with his Tori Amos albums.

John has hundreds of CDs.  A lot of time he had to shuffle through his many CD cases to find a particular song that he was looking for.  If we were going somewhere together, sometimes it would take a long time to leave because he had to find the right song to listen to.  I suggested that he  get mp3 player.  He got the idea, but never got around to buying one.  At one point I was researching a Zune (yes, a Zune) for myself even though I didn’t have nearly as many CDs as him.

We became roommates after a while.  When he got a job out of town and had to move away, I got him an iPod as a going away present.  I didn’t get myself an iPod until later that year.  John had to leave pretty quickly, so he didn’t move all of his stuff out of our apartment immediately.  I spent the next few weeks ripping all of his music to his iPod.  I even put a lot of Pearl Jam songs on there.

This is around the time of the year that he started that job 6 years ago.  He  tells me that he still uses his iPod every day at work. Every once in a while I’ll get a text or email with a lyric from a Pearl Jam song that he’s discovered or gotten into lately.  Today he sent me lyrics from a song called “Wishlist” and I immediately starting getting nostalgic.

Man, why are most of my close friends so far away?