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Summer Begins

Monday, July 31st, 2017 No comments

Portland Pride 2017
I’ve probably said this before, but here in Portland we say that summer officially begins on July 4. By then we can be pretty sure the rainy season is over. This summer has gotten off to a great start so far.

The gaymer meet up has been fun this month. We’ve had good turnout this month and last and it’s been a lot of fun playing with new and old members. We’ve got some ideas for new events that we want to try soon.

On the 4th, my friend who recently changed his named to Xander (formerly Kysen, formerly Alex) went on a hike/photo taking adventure with his friend David. Xander and I started doing this in April I believe. It’s fun exploring the city on foot and we’ve gotten some pretty great photos.

The following week Xander and I went to see Blondie and Garbage at Edgefield Amphitheater. It’s the first time I’ve been to this venue since I saw Foster the People there in 2012. It was a great show! Both bands sounded great. Shirley Manson is a queen. I’m more of a Garbage fan than a Blondie fan, but I think I had more fun during Blondie’s set.

The next day I went to my first Hillsboro Hops game. I had bought tickets to games before, but ended up not going. I won a ticket to this game from work. Intel had it’s own tent area where we could eat and hang out. I didn’t stay in that area long because I wanted to watch some of the game. The Hops weren’t doing well and I had other things to do that night, so I ended up leaving about halfway through.

The following week I went to my first Portland Timbers game. Once again I won tickets from work. I rode the MAX into town for the game, because I didn’t want to deal with parking at the stadium. There were a lot of Timbers fans on the game. The atmosphere inside the stadium was excellent. I can see myself going to more games in the future. I left at halftime to beat the crowd back home. It was a pretty lopsided loss for the Timbers.

Spider-Man and Girls Trip were good movies. I plan to see Dunkirk and Atomic Blonde soon. It’s been nice having a movie buddy (Xander) so I don’t have to see movies alone and I have someone to talk to the movie about when it’s over.

I’ve starting exercising again on a regular basis. I’m not back up to 6 days a week like I used to do. Most of my workouts are at the gym at work, but sometimes I go to my old gym. I even went on a bike ride with Xander one day. Now I just need to start eating healthy again.

I have so much more stuff that I want to do this summer. I probably won’t get to it all this year. I remembered yesterday how bored and lonely I felt in Mississippi before I left. I’m glad to have so many options for how to spend my free time.

World Naked Bike Ride 2016

Monday, June 27th, 2016 1 comment

World Naked Bike Ride 2016

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.

Hiker

Friday, October 30th, 2015 No comments

I’m hiking now too.  Hiking is one of those things that you’re pretty much required to do if you live in Portland, besides getting a tattoo and recycling.  The Portland area has so many great places to go on a hike.  There’s also some great sites to see if you don’t mind driving 2 or 3 hours.

I lived in Portland for a couple of years before I went on my first real hike, and it didn’t even take place in Portland.  The hike actually took place when I went to Hawaii last year.  I went to top of Diamondhead all by myself.  It’s not that long of a hike, but it gets really tough close to the top.  There are some really steep stairs and I was carrying a lot of weight on my back.  Also on that trip I hiked to Manoa Falls.

Diamondhead

Fast forward to the next summer when I went on a couple of hikes in the Portland area. One was to Angel’s Rest and another to Horsetail Falls, both in the Columbia Gorge area. I even went on something of a hike in Washington during the Twin Peaks festival. I have a book which lists 50 hikes within 50 miles of Portland and maybe one day I’ll do them. I already have my next location picked out.

Angel's Rest

Horsetail Falls

My friend Dan is trying to talk me into climbing to the top of Mt Rainier in 2017.  Since I moved to Portland, I’ve always said that I would never try to climb a real mountain (Diamondhead doesn’t count).  Every winter I heard stories about people getting lost or stranded on our local mountain, Mt. Hood.  I say that you have to be crazy to want to climb a mountain.  This does sound tempting, though.  I’ll have to think about it.

Hiking has been fun, especially when I’ve gone with friends.  I hope to be able to go more frequently.  A friend of mine goes hiking almost every weekend during the summer.  It’s good exercise and I get some great photos along the way.  Maybe I’ll do some winter hiking. Maybe I’ll get in good enough shape to climb Mt. Rainier.

Rose City Comic Con 2013

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 No comments

This past weekend I attended the 2nd annual Rose City Comic Con here in Portland. Year 2 was much, much bigger and better than Year 1. They partnered up with Emerald City Comic Con out of Seattle to make the event better. They moved from the Doubletree Hotel to the Oregon Convention Center. They had a lot more panels and a lot more celebrities. Even the cosplay was greatly improved.
cosplayers at Rose City Comic Con 2013

On Saturday I got there about half an hour before it opened up at 10 AM. They had a special line for people who had picked up their badges early (I did at a kick-off party the night before). The con workers told a lot of us to get into the wrong line. When the exhibition hall opened, I could see people walking around, but we weren’t being allowed in even though they realized their mistake. I was annoyed already. Once I got in I saw the place where you could pay for photo ops. I paid to get photos with Jewel Staite, Avery Brooks, and David Giuntoli. I saw the area where celebrities were signing autographs. Even though I said I wouldn’t get autographs, I decided to get Jewel Staite’s autograph for my friend John. He’s a big Firefly fan and one of the main reasons why I became a fan. Jewel was fashionably late to her table. I checked her Twitter account and she had tweeted earlier that she was in Portland, but she had a sore throat. Everyone cheered when she got there. She was very nice and gorgeous. After that I caught the end of the Christopher Judge panel while I waited for the Avery Brooks panel. Christopher Judge was funny and entertaining, but Avery Brooks was just weird. I had heard that he was crazy, but it was still a site to see. The moderator was afraid to ask questions after the first couple. I think most of the audience was uncomfortable at times. Jewel Staite had her panel next. She was adorable. She’s very good at taking bad audience questions and giving good answers. She’s obviously been doing this for a while. After that I went to Kelly Sue DeConnick’s panel, which was great. My last panel of the day was David Giuntoli’s. It was fun, but I had to leave early to get in line to get my photo made with Jewel Staite. I got there 15 minutes early like they told me to and the line was already huge. This line moved quickly though once they started taking photos. I might have been a little curt with her. I was tired, I hadn’t eaten in almost 12 hours, and I was trying not to take up a lot of time especially since I had already spoken to her earlier in the day. She’s probably seen it all, so it probably didn’t register with her.
me and Jewel Staite

I didn’t have to be there as early on Sunday as I did on Saturday. I think I got there around noon. The first thing I did was go to the exhibition hall to get Kelly Sue DeConnick’s autograph. She’s so cool! Then I went to Matt Fraction’s panel. Also, very cool! He’s a really funny guy. At some point during the day I got his autograph for the 2nd year in a row, but I can’t remember when. I also saw a bunch of people from work. After Fraction, I went to the Stargate panel. Seeing Stargate people all weekend made me decide that it’s finally time to watch this show. I ordered it from Amazon last night. I left this panel a little early to go to my photo op with Avery Brooks. His line was much shorter. While I was in line, I could see him sitting at his table. I felt bad because no one was coming to get his autograph. Did he scare people off the day before or are people just not interested in Deep Space Nine anymore? I bet there would have been a long line for him 15 years ago. I was in and out of the picture area quickly. I was a little afraid to say much. He was cool though. Then I went to the Greg Rucka panel. He went off on an angry tangent on politics and blah blah blah. I was a little bored. I had to leave early for my photo op with David Giuntoli. Once again I could see Avery Brooks looking sitting at his table and I felt bad again. They made an announcement that he was leaving early. Maybe one or two people came to his table after that and then he left. David was a little late, but the line moved quickly as expected. He was really nice. I thought it was funny that he asked for my name and introduced himself like I didn’t know who he was, like I didn’t pay to have a photo made with him. After that, I was done with the con for the year. On my way out of the exhibition hall, I almost ran right into Jewel Staite, who I think was on her way to her last autograph session.
Stargate panel

me and Avery Brooks

me and David Giuntoli

One again, I’m exhausted, but I’ll definitely be back next year unless something major comes up. I hope this and the competing Wizard’s World Portand Comic Con can both continue for a long time to come. Portland’s a nerdy city and there’s room for both.

LeakyCon 2013

Sunday, June 30th, 2013 2 comments

The Leaky Cauldron, a Harry Potter news site, has a annual fan conference called LeakyCon in different cities across the country. This year is the first year 2 conferences will take place: LeakyCon Portland and LeakyCon London. LeakyCon Portland has been going on since Thursday and today (Sunday) was the last day. Now, it’s not just a Harry Potter convention. They cover all kinds of fandom from Buffy to Doctor Who.

I LOVED the Harry Potter books. I started reading them after the 4th book was released and went through them quickly. I remember reading one book on Thanksgiving day in between helpings of turkey. Whenever a new book was released after that, I was always at the midnight Friday night release and I finished it before the weekend was over or on Monday. I enjoyed the movies as well for what they were. I saw all of them at the theater except the first one and sometimes I’ll watch a few minutes of them if I stumble across them on TV. That said, I know I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world. I’ve only read the books 1 time each. I don’t know a lot of minute details. I know that there’s a musical out there, but I’ve never seen it. When I found out LeakyCon was coming to Portland, I wanted to go. I wanted to go mostly because I listened to PotterCast, the official podcast of the Leaky Cauldron, and I figured it would be a lot of fun. I know someone who goes every year and she has a good time there. Also, I try to do as much as I can in Portland, especially the type of things that I wouldn’t be able to do if I were still in Mississippi.

Overall, I enjoyed LeakyCon. At times I felt like I was too old and too male to be there. Most of those in attendance were young girls and ladies. There were a few older adults there, but a lot of them were with their children. No one did anything to make me feel weird though. I’m sure it was all in my head.

Because of work, I ended up missing a lot of cool things I wanted to do during the day Thursday and Friday. I decided not to go Thursday to the official opening ceremony on Thursday night. Apparently, that was one of the highlights of the show. Anthony Rapp from Rent did a parody of “La Vie Boheme”. That part is online, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Friday night I sat in on a trivia competition. The first round was Doctor Who questions. They were so easy. I wish I had decided to compete. I ended up leaving after the first round. Saturday morning I got there early for a Doctor Who fan meetup. The room was full when I got there, but they did have an overflow meeting outside the room. I went to panels the rest of the time I was there that day. I got to see the girl that played young Lily Potter in the last Harry Potter movie, Tom Lenk from Buffy and Angel, and Anthony Rapp. On Sunday I went to a Buffy sing-a-long followed by a Doctor Horrible sing-a-long. After that I went to the last ever PotterCast, which was the closing event of the conference.
the last PotterCast

I started listening to PotterCast a few years ago. I think it was around the time they interviewed J.K. Rowling. After the last book and movie were released, they slowed down on releasing episodes. It’s been almost a year since they released an episode. I’m glad they were able to end the show this way instead of just fading away. I know I’m going to miss it, because I was already missing it. Hopefully, there will be more Potter books and they can bring this show back. Maybe they’ll do a new show together.

I’m glad I went to LeakyCon. I had fun there. Like one speaker said, even though the Internet can make us distant, cons prove that it’s important to come together in person from time to time. My biggest regret is not seeing Devon Murray, who played Seamus Finnigan, one of my favorite characters from the books and the movies. What I loved the most was something that I love about all cons: the feeling of inclusiveness. Despite the age difference, it was great being around fellow nerds/geeks, and feeling like I belong, and not being judged. I’ll at least consider going back if LeakyCon is in this area again.

Update, 7/1/2013
I added a link to the “La Vie Boheme” parody from LeakyCon.

What’s Up, Doc?

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 2 comments

About a week and a half ago, I went to see a podiatrist to have a piece of glass removed from my foot. I stepped on a piece of glass from a broken mirror about 5 weeks earlier. Since my foot never completely healed and my regular doctor didn’t find anything, I figured I needed to get it checked out by a specialist. Also, my medical insurance that I had from working at Tactel was about a week away from expiring.

One thing I’ve noticed since I moved here is that I never have to pay anything before I leave a doctor’s or dentist’s office, even if there’s a sign stating that payment must be made at the time services are rendered. When I was in Starkville, I always had to pay something before leaving the office. There were times when I was close to broke (still in school or barely out of school) and asked if they could file it with my insurance and send me a bill later. Nope. They always wanted me to pay something before I left the office. Now that I’m in Portland and more well off, I never have to pay anything before I leave. I always stop by the checkout desk before I leave, and they look at me like they’re confused and say, “Do you need to schedule a follow-up appointment?” When I say that I don’t they tell me that they’ll bill me what my insurance doesn’t pay.

I wonder why there’s a difference. Is it because I lived in a small town then and I live in a major metropolitan area now? Is it because of the insurance plan I’m on? Maybe I’ve just been lucky with my choices of medical providers since I moved here. Who knows? It just makes me happy when doctors are more concerned about helping patients than getting money from them.

They did find some glass in my foot. I hope they got it all out. It still hurts a little, but hopefully I won’t have to go back.

A Visitor

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 No comments

John was here in Portland for 10 days.  He arrived on Thursday the 14th and left on Sunday the 24th.  He told me he wanted to come here for his 30th birthday (the 21st) about 5 or 6 months ago and we’ve both been looking forward to it since.  We had a blast!  I wanted to write as much down as I could recall to help remember the trip.

Thursday – John’s flight was scheduled to arrive late Thursday night, shortly before midnight.  I saw online that it would be arriving a little late.  At some point, I stopped my car while I waited.  Some security lady told me that I couldn’t stay there and I had to circle around.  When I tried to start my car, it wouldn’t start.  I waited for John to arrive and then went to get help.  The airport sent someone to jump my car and we were on our way.  It was a great way to start John’s trip.

Friday – John went out and explored the city while I was at work.  My company had a party celebrating the opening of our new office here in Portland.  After John and I went to get my battery replaced, we chilled at my apartment that night.

Saturday – We got up and drove to Vancouver, British Columbia.  It was my first time leaving the country and John’s first time in Canada.  The hotel was pretty cool.  We went out to some clubs that night.

Sunday- We went to Granville Island and had lunch with my married friends Michaela and Dave.  After that John and I drove to Cleveland Damn and went on a short hike before it started to get too dark. We decided to go ziplining the next day in Whistler. We were exhausted after that, so we went to bed early.

Monday – We drove up to the mountains to Whistler.  I believe they had some winter Olympic events there in 2010.  The zipline tour on Cougar Mountain was so much fun. We got quite a bit of snow. We spent the night at Michaela and Dave’s in Richmond.  We had a steak dinner and some great beer.

Cougar Mountain, Whistler

Tuesday – We made our way back to Portland.  We stopped in Steveston Village, which is where they film Once Upon a Time.  It was cool seeing some of places where they film the show.  When we got back to my apartment we watched the latest 2 episodes.

Steveston/Storybrooke

Wednesday – I went to work and John did some more exploring.  Later John went to dinner with Breck and Mickey, two people that we knew back in Mississippi but have recently moved to Portland, unbeknownst to me.  After that John and I went shopping at Powell’s and Buffalo Exchange before heading home.

Thursday – This was John’s 30th birthday.  I got him a cake and an hour-long massage.  That night we went out to dinner at a pub and we went out to a club.

Friday – We had lunch at Little Big Burger.  They have delicious fries.  We drove to Tillamook near the coast for a wine and cheese tasting.  I discovered some great wines we both brought back something with us.  I don’t remember what we did that night.

Blue Heron French Cheese Company

Saturday – We went to the first ever Portland Comic Con.  We had 3-day passes, but I think we did everything we needed to in that one day.  We got to get Morena Baccarin’s autograph and see a bunch of stars.  That night we went to see Skyfall ant Baghdad Theater with Breck and Mikey.

Portland Comic Con 2013 crowd

Portland Comic Con 2013 - Morena Baccarin's autograph

Sunday – That morning it was time for John to go back to Mississippi.  I always hate parting from friends after having a good time. After he left, I cleaned a little, took a long nap, did some grocery shopping, and watched the Oscars.

I was glad that John got to visit.  I was worn out after being on the go for 10 days straight, but it was worth it.  I hope he’ll be here again soon.  I think he liked Portland and the Northwest enough that he wouldn’t mind living here.

Harmoncountry – Portland

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 No comments

Last week I went to see Harmoncountry, which is Dan Harmon’s (TV show Community creator)  Harmontown podcast on tour.  I had a lot of fun.  You can listen to the Portland episode here.

Some Things to Do In 2012: Revisited

Monday, December 31st, 2012 No comments

I think I rocked 2012.

  • Listen to music more. I didn’t do so well in the first few months of the year, but it picked up after that.  Between new CDs, SiriusXM, and live music, I think I did well.
  • Read 20 books. I read 20 books. I might be able to hit 21 by the end of the day.
  • Go to a Halloween party. Okay, so I bought tickets to a Halloween party that I had heard about.  A few days before party, I got an email saying that they were going to change it to an indoor party, which meant fewer people could come.  They offered me ticket to a couples only event they were also having, but I didn’t have anyone to go with.  I decided to stay home that night.
  • Go to a Christmas party. I went to my company’s Christmas party and had a great time.
  • Buy new clothes. I bought new shoes, shirts, jeans, socks, and coats.  I almost bought a new suit, but they couldn’t get anything to fit me when I needed it.
  • Meet new people. I’ve met new people at work and outside of work.  I need to hang out with them more.
  • Do social gaming. I’ve done more social gaming this year.  It’s been all online.  P.A.X. inspired me to do more board gaming, but so far that hasn’t gone anywhere.  I recently found out about a couple of groups trying to get a regular gaming night going, but with the holidays nothing got off the ground.  Maybe in the new year.
  • Start buying collectibles. I’ve been doing a good job of growing my collection of geeky items.  Following Brian’s suggestion, I’ve been documenting them on Facebook, Google+, and Flickr.

What a great year this has been.  I moved across the country to a great city with lots of exciting things to do.  I’ve made new friends and I have a job that I love.I’m not going to make a list for 2013.  I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.

Life is Good

Sunday, October 7th, 2012 No comments

September just flew by, didn’t it? It started out with P.A.X., which I’ve already written about. The next weekend was the first ever Rose-City Comic-Con. I went in not expecting much, but my expectations were somewhat exceeded. There were a lot more people than I expected. There were people in costumes, but the quality wasn’t as good as they were at P.A.X. and San Diego Comic-Con. I shouldn’t say it, but most of the people wearing tight costumes shouldn’t have been in tight costumes. Richard Hatch and Noah Hathaway were there signing autographs and they had their own panels. There were booths set up with some interesting stuff. I bought some comics and some artwork that I need to hang and take pictures of. The only panels I went to was a Star Trek anniversary panel and a Doubleclicks panel. I had never seen The Doubleclicks perform, but I had heard much about them. I really enjoyed it. I did everything on day one. When I left I figured I had done everything I needed to and decided not to go back for day two. My personal highlight of the con was that Matt Fraction and his wife Kelly Sue DeConnick were there signing autographs. When it was finally my turn to speak to them, someone else started talking to her, so I really only got to speak to him. I can live with that. I’ve gotten used to being around celebrities over the past year and half or so, so I don’t usually get nervous anymore. I got nervous around Matt Fraction. He was really cool though.

Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick

The next weekend I got to see Oregon play Tennessee Tech down in Eugene. I got a call the week before from my dentist’s office saying that they had a drawing for the tickets and my name was pulled. Awesome! I didn’t even know I was in a drawing. I figured someone couldn’t go and they decided to give the tickets away, which was pretty much confirmed at the game. The drive down there was about 2 hours. There were a lot of other Oregon fans making the trip down. Driving through the middle of nowhere Oregon is a lot like driving through the middle of nowhere Mississippi except that there were hills. At one point I saw a vehicle coming down on a parachute. I loved the University of Oregon campus and the game day atmosphere was great. I tailgated with my dentist and his friends and father before the game. I had a great time at the game itself. The Ducks won 63-14. The trip back took over 3 hours because of traffic.

Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick

I got a lot of cool stuff done and work and a made some new friends, whom I’m sure I’ll be hanging out with on a regular basis. Even Reese has gotten to social a lot more lately.

Life is good.