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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.

Christmas 2018

Saturday, December 29th, 2018 No comments

Overall, this Christmas has been much better than last year. We actually decorated a tree this year, which we didn’t do last year. There were times when I wasn’t feeling the spirit much, but it always came back. One of the things that helped me get back into it was Overwatch’s Winter Wonderland event. The music, skins, and map decorations are so festive it’s hard not to feel happy, at least until the match starts.

I won’t go into too much detail, but someone close to me is having a hard time and it has put a damper on my mood at times, but we can usually turn things around.

I took a 2-week vacation from work and 1 week is now over. I think I think this is the longest vacation I’ve ever had professionally. So far I’ve done exactly what I planned: played lots of video games, watched a lot of TV, worked on my podcast websites, worked on projects at home, and spent time with friends. I listened to my Christmas mix all the way through this year, but I don’t think I heard “Last Christmas” at all, which is a shame.

I know material things aren’t the most important part of this time of the year, but gifts are still one of my favorite parts of Christmas even though the excitement isn’t the same as it was when I was a kid. I always feel fortunate that people think about me. Here’s my haul this year:

  • Princess Mononoke on blu-ray
  • Marvel trivia box
  • Dancing Groot pop vinyl
  • Lucio and Junkrat pop vinyls
  • Jupiter’s Legacy Vol 1
  • Lunch bag for work
  • Card game and emoji toys (I regifted these)
  • Rainbow socks
  • Tardis fish tank ornament
  • Many Christmas cards (I’ve forgotten to mention these in previous years)
  • Some stuff I treated myself to:
    • Gloomhaven, Founders of Gloomhaven, and Spirit Island board games
    • a new car (post coming soon)
    • an Instant pot

Overall, this has been a fairly good year. There were difficulties, but I think I got through them okay. Professionally, I was thrust into a leadership position around mid-year, and recently I got great feedback about how I’ve been doing. I think I surprised a lot of people. Health-wise, there have been ups and downs, but I’ve done well these past few weeks. I’m eating more home-cooked meals and less junk food. I think I’ll have a workout partner in January, so that should help keep me motivated.

I’m so ready to take on 2019! I think some good changes are coming! I know that January 1 is just another day and it doesn’t mean that anything is going to change, but I think it’s a good opportunity to start over or make a course correction.

As always I hope everyone has a happy holiday season and a great new year! Take care of each other!

Thanksgiving 2018

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 No comments

Thanksgiving weekend was last Thursday.  I was off from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday.  I worked from home Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was nice being out of the office for a while.

I was dreading the holiday because it looked like I was going to be spending it alone.  Then I went from having nowhere to go to having 2 places to go.  Xander and I went to our friends Tom & Stan’s potluck brunch and then to a friendsgiving hosting by one of Xander’s friends.  I baked a sweet potato pie for each one and Xander took bread.  He had dog walks and dog care in between.  It was a long day, but satisfying.

Now unto Christmas!

Christmas 2017

Saturday, December 30th, 2017 No comments

Christmas has been different this year.

I didn’t do much for Thanksgiving. I’m not that big into holidays, but Xander and I had made it a point to hang out on holidays. That changed earlier this year. On Thanksgiving, Xander was working his new dog sitting/housesitting job.  We did have lunch at My Father’s Place and ate breakfast food.

I wasn’t feeling the spirit this Christmas season.  I never even got all the way through my Christmas mix once, which I think is a first since I made it in 2006. It did snow on Christmas Eve and there was some left on Christmas Day. My vacations is Dec 22-Jan 1.  I let Xander borrow my car for work, so I was basically here by myself for 6 days in a row, Christmas being the 5th day of that.  It would have been difficult for him to do what he needed to without a vehicle. He didn’t come back home at the end of the day on Dec 24 and Dec 25. I wasn’t too happy about being alone and stranded on Christmas day.  My vacation has been better since the 26th.  It’ll have a strong finish.

Since presents are one of the few things I still like about this holiday and I always document my gifts, here is what I got this year for my birthday and Christmas:

  • beer mug
  • Reese’s, Kit-Kat, Skittles
  • Rocks
  • The Incredibles on blu-ray
  • Texts from Dog calendar
  • Armada by Ernest Cline
  • Artemis by Andy Weir
  • Mississippi State socks
  • Guardians of the Galaxy expansion for Legendary
  • Vanilla bean and warm tobacco pipe scented candles
  • Star Wars droid storage containers
  • Thor and Hulk pop vinyls
  • voucher for Naked Wines
  • several Christmas cards
  • Pandemic and Shadows over Camelot board games (gifts from myself)

Once again, my friends did well.

Overall, I think this has been a good year personally.  Lots of fun, but some of what I’ve gone through and what close friends have gone through has made it challenging at times.  Hopefully, 2018 will be easier.

The main goal I have for next year is to live a healthy lifestyle again.  My success criteria will be having normal cholesterol and glucose levels when I have my annual exam in December.

I hope every one has a happy New Year.  Take care of yourself and each other.

Back to the Homeland

Friday, June 26th, 2015 No comments

Three weeks ago, I was in my home state of Mississippi. I hadn’t been in Mississippi since December 2012, about 2.5 years earlier. It was past time.

I was there from June 3-7. I had planned on going to Mississippi for Super Bulldog Weekend in April. However, a high school classmate of mine passed away in January and a group of students decided to have a multi-year class reunion to commemorate those who we have lost. The span of years represented kept growing as time went on. In the end I think 11 years were represented.

I stayed with my friend John and his partner while I was there. I arrived on Wednesday night after a decent amount of time traveling. I didn’t have to leave early in the morning this time, which was good. Once I got to John’s we went to bed shortly afterward.

On Thursday, I met John and one of his co-workers for lunch. Afterwards, I drove around the Jackson area for a while. I drove past my old high school, went by my mom’s house (she’s in Georgia now), and went to my favorite Dairy Queen for some ice cream. I was a little disappointed not to see my favorite DQ employee who worked there for so longm even after I moved away. After ice cream, I went shopping. I got some Target clearance cloths, one of which was a shirt that I wore to the reunion. I also used a Best Buy gift card to buy a video game named Catherine for John. When John got off work, we went to his gym to go the one of the classes there. I think later that night we played that video game and watched Buffy. Buffy might have been the next night.

On Friday, John had to get his car fixed. We got some breakfast, but John slept a good bit of the day and I did some more sight-seeing. That night we went to a comedy show in Jackson. There were a lot of racist, homophobic jokes, which is okay if you’re funny. These guys weren’t that funny. We played the video game some more that night.

I don’t remember what happened during the day Saturday, but that night John and his partner went to see Mad Max while I went to my reunion. I had a great time at the reunion. It was more fun than I expected. It was great seeing people that I hadn’t seen in 18 years, though I keep up with some through Facebook. Some people have changed a lot, some not so much at all. A lot of people told me I looked exactly the same. Once I left, I went back to John’s for breakfast at dinner. We played that game until 7 am the next morning. We almost beat it. I just wanted to get some sleep before my flight.

I think I got about 3-4 hours of sleep before I left for the airport. I said my goodbyes to John and was off. After I left I got a text saying my flight was delayed an hour, so I could’ve gotten more sleep if I had known sooner. After a layover in Charlotte, I arrived home that night after a long flight.

The trip to Jackson was short, but great. I came back 4.4 lbs heavier. Ouch. The following week in the gym was rough. I hope it’s not as long before I’m in my home state again.

Raleigh 2015

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 No comments

Jay and Jack

This past weekend I went to Raleigh, NC, for Jay & Jack’s annual charity podcast for Autism Speaks.  I was supposed to go last year, but backed out because of so many things happening all at once.  There was a point where I thought I might have to do it again this year, but I was determined to go and thankfully was able to.

In my head I thought that my flight left at 6 am on Friday morning.  The night before after I got in bed around 10 pm, I checked my itinerary just to be sure and I learned that it actually left at 5:15 am.  The last few times I had early morning flights I didn’t get up soon enough, so I barely made it there in time. I got up at 2am after sleeping a little under 4 hours.  I got there in plenty of time.  There was no line at security even though there is usually a decent line for 6am flights.  The flight there was long, but I had TV and books to pass the time.  Dan picked me up from the airport along with a few others we went to a restaurant and met up with the others.  Most of the people I had met before at SDCC 2011 or had contact with them online.  I did meet some new people though.  After dinner we walked over to an ice cream place.  When we were stuffed we went back to our hotel and played a card game before going to bed.  I was rooming with Jon this weekend.  I roomed with him at SDCC 2011.  I didn’t get to see him much back then, so I was glad to be able to hang out with him this weekend.

I slept about 10 hours that night.   I missed a chance for an early morning run that some of the group went on.  Hopefully, they’ll keep that tradition alive next year.  By the time I got up, it was time to go bowling.  I like to bowl even though I’m not good at it.  I got to meet Dale for the first time at the bowling alley.  After bowling, we went shopping for snacks and headed to the ice plex for the 12 hour charity podcast.  I’ve listened to bits and pieces of the podcast every year since I’ve known about, but I don’t think I’ve never listened to the entire thing. It was a lot of fun.  The guests were entertaining and we kept ourselves entertained.  I guess I did miss a little bit when everybody started skating.  I didn’t actually skate myself.  Maybe next year. We went to bed around 4 am.

On Sunday, I got some breakfast with a few people and we went to Jay and Colleen’s for a barbecue after doing some grocery shopping beforehand.  There was so much beer and food and it was so good!  It was nice We played Cards Against Humanity and watched the season premiere of Game of Thrones. It was nice getting to hang out with the group one last time.  We had a short after-party at the hotel later.

Monday morning a small group of us had breakfast and the hills drove Vicki and myself to the airport.  My plane didn’t leave until that afternoon, so I had a long wait.  I watched TV and got caught up on emails.  After a long time in the air I arrived back in Portland late Monday night.

I had an awesome time in Raleigh, meeting new people and seeing people I hadn’t seen in years.Going into it, I thought it would be at least a couple of years before I went back.  Now I know that I’m going to try my best to go back next year.

Thanksgiving 2014

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 No comments

This past week was Thanksgiving.  After Hawaii I had said that I wouldn’t use any more vacation days this year, but I decided to take Wednesday off so I would have a 5-day break.  I was happy that for the 2nd year in a row I got to have a Thanksgiving meal.  While we were camping in September, Alston and his girlfriend Stephanie asked me if I wanted to join them for Thanksgiving.  That was the last mention of it until the week before when I asked Alston if it was still on. Alston said that everybody else had backed out, but I was still welcome to come.

I looked online and got an idea for something healthy to cook: roasted Brussel sprouts.  I also made a sweet potato pie.  When I got to their place they had snacks ready while the other food was being prepared.  They made turkey, stuffing, corn bread, mashed potatoes and cranberry relish.  It was a delicious meal.  I wasn’t so keen on the Brussel sprouts, but I just didn’t like the taste.  We all ate so much.  It had trouble standing up straight for very long after the meal.  We ended up going for a walk afterwards.  According to the scale I put on 3 lbs that day.

I took my PS3 over there.  While we waited for the turkey to finish and after we ate, we played video games.  I had never played most of the games we played and I owned them.  I ended up letting Alston borrow my PS3 a few days later.

It was great spending Thanksgiving with friends since I couldn’t be with family.  Hopefully, I can keep the streak alive next year.

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.

Thanksgiving 2013

Sunday, December 1st, 2013 1 comment

I had a good Thanksgiving week here in Portland. I took the whole week off from work. I decided to take the week off not long after I was hired in June and realized how many vacation days I would have to use by the end of the year or lose them. I’m taking another week off between Christmas and New Year’s.

The week was fun even though I was busy a lot. I cleaned up on the insides, raked the leaves the leaves on the outside, and ran a lot of errands. I watched a lot of TV (finally caught up after getting behind during Voodoo Fest), and played a lot of video games. On Thanksgiving Day, I went to a potluck that I found out about in a local gaming group that I’m in. All of those people who came know each other from a different group, so it was a little awkward being the only one who didn’t already know people there. It was still fun though. I think it was first Thanksgiving celebration since 2007. Everyone loved the potato salad I made. It was the first time I’d tried making it. I used a dish my mom used to always use for potato salad. She gave it to me when I got my first apartment in college. I held on to it, but had never used it until Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, I had the Pearl Jam concert, which was the highlight of the week.

I’m going back to work tomorrow refreshed.