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Summer’s End

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022 No comments

Summer is approaching it’s end. Part of me thinks it can’t come soon enough because of all the heat, but part of me isn’t ready for it to end.

We’ve had so many hot days this summer. We didn’t reach the records of last year, but I believe this year has been more consistently hot.

I’ve had a lot of fun this summer. It doesn’t seem like I’ve done as much as last year. I think last summer people were glad to finally be able to do things together again, so we made up for lost time. This year people have been taking it more easy, especially with covid variants and monkeypox going around.

Xander came to visit in early June and we spent a couple of days in Bend. It was my first time and we had a lot of fun!

A bunch of us went to Seattle in July for Alan and Austin’s belated bachelor party. So much fun!

Last weekend we had a corn themed party at Cory and Chris’s.

I’ve been doing tons on PDX Gaymer activities. A bit more than normal. We’ll slow down after this month I think! I also started putting together a board earlier in the year and started the process of becoming a nonprofit.

I made the decision not to go to PAX this year, which is where I would have been this weekend. I just wasn’t looking forward to it at all, especially after being in Seattle so recently. I know that I often dreading a trip and have tons of fun anyway, but I decided to save the money and spend it on a different trip.

Work is going well. I’m finally starting to see where I fit in on this new team.

I’m ready for football and rain.

R.I.P. Dustin

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022 No comments

It seems like there’s been a lot of loss in my life lately. A few weeks ago my friend Dustin posted on Facebook that he’d had a heart attack and a surgical procedure. After a few days at his parents’ house, he was back home in Nashville recovering. A few days later (exactly 1 month after Reese passed), he died.

I first met Dustin when I was finishing grad school in 2005. I was when I was meeting my first gay friends and beginning the process of coming out. We were introduced by a mutual friend and Dustin introduced me to a lot of people who became great friends. We hung out a lot in those days. I remember going out drinking, going to parties at his place, or going to watch TV or movies at his place and not being able to stay awake. I was an early riser because but most of them got to sleep in. That first year he was having a birthday party (or anniversary party as he liked to call them), and when he found out I was about to graduate, he started telling the guests that we were also celebrating my upcoming graduation, which I thought was really nice. For some reason he kept inviting me along for stuff, even a 3-hour trip to Memphis to go to a gay bar.

Dustin was hilarious, smart, and kind. Sometimes he could be the mean, sassy gay guy with his jokes but looking back I don’t think he ever meant any harm. I don’t have any pics of us together, but I took this pic below at his place, which I think was dubbed Casa de Barnes that night. [They were playing in the rain, but I was keeping dry] Dustin is the 2nd from right.

Dustin was the biggest Mariah Carey fan I know. He was obsessed! If you look at his Twitter and Facebook pages they have Mariah on them. I guess a lot of people were mentioning her when remembering him because on the day of his visitation she posted a message saying she wishes she could have had a chance to talk to him.

Although we follow each other’s lives on social media, it had been 2 years since we really talked. He was an editor at USA today. I looked back through old messages and saw us quoting Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Strangers with Candy.

I’ll miss you, Dustin. Rest easy.

Time Marches On

Thursday, March 31st, 2022 No comments

I’m feeling pretty positive about life lately all things considered. Work is going well. I’ve had so many great experiences with friends this past month or so. I’m once again grateful for the friendships I have and it’s nice to be out and about again post Omicron peak. My friend Cody and I were both saying that we weren’t going to let the pandemic take another year from us. I’m taking precautions, but I’m out enjoying my life.

The biggest negative is that Reese has taken a bit of a turn for the worse. I’ve had almost 5 months to get used to the idea that he will be leaving. I take solace in the fact that he won’t be sick anymore.

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A Decade in Portland

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022 No comments

As I’ve been saying on social media, today is the 10th anniversary of my arrival in Portland. Moving here is still one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was brave, picking up everything and moving so far away from everyone familiar. I don’t regret it.

There are so many more career opportunities available here than where I was. I might still be working for the university, but I’d be bored. I’ve had a chance to experience some exciting things here.

There are so many cool things to do here in Portland. I was pretty bored in Starkville. Portland gives me a city feel without being too big. And I’m not that far from several major cities. There’s so much going on that I can’t do everything I want to.

Last, but not least, I have met so many great people that I would not have have met otherwise. I’ve never felt more accepted than I have here. I love my Portland family.

I’m looking forward to the next 10 years here. I’ve grown so much personally and professionally in the past 10 and I think there’s more to come.

Linked below are my posts from 2012 about my moving experience.

Christmas 2021

Friday, December 31st, 2021 No comments

I remember thinking a while back that I was going to really get into and enjoy this holiday season. Reese’s diagnosis and the omicron variant put a damper on that. Reese has mostly good days, but he’s been very needy. If I go to take a shower I can hear him wining when I get out. I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep for a while. But it wasn’t all bad. I put a tree up for the first time in a while. At work we got gift cards for GrubHub so we could have a meal together on Zoom one day

I had my first Christmas dinner on the 23rd with my friends Aaron and Josh and some mutual friends. We ate a lot of food, played Bomberman and that Exploding Kittens like Star Wars card games, and did a secret elephant exchange.

I spent Christmas Day with my friend Nir doing the Chinese dinner on Christmas Day thing again, except this time we ordered takeout instead of dining in a restaurant.. My friends Robert, Alex, and Jer were there as well along with one of Nir’s friend who I didn’t know. We played Codenames and chatted and ate so much food. We never got around to watching a movie.

What did I get for Christmas and my birthday this year?
  • Nike shoes
  • plates
  • Sagrada (board game)
  • Mulholland Dr (Criterion Collection)
  • Wayfarer Series
  • protein pancakes with bourbon-aged maple syrups
  • Trailblazers calender
  • Captain America mug
  • chocolate candy
  • Star Trek pride shirt

    I didn’t really treat myself to anything this year like I normally do. Over the summer I got a new TV and receiver, both of which support 120fps so my gaming consoles will be able to live their best lives. Maybe I can count that.

    Overall I would say that this was a pretty good year. It was great getting out and being able to see people, go to events, and be social again. It’s hard to describe just how much that has meant, especially after 17 months of isolation.

    There’s been a damper later in the year. Reese’s diagnosis, a friend passed away, Betty White died today.

    Next year I have to make health a priority again. I was making so much progress, but the last few weeks my diet has gone to crap again and I haven’t been exercising at all. And of course I struggles getting around most of the year like when I went to Rose City Comic Con.

    I also want to make getting a fulltime job with benefit and PTO a priority. It’ll make me feel a little more at ease and I’ll actually be able to have some real vacation time. I’ve had 2 contracting jobs this year. Hopefully, I’ll be an FTE someone by the end of next year.

    Speaking of vacation time, I hope that my travel plans don’t get screwed up by one thing or another. I’m supposed to be going to Chicago in April. Let’s hope that happens.

    As usual, I want to wish everyone a happy New Year. Take care of each other!

  • Thanksgiving 2021

    Sunday, November 28th, 2021 No comments

    Thanksgiving weekend is ending. It was a good weekend.

    I worked maybe an hour on Thanksgiving and 2 or 3 hours on Friday. Monday – Wednesday were pretty light at work as well. I’ll be glad when I’m working full-time again and don’t have to work on the last 2 days of that week at least.

    I had Thanksgiving with my friends Aaron and Josh in Tigard, who I’ve been spending more and more time with lately. They ordered a pre-cooked dinner from New Seasons and all they had to do was warm it up. It was delicious. We played Xbox games and played a Star Wars themed card game that’s a lot like Exploding Kittens. I played games on my own at home before and after. The only thing I didn’t get around to doing was resurrecting my tradition of working out early on Thanksgiving day. At one point I thought I would work out at home after I got back from Aaron’s but I should have known that wouldn’t happen.

    Friday – Sunday, I was at home pretty much the whole time playing video games, watching TV and movies, reading a book, and making sure Reese was okay. It was a nice, relaxing weekend for the most part.

    I am fortunate.

    Checking In

    Sunday, October 31st, 2021 No comments

    Wow, time flies. It’s been a while since my last post, so I figured I’d pop in with an update like I do.

    Life has been great. Between spending time with friends and PDX Gaymers events, I’ve been busy. October especially with all the Halloween things. My friend Aaron had a Disney-themed party this year. I dressed like a Sith Lord and everyone seemed to like it. PDX Gaymers had a Halloween game night again and my friend Jer also had a party. I’ve come to enjoy Halloween these past few years. I sympathize with those who don’t get into it but have to watch as everyone else is excited about it. It’s kinda how I’ve felt about Thanksgiving and Christmas most recent years.

    Speaking of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it feels like a sprint from October until the end of the year. So much happening and work usually has end of the year deadlines. At least I have a few weeks to catch my breath though before things really pick up again.

    Work at Nike is still great. I’m not sure that there’s any chance of being hired full time. Not on this team, at least. I received an offer from a team at Intel to return there. A generous offer. I didn’t even have to go through an interview process, probably because I was recommended by one of my old managers. I ended up turning it down, mostly because I didn’t think I would like the work and I would be unmotivated to come to to work every day. While this was going on, a team that includes some of the people I last worked with there also wanted to make an offer, but they couldn’t because of the other offer. It’s nice to feel wanted. I still feel the mental effects of that year of unemployment I had.

    I got my covid booster on the 20th. Thank goodness for vaccines. So glad that I’m able to go out and have fun again this year.

    I went to see the Trailblazers play the Clippers on the 29th. Aaron got tickets through his work. Floor seats! So weird being that close to all the action.

    Oh, early in the month I went to see a Bianca Del Rio show. Wendy Ho opened for her. They were both so funny. I’ve never seen the early seasons of Drag Race, but I want to go back and watch them.

    There’s more stuff coming up, but I’ll save it for another time. Happy Halloween!

    Good Times, Bad Times

    Saturday, July 31st, 2021 No comments

    This has been another busy month. Since I’ve been vaccinated, it seems like every weekend has been packed with activity. Summer always seems busy because Portland only had a few months of non-rainy weather each year. Add onto that the fact that we had go a year without being able to go out because of covid-19. Today is my first weekend day that in a while that I’ve decided I’m not going anywhere. It’s nice to relax and recharge. I just hope the delta variant doesn’t disrupt our lives too much.

    I’ve seen my friends a lot and not just on weekends. We celebrated one person’s birthday 2 weekends in a row and had a wine get together on a weeknight this past week, among other things. We went to a wine tasting out in Oregon wine country (I think that was this month). An old friend, Aaron, came back to Portland to visit with his boyfriend and his (Aaron’s) twin brother. I met the brother last time he was here. I miss Aaron a lot. He’s was one of the 1st people in Portland to make me feel welcome. He invited me to so many of his parties and night out excursions. That day I met some of Aaron’s local friends I had never met before and I’ve seen them a few times since.

    PDX Gaymers had an outside in the park event that I refused to call a picnic. I first scheduled this in April and had no idea at the time how open things would be or how comfortable people would be around each other. It was originally supposed to be our 1st in-person post-lockdown event. A few days before I suggested people bring food if they wanted to, so it ended up being a picnic I guess. I brought a cooler, which ended up full of drinks that I got to take home. About 35 people showed up to this event, making it the biggest since I took over as leader in October 2016. We even had to borrow a couple of tables from an neighboring picnic area. It was so much fun! A lot of the time I wasn’t even playing anything. I was just trying to make sure people were playing something. I think everyone had a good time. I learned a lot that I’ll keep in mind for next year.

    I’ve seen a ton of movies lately, thanks to Regal Unlimited. I’m going to see 2 more this week.

    At work, full-time employees got every Friday off in July along with a 1 week in August. As a contractor I don’t get that and technically I’m not supposed to work. However, my manager gave me permission to work those days, adjust my schedule so that I can get those days off and still get 40 hours for the week, or just take some off. I’ve done the first 2 so far. I think I will work that week in August., but I’m not sure. Either way, it’s been nice having some extra days off this summer.

    I found out this week that 1 person I went to school with and 1 person I met online because of LOST are in their final days because of cancer. I hope that we really have more treatment options soon. This has been a bad month for friends and their pets and not all of them recovered. Reese has been exhibiting some weird behavior lately. Of course, over the past 13 years I’ve always gotten worried when he started acting weird.

    I’m busy and happy and fortunate. Eager to see what the rest of the year brings.

    How about a few pictures from this month?

    Portland Pride 2021

    Monday, June 28th, 2021 No comments

    There wasn’t a traditional Pride this year because of coronavirus. It’s better than what we had last year though.

    Pride month is exciting and exhausting. I looked at my work and personal calendars early in the month and I was amazed at how much was going on.

    I’m glad that things have opened up more and I’m glad to work for a company that values its LGBT employees. Most work Pride stuff throughout the month was virtual. We did a HIIT workout, had speakers, learned choreography to “Rain on Me”, and more.

    Outside of work, I had a lot fun, though not all of it was directly Pride related. BBQs, a math-themed birthday party, a Timbers game in really great seats, kickball and picnic with my work team, PDX Gaymers’ first in-person event in well over a year, Portland virtual’s Pride parade, and more.

    The end of the month has been a little bit of a bummer. The Pacific Northwest has been hit with a record heat wave. Today and the past 2 days have been the worst, with highs around 110 degrees or higher. Portland just isn’t built for this. I think somewhere around 60% of homes don’t have air conditioning. I heard yesterday that Washington and Oregon were hotter than 99.8% of the globe. My air conditioning was doing okay until yesterday. Some of my friends were also having trouble with their A/Cs keeping up with heat. The birthday party I went to 2 days ago was fine at first, but as the day went on and more people came, it started to get really warm. My biggest concern is keeping the dogs comfortable. They look at me like they’re expecting me to do something. I’m doing what I can to help them, but it’s mostly just waiting for things to cool down each day. Last night I don’t think it even went under 80 degrees. Max seems okay for the most part, but Reese (who celebrated his 13th birthday yesterday) has always gotten hot quickly and is having the most trouble. Even I’m starting to feel a lttle sick, like my heart is working harder. The hour I’m posting this is supposed to be the peak temp and temps should start dropping. They will drop almost 40 degrees tonight and tomorrow’s high should be around 90, which is better thought still about 15 degrees higher than it should be this time of the year. The rest of the week should be much better and next week even more so.

    Happy Pride, everyone! It’s been a great month in spite of limping to the end. Our governor is lifting covid restrictions in 2 days, so hopefully more fun next month.

    How about a photo dump? I need more light-colored clothing for summer.

    Let the Good Times Roll

    Monday, May 31st, 2021 No comments

    This month has been amazing. Getting to go out and do things again has been great!

    I went to happy hour at Robert and Alex’s place. I went to movie night at Aaron’s place. I’ve been to see 3 movies in the movie theater. I’ve gone to 2 clubs. I’ve been back to my gym. I wasn’t unmasked the whole time. I followed the rules at each establishment and sometimes wore a mask even when I didn’t have to.

    Also, work has been going well. I’m really enjoying my job right now.

    I was supposed to be in Sunriver with friends this weekend, but I was left without a dogsitter at the last minute, so I had to stay home. Maybe I need more close dog owner friends, not that I would feel comfortable asking a friend to take care of my dogs. It was nice to have my first holiday or vacation day off since last July. It’s weird waking up on a weekday and not working. It’s been a while.