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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.

Xander Visits

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 No comments

My good friend and former roommate Xander this morning around 10 to head to the airport. He’s been here since Friday the 9th, so 11 days. He just texted me a little while ago to say that he was halfway home.

He came to visit and to help take care of the stuff he left behind, which was most of his possessions that he had here. I shipped a few boxes of stuff and his bicycle to him not too long after he originally left. It was so great seeing him again!

He admitted that it wasn’t until he got here he realized that he wouldn’t be able to be social much because of COVID. I think Portland might be adhering to guidelines better than where he is in Pennsylvania. Before he arrived, I was a little worried that he would be coming in and out all the time, but he quickly assuaged my concerns. I felt bad that he was cooped up here, but he seemed okay with it.

He spent the first few days just cleaning stuff out of his old room and the garage. He works nights in PA, so he was on a different schedule than me those first few days. Eventually though, he got adjusted. I helped when I could even though I was working. He didn’t realize how much stuff he had left here. He ended up throwing out a lot of it and shipping a little bit. The rest he left here to take care of later, which is fine. I’m happy that I have much more room than I did before.

He got meet Max for the first time and see Reese again and do some work on the fish tanks. I think I drank more coffee in the time he was here than in the year and a half before.

We did do some fun stuff away from here. We went to see Hocus Pocus at the drive in. We went to a social gathering (social distanced coffee and donuts) at Eric’s. We went on a little hike at Sauvie Island (my first time there). He got me Pokemon Go again, which I don’t think I played past the first month of release. He did some stuff with a couple of his other friends a couple of days ago. There wasn’t enough time or energy for everything, but that’s something to look forward to next time.

But he’s still Xander. He still has some of same idiosyncrasies that drove me crazy when he lived here. It’s going to take me a few days to get everything back the way I like it around here. Some stuff is probably lost to me forever.

Before he left we got to have a brief but needed chat about the weirdness that was going on before he left and for months afterward.

Once again, it was great seeing him again. I remember picking him up at a coffeeshop he went to after he landed and seeing him drive off in the rental car he picked up yesterday. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before I see him again

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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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