Pride Northwest 2015

Monday, June 29th, 2015 No comments

Two weeks ago from this past weekend was Pride Northwest. Last year was my first time attending Pride. Last year, I only went to the festival with the booths and food and music, but this year I did more.

On Friday night, I participated in the Pride Glow Run. It’s basically a nighttime 5K where you’re decorated with glow sticks. There were some people dressed up in outfits. It took place near the Waterfront and it was pretty cold outside. When I wasn’t running, I was freezing. I didn’t know anybody there, though I did recognize someone who I had seen at Intel a few times. Once the race was over, I left. I know I must have looked weird when I walked in the 7-Eleven on the way home.
Pride Glow Run 2015

On Saturday, I was sick, probably from being out in the cold the night before, so I stayed at home.

On Sunday, I went to the Pride parade with my friend Alston, who is straight. I had a blast. It was great to see so many companies large and small represented. I saw several people I knew in the parade, both gay and straight. Maybe next year I’ll be in it. It was a LONG parade, so we didn’t see the end. I took Alston home and came back for the festival. I got lots of free stuff and got Nike #BETRUE shirt like last year. I went home after that.

Pride was a lot of fun. I’m glad to live in a city where this is possible. Next year, I hope to have time to participate in more events leading up to that final weekend and during the final weekend.

I found out that over this past weekend, Mississippi had a Pride event and a Comic Con. I wish they had those things when I was there, but I’m glad for folks in Mississippi. Progress.

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.

Changing Hosts Soon

Saturday, May 30th, 2015 No comments

I have several ideas for topics I want to write about, but I’m planning on changing hosts and for some reason I’ve been putting off writing until I do that. Hopefully, within the next month I’ll get that taken care of.

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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.

Audiobooks

Monday, March 30th, 2015 No comments

Lately, I’ve really gotten into audiobooks.  I think it was last summer that I re-activated my Audible subscription.  I created an account to get that 1 free book years ago, but I canceled afterward and never even listened to the book.  Until last summer, that is.

I was reluctant to listen to audiobooks because I figured I would miss too many details.  When I listen to podcasts at work, I miss portions because I’m focusing on my work. However, I’ve found that there are tasks that I do during the day that I don’t need to focus on much,  so I’m able to focus on the book enough to catch what’s going on.  An example is that I spend about an hour in my car on an average day, so I can get a lot of listening done in my car.

I doubt that I would choose the audiobook for a book by one of my favorite authors or a book that comes highly recommended.  I have been able to experience books that are off my radar.  It’s allowed me to keep “reading” since though it’s harder for me to find the time to sit down and read a book these days.

It’s taken me a while to jump on the audiobook bandwagon because I love my paper books.  I hope to continue utilizing them for a long time.

Checking In

Saturday, February 28th, 2015 No comments

It’s been a fairly uneventful month for me.  I did  start a new podcast  – What We Make: A Terminator Podcast.  It was originally going to be an introcast on The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  Since we were planning on discussing pretty much the entire Terminator universe, we decided to make it a general Terminator podcast.

I’m a lot less optimistic about work improving than I was before.  I spoke to someone in the same position as me earlier, so I’m not the only one who feels the way I do.

Fitness is going well.  I got my measurements today and I’m down to 11% body fat.  My trainer told me it would be really hard to get lower than that, but I’m going to try.  I got a Fitbit Charge HR yesterday and it’s pretty cool to monitor my heart rate.  I don’t like wearing anything around my wrist, but this device hasn’t been a problem for me.

Progress after 6 months

I’m so busy I haven’t had much time for video games, TV, or movies. That should change this coming week. I’m looking forward to going to Raleigh in April and Mississippi in June.

 

Until next time.

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I Like to Watch People Play Video Games

Saturday, January 31st, 2015 No comments

I like to watch people play video games.  It’s fun!  It’s becoming more popular because of Twitch.  For me it’s usually something I put on in the background while I’m doing other things, but I will focus on it if I’m watching a competition.  Some criticize those of us that like to do this, so I thought I would quickly explain some of the reasons I like to do it.

For me this started back in grad school when I watched my roommate Jason play some of my games that I had already beaten.  I started to realize that when you’re playing games, your’re often focused on one part of the screen and it’s easy to miss a lot of the details that get put into these games.  When someone else is playing, it’s easy to take in the big picture.  Sometimes you just want to veg out and enjoy the experience like when you’re watching a movie.

I don’t have much time to play games these days.  I can live vicariously through others while I’m getting work done.

I kinda suck at games.  I have my own Twitch channel where I let others watch me play games sometimes.  The title of it is “Watch me play games poorly”.  It’s nice to be able to watch people play skillfully on Twitch.

Watching people play can help me decide if I want to buy a game.  Gameplay on Twitch is probably more representative of a game than the trailers that the company releases.  Many of these trailers don’t show any actual gameplay footage.

Well, those are some of my reasons.  The main reason is that it’s fun.  Some will still wonder why you would watch people play when you could do it yourself?  Why watch any form of entertainment when you can do it yourself?  Because it’s entertaining.  You could race cars or perform on a stage yourself, but most of us are going to watch others do it.

And that’s totally okay.

 

 

Christmas 2014

Sunday, December 28th, 2014 2 comments

Christmas was good this year.  I was in the spirit pretty early on, but sometime the week before I lost it a little bit.  I got it back though in time for Christmas.  I was alone here in Protland, so at times I did feel a little lonely.  It was hard seeing all the photos on social media of people with their families and good food.  All I had for dinner was a piece of chicken and some veggies. At least I had Reese and he’s good company.  Next year will different hopefully.

What did I get for my birthday and Christmas?

  • Spartacus: The Complete Series on blu-ray
  • Microwave (I bought for myself)
  • King size wine glass
  • Serenity: Leaves on the Wind hardcover
  • Portlandia: Season 4 on DVD
  • Labyrinth on blu-ray
  • The Neverending Story on blu-ray
  • Interstellar soundtrack
  • GIRL by Pharrell Williams
  • Twin Peaks soundtrack
  • Requiem for a Dream (the book)
  • Touch and Go paperback by Lisa Gardner
  • Game of Thrones map poster
  • Game of Thrones blanket

Getting in Shape

Saturday, December 27th, 2014 1 comment

Back in September I entered the first ever Lose-to-Win weight loss competition at my new gym, VillaSport, which had opened the month before. It ended 3 weeks ago.

I came in 11th place out of 120-130 people in terms of percentage of weight loss.  I got 1st place in participation points for going to the events and activities.  I got a $50 gift card at the gym for that. I used that card to buy a larger gym bag.  My team got 5th place out of around 20 teams.  We each got a $25 check for that.

I’m happy with the results.  I got off to a slow start because I went to Hawaii soon after the competition began.  I didn’t finish as strongly as I would have liked to because of Thanksgiving.  Another thing is that I added some muscle.  Excuses excuses.  Still, I’ve been working hard to get into shape these past few months.

I was working out before the competition began.  The competition was just more motivation to get serious about losing weight again.  I found out because of the competition that my membership at this gym got me 4 30-minute sessions with a trainer. I picked out my trainer, Nate, because he specialized in body fat reduction and metabolic resistance training, which I had heard of and wanted to learn about. I thought I was doing a good job working out before, but these sessions proved that I wasn’t.  What he had me doing was tough.  Fitness has evolved and what he taught me started showing results even after just a few weeks.  Early on though I was afraid that Nate would tell me that I wasn’t cut out for MRT and that I would have to do something else.

In addition to better workouts, I got my eating back to what it needs to be.  I go out of my way not to use to d word.  I went crazy on Thanksgiving,but other than that I’ve been pretty good. I was already doing a lot of things right, but I got some more tips from Nate and a dietitian at the gym. I threw away everything that was unhealthy or expired in my kitchen and there was almost nothing left.  It was fun to go shopping for healthier food.

At one point I lost 5% of my body fat in a month, which Nate says is hard to do and is a record among his clients.  Apparently he’s been bragging about me because of that.  After about 5 weeks of a “basic” workout, I bought more sessions to learn a more advanced workout.  I thought what I was going before was tough, but this is even tougher. I’m getting the hang of and I’m actually enjoying it now. Nate also formulated a food plan that actually allowed for more food each day that I was previously eating.

I had my annual physical last week and unlike last year, my cholesterol was right where it needed to be.  Yay for overall health improvement!

I’ve been showing off how much progress I made after 3 months.  Pictures of me on this blog are pretty rare I think.

Progress after 3 months

Let’s see what I can do in another 3 months.

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.