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Geek Out Loud Fat Off

November 9th, 2013 1 comment

I decided to take part in Geek Out Loud’s weight loss challenge. It’s called Civil War Episode 7: The Fatoff. It started yesterday and goes until Dec 6. Basically, everyone put $35 into the pool. Each person who loses 4% of their body weight in 4 weeks splits the pool. Right now the pool is at $805. I have to lose 7.7 lbs to win.

I lost 90 lbs, but then I put about 25 back on. It’s shouldn’t be too hard to drop 7.7 lbs if I do what I know I should be doing. My only issue is that I hate the word diet because of what it sometimes implies. I made a lifestyle change when I lost my weight. I never changed what I eat, just how much of it I eat.

Anyway, I think I’ll get back the $35 I put in, maybe more. Maybe I’ll get back down to my former weight within the next few months. Check out the page here.

Voodoo Fest 2013

November 9th, 2013 1 comment

This past weekend I went to New Orleans for Voodoo Fest. I met my friend John down there. We’d been looking forward to this since we last met up in Reno back in June. This was the first time I had been to New Orleans and Voodoo Fest since Voodoo Fest 2007.
Voodoo Fest sign

On Friday, I flew to New Orleans. It is a LONG way from Portland to New Orleans. My first stop on the way there was at L.A.X. My plane landed around the time of the L.A.X. shooting that was in the news. We did sit on the runway for a while before we parked. Maybe the shooting was why. Everything was calm in the area I was in. I didn’t even know about the shooting until I got on wifi and checked Twitter. Once we made it to New Orleans the local news interviewed some of the people on our flight about it. John picked me up at the airport. He was worried because one of the flights from L.A. to New Orleans was delayed because of the shooting. After taking my stuff to the hotel and catching up a little bit, we headed to Voodoo Fest. We missed Macklemore & Lewis, but soon it was time for Pearl Jam. They put on a great show! They are an excellent live band! They played a few songs from the new album, but it was mostly older favorites. They played the songs I would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t hear: “Given to Fly” and “Do the Evolution”. I was surprised to hear “In My Tree”. John’s not as big of a Pearl Jam fan as me. He really likes “Do the Evolution”, so I’m glad they played it. After the show, I think we drank before calling it a night. We slept for 11 hours. I blame it on the jet lag and staying up late.
Pearl Jam

On Saturday I think we got something to eat and then headed back to the park. While walking around the park, we heard the end of Paramore’s set, but after that it was time for Nine Inch Nails. They started a lot earlier than the schedule said, so I’m glad we got there early. They also put on a great show. I’m not as big of a NIN fan as John. They played the song he really wanted to hear: “Reptile”. I think they played a lot of new songs, or maybe just songs that I’m not as familiar with. I got more pumped up during “Wish” than I did the entire night. They played one of the songs I really wanted to hear: “The Hand that Feeds”. I wish they would have played “Closer”, but it was still a great show.
Nine Inch Nails

On Sunday, we skipped Voodoo Fest entirely. We had talked about going to see Kid Rock and The Cure that night, but decided against it. It was too much of a hassle going to the park and back. We did some shopping and then hung out with one of John’s old friends, Elizabeth. She lives in New Orleans. I’ve hung out with her a few times over the years. She’s very cool. We did a little bar hopping and lost some money at the casino. Then we went to a club where Elizabeth’s boyfriend was DJing later in the night. We ended up leaving before his 2:30am performance because we were all tired.
friends

On Monday, I flew back to Portland. It’s always sad coming back after having a great time with friends. I’m grateful that I got to go. Both Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails play in Portland later this month, so I’ll get to see them again. I got sick on this trip like I did at P.A.X. John is suffering the same symptoms I am. I think my next trip will be February at the earliest. It’ll be nice to spend time at home on weekends.

Shark Attack

October 27th, 2013 1 comment

I haven’t done much lately. I’ve enjoyed having a few weekends in a row to relax around here. Two of my co-workers and I have started having a weekly board game night here at my place.

Last week we didn’t have game night because one person was busy, so I decided to take advantage of the extra time to get a head start on some routine cleaning that I was planning to do that weekend. I always liked cleaning growing up and I still do to this day. I cleaned the bathrooms, mopped the floors, and vacuumed the carpets. When it came time for me to clean the couch using an attachment on my vacuum, I noticed that the spinner thing wasn’t moving as quickly as normal, so it wasn’t performing as effectively as it should. I ran it over the couch longer, hoping to collect more hair.
Over the next couple of days, I noticed more hair than normal on my clothes and in the air. I decided to try the attachment again. Same result. I took one of the attachment things off while the vacuum was still on and a big ball of hair came flying out of the hose. This is when I realized that the “change bag” indicator was on. It never occurred to me that the bag might be full. I was still using the last of the bags that came with the vacuum about 4 years ago. My last place didn’t have much carpet, so I didn’t vacuum much. I’m not sure that I ever had to change the bags there. I’ve gone through 2 bags in the year and half that I’ve lived here.

So I went to Target to get some replacement bags and I couldn’t find any. I was looking near the vacuums, but I thought that maybe I was looking in the wrong place. All of a sudden it hit me. Maybe they don’t make vacuums that use bags anymore. I checked all the ones on display and all of them were bagless vacuums. This irritated me for no rational reason. I knew that I could probably go online to order some bags, but I had it in my head that I would have my couch cleaned that night. So, I impulsive bought a new vacuum.

I got one of those Shark vacuums, a Shark Navigator DLX. I know I’ve seen or heard an advertisement for them recently, and they claim to have more suction power than a Dyson. This one was $160, which is about twice as much as my 4 year old Bissell cost. I wasn’t about to pay $400 for a Dyson. This one has a 5-year warranty, which is about how long I expect anything to last these days. I remember my mom’s old vacuum that she had all throughout my childhood and into my college years. They don’t make things to last anymore, do they?
Shark Navigator DLX

After I assembled my new vac, the only thing I did was use it to clean the couch. The hair on the couch along filled up about ¼ or 1/3 of the cup, which isn’t small. I didn’t re-vacuum the entire apartment, but think that this vacuum will do a much better job at sucking up dirt and hair than my old one did. My dog sheds like crazy. When my friend John was here in February, he had problems with allergies even though I cleaned the entire apartment a couple of days before he got here.

So, yeah, I’m at the point in my life where I get excited by new appliances and I’ve been here for a while. I’m excited to run through my entire apartment with this thing.

Rose City Comic Con 2013

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.

A Night at the Drive-In

September 15th, 2013 No comments

When I was living in Mississippi, I was often jealous of things that my Twitter friends could do in their cities that I couldn’t do in Starkville. One of those things was going to a drive-in theater. I see tons of movies every year, but drive-ins are a part of cinema history I had yet to experience. That changed last night.
99W Drive-In

I know I searched for a nearby drive-in either before I moved or soon after. The 99W Drive-In is in Newberg, which is a 35-minute drive from where I live. This theater has been around since 1953. My friend Arturo and I went down to watch a double feature of Pacific Rim and The Conjuring for $8 each. I had seen both of them, but he hadn’t seen either of them. I had thought about going a few weeks ago, but they weren’t playing anything I wanted to pay money to see at the time. We got there early and got a space right up front. Each row has a little hill so you can park your car at an upward angle and get a more comfortable view of the screen. There were people there who were obviously more experienced at this than us. They brought chairs, blanket, blow-up mattresses, etc. Most of these people were in SUVs, vans, or trucks, and parked in reverse so they could lay down in the pack. I took some mental notes for next time.
99W Drive-In

It was packed by the time the first movie started. They played the two movies back to back, with an intermission in between. Along with previews for current movies, they played some advertisements from the 50s and 80s. I enjoyed seeing those 2 movies again even though it was weird hearing the sound through my car speakers. I had a great time there and I definitely plan on going back.
99W Drive-In screen

One thing I didn’t know until a few weeks ago is how much danger drive-ins are of going out of business. This is the last year that films will be distributed in 35mm and most theaters can’t afford the $75-$80K digital projector upgrade. Honda had a contest where they allowed you to vote on which drive-ins to save. They would donate a free digital projector to the top vote getters. When I found out about it, I spread the word amongst my local friends. Without this, 99W would probably have to close. As of last night, Honda had announced a few winners, but 99W was still waiting to see if they’d won. Earlier today I got a message from Arturo saying that 99W had won and they were doing free movies and snacks today in celebration. I’m glad that they’re staying in business and that I may have played a small part in it.
99W Drive-In won Honda contest

PAX 2013

September 3rd, 2013 No comments

This past weekend I went to PAX Prime in Seattle for the second time. I probably said this last year, but I want to make this an annual trip. If you’re a gamer of any kind, you should try to attend PAX at least once.

The trip to Seattle on Thursday took 5 hours (it should be around 3) due to an accident and rain. After I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, I went straight to an Xbox Meetup that was held at a Microsoft Store a few miles away. They were showing off the Xbox One. The line to get in was long. Major Nelson hosted the event. I got a chance to play Ryse: Son of Rome, which is a launch game that I had already pre-ordered. The little bit I played was co-op, and it was okay. They’re still working on it, so I’ll wait until closer to launch to decide whether or not to cancel my pre-order. Later that night, I went to a pre-PAX party. I didn’t stay long because I felt out of place there.
Xbox Meetup

Friday was the first official day of the con. First I went to the Queue Room to get in line to go to the exhibition floor. If there’s something that you really want to get hands on time with on the floor, you get to the Queue Room early to get in line. Once I got onto the floor, I was mostly snapping pictures because I didn’t want to wait in another line to play games. After exploring the floor, I went to watch the League of Legends competition to get some skins that a friend wanted. The only panel I went to was the Rooster Teeth panel, which was good. The best part for me was when they played the latest episode of an animated series they do called Rwby. I’m going to check it out when I get a chance. I went to the Final Fantasy XIV launch party that afternoon. I didn’t know about this party until that day. I got to shake hands with the producer of the game and get the autograph of the composer. The last thing I did was go to the PAX Pink Party where played a game of Cards Against Humanity with a bunch of strangers. By the end of the day, I was tired and couldn’t believe I had 3 more days.
statue

On Saturday I didn’t wait in line for the queue room. I just went in after the floor had already opened. I got a chance to see more cool costumes and some booths I didn’t see the day before. I went to the WildStar panel and the Major Nelson Radio panel. After those I went to the Guild Wars 2 Anniversary celebration, which had different events throughout the day. It was a lot of fun.
WildStar panel

On Sunday, I don’t think I spent much time on the exhibition floor. There’s not as many cool costumes, but this was the most panel heavy day for me. I went to the Queers in Gaming, Destructiod, Voice Acting 101, and Cards Against Humanity panels. This was the only night I didn’t go to an afterparty, but the CAH panel lasted pretty late.
Cards Against Humanity panel pre-panel entertainment

Monday was the last day. There wasn’t a lot going on this day. The only panel I went to was Inside Gearbox. This was the only time I had to wait in line outside in the sun. The panel itself was pretty funny and they gave out some codes for some cool stuff to everyone in the audience. After that I went to the console free play area. I really regretted not knowing about this until the end of the con last year, so I made a point to stop by this year. I ended the con there. The Post-PAX afterparty was that night. I won a PAX scarf in a raffle.
console freeplay

Some notes:

  • My roommates were a lot better this year than last. I have no complaints about them.
  • I did the Street Pass thing on my 3DS while I waiting in line. My count went from around 100 to close to 500.
  • I got around 7-8 hours of sleep a night. At home I usually get 4-5 hours.
  • I saw a lot of people with my model or a similar model camera. I was a conversation starter many times. My camera helped me meet a couple who do graphic design at the Guild Wars 2 celebration. I’ll probably be getting in touch with them soon.who do graphic design
  • Hotel parking cost over $40 a night. The amount I paid for parking is higher than how much a plane ticket would have been.
  • Most of the events I went to that weren’t officially part of the con could have been better organized.

    I may be exhausted now, but I had a great time a PAX again this year. Like last year, I saw come big-time games that weren’t on my radar and now I’m excited about them. I also saw some indie games that I’m excited to try out. I don’t think I got as much free stuff this year as last, but I really like the stuff I got. I would probably throw most of it away anyway. My biggest regret is not doing any tabletop gaming, so I’ll be sure to do that next year. Unless something big stops me, I’ll definitely be back then.

    All 118 of my pics are available on Facebook for those interested.

  • GaymerX

    August 5th, 2013 2 comments

    This past weekend I went to San Francisco to attend the 1st ever GaymerX, which is the world’s first gaming conference geared toward the LGBT community and LGBT allies. They had a Kickstarter last year, which I supported, and they smashed their fundraising goal. At first it was going to be called Gaymercon, but they had to change the name due to trademark issues. The con took place at the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown, which is a pretty neat park of San Francisco. By coincidence, there was an Asian street fair going on at the same time next to the hotel. Pretty neat.
    Asian street fair

    I got to the hotel late Friday night. I met up with the guy I found on the convention’s website’s forum so he could get into the room. He was a really nice guy. You never know what you’re going to get when you go in blind that way. After I registered for the con, I went out to a bar and started drinking. At some point I met up with a guild that I’ve been playing with for about a year. I got really drunk. I don’t even remember how I got back to the hotel that night. They watched out for me apparently.

    Saturday was the first day of the con. I was very hung over from the night before. I had to leave a couple of panels early because I was feeling sick. I made occasional trips back up to the room just to rest for a few minutes. I went to panels on everything from including LGBT characters in games to yaoi. I went to the 10th anniversary party of my gaming guild. A group of them went to watch a movie a park, but San Francisco was cold and I was still sick. I went to a concert the con had for a little while, played games a little, and then went to bed.
    Bioware panel

    Sunday was the second and last day of the con. I went to breakfast with my hotel roomie and checked out some of the Asian street fair. I went to panels on gaming journalism and furries. I think my horizons have been sufficiently expanded…maybe. The closing ceremonies were a little sad. I always feel that way at the end of a con. We did get a sing-a-long of “Still Alive” led by the actress who does the voice of GLaDOS in the Portal games and her husband.

    Overall, I had a great time at the con. They did an excellent job for the first-year con. Hopefully, they take what they learned and make next year better. One panelist said that this was the best smelling con that she had been to. Thank goodness for people who know how to shower and use deodorant. I have to agree with everyone who said that the vibe there was great and different from any other con I’ve been to. Everyone was extremely positive. Some may question the need for having a separate con like this. I heard the sentiment that for many (especially the female attendees) this was the first con they’ve been to where no one made them feel uncomfortable. Before I made it to the con I had already made up my mind that I wouldn’t go back for year two, but instead wait a year or two to go back. By the end of the first day, I knew I wanted to go back next year.
    view from the plane

    Aisha Tyler Book Signing

    July 14th, 2013 No comments

    I think it was about a week ago that I learned Aisha Tyler would be in town for a book signing at Powell’s. Usually I know about these things way ahead of time, but this one slipped by me. There have been other signings that I planned to go to and changed my mind because something came up or I was too tired, but I knew I had to make it to this one.

    I first became aware of Aisha Tyler when she was on 24, which was one of my favorite shows at that time. No, I didn’t watch Friends, so I don’t know her from that show. Sometime after that I saw her on TechTV on some show they did about celebrities who play video games. Or maybe I saw her on TechTV first and then remembered her when I saw her on 24. Whatever the case, I loved her geekiness. Since then I’ve learned just how big of a geek she is. Also, in addition to TV and movies, she’s also does stand-up. I haven’t watched everything she’s been, but I’ve sort of kept up with what she’s done. I listened to her podcast for a while and I recently t started watching Archer.
    Aisha Tyler

    She started out by reading a passage from her book. I have it, but I haven’t had a chance to read it. Afterwards she took a bunch of questions. She was very funny and sweet. She seems like a genuinely nice person. Then it was time for autographs. This was a much smaller crowd than the Neil Gaiman signing, so it went by quickly and was stress free. She took time to talk to everyone and even posed for pictures if you asked. I told her how much I loved her on 24 and thanked her for coming to Portland.
    Aisha Tyler and me

    I had a great time! I’ve re-subscribed to her podcast. I also set my DVR to record the reboot of Who’s Line Is It Anyway. She took over for Drew Carey. I loved that show back in the day. I need to find some of her stand-up on YouTube. I plan on starting her book soon.

    Changes

    July 6th, 2013 No comments

    Over the past few days I’ve made a few little changes to the site. I mostly copied things I’ve seen other people do. The site may be slightly more modern now.

    I added an option to the sidebar to subscribe to new posts by email.

    I also added Disqus comments. I thought about adding Disqus a couple of years ago, but I didn’t like the idea of having something other than WordPress manage my comments. Now, I don’t really care. I sign in to Disqus when I comment on sites that support it.

    Lastly, in a few places I made cosmetic fixes to issues that have been bugging me for a while. It’s not perfect, but it’s better. Note: I test this site with Chrome. I’m not responsible for what you see if you’re using an inferior browser.

    Neil Gaiman Book Signing

    June 30th, 2013 No comments

    I got to meet Neil Gaiman yesterday! Woot! He’s on his last book signing tour. He says it’s his last one because it’s no fun for anyone. After last night, I can see that. He has to sign so many books and people have to wait in line for hours.

    I got to the venue an hour before the doors opened and there was already a very long line. We had to stand outside on an unusually hot day for Portland. Once we got inside, there was no air conditioning, though they did open the windows. As Neil joked several times, we were cooking. After a little music from an opening act, Neil did a reading from his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Then there was a Q&A and another reading from a book that will be released in September. He was reluctant to do the second reading because of the heat, but everyone wanted him to do it. He was very entertaining. It made me think I should “read” more audio books.

    Next came the book signing. Each book that we received as we walked in had a piece of paper of a certain color with a certain shape on it, e.g. red circle or light green star. We were called up to get our books signed in groups based on that piece of paper. He said that 900 people were in attendance and someone in my group estimated that there were about 150 left when we were called. I was very tired and annoyed while waiting, but once we got called that all went away. Once it was my turn to talk to him, all I really did was tell him how much I loved American Gods. He was cool. I’m sure he’s used to it. I got an autograph for myself and for my friend John.
    Neil Gaiman

    From the time I got in line until the time I left, about 5.5 hours had passed. It was worth it. They had pre-signed books in the back for those that didn’t want to wait for a personalized autograph. They kept reminding people of that though people who had waited that long probably weren’t going to take them up on it. I’m glad I waited. It’s not every day that you get to meet one of your favorite authors.