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My Poor Dog

March 18th, 2014 2 comments

As many of you know, it’s been a tough week for my little dog Reese. Today is Tuesday and it started last Tuesday when I noticed that his tail was hanging limp during our morning walk. He also hesitated to climb up on his steps to get on the couch. I left work early and took him to see the vet. The vet figured it might be a back problem that dachshunds tend to have and recommended rest and medicine.

Wednesday morning he seemed to be feeling better, but when I got home that night he was doing worse.

Thursday morning he was having trouble getting up, so I took him back to the vet’s office. His normal vet was doing procedures all morning so we saw a different vet. When we got to the vet, he was almost normal again. The doctor thinks it was adrenaline making him feel better. She prescribed more medicine. When I got home from work that night he was once again not wanting to get up. I think at this point I had to bring food to him and squirt water in his mouse. I took him to the emergency vet. They took x-rays, but didn’t see anything that warranted surgery. The doctor upped the dosage on his pain meds. That night he was up all night whining. Neither of us got much sleep. I carried him outside to do his business, but he couldn’t because he couldn’t stand up.

Friday morning I gave him his medicine and went to work even though he was whining. I called my vet and left him message. When he called back, he recommended I take Reese to see a surgeon. I left work immediately and took him to see one. She did a more thorough examination and did a CAT scan. The CAT scan showed that he had a herniated disc and that it was pretty bad. She performed surgery on him that day. He could come home the next day or the day after that.

On Saturday, I spent some time getting the place ready for him to come back. He needs to have his movement restricted for the next 8 weeks. He doesn’t need to do a lot of waling and he doesn’t need to be on the furniture.

On Sunday, I brought him home. It’s so hard to look at the incision on his back. He whined all day, but finally got a little sleep at night. The doctor thinks the whininess might be a side effect the pouch he’s wearing to help with the pain. Since I took half the patch off, he hasn’t been whining nearly as much. I’ve been so nervous about him doing something to hurt himself, but he’s been fine so far.

He seems to be doing much better now physically. He doesn’t have trouble getting up and laying down like he did when I brought him home. He starts to run after me sometimes like he normally does and I always make him stay where he is. He walks slightly differently and arches his back when he’s peeing. He has a follow-up appointment with the surgeon on Friday. Here’s hoping the rest of his recovery is as easy. I’m finally starting to relax a little today.

If you’re a pet owner, I highly recommend getting pet insurance if you can. I pay $30 a month for mine. I got it a couple of years ago. I’ve heard many stories about people going broke when something happens to their pets. I should have to pay hardly any of the cost of his surgery.

Closer to Normal

February 27th, 2014 No comments

Earlier in the month, we had about 4 days of snow. It was the most snow I’ve seen since I moved to Portland. This coincided with my assignment ended at work. I ended up getting a week off from work unexpectedly and started a new assignment the following week. The new assignment is going well so far. I really like the team.

Podcasting has been going well. It’s taking up a lot of my time, but it’s a lot of fun

I didn’t get a chance to take the swimming class I was supposed to start in January that I had signed up for because I was working late. I signed up for another class that started in Feb. I’m enjoying it. I might not be good at all the kicks and whatnot, but at least I’m comfortable in the water. I need to work on floating on and swimming on my back.

I’m glad work isn’t as crazy as it was in January. Things almost feel normal again around here.

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Portland Comic Con 2014

January 28th, 2014 No comments

This past weekend was the 2nd annual Wizard World Portland Comic Con. It was bigger and better than the first one.

My biggest problem with this con was lack of organization. The lines were badly managed. The volunteers didn’t know information that needed to be known. They didn’t have information on the website that would have been helpful to attendees. I kept hearing about panels, but they weren’t listed on the website. I didn’t go to any panels because I didn’t know about them until after the fact. Maybe they were in the pamphlet that I saw a few people with, but I never got a pamphlet. The website said some people would appear on certain days, but not what time they would be doing what. I’ll do a better job of seeking this information out next year. Next year I’ll be getting a VIP pass.

I didn’t go on Friday even though I had a 3-day pass. None of the celebrities I wanted to see were scheduled to be there that day as far as I knew. Now I know that CM Punk had a panel that night. I would have loved to have seen that.

On Saturday, I got there about an hour before it opened. I had on a red and blue striped shirt that people said made me look like Freddy Kreuger. It wasn’t intentional. Robert Englund was one of the guests that weekend and I saw him signing autographs. The first thing I wanted to do was get Summer Glau’s autograph for my friend John and get a picture with her. It was hard to figure out what to do with the voucher I purchased in advance. I got sent to one place and then got sent back to where I started. When I got to meet her, she was super sweet. If you wanted a picture with her, it had to be taken with your own camera. Her fiancee took the picture. After he snapped the photo, he had this weird look on his face. My immediate thought was that the picture was going to be blurry and that I would be forever disappointed. Then he said, “I don’t know if it’s the camera or me, but this is a really good picture.” I glanced at it quickly and closed the viewer so I could get out of the way, but Summer said that she wanted to see it. I showed it to her and she also thought it was a good picture. I am pleased with it. I walked around the floor for a couple of hours after that.
Summer Glau

Later that day I got to get Bruce Campbell’s autograph. I had planned out what I wanted to say to him, including asking him to record a bumper for Intro to Brisco. He was moving everyone through the line quickly. Before I could say anything, he started asking me questions about me and before I knew it, he was handing my autographed photo back to me. Before I left, I did mention the podcast though.
Bruce Campbell's autograph

On Sunday, I got there early as well. I was really only there to get a photograph with William Shatner. I found out what time it was going to be and after looking around the floor I hung out around the area where I knew the line was going to be. I was one of the first people in line after the VIPs, so it didn’t take long. My time with Shatner was even shorter than my time with Bruce Campbell, but at least I got to speak to him.
William Shatner

I had a great time. I think the main reason I like going to cons is take pictures of people in their costumes. There were some good ones. Some people showed up in their underwear or in tights that didn’t leave much to the imagination. There was a Leeloo that I tried to get a pic with, but the person who took the pic didn’t know how to use my camera and I didn’t want to ask for another. Anyway, my first con of the year down. Who knows how many more to go.
Martian Manhunter

cosplayers at Portland Comic Con 2014

I’m a Podcaster Now

January 19th, 2014 No comments

I have been listening to podcasts for years, but now I have become a podcaster myself.  I’ve been a guests on podcasts before.  I’ve thought about doing my own for years.  I even had a podcast about The Legend of the Seeker set up in iTunes a few years ago, but never did it because I couldn’t find a cohost.  Now I’ve finally motivated myself enough to do it.  Beginning this month, I’ll be on two introcasts (introductory podcasts).

One is called Intro to  Brisco.  It’s a podcast about The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.  My cohost Caitlin and I are new to the series.  I’ve been meaning to watch this show for a while.  I bought the DVDs about 3 or 4 years ago, but never got around to them.  Now I have a chance.  I’ve heard good things about it. Matt and Mel are veterans of the show.  We just spend 3 hours recording our first episode.  The pilot episode of Brisco was 2 hours and we had lots of feedback.

The other one is called Downbelow: A Babylon 5 IntroCast.  As you can probably tell, it’s a podcast about Babylon 5, which is one of my favorite TV shows ever.  Cohost Ian is also a veteran and Elisabeth and Heidi are newbies.  I’m so excited to introduce people to this show.  We’ve released 2 episodes already.  The pilot movie was 2 hours and it took a long time to cover it.

I’m having fun so far doing these podcasts.  It’s a lot of work.  I hope people understand that I’m new and it will take a little while for everyone to become comfortable.  I’m learning a lot.  I got some new equipment this past week and learning how to properly use it has been a slightly frustrating experience.  I’m also learning audio editing using Audacity.  Give these shows a try if they sound interested.  Constructive criticism is appreciated.

The End of 2013 is Here

December 31st, 2013 No comments

With 2012 being such a spectacular and life-changing year, there was no way that 2013 could be just as good, right?  While that turned out to be true, 2013 was still a fantastic year.

I lost my job, which caused me to lose the house I was a few days away from closing on.  However, I landed a new job about 6 weeks later.  I still haven’t had any desire to start looking for another house again.  One of these days…

I think I did more traveling this year than any previous year.  I went to Las Vegas, Canada, Reno, Tahoe, San Francisco, Seattle, and New Orleans.  I had a great time on each trip.

I got to spend time with old friends this year and make new ones.  The 2-week visit from my good friend John and our trip to Canada was one of the highlights of the year.  I’ve become involved in some local groups, so I’m even more socially active.

I’m looking forward to 2014.  I think it’ll be even better than this year.  I have some things in the works and I hope there will be some good surprises.

Christmas 2013

December 26th, 2013 No comments

I had a good Christmas this year.  I decided to remain in Portland this year. It’s nice to spend a holiday resting instead of traveling.  I missed seeing my family, but I didn’t mind missing out on the airports. I worked on Christmas Eve for the first time ever, but I did take a vacation from work beginning on Christmas Day and ending on New Year’s Day. On Christmas Day I saw two movies, two of many movies I plan to see during my break. I’m going to a game night on New Year’s Eve, but that’s the only social activity.  I have planned.

What did I get for my birthday and Christmas? My friends and family took very good care of me this year.

  • Grimm lore book
  • Batman figure
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Princess Mononoke on DVD
  • 2(x)ist underwear
  • Pizza pan
  • Beanie
  • Enterprise-D model
  • C.O.P.S. Vol. 1 and 2 on DVD
  • Batman snuggie

I sent my niece a toy Dora the Explorer guitar. I hear that she really liked it and was doing air guitar not long before she got her gift.

Geek Out Loud Fat Off Conclusion

December 8th, 2013 No comments

I won the weight loss challenge that I took part in. I needed to lose 7.7 lbs and I lost 8.0 lbs. Out of the 24 participants, 11 people were winners. The pot was $840. I put in $35 and I got a payment of $57.25. DietBet takes out a 25% fee apparently. I’m just happy I got more than I put in.

I didn’t do as well as I could have. I didn’t lost as much in the first week as I did in weeks two and four. I was still eating too much junk food. I actually gained weight in week three, which was Thanksgiving week. Altogether we lost 189.7 lbs in 4 weeks. Good job everyone!

Thanksgiving 2013

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.

Console Crazy

December 1st, 2013 2 comments

I’ve been playing the Xbox One and the PS4 a lot lately. I pre-ordered then both so I would have them at launch. The PS4 actually came a few days late because of a screw up by Amazon, but I have had a good amount of time with both of them.

In spite of a few bugs, I am pleased with both consoles. I don’t buy the mentality that you should never buy anything when it’s first released because it’ll have issues. I’m hearing a lot of people say, “I’m glad I waited.” Well, unless it’s hardware failure, I can deal with the issues. Most issues I have can be fixed by a simple reboot. Hopefully, Sony and Microsoft will have patches out soon. I think I read somewhere that less than 1% of people are getting the light of death, whatever color it is now. Every launch is going to have some problems. It just seems like a lot of people are being affected because so many people are buying them right now. The only real issue I had was with audio and that was because my sound system’s receiver is old. I found a new receiver for a good price and that fixed that.

The graphics on both consoles are gorgeous. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting a big improvement in graphics. Now I realize that it shouldn’t have been a surprise. My favorite one is the Xbox One. The PS4 probably has the better graphics, but the Xbox One experience is better. I have enough games on each system to last a while. I hope this generation of consoles lasts at least as long as the last one.
Xbox One

Pearl Jam, Portland 2013

November 30th, 2013 3 comments

I had such a great time at the Pearl Jam concert I went to last night. Pearl Jam is my favorite band ever, for those that don’t know. Instead of Black Friday, I celebrated Pearl Jam Friday! I saw them 4 weeks after I last saw them at Voodoo Fest.

I woke up around 7am and I saw online that there were about 14 people in line for general admission seating as of 6am. I didn’t have time for that. I had a few things to do early in the day. I went to go pick up my tickets at 2:30 when the fan club’s will call windows opened. Each show (not counting Voodoo Fest) had a general admission “pit” area on the floor right in front of the stage for fan club members. Behind the pit was a seated section for fan club members. I requested tickets in the pit. I’ve been a member of the Pearl Jam fan club since 1998. That gives me a great priority because my membership number is fairly low. If people let their membership expire, they start over and get a new, higher number. Back when I saw them in 2000 and 2003, I got 4th and 2nd row seats. I’m sure that my priority and the fact that a lot of people probably chose to get Seattle (Pearl Jam’s home base) tickets instead of Portland helped me get the GA floor seats that I wanted. You have to buy fan club tickets in pairs. I found someone in a Facebook group I’m in to buy my other ticket. She and a friend were coming from Italy to attend a few shows on the tour. I can’t remember if she said it was her first time in the U.S. or just her first time in Portland.

The will call line was really short. After that I tackled the LONG merchandise line. Merchandise is very popular on Pearl Jam tours. They have unique stickers, t-shirts, and posters for each stop on the tour. Fans trade with each other or sell it online. It took my about an hour to get through the line. I picked up a poster, a t-shirt, and 2 stickers. I’m usually not into this type of stuff, but for Pearl Jam I’ll make an exception. After that I went to put my merchandise in my car and warm up using the heater a little bit. I parked in the garage next to the arena.
tickets and wrist bands

After about 45 minutes in my car, I went to wait in the GA line. The sooner you got there, the better. I didn’t’t have a bad spot, but I definitely wasn’t going to be right up against the rail. I met some pretty cool people in line. There was a father who was there with his teenage son. After about 2 hours there, we finally got to go inside. Everyone rushed so they could get a good spot. My spot was 4 people deep, slightly to the right of the center of the stage. Nice!

About an hour and a half later the opening act, Mudhoney, came on stage at 7:30. I don’t know much about them, but apparently they were a precursor to grunge and they greatly influenced Pearl Jam. They played for only 30 minutes. Thank goodness! I was tired of waiting. Then at 8:30, Pearl Jam took the stage.

Oh my goodness! This was an amazing show! It’s not just my opinion. The crowd was really into it. I later saw posts online from people show saw the setlist (it changes every night) and thought it was exceptional. There was a 60ish pot-smoking lady who was there with her daughters. I danced with her and one of her daughters some. Pearl Jam played a few songs from the new ablum, which I’m not as familiar with as I am the older stuff. Most of the show was older stuff that I could sing along to pretty much word for word. They played “You Are”, which they haven’t played in years. I was also surprised to hear “Sometimes”, “Rats”, “Deep”, and “Mother”. They didn’t play one of my favorites “Do the Evolution” like they did in New Orleans, but they more than made up for it with one of my favorites from the same album, “Low Light”. And they played many of the hits like “Alive”, “Even Flow”, “Black”, “Porch”, and “Rearviewmirror”. They were really into it and had lots of energy. At one point they mentioned that this was the best crowd they’ve had in Portland since ‘92 or ’93. The building was packed. There were a few times when I’m pretty sure Eddie was looking right at me while he was singing. I tried not to look away out of nervousness. I don’t usually get nervous around celebrities. Also, there was once were he spoke from the stage to a couple immediately to my left and a guy immediately behind me and to my right. They made a couple of mistakes during the show, but they laughed it off instead of getting upset about it. During the last song, “Rockin in the Free World”, a bunch of people came on stage to play with them, including Sleater-Kinney and Peter Buck from R.E.M.
Eddie Vedder

They left the stage for the last time right at 11:30. They played for 3 hours!!! 3 HOURS!!! After all the standing, jumping up and down, and dancing, it was hard for me to move my legs to leave the building. I could barely move for the last few songs. I ripped part of my thumbnail off during the show somehow. I have no idea how it happened.

My only complaints I had about the night were because of the pit. The couple that Eddie spoke to was rude to people and didn’t’t care that they were being rude because it was the husband’s birthday. And you had the people who would try to push their way up closer. There were times when it was so cramped that I couldn’t really move. I didn’t mind that we were bumping into each other a lot, but it wouldn’t have been nice I could’ve moved my arms more. I had to be a dick and shove some people back who tried to get in front of me. They should’ve gotten there earlier if they wanted better seats. The couple who was being rude earlier actually stopped some people from sneaking in front of me, so in my head I forgave them a little. Every time I would start getting upset, Pearl Jam would play a song I really liked or Eddie would say something cool and I would start to feel good again.

So, yeah, I had a great time at the show. Right now I believe it’s my #1 concert ever. I’m excited to buy the official bootleg in a few months! I’ll make every effort to be there the next time Pearl Jam is in Portland. My favorite part of the night was one of the many times Eddie came down front to interact with the crowd. This time he came into the crowd a little right next to where I was. There were only about 3 people between me and him. If I hadn’t hesitated and moved forward when others did, I could have been one of the people that got a fist bump. I waved at him and he either waved back at me or to the guy standing near me. Look at the pic below and see how close I was to one of my idols.
Eddie Vedder closeup

15. AFTER HOURS (Lou Reed)
17. RATS

27. WHY GO

34. ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD (with Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, and all of Sleater-Kinney)