Saturday, June 30, 2007
Today was an easy day to reward myself for surviving Friday. I went on a trip with Dean to Westmoreland Park for the first time. He swam in a pond and chased ducks. Then I watched Death of a President which wasn't as cool as I thought it would be. Then I went to block party some of my friends were having. It was great. They barricaded off the streets, have big speakers and chill music, grilled up some veggie food and then we set up a video screen in the middle of the street and watched the Princess Bride. Easy Saturdays...
Get up at 7 am, get ready for work, go to work at 8 am, get a month's worth of paperwork done in eight hours along with two weeks of payroll, cheer at 4 pm, go to a friend's house to help him move computer stuff, get home at 5pm, make a batch of cookies for a meeting at 6pm, have the meeting til 9 pm. Breathe at 9:01 pm.
I had no choice but to go on autopilot today. I had an amazing amount of energy due to chi-kung the night before. Fortunately lifting weights at 9 pm got canceled. The only new thing I could squeeze in was having a Mandarin Lime soda for the first time.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
My grandpa was the only person in my life as a child who smoked. Well he and my best friend's jerk-of-a-dad were the only two people but my grandpa was the only person whom I respected that smoked. It was something I never really thought about doing. Only my country-style friends smoked as a teen and it never really appealed to me then either.
I was on my second snakebite tonight when Arturo happened to find a brand new cigarette next to his seat. I was pretty unsatisfied with my day's new thing by then so I decided I would smoke a cigarette. I've taken a puff or two off of a cigarette but I've never actively sought to smoke my own. I couldn't finish it. It was awful.
Most of my close friends, my nearest and dearest, smoke which doesn't bother me. I sit in the smoke room at work where most of my friends are but I never smoke. It doesn't even occur to me. I just don't like tobacco. I have my vices and I'd hate to be called out on them constantly. That's why I just roll with my puffin' friends. I can be cool like that.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Guilt weighed on me today. One day after I promised to take Dean for a walk everyday, I missed one walk. How does one alieviate dog-ridden guilt? He buys his dog a dog!
Dean and I took a long walk to Zach's Shack stopping at two different parks. It was the first time I'd been to Zach's but it won't be the last! They have many many varieties of hot dogs styles on their menu with all sorts of toppings, each can be substituted with vegetarian options at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE! These people are awesome.
I had my first Chicago dog. Wow, it was a spicy kick in yummy pants. I bought Dean the a cappella dog (one with nothing) which he ate in one bite. So, if a mostly vegetarian dog eats a vegetarian dog, is it cannibalism???
Monday, June 25, 2007
Riding a scooter over metal mesh is about one of the scariest things I've ever done. I rode over the Hawthorne Bridge soon after I got the scooter and was surprised and terrified at how poorly the scooter handled mesh. When I went over the Morrison bridge, I was surprised because I didn't remember it having mesh in the middle. That was doubly terrifying because everyone is going so fast due to the interstate exits and entrances. Today, I wanted to try the Ross Island bridge because it was going to be the quickest way to the eastside from where I was downtown. I looked into it quite a bit but I was still nervous. Then I remembered that I had already rode on the bridge, with my bike.
During a critical mass, we took the Ross Island Bridge. It was awesome because the cops were so determined not to let us take a bridge when we were downtown. Then we rode in the bike lanes over one of the other bridges to the eastside and biked around southeast long enough for them to get bored. There was about 20 of us still on the ride when we proceeded on the bridge (without a police escort) and took all the westbound lanes and rode without fear of getting run over. It was beautiful.
Today's ride was nice too. There was no fear and no mesh. I went so fast that my chin-strap was the only thing that kept my helmet on my head.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Since I started doing this blog, I've been so focused on trying new things that I have often let the old routines slip by unnoticed. The biggest and most upsetting one has been my regular walks with Dean. I love walking even if it's just around town. I felt like I had a bug up my ass the size of an emu today. I really didn't feel better until I took Dean to Reed College to run around at 10pm. I am vowing now to take him out once a day for a real walk, not a shitty ass walk to buy a beer at the gas station either. Incidently, my new thing today was trying a different flavor of Smirnoff clear beer (or as we call them, Gay Bar Beers). It was the pomegranate. I know, that's a very weak effort at something new but today, it's about the old. Oh yeah, I'll start taking new pictures tomorrow.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Today, I met this guy. His name's Jeffrey and his hands were all over me! Of course, that's what I was paying him for after all.
This morning, for the first time ever, I had a professional massage. As soon as I had the idea to do the one new thing a day blog, a professional massage was one of the things that popped into my head first. Jeffrey works at Common Grounds Wellness Center. He's a nice, older, blind, hippie-looking guy. I guess massage therapists really just see with their hands anyway. Well, it was fantastic. I didn't see god or anything but it did put me in a relaxed mood the rest of the day. My legs are feeling great too. I did soak them in a hot tub last night though. Yep, it's a hard-knock life for Topher.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Today, I woke up this morning positive that my leg was broke. I called in sick to work, telling them that my leg was broke and then I called my doctor to get my leg looked at.
It hurt that bad from hiking (and running) the day before. When I got out of Arturo's car, I could barely walk. I had a hard time making it up the front step into the house. I was almost ready too fall over and call Dean over and have him drag me to bed.
Anyway, the doctor didn't have an appointment open until later so I decided to try stretching and a hot shower. It worked and I could suddenly walk again. Thank you jebus! The moral of the story is stretch.
Oh yeah, the image again has nothing to do with the story except that's how my legs felt. I took it when we were hiking.
Best sick day ever.
While I was having my snakebite with Arturo on Sunday, we made plans to go hiking on Thursday. It was kind of a cumulation of several of my previous 'new things.' I blazed a trail and I saw many different perspectives of this world of ours.
Before we went hiking anywhere, we checked in with the rangers station at Zig Zag. There we met Ranger Chris Doyle who was just about the coolest ranger ever. He told us all the different paths we could take and gave us several shortcuts. He told us to travel the eastern end of the Ramona Falls loop because "that's where the leprechauns live."
We hiked two different paths. The first one gave us the amazing view of Hood in the first picture. We took an unofficial path back, blazing our own trail so we could hurry down to Ramona. It was a good hike and we took our time tripping through the woods. There were several downed trees still on the path which we examined to see which way they fell and what damage they did on the way down (tree forensics!). We came across this awesome exposed rock side. At the bottom of the cliff, closer to the creek were these incredibly soft moss covered boulders. And then finally, we got to Ramona Falls which was simply indescribable. Just look at the photo.
It was already 8 pm before we left the falls. We had to hustle back which meant a lot of jogging. Even with that though, we still ended up walking the last leg of the trail back in the dark. We missed one turn and ended up going the wrong way. I got a little worried but we didn't panic. We did end up finding our way back to the car and my legs and I rejoiced.
All in all, a damn fine adventure for a sick guy!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I went to see 28 Weeks Later. I kind of liked it. I was feeling just paranoid and inebriated enough for it to have an impact on me while biking home.
I said goodnight to everyone and had every intention of biking to Embers to go dance. Before taking off on my bike, I noticed that my backlight blinker wasn't in my backpack. Then I realized my right glove was gone. Everybody else was leaving and I had to wait by the exit door for stragglers to leave so I could enter again. The guy behind the counter grabbed a flashlight and followed me when I told him I lost my glove (shit ain't cheap, yo). We went back and looked for it in a couple rows. Like I said before, I wasn't at the top of my game so I had no idea where it could be. I gave up and left but then I remembered that we should have looked in the booth we sat at after the film. I came back up to door, duder let me in and I found the glove and the blinker on the floor of the booth.
Before I could start biking again, I had this awful feeling that I would deeply regret biking downtown pretty soon. It was strong so I got spooked. I went around the block and turned back home. I was pretty paranoid about getting hit by a car so I stuck to the side roads. On one of the side roads, I passed by a cop in the black and yellow uniform. I freaked out inside but just rode by him quickly. The only car I saw on any of the side streets was one cop car but I saw a lot of silent cyclist zipping by in the night. I biked faster. I came up on one intersection of a side road and a well-lit cross road (Belmont) and I realized that I had never biked up to there before. I was seeing the world from a fresh perspective. Still I was spooked so I kept biking.
I didn't feel safe and hit familiar roads until Division. I didn't feel secure until I was in our back gate. Still, if I saw someone running at me, I would have screamed.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
disclaimer: (this picture is from Pride 2007 and has nothing to do specifically with my day. I just like it.)
I was 20 years old when I met my first crazy person. I mean, he was certifiably crazy, not just a little eccentric. I was a waiter at a Country Kitchen in McCook, Nebraska. I was working the evening shift and a transient came in with two full garbage bags. He just wanted a cup of coffee and a place to sit so they sat him in my section. I went over to take his order and he pulled out his money. I knew he didn't have enough. It didn't matter because I fully intended on buying it for him anyway.
There wasn't anyone else in the restaurant but it wasn't late enough to where the hostess and the cooks were waiting to leave. After the guy started his second cup of coffee, he started mumbling something about monkey brains. As I said, he was my first crazy person encounter so I was engrossed with him. I asked him what he said and then he started talking about how Jesus was back but living in a city that floats in the sky. Unfortunately, the hostess got a little freaked out when the guy started to get animated in his storytelling so she called the cops. Seeing as how it was a smaller city (less than 15,000), the police showed up relatively quickly and escorted the guy out of town.
I've always considered myself a little crazy as well. One has to be a little crazy. As Fox Mulder (grrrr) once said, "Sometimes the only sane response to an insane world is insanity."
So, today for the first time, I reported somebody for abuse of one of my clients at work. I can't divulge a lot of information about the case but she is being written off as 'crazy and lying' by her group home. It's frustrating. I like crazy people. They keep my job interesting. It's upsetting when people ignore or talk down to someone who is identified as insane. Hell, it's the sane ones that you have to watch out for.
Monday, June 18, 2007
I have needed more room in my room for quite some time now. On Saturday, it got to me so much that I started to express my needs to Ashes. Together, we came up with the basic design for a loft which provides me with so much more room. We ground-scored a lot of wood from broken and free palettes in the industrial area and spent a whopping $43 on the rest of the supplies. Then, together with V, the three of us managed to it together in less than three hours.
On Sunday, Ashes and I built the stairs for Dean. For the longest time, I resisted the idea of a loft because Dean likes to sleep on my bed and I wouldn't want to keep him from that so he got stairs. After he did a sloppy test run where I had to lift him down, we decided he needed a landing so today we built that and now it's complete. I couldn't be more proud of it.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I made a path today. I'm not just being philosophical either.
I live on a dead-end street. I really enjoy the lack of car traffic passing by our house. There's an apartment complex next door and we would often exit south through a bramble of blackberry bushes to their parking log. It was a commonly traveled path by everyone around. However, the apartment managers put up a fence a few weeks ago. While I enjoy privacy, I hate fences. I hate futile dividers that serve only as a nuisance.
Traffic didn't stop at the fence. It just turned to the right and marched through the bramble about ten feet to end of the fence. There was a board laying in the path which one had to balance on to keep from falling on the bramble. It was pretty awkward. I've been saying for a while that I was going to fix it up. Well, today I did.
I sawed off branches that were downed and were functioning solely as trip hazards. I took the old seats from the back porch table and made a path with them. I then pinned down reaching branches with scraps of wood. And viola, a path is carved.
Friday, June 15, 2007
I went to the Body Worlds 3 exhibit today at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Honestly, I was expecting to be awed and terrified but it was somewhat disappointing (and expensive!). In 'Casino Royale,' which I thought was a horrible movie (all except for the Russian climber rip-off and Daniel Craig's pecs), the exhibit looked pretty awesome. I guess it's just one more thing that Hollywood has ruined for me.
Suprisingly, I was most impressed with the fetus exhibit. They showed various fetuses at different stages of development. They did an excellent job of creating atmosphere there with the music and all. It was really beautiful. Mankind doesn't appear so imposing when you realize that we all started out so vulnerable. It was a real trip, seeing the babies, seeing people walking around the exhibits and then seeing the dead people, posed and being admired.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I'm not the serious type. I'm a disbeliever in a whole lot of things (especially institutionalized religion) but I do give meditation its due. Tonight I tried Chi-Kung. My housemate has practiced it from time to time for years now. I usually would mock him because it looks like he's just standing there. But it's hard work. There's certainly a discipline required to do it for any length of time. It's very powerful and it can truly wake your body up even though it appears that you're just standing around! It felt very cleansing, especially when we went to our friend's garden nearby afterwards. It's just beautiful. What a beautiful evening.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I love mowing the lawn. However, the electric mower that came with the house broke down earlier this spring. Since then, we've only mowed once and now our grass is LONG. I mean long like when I mow it, I feel like the farmer who is about to destroy Mrs. Frisby's house and cause her sick child turmoil and that'll result in the rats in the rose bush getting out and wreaking havoc on the house. Super-intelligent rats do frighten me BUT it was a risk I had to take because my dog doesn't like to poo in tall grass. So I went out and bought an electric mower (it was my first time) from Fairly Honest Bill's (my first time buying anything from him) and mowed the lawn down.
Mowing is meditation time for me, similar to raking patterns in the sand but I'm at least getting shit done this way. I strap on my I-pod, listen to some fun music and sing just loud enough that the whirr of the mower will drown out my voice.
(The above pic is of Loki [aka Big Kitty or The Biggest Baby in the Whole Wide World] in our lawn. He is a big kitty and the grass totally dwarfed him. That's how tall the grass was.)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I got Dean when he was only three months old. My deadly (at Bond) friend Lynnett hooked me up with him. He came from a huge litter. Fortunately I ended up with him because he's much cooler than his brothers and sisters. He's six and a half years old now. We've crossed several state lines together, put up with each other's gas, gone through kitchen carpet, drywall, garage walls, a couple of garden hoses, a few library books, numerous phone books, my Pablo Honey CD and more than his share of spilled Fat Tires but I still love him.
Here's to you Dean. Cheers. (yes, I know he'll never read this but he'll know. OH, he will know!)
Monday, June 11, 2007
I think things are getting better. That's something, right?
I know that the world in general is drowning in an inescapable mudslide but my little world is improving. At least that's what I'd like to believe.
There are negatives. There are ALWAYS negatives to dwell on but that's the nature of evolution, right? We're supposed to zoom in on and improve upon the negatives. But how about stepping back and saying, this here isn't so bad.
That's what kind of day I had. My new thing was giving a tour at work. It's not impressive but I wanted to focus the day on what was working, rather than what could I be doing.
The above picture is the Chinese symbols for 'Getting better and better." It is, right?
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I'm not a spontaneous person. I rarely initially jump into situations. I make unusual choices and I will go out on a limb but there's the immediate denial or refusal (my gut reaction is always always ALWAYS to initally say no whether a friend is wanting me to do something or a guy buys me a drink, whatever the case may be), then there's the quick but precise thought process where I weigh the pros and the cons. Then I eventually come to a decision. I don't just go. Except for today.
It was all weighing on me. My let-down of a morning, the greasy and hardly edible breakfast (at a new place), the impending boredom of the afternoon and the warm weight-room filled with over-zealous frat boys and annoying rap got to be too much. I had to walk out of my work-out before I exploded. I was planning on listening to music and just drinking myself calm back at my house. However, I saw the pool. Off came the i-pod, the socks and shoes, the shirt and the weight-lifting gloves. I just leaped into the pool. It wasn't warm out today so there was no one else around. I imagined that steam really was flying off me like off a hot pan run under the faucet.
I count this as my new thing due to the nature and inception of it. The action itself may not have been brand new but the lack-of-conception behind it was new to me. I've been pushed into a pool before, fully clothed, I've jumped in before but not this spontaneous. It felt good...
Saturday, June 9, 2007
So, from time to time, I will be trying new things that I will not talk about on-line. I do not care what people think but certain things are better left unsaid. This is one of those things.
One thing I did do today that I'm willing to talk about is the movie I rented. I hate Will Ferrell movies. The guy always seems like he's still on SNL. However, I was surprised tonight by Stranger Than Fiction. It was good. He was good in it. Maggie was a ball of anarcho-fun. I just really liked it and highly recommend it.
Friday, June 8, 2007
A few months after I moved to Portland, I had this dream that I was on a bike and just flying past traffic jams. It was such an elated feeling. When I got a bike, I rode it EVERYWHERE. My car was very dangerous to drive (I didn't do any maintenance on that car) so all I had was my bike and the bus. I loved my bike.
Since then, we've sort of drifted apart. We see each other now and then but it's just not the same. It's never as comfortable, never as natural as it was in that first summer.
We reconnected tonight. Portland's annual bikefest, Pedalpalooza kicked off on yesterday. They had bike porn tonight. Most of it was tounge-in-cheek (not literally) humorous stuff. It was all very heterosexist. I could go off on that for a while but if I want something else out there, by golly I could make it. Towards the end, it started to get explicit and there were larger shots of the female anatomy than I ever wanted to see. A friend walked out and I joined her. A group of us went on the Midnight Mystery Ride (pictured above) afterwards. Interestingly enough, it went to the Springwater Corridor where I just was the other night.
My bike treated me good but I don't know if we'll be seeing that much more of each other. The scooter is my main man now.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
I love my job. Six months ago, I said the exact opposite to my boss and my boss's boss. I pulled them both aside and told them that I hate my job more than I've ever hated any job before in my life. This was after she yelled at me for an hour for ordering donuts from Krispy Kreme instead of WinCo. I still work for the same company but now in a different department.
Now I help developmentally disabled with their vocational training. It's great. Today I opened up the Alternative to Employment program by myself. I've gotten comfortable enough in the job that this wasn't a big problem but I think of it as a big step. I spent two hours today watching Justice League cartoons. I love my job!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Oregon (and Portland in general) has some pretty amazing coffee selections. I tried a new one today called Nosh. It's at 2030 SE 7th. It's where Dragonfly Chai used to be. (I will never understand why businesses keep sprouting in the exact same location where other like businesses have failed.) The coffee was fair and it was a good price for a 16 oz latte. Plus I hear they have killer sandwiches.
With so many awesome independent coffee shops in Portland, it baffles me as to why someone would go Starbucks. Maybe because they're open earlier? But, if that's the case, there's probably a gas station or convenience store nearby with day old coffee that would still be leaps and bounds better than the crap they serve at Starbucks. Besides the fact that they are a horrible monopolizing chain that homogenizes culture, their coffee tastes like stinky ass. I read a good summarization of Starbucks recently: "It's still burnt beans and it tastes like shit. Roasting coffee may not be easy, but it isn't rocket science either." I also was disturbed to hear that people refer to coffee as Starbucks, like they refer to tissues as Kleenex. I would do this too but only to refer to rotten, day old, open-cup-left-beside-the-pisser-at-a-frat-house-occupied-by-drunken-boys-with- bad-aim tasting coffee.
But that's just my opinion.
Monday, June 4, 2007
I was on my way home from work today, trying to think of what new thing to do today when I looked up and saw Mt Tabor. For all the non-Portlanders, Mt Tabor is an inactive volcano that a park was built upon in SE Portland. I decided scootering up Mt Tabor would qualify as my new thing. It's easily the most beautiful scooter ride I've taken to date.
While looking for photo op, I came across Harvey Scott. Harvey was a publisher in Oregon and died in 1910. There is a large statue of him on top of Tabor. My initial thought was to put my helmet on his head but the guy is at least 12 ft tall (or at least that's how tall he looks from the ground) and his head is proportionally as big. Then I thought I would just put the helmet at the base of his feet. Well, the pillar that he's on is 8 ft high with a slippery foothold at the bottom so I had to reach up and push the helmet up with my fingertips. And that's how I found out that Harvey is standing over a bowl. The helmet rolled inside the basin and there was no way for me to reach it by hand. I had to find a downed tree branch and fish it out, to the amusement of several dog-walkers.
All for the blog.
Back when Queer Revolution still existed, I knew a person named Click who attended some of our actions. Click’s a FTM (female to male). When I knew Click, Click was close to passing as male. I found something Click once wrote inspiring, “As soon as I can pass, I’ll wear a dress.” Society would just expect that Click was in the process of becoming a man because that’s the other accepted gender. But no, Click just wanted to defy societal norms.
I love defying expectations. Before I was out, I refused to do a lot of stereotypical guy things. I never ever played football. I wouldn’t work on my car. I didn’t even like to open stubborn jars. Now that I identify as a queer guy, I love moving stuff. I like out-benching my straight counterparts. I’ve even changed the sparkplugs in my car. I have more of a DIY mentality now but it’s also about not letting anyone else say what I should and shouldn’t be doing.
My new thing was fixing the table in our back patio area. As seen above, it was badly rotting and it turns out that it was painted with lead paint. Ashes took the old top and seats off and we put a new (and free) top on which is so much more accommodating to sit at. I love building stuff now. Screw the ‘gays are only good for decorating’ mentality.
I still won’t play football though.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
I *heart* nerds. I guess I consider myself a nerd too so that's probably no surprise. Video games, always having a book with me and knowing or caring about the x-men history qualifies me as a bo-nerd-fied dork. Screw your labels anyway.
Last night, I went downtown with some friends to see Maaster Gaiden from Texas. My friend Adam is in the band. Plus their roadie is my good friend. Roadie Solidarity! They played at Ground Kontrol, an arcade/bar. I go to Ground Kontrol if I get tired of dancing at Embers on Wednesday nights to usually play a few rounds of Street Fighter II. Last night, I was all over Mortal Kombat II and Ms Pac-Man, a long-standing love of mine. My brother could spend hours in an arcade on one quarter, challenging various people to games of Mortal Kombat. I'm not that good. My friend Shawn and I used to stay up until the wee hours of the morning playing a Scorpion/Sub-Zero showdown (back, back, A). Occassionally, I'd switch from Sub-Zero to Sonya. At that point, Shawn would call me names that'd make a sailor blush.
See, like I said, NERD. Anyhow, the show was good. Maaster Gaiden has a great sound and they're all SO young! I wanted to hit a bar afterwards but that won't be possible with them for three years! Kids today!
So my new thing was seeing Maaster Gaiden and going to a show at Ground Kontrol and seeing a guy get dragged down the street by a car! Shit is crazy downtown and the sailors aren't even in town yet!
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Shit can get static and stale. There are times when I feel like I just groundhogged my way through the day. I read somewhere once that you should try something new everyday. For quite a while, I tried to do that but then I started slacking. I'm going to start again. For me, one new thing means a departure from the routine. Not one new movie to watch or one new coffee flavor to try. I used to force myself to EXPERIENCE one new thing. One new...adventure. It's not easy. I can get bogged down and operating on automatic pilot is the only way to survive but then again, is that all I want to do?
I figured this blog could keep me on my toes and I'd have to do something different just to have something to write about everyday. I could write this in a notebook but it's hard to maintain a sense of need when you know nobody's going to read it anytime soon. Plus, keeping a journal under my bed and writing in it seems very twelve-year-old-girl-like, even though this is the same basic thing but broadcast to...well...everybody and anybody who cares. And I discovered how to make my camera talk to my laptop easily so I will be using visual aids. Also I have always dreamed of being a writer so here we go. First, a background:
I'm a 31 year old single queer vegetarian male thriving in Portland (Oregon that is). I live with three amazing people (two parents and their son), two black cats and one black dog. The dog is my rock. He keeps me focused and gives me a reason to come home at the end of the day. I'm a case manager for handicapped adults during the day and an activist by night (figuratively speaking. In actuality I'm always on). I also moonlight as the roadie/merch guy/case manager for a political punk band. I think that's enough for today.
So my new thing for today is this blog.