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The Beginning

It was just over seven years ago that my best friend from high school and I were just finishing up our Freshman year at University of Oregon. I had seriously slacked off during those nine months, enjoying my freedom from direct parental control just a little too much. Don't get me wrong—I was still a relatively innocent Mormon boy that had simply been caught up by the wiles of a fiber optic network, my very first computer, Napster, and all the [gay] porn I could squeeze in when my binge-drinking dorm-mate was at class.

As Spring Term 2001 was drawing to a close, Bonnie and I were engaged in a cross-campus text message marathon in which she told me about this cool website that let you keep an online journal that you could share with various friends. This was back before "weblog" had even made its way around the forums and LiveJournal was just an internet startup. The thought of keeping an online journal of my daily thoughts and activities was intriguing, so I gave a shot.

Over the course of the following ten months I chronicled my life as I lived it back then: reuniting with my friend John, forming the "Three Musketeers" from our little posse of pre-mission guys, various girl problems (ha!), and more. It was all rather shallow and "guess what I ate for lunch?", but I was given a chance to hold some form of diary that was easier than physically writing and it helped my develop my hobby of writing.

In April of 2002 I shipped off for Provo, Utah for intense lingual and religious training, then off to Europe for two years of strict proselytizing. The missionary guide book prohibited internet usage save a weekly emailing of the immediate family, and my LiveJournal fell silent. I was able to channel my desire to write into a paper journal and into stacks of letters to family and friends (a banker's box full of them still sits archived in the top of my closet).

Once April 2004 rolled around, I jumped back into the online world with both feet and used LiveJournal daily for a time. It helped coerce a bit of my own inner struggle with religion and homosexuality to the surface, and I became active in a few of LJ's communities. I met several people from online in the real world, and a few of them have become good friends. I would often compose blog entries while at work, and I even set up a dummy account that joined all the exciting gay communities that LJ had to offer.

While it's hard to pinpoint exactly when the switch was flipped, there was a moment that I became disenchanted with most of the communities and scaled back on my updating. LiveJournal began to feel like an old part of my life. It took me almost a full year to finally decide to set up a new personal blog outside of LJ, and with its fresh start I feel a lot of freedom. I'm done with chronicling the mundane. I want for the new blog to be of substance and value to those who read it, and LiveJournal didn't really offer what I was looking for.

This will be the last post I make on this site. It's been a great seven years, but it's time for the LJ book to close and a new book to open. The new blog is Subjonctif. I'm still tweaking the look and getting used to posting on a weekly basis again, but stick with it and I promise good things. Feel free to set up an RSS feed if you want to see it through LJ, or subscribe to it with Google Reader. If you are interested in the more design-y things, check out PixelVector. For my friends on here, I'll probably check back occasionally to see what you're up to, but I make no promises. I'll continue to stay in touch via IM, email, or phone.

It's been fun, LJ, but farewell.

INTERROBANG!!!

Someone call Sarah Jessica Parker, stat.


THERE IS NO GAP AT CLACKAMAS TOWN CENTER.


Wait, let me repeat that.


THERE IS NO GAP AT CLACKAMAS TOWN CENTER.


NO GAP.
NO GAP BODY.
NO GAP KIDS.
NO GAP BABY.


There was a Gap, BUT IT IS NO MORE.


Seriously? Seriously? Seriously.


No GAP.


No wonder we're in a recession!


(let it be made clear, I don't even like the Gap that much....)

Pet Peeve #4,576,323

If you say "Happy New Years!" I hate you.

It's New Year's Eve. And Happy New Year. Singular. There is only one new year per year. So unless you know you will not be in contact with someone for more than one New Year's Celebration, then don't say "Happy New Years!"

And don't even try to argue that you are actually saying "Happy New Year's!" because it's not an acceptable truncation of the night before the new year begins. And even then it's only applicable to that one night.

/rant

ChanZaFestiMas

My apartment smells like Christmas Tree. Let me guide you through yesterday's festivities.

First, joke and laugh with the cool employees at Uncle Paul's Produce and find the perfect tree with only one unwrapping. Pay, then make an ass of yourselves in the middle of Hawthorne Blvd. as you walk the tree five blocks to your apartment. Let stand for several hours to acclimatize and complete some essential Christmas shopping.
Setting up a tree properly requires three people—a Top, a Bottom, and a Straight Boy. Naturally, Megan took the top, I took the bottom, and our friend Max played the Straight Boy.
And how could I not be the Bottom properly without sticking my ass up in the air?
As with anything new to the apartment, it must be properly initiated. That poor tree had no idea what it was in for!
Once it's up and properly screwed [in], the group must pose with the new addition to the home.
Next step? Meticulously arrange the tasteful white Christmas lights and snap a shot of a very happy Megan hugging her sapin de Noël.
Megan insisted on trying out a popcorn string, but we soon learned that it's a lot harder threading popcorn than the movies make it look.
How do they do this? I've been at it an hour and this is all I got?
Shortly thereafter, Justin arrived in time to help hang the ornaments and act properly silly. Wine was poured and good music played.
We enjoyed rifling through the box of childhood ornaments that I had acquired from my mother.
"Let's pretend the bell is mistletoe!"
The obligatory couple shot.
And the obligatory non-couple shot.
Not sure why I like this one so much. But I think it's super-cute.
With the ornaments in place, Megan added the final touch with our special tree-topper.
All finished!
He made it to the top!
If things weren't silly before, then they sure start getting silly here!
We took the idea of a family Christmas portrait and ran with it...
Including costumes and props...
And it just gets dysfunctional from here...
Meet Bible-Thumping Dad, Tragic Tranny Mom, Studious Stuffy Son, and Delinquent Daughter.
Trying so hard to be the perfect family.
Trying REALLY hard.
But it comes to a point...
...when you just can't suppress the natural any longer and bad things start to happen.
We also learned last night that Megan has a fetish for nasty black chest hair...
...and that Justin secretly wishes he had a hipster mustache.

Thought of the day

There is no place reserved in love or a healthy relationship for bliss. Bliss clouds judgment and sows ignorance of potential problems. Bliss closes the individual off from the rest of the world and encourages codependency by yielding a false sense of security and romanticizing the concepts surrounding love.

Bliss is bad.

Bad bliss.

Thanksgiving In Pictures

Words fail me. It was spectacular, and everyone loved it. They're still talking about it. A now my mom is wondering what we have in store for Christmas Dinner. Here are my favorite photos of the food and people (the entire gallery can be found here):








More Effort into the Macaroni, Less Cheese

Look out, everyone, urban snob coming through.

Last week I received a $20 gift card from my boss for either Romano's Macaroni Grill or Chili's (the other restaurants in the chain don't exist in Oregon to my knowledge). Seeing that there was no Chili's within a convenient distance, I met up with Justin this evening just as he was getting off work and we went to Macaroni Grill.

Now, the last time I was there I was with my friend Tarah and we had a decent but overpriced lunch, so I wasn't about to give up on a significantly discounted dinner. We popped in at 5pm and were seated immediately. This was Justin's first experience, and I warned him that they draw on the tables in crayon, just so he wouldn't get his hopes up. Sure enough, Katie (or Julie, or Amanda—it really didn't help me remember) wrote her name upside-down on the butcher paper, and even drew a smiley face under it. OMG! Kill me with cute.

Justin picked the Penne with Roasted Chicken, Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Buffalo Mozzarella, which is what I had last time and recalled as being good. I chose the Chicken Cannelloni. Mine tasted like canned marinara and Frigo brand manicotti. And I couldn't taste any asiago in the "Asiago Cream Sauce". Even the spinach was bland.

Justin received his dish in a big deep bowl, which made for an interesting experience eating it. The mozzarella was so bland it tasted like nothing, though the asparagus was cooked perfectly and the sun-dried tomatoes married well with them. He also found little bits of gristle in the chicken. That said, the food arrived before we could even finish our bread, and our server was very attentive. Their specialty cocktail, the "Leaning Bellini", was tasty and well-made, however the pomegranate martini that Justin ordered was way too sweet and acidic (perhaps we've been spoiled by the "Tacoma Screw").

All throughout dinner we discussed how much we really didn't care for the place, from the fake-cute wait staff to the chincy décor to the overpriced menu items to the crowd that the place attracts—the middle-class housewives looking to "go out for the evening." It comes off as a place that spends way too much time focused on how it looks to the eye (every bottle of olive oil on the tables was facing the same direction) and not enough time focused on providing decent food for the price.

Toward the end of the meal, a group of women with several babies came in and took the tables next to us. It was pretty obvious they were all related, just as it was obvious that Justin and I were a couple (we were seated closely next to each other on the bench instead of facing each other). And for the next ten minutes, I repeatedly caught at least two pairs of eyes flat out staring at us. I'm thinking, a) this is Portland, 2) we're not making out or anything, and iii) didn't your mothers ever teach you it's not polite to stare!?! JEEBUS.

All told, I really should just sum up my feelings about the whole experience with this: a middle-aged couple was seated next to us, and the first words out of the wife's mouth once the hostess left were, "I love this place because you can draw on the tables."

And then she ordered Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken.

So farewell, Macaroni Grill, I will not be eating at your establishment again. I can get much better food at Pastini for less. At least at Chili's I know that I can expect laid-back servers and greasy American food for a decent price. You're even now with The Olive Garden.

Published.

My interest is piqued as I read words that have an odd air of familiarity, and as I press on through the paragraph, my pulse quickens. These words aren't just familiar, these are my words. I scan forward to see who submitted them, and there, in gray glory, is my name. My words. Offset-printed on coated paper and distributed to thousands of subscribers around the world. Real, live, tangible words, right there on page 190 of the November Issue of Communication Arts.

The excitement that is stirred within me to see my own words in print is not a new feeling. I've had editorial comments published in local periodicals a few times in the past, but this is something entirely different. I feel completely validated because the editors thought that what I had to say was of value. And that what I had to say was better than anything else submitted.

Feast On This

National Hug-A-Native-American Day is right around the corner, and despite the glossed-over history behind the whole conquering settling of North America, I'm rather enthused for the traditional feast. We did make some edits to the menu, but it rests wholly the same. The turkey is brining and some prep was done this morning to ease the stress surrounding the T-Day Oven Trot. We'll be serving the meal in courses as well in an effort to lighten the Binge Effect that seems to take hold over each guest the minute the food is placed on the table.

My virtual disappearance on LJ, however, is only temporarily broken by this boredom-induced post. I'm just far too busy and far too disenchanted by the thought of catching up on my whereabouts. But the disenchantment ends when the photoblogging begins, and y'all know that there will be lots of photos from tomorrow's gastroNOMinous endeavors. Far be it from me to even attempt to hide that. And there will probably be pics of my new Sexies (that's eyeglasses for all you pagans) and my wonderful boyfriend and I.

At this very moment, I am most thankful that my mother and father okayed the portage of wine to the T-Day Table for us cork dorks. Cheers!

Stars In My Eyes

More and more often now I feel the desire to just be five years further ahead in my career path and be that professional creative attending meetings and working on projects and being paid at minimum well enough to afford a mortgage payment on a condo or small house, instead of being three years from finishing my degree and relying on student loans to buy groceries and pay rent. This sentiment always seems to fall on the days when I catch a glimpse of what that life is like on the other side of university.

I certainly felt all professional and important today, meeting up with a supply chain consultant and multimedia wizard to discuss a collaborative presentation for a new software product launch. Call me disillusioned, but it all seems a rather glamorous urban life, dressing to impress and making a transit-heavy journey to a multi-national corporation's world headquarters to discuss ideas. Then again, it's all about perspective. Those who know me well enough know that my sense of fashion is usually a notch more formal that the average college student. And I suppose if I were to say that I spent an hour on bus and MAX to be picked up by my father (the consultant) and meeting my good friend Brian (the wizard) in the cafeteria of the Nike Campus, it wouldn't have that same glittery appeal. Or that I'm not actually going to be contributing a lot to the project.

If that is to be the case, however, I don't mind being disillusioned. Because then I at least feel important. And that's important in it's own right. Right?

Nonetheless, I will say how much I enjoyed being back on the Nike World Campus. It has been over a year and half since my last visit, back when my father was still employed by them. Say what you will about globalization and multi-national corporations, but the campus is simply a kick-ass place to work. But what distracted me more than the stone/glass/steel structures, parkways, and seclusion from the rest of the world, was the sheer volume of attractive people working there. Maybe it's the athletic and fitness-oriented philosophy held by the company, the overall happiness of the employees, or just the concentration of business casual sports-buffs. But damn those are some hot people.

At any rate, today is one of those days that one of the wrinkles on the right side of my brain is gnawing on some synapses somewhere, making me wonder if I could actually make it in the design world if I threw myself into it without finishing my degree. And then the more sensible wrinkles on the left side beg to differ. Sometimes I really loathe having that bizarre balance of creativity and analytical logic. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

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