All posts by Hobie

5 Years Ago & 2001

Today marks 5 years from the day when I asked Larry to marry me.

Engaged! (the whole story)

It had been a long time coming, and honestly long overdue on our part to finally make that leap, but we did. We leapt.  And 11 months later, we got married.   It was amazing times, and we had our life together, and then cancer came and ended it.  I can mostly ignore the end months nowadays, but those memories don’t truly go away.  It was awful.  It makes me cry when I do think about it.   I’ll never not cry when I think about that.

But the times before that, engaged or not, won’t be forgotten.   I’ve got pictures, blog posts, memories to help me remember those good times.   Nothing was ever perfect and I won’t claim that here, but god damn, it really was just wonderful to have found someone who got me.  I got him.  When we needed space we figured out how to reduce getting on the other’s nerves.  We helped each other live more full lives.   It wrecks me to know I won’t ever see him again.

Larry’s birthday is tomorrow.   A group of friends and family will be getting together on a call to celebrate.  Not everyone will be there, and I completely understand.  I’m not even sure how I feel about it – I want to see people but “celebrating” his birthday doesn’t sound right – he’s dead.  I just want him back and for the last 2 years to be undone.   It’s naive.

I am not in the same emotional state as I was earlier this year.   I don’t know how to really describe it.   I am used to being alone more than I was.  I guess old habits die hard, as yeah, I have been alone before Larry so it comes back to you.   The bed is all mine.  All this room is mine to manage, and not share.  Cooking meals is up to me.   If I get lazy, I can order and Larry isn’t there to mock my laziness.  No one is.  It’s just me.  The scar tissue is building up.   The good memories fill me with melancholy, but don’t hurt as much as they used to.   The bad memories rip me apart as I mentioned above just as much as when they were new.  I guess it’ll be about managing how to deal with that going forward.

I loved him so much.   I will always be so happy we had that time together.   He was the best husband I could have asked for.

I found myself reminiscing about times pre-Larry – basically, Air Force times.  I dove into looking at Azores memories – especially as I realized that my site links to those primitive HTML pages and small-res pictures still.   Those pages were also written when I was under DADT so it felt good to actually write a little bit more with that added context gone.  I’m going to keep diving into these older pictures and keep updating, but here are some recent ones I’ve posted – good times had by all!

Halloween Party at the Salga House

An Initiation to Tropical Point

So young!   I then also was thinking about my San Antonio summer in 2001 right before I left, and the fact that I jumped out of a plane that summer!   What a trip.  I found the official video that I bought through the company as it’s like, who knows if I’m doing this again?   Let’s get the video!

It doesn’t look like there’s a previous time I posted pictures and such from that time, and I guess when I get to it, I’ll do a proper post there and include this video again.   But it was too good to pass up and not show immediately.  Again, the youth of me back then, and I remember how much I hated how I looked then.   People are always so stupid about how they look – just give yourself 20 years and you’ll realize how cute you were!

A random thing that I was entertained by – while I’ve been heavily playing the game Anno 1800 (as it is amazing and addictive), I also work in occasional playtime of The Division 2, which I’ve talked about before.   So, there’s an expansion that puts you back in NYC, the site of TD1, but this time in the southern tip of Manhattan.  Anyway, you can wander around Battery Park and the Castle Clinton area, and I was doing that in the game when all of a sudden it looked and felt very familiar.  It’s not surprising, as the videogame makers did a really good job of recreating the city, but it was particularly jarring.   Then I remembered – oh yeah, Larry and I had walked around this park one day in February 2009.   I didn’t have a post about it but I did take pictures!  And I remembered a particular picture and was like, can I find that angle again in this game?  Yes, yes I can.

So here are the pictures from that day (Feb 15, 2009) so long ago – note I had just moved into the city so I was totally a local by then.

It was a nice day for that kind of a walk, and memorable.  And then I played the game, and you can take in-game photos:

Contrast with this:Crazy, huh?   Well, it’s not insane, but I just remember tripping out realizing I’d taken pictures right there!

I’ve been keeping sane by still doing yoga – in fact, this was Day 96 straight of Yoga w/ Adriene.   I’m currently doing her 30-day Dedicate series, and I gotta say, it’s a lot more intense than the previous programs.  I like it.

TV-wise:

  • Devs:  FANTASTIC.  Very visual, very interesting, and highly compelling sci-fi that while the main premise is highly improbable, everything else around felt right at home in 2020.
  • The Clone Wars:  Wrapped up my accelerated/targeted watch of this series and it was amazing.   The story of Ahsoka is amazing.  Obi Wan proves to be one of the more bad-ass Jedis, and I was here for it.  Made parts of the follow-up series, Rebels, much more emotional.
  • What We Do in the Shadows:  Season 2 is on fire, and it’s honestly one of the best comedies going.  I love that crazy crew but every time Nadja speaks, I just laugh.
  • The Great:  Another fucking amazing show, and while it may appear that it’s some kind of costume drama, oh boy you’d be wrong to overlook it.   Loosely it’s the story of Catherine the Great while she’s still married to her husband, the Emperor Peter (not Peter the Great, who we all agree to hate as he was the subject of my Final Jeopardy question, agreed?  HUZZAH!).   It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in quite a while, and the performances are all wonderful.  You’ll love it.

Alright, this post had a lot of schizophrenia in it.   That’s me lately.  Up, down, all around.   Stay safe.

“All Out of Love”

I know this is a sappy title, and while yes, my heart is utterly broken still by everything that’s going on, I’m not necessarily saying I’m “All out of Love.”  The issue is that Air Supply is in my head because one of their songs, “The One That You Love” is the #1 song in the current Number Ones article, and jesus that song is awful.   The video though, if you can deal with the song, is pure 1981 distilled into it’s heroin form, or so I’ve heard from “20/20”.

Anyway, Larry loved him some OTT melodramatic songs, and Air Supply was a band that provided those by the metric fuckton in the early 80s.   “All Out of Love” is simply fantastic, and is definitely the song I think of when I think of Air Supply.

It hits all of Larry’s song requirements, especially the powerful chorus allowing you to really belt the song out.  I miss Larry for different reasons at different times, and this morning I miss his singing.   He had a wonderful voice and really could hit those notes.   Anyway, as I sing along to it today, I get verklempt, but not inconsolable.  I’ve noticed a lot of love songs can work as grieving songs, except for the part where it’s just that the object of your affection thinks you’re nuts and isn’t dead.  I’m both happy and sad singing this song, in other words.

Yesterday (Mother’s Day) was a rough day for me.  I’ve told that to those who I talked to yesterday – and it was noticeably harder because I wasn’t prepared for it to be hard.   I first woke up and stumbled upon this article in social media, and damn, it hit hard, as yeah, many of these exact moments were ones we felt (and are still feeling).

Great way to start the day.   Then I tried calling mom with Stacie and she wouldn’t pick up the phone.  Gave up trying to talk to her with Stacie and repeatedly called, hoping she’d pick up.  Finally, after about 6 tries, she calls me back, without any sense of impatience or annoyance.   Just, her default state nowadays.   All that time waiting had already built my anxiety and emotions up and I couldn’t help but start crying on the phone.  She obviously was now aware I was not doing okay, and after talking for about 90 seconds (our average phone call time, nowadays), we disconnected.

I hadn’t really anticipated how much mom’s incapacity was going to hit me yesterday, so it came on like a freight train.   I was not good for most of the day.  I resent all those who still have a semblance of family that cares, that is still coherent, even in quarantine.   Seeing all the social media posts made me rage and cry and yeah, I cried a helluva lot yesterday.  It all sucks.   My friends and Stacie called me and that definitely helped – even just getting some of these emotions out, as painful as they are, helps.

It wasn’t until last night that I kind of turned the corner, when I started making dinner.   I hadn’t made one of the Instant Pot recipes since quarantine had started, and I wanted to do my fave, which is the Coq au Vin recipe.   I had ordered groceries via Instacart on Saturday, and they arrived Sunday morning, so I had everything I needed.   The mise en place always takes the longest time, but I managed to not fuck it up.  Watched videos on how to clean and slice a leek, as well as how to quarter a mushroom.   I was chatting with my friends during this time, and once I started cooking, I had opened my windows.   Across the way, my neighbors were also cooking, and we ended up having a brief conversation.  Having that really short moment of interaction, in person (but separate), was like a revelation.  It helped so much.  Other people interactions.  Go figure.  The dinner turned out fantastic, and while I was taking photos of all the prep and cooking, I ended up having a FaceTime dinner with Nicki so I actually didn’t take a picture of the finished product. D’oh.

Well, it’s back to the grind today.  An emotional day yesterday, but made it through.   The rest of the weekend is kind of a blur, tbh.   I played a lot of both Anno 2205 and Anno 1800, watched more of the The Clone Wars series (it’s so fucking good it’s shocking), watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Spiderman: Homecoming and ate food.  Go, me.

Anniversary Blues

This past Thursday was Larry and my fourth wedding anniversary.   I still have so many emotions about it all.   Today, it really got to me a big part of what hurts so much still:   Larry was my best friend, in addition to being my husband.  Today was May 4, which is also the day co-opted by Star Wars to become “May the Fourth be with you”, and I bring that up as there was all sorts of fun, cool news from the Star Wars arena that if Larry had been alive, we’d have been talking all about.   We got each other at that base, nerdy level that only reminds me how much us meeting each other, for me, was like catching lightning in a bottle.  We just fit.  Our relationship was solid, and happy, and comfortable.  Of course, cancer really couldn’t give a shit.  I’ve been seeing news about a lot of other people losing their fights with cancer as well, and honestly, it just breaks my heart.  Cancer has become more aggressive and harder to fight and catch in lots of cases.  Our oncologist told us that most people don’t die from cancer itself – it’s the treatment (chemo is basically targeted poison) that ends up ultimately killing you as your body just doesn’t have the energy to support you anymore.  i don’t know, I just figure I’m probably going to get something even worse and then it’ll come down to what will I want to do?  Fight, or see what happens?   I don’t know.

So on April 30, Nicki graciously set up a Zoom call with friends and family around the country.  It was very nice to see everyone at once, even if it was brief.   A few of Larry’s family were there, as were a lot of friends from out here.  We toasted to Larry.  No big speeches from me as I’m not really able to do it anymore.  I loved him, I love him, but I lost him. It’s hard to get over that.

Nicki got me this wonderful artistic rendering of one of the wedding pictures.   I love it:

Nicki got this made for me / us – I love it

Here’s a link to the Youtube video of the wedding ceremony – it’s linked in the wedding posts, but I watched it again.   I’m glad we at least did get that part captured on video – I have regrets about not hiring a videographer now.   But who would have thought that the clock was ticking as loud as it was?

On the Number Ones article series I have written about before, they got to a song that Larry and I bonded over when getting to know each other through chemistry.com:  “Kiss On My List” by Hall & Oates.  The author gives the song credit for what it meant to Hall & Oates but wasn’t a fan, overall.   To me, it signifies one of the very first points during getting to know Larry before even meeting him when I realized we might be on the same wavelength.   Well, I guess I’ve been morose for as much as I can deal with on this site.   Sometimes I want to reach out to someone about things like the above, and then it dawns on me that no one can help.  Only time, and even then, who knows.  All anyone can say is, “it’ll get better” and I don’t have that confidence anymore.  “Larry wouldn’t want you to be like this” is also true, but can’t help it.

Anyway, I have continued with some retail therapy.   I got a fun Kodak negative scanner and had a blast last week scanning negatives from 1990 to 1995.   Talk about feeling like the world has completely changed.  I got some choice pictures from MHS and UCLA AFROTC as well as some Puerto Rico pics scanned in.  It’s so easy to get done and finally I’m building up my digital pictures from before 2000, which seems to be when I finally got a digital camera.

This is the scanner, and you feed in negatives on the right side.

Ah, good times.  I love the yearbook that I was the editor for.  It took the approach that MHS books had been wedded to and finally opened it up to be editorial and interesting.

Another bit of retail therapy was buying some additional Philips Hue smart bulbs for the theater area of the living room.   I saw this random tweet below:

And I was immediately inspired.  I love the use of lights on the side and around/behind the TV.  So I got two bulbs and had every intent of putting them behind the TV too, but then I realized, hmm, I could easily fuck this up without having someone else here to provide help and a viewpoint.  So I ended up instead placing the lights I got below the TV to shine up and back.  It’s a different look than the one above, but one I still very much love.  I think to do what my inspiration did, you have to have a full strip of lights that will go the entire perimeter of the TV, not just two lights.   Anyway, my results below –

Note, the Apple iPhone camera has gotten very good, but still for some reason, I could not get it to take a picture of the lights without it looking like a harsh spotlight on the wall.  Imagine that instead of what look like spotlights, it’s instead a much more subtle lighting effect.   Anyway, I know Larry would have loved it.   As you may see, the lights are fully configurable in terms of color and intensity, so I change it up depending on what I’m gonna watch to match the mood.  After that successful installation and an inaugural run using them while watching “The Devil Wears Prada”, I got drunk as hell on montepulciano wine.  I had myself a little dance party that Saturday night – in hindsight I realize I was celebrating the wedding reception anniversary a few days late, but on a Saturday night just like our wedding.   I played the wedding reception playlist on random shuffle and had myself a fucking blast.   I got all social and texted and interacted with people online, danced a hell of a lot, and managed to probably keep my hangover on Sunday from being as bad as it could have been, although the delayed headache Sunday night wanted a word.  I’d like to think it was a way to celebrate with Larry’s energy somehow.   Who knows.  Anyway, I took this picture of me in glasses which I like:

Larry always liked when I wore my glasses, and with my lack of hair on the top of my head and me having somehow destroyed my ability to grow a beard full on my face, some visual interest is needed.  And frankly, while I don’t need to (thankfully) wear glasses for reading and office use, when watching TV, it’s such a better experience for me wearing them.

I think that’s a wrap for me for now.  I’m sure other stuff is on my mind, but just wanted to check in here.

Cookies & Music

I made chocolate chip cookies today.  I had bought the necessary supplies to make them but could never muster up the energy to actually bake them.  So I of course wait to make them once it becomes 90+ degrees outside, as you wouldn’t want the oven’s heat to be comfortable inside would you?   Of course not.   They came out spectacularly, as per usual.  I finally have something for dessert.  Last time I made these was for Ken’s Oscar party back in January (?), which honestly feels like a decade ago.   Larry’s death is still so raw but it also feels insanely like it happened in another life.  Anyway, cookies!

Yoga status:  63 days straight!   For my own purposes, my first 30 days was Yoga w/ Adriene’s HOME program,  the second 30 days was her “30 Days of Yoga” program, and currently, I’ve embarked on her Yoga Camp program, and I like it a lot.  Can I straighten my legs yet while doing downward dog?  Nope, but it’s getting better.   And my back is feeling strong, and I love that.   I recognize I can probably add more to my daily routine, but having yoga to start it off every morning is nice.

The new Dyson vac is spectacular.   Stairs are clean, and the floors are also getting vacuumed much more often than before.

Video game status:  FF7R is simply superb, and I am loving it to death.   Of course, tragic events have occurred in the game and while those bummed me out, I’m still totally in awe of the game and can’t stop playing.   I think I’m finally in the home stretch, and it surprises me how well Square Enix was able to do in making this game.  So much fun.

Oh, and Wine.com has been a godsend.  I’ve become a charter member for the free shipping and then I’ve also gone and signed up for some virtual wine tastings – it’s something, right?   Last week, we had a Pinot Noir tasting between a California and a French one.   Definite differences.  Delicious.

Finally, music:  When I finish yoga in the morning, usually Youtube has recommendations for videos I should watch.   For some reason, the following video was waiting for me, and I couldn’t help but check it out:

It’s magical.  How have I not known about Postmodern Jukebox before?  Seriously, never heard of them, and their gimmick is totally up my alley.   The group’s main man, Scott Bradlee, is a master cover musician, but instead of decently straight-forward covers, he reworks the songs into various other retro styles.   The above, “Wannabe”, is done in 1940s style.   Not only that, but he has musicians and singers who just bring the charisma and talent to whatever it is they’re doing.  I think there are over 300 videos so far, and I think Postmodern Jukebox tours too (in pre-Corona times, obvs).  1940s style isn’t the only thing they do though – they do it all.  One of my other initial favorites is the following:

The tap dancer, on top of the Gatsby-esque rendition, is mesmerizing, not to mention I fucking love this song anyway and it fits this style so well.  I ended up watching/listening to a 1990s playlist they put together and oh man, it’s so good, and the Friends theme song “through the decades” is awesome.   One thing I’ll note is that the talent are all very attractive – the women are beautiful and striking, and the men are frequently distractingly handsome.   So yeah, fun music, hot guys, and entertaining videos?   Sure, why not.  The linked video below is for the 1990s playlist – it just happens to start again with “Wannabe”.

Other than that, it’s been an up and down week, emotionally.  I still can’t accurately predict when my mood turns south and I’m feeling utter despair or when I’m not really sad about much at all.   I typically get emotional going to sleep regardless of how the day went.   Still hard to believe Larry’s not sleeping next to me anymore.  I don’t like being alone.  Also having to manage my mom’s finances, and it’s definitely not easy to do much of anything with the Rona out there.   Anyway, I just wanted to get a post in while I had the energy.  I was going to make another of the pork chop recipe tonight, but after cookies today as well as waffles this morning, I’m kind of done with cooking for the day.

I did see the Guy Ritchie take on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” last night and oh man, it was soooo good.  Larry would have loved it, as it had all the 1960s Cold War style on a very fun spy movie, and jesus, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are hot as fuck in this thing.   It’s really surprising it didn’t do better in the theaters when it was out originally.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Keeping Me Sane

The last two weeks or so have been more of the same while staying ‘safe at home’.  If it’s Monday through Friday, I’ll get up, I’ll get myself going and do yoga with Adriene (as of now, it’s been 56 days straight – go me).  Shower, then breakfast, and then I’ll head downstairs (I honestly thought the word ‘downtown’ in my head while typing, lol right – I honestly wonder when I’ll see downtown again) and get to work at my desk.   I’m happy that I did make my desk a standing desk via the on-desk Flexispot thing I bought and put on it late last year:

I’m using a webcam to then dial in to any meetings that we have, as that is now basically kind of our default way to do meetings, which is using video.  Before this, video calls were never really part of the paradigm and it was just voice and maybe sharing your screen.   Anyway, I’ll then continue that until around lunchtime, and by now I’ve kind of gotten into a rhythm of ordering a big family meal of El Pollo Loco, and then spread that out through the week.

They turned out delicious!

Then back to work until 5:30 or so, and then the excitement begins as now I can relax at home.   Home, which I haven’t left except for small things for nearly a month.  If I’m not ordering food in, I’ll probably make my chicken-rice-beans or broccoli combo, or if I have a particular meat in mind, I might grill that up.  It’s good.   The image above is how my pork chop turned out – it was spectacular (I even used Larry’s cast iron skillet to do it – intermediate level skills there).

Lately for fun, I’ve been continuing to rewatch Twin Peaks, as I’ve mentioned multiple times previously.  I’m right now right at the penultimate episode of Season 2, right before the crazy 2-hour season finale (now season instead of series!).   Or I may watch a Marvel movie in my rewatch – I just watched Age of Ultron this morning and that movie still is a slog.  Some fun stuff in it, but it’s just a big meh.  Or I play video games, and honestly, that’s a huge part of my time lately, as it just lets me get lost in something else besides crying over Larry, whether it’s thinking about missing him, thinking about him dying, thinking about if I’ll ever have another relationship again, thinking about if he loved me, thinking about if he’s watching me somehow (it sometimes feels like it when I dream and he’s there – this morning I dreamt I had come home and while trying to turn the alarm off, realized it was off already because he was there.   I didn’t think of him as dead, so I was in a rush and he told he had to talk to me, but I was in the middle of something and that I’d get right back to him in a sec but of course I woke up.  Fun.).  Anyway, some video games have helped me tune the world out.

The latest game is Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s a thrilling remake (I know, I know, that’s in the title) of the classic 1997 Playstation game that got everyone in the US excited over RPGs – Final Fantasy VII.  Indeed, I was amongst that group of folks who had our minds blown when playing this game – my UCLA roommates Ryan and Rolondo and I played this that year, and it was a blast.  I’ve replayed it throughout the years, but I don’t think I ever finished the whole thing again as well, it’s a lot.  But since 1997, there’s been talk of getting a remaster or a graphical update of this classic game whenever new video game hardware emerges, and every time, it’s always a no-show.   But in 2015, it was formally announced, and by golly, in 2020, we got it.   And hot damn, it’s amazing.   The early news back in 2018/2019 was the game would be episodic, and the first game is set only in Midgar.   That riled up a lot of people as episodic games can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.   And Midgar’s opening 5-6 hours in the original game are literally just an intro, as the whole world opens up to you after it.  And now this whole first game in the Remake is only there?   Potential concern – but the final product has shut my whore mouth.   It’s fantastic – the graphics are spectacular, there’s voice acting now, and the city of Midgar is immense.   A whole lot has been added to the game and it’s all been entertaining.   My first few hours though were spent gawking at the completely stunning and HAWT side-character named Biggs who is just….dayum…..

I didn’t make this image but it captures my feelings completely – thanks, Reddit.  Biggs’ looks and his voice performance are all so damn sexy, and honestly, this whole game is overtly horny and honestly, I’m here for it.  But yeah, Biggs.   Nice.

Anyway, I’m loving playing this game for just the fun of it and for the escapism.   I’ve continued getting through the end-game-ish stuff of The Division 2 as well.   I’m done with the main campaign (although they keep re-invading Washington DC and it’s annoying) so I now am playing the add-on episode content (National Zoo, Pentagon, Coney Island) and I’ll then get to the New York City expansion (which is where The Division 1 was set).   After that, I think I’ll be content to move on to other games.   Anno 2205 is also a background play for me when I need to zone out (you get to build on the moon, ffs!) as is No Man’s Sky (in VR this game truly is just spectacular; in non-VR it’s another addictive, zen game).

So yeah, that’s my life.   I chat with my friends over text and WhatsApp, we have occasional video calls, and it’s just who knows where this all goes.   I’m tired of it, but the alternative isn’t that great without treatment or a vaccine.   So yeah, great year 2020 is.   We manage to have birthday celebrations via Zoom video chat – earlier in April was Paras’ birthday, and it was fun, but it sucks that 2020 will be a do-over year. 

I bought a new Dyson vacuum as I wanted a cordless one so that I didn’t have to schlep the canister one I also have up and down the staircases.   I went all out on it and got the latest, nicest one, and I gotta say it’s pretty fantastic:

Ta-dah

It even came with its own stand and a couple of attachments.   I also bought a film negative scanner that I will use to go through a lot of my old pictures as what else do I have to do?   And while I do love the Google Photo Scan app for a quick way to effectively take a picture of a picture, actual scanning of the negative will get really good quality.  That should come this week.

Some fun stuff is coming up – wine.com has virtual video wine tastings and the first one I signed up for (along with some coworkers and friends who I sent the invite to) is Tuesday – to taste a French Pinot Noir and a California Pinot Noir.   Wine is also what gets me through the day.  So there we are.  Other than that, no pictures I took are worth showing as it’s just sunsets and looking outside.  I look like hell, and what’s the point anyway.