My second Blizzard campus tour

Ed’s days in California for his vacation are slowly coming to an end, so I’m trying to show him as much California-exclusive things as possible before he goes back to Illinois. One of these California-exclusive things is the Blizzard Entertainment campus, so we stopped by Irvine today for another tour. (Mango the Yorkshire Terrier went too.)

Blizzard Entertainment - Irvine, CA Campus Tour

This is the gigantic Gorehowl, the prop that was used in the marketing event in New York City, where Gorehowl was splitting through a yellow taxi cab to promote the release of Warlords of Draenor.

Blizzard Entertainment - Irvine, CA Campus Tour

This was a framed graphic in the Overwatch museum – I found it interesting to see the steps that led towards the final product of the iconic Overwatch heroes wallpaper/background, especially how rough of a draft the first photo is, yet you can tell from the distinct characteristics who all the heroes are.

Blizzard Entertainment - Irvine, CA Campus Tour

Blizzard got a Starbucks relatively recently, so part-way through our tour, we tried out some of the campus-exclusive drinks. I guess, in theory, no drinks are “exclusive,” because you can technically put in a special order and request pretty much any location to mix together specific ingredients to make your customized drink, as long as the location has the ingredients you want. But, these were some of the recipes that Blizzard carried on their menu.

Blizzard Entertainment - Irvine, CA Campus Tour

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Cleo at SLS Las Vegas

After a long and eventful trip with a story that I’ll tell some other time, we arrived in Las Vegas just barely in time for our dinner with Blizzard staff and Heroes of the Storm influencers. It was served family style for the table, and came with a wide assortment of dishes.

After some hummus with tahini (which I forgot to photograph), we got some greek salid with feta, olives, tomato, cucumber, and oregano.

Greek Salad from Cleo at SLS Las Vegas

Although I personally do not drink alcohol, other people at my table did; I photographed a strawberry drink that one of my friends got.

A strawberry alcohol drink from Cleo at SLS Las Vegas

Next up was some brussel sprouts with capers, almonds, and vinaigrette.

Brussel sprouts from Cleo at SLS Las Vegas

This is where we started getting some meat, with octopus being the first in line.

Grilled octopus from Cleo at SLS Las Vegas

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KMAA’s TKD Demo at Mundelein Community Days Festival 2016

Like last year, I went along with Keumgang Martial Arts Academy to the Mundelein Community Days Festival, in celebration of the United States’ Independence Day.

I whipped out my trusty phone to record the full demonstration, then went through and took stillframes of action moments and compiled them into a photo album.

Luckily, not only was this later on in the evening (instead of right in the afternoon when the sun is strong­est), but it was in a much shadier region, so I didn’t end up getting my skin slightly burned, like I did during the Lambs Farm demonstration.

Here’s the video and the photo album:

And finally, here’s a bonus photo not included in the album above – this is Mike, one of the masters of the academy, holding a sword with an apple wedge onto the tip, for one of the acts:

Mike holding a sword with an apple

 

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KMAA’s TKD Demo at Lambs Farm Fun & Fit Family Day 2016

Earlier today, I went to Lambs Farm, which is a disability services facility not far from Keumgang Martial Arts Academy. KMAA was participating in the Fun & Fit Family Day 2016, and also had a demonstration as part of the festivities.

I agreed to attend because I didn’t realize the entire thing was outside, but luckily, I was aware enough to wander off and find some shady and scenic areas away from the hordes of people.

(Click photos to enlarge)

I also took a video of the entire taekwondo demonstration. It was almost 20 minutes long, and I literally got slightly seared on the areas of skin that was exposed to the sun.

I almost never burn, so this is literally a first for me – I’m assuming that the fact that this farm was in the middle of nowhere is the reason why the sun shone down stronger and had a more detrimental effect on me.

If you’re interested in seeing the video, as well as the full photo album that includes stillframes of action from the video, check out the post I made on Keumgang Martial Arts Academy’s Facebook page:

 

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Photos from ESL HotS Global Championship, Spring ’16 Circuit, NA Regional

I’ve already posted quite a bit about the event that I attended with Tempo Storm, but there’s one more post left – I just got the links to the professionally-captured photos from the tournament. I decided to embed and share some of the ones involving the team and me.

On the first day of the tournament, we had some catastrophic computer problems. Two of our computers just wouldn’t boot, one blue screened, one was in a start-up loop, and one had critical system files missing and corrupted.

These problems caused the stream to be delayed by literally over 50 minutes. This is a snapshot of the ESL operators and administrators trying to help us get everything working again.

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This is Zixz getting very excited and yelling at some unknown thing on his computer screen. Zixz is the sup­port, and out of the five players, he’s probably the one who’s always the most excited and hyped.

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Our first set was against Panda Global, and this photo was snapped shortly after defeating them in a best-of-three. Pictured brightly smiling in the center is Srey, the shotcaller and tank; to his right is Goku, the bruiser.

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Another set in which we played was against Team Naventic. This was one of our more difficult sets, because Team Naventic was seen as one of the favorites to win, coming into the tournament.

Although I generally always have a somewhat cold and emotionless expression on my face (when I’m not in­ten­tion­ally trying to be funny or friendly), I look particularly concerned in this photo in anticipation for how the set might turn out.

The player in white is Kaeyoh; he is the captain and carry of the team. Hidden behind his monitor, to Kae­yoh’s left, is So1dier, the flex player.

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Shortly before making it out of group stage, we had to play against King of Blades Alpha in our group decider match. We were less worried about this set, so I look slightly less concerned.

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Here’s the famous bunny ears shot, from a different angle. I already posted a screencap from the broadcast of this scene on my blog and on my Twitter – our team was laughing here because there were literally four cameras on Zixz at the same time. Here’s another angle of the shot … now all I need to do is find the remaining two angles.

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And finally, this was the last set we played, against Cloud9, and the set responsible for knocking us out of the tournament. I already knew that this was going to be a tough set, so you can see the onset of my con­cerned face coming right back.

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All these photos are taken by Carlton Beener, and were uploaded to ESL’s Flickr account. If you want to view the other teams in the rest of the photos, you can check out the album at:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eslphotos/albums/72157665121680530

 

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Black Belt Promotion Testing for Keumgang Martial Arts Academy

For a majority of the day yesterday, I was attending a black belt promotion test as a spectator to take photos, film video, and support the students.

Generally, for color belt promotion testing, I’m one of the judges because I provide a third-party opinion on the students’ performance (seeing as I’m an independent coach and guest instructor, and I’m not officially an employee of Keumgang Martial Arts).

Although I’m sure I would’ve been able to do that for black belt promotion testing as well, I chose not to for two primary reasons.

The first is because the black belt testing was being held at a different academy, other than ours. This a­cad­emy has a huge staff base, and presumably is proportionally wealthy. There really isn’t any reason for me to volunteer for this other academy, especially because I have very limited relationships with the staff there anyway.

The second is because it was far more important to me to be there supporting the students, rather than making sure they were doing their taekwondo correctly. I wanted to capture this moment for them and their parents, and this was meaningful enough to me that, even if the other academy were to pay me, I would most likely decline so I can be there as a supporter.

Unfortunately, saying that the lighting there was less-than-ideal is an understatement, and a lot of the pho­tos ended up being not-that-fantastic. But, through the power of Photoshop magic, I was able to en­hance them enough that, through white balance and contrasting, they look decent.

Shortly after I got back home from having dinner with the students and their families after the exa­min­a­tion, I posted 63 cropped and enhanced photos to Keumgang Martial Arts Academy’s Facebook page.

For the video footage, I clipped out the interesting parts and put them together in a compilation (and threw in some photos for short slideshow segments as well).

Yes, I am very much against Facebook video because they are essentially thieves, don’t compensate their content creators, and don’t react appropriately to copyright takedown requests.

But, I decided to upload this video to Facebook anyway because I used a copyrighted song in the back­ground (to which I synchronized the transitions), and I wouldn’t have been able to monetize it any­way.

 

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Keumgang Martial Arts goes to Mundelein Community Days Festival

I went to the Mundelein Community Days Festival today with my martial arts academy’s and filmed their demonstration.

Persevering through sore shoulders and people pushing and bumping into me, I managed to keep the camera up and recording for the full 21 minutes of the performance.

For those who don’t have the time or desire to watch a 21-minute video, I have some stillframes of the highlights of the video.

A blindfolded jumping back kick:

A vaulted roundhouse kick:

One of our instructors does a quadruple kick, four kicks in the air before landing:

Through-the-legs flying side kick:

A 540° tornado kick:

A 720° spinning hook kick:

A spinning aerial twist kick:

A flying side kick:

And the grand finale, power breaking ten bricks:

I uploaded a complete album of 60 stillframes on Keumgang Martial Arts Academy’s Facebook page, so you can go check that out at http://fb.me/KeumgangMAA.

 

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