Parkzerʼs Blog – Parkzer.com http://parkzer.com/blog Sat, 26 May 2018 22:02:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 H1Z1 Pro League, Week 5 http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/05/18/h1z1-pro-league-week-5/ Fri, 18 May 2018 22:37:20 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6430 Although I’m local to the H1Z1 Pro League in Las Vegas, I haven’t regularly been attending the live event because I’m not actually able to watch the games without getting motion sickness. This is also the reason I can’t play or watch first-person shooter games either – the rapidly-shaking player point-of-view makes me dizzy. Although I haven’t been officially diagnosed, it’s very similar to sopite syndrome, where I feel unwell when exposed to excess horizontal motion – both literally (in cars and planes) and virtually (in FPS games).

But, with that being said, the last time I went to the Arena to see the team was back in late April during the premier of the league (though I have seen the players on multiple occasions since then, just not in the Arena). I wanted to snap some new photos of them, seeing as the only photos we had was when there was partial construction going on in the background, so I headed over to Caesar’s Entertainment Studios for Week 5 of the games during rehearsal (I left before the actual games started).

Since then, the stadium has been improved a substantial amount (though that opinion may or may not be biased because Twin Galaxies messed up VIP access for the premier and a lot of people were denied access to the VIP area because some random actress who I had never heard of was in the VIP section and her escorts were apparently being uncooperative – the stadium might have just looked better this time because I was actually able to enter the VIP area with the couches).

H1PL at Twin Galaxies Sports Arena in Caesar's Entertainment Studios

H1PL at Twin Galaxies Sports Arena in Caesar's Entertainment Studios

H1PL at Twin Galaxies Sports Arena in Caesar's Entertainment Studios

Tempo Storm H1Z1 team

(Full photo album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157669060686858)

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My tour of the Blizzard Arena in Burbank http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/05/16/tour-blizzard-arena-burbank/ Wed, 16 May 2018 18:10:13 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6426 This past weekend, Blizzard and their Heroes of the Storm team invited me out to do press/media coverage for Heroes of the Dorm, an annual collegiate tournament where teams from colleges and universities across the United States and Canada compete to crown a champion who will receive tuition for their college careers.

Last year, Heroes of the Dorm was at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, but since then, Blizzard set up the Blizzard Arena, their own studio in Burbank, CA near Hollywood. The Blizzard Arena is a full-blown production studio and stadium, and part of the media day leading into Heroes of the Dorm was an Arena tour.

The Arena was actually pretty amazing, and people who actually know me well know that I don’t really give out compliments too often, and even when I do, the word “amazing” usually doesn’t get thrown around too often. The media group got to see all the behind-the-scenes production rooms and equipment, as well as the different stages used for different games. Luckily, I had clearance to take photographs of everything.

Blizzard Arena

Blizzard Arena

Blizzard Arena

Blizzard Arena

Blizzard Arena

Blizzard Arena - Skybox

(Full 2018 Heroes of the Dorm album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157691099653260)

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I’m still probably the world’s unluckiest traveler http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/05/14/im-still-probably-the-worlds-unluckiest-traveler/ Tue, 15 May 2018 03:22:01 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6375 I have notoriously bad travel experiences that you’ve probably heard about if you’ve read my blog before. Pretty much every time I leave my home and go to the airport to go to an event, something ridiculous happens after a culmination of misfortune.

This past weekend, I went to Burbank, CA for Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm collegiate tournament, Heroes of the Dorm. Blizzard flew me out to do press and media coverage, and they offered travel and lodging, so I still accepted and attended the event, even though I’m not a huge fan of traveling.

When I received a link to book my flight, the travel overlords noticed that I was about to travel again, and began their wrath.

 
It started out pretty simple – the travel agency’s website stopped working and gave me an error message that I couldn’t get around. So, instead of booking my flight normally, I had to speak with a customer service representative at the agency to get my flight booked. That was fine, though – I’m pretty experienced with travel, and I was able to find a good Southwest Airlines flight non-stop from Las Vegas to Hollywood Burbank that our travel agent was able to book for me.

Surprisingly, the flight to Burbank was pretty decent. This was my first time on Southwest Airlines, and although the cabin of their planes wasn’t really that great, I was pleasantly surprised at the effectiveness and efficiency of their open seating policy. Instead of picking a seat prior to my flight, I had to stand in line to get on the plane, then seating was done on a first-come first-served basis. Apparently nobody wanted the exit row seat, so I literally got a seat where there was no seat in front of me. It was literally the most leg room I’ve ever had on a flight.

Once I arrived in Burbank, I discovered that my shuttle wasn’t there. Apparently, the travel agency only had shuttles available at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) (because that’s the airport to which everyone else was flying), and not at Burbank (which is a smaller airport that doesn’t service as many other airlines). So, instead of making a huge deal out of it, I just called my own Uber to the hotel, as I didn’t want to add extra work to the travel coordinator who was already running all over LAX to organize rides.

In the process of figuring this out, the travel agency found out that my shuttle had not been booked properly, and they ensured me that I would have a ride provided to me from my hotel to Hollywood Burbank Airport on my way back home. I told them it wasn’t a big deal at all, as I’m very familiar with travel logistics (seeing as I usually tend to book my own travel due to my preference of customization), but told them I appreciate the ride they will organize. Not long later, I received an email letting me know that a shuttle will arrive at 10:30 AM at the hotel to take me to the airport.

 
After the conclusion of the event, Sunday came around and it was time to go home. I had everything packed up and ready to go at 10:20 AM and I was outside the hotel where the shuttle had picked us up the two prior days to take us to the Arena – I figured that was just the designated pick-up spot, and thought it would be the best place to wait. Unfortunately, the shuttle never showed up.

About 15 minutes after the expected arrival time of the shuttle, I went into the group Discord server for Heroes of the Dorm travel logistics and asked what was going on. A different member of the press let me know that the 10:30 AM shuttle was actually at the Hilton hotel, which was several hundred feet away from the Marriott where I was saying. I thanked him for the information and started walking over when I realized I should probably check the shuttle’s destination – I asked again where that particular 10:30 AM shuttle was headed… and he said it was going to LAX. So, that wasn’t actually my shuttle.

I walked back to the Marriott and checked in with the travel agency one more time before just calling my own Uber, when a representative told me to stay waiting at the Marriott because she was calling me an Uber. I stood and waited for another 10-15 minutes when the agent let me know that a Honda was at the front door waiting to get me.

I roamed around the hotel for a while looking for this Honda, but couldn’t find it; I messaged back in the group chat that unless this particular Honda had a Kia badge (which was the only other car at the front of this hotel), the Uber was not in fact ready to pick me up. I checked in with her to make sure she had sent the Uber to the correct hotel, and… you guessed it, she sent the Uber to the Hilton instead of the Marriott.

I quickly messaged back letting her know that it was no problem, the Hilton was close by in walking distance, and I would jog over there to catch the Uber. However, the agent told me that she would contact the driver to head to the correct hotel, and before I could stop her, she had already let the driver know of the new pick-up address. I planted my feet and waited some more.

The Hilton is literally a block or so away from the Marriott – literally joggable in about a minute. The Uber must’ve gotten catastrophically lost, because he didn’t show up for 8 minutes. But, he ended up making it – after 8 minutes, the Honda showed up at the front of the Marriott.

I got in and let him know that I was headed to Bob Hope Hollywood Burbank Airport… upon which he informed me that he had to cancel the ride because he doesn’t have his permit to conduct rides to and from the airport. If you’re not familiar with Uber, rides to and from the airport are regulated more strictly and require the driver to pass a quiz to earn a permit, and they’re also more expensive due to extra airport fees and taxes. Apparently this guy had already passed his quiz, which is why Uber put him into the pool of airport-eligible drivers, but he hadn’t actually received his airport permit sticker in the mail yet, so he couldn’t conduct airport rides yet.

I exploded and told him not to cancel the ride, because I had a flight to catch and I had already gone through the absurd trouble of even getting a ride at all. Because I travel to Burbank a lot for Blizzard and ESL events, I’m actually quite familiar with the area. I told him that we’re going to change the destination – we are no longer going to Bob Hope Hollywood Burbank Airport, but to Panda Express.

At first he looked a little confused, but after I explained that Panda Express is nearby the airport and I can just walk the remaining third of a mile or so to my terminal, he caught on. He successfully drove me to Panda Express, I walked into the airport, and I successfully caught and boarded my flight. No exit row seat this time though, unfortunately.

 
The plane departed Burbank and made it to Las Vegas. As we were approaching McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, I looked out the window and spotted my apartment complex. We were a little too high for comfort, though – my apartment is only about 10 miles away from the airport, but our altitude didn’t really seem like we were about to land in 10 miles. Moments later, we flew right past McCarran International Airport and continued southeast.

We kept flying quite literally to the edge of Henderson, nearly to Boulder City. I clearly wasn’t the only person who was this confused, as other passengers were staring out the windows with puzzled looks on their faces. Once we were nearly 30 miles out… the pilot decided to do a 180-degree turn straight back to the airport.

Yes, I understand that landing order and directional runways are a thing – we sometimes have to wait for different planes to land first, and sometimes runways are shut down for one reason or another and we need to land from a certain approach angle. What I’m particularly curious about is why we ended up flying an extra 30 miles off into the corner of the city, only to turn around sharply as if we only had 1 mile of turning space.

I get motion sickness pretty easily on planes and cars, but I managed to avoid motion sickness on that flight.

Until that point.

My head felt like it was about to explode, and I nearly vomited.

 
I’m alive, safe, and back home now. The tournament was great, the Blizzard Arena was awesome, and the event itself was excellent. It’s pretty rare that I actually give out generous compliments like this, but I actually really think that the Blizzard Arena is one of the best studios I’ve been in. I watched some games from the stands, and although I think the lighting and immersion could use a bit of extra work, it felt like a real stadium experience. The behind-the-scenes of the Arena is intense, and the tour I got of the production rooms was intriguing and insightful.

I just can’t wait for esports to eventually move to Las Vegas as a main hub so I don’t have to get on another unlucky plane ride.

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How I nearly failed my driver’s license eye exam http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/05/02/how-i-nearly-failed-my-drivers-license-eye-exam/ Thu, 03 May 2018 03:57:33 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6369 Earlier today, I transferred over my driver’s license from Illinois to Nevada.

Yes, I know the first question popping up in many people’s heads is why I still had an Illinois driver’s license when I moved to California in late 2016. The simplest answer for that is that I didn’t really know how long I was going to stay in California (meaning, it wasn’t exactly a “permanent” move), the address on my Illinois license was still technically a valid address of mine (as it was my parents’ home), and I determined I didn’t want to pay the extra fees to move my license when it was still valid (meaning, not expired).

However, a few days ago, I scheduled an appointment with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) so I could apply for a driver’s license transfer (in person, as required). The thing about Las Vegas in particular is that you get a whole lot of benefits (upgrades, discounts, etc.) if you’re a Las Vegas resident – it’s just something that a lot of businesses do to distinguish tourists from locals, and give the locals some perks. I’m also considering going back to school for more advanced degrees, and I want to avoid missing out on in-state local tuition rates simply because I failed to update my driver’s license.

My visit made me realize how important it is to schedule an appointment. When I showed up, the waiting list showed 142 people in line with an estimated wait time of 3 hours and 52 minutes, but because I had scheduled an appointment, I got to skip the line and immediately receive help once my time came around.

I meticulously researched this process ahead of time so I could get in and out as quickly as possible. As a result, I was overprepared with all the necessary forms filled out and documentation provided. Everything was going very smoothly… until the eye exam.

The representative asked me to look into a machine and read off the letters from left to right, starting with column 1.

I said, “Those are literally gray dots… is this a trick question?”

… She confirmed that it was not a trick question.

You see, there were three columns of text. Column #1 was composed of gray dots, column #2 was blurry but was still sort of readable (as in, I couldn’t tell the difference between a B and E or an O and D, but I knew the difference between an M and J), and column #3 was perfectly readable.

I took a quick breath, said “Okay, pretend like I didn’t say that,” then started reading the letters. I said completely random letters for column #1, took my best guesses for column #2, and read column #3 normally.

After that was finished, she said, “Your vision with corrective lenses is 20/40.”

I asked, “So did I pass?”

She said “Yes.”

I replied, “Okay, that was literally more difficult than the LSAT that I took 3 years ago.”

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How not to address a letter http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/05/01/how-not-to-address-a-letter/ Tue, 01 May 2018 21:06:22 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6406 I’ve been doing some shopping for collectables on eBay lately. I’ve never really been much of a materialistic person (and I’m still not), but I recently started collecting Absol Pokémon cards for two main reasons – the first reason being that Pokémon has had quite a significant impact on my childhood and it seemed like, if I were to collect anything, cards of my favorite Pokémon would be reasonable.

The second reason is a bit more complex. I often criticize people for being too materialistic and focusing too much on possessions, especially if these are material possessions that aren’t even used that much and serve no real function or purpose. I personally believe in spending a lot of money on items that you use often, then offsetting that extra spending by just straight-up not purchasing items that you don’t really need – this is a pretty straightforward way to enhance your quality of life.

However, I’m also under the belief that it’s very difficult to understand other people’s “strange” behaviors unless you are there in their shoes. As a result, in order to ensure that I’m not “missing out” on something simply because I’m not a collector of an item, and to make sure that I’m not making this criticism out of ignorance, I decided to partake in the activity for first-hand experience.

That explanation got quite a bit more involved than I anticipated, especially for a blog post titled “how not to address a letter.” As I mentioned moments ago, I’ve been buying very cheap Absol Pokémon cards off eBay to try and round out my collection, some of which are only available from international sellers. I found one particular foreign card offered by a German seller, so I purchased the item.

Of course, being from Germany, the seller most likely wasn’t too familiar with United States addresses. However, instead of just copying the address exactly like how I submitted it to him, he decided to apply his own unique twist:

How not to address a letter

I’ve historically complained a substantial amount about the United States Postal Service for leaving my packages in front of random, incorrect doors, or putting my mail in the wrong mailbox, but in this case, I’m genuinely impressed that an envelope addressed to “8SΛCA Las Vegan” somehow still ended up in my mailbox.

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H1Z1 Pro League rehearsals and welcome reception http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/04/20/h1z1-pro-league-rehearsals-and-welcome-reception/ Sat, 21 Apr 2018 06:40:31 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6423 After a long two weeks of preparation with the team house and bringing in our new players, the day is finally about to come. Our team house is finally in livable condition (though it still needs a substantial amount of additional furniture), the players are ready to perform and compete for the first show, and all the visiting Tempo Storm staff members have arrived in Las Vegas and have all gotten lodging settled.

People were originally prohibited from posting photos of the rehearsal stage to the public because they didn’t want untasteful pictures of a construction area being released (this is also why I didn’t do day-to-day vlogs with the team). However, as the stage neared completion, they lifted that ban, so I was able to snap a few photos during our team’s rehearsal:

H1Z1 Pro League - Rehearsal

H1Z1 Pro League - Rehearsal

In celebration of the premier of the H1Z1 Pro League, Twin Galaxies set up a welcome reception atop the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in the VooDoo Lounge. Although I’m not really a fan of parties, I still attended for the sake of getting some free food and taking photos of the Las Vegas Strip from a really tall building. Our Chief Business Development Officer and one of our social media specialists also came along, so I attended to accompany them as well.

We arrived early enough that the sun was still up and we were able to see the buildings. This is a photo facing southeast from the Masquerade Tower at the Rio; the most notable buildings present are those composing CityCenter, as well as the Panorama Towers and the Martin beside it:

Las Vegas - CityCenter, Panorama Towers, The Martin

After-the-fact, I realized that I probably should’ve brought along my tripod and set up my camera for a time lapse of the sunset and all the lights coming on, but unfortunately, I didn’t think of that idea early enough. Instead, I just have photos from after sunset – this next photo is at a similar view southeast; the one following it shows the more northern side of the Strip:

Las Vegas CityCenter at night

Las Vegas Strip at night

One of the Rio’s attractions is the VooDoo Zipline that extends from the top of the Masquerade Tower all the way to the Ipanema Tower. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch anyone riding it, and I wasn’t really too interested in riding it myself, but this is what it looks like:

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(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157694126820331)

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The H1Z1 Pro League is coming http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/04/12/the-h1z1-pro-league-is-coming/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 06:38:09 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6420 I think saying that April has been and will be a busy month is a catastrophic understatement. With Tempo Storm setting up a brand new team house in Las Vegas, the prep and opening week of the H1Z1 Pro League, Ninja’s Fortnite event at Esports Arena Las Vegas, a ton of people coming in from Southern California to Las Vegas for these events, the new Hearthstone expansion The Witchwood and two new Meta Snapshots in two different languages to go along with it, plus a massive change to Tempo Storm’s operations division, my schedule is going to be pretty packed.

With the H1Z1 Pro League being the biggest thing coming up for me right now, I’ve been traveling back and forth from my apartment to the Las Vegas Strip to take care of incoming players and attend H1PL-related events and seminars. Yesterday was the official induction of all 75 new competitors into the H1PL during the orientation.

H1Z1 Pro League Orientation

H1Z1 Pro League Orientation

H1Z1 Pro League Orientation

And of course, at this point, it wouldn’t be a real Adam Parkzer blog post without some food photos … this was some of the catering they had for the attendees (couldn’t get photographs of everything because a lot of it was in covered containers right up until people started grabbing at the food):

H1Z1 Pro League Orientation - Catering

H1Z1 Pro League Orientation - Catering

H1Z1 Pro League Orientation - Catering

(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157665766074197)

]]> My first National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/04/10/my-first-national-association-of-broadcasters-nab-show/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 05:17:52 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6416 Although I “specialize” in a few particular fields – namely entertainment and psychology – I am very much a generalist within those fields. For example, if you present me with a production-related project, I’m a king-of-all-trades in that I can basically do all parts of the production process myself as a one-man crew to an above average level (planning, filming, editing, post-production, etc.), but there are very few things where I can say I am the top 0.01% in the world.

Historically for Tempo Storm, my role has been to oversee larger projects as the director, then focus in on post-production and polish before pushing things live to the public. However, lucky for us, we now have two dedicated executive producers who are actual experts in the production field, as well as a brand new studio in Hollywood.

This also means that I had the opportunity to join in with them and attend the 2018 NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Our executive producers were interested in the technical aspects of the show because they were looking for new and innovative solutions to issues they’ve been having during their work. On the other hand, I was just interested in getting more first-hand exposure to other areas of the entertainment industry.

Unfortunately for me, we spent a majority of the time looking at studio equipment and solutions without getting too involved in film or software, so my sub-fields of interest were never soothed. Instead, I just felt like a confused child wandering around taking photographs of flashy and shiny things. It was definitely still an interesting and valuable experience, though.

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(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157667680160648)

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How not to ship a battery http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/03/31/how-not-to-ship-a-battery/ Sat, 31 Mar 2018 17:57:02 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6403
I ordered a single spare camera battery from Amazon. This is how it arrived.

How not to ship a battery

???

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Onboarding with the Tempo Storm Fortnite team http://parkzer.com/blog/2018/03/26/onboarding-with-the-tempo-storm-fortnite-team/ Mon, 26 Mar 2018 21:38:28 +0000 http://parkzer.com/blog/?p=6410 Literally three days after moving from Southern California to Las Vegas, I got on a plane and went straight back to California to visit Hollywood and Burbank for Tempo Storm’s Fortnite team’s onboarding. (Yes, I could’ve just chosen to move after the onboarding, but then I would’ve had to miss the Esports Arena Las Vegas grand opening, so that posed another problem. On top of that, we ended up postponing this Fortnite event by a week, so I was actually originally under the impression that it would happen before I moved.)

I was hoping to turn this entire trip into a vlog, but unfortunately, I committed an idiot and literally forgot to bring my camera battery charger. I explain it in greater detail in this video segment, but long story short, this is the only video footage that I have from the event:

That video above were from travel day, as well as the early morning before the first day of onboarding. Yes, we ended up just eating at Denny’s, and our players all successfully made it from the hotel by crossing the street without any fatalities.

The first day was mostly composed of video interviews and photo shoots – we wanted to get as much media footage of the players as possible so we had some stuff to work with when creating features and segments. Our executive producer Doug was the one who primarily ran most of the interviews, while our photographer Bills captured head shots:

Doug conducting interviews in the recording studio

VapeJesus and Payne setting up their computers

VapeJesus in a photo shoot with Bills

Later on in the day, Greg Grunberg stopped by to direct a pilot episode of a talk show with one of our players.

Payne being interviewed for a TV show pilot

Speaking with Director Greg Grunberg

To conclude the day, we went up to the Observatory to enjoy the view of Los Angeles.

Fortnite team looking down onto Los Angeles

Looking down on Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory

Hollywood sign

The second day was show day. We had the players participate in a 10-in-5 challenge, where our team had to get 10 wins in 5 hours. We didn’t realize how easy it would end up being for them – they blasted through with 10 wins in a row in right around 3 hours, then spent the remainder of the time doing silly stuff to entertain the audience, like queuing up for 4-man squads the splitting up half-and-half to wipe out everyone else on the map and meet in the middle.

Doug introducing the broadcast audience to the 10-in-5 event

Doug and Carlos manning the studio control room during the 10-in-5 livestream event

The evening concluded with some group photos, followed by a trip to all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ and an escape room.

Fortnite team sitting on a red couch in the music room

KBBQ

The team recovered almost $1.1M worth of treasure while in the escape room

(Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157689199589840)

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