Goodbye SoCal

My two weeks in Southern California are coming to an end—tonight will be my final night here, and tomorrow I’ll be headed to Lake Las Vegas.

When I first arrived here, I stayed in a spare bedroom at the company headquarters in Long Beach, but once we had two game designers fly in for work, I relocated to off-site lodging so our two staff members could stay at the house.

I originally relocated to TownPlace Suites Anaheim Maingate Near Angel Stadium, but that was an absolute disaster. The room I got felt old and un­main­tained, it smelled horrible, housekeeping did an awful job, and the fitness center was closed. I’ve become a Marriott fanboy at this point (and am also a shareholder), and I’ve come to expect a very high standard of quality from Marriott; this Towneplace was nowhere near that standard. Luckily, e­ven though the property was terrible, the staff was great and understanding, and the front desk manager let me shorten my stay to one night without incurring a penalty (e­ven though it was pre-booked at a discounted rate for one week with no cancelations permitted).

I was able to rebook myself to a newly-constructed hotel nearby, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Anaheim Los Alamitos. While checking in, the front desk rep­re­sentative asked me what brought me to Los Alamitos; I told him a brief version of my story of being a nomad for the next half year, and he was amused and impressed. He voluntarily upgraded me to a larger suite so I would have more space to set up my workstation. The quality of the room was an astronomical difference from Towneplace. This Fairfield had everything I needed and nothing I didn’t need (i.e., it had all the essentials that I wanted with­out having any needlessly fancy things that end up being an inconvenience).

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Anaheim Los Alamitos

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Anaheim Los Alamitos

My past week has, in its majority, consisted of working and spending time with Tempo staff members while I still have a chance to do so prior to setting off on my journey. When I wasn’t using my desktop computer setup in my hotel room to get work done as efficiently as possible, I tried to spend a lot of time at the team house. One of the days, one of our managers invited me on a walk through Naples Island, which was good for sightseeing.

Naples Island in Long Beach, CA

While on our walk, I noticed a black crab on the ground. I pointed at it and asked for confirmation that it was indeed a crab.

My employee confirmed, then swooped down to try and pick it up. After trying for literally a minute and a half, he finally managed to grasp it, then told me he was going to transfer it to my palm. I immediately declared that this was an absolutely terrible idea, and that I was probably going to drop the crab. He handed it off to me anyway, so, in concern for the crab’s life, I moved my hand over the grass so that, if the crab were to fall, it would at least land on the grass.

Unsurprisingly, the crab sprinted off my palm and flew straight off my hand. … It missed the grass and landed on the concrete sidewalk.

It died.

Okay, it didn’t actually die. It walked away just fine. But for a fraction of a second, as the crab was plummeting towards the earth, I thought that I had ac­tu­ally committed reckless crabslaughter.

Naples Island in Long Beach, CA

Naples Island in Long Beach, CA

Holding up an anime shirt at tsun scoopsAnother one of our adventures was going to an ice cream shop called tsun scoops. The thing is, this wasn’t just any ice cream shop… it was an anime-themed ice cream shop.

Being a fan of anime and Japanese culture is quite commonplace within the esports industry, so I’m used to being exposed to this subculture often, but I never realized that it would actually manifest into an entire ice cream shop.

The exterior of the restaurant seemed fairly unsuspecting, but once you step inside, you are immersed in an anime world. The flavors are named after references to popular anime series (such as “I-it’s not like I like you or anything, Baklava”; “Notice Me Apple Sen-Pie”; and “The Meloncholy of Honeyhi Dewzumiya”), there is anime art throughout the whole shop, and there is even a little section with anime merch.

They split up the ice cream flavors into “tsun,” which was more sorbet and fruity, and “dere,” which was more dairy and traditional ice cream. I tried a sample spoon of Ramune and yuzu; neither of them were bad, but I didn’t think I could down an actual portion of each one of them. So, in the end, I went with a trusty scoop of honeydew and a scoop of lemon with poppy seeds, topped with mochi.

And no, I did not purchase the shirt.

tsun scoops

For one of my final adventures, I accompanied our CEO reynad to Scott Robinson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, a car dealership, to help him purchase a new Jeep.

Even though they were branded as a generic Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealership, they didn’t really have too many Ram pickup trucks. They had a spe­cial 75th Anniversary edition of the Ram 2500 Power Wagon inside the showroom, which I immediately went up to and hugged (if you’re not yet aware, the Ram off-road trucks are my favorite vehicles, and if I didn’t live in a city, I would have either a Ram Rebel or Ram Power Wagon instead of my GMC Canyon).

I also found a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel out in the lot, which I also hugged.

Hugging pickup trucks

reynad ended up following through with the vehicle purchase, so he is now the proud new owner of a Jeep Wrangler Sahara.

reynad's new Jeep Wrangler Sahara

I’m generally never this active and social, and this trip was far more draining to me than usual because I’m on the extreme end of introversion, but it was definitely also more fun than usual. I’ll have plenty of time to recharge over the next month while I’m traveling alone, and once I make it to my parents’ in the Chicagoland suburbs, I’ll find a week in August to make a routine trip back to Tempo headquarters.