I visit California too much

The past week and a half has been a flurry of scrambling, confusion, negotiation, and way too much driving. Half the week consisted of mild panicking because things weren’t going our way, then the other half of the week consisted of mild panicking because things were going too well. I was also re­minded that you have to deal with completely incompetent and shallow people no matter what you’re doing… though unfortunately, for the sake of not causing problems, I’m going to choose not to elaborate on that final point.

Two weekends ago, we at Tempo Storm found out that our PUBG team qualified for the National PUBG League (NPL), the official league for the game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. This is an offline tournament, which means that all participants must travel on site to the production studio for their games. This naturally means that they have to live somewhere within the proximity of the studio… which sounds a bit familiar if you followed my blog posts back in April and May when we were setting up for our H1Z1 team.

The league offers hotel rooms as lodging for the players, but we decided to set up a team house instead, as hotel Internet connections are notorious for having severe latency and reliability problems. With a substantial amount of real estate experience under my belt, I ended up being the best candidate to get the team house fully set up, so I made my way over to California to begin the house scouting and signing process.

Of course, giving too many more details about this isn’t really possible, because I don’t really want to give any hints that may allow someone to pinpoint the location of the team house for the sake of the players’ safety and privacy – so, as a result, I won’t be publicly sharing the seemingly infinite number of houses I looked at in the past week. However, here are a couple photos that show two things I learned.

Lesson #1: Apparently, peacocks randomly strolling down the sidewalk is considered normal on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I was in the area to tour a house, and right as I stepped out of my truck, I noticed a peacock just casually walking along. I hid behind my truck and snapped a photo assuming that it would flee if I made my presence too obvious, but it seemed to not really care. After the fact, I did a bit of research on Google, and apparently Palos Verdes actually has a peacock problem.

A random peacock walking down the sidewalk

Lesson #2: If you ever get a house that doesn’t have enough bathrooms, have no fear. … Just put a portable toilet system in your front yard.

I now know what to do if I ever get a house without enough bathrooms




The best part of traveling is coming back home

American Airlines - Preparing for departure

Bird's eye view of Chicago after departing O'Hare

Because I had a nighttime flight, there was no meal offered, but I was still given the option of a snack. I opted for the Korean barbecue beef wrap, then discovered that American Airlines has absolutely no idea what Korean barbecue actually tastes like, and proceeded to eat a substance that resembled cold salami.

American Airlines' "Korean barbecue" wrap

I have this thing where, if I know someone is flying over Las Vegas, I will make them wave at me from their plane (or, if I’m flying over a city where someone I know lives, I will wave at them too). Not too long ago, I visited Jordan King in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I noticed that I would be flying in that area on my way back to Las Vegas from Chicago.

Pointing to Lincoln, NE on the flight map

Unfortunately, that flight trajectory wasn’t perfect, and I didn’t fly directly over Lincoln, but we got pretty close to Omaha, the biggest city in the surrounding area.

A southward-facing bird's eye view of Omaha, NE from a plane

(Almost) hello, Jordan




More Coco

Considering my adoration of dogs (and animals in general), it’s probably not a surprise that one of the best parts of coming back to Illinois is getting to see Coco, my parents’ Yorkshire terrier.

Coco enjoys sleeping in random places at random times, particularly in spots where she knows you’re going to want to sit at one point or another. My parents bought her a Serta bed (yes, Serta makes pet beds), but she avoids it, probably because she knows that no human would want to sit there, and she only sleeps where humans want to sit. I picked her up and plopped her down on the bed; she didn’t identify it as a bed, stiffened up, and stared at me in confusion.

Coco standing on her Serta bed

Coco is also a particularly intelligent dog (as are most Yorkshire terriers – the entire breed is usually rated as having above average to high intellect). When I turn on the space heater, Coco can’t feel the full warmth of it because it’s angled slightly upward, so she pulls over a cushion and lays down on top of it to gain height advantage and stay warmer.

Coco climbing up on a cushion to get a better angle on the space heater

When there isn’t a handy space heater nearby, she digs herself into a hole of blankets.

Coco bundled up in blankets

Sometimes, staying too buried under a bunch of blankets makes her too warm. While she’s sleeping, she will suddenly wake up, start panting, and climb out of her hole. She’s usually still pretty sleepy at this point though; she forgot to pull her tongue all the way back in before beginning to doze off again, and I captured her microblep.





Visiting Jordan King in the middle of nowhere

I hate traveling, and that’s a pretty well-known fact by those who are familiar with me, but I feel like a disliking of travel should not stop you from gaining new and unique experiences. So, I decided to adventure out into the Midwest and visit Jordan King (known online as Genserik) in Nebraska, and take a road trip to Oklahoma for some work-related tasks.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really do a very good job taking photographs and videos during this trip (and the ones I did take give an inside look at Jordan’s family, which is not something that I would want to share online on my website for the world to see). But, I have a few highlights, the first one being eating Runza for the first time.

First time at Runza in Lincoln, NE

Runza is apparently a restaurant chain only available in Nebraska that sells what appears to be wrap-like sandwiches. I got a beef and mushroom Runza sandwich, and it was quite intriguing – the oiliness and “heaviness” of the meal made it feel like I was eating one of the unhealthiest foods I’ve ever had in my life.

I also held Jordan’s 1.5-month-old baby, which (to my knowledge) is the very first interaction I’ve had with an infant so young. I’ve always had an issue in the past with me not liking children (even though, for whatever reason, they seem to like me), so because of that, I’ve never really bothered to go out of my way to learn about how to handle a tiny infant. Jordan captured this moment for me – here is a photo of me looking very confused that a baby is laying in my arms:

Holding Jordan's 1.5-month-old baby

That baby isn’t Jordan’s only child; he also has a 4-year-old daughter. I let her use one of my spare cameras while I was there and had her take a bunch of photos. She seemed to particularly enjoy snapping pictures of regular household objects and walls, but then she realized that she could photograph people as well. She told me to look into the camera, but the height difference still made it a bit difficult for her:

Photo taken by Jordan's 4-year-old daughter

During our Oklahoma road trip, Jordan captured a few interesting moments. Considering his uncontrollable laughter, his favorite seemed to be while we were on the phone with Doug Wreden, one of the former executive producers at Tempo Storm, when, seemingly in an effort to ensure my voice would get through the microphone properly, Jordan angled the phone towards me and blinded me by reflecting the sun straight into my eyes:

40,000 lumens

On the way back from Oklahoma, we had to drive through a massive blizzard, which was not exactly what one would consider a great travel experience. Luckily, Jordan was driving (the drive was just over 6 hours, and I took a 4+ hour shift at the beginning and gave the final 2 hours to Jordan, because we knew that a snowstorm would be coming up). He’s far more experienced at driving in snow than I am, so he (literally) slid and drifted us to safety back to his home.

… I was in too much of a state of panic to actually remember to photograph the snowstorm.




The “I Voted” stickers in Las Vegas are fancy

I’ve never really been an active voter because I move around so much. Since turning 18 and being eligible to vote, I voted once, as the other elections happened to fall during times when I was out-of-state and never requested an absentee ballot (e.g., when I was in Madison, Wisconsin for my under­grad­u­ate studies), or when I was in California and never registered to vote again because I didn’t know how long I would be staying there.

But, since voluntarily moving to Las Vegas and picking this city as my preferred permanent residence of choice, I decided to register again when switching over my driver’s license to Nevada. Now, when I vote, I generally lean towards the Democratic Party, though I’m more of a case-by-case-basis voter. As a result, when registering, I marked myself as “non-partisan” to remain neutral.

That was a catastrophic mistake.

Since registering, I received pretty much non-stop political spam from the Democratic Party of Nevada trying to convince me to vote in their favor (because, according to my registration, they assumed I wouldn’t be voting with them already, and wanted to “convert” me into a Democrat). Leading up to the election, my mailbox literally became a receptacle for garbage. And of course, when I originally registered to vote at the DMV, they never took the initiative to give me a form I could fill out to withhold my information from these campaigners, so the paper just kept flooding in.

This ended up becoming so annoying that, at one point, I literally considered unregistering to vote, but I realized that would be a very un-American solution to the problem, so I decided to just deal with it for this election season, then fill out that privacy form later.

Today, I went to my local polling place and cast my ballot. When I voted in Illinois (and when I see other people showing their “I Voted” stickers on social media), the sticker I received was a small round one with an American flag that says “I Voted.” Apparently, Las Vegas doesn’t mess around when it comes to voting, and they gave me this monster sticker instead:

The "I Voted" stickers in Las Vegas are fancy




Visiting my aunt and uncle in the mountains

With BlizzCon Opening Week and BlizzCon 2018 coming up, I’m back in California to do press and media coverage of the convention. I drove from Las Vegas to Southern California a little bit earlier than originally anticipated because I had some tasks to take care of, but that extra time in California meant I got to do some other stuff as well.

One of my aunts and uncles from my dad’s side of the family live in Southern California up in the mountains. I’m usually not a huge fan of driving to their home there because there are a lot of winding unpaved roads on the climb up, but since I got a pick-up truck a few months ago, I decided to try out the drive again. In the past, my drives up and down were moderately intimidating because I was in tiny, short rental vehicles with poor engine power, but the drive up this time felt like a breeze.

GMC Canyon pick-up truck in the Santa Ana Mountains

Full album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamparkzer/sets/72157674963463678