The lore behind DougDoug’s “I’ll have what he’s having” fast food challenge

On Saturday, May 20, 2023, I joined my friend Doug Wreden on his DougDoug Twitch channel for a live stream with his friends and staff mem­bers Berry and Parry. For the broadcast, we drove around the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County doing the “I’ll have what he’s having” challenge.

This was a popular trend a little while back, and I already participated in a few of these with some other friends a handful of years ago, but if you’re not familiar with the concept, the idea is that you go to various different fast food restaurants and order the same thing as what the previous vehicle in the drive-through lane ordered.

Yesterday, the recording of the live stream was cut and edited into a highlight video that was released on the DougDoug YouTube channel. The audience of Doug’s YouTube channel is far greater than the au­dience of Doug’s Twitch channel, so this brought the fast food challenge content in front of many more eyes and resulted in a relatively large influx of questions.

There’s been relative consistency in the questions that have been asked, and there is a bit of “lore” that I think fans would find fun and interesting, so I decided to take some time to write this as a supplement to Doug’s video content.


“How much did you actually end up eating?”

Doug’s video editor calculated the nutrition facts of everything we ate and it came to a total of 20,435 calories. However, people were curious exactly how much I personally contributed to consuming that amount. From the footage, it seemed like I ate the least… but it was not by as large of a margin as it may seem.

Food Restaurant Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g) Na (mg) Protein (g)
Honey walnut shrimp, ⅘ portion Panda Express  300  18.5  22.0  381  11.5
Mushroom chicken, ⅘ portion Panda Express  185  12.0   9.0  707  10.0
Fried rice, ⅕ portion Panda Express  112   3.5  18.5  183   2.5
Chow mein, ⅓ portion Panda Express  174   7.0  27.0  293   4.5
Veggie egg roll Panda Express  180   9.0  19.0  390   7.0
Cheddar quesadilla, ⅘ portion Del Taco  366  20.5  24.5  676  17.5
Caramel cheesecake bites, 1 stick Del Taco  460  28.0  43.0  310   6.0
Chocolate fudge sundae Burger King  280   7.0  47.0  220   6.0
Sourdough patty melt, ¾ portion Jack in the Box  488  28.5  28.5  975  28.0
French fries, medium, ½ portion Jack in the Box  215  10.0  29.0  390   2.5
Cherry Coca-Cola, 2 fl. oz. Jack in the Box   25   0.0   6.5    5   0.0
Raspberry-filled jelly doughnut Krispy Kreme  340  21.0  36.0  125   3.0
Chocolate iced doughnut with cream fill­ing Krispy Kreme  340  17.0  42.0  140   4.0
Baked potato with chives Wendy’s  137   0.0  31.5   15   3.5
Natural-cut French fries, medium, ½ portion Wendy’s  210   9.5  28.0  210   3.0
Pink lemonade, 28 fl. oz. Wendy’s  308   0.0  77.0  105   0.0
Nitro cold brew coffee, ½ each of 2 drinks Starbucks   70   1.5  13.0   45   3.0
Fried chicken thigh, small KFC  144   8.5   4.5  150  11.0
Total   4,334 201.5 536.0 5,320 123.0

While we were working through our order at Kentucky Fried Chicken, Doug’s moderator Eddie showed up to help with a large portion of the bucket of fried chicken. Fried chicken is extremely calorically dense, and a bucket has a lot of pieces of chicken; I think it is reasonable to assume that Eddie relieved about 1,800 calories’ worth of our food burden, considering that he ate most of the bucket.

That brings the total for the four of us down to 18,635 calories. At my 4,334 calories, I ate about 23.26% of the calories, very close to the 25% needed for an even split. Of course, calories isn’t the only metric to calculate contribution, and there are many other important factors like how volumetrically filling the food is or how undesirable the meal is, but in general, I feel like I definitely carried my own weight.


“Did Doug really just find you at the hotel?”

The simplest possible answer… is actually, yes. But obviously, there is more to it than that.

Doug and I had plans during the Sunday afternoon following the day of the broadcast—plans that involved being in Los Angeles County together. Doug thought I was going to be flying in Sunday morning, but I like to have a buffer day to make for a more relaxing and less rushed travel experience, so I flew in a day early on Saturday instead.

For convenience, Doug and I booked rooms in the same hotel. However, we both like having our own separate rooms to minimize interruptions and im­prove sleep quality, so we had separate reservations. This meant that Doug did not know when my check-in date was, and he did not realize that I would be arriving on Saturday instead of Sunday.

The timing was uncanny. After landing from my flight, I walked to the rental car facility, picked up my vehicle, and drove to the hotel. However, the pick-up process took longer than expected because the front license plate of the vehicle was held up by a single screw and was on the verge of falling off, so they had to go find a special screwdriver to remove it so it wouldn’t fly off while the vehicle was in motion. This added about 12 minutes of delay to the pick-up process.

If everything went smoothly during vehicle pick-up, I would’ve arrived at the hotel 12 minutes sooner, walked into the hotel too early to be seen by Doug, and none of this would have happened. Instead, because of the delay, the moment I was walking into the hotel happened to perfectly coincide with Berry and Parry picking up Doug from the front of the hotel, which allowed Doug to notice me.

As a reminder, keep in mind that Doug did not know I would be there on Saturday. Thus, from his perspective, I miraculously just spawned in front of him at the hotel entryway, and the fact that our paths had crossed wasn’t far off from seeming like a force majeure event.


“How did you end up also becoming the driver?”

The original plan was for Berry to be the driver. However, with me now in the picture, we had an alternative.

When I travel and rent a vehicle, I will always opt to get a pickup truck (if one is available) for a variety of reasons. My personal daily driver at home is a pickup truck, so I am used to driving pickup trucks now. The better visibility and higher ride height makes the driving experience much more com­fort­a­ble. I also easily get motion sickness, and driving a larger vehicle, especially one with a body-on-frame structure like pickup trucks, helps mit­i­gate that.

Furthermore, for the past several years, pickup trucks have gotten much, much nicer. They used to be considered work vehicles, but the newest trucks now often have as­tro­nom­i­cally better convenience and luxury features than regular sedans. To top it all off, ren­tal car companies usually only have one or two rental tiers for pickup trucks, while they have upwards of 12 or more classes just for sedans. This means, if you book a low-tier se­dan, you for sure are going to get a pretty bad sedan, and if you want a nicer one, you have to pay for upgrades. However, if you book a pickup truck, in their system, a pick­up truck is a pickup truck, so you may end up with a basic truck, but you could also end up with a really nice one, like we did for this fast food ad­ven­ture.

I ended up with a Nissan Titan Platinum Reserve this time around. Being a full-size pickup truck, it is much more spacious than Berry’s car, which made it much more comfortable for four adult men to sit in for several hours. The higher ride height also meant that we would be eye-to-eye with the fast food staff, making it easier for them to hand over our food, as opposed to needing to reach down at an angle if we were in a sedan.

Because I was the only one on the rental contract, I had to be the driver. We technically could’ve just violated the rental terms of service and had some­one else drive anyway, but Los Angeles isn’t exactly known for having wide roads, and the drive-through lanes are pretty tight. If you were watching the live broadcast, you might have heard a lot of beeping when we were going through the drive-throughs; the beeping was the collision sensors warning me that we were about to hit something. Considering that I have the most experience driving big, wide, long vehicles, we decided it would be safest for me to drive the entire time.


Some other frequently-asked questions…

“Did you play up your reaction to the baked potato because you knew Doug hates potatoes?” No, I did not. In fact, I did not even realize that Doug hated potatoes. I was relieved to see a baked potato because it was finally some food that wasn’t offensively greasy or salty, so it was a way that I would be able to continue helping without putting my health in increasing jeopardy.

“Did you get stream sniped at any of the restaurants?” I highly doubt it. Although it was fairly obvious to some people where we were because we drove right past Hollywood Burbank Airport at the beginning of the stream, the rest of the guys made a conscious effort to try and obscure our location by claiming we were in random states across the United States. The most likely possibility of getting sniped was the KFC bucket at the end, but the woman who ordered it was already ordering before we arrived, and she looked like she was just buying a big meal to feed her family.

“Did you feel sick during the subsequent days?” No, there was hardly any visible difference in my health. The same night, my body woke itself up four or five times in the middle of the night in extreme thirst, and I drank about one and a half 16.9 fl. oz. bottles of water overnight, but beyond that, everything was back to normal the following morning.

“Are you quitting fast food for the rest of your life?” Absolutely not. I love fast food, I’ve saved a ton of time because of the convenience, and fast food isn’t always bad—it is usually inevitably very high in sodium, but if you pick the right menu items, there are ways to piece together some pretty decent meals low in saturated fat and high in protein. I also don’t really get “sick” of foods from overeating; I think that’s more of a mindset thing, and I had no problem eating some chicken sandwiches from McDonald’s a few days after finishing this challenge.

“What happened in the bathroom of Jack in the Box?” I defecated. I did not vomit, and I did not have diarrhea. A simple bowel movement was sufficient enough that it made me feel better and allowed me to consume over 1,500 more calories afterwards.


“Do you regret agreeing to join for the challenge?”

No. Not even a little bit.

The older I get, the more I realize that relationships with other people are the most important things in life. I’ve historically optimized for other things, like maximizing personal comfort, or making as much money as possible, or finding the most luxurious things to buy and places to live… but ul­ti­mate­ly, it’s the people in your life who matter the most.

This is probably some of the most fun I’ve had, ever. I am literally going to remember this day for the rest of my life. Sure, I had an upset stomach by the time we got to Jack in the Box, and yes, my health probably took a little bit of a hit from eating so much saturated fat and sodium, but in a big-picture sense, it was absolutely worth it.

Hello, DouglasDouglas.




The Adam Parkzer and Doug Wreden World of Warcraft: Classic hardcore saga

Starting in mid-April, I joined my friend Doug Wreden in playing World of Warcraft: Classic hardcore.

For those who are unfamiliar, hardcore mode, also known as “perma-death,” is a modified way of playing a game that enforces various additional re­stric­tions, the most iconic of which prohibits you from ever dying, consequenced by being forced to delete your character. WoW Classic doesn’t have an official hardcore mode, but there is a fan-made add-on that implements the functionality, which Doug and I used.

Here is our saga.

I joined World of Warcraft during Mists of Pandaria and never played Classic. I’m not really a fan of classic games in general—I appreciate the quality-of-life improvements that game developers add to modern-day games, so I usually don’t go out of my way to play older games unless they are particularly nostalgic. With that being said, Doug somehow convinced me to join him on a duo adventure of WoW Classic hardcore.

Doug really wanted to play Druid, which limited us to the Night Elf race. My first character was a Hunter named Parkzerect, a combination of “Parkzer” and “erect,” because this is hardcore.

We got to level 2, at which point, Doug got bored of the Night Elf leveling zone and proposed bum-rushing our way to the Human leveling area. I didn’t know what that meant, but I agreed; we set off on our journey and promptly died to a level 20+ Young Wetlands Crocolisk.

For our second attempt, I made a Hunter named Parkzerecter, a combination of “Parkzer” and “erecter,” because we were just getting started and I was even more ready than before. After six levels, I discovered that clearly was not the case, because I sort of just randomly forgot to keep track of my health bar and died to a Vicious Grell, ending our run.

I’m not great at World of Warcraft: Classic, but I play a ton of MMORPGs. I was pretty tilted at my method of death, which I found to be inexcusable due to how basic and easily-preventable it was. To express my frustration, I named my next character Parkzerblind.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. We were both insane. We tried the bum-rush strategy a second time and promptly died to another Young Wetlands Crocolisk.

… Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. We tried the bum-rush strategy a third time on my fourth character, a Hunter named Pogzer because of how Pog it was to die over and over again.

As you’d expect… we were NOT insane, because this time, we died to some sort of strange swamp beast and not a Crocolisk. Very Pog.

In the spirit of actually not being insane, Doug came up with a different strategy to make it to an alternative leveling zone on our fifth characters—we swam. I put Doug on follow and he piloted himself and my Rogue Dogpit for literally 50 minutes through the ocean.

Miraculously, this was a successful journey. I’m generally a Shadow Priest one-trick pony and I know basically nothing about any other class, so the Rouge leveling experience was novel. One of my favorite parts about Rogue was its instant-cast ability, which was very convenient for tagging quest mobs.

There was one situation where a lot of other players were standing in an orderly line waiting for a spawn, and when Doug and I arrived, we joined the line. The line soon degenerated into chaos after some inconsiderate people showed up and tried to cut in line. Hilariously, after I realized there was no point in being respectful anymore, I said aloud, “I guess there’s no line anymore” … and then promptly proceeded to catch, tag, and steal the next spawn of the quest monster, effectively saving us potentially upwards of 20 minutes of waiting, had everyone else decided to continue using the line system.

We successfully made it to level 10, upon which I did the Rogue class quest. While doing the class quest, I had to find a treasure map, so I walked up to the target holding the loot and started attacking it. Suddenly, four Defias Bodyguards spawned out of nowhere and started attacking me.

I shrieked out to Doug for assistance, and he healed me… rerouting monster enmity to himself. Tanking four level 10 monsters as a level 10 is never great news, and unsurprisingly, he died. After their successful assassination, the guards went back to targeting me, and I died as well, ending our run.

So what happened? Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to attack the monster that had the treasure map. Instead, I was supposed to use my Stealth to enter his house undetected and use my Pickpocket ability to steal the treasure map. My lack of game mechanic knowledge caused our deaths, which was dis­ap­point­ing.

As a side note, remember how, in our second attempt, I died because I wasn’t paying attention to my health? I fixed that by installing an add-on that lets me create custom alerts. Now, when I descend below 40% health, an airhorn blares and the words “YOU ARE LITERALLY TROLLING” and “RUN AWAY” appear and start bouncing on my screen (which you will see in the next screenshot). It has been incredibly useful.

Doug and I were both pretty bummed that we lost our run just because I didn’t know a particular game mechanic and the quest text wasn’t explicitly clear about what I was supposed to do, so we booted up our sixth attempt with Dogspit the Rogue.

We made it to level 11, one level higher than before… but we died when Doug jumped into a pit to attack a melee quest mob and ended up taking too much damage from two additional rangers. I didn’t see them hiding behind terrain, but Doug said he did notice them, though it didn’t occur to him that they would deal so much damage.

I further compounded the problem by not properly focus-firing the lowest-health target—I thought I had killed the melee enemy and started sprinting towards the ranged ones, but apparently, I either missed my attack or canceled my attack animation and the melee enemy survived with a sliver of health, giving it enough time to make Doug flinch during his heal cast time and die by a margin of milliseconds.

At this point, we wanted to give up and refused to give up at the same time.

Attempt seven was Drooid the Hunter, which we managed to bring to level 12 (yet again, another one level higher than before), but failed our run when Doug… uh… drowned to death.

Attempt eight was Driud the Hunter, and at this point, both of us were pretty frustrated and mildly tilted. This death was very similar to our second attempt when I randomly died to a Vicious Grell; Doug ended up getting greedy and pulled a quest mob with a slow respawn timer while he was already under attack by a monster, and through a combination of unlucky respawns of regular mobs and falling under attack by even more enemies, we died.

Out of sheer stubbornness, we kept trying. It was infuriating that we kept on dying right after finishing the introductory zone, and we really wanted to get to level 20 and clear at least one dungeon. I created Dogmilk the Hunter to adventure together with Doug’s Druid Dogcheese for our ninth attempt.

At this point, as you’d expect, the Night Elf leveling zone was very, very boring. Luckily, there was apparently a Peggle add-on for World of Warcraft: Classic, which I eagerly installed. Doug has played a lot of Peggle, but this was my first time trying it. I got instantly hooked and proceeded to clear (all the orange pegs) and full clear (all the orange and blue pegs) every single one of the 13 levels in two days.

Peggle made leveling from 1 to 10 much more bearable, but it also came with its own risks… I got so invested into Peggle that I almost got our run dis­qual­i­fied three times. The first was when I was too busy playing Peggle to notice that I had to pick up the Stormwind flight path, and a few hours lat­er, Doug flew back to Stormwind while I was still stranded in the questing area (which is a problem, because both duo characters have to remain in the same zone and only have a 10-minute grace period). The second was when I was too busy playing Peggle to notice that Doug had logged out already to take a break for dinner (which is a problem, because both duo characters must be online together at all times in order for the duo run to be valid). The third was when I was too busy playing Peggle to notice that my ship had arrived back in town after Doug had finished his Druid-specific class quest, and I nearly kept riding the ship to the next destination.

I started actually having a lot of fun after we got past level 13 and realized we weren’t going to continue the “die after one more level” curse.

Doug and I also got much better at coordination, and we managed to survive multiple seemingly impossible situations, one of which involved being un­der attack by six enemies at the same time due to a combination of miscommunication, poor timing, bad respawn luck, and unexpectedly high aggro ranges.

After we got to the mid- to late teens in level, it felt like we actually had agency over our own lives, and if we played with good skill and synergy, we could survive sticky situations without feeling utterly helpless. I had a pet with Growl that I could use to juggle tanking aggro, we had multiple healing and buffing items to use at our disposal, and we had crowd control spells to slow or disable the enemies while we kited away.

So… we did it. We made it to level 20 and cleared both Deadmines and Wailing Cavern. I screen recorded our first dungeon to preserve the memory, and I live streamed our second dungeon on Twitch as my first stream in over 8 months.

Our Deadmines run went extremely smoothly because we had a highly competent and overqualified team, but our Wailing Cavern run was a lot more dicey, which made it far more interesting. I also enjoyed streaming again, and it was nice seeing and recognizing some old usernames from several years ago back when I used to stream more regularly, as well as a lot of new usernames from Doug’s community who joined in to watch.

Now that we finally achieved our goal, we’re both going to take a short break from obsessively grinding WoW Classic, but it’s definitely something we’re going to keep alive little-by-little over time to see just how far we can manage to take our characters.

Edit (May 28, 2023):

It hasn’t been too long since we cleared the dungeon, but unfortunately, our run has come to an end. We made it up to level 24, and while we were clear­ing some mobs in a(n apparently) dangerous area of Redridge Mountains, neither Doug nor I saw a patrolling group of enemies nearby. We were al­read­y en­gaged in combat with a few enemies, and by the time the patrolling group came into our field of vision, they had already aggroed onto Doug and beat him down pretty quickly, upon which I also fell shortly afterwards.

And with that, our World of Warcraft: Classic adventure comes to an end. We don’t want to try from scratch again anytime soon, but there are some ru­mors that an official version of hardcore mode may be coming to World of Warcraft: Classic, so if that happens, then we may make our return for at­tempt #10.




One-year update: Investing US$10k in the stock market – Parkzer vs. DougDoug & Twitch chat

Prerequisite reading: The original “Investing US$10,000 in the stock market – Parkzer vs. DougDoug & Twitch chat” blog post

Disclaimer: I am not a registered financial or investment advisor, and even if I was, I wouldn’t be your advisor. To you, I am nothing more than someone on the Internet posting anecdotes via a personal blog on his website. This content is intended for comedic and entertainment purposes only. Everyone’s sit­u­ation is uniquely different, so consult a certified professional if you need guidance on your own financial strategy.

Last year, my friend Doug Wreden and I decided to do a fun investing competition where we would both put US$10,000.00 into stocks of individual, publicly-listed companies and find out whose portfolio balance was higher after one calendar year.

Doug livestreamed the stock selection process on his Twitch channel on Friday, January 21, 2022, though it happened after markets closed at 4:00 PM EST / 1:00 PM PST, so the orders went through the morning of Monday, January 24, 2022. I had some prior commitments on the 21st so I wasn’t able to join in on the broadcast, which meant I picked my stocks by myself over the weekend, causing my orders to also go through on the 24th.

Yesterday, Monday, January 23, 2023, was the final trading day of the one-year challenge period. The results are now in.


The winner

I know many of you just want to see the results and don’t care about the analysis, so here is what you’re looking for. If you suffer from hexa­kosioi­hexe­kon­ta­hexa­phobia, proceed with caution.

(Apologies to those who are visually impaired and/or use screen readers; the content of those tables and charts is just too large and graphically-intensive to be able to reasonably translate into HTML. Hopefully the summary below helps you get a better idea of the information provided. All further tables on this page are hard-coded into the document.)

With my portfolio’s ending balance at $8,837.11 and Doug’s portfolio’s ending balance at $8,170.45, I am the winner of the competition by a margin of $666.66. Yes, this is real. No, I did not smudge or tweak the numbers to get that result. Feel free to validate all the numbers in the spreadsheet above.

As a reminder, my portfolio was designed not to win harder, but to lose slower (as opposed to Doug’s, which, whether or not he intended it, was de­signed to win harder at the cost of also losing harder). This strategy worked, as the overall markets did not have the best year in 2022.

My portfolio’s winners were NextEra Energy, Inc.; Waste Management, Inc.; and Walmart, Inc. My portfolio’s biggest losers were Digital Realty Trust, Inc. and, funny enough,, Inc. Amazon was my effort to “diversify” by adding in a wildcard company outside of my designated sector strategy (more on this later); if I had just committed to my strategy, my portfolio would have done even better.

On the other hand, Doug’s portfolio’s winners were Costco Wholesale Corp., Coca-Cola Co., and to some extent, PepsiCo, Inc. Doug’s portfolio’s biggest los­ers were Aspen Aerogels, Inc.; Intel Corp.; and Hasbro, Inc. Throughout a majority of the year-long challenge period, Netflix, Inc. was performing hor­ri­bly, but it was starting to pick back up recently; it’s unfortunate that the timing of the stock challenge was such that it didn’t have an opportunity to ful­ly recover.

Both of us lost to all of the benchmarks except for cryptocurrency. If I had invested everything into bonds, I would’ve made $37.50 more; if I had invested everything into the total domestic stock market, I would’ve made $277.84 more; and if I had invested everything into the total international stock market, I would’ve made $322.09 more. I was actually ahead of these benchmarks for a large part of the past year, but they passed me up right at the end. I think this serves as a good demonstration that, if you’re investing for the long haul, it is probably a good idea to just put your money into broad market index funds.

If it’s any consolation, we should be happy that we did not put all our money into cryptocurrency. The Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund, which is com­posed (as of today) of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, and Cardano, fell almost 65% in value.


Prophet Adam

It is widely accepted that it is impossible to consistently and intentionally predict the stock market, and those who have managed to do so have just got­ten lucky. However, what isn’t impossible is to take current events into consideration and make broad generalizations about what is more likely to hap­pen in the stock market during that generalization period.

Last year, I made three major assumptions:

  1. The first was a very specific assumption that the COVID-19 pandemic would go through more severe sinusoidal phases that would cause another market crash. This was simply incorrect, as the pandemic seems to have stabilized, the United States has mostly gone back to normal life, and most people have accepted SARS-CoV-2 as being a lingering virus that we will have to deal with long-term, just like how we already deal with the flu.
  2. The second was a broad assumption that the stock market is more likely to fall than it is to rise, due to the fact that the economy is not ac­tu­al­ly as healthy as it might seem. This ended up being correct, inflation is indeed at a decades-long high, and we saw policy changes im­ple­mented by the Fed­er­al Reserve System (such as increased interest rates) to help mitigate.
  3. The third was an assumption that the world will trend towards infrastructural development and the continued transition to push rapidly-evolving tech­nol­o­gy to the general public. As far as I am aware, there is nothing particularly iconic that happened in the past year with regards to this that rev­o­lu­tion­ized the way society works. However, this statement is also so excessively broad that it sounds like, a year ago, I might have worded it in­ten­tion­ally vaguely to make it so it was borderline impossible for my prediction to be wrong.

From there, I decided that, out of the market sectors defined by the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), I wanted to focus on consumer sta­ples, health care, utilities, and real estate. Were those indeed the best sectors? Here are the results:

Sector (Ticker*) Start Price Shares Value Cost basis Change ($) Change (%)
Energy (VDE) $ 87.06 $125.43 114.8633 $14,407.31 $10,000.00 +$4,407.00 +44.07%
Health Care (VHT) $241.11 $247.52  41.4748 $10,265.85 $10,000.00 +$  265.85 + 2.66%
Utilities (VPU) $149.02 $151.02  67.1051 $10,134.21 $10,000.00 +$  134.21 + 1.34%
Materials (VAW) $182.44 $182.80  54.8125 $10,019.73 $10,000.00 +$   19.73 + 0.20%
Industrials (VIS) $192.23 $188.87  52.0210 $ 9,825.21 $10,000.00 –$  174.79 – 1.75%
Consumer Staples (VDC) $195.83 $188.65  51.0647 $ 9,633.36 $10,000.00 –$  366.64 – 3.67%
Financials (VFH) $ 94.19 $ 87.05 106.1684 $ 9,241.96 $10,000.00 –$  758.04 – 7.58%
Total Market (VTI) $222.33 $201.28  44.9782 $ 9,053.21 $10,000.00 –$  946.79 – 9.47%
Information Technology (VGT) $405.03 $346.23  24.6895 $ 8,548.26 $10,000.00 –$1,451.74 –14.52%
Real Estate (VNQ) $105.43 $ 88.09  94.8497 $ 8,355.31 $10,000.00 –$1,644.69 –16.45%
Consumer Discretionary (VCR) $303.61 $240.90  32.9370 $ 7,934.52 $10,000.00 –$2,065.48 –20.65%
Communication Services (VOX) $124.96 $ 92.82  80.0256 $ 7,427.98 $10,000.00 –$2,572.02 –25.72%

*For the purposes of this table, I used Vanguard sector ETFs to gauge each sector’s performance. I selected Vanguard simply because I personally use it as my primary brokerage and I am most comfortable working with their offerings. There are many other options available, and the results may vary de­pend­ing on which one you pick.

Energy was a wildcard that spiked from the Russo-Ukrainian War and its escalation as a result of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. With that ex­clud­ed, it seemed like my predictions were generally correct—although real estate underperformed, the other three sectors I picked outperformed the to­tal stock market, and if I average out all four, I would be ahead of the total stock market by $543.97.

Remember, though, that my ten individual company picks did not beat the total stock market by that amount, or at all. That further emphasizes how much of a risk it can be to invest in individual companies instead of broad indexes, as well as how basing your investment decisions even on something as seemingly reliable as stock market sectors could still end up leading you astray.


The Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi mini-game

Doug’s community is split in half into two teams based on the letter with which each person’s Twitch username begins—”A Crew” for the first half of the alphabet and “Z Crew” for the last half of the alphabet. As a mini-game between the two “crews,” Doug invested $500 into Coca-Cola to represent A Crew and $500 into Pepsi to represent Z Crew, and whichever stock ends with a higher balance would determine which crew wins.

Company Coca-Cola Co. PepsiCo, Inc.
Start  $  59.96    $ 175.49  
Price  $  60.23    $ 169.12  
Shares 8.3389 2.8492
Value  $ 502.25    $ 481.85  
Cost basis  $ 500.00    $ 500.00  
Change ($) +$   2.25   –$  18.15  
Change (%) +0.45%  –3.63% 

Unfortunately, Doug made a common mistake of confusing Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Con­sol­i­dat­ed (COKE) with Coca-Cola Co. (KO), so he ended up investing A Crew’s $500 into the wrong company. I flagged this for Doug so he could fix his mistake, but not before he re­al­ized $26.07 in prof­its from COKE from the first trading day. Before I could make the prop­er cal­cu­la­tions to see how much of that gain should carry over, he put the en­tire $526.07 in­to KO.

Thus, the A Crew vs. Z Crew situation becomes a bit more complicated. Instead of just look­ing at Doug’s portfolio to see who won, we have to do some math to find out what his bal­ance of KO would have been had he invested the $500 properly from the beginning.

After performing that calculation using historical data and running a market simulation ag­ing that portfolio by one year, we have A Crew’s Coca-Cola Co. finishing with $502.25 and Z Crew’s PepsiCo, Inc. fin­ish­ing with $481.85, thus making A Crew the winner of the mini-game by a mar­gin of $20.40.


The aftermath

One of the stipulations of this challenge was that we would have to donate any earnings beyond our $10,000 cost basis to charity. Unfortunately, both of our portfolios lost money, so there were no profits this time around.

Another stipulation was that the loser of the challenge (i.e., the person with the lower portfolio balance) would have to do a punishment. If I were to lose to Doug and his Twitch chat, it was suggested that I would have to get a phrase of Twitch chat’s choosing laser engraved onto my Glock 19 pistol. I ac­tu­al­ly don’t recall explicitly agreeing to this, but thankfully, it doesn’t matter, because I won.

Doug’s punishment, on the other hand… was undecided. I imagine it is going to be determined through a voting process with Twitch chat during an up­com­ing live stream. I also trust that whatever is selected as his punishment is of comparable severity as me potentially having some random Twitch meme permanently immortalized on my duty weapon.

I had fun with this stock investing challenge, and I’m glad I was able to participate. I think many people just expected all along for me to win, but in reality, there were plenty of opportunities for Doug’s portfolio to come out ahead.

I’d be happy to participate in something like this again in the future. But until then? I’m sure you already know… I’m selling everything tomorrow and putting it in the S&P 500.




I visited the University of Southern California

After spending a lot of time with my friend Doug Wreden in the Seattle Metropolitan Area this past summer, I headed out for the next leg of my road trip journey in September. Two months later (i.e., earlier this month), we were reunited in Los Angeles, California after I had arrived in town to set up my temporary base camp for the winter at the Tempo headquarters in Long Beach, and Doug flew in for a few days for an unrelated matter to attend an in-person event at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California.

We met up in Hollywood to get lunch together at a ramen restaurant with two of our mutual friends, then headed over to the University of Southern California campus so we would be nearby and he wouldn’t be late for his event. Event parking was US$40.00 in the main lot, but we managed to get the best luck possible by finding a side street with free weekend street parking.

We headed into the USC campus and wandered into the California Science Center, a museum with free admission.

This was one of the strangest museums I’ve ever been to, and I probably would not have been too happy if I had to pay to get in.

After we went up the escalator, one of the first things we saw was an exhibit dedicated to COVID-19. It already wasn’t exactly the most exciting thing to see in a museum, especially considering that we had just finished surviving a pandemic and most people probably want to take their minds off of it and want to resume normal life, but the mood and tone of the exhibit was a bit apocalyptic. It had the number of deaths prominently displayed on a digital screen, and the messaging still strongly pushed masking and social distancing. Confused, Doug and I chuckled a bit and went to the next section of the museum.

Next up was a section that was designed as if you were walking into a woman’s reproductive organs. Deep into the “uterus,” there was a video playing de­picting a woman giving birth in graphic detail with great clarity. There were a few small children eagerly watching. Further confused, Doug and I de­cided that was enough learning about reproduction for one day, and we walked through a tunnel (which I imagine represented a fallopian tube) to exit that sec­tion.

On the way to the next section, we took an intermission to watch a short film. The longer we watched, the more confused we got (as if we weren’t in­com­pre­hen­si­bly confused at this museum already). We realized that the film wasn’t actually a film, but rather, just a bunch of stock footage stitched to­geth­er with random words (like “water,” “desert,” “mountains,” “life,” etc.) overlayed on top of the footage. This is one of those “you had to be there to get it” moments, but if you have any experience editing video and you caught onto this, you probably would’ve also found it ridiculous.

If you thought it ended there, you would be sorely mistaken. The next exhibit was about avian life, and there was an interactive game I tried out where you would feed a ball into a tube and use a lever to shoot it out, and it was supposed to reflect something related to birds and how they evolved to sur­vive. I never found out what that was, though… because the ball just got stuck in the tube and I couldn’t get it out.

By this point, I had solidly awarded this the worst museum I have ever been to, and during my year-and-a-half road trip, I have been to a tremendous num­ber of museums.

It seemed like the main attraction of this museum was the area about space, and even this wasn’t that incredible.

The weirdness also didn’t end. There were a set of worn-down tires on display and a sign that said “Touch the tires!” but it was safely behind a barricade. The most prominent display of this entire area, directly in the middle of the space, was a movie and explanation of how astronauts defecated in space, as well as a physical model where you could climb up some steps and see what it would feel like to use a space toilet.

In a neighboring building, the Endeavour was on display. It was interesting to me that, as a space shuttle adorned with United States flags that was part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, an agency associated with United States federal government, they decided to spell Endeavor with a “u.” My best guess is that it was named in honor of or named after something British, but I never found out for sure.

After we decided we had enough of this museum, we decided to go for a walk around the campus some more, first taking a stroll through some rose gar­dens that were not in bloom because it is December, and then walking through a field with a ton of chipmunks. It seemed like the university students treated them well and fed them a lot, because when I stooped down and extended my fingers, the chipmunks walked right up to me, presumably because they thought I had food.

Here is a fountain. (I like fountains and waterfalls.)

Something I found intriguing about the USC campus was how there were random single palm trees planted in random places, at an average density of one palm tree per few blocks. Usually, you’ll see a row of palm trees lined up along pathways or organized in a cluster in open areas, but USC seems to have decided to put single palm trees right in the middle of other trees and buildings.

With my adoration of dogs, I of course had to take a picture with George Tirebiter. This is a bronze statue of the dog located at the intersection of Bloom Walk and Trousdale Parkway, just off West Exposition Boulevard, in between the Marshall School of Business and Zumberge Hall of Science. It was erected in 2006 by Michael Davis and is titled “Mascot/Fan.”

By coincidence, I had great synergy with the dog because I was wearing a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department K-9 hoodie.

Adam Parkzer sitting next to a dog statue

Oh, and here is Doug who, after I passed my phone to him and asked him to take a photo of me with George, instead used the wrong-facing camera and ended up taking a selfie of himself (though, knowing Doug, I am guessing it wasn’t entirely a mistake).

After our adventure, we walked towards the Galen Center together so I could bid Doug farewell and head back to my truck. Of course, with my fantastic luck, the route we took led us onto West 34th Street, and we did not realize that its intersection with Figueroa Street right in front of the Galen Center was blocked with a closed vehicular gate and a locked pedestrian gate. … We solved this problem by just climbing over the fence.

I wasn’t really a fan of my undergraduate university years, and I feel like my exposure to the University of Southern California was probably the worst it could’ve possibly been considering the circumstances, but I still enjoyed spending time with Doug and exploring the campus, and it still brought back a bit of the nostalgia of being a younger college student.




Hello again, Mina the domestic shorthair cat; and Alki Beach Park in Seattle, Washington

Last month, I met Mina, a domestic shorthair cat. Before heading out of the Seattle Metropolitan Area to continue my transcontinental road trip, I had a fi­nal opportunity to visit and play with her one last time.

Earlier that day, a few friends and I went exploring at Alki Point, an area near the West Seattle neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. One of the friends I went with was Doug Wreden. We took another “typical Doug and Parkzer”-style photo in front of the Seattle skyline.

I wore long pants because I brought my point-and-shoot camera and I wanted sturdier pockets to hold it, but it was perfect shorts weather. The sun was shining but not too uncomfortably hot, and there was a light breeze coming from the water. The views were great, and we went on a weekend so there were a lot of other people out and it was fun people-watching.

We got some lunch from Marination Ma Kai. I ordered an entrée of four miso chicken tacos and a can of strawberry-lilikoi-flavored Hawaiian Sun. The food was great—the chicken was high-quality, the tacos weren’t excessively seasoned, and the garnish perfectly complemented the meat without being too sour.

After eating, we walked along the coastline to the Alki Point Lighthouse (which we later discovered was closed, as the tours only operate until La­bor Day), then we found some rental scooters and rode them all the way back to our parking spot. The last time I had used one of these scooters was way back in 2019 when I went to St. Paul, Minnesota, and I hadn’t ridden a scooter, bicycle, or anything of the sort since then. It was fun riding one again, especially because Alki had a separate, designated bike lane that I was able to use.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable trip.




Eating a whole salmon in bunny costumes with Doug Wreden for charity

On August 26, 2022, my friend Doug Wreden ran a charity fundraising event for the Monterey Bay Aquarium in celebration of Rosa the sea otter‘s birth­day. The US$90,000.00 stretch goal was for Doug and me to eat a whole salmon while wearing bunny suits. The event ended up raising US$104,327.89.

With my stay in the Seattle Metropolitan Area soon coming to an end, we decided now would be a good time to fulfill our promise. Yesterday, we went to a local seafood store looking to purchase a whole salmon.

We asked the fishmonger what the smallest whole salmon would be, and he said it would be around 12 pounds (5-6 kilograms). He went to the back to grab one and came out with a 17.87 pound (8.11 kilogram) salmon, saying it was the smallest one they had available.

We brought it back to Doug’s house and stored it in the refrigerator. It barely fit.

This morning, we extracted the salmon from the refrigerator to prepare it for cooking. We were considering putting it on a tray, but then realized that would be completely pointless.

Here is a picture of Doug next to the salmon, for scale.

We covered the inside of the oven with tin foil and placed the fish inside. It was too big to comfortably fit in the oven, so we turned it diagonally and curved the head and tail upwards so it would fit.

After about an hour, the salmon was more-or-less done cooking, and it had a nice, golden brown crust.

We went into this knowing that it would be completely unrealistic to actually eat the entire fish, but we had our estimates—I thought I would be able to eat about 2 pounds, and if Doug does the same, we’d finish about a quarter of the fish.

Oh, and also, my inflatable bunny suit was aggressively large.

I ended up underestimating ourselves, because we finished about half of the salmon. If we account for the head and tail that we did not consume, as well as the weight of the bone, I think we might have eaten about 3.5-4 pounds (1.5-1.8 kilograms) of salmon each.

This was the aftermath. We took the leftover salmon and stored it in containers to finish consuming another day.

By the end of it, I had eaten so much pro­tein and fat that my stomach was upset and I felt physically exhausted, but I ate some popsicles high in sugar, and that neutralized some of the weird feeling in my stomach and made me feel much more refreshed.

This is by far my favorite stream that I’ve been a part of. Not only was it just an absolutely absurd, ridiculous, and insane concept, but it was tied to a great charity event, the audience was very happy to watch and was looking forward to it for over a month now, and it went surprisingly smoothly from a logistical perspective.

I’m glad I got to participate, and now Doug’s community just needs to convince him to eat a bunny while wearing a salmon costume…