Food of Seattle

When visiting Seattle this time for PAX West, I traveled with one of my friends who likes searching for and trying out good food. We went to a lot of different restaurants, and I captured enough food pictures that I decided to do a dedicated blog post solely spotlighting the food I ate during my trip.

On the first day of PAX, we left the convention center for a little bit to find some lunch. We decided on Ruth’s Chris Steak House, where I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and some fries.

I’m not entirely sure if this actually counts as a food picture, but inside PAX, apparently Cheez-It decided to partner up with a gaming company to run their own exhibition booth. Funny enough, the booth was literally just entirely filled with Cheez-Its.

Although I had a four-day badge, my friend only purchased two one-day badges, so on one of the days where she couldn’t get into the convention center, we went to downtown Seattle and did a bit of exploring. For lunch on Saturday, we went to The Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar where we ordered some clams in garlic sauce.

Here is the aftermath.

Does water count as food?

My friend took a picture of me in front of Puget Sound because she specifically wanted me to have more photos of my face to post on my website. I guess you can technically argue that this could possibly be a food picture if you consider the fish in the water that you could hypothetically go out and eat…

🍆 … 💦?

The next day, we went to Noren Sushi, where we ordered agedashi tofu for our appetizer.

My lunch was a chirashi bowl.

That night, after the “Fight Mii” panel, we went to Hong Kong Bistro for some dim sum. The service was horrifically bad, but the food was decent. Doug did all the ordering, and he accidentally ordered about 50% more food than our party of nine needed.

I overate, and we still had a ton of leftovers that we packed up in to-go containers; here is the aftermath after we were done:

For lunch the next day, my friend and I went to Musashi’s. We shared our entrées half-and-half, with the first one once again being a chirashi bowl.

The second entrée we got was grilled yellowtail collar.

For the final restaurant of the trip, we went to Meet Korean BBQ. Our cook was great, the meat was extremely high quality, and the restaurant quickly became one of my all-time favorite restaurants.

For our appetizer, we ordered steak tartare with American wagyu chuck, Asian pear, jalapeño, pine nuts, egg yolk, honey soy marinade, and toasted ba­guette.

As our main entrée, we each ordered the signature feast. This round came with American wagyu gold grade bavette, American wagyu gold grade chuck eye steak, and Kurobata pork belly. The feast also included kimchi fried rice, corn cheese, egg soufflé, and wagyu soybean stew.

Meet was very pricey, but if you’re flexible in budget or just want to treat yourself, it was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it.

That wraps up a brief overview of my food adventures in Seattle. I’m glad I traveled with a friend this time around, because it’s always nice to have some­one else scouting interesting places to visit and pulling me out of my hotel room where I otherwise would just be working until my scheduled e­vents at the convention.




Hello, “Fight Mii” at PAX West 2023

With a successful “Friends ’til Death” panel on day 2 of PAX West, we went into day 3 with an autographing session followed by Failboat’s “Fight Mii” pan­el.

The premise of “Fight Mii” is for audience members to participate in creating Miis in accordance with a prompt given by the host. Usually, audience members compete against each other, but for this iteration of “Fight Mii,” the audience members were allied against “Team Failure,” the team rep­re­senting Failboat and consisting of his friends.

Here is our friend Aidan, who owns the “Skip the Tutorial” channel on YouTube, filming Dan in a pre-panel interview.

Moments before the start of the show, I peeked back behind the curtain to make sure Dan was still alive. He was mildly surprised.

At 8:30 PM in the Monarch Theater, Dan went live with his signature gold sequin shirt. Unfortunately, his co-host Jay wasn’t able to make it this time around, but Jay filmed some pre-recorded segments which Dan played for the audience to provide them with the prompts.

Between each round, Dan came down into the crowd to pick some audience members to compete.

I was the first challenger from Team Failure, and my mission was to create a Pikachu Mii. This was my first time ever laying hands on any Wii game what­so­ev­er, so it was not exactly a smooth experience. To top it all off, the voting system was highly rigged, in that the audience cheers determined which team won… and of course, the audience voted for their own representatives. Long story short, I got demolished.

The next challenger on Team Failure was Aidan.

Dan realized that the voting system was a bit one-sided, so instead, he brought Stitch from the PAX team up to be the judge instead.

My favorite part of Dan’s panels is when he brings out the prizes. One of the prizes was a book of animals in the “Baby Touch and Feel” series.

Not bad.

Next up was Dan’s college friend Sam. The prompt was simply “red,” so Sam put red foundation on his Mii and called it a day.

Stitch came back up to judge the Miis and select a winner.

The next prize… HP printer ink cartridges.

Hello, Douglas Douglas.

Stitch came back up to judge the Miis again, and she ended up picking Doug’s Mii.

His prize? An inflatable unicorn sprinkler.

In traditional Doug fashion, he decided to pull a prank on Stitch and, on his way back to his seat, he pulled out $11 from his wallet and handed it over to Stitch to make it look like she was bribed to pick him as the winner.

For the final round, our friend Altrive was up to close out the panel.

The final prize? An ironing board.

This was a fun panel, and Dan is a very high-energy performer. Even though I wasn’t notified of my requested appearance until literally the morning of the panel, and then proceeded to have absolutely no idea what I was doing, I am still glad I got to participate.

If you missed it, PAX live streamed this panel on their website—you can check it out on the “Streams” section of the PAX West website.




Hello, “Friends ’til Death” at PAX West 2023

I’m currently in Seattle, Washington for PAX West 2023. I have a lot of photos of the event, and I’ve also been spending time with friends and doing other tourist activities around Seattle; I’ll be posting those over the next week or two after I get back home. But for now, I wanted to share some photos from yes­terday’s “Friends ’til Death” panel with DougDoug and Failboat at the Oriole Theater as soon as possible.

A part of PAX is taking place in the newer Summit building of the Seattle Convention Center. It’s a very nice building, and I really like its architecture as well—it is very modern, but there are still some nice wooden elements indoors that make it feel cozier and off-set the usually harsher feeling of today’s con­tem­po­rar­y style.

We arrived just shy of half an hour early for sound check, set-up, and a quick rehearsal.

PAX usually has live streams of panels, but unfortunately, they did not have one for the Oriole Theater. We still wanted to share the show with people who couldn’t make it to PAX, so we brought our own equipment to film. As you might have noticed already from my pictures, I was on photography. Berry, Doug’s creative director, set up a camera at the back of the theater to film the primary camera angle.

Our friend Aidan who owns the “Skip the Tutorial” channel on YouTube filmed a side angle, where he was able to get shots of Doug and Dan in addition to some crowd reactions. Doug’s team has all the footage now, and it will likely be edited and published at some point in the near future on one of Doug’s YouTube channels.

A few minutes after 9 PM PDT, the panel started with Doug and Dan walking out on stage.

The entire theater was completely filled, and unfortunately, many people even had to be turned away (which was even more motivation for us to capture the event so we could share it with everyone). There were a surprising number of people in the overflow area, and once the panel started, people who were denied entry started crowding around the glass doors to peek in. The framing of this photo below doesn’t even show the whole theater.

As the panel began, Dan explained the premise of the show—he would be playing Dark Souls while he and Doug answered questions from the crowd, but the instant Dan died, the panel would end. This is a live rendition of their “Friends ’til Death” podcast, during which they are playing a game, but the instant they die, the podcast episode ends.

Here’s a view from the theater from the other corner—you can sort of get a better idea of how packed it was.

Very pog.

As you can see by Dan’s oozing confidence, he knew exactly what he was doing. Side note: this was his first time ever playing Dark Souls.

There were a lot of people lined up for an opportunity to ask their question.

A few minutes into the game, Dan started getting himself into a bit of trouble. The crowd went wild telling him to run away, but unfortunately, their efforts were in vain.

Upon Dan’s death, they both got up and marched straight out of the theater. The panel was over.

A lot of the crowd chased after them out of the theater, but a line formed of people who wanted to meet me, so I stuck around for a while to chat and take photos. Someone even brought a Ryobi cordless power inflator for me to sign.

After wrapping up with everyone inside the theater, I found out that an impromptu meet-and-greet had formed out in the common area outside the theater with Doug and Dan, after their fans eventually caught up with them. Two of Doug’s fans hand-painted these amazing signs for the panel.

If you missed this panel, either because you weren’t at PAX or got turned away at the door, you still have two more chances to see us.

Today, Sunday, September 3, 2023 at 6 PM PDT, Doug and Dan will be holding a more formal meet-and-greet in the Autographing Area, during which I may be lingering somewhere in the background.

Two and a half hours after the start of that, today, at 8:30 PM PDT, Dan will be holding his “Fight Mii” panel in the Monarch Theater, during which Doug will be there momentarily as a special guest, and I will be running around taking photographs again. This one should be live streamed on one of PAX’s broadcast channels.

… See you there?




Photo dump from summer 2023

Today’s the last day of the last full month of summer, and I figured it would be a good time to share some of my miscellaneous photographs from the past three months that haven’t made it on my website yet. I always find it really funny when people post “photo dumps” on social media and it’s only two or three pictures, so this is going to be a real photo dump.

One of the things I like to do is to park on the top floor of a parking garage so I can go to the edge and take a nice picture of the view. Here’s Glendale, California.

Here’s an Italian restaurant I went to with my friend Eric Morino, better known online as Pointcrow. Apparently every waiter and waitress was also an opera singer, and they literally took turns singing to everyone during our meal. It was very … interesting.

I went to visit my friend Doug Wreden and he asked me what I wanted to watch on YouTube. I told him I was indifferent, so he made a decision instead.

As you can see, I am clearly an expert at arcades.

Hello, rabbit.

I recently had tableside guac for the first time. It never occurred to me what exactly the “tableside” was supposed to mean, but it soon became very clear that they literally bring the ingredients out and make the guacamole beside your table. Our waitress seemed to just indiscriminately randomly throw in ingredients without measuring anything or adjusting for taste. This was also very … interesting.

One of my friends came into town for a convention in Las Vegas, and while she was here, she wanted to try a popular breakfast spot called BabyStacks. I ordered velvet pancakes and they served me four meals’ worth of pancakes and sugar on one plate.

Hello, cat.

During a quick visit to downtown Los Angeles, I joined a friend and her cousin for all-you-can-eat sushi at Hello Fish. Apparently they’re a fairly popular restaurant in Koreatown—their slogan is “feed me sushi and tell me I’m pretty.” I would’ve normally done a dedicated blog post for a restaurant like this, but un­fortunately, they just had very dim and very pink lighting, so my photos did not come out very well. Here are three of the nicer ones.

Afterwards, we went to get shaved ice for dessert.

Here are some views from my hotel in downtown Los Angeles. It made me miss my days of luxury high-rise living on the Las Vegas Strip.




Hello, Deception Pass State Park in Oak Harbor, Washington

I used to go to the Seattle Metropolitan Area relatively frequently because a member of Tempo‘s executive team used to live up there, so I would visit her for work and for fun, and it was also a good way to visit some other friends while I was in the area. However, since her move out-of-state, the “kill two avians with one stone” concept didn’t work when it came to threading in a free personal trip while I was already in town for work, so I haven’t been go­ing as frequently.

This past week, I decided to take a trip to Seattle anyway. One of the places I toured was Deception Pass State Park, a Washington state park in Oak Har­bor. It actually reminded me a lot of my prior visit over one year ago to the Larrabee State Park, but Deception Pass was brighter and had much more water.

After a very brief stop at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op in Mount Vernon on our way there, we drove to the Deception Pass State Park Administration Offices to purchase a pass (upon which we found out were actually sold elsewhere, at the Entrance Station). We eventually made our way to the North and West Beach Parking Lot at the state park and started our hike on Pacific Northwest Trail.

From the trail, we were able to see the bridge in the distance.

We continued all the way down Pacific NW Trail up to its intersection at Washington State Route 20, where we were able to get a direct view of the un­der­side of the bridge.

After crossing over to the other side, we connected onto Goose Rock Perimeter Trail. After continuing eastbound, we found an interesting sight—a house on top of a rock on Ben Ure Island.

Continuing on the perimeter trail, we made it towards the bottom where we got some nice views of the Deception Pass Marina, Cornet Bay, and the Cor­net Bay County Park.

Here is a random very fuzzy tree.

Goose Rock Perimeter Trail eventually turned into Goose Rock Summit Trail. After some switchbacks and a lot of elevation gain, we made it to a spot where I got a nice view of Deception Island in the background and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in the far distance.

Here are some photos of me at Goose Rock Summit.

Fun fact, I didn’t bring enough t-shirts in my luggage, so the shirt I’m wearing was actually the shirt I was using as my pajama shirt for the prior 4 days.

Because the variant of Goose Rock Trail we took was a loop, we made it back to the intersection at Washington State Route 20. We decided to climb up the stairs onto the bridge and do a down-and-back to take in some of the nice views of Pass Island and the actual “pass” portion of Deception Pass.

Here is a random humongous spider web that I found stretched across some branches on our way back to the parking lot.

And finally, here is one of the last photos I took as we were retracing our steps westbound on Pacific Northwest Trail. I believe this is of the North Beach at Macs Cove, close to the Scenic Vista Parking Lot.

Overall, our hike clocked in at 5.36 miles (8.63 kilometers) and took a little over three hours (though I believe that includes breaks, chatting with other hikers, and snacking at the summit). My elevation gain on my fitness tracker wasn’t fully accurate because I was also taking the stairs up and down my hotel that day, but my hiking companion’s fitness tracker said our climb was right around 103 stories in height.

I haven’t been on a good, long hike in a while, so this was a very pleasant and refreshing experience. Apparently Deception Pass is the most popular state park in Washington, and based on my experience, it definitely made sense why.

If you like boating or camping, Deception Pass can be a great multi-day trip, but if you’re more of a hiker and beach-goer, I think this state park is just big enough that you can head over in the morning, fill the day with activities, and return in the evening.




Hello, THE CLAW in Las Vegas, Nevada

My brain doesn’t understand gambling on pre-determined disadvantaged odds.

I think a reasonable type of gambling is event betting—like on sports, or political elections, or other major world events. Betting has had its plentiful fair share of scandals, but in general, it’s relatively controlled randomness—you’re considering past statistics, calculating the likeliness of a future outcome, and wagering your money.

Betting has actually been one of the most reliable indicators of certain outcomes of events; listening to “industry experts” is often pointless, but if you look at betting odds, the combined wagers from thousands upon thousands of people frequently calibrate the odds to reflect the actual likelihood of a certain event playing out in one way or another.

I think an unreasonable type of gambling is participating in things where there is a certainly disadvantaged pre-determined outcome. For example, in rou­lette, if you bet on either black or red, there is a guaranteed 18/38 chance of winning and 20/38 chance of losing. Is the promise of losing over 5% of your money over time truly worth the “thrill” of… placing casino chips on a table?

A similar premise applies to slots. Even the loosest RTP at major casinos in Las Vegas is about 92%. Is the promise of losing around 8% of your money over time truly worth the “thrill” of watching a slots animation play over and over again? Why not just watch a video of a slot machine on YouTube for free and save the 8% cut you’re donating to the casino?

You can probably guess where this is going. A similar premise also applies to claw machines. There is an element of skill with claw machines, because you have to line up the claw properly. There is also an element of cheese with claw machines, because some have intrinsic issues with their mechanics and you can abuse those exploits to consistently win. However, assuming that you are the world’s best claw machine player with perpetually perfect drops and you’re not relying on a bug, the success of your pull is strictly up to chance.

The machine controls the strength of the grip. It will look like you firmly grabbed the prize, but on the way up and over to the payout chute, the ma­chine’s algorithm will determine whether or not you actually get to have what it’s holding. If you get unlucky, the grip will be too loose and your reward will fall back into the pile before it ever makes it into your hands.

This algorithm is controlled by software in the machine. If you look up the owner’s manual for pretty much any claw machine, you will almost always see a section titled “margin” or something substantially similar. This allows the owner to control the profit margin of the machine—they input the price of each prize and the cost of play, and the machine will control the flow of prizes to make sure the owner makes their desired revenue. This means that, if the machine decides it’s not time to pay out yet because it hasn’t met the appropriate profit margin numbers, you won’t get the prize, no matter how good you are.

… I still accompanied my friend Dani to an arcade dedicated to claw machines.

We went on a Sunday, so it was absolutely packed. The building was also much smaller than I had originally anticipated, so we were literally shoulder-to-shoulder with other people the entire time and frequently had to wait for machines to free up. The quantity of people made it so the air conditioning had trouble keeping up, and with the noise of the kids, it was very overstimulating.

With that being said, it was definitely a very interesting place; I’m glad I stopped by for a visit, because I have never seen anything even remotely close to this before.

I’ve been to plenty of regular arcades before, but because of the compactness and linear layout of THE CLAW, it felt like you were stepping into an entirely dif­fer­ent world—almost like a movie set—and being “hugged” by the rows of machines with their bright lights. All the arcade features were lavishly ex­ag­ger­ated, and if there hadn’t been so many people, I think it would’ve been easy to just get lost in the spirit of the arcade.

I did not participate, but Dani purchased US$70.00 of tokens, which yielded five plushies’ worth of spoils.

Yes, I have to be “that guy” who does the math now.

Dani practically purchased these plushies for $14 each. (In theory, it is technically less than $14 each, because we also purchased the “fun” that was in­clud­ed in that $14, though it is not realistically viable to assign a dollar amount to that right now, so we will simplify that and omit it from the cal­cu­la­tion.)

The cost to the owner for each plushie is highly dependent on things like physical plushie size, bulk order size, and the trademark licensing of the char­ac­ters, but as an overgeneralized average, you can expect each plushie to go at-cost for about $3.50 from a wholesale supplier. That means that the own­er’s profit margin is 300%, i.e., for every $1 spent on plushies, the $1 is made back and another $3 goes into the owner’s pocket (excluding labor and other operating costs, of course).

The $70 of tokens took about half an hour or so to use up. With a very rough and vague estimate of about 15 people continuously playing (there were more people, but many of them were just parents accompanying their kids), that’s about $2,100 per hour and $18,900 for a 9-hour day. After deducting $4,725 for plushies, $810 for paying six employees $15/hr. for nine hours, $300 for a day’s worth of rent for a spot like that, $300 for a day’s worth of utilities, a generous $500 for a day’s worth of miscellaneous business operating expenses like insurance and repairs, and another few hundred for buffer, that leaves just over $12,000 in net profit after a busy day.

Keep in mind that my math could be off by literally several thousands of dollars, considering that I am just using very generic numbers and don’t truly know the ins and outs of running an arcade.

With that being said, now that I have made my attempt at ruining claw machines for you by giving an example scenario of how much money is being farmed off of you by arcades, here is a photo of the five plushies Dani won:

If you can’t tell by now, she really likes arcades. The night before going to THE CLAW, we also made a stop at Round1 Bowling & Amusement. I don’t know how much money she spent there, but she seemed to have better luck at Round1 than at THE CLAW.

She won four large plushies and was eager to make me hold them for her for the photo opportunity, the results of which I have reluctantly agreed to post here as a bonus picture… under the condition that nobody misconstrues this as a sign that I have been won over by the psychological warfare waged a­gainst you by arcades. 🤨

Adam Parkzer holding four large plushies at an arcade