How to eat a week’s worth of sugar in one sitting

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older and my metabolism is slowing down, or if the people I spend time with while I travel just eat way too much, but every time I travel, I come back home with a small belly bulge that takes a few additional days of reduced calorie consumption to go away. I’m usually pretty conservative and controlled in my eating when I’m at home, but while I’m traveling, I’m usually at the mercy of those around me, as I generally just join in for meals when they want to eat.

Another significant aspect of why I stay healthy is because I stopped eating sugary products a while back. As I got older and did a bit more research, I learned that it’s not fat that makes you fat, but sugar, and the reason fat was demonized was because the sugar industry paid off a lot of scientists back when initial research study results were being published. Unfortunately, that sort of goes out the window when I’m traveling as well, and I ended up getting way too much dessert.

Jordan wanted to get some ice cream last night. I ended up with this massive thing.

Ice cream

Something I like to do when I go to new restaurants is to try their iconic or signature items. This is usually a good idea because, not only is it more likely to be popular so the food item has a higher chance of being fresh, but it also lets me try different foods made by people who consider it to be their specialty. For lunch today, Jordan and I went to a Cajun restaurant that served alligator. Not having tried alligator before (at least, not that I recall), I decided to order alligator.

Fried alligator strips with potatoes

Close-up of fried alligator strips

When I cook meat, I usually add only salt and pepper, as I personally like the taste of the actual meat and don’t want to overwhelm it with strong or excessive seasoning. Unfortunately, this Cajun restaurant didn’t share my values, and instead of giving me normal alligator, they cooked it in sort of a cross between chicken strips and fish and chips style. It was next to impossible to actually recognize what the alligator itself tasted like because the fried breading was way too overpowering, and the inside just looked like any generic white meat.

With that being said, from what I could tell, alligator had a chewy, fishy taste to it. Once I get the chance, I’ll likely go seek out some alligator prepared like a steak, so I can get a good conceptualization of what the meat itself actually tastes like.

 

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My desire to live in a high-rise condo has been rekindled

There is a massive palm tree right outside the window of the room I’m staying at in the new Tempo Storm team house. This palm tree houses two extended families of parakeets that screech the song of their homeland every morning, and I cannot sleep.

Palm tree outside a house in Redondo Beach

After emerging from bed in a disgruntled and sleep-deprived state, first on today’s agenda was to visit our lawyers for a casual meeting in Los Angeles. After arriving in the parking garage (which apparently was forced valet parking, and I later found out that I was charged almost $27 for their services for literally less than an hour of parking), Jordan King and I took the elevator up to their offices in the high-rise building.

I’ve always been a fan of high-rise buildings, and I was actually intending on living in a high-rise condo when I first moved to Las Vegas – the main reason I didn’t do that right away is because I would’ve also had to purchase a vehicle if that was the case (because things like groceries and reasonably-priced restaurants are not in walking distance from the Strip), and I wanted to work on building up my savings more than living in ultimate luxury. I don’t have a fear of heights, but rather, more so a love of heights – back when I visited the Wilis Tower in Chicago (formerly known as the Sears Tower), people were afraid to step in the clear glass pods extending off the skydeck, while I stepped on them and felt liberated.

After staring out the floor-to-ceiling windows of our lawyers’ offices, my desire to live in a high-rise condo has been rekindled. I tried to take a few photos, but I don’t think any photographs and do the view justice, especially considering that I can’t actually tilt the camera in a manner that captures just how high up I am without also just completely removing the remaining upper portion of the photograph, simply because of how vast the view is.

View of Los Angeles from a high rise building

View of Los Angeles from a high rise building

After taking in the thrilling view, we stopped by the University of California, Los Angeles campus to meet up with one of our employees at Tempo Storm and have lunch. After scheduling our meal for Boiling Crab, then receiving a call from him moments before we were scheduled to meet up with him saying “there is a caveat,” the caveat being that Boiling Crab does not open until 3 PM PST, we decided to have lunch at a Thai restaurant instead called Mr. Noodle.

I ordered some Thai-style ribs.

Ribs and rice

Normally, all this driving, especially through Los Angeles city, completely drains me. After returning home, I usually want to stay inside, wrap myself in a blanket, and be alone for the rest of the day. However, I was miraculously convinced to do a bit of touring during the night, and considering I wasn’t driving this time and just riding along, I agreed. One of the places we visited was the Venice sign on Pacific Coast Highway.

Venice sign

I thought this was my first time seeing the Venice sign, but after I actually looked up where it was, I realized that I had inadvertently been there already without even realizing it – back when Tempo Storm first partnered with Red Bull, we had a staff onboarding session, and I stayed at Hotel Erwin for the event, which was a street away. I was also literally standing right under the sign at one point too, because I had walked from the hotel to the poke shop next door to the sign.

 

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I’m back

After a blog post literally titled “I visit California too much,” I have returned, once again, … to California.

This time, I’m accompanied by Jordan King, who flew in from Lincoln, Nebraska to Las Vegas to road trip with me to Los Angeles. If you ask him, he would guaranteed say he had one of the best travel experiences of his life.

He was supposed to arrive during the evening of January 27 by flying to Denver then taking a connecting flight to Las Vegas, then spend the night at Tempo Storm’s Las Vegas team house before heading out during the morning of January 28 with me for our road trip to Los Angeles. Instead, his arrival didn’t quite happen, as after he boarded his plane, there was a delay after they discovered that the plane was leaking fluid.

The delay was originally set for about an hour, but apparently there were no mechanics available in Lincoln, so they had to fly one out from Colorado to take a look at the aircraft, which added on an additional hour or so of additional delay time. By that point, we realized that Jordan was going to miss his connecting flight out of Denver, and that flight out of Denver was the final flight of the night to Las Vegas with that airline, so we instead booked another flight with a different airline to make sure he could make it.

Then Jordan’s original flight got delayed some more. As the delay time increased by half-hour to hour intervals, we realized that Jordan would then proceed to miss his other back-up flight as well, so we had to cancel that flight. Eventually, Jordan gave up, accepted a voucher for a flight on the morn­ing of January 28, then went back home.

Luckily, Jordan’s travel experience yesterday morning with his rebooked flight wasn’t quite as bad, and he successfully made it to Las Vegas. A bit more hilarity ensued when Jordan did not realize that United Airlines’ baggage claim at McCarran International Airport was in Terminal 3 and not Terminal 1, and it didn’t help that I did not clarify this to him upon his arrival. He proceeded to take the blue line from Concourse D to Terminal 1, couldn’t find his bag, then had to wait for a shuttle to take him to Terminal 3 before he could collect his bag.

Somehow, we still made it to Los Angeles.

My task for today was to pick up a custom-built PUBG air drop supply crate that we were going to use for a promotional video with our PUBG team. After unknowingly asking someone with a Honda coupe to deliver it to the team house without quite realizing how big it was, I drove over to our studio in Hollywood with my truck to realize that the crate was actually gigantic.

Custom-made PUBG air drop supply crate

Transporting the PUBG supply crate from our studio to the team house

In typical Los Angeles fashion, on my way back on I-405 towards Beach Cities, the traffic moving in the other direction was at a complete standstill for a stretch of about 11 miles because a semi-truck had somehow managed to break down after orienting itself horizontally across all but a single lane of the freeway, and the entire however-many lanes of northbound I-405 had to squeeze through a single lane.

Dinner went a lot more pleasantly than looking at Los Angeles traffic, as Jordan and I met back up and went to get some sushi in Redondo Beach.

Salmon sashimi and chirashi bowl

For dessert, we went to get frozen yogurt. Now, I’m not really much of a frozen yogurt person – I generally just eat regular ice cream, or sometimes sorbet, and I also pretty much never buy it from anywhere except the grocery store in bulk. So, as you’d expect, I was a little bit confused and overwhelmed with all the options I had at Yogurtland.

I ended up getting vanilla ice cream, strawberry frozen yogurt, orange sorbet, cookie dough, mini-M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, and white chocolate in my frozen yogurt. I like all of those individually, but unfortunately, I failed to realize that mixing them all together at once would not end up very well.

Apparently this isn't how you're supposed to get frozen yogurt

What a tragedy.

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

Microblep

 

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