There was finally another big esports event in Las Vegas

After the H1Z1 Pro League ended up being an absolute, catastrophic failure, I haven’t really seen too many big esports events happening in Las Vegas. I saw that the Esports Arena at the Luxor held a few events, but most of them seemed to be amateur or smaller-end tournaments and nothing too notable.

… Either that, or I’m just ignorant.

Anyway, after Tempo Storm signed a Rainbow Six Siege team, it was announced that the 2019 US Nationals would take place in Las Vegas in the Penn and Teller Theater at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. The Rio gives me borderline PTSD because that’s the hotel where the H1Z1 players stayed during the H1Z1 Pro League, but regardless, I was still pleased that something that Tempo Storm was involved in was happening in Las Vegas.

We had a handful of staff members coming into Las Vegas to attend the event because Rainbow Six Siege is going to be a big part of the esports division of the company moving forward. I booked an Airbnb at the Palms Place hosted by Creambnb for them, but that ended up being a huge disappointment.

It was listed as a Palms Place penthouse (a penthouse, by definition, is a unit on the top floor of a building), which implies that it would be on the 47th floor (seeing as Palms Place is 47 stories tall). I later found out that the address of the unit indicated it was on the 34th floor. Then, on check-in, we were directed to the 9th floor.

The person who helped me with check-in (which was not “Mona,” who was on the listing as the owner, nor “Cream,” who was communicating with me via messages on Airbnb) said that there was a water leak on the 34th floor and they were unable to put us in that unit. However, she also wasn’t able to provide a partial credit or refund for relocating us to a far lower floor. She was also adamant about never going to the front desk, and said that we would be in huge trouble if we did—which is strange, because Palms Place is a condotel anyway, so it made me suspect that they were doing something shady.

Anyway, the staff members went from having the potential to have a great view from the top of Palms Place… to staring directly at a parking garage with donut circles at the top.

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I absolutely would not recommend staying with Creambnb, especially seeing as my situation does not seem to be an isolated case, as other reviews also show an unusually high number of people complaining about last-minute cancellations by the host, or ending up being put in a unit that was different than what they purchased.

Anyway, the event went about as expected—it was just another esports event—and unfortunately, our team lost twice in a row with a score of 7-8 and 7-8 (I’m not sure how Rainbow Six Siege works, but I think the rounds are best-of-15?), lost the series 0-2, and got knocked out during the first round.

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During the evening, I went to get sushi with some other staff members, and while we were waiting for our table to be ready, we stopped by a nearby sports bar just to explore.

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After we got eliminated, Jordan Kelly (who you may remember as my hiking buddy) and I went and experienced the one and only good thing (at least in my opinion) about the Rio—the Voodoo Lounge at the top of the Masquerade Tower.

Behold, the greatest city in the world.

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They replaced my post office with a trailer

My local post office is the one in downtown Las Vegas, one block away from where South Las Vegas Boulevard turns into North Las Vegas Boulevard. Specifically, the address of my local post office, and my PO box inside of it, is 201 Las Vegas Blvd S # 2222, Las Vegas, NV 89101-5780.

If you ever forget that address, have no fear. Some troll took my PO box and added it on Google Maps as my “corporate office” named “Adam Parkzer.”

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Anyway, I just got back from a long string of travel, so naturally, I stopped by the post office to check my PO box to see what I missed while I was gone. The problem was, when I arrived, I noticed that the post office’s doors were chained shut. I figured something had happened on that side of the building and walked around to the other side to take a back entrance directly to the PO box area… but that was locked too. I went around to a third entrance, and noticed a sign—that the post office had temporarily relocated… to the “parking lot.”

Confused, I went back out to the parking lot where I had parked my truck and looked around a bit. I did notice that a big trailer had been added to the parking lot, but I didn’t really find it that interesting, so I had initially disregarded it.

On closer inspection…

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Yes, that is indeed the “new” temporary post office. They moved all post office operations, including the PO boxes, into that trailer while the main building was undergoing construction on the upper floors.

I think that is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen.

 

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Photo dump while I sit here freezing to death

My trip to Illinois has finally almost come to an end. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I flew out to the Chicagoland suburbs to watch my parents’ business (a laundromat) while they were out traveling to South Korea. They’re due to return tomorrow, and I fly out of Chicago and back home to Las Vegas the day after that.

… And if you weren’t able to guess, yes, it is freezing cold in Chicago.

I’ve been both very productive and unproductive at the same time. I have a lot of time to sit in the office in the back of the laundromat to do my own stuff, but I also face a ton of interruptions from customers, and I’m confined to a Chromebook while I travel because I never bothered upgrading to a newer laptop. What I have been able to do, however, is browse through some of my old photos and back them up on Google Drive.

While I did that, I noticed I had a handful of photos from recent times that I never got to post. I picked out a random set of them to post here.

The first is of a “chicken” “sandwich.” I placed both of those words in quotation marks because I’m not really sure if the chicken was real (and if it was, then it was wildly overcooked), and I’m not sure if placing a thin slice of pita bread on both sides of the meat and vegetables counts as a sandwich. It was also extraordinarily expensive… though that fact is mitigated because this was from a restaurant in downtown Long Beach. I think the food was borderline terrible, but at the very least, I had a pleasant experience.

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The next couple photos are shots I took from the balcony of my condo back in Las Vegas. Being high up has the benefit of letting me see a massive slice of the Las Vegas Valley at once, and the view becomes surprisingly different depending on the time, weather, and other factors.

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I also have a clear view of the Stratosphere from my balcony, which was recently rebranded to the Strat. To go along with the rebranding, they put “STRAT” in blue letters down the side of the building. I managed to catch it before they were done.

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Because my travel scheduling was so tight, I flew straight to Chicago from Oakland after the PUBG Global Championship. Unfortunately, there were no non-stops from Oakland to Chicago, so I had to take a layover in Salt Lake City. Upon landing, I was (un)pleasantly greeted by… snow.

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Unfortunately, because my layover was so short, I didn’t have an opportunity to walk around and explore Salt Lake City International Airport—all I had time for was to deplane, go to the bathroom, answer a few emails, then board my connecting flight. But, seeing as my feet did technically touch the ground, I can say that I’ve been to Utah now.

 

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Hello Oakland

November 21 was a tough day. If you missed it, I posted two blog posts that day, one private one about something absurd that happened at work regarding international flights, and another one later that day after I discovered that Tesla’s pickup truck is a meme.

To recover from the absolute terror of that day, I made an impulse decision to join a bunch of my co-workers on a trip to Oakland, California to attend the 2019 PUBG National Championship.

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I headed out of Las Vegas via JetSuiteX and took a quick flight over to Oakland International Airport in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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The following day, Jordan King, Glen Tokola, William Lucas, and I headed out to Oakland Arena to watch the games. Here is Jordan King with his big camera looking like a tourist.

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Edit (December 7, 2019): I didn’t mention this originally because it was still considered sensitive internal information, but it is no longer sensitive—another big reason I went to this event was because I knew that it would be Jordan King’s last esports event as a member of Tempo Storm. Jordan King’s final day at AVY Entertainment was December 6, so I wanted to spend time together with him at his last event.

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The event was actually pretty impressive. The presentation was awesome, the opening ceremony was exciting, and the extra screens with additional gameplay information was very useful.

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Overall, Tempo Storm didn’t do too well, but we ended up getting one Chicken Dinner.

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I also have a random photograph of a burger and some chili that I ordered. It was actually an extraordinarily good burger (the chili was passable at best), and my experience was made even better because this was an outdoor restaurant that let dogs in, and there were a ton of dogs sitting around and woofing while I ate.

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I was completely indifferent about the esports part of the trip because I’ve been to so many events at this point and they all just feel the same now, but meeting back up with Jordan King was pleasant. We also explored Oakland and Alameda a bit, which was an interesting experience.

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Now I depart to Chicago to watch the family business for a week and a half while my parents go to Korea. I am going to freeze to death.

 

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That truck is not a truck

I’ve been waiting patiently for the Tesla pickup truck for over half a year. I was disappointed when the reveal kept on getting postponed, but when the date was set for November 21, I was counting down the days. When I woke up this morning and saw that it was the 21st, I was actually excited.

At 8 PM PST, I tuned into the Tesla live stream to watch the reveal. The broadcast started with a weird light show, then the truck came out. At first, I thought it was a meme.

But the truck stayed on the stage, and Elon Musk kept talking about the vehicle.

The vehicle that looks like my GPU failed 1/10th of the way into rendering all the polygons. The vehicle that looks like one of those unrealistic cars that children draw when they aren’t quite old enough to be able to fully translate what they see in person into a proper depiction on paper. The vehicle that looks like it hasn’t quite found its Up-Grade and Dubious Disc so it still isn’t done evolving into Cybertruck2, then Cybertruck-Z.

If anyone thinks that the Cybertruck is going to change the course of the pickup truck market, then I think they are sorely mistaken. A majority of people who are true pickup enthusiasts probably wouldn’t even classify the Cybertruck as a real truck. The Cybertruck is a malformed SUV at best, and a model that ceases production after one year at worst.

The reason I had such a personal interest in this vehicle is because I was actually planning on upgrading to an electric pickup truck in the coming few years. I own a GMC Canyon, and there’s an ongoing class action lawsuit against General Motors in regards to a malfunctioning transmission—a trans­mis­sion used by my truck. Because of this, unless this class action lawsuit resolves and I can get an entirely new transmission or something, I’m not too excited about keeping my truck past its powertrain warranty.

Electric pickup trucks are beginning to get revealed nowadays. In a year or two, they’ll actually be under production and start going on the market. Buy­ing a brand new vehicle right away isn’t a great idea though—it’s better to wait a year or two to let the manufacturer collect consumer feedback and make any necessary changes and fixes first. This puts us at right around four years from now as a great time to buy an electric pickup truck—which is right when my powertrain warranty runs out.

I’m part of the “newer” generation of truck owners who like pickup trucks for slightly different reasons than traditional truck drivers. I own a truck to use as a daily driver, not just for extreme hauling/towing or work. Sure, I want to be able to haul and tow in case I ever need it, but to me, the versatility and just the ability to do whatever I want with my vehicle is basically just as important as actually going out and doing it. Chances are, I’ll be happy that I know I can haul and tow if I want to, but I might not ever actually go do it on a regular basis.

Thus, just the numbers and specs of the truck aren’t going to be enough. I’m not just going to look at min-maxing payload numbers, towing numbers, and price to optimize my purchase; instead, I’m going to look for qualities of the pickup truck that people would look for in regular sedans, crossovers, and SUVs too.

When you buy a sedan or SUV, you’re not just looking at the best specs for the best price. You’re also looking at features, aesthetics, and overall com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with your personality type. When I went to buy my pickup truck, I considered all those elements, and more. I looked for a pickup truck with a design that I liked—and most new truck buyers will do the same. And most new truck buyers generally opt for trucks because they want something that looks ag­gres­sive.

Pickup trucks are generally associated with toughness, so newer trucks are all coming out with angry-looking front fascias, bold and powerful body styles, and sharp grilles that make nearly a 90° angle with the hood. If I were to come up with a visual representation of exactly how not to look aggressive, I’d probably now show everyone the Cybertruck.

Another element of pickup trucks that appeals to me—as well as a lot of other pickup truck owners—is the customizability. In my opinion, a truck needs to look good stock right off the dealership’s lot, but it also needs to have some degree of “plainness” to it to allow it to be a great canvas for mod­i­fi­ca­tions. Too much plainness and the truck will look boring and unappealing, but too little and it just ends up being too complex. I’ve also noticed that pickup truck owners have a greater degree of pride of ownership than most other vehicle owners, and it’s tough to be prideful of your truck if you can’t change it to truly make it your own.

There doesn’t really seem to be much you can do to customize the Cybertruck. I’d imagine that you can go all-out and add graffiti spray paint onto the surface so your Cybertruck is a rolling piece of art, but beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be much you can do.

The wheels and tires seem to be very unique to the Cybertruck, and I’d imagine you can’t just go buy new rims and stick them on. There’s automatically-adjusting air suspension, so you probably can’t lift the truck. The back is pre-covered like an SUV, so you can’t pick your own style of bedliner and bed cover to fit your needs and wants. The exoskeleton is a single piece, so I’d assume you can’t swap out the grille.

So where does the Cybertruck fit in, if it’s not likely to appeal to the current pickup truck—neither the more “modern day” pickup truck buyers, nor the traditional pickup drivers who use them for work?

For this, I draw a connection to the Jeep Wrangler. Technically, the Jeep Wrangler is just a regular SUV, but when people rate SUVs, they consider Jeeps to be their own sub-segment. You’ll rarely see Jeep Wranglers listed within traditional SUV ranking, and even when you go to rent a car, they’ll often separate Jeep Wranglers into its own rental category. People don’t deny that it’s an SUV—it’s just that it’s a bit too different to be properly comparable.

The Cybertruck will likely end up being its own sub-segment of the pickup truck category. It definitely has a bed, and it’s definitely just as capable and versatile as a pickup truck… but it’s just a bit too different to be properly comparable to the pickup trucks we have today.

If I were to take a guess, I think this would actually appeal more to supercar buyers than pickup truck buyers. The transition towards crossovers and SUVs is definitely still happening (albeit plateauing for now), and someone who normally drives a supercar who wants a bit more size to their ride might opt to get the Cybertruck. But other than that, I think that if Tesla was truly targeting the current pickup truck market, then they missed the mark.

I will not be purchasing a Cybertruck.

 

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Hello Atlanta

I feel like I travel all the time. I traveled a massive amount back in 2016-2017 when I first went full-time with Tempo Storm, because I was heavily in­volved in esports back then. But even now, I feel like I’m going all over the place to all different kinds of conventions and events.

When I went to actually map out my travel to see how many states I’ve been to… I realized that I don’t actually really travel that much. That is, I definitely do travel frequently, but I generally just go back and forth to the same locations over and over again. One of the most noticeable things that my travel map told me was that I had never been to the southeastern corner of the United States.

So when DreamHack Atlanta came up and our PUBG Mobile team was going to compete there, I seized the opportunity.

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DreamHack and ESL only provided lodging for our players, so our PUBG Mobile manager needed to get a hotel room anyway. This functionally meant that I could share a room with our manager, and our only effective cost for me to attend would be my airfare. With most things aligning well enough for me to be able to experience the southeast for the first time, I hopped on a plane and made my way over to Atlanta.

I like taking very-early-morning flights out of Las Vegas, so I booked my flight to Atlanta to depart at 6 AM. When I went outside and called an Uber though, apparently nobody was around, so I ended up having to wait longer than anticipated, then also had to pay surge pricing. This cut into my time quite a bit, and I wasn’t able to stop by the lounge to grab some breakfast before I leave like I usually do. That, along with the fact that the cabin was unusually cold and my seat recline was broken, made for one of the most uncomfortable and sickening travel experiences I’ve had in a while.

Things got marginally better when I arrived in Atlanta, but like clockwork, I tend to feel ill for the first ~20 hours after arriving at a new location for travel. It wasn’t incapacitating, though, so I spent the first night taking the PUBG Mobile players out to dinner.

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The next day was the actual event. This was my second DreamHack; my first was DreamHack Austin 2016 when we had a Heroes of the Storm and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team competing.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the convention center early on in the day because I had a string of pretty important meetings lined up, but when I managed to finally wrap those up, I headed over to the Georgia World Congress Center. I made it just barely in time to catch the tail end of the PUBG Mobile team competing.

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After tournament day was over (PUBG Mobile only played for a single day), I went with the players for a second team dinner, this time to all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, which has effectively become a tradition at Tempo Storm at this point. I used to take the players out for a big, satisfying meal on the day that they arrived, but after a few teams got sick from overeating, I stopped doing AYCE KBBQ until after everyone was done competing.

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The AYCE KBBQ restaurant we went to was a bit different and strange compared to what I was used to, but the meat quality was surprisingly good.

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… I was busy cooking and had no time to pose for photos.

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The city of Atlanta itself was a bit uninviting because it rained for a majority of the time I was there, but it was an interesting experience. I feel like esports events and conventions are relatively sheltered from the outside world, so I didn’t really get to experience the true Atlanta… except for when we were in our Uber on our way to get KBBQ and literally four cars operated by some of the worst drivers I’ve ever seen proceeded to attempt to commit suicide by driving straight into us.

The view from my hotel—the AC Hotel Atlanta Downtown—was surprisingly good, as it had a nice mix between open and city views, and I was lucky enough to get a room on the eighth floor. The gloomy weather also made for some interesting photo opportunities of the tops of tall buildings com­plete­ly obscured by fog, which isn’t something that I’m able to see on a regular basis in Las Vegas.

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The return flight was much better—the cabin air temperature was much more reasonable, and my seat’s recline worked—and although I was only able to stay in Atlanta for three days (two of which were travel days coming in and going out), it was still a pretty good experience.

I’ve become completely jaded towards conventions and esports tournaments now, but going back to another DreamHack-branded event for the first time since 2016 brought back some traces of pleasant memories from when I was still new to esports and every event was a new experience.

 

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Another trip to SoCal

As the hunt for another property continues, I made my way back to SoCal—this time by driving—and met up with reynad to do some more property tours. Last month, I hit 8888 miles on my odometer, and on my way from Las Vegas to SoCal for this travel session, I dinged 10,000:

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I bought my truck new on July 30, 2018, so it took right around 14 and a half months to hit 10,000 miles. Most people hit 10,000 right around the one-year mark because they commute back and forth from work. I have the luxury of working remote and not needing to commute daily, but I also do quite a bit of road travel with my truck for business purposes going back and forth between Las Vegas and SoCal and driving all over SoCal, so I guess that’s comparable to most people’s daily commute.

We’ve more-or-less secured the new property in the Hills for Tempo Storm, so I don’t want to give too many additional details in order to maintain confidentiality, but I do have a few photos that I took from the Hills when we were on the way back down to Beach Cities after our tours:

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I’m pretty excited for this new property (to be clear, it’s not the white house pictured above), as I feel like the one we picked is a unicorn house, in that it’s particularly stellar for its price point. It has a huge “wow” factor, the architecture is amazing, and it has a lot of innate features that make it extremely convenient for our purposes.

After wrapping everything up, I headed back east and visited my aunt and uncle’s home up in the Santa Ana Mountains on my way back to Las Vegas. Of course, a visit to the mountains wouldn’t be complete without yet again another small photo shoot with my truck.

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GMC Canyon in Santa Ana Mountains

I have family visiting this coming weekend, then I’ll have about a week and a half of time to myself before even more travel—I’ll be headed to the Anaheim Convention Center for BlizzCon 2019 as my next trip.

 

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