Another week of cat photos

I did some laundry and left the empty hamper next to the washer and dryer so I could use it to load my clothes after the cycles were done and bring them back into my room. Well, apparently Pudding somehow managed to get into the hamper, which then proceeded to collapse on him. Pumpkin de­ci­ded this was a great opportunity to trap him inside, so here is Pudding asking with his eyes for me to help him get out, while Pumpkin snoozes on top of him.

Pumpkin trapping Pudding in a laundry hamper

If you remember from last week, the reason I have difficulty taking photos of Pudding is because, every time I swoop down to capture him in a photo-worthy moment, he immediately stops what he’s doing and starts walking towards me to headbutt me. One way to avoid that is if Pudding is trapped in a collapsed laundry hamper, but I guess another way to avoid that is to just get miraculously lucky, so here is a photo of Pudding just sitting there doing nothing.

Pudding

One of my favorite parts about living in a high-rise condo is the view, so I tend to leave my blinds open. I guess one of Pumpkin’s favorite things about living in a high-rise condo is also the view, as he likes to lounge around on my bed and look out the window. Here he is in his new natural habitat. (The light is my lamp being reflected on the window; it’s not a UFO.)

Pumpkin

Pumpkin also enjoys lounging around in the kitchen in hopes that I drop some food for him while I cook. … Little does he know, I don’t really cook, unless he’s expecting me to somehow spill instant noodles or something.

Pumpkin in the kitchen

One of Pumpkin’s new favorite activities is to join me in the bathroom while I shower and watch the water trickle down on the glass door. I guess watching the water wasn’t stimulating enough for him anymore and he wanted to join in on the fun, so I saw him lounging around inside my shower one day. It took a lot of self-control and restraint to avoid pranking him and turning the water on for a little bit…

Pumpkin in the shower

Pumpkin also likes sunbathing. Not quite as exciting as waiting for food that will never fall, or wanting to participate in a shower only to learn that you probably hate water… but definitely much more relaxing.

Pumpkin

Because I live on an upper floor in the aforementioned high-rise condo, I generally want to carry all my groceries up with me in one trip, otherwise it’s going to take sev­er­al minutes to wait for the ele­va­tor, go down a few hundred feet in elevation back to the parking garage, load up a second batch of groceries, wait for the ele­va­tor again, then go back up a few hundred feet. To help with this effort, I usually use a storage container so I can transport several bags at once with­out cutting off blood circulation from my fingers.

Well, as we’ve seen, Pumpkin likes to participate in a variety of activities, and I guess he also wanted to participate with groceries. He found my storage container lying on the ground, so he hopped in. … And apparently it was comfortable enough for him to take a nap in it.

Pumpkin sleeping in a storage container

Pumpkin sleeping in a storage container

 

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Pudding joins in for this round of cat photos

A few people have been asking me why I’ve only been featuring Pumpkin in my photos, even though Pudding has been moved in since the end of November. There’s actually a really simple explanation for that—it’s because, whenever I go up to Pudding to take a photograph when he’s doing some­thing photo-worthy, he immediately stops, walks towards me, and headbutts my shin. That obviously makes it very difficult to capture him doing any­thing other than walking towards me. However, I did manage to capture a few decent shots of him, which I’ll feature in this post.

Pumpkin

I have a second desk behind my main desk where I put my gun safe and a collection of plushies. Pudding decided to jump on that desk and disguise him­self as a plushie. I was almost fooled.

Pudding

Pumpkin was using my bed as a play mat, running around in circles and swatting and chasing around a mouse toy. At one point, he got caught on the edge and nearly slipped off the bed and into the crack between the mattress and the wall. Of course, I had to take a photograph before helping him get unstuck. I’m going to be a great dad one day.

Pumpkin

After helping Pumpkin escape the grasping claws of the void, I grabbed a string that I saved that fell out of one of my hoodies while it was in the dryer. Pumpkin likes string.

Pumpkin investigating a string

My roommate got a package in the mail that had some promotional material from a business partner. The gifts were interesting, but clearly, the most interesting part about the package, as apparent from the cats… was the packaging. The lid of the box looks pretty cozy.

Pumpkin in a box

Pudding

And to close out this post of cat photos, here’s Pumpkin sleeping.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

 

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Hello Long Beach

Throughout the history of Tempo, I’ve always been involved in the team’s real estate initiatives. Apart from a team house in Arizona that the company got for the Heroes of the Storm team prior to me getting involved in esports, every other house has been toured, contracted, and set up by me. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, due to COVID-19, that changed this year.

The lease on Tempo’s Beverly Hills house was running out, and we didn’t want to stay in that property for another year because it was very expensive, the air conditioning was catastrophically bad during summer months, and the Internet was catastrophically unreliable during … all months. I did the initial scouting on potential new properties, but one of our production directors found a great house candidate in Long Beach with amazing value.

We ended up moving forward with this property and I reached out to the leasing agent to organize a tour. It started out not going too great, because the leasing agent did not want to do business with a corporation and they didn’t even consider the possibility of entertaining the concept that we might actually be a reliable, real company, and not some shell company that was created solely to limit liability.

Eventually, they stopped responding to me altogether, so one of our production directors literally went in-person to the leasing agent’s office to figure out what was going on. Luckily, this director is probably the most charming person we have in the company, and he worked his magic—he put the leasing agent in touch with our CEO, and we managed to successfully submit an application for the property.

This is our new “backyard.”

Long Beach

It was weird being the one being given a tour, rather than the one running the tour. This was my first time seeing the house, as the residents and pro­ducers set this house up without my help.

Long Beach

I don’t want to show any photos of the interior because I don’t want to spoil any house tour videos that our production crew might have in the works, but this… this is absolutely, definitely a mansion. A lot of people called our previous Beverly Hills house a mansion, but this is a real mansion. It has far greater square footage, and my favorite part is that it is astronomically cheaper than our previous property because it’s a lot farther out of the way of Los Angeles (as opposed to being nestled in the Hills surrounded by celebrities).

Long Beach

Anyway, in addition to the show that we did yesterday, another reason I came to visit this time around is because the 27th is reynad’s birthday and the 28th is my birthday. We had a small staff get-together and grill at the house on the 29th in celebration of our birthdays, though it obviously had to be fairly small due to minimizing COVID-19 risks.

One of reynad’s friends made a Russian (or maybe it was a Ukrainian?) cake. Apparently it did not rise and shape properly, and the candle was limp. I found it in the refrigerator and took a photo of it in honor of her effort.

A "birthday cake"

Overall, it was a pretty nice trip. The house was a nice surprise that exceeded my expectations (which only happens fairly rarely). I’m happy with where Tempo is in terms of staffing, and I think the core staff members we have are all pleasant and considerate people. I’m generally not one to enjoy birthday parties or attention, but it’s always nice to have reynad’s birthday so close to mine, so I can deflect some of the attention away from myself and towards him instead.

The house is busy and bustling right now with a lot of live-in staff and a lot of projects going on, so there aren’t any rooms available and I might not be able to make it out there again until another month or so, but I definitely am looking forward to it once the opportunity arises again. The roads are far less cramped, and I don’t need to drive 15+ minutes down a mountain to find commercial civilization, so it’s way more pleasant of an area to visit.

Los Angeles International Airport

Flying out of Los Angeles

Flying into Las Vegas at night

Until then, I’m back at home sweet home.

 

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Hello SoCal

With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Southern California, as well as my recent move taking up a lot of my attention, I haven’t been traveling any­where since mid-November. With an over-two-month-long break, I was getting eager to go somewhere again, so I decided to take a quick trip to South­ern California to check out how Tempo was doing in-person.

Pumpkin decided to help me pack. And by “help me pack,” I obviously mean “lay in my suitcase to stop me from packing.”

Pumpkin the Highland Fold inside luggage

For this trip, I decided to fly instead of drive because the weather hasn’t been too great. It snowed in the outskirts of the Las Vegas Valley, there was trace amounts of snow in central Las Vegas, and there was a ton of snowfall in Mountain Pass, an area with an elevation of nearly a mile above sea level, which you need to travel through in order to get from Las Vegas to SoCal.

I was born in the Chicagoland suburbs and spent over two decades of my life in the Midwest, so I’m personally not too concerned about snow driving, but what I am concerned about are the other people driving in the southwest desert who aren’t used to inclement weather. No matter how safe and skilled of a driver you are, there’s very little you can do to protect yourself from the incompetence of others. I decided the risk wasn’t worth it, so I booked a flight for this trip.

McCarran International Airport

Flying out of Las Vegas

Clouds from a plane

Apparently Terminals 2 and 3 are undergoing massive construction at the Los Angeles International Airport as Delta carries out a $1.9 billion rebuild and renovation. They’re calling it the “Sky Way,” which apparently is going to connect the two terminals for easier access, and also link directly to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. This is great news for me, seeing as my airline of choice is Delta, and I’ll be flying into LAX far more often (as opposed to BUR) now that Tempo moved team houses. In the meantime, this means that not all areas of both terminals are available, so after we deplaned, we had to be shuttled to the gate.

Los Angeles International Airport, Terminal 2

Travel day was yesterday. Today was show day for Hivemind, a game show that Tempo’s production division is running in partnership with Twitch Originals. It was an impressive show—a lot more intense and involved than other routine shows that we run—and it was an interesting experience to see it live.

Studio

 

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We can never have enough Pumpkin photos

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

We’ve been all moved into our new place for a few weeks now, and the cats are also getting settled in. They spent a while staying in one spot and hiding inside and under things, but lately, they’ve been coming out into the open a bit more to explore the rest of the condo.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

My roommate bought some mats to put in front of the litter box. These mats are designed to catch and hold any leftover litter from the cats’ feet after they’re done using the litter box. They apparently also serve the purpose of being a mat that the cats lay on, because for whatever reason, they seem to love laying on these litter mats.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

Both Pumpkin and Pudding recently got their orchiectomies. We were under the impression that they would be getting an Elizabethian collar (better known as a “pet cone”) so they wouldn’t lick and irritate the incision area, so instead, my roommate bought a toast version that goes around their necks.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

Well apparently, orchiectomies for cats are so non-intrusive nowadays that they didn’t even need a cone. So instead of the toast collar serving any utilitarian purpose… it ended up just being a prop for a photo shoot with Pumpkin.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

 

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I tried Mr. Beast Burger

Yesterday, Mr. Beast uploaded a video on YouTube titled “I opened a restaurant that pays you to eat at it.” At the end of the video, he announced that he opened 300 restaurants across the United States so everyone can try Mr. Beast Burger. Of course, all the other restaurants didn’t pay you to eat at it—in fact, you actually had to pay quite a bit to buy the food, which I’ll cover later—but I still ordered some anyway so I can say I was a part of Mr. Beast’s restaurant launch.

The Las Vegas location was at 412 East Flamingo Road, which is the address of the Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant. That explains how Mr. Beast was able to open so many restaurant locations all at once (and is probably the only possibly way he could’ve realistically done something like this in the first place)—he partnered up with existing restaurants and used their kitchens to make the food. Naturally, this meant that Mr. Beast Burger is take-out only, so it was only available for order on delivery apps.

To place my order, I opened up Postmates and searched for Mr. Beast Burger. I ordered a combo plus an extra entrée, and my total came out to:

Beast-Style Triple Burger Combo w/ Seasoned Fries & Canned Diet Pepsi $ 13.49
Crispy Chicken Tender Sandwich $  6.99
Sales tax $  1.72
Postmates service fee $  4.11
Delivery fee $  2.99
Delivery driver tip $  5.00
Total $ 34.30

Before I even get to the food, ordering this on Postmates made me realize/remember how absolutely ridiculous delivery apps are. Having to pay $2.99 to get your food delivered from less than 3 miles away is still palatable, but after you realize that the delivery app charges a 20% “service fee” and you have to tip your driver because Postmates doesn’t pay them enough, the “true” delivery fee ends up being $12.10, which is insane.

Why did I tip my delivery driver $5, which is 24.4% of the order total and considered fairly high? Well, apparently Mr. Beast Burger was backed up with so many orders, and the app didn’t account for the actual food prep time of the over-capacity restaurant, that Postmates made my delivery driver go to the restaurant way too early, and she had to wait literally 50 minutes before my food was ready.

I put in my order around noon, and Postmates’ “latest arrival time” estimate was 12:40 PM (meaning, if everything possible goes wrong, I can still expect my food by 12:40 PM)… and my driver showed up past 1:20 PM. Luckily for her, she was able to pick up two other orders in addition to mine from the same restaurant and perform a chain delivery, but still, it’s disappointing that the communication between the restaurant and the app was so bad that she was waiting for 50 minutes.

As for the food… it was passable.

Mr. Beast Burger

It tasted exactly like extremely generic fast food. It wasn’t bad, but there wasn’t anything special about it either.

It’s definitely not better than McDonald’s or In-N-Out, but if I’m feeling fast food but want something different than usual, I would definitely get it again… if there’s ever an option for me to order and pick up myself without having to pay an extra $12.10 in excess costs.

 

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Even more Pumpkin

(This is part three of a series about Pumpkin, the Highland Fold. In the first part, I reveal that I’m moving and explain how I ended up with Pumpkin, and in the second part, I share more photos of Pumpkin from our time together.)

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

My future roommate came back to Las Vegas and completed her move in late November. Our two-bedroom unit wasn’t going to be ready until mid-December, so she be stayed with me in my studio until then. Pumpkin seemed very happy that his owner was back (at least, as excited as cats are able to get). He plopped himself on top of her luggage after she arrived.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

Before Pumpkin arrived a few weeks ago, I prepared by getting some cat supplies, including a scratching arch. What I didn’t know is that Pumpkin ap­par­ently prefers flat scratching blocks over vertical ones, so he ended up not really using the one I got for him. After a while, he seemed to be more in­ter­ested in it, though, and it helped that I myself started scratching at it to demonstrate to Pumpkin how to use it.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

Eventually, we got Pumpkin a flat scratching block, which he seemed to appreciate more. Pumpkin started jumping up on my desk and laying on my keyboard, so I put the scratching block beside my keyboard to convince him to lay on it instead of my keyboard… and it somehow worked.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

Our landlords were kind enough to let us start moving some of our stuff in early, but yesterday was our official move-in day. Pumpkin decided to help pack, and by help pack, I mean lay on top of sealed air bags.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

 

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More Pumpkin

(If you’re confused, refer to my previous blog post where I explain how I am now a cat dad but this definitely isn’t a cat blog. … yet)

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

This is Pumpkin the guard cat. He discovered that my safe might not be secure enough, so he laid on top of it to provide an extra layer of protection to its contents.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

Pumpkin discovered the shower curtain and seemed incredibly impressed, partially because apparently the outside ruffled portion of the shower curtain was incredibly soft, and partially because he found out that he can walk between the curtain and the vinyl protective sheet and enter a seemingly new dimension of existence.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

Knock knock … ah yes henlo, how may I help you?

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

In this following photograph, I present something that I found on my kitchen countertop. I am unable to determine whether it is a pumpkin or a loaf of bread. … Or both?

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

In my previous blog post where I already posted a handful of Pumpkin photos, I explained how I ended up with Pumpkin already—his owner is going to be my new roommate, and she dropped him off early to avoid having to juggle three cats at once when she makes the final move. Of course, Pumpkin misses his owner, so I pulled her pajama pants out of the laundry hamper and laid it out for him on his favorite sleeping spot (on top of my gym bag back in a dark corner of the closet), and he seems very happy.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

That is, very happy until I wake him up.

Pumpkin the Highland Fold

 

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