20201027 – 20201104 Las Vegas

Note: I’m still polishing the media I captured on this trip – you may find it on my Flickr account @yetieater

It all started with the video The Guru shared:

He’d offered to teach me to ride, and given the craziness of this past year, I’d been itching for a change in scenery. I booked two separate one-way flights, deciding I’d skip the budget carriers and being nickeled and dimed to lug along my gear, and ensuring I’d return home with a 14-day quarantine period ahead of the holidays.

Tuesday, October 27

My father dropped me off at IAH. With a bit of time to kill, I stopped by Landry’s for a couple drinks.

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I was one of the last to board the aircraft, and was somewhat surprised to find it mostly full. I made my way down the aisle with Paul in tow, and found a man occupying my seat. I let him know I was ticketed for the aisle seat, and he rose to grant me passage. As I stood there, he quickly realized upon studying the seating map beside his head that the aisle seat was not, in fact, his. I assumed my seat, and settled in for the flight.

Earlier that day, I’d purchased a digital copy of Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds (Amazon.com). During the flight, I read it on the Kindle app, and experimented with highlighting and note-taking. At times, I felt quite moved by the text, and lifted my eyes up from my phone’s screen.

Throughout the flight, I noticed issues with mask compliance. I overheard a flight attendant reminding a passenger just a couple rows ahead they’d agreed twice before boarding to keep their mask on, observed the passenger in the far window seat furtively slipping down his gaiter, and the man seated immediately to my left keeping his down even after his significant other verbally exclaimed, “Oh, masks,” after they’d finished consuming what they’d received during the beverage service. Meanwhile, I hadn’t even touched my coffee, as I waited patiently for my neighbors to take a hint.

When I rose to dispose my spent coffee cup, I asked the flight attendants whether they’d been catching flak with customers often, and the one said yes, “It’s not fair.”

At one point I became so irritated by the passenger in the far window seat that I pelted him with a packet of sweetener. He remained oblivious for some time, until our eyes met, and I think he finally got it.

We touched down at LAS, and as we taxied toward our gate, I phoned Mike. Upon clearing the jetway, I was fairly impressed by the sheer size of the terminal, made all the more impressive by the dearth of people there. I took the opportunity to capture some photos of Paul by the slot machines.

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Mike picked me up at the airport in the Lexus – he’d been delayed slightly because some bigwig had blocked off all traffic to the terminal.

Paul predictably latched onto Peach upon meeting her. We took the dogs out for a walk around the neighborhood, and Paul followed her the entire way.

We went to Roberto’s Taco Shop for dinner, leaving Paul and Peach to their own devices.

Back inside, Mike encouraged me to play the piano a bit that first night, and offered up some feedback. Mike suggested I play some hymns, advice I have put to practice

Wednesday, October 28

Following the late night, I mostly rested.

That afternoon, Mike showed off his drone, a DJI Mavic Mini (Amazon.com), a bit, and I was quite impressed, especially given my personal experience with drones to date has been limited to the EMAX Tinyhawk (Amazon.com).

Mike spent some time going over music in preparation for Sunday, and I sat opposite him, pulling photos from my X100V (Adorama, Amazon.com), and pushing them to signal I’d arrived for anyone paying attention

We went to the drive-thru at In-N-Out, and wound up with someone else’s order, a fact uncovered only after we’d gotten back to Mike’s house. Whoops.

Inspired by the book, I began building out a playlist I’ll continue revisiting and modifying over time

Thursday, October 29

Mike drove the Lexus down to Nelson. I brought along both my Canon 5D Mark III and my X100V, but didn’t shoot anything with the latter.

We dusted off after about an hour and a half, and headed to (Old) Nelson’s Landing, where we walked down by the river. Upon coming to a resting point, Mike discovered he’d left his drone on the charger at home!

I took the wheel and drove us to Boulder City, and on to Hoover Dam. At the parking lot of the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, Mike heeded a sign stating no pets were allowed, and hung back with Peach. Paul, ever the VIP, and I headed onwards to see what we might see.

Afterwards, we drove across the dam, and briefly into Arizona, where we stopped to look back before returning to Las Vegas

We supped on bread and soup, downing it all with some wine from Pahrump

Friday, October 30

At 12:29AM I shared a story to my Instagram account indicating I’d forgotten to pack along a mini USB cable

We headed out in the Smart so Mike could cast his ballot. It was the final day of early voting, and the line was long, so I dipped into a couple nearby stores. Finding Mike still in line, I explored the area, and snagged some free provisions from a food truck just adjacent the line.

Stocked up, I drifted further in search of a smoker whilst snacking on some cheese-flavored puffed corn balls. I saw green banners exclaiming, “FREE,” in the parking lot across the street, so I wandered over to investigate.

At the corner, I observed the aftermath of an accident involving multiple vehicles. I spied a lady gazing over the scene nearby, a lit cigarette in hand. I offered her a dollar in exchange for a smoke, but she remained mute while a man nearby spoke French into his phone. I pressed onwards.

The banners were affixed to a food truck, and a handful of people were gathered around. I heeded the nearby sign and submitted an order for a burger, chips, and a drink using my phone. I gathered it was a sampling event for Incogmeato, a product I’d never tried, but was willing to check out for the price of free.

The manager came out of the truck and cautioned those assembled they’d exhausted their supply of patties, so I tempered my expectations accordingly, hoping at best to receive chips and a drink. As orders came up, I observed most folks tipped the man.

While waiting on my order, I continued snacking on my puffed corn balls. A lady sitting in the driver’s seat of a van parked nearby made eye contact with me, signaled she’d like me to throw some corn balls her way, and we engaged in a bit of catch.

At 12:48PM, Mike finished casting his ballot. I had him come meet me, and showed him the sign so that he might also grab a snack.

The manager delivered my order, and I slipped him a buck before returning to the shade beside my new friend’s van. I opened the box, and was delighted to find I’d lucked out and received a burger!

I asked van lady whether she’d put in an order, too. Soy came up. She seemed like a hippie sort, and the lettering on the side of her van indicated she cut hair for a living. She talked about her invisibility as a member of the service industry. She shared her geocaching app with me, and showed the caches she’d found along the Extraterrestrial Highway before checking our current location and discovering there was a cache nearby. Perhaps we could go investigate it together?

Mike scored quite a bit from the manager of the popup on account of standing up for him after some “customers” felt shafted when they didn’t receive a burger

That afternoon, Mike suggested we check out a nearby tea place. I spotted a motorcycle parked on the curb by the door that I guessed might be electric (it was)

Saturday, October 31

I put some of my home network skills to use and hardwired Mike’s home theater components to his LAN

We spent some time afterwards cleaning and oiling his handguns

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Afterwards, Mike showed me the long guns he had

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Later, we went to Jjanga, and walked out stuffed

That evening, we headed out in the Lexus. It was pretty busy along the strip – neat columns of police vehicles stood vigil outside some hotels

I shot a little video of the fountain at the Bellagio from afar

Fremont Street Experience looked especially busy

We saw the container park from afar, and circled back. We spotted Circa, which had just opened, and stopped in for a visit. We passed through Circa and wandered the Fremont Street Experience before returning to Mike’s home

Sunday, November 1

Mike went in early to go through the music with the singers, and came back to pick me up

We went to Faith Christian Fellowship (faithchristianhenderson.org) – it was my first time attending a church service in many years

That afternoon, I made a banana bread, but used four bananas instead of the usual three. Mike wisely suggested it could use some more time in the oven, reheating the affair, but I pulled it before it had gotten much more cooking time upon seeing the top beginning to turn.

Monday, November 2

We set out in the Lexus

I picked up the wheel after we made a stop just outside the entrance to Zion National Park

Mike was scheduled to work that evening and was in a bit of a hurry. The park was smaller than some I’ve been in, and we didn’t do any hiking, but it was worth the trip out of Las Vegas. Didn’t fly the drone any!

Back in St. George, UT, we met up with The Guru at Café Rio, a local chain. It was my first time seeing him since we were schoolmates at the International School of Beijing: his family had left Beijing for Azerbaijan, and were now living right up on the bluff overlooking the lot. The Guru offered to put me in touch with the friends he was riding with, but I didn’t take him up on it, even though I was curious about the unicycle. We learned about his work, and we talked about cacao beans a while.

The Guru wasn’t particularly impressed by solar – apparently some guy quoted thirty year breakeven, which made me curious to keep scratching, especially after reading recently about the problems in solar panel recycling

The Guru told me about SF Supermarket, mentioning his mother liked it over 99 Ranch.

I took us back to Las Vegas, and rested a bit upon our return.

By the time I woke up, Mike had already taken off for work. I drove the Smart to SF Supermarket, but found it closed for the night. Not too far off into the distance, the lights of the strip called to me, and I went in to the Aria. I signed up for an M-Life account, no free play awarded with signup. I quickly burned through the few dollars I’d brought with me on the slot machines, and poked around to see what I might find. As I weaved among the machines, I recalled how I had thought during my trip to San Diego that the thing most readily distinguishing me from a cleaner member of the homeless was the camera. One small win from a video poker machine with one hand’s credit remaining unplayed netted me a buck and change. Ultimately, I was able to uncover more than I’d originally walked in with, but not quite enough to buy a shot at the lowest-priced table games.

I walked over to the Park MGM after visiting briefly with Mike, and found it much less active than the Aria. Outside, I chatted with a group of black women visiting from Michigan to celebrate the elderly one’s birthday. I encouraged the one who had been hitting the slot machines to check out the table games, passing along the tip about craps. Recommended she check out the movie, 21, and the elderly one’s eyes lit up as she shared that she’d seen trailers.

I walked back to Aria, where I lost everything on slots and video poker, and called it a night.

Tuesday, November 3

That morning, I discovered there was an appropriate cable for offloading images from the 5D Mark III, and shared captures for the first time. I reflected a bit on what development, if any, I have experienced as a photographer after all these years of shooting. This marked my first time really taking it out, and I trusted the equipment, running and gunning without pausing to nitpick at settings between captures.

I walked with Paul over to Smith’s, bummed some smokes off the employees. One had a shirt reading, “I stand for the flag…” and was playing some interesting, unifying hip hop. A lady griped about the smell as she walked by, and I agreed empathically with her that smoking is a foul habit.

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Mike gave me a call and picked me up.

I drove us in the Smart to Juan’s Flaming Fajitas. We sat outside on the patio, which turned out to be dog-friendly. Juan came by to say hi to Mike. I learned he was from Ade, OK. Mike shared how his cousin (?) of 80 years was a big fan. Mike commented I was a good tipper, and I empathized – we have to make up for the bad ones. Social contract, but that’s something I’ve written about previously.

We swung back by the house so I could grab recording equipment. Mike gave me a haircut at his shop

Unfortunately I neglected to charge the X100V battery, and I wasn’t paying very much attention to it (I had my glasses off), and it only managed to capture 22 minutes 6 seconds – I’m glad I had the foresight to set up my phone as a B cam. It would have been nice to have had the storage capacity to confidently capture the entire scene in 4K – definitely going to want the capacity to do that in the future now I have a good solution to the storage problem

I drank a good number of the Michelob Ultras from the garage fridge, decided to play back some YouTube videos after I tired of the election coverage. I was particularly impressed by Ethan Hawke’s TED talk. Other material had me reflecting on college years, reaffirmed some best practices I’d gleaned through the years, and wishing a bit how I might have been raised a little differently

I showed plenty of love to Peach and Paul both, and lay down to catch some shuteye ahead of my flight

Wednesday, November 4

I was awakened by the sound of an alarm blaring: Mike had slid an old phone beneath the door and set it to wake me at 6:10AM. Still groggy, I hopped out of bed, and gathered my belongings for the trip home.

Curbside at LAS, I gave Mike a hug, and he set off for his appointment. I milled around for a bit, waiting on a smoker. Shared a couple cigarettes with Robert, a New York native who’d moved to Las Vegas in 2015, and had spent the past year working out of Pueblo, CO, on all manner of interior finishing work for some new builds (work just kept on picking up – he told me after we reconnected on the escalator past the tram and walked towards our respective gates that he’d originally gone down with a basic set of tools and wound up acquiring more)

The woman on the far end of the conveyor belt at the TSA checkpoint pulled the water in my bag. dumped the sealed water I had and wouldn’t allow me to drink it unless I turned back from the checkpoint. She passed me along to a gentleman for escort. Fortunately, he spoke with his supervisor and allowed me to pass with what little water I had left in my bottle

At the gate, the gate agent informed me the overhead bins were nearly full, and provided me with a baggage tag in the event there was no longer any space for my suitcase. Paul and I boarded the aircraft after some hesitation, during which time it was clear I would need to leave my suitcase with the handler, and I was delighted to find we had three seats to ourselves

Paul looked out the window a bit on my encouragement, but otherwise lay down promptly in my lap

I shot a ~20 minute long sequence as we took off from LAS:

At first, I had intended to quit rolling as soon as we’d cleared the city, but I’m glad I didn’t. I kept my eyes on the display of my phone as its camera soaked up the beautiful, rugged country below. It was hard imagining returning to the flat, concrete jungle of Houston, but I’m grateful I had the opportunity to visit the desert. I look forward to returning someday with better capture equipment

I spent the flight reviewing my captures and drafting this post, gazing out the window at times. From my seat, I saw frozen bodies of water, marks of modern civilization looking like printed circuit boards. We’ve imposed all these rigid shapes; perfect circles, rows of windmills, where nature has a design language all its own; fluid, flowing lines, shaped by currents past and present.

Paul, meanwhile, curled up and napped on a seat all his own.

To provide some visual contrast, I captured landing at IAH:

Upon touchdown, I called mz mischievous. She was at work. Next, I called Kussah, who was available to pick me up.

I stopped at Landry’s to have a drink while I waited. I ordered a shrimp cocktail, which turned out to be a mistake. Imagine how I felt to discover $15 BTAX only bought me six shrimp! Fortunately, Karbach’s Hopadillo remained as good as ever.

I retrieved my suitcase from the baggage claim office, and headed outside, where I waited around, keeping an eye out for Kussah. Eventually a man wearing a black cowboy hat emerged from the baggage claim and lit up a cigarette. I approached him, apologizing that I didn’t have my customary buck to offer. A 37-year old Austinite, he was off to Florida to see Jackie (not the working type) for her birthday. His grandmother had just passed a couple days ago after grappling with Alzheimer’s for years. In the end, she couldn’t swallow. We wished each other all the best as Kussah came around to whisk me home.

20190926 – 20191001 San Diego for TwitchCon

Paul and I left Houston for San Diego on Thursday, September 26 aboard Spirit Airlines flight NK619 with everything we needed to take the show on the road. We returned with just a few artifacts to prove we were there.

This is the story of our trip.

Thursday, September 26

We met MsDaywrecker and MrDaywrecker outside of the airport, at the smoker’s outpost, while waiting for our flight. We linked up again at the Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, where I offered them some of the sopapillas I’d ordered. I shared with them that I was there on account of the $28 tab Priority Pass offered through one of the credit cards I use. MrDaywrecker gave me some cash, something he didn’t have to do, and I very much appreciated his generosity.

On the plane, I sat next to a couple of soccer players. I had just inserted my Noble Kaiser 10s and was prepared to bump Rich Brian’s The Sailor for the umpteenth time when they began laughing. I asked what was so funny, and wound up chatting at length with Asley, who occupied the window seat.

After we reached San Diego, I checked in with MunchNPlay, whom I stayed with throughout TwitchCon, and routed to the Omni (675 L St). I walked around the hotel a bit to kill some time, breathing in that little patch of the Gaslamp Quarter. From the south-east side of the property, by the columns and planter boxes, a homeless man called out to me and offered me a dollar for my lighter. I told him he could use mine, but I couldn’t sell it to him, as I might need it later.

I watched as he used it to light a strange pipe, rambled a bit about having a God-given charge to do something big (he wasn’t quite sure what it was, yet). I commented I was being an enabler. After returning my lighter, he asked if I could help him get on Facebook to see what people were saying. I told him to let it go, and wished him well.

I met up with MunchNPlay and others at last, walking in front of the convention center. Together, we headed to the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina where we entered a Presidential Suite. I had a beer and chatted with a couple of other people there, but didn’t take down any names.

We walked back to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, where MunchNPlay produced a LiveU Solo (Amazon.com) that he’d just received that morning.

Friday, September 27

MunchNPlay and I headed to the convention center, where Moblord hosted a gathering featuring pizza and homemade salsa. There, I met hackychannel and BennyFits.

We returned to the Hilton, where we stopped at Odysea. I ordered a Summer Melon “Salad” and a mimosa. We were joined by WillGeeksOut, KiwisnStars, and BucklingRobin.

I stepped away from the group briefly to say hello to BlondieWondie. She initially spotted Paul, then sidled up to the bar, where I approached her. I discovered that she had lost her phone. She didn’t seem particularly friendly, but then again, she had lost her phone.

We accompanied WillGeeksOut, KiwisnStars, and BucklingRobin to the Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, where they were staying. I met KneeKapATX while relaxing against the window, marveling at KiwisnStars’s extensive traveling makeup collection.

That evening, MunchNPlay hosted a function at Odysea. Before anyone else showed up, I met Alaana “NeonRose n The Invisible.” Alaana was wearing a grungy sweater, jeans, and flip flops. Her hair looked wet, so I asked if she’d just come in from the pool. She told me that she had gone to Burning Man, and that all her belongings had been stolen. She had come down to San Diego to stay with a band she’d connected with, but had been unable to reconnect.

Security came to harass her: she’d been playing the piano on the floor above us, and they were determined to kick her out because she wasn’t a guest at the property. I got up and intervened.

I had Alaana accompany me back up to the hotel room, where I grabbed my laptop. We returned to the lobby, and I accompanied her as she tried to regain access to her Google account, where she had images of documents attesting to her identity.

She wanted to go dancing. I took her back up to the hotel room, where she changed into a new outfit, and I allowed her to keep her backpack there after checking it.

I met JBeeZee, MiraMouse + OutspokenPizza, OnceinLuv, SmexiestChicken, xSkyKing, Frankenroc, WovenWyrm, and pizzaexplorer at MunchNPlay’s function. I bumped into BatskyStarman in the men’s room. I met amber_made outside while she was waiting on her ride.

By the end of the night, I was feeling good, having tried all the dessert cocktails that the bar offered.

I paid for an Uber ride for WovenWyrm to save him the walk in the rain.

Saturday, September 28

I was woken up by Alaana calling me at 7:03AM. She told me she had a couple of friends with her, and wanted to know if she could bring them up to the room. I volunteered that I would go down instead.

Out on the second floor, I allowed Paul to mark some plants. I met the two homeless guys Alaana had brought to the hotel, who quickly dissipated.

I led Alaana back up to the hotel room where I grabbed my camera, such that I might appear something other than homeless, and walked with Paul and with her along the bay.

Alaana pulled up one of her music videos on my phone:

We stepped into the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina from the slip, where we met Meimeikyu, who was cosplaying as Sailor Jupiter.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3Baqj9gn5H/

Meimeikyu’s friend from SF snapped a group photo of us by the entrance – that’s gone.

We pushed on to Seaport Village. Walking on past, I spotted Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. The sign said it was open only on Saturdays. I bought a salad to share with Alaana, who was chatting up a fisherman. Afterwards, I chatted with a Filipino couple who had been admiring Paul, and as I prepared to leave, I realized he was nowhere to be found.

I double-timed it with Alaana back to shore, scanning for Paul. Which way had he gone? I asked a woman if she’d seen a Yorkie walking around off-leash, and she chided me for having allowed him to roam. We started back towards Seaport Village, but turned around, and I saw Terralynn (@terralyn.n) holding him, walking towards me – a woman with some stains on her shirt that Alaana and I had met earlier had walked off with him in tow, and I marveled at how strange it was that she would have kept on walking so non-chalantly.

I snapped a few photos of Terralynn holding Paul, but similarly, those are lost.

Reunited with Paul, we continued on our way. I met Will, who was shooting with his Sony FS5 for Zoomin, and had a TwitchCon press badge. I also chatted with Paul Strahm, a painter (paulstrahm.com).

We wound up by the USS Midway. I took a few pictures of Alaana posing by the Unconditional Surrender statue with Paul wandering in the foreground. We walked to the end of the Navy Pier, where I took a few pictures of Alaana as she lied down and stretched. An old man volunteering at the USS Midway Museum came by to check on us – he’d seen Alaana stretching on the CCTV, and asked to ensure that everything was okay. I learned that he was formerly in the service.

It was getting warm, so we began heading back to the Hilton to change. We bumped into Yasukeh.

Yasukeh was on his way to a team function at Coin-Op (789 Sixth Ave) where there would be food and drinks, and we tagged along with him. Unfortunately, the door guy didn’t let us in. I didn’t have my physical ID on me, and he wouldn’t accept my scans of my driver’s license or passport. I asked for his manager, TJ, who was similarly tough. TJ really didn’t like it when I asked for his manager. I found it absurd they wouldn’t permit us in, even when I offered I wouldn’t order any drinks, especially given the event was being covered.

By this point, it was clear I hadn’t come out prepared for the day. Along the way back to the Hilton, we stopped to grab some beers from CVS (645 Market St) at Alaana’s behest. Back at the room, Alaana took a shower, and we drank a couple of beers before hitting the streets again.

Walking back in front of the convention center, we bumped into Korean_Jesus. He provided the hookup on convention passes, picking out one that read “Dirty Dog” for me – he cautioned that they wouldn’t work to get into the Blink-182 concert that evening. I bought two (4:31:19PM PDT), so that I could get into the convention, and that Alaana might experience it as well.

Armed with a pass, Paul and I headed into the convention center for the first time that afternoon, wanting to say hi to IslandGrown, whom I first met at the Twitch Hawaii meetup in Honolulu on June 30, 2019.

We met Riona, ReknLive, Hoppy, and Average_Po.

On the way out of the convention center, we met HailsBee.

Next, we made it to the OutdoorIRL Meetup hosted by iamMisterIRL at BASIC Bar / Pizza (410 10th Ave). Also in attendance were reedog117 and lye54, GenghisKon83, heyimRooney, and BeeLovesGreen.

We met Dudley at some point. We think it was outside of BASIC.

We walked past Petco Park. A group of percussionists were drumming up a storm ahead of the concert. We made a beeline away from the loud noises, and returned to the Hilton by 8PM.

Back at the hotel, I saw a man with an iPhone 8 on a gimbal. I asked what he was shooting for, and that’s when we met Sweet_Anita. She was, as her name suggests, quite sweet. She shared how she had found herself as a spokesperson for people with Tourette’s. I found her quite endearing.

I went to bed early that night, and was woken up by MunchNPlay returning with a couple of friends. He offered something to eat, and brought back a sandwich.

Sunday, September 29

Alaana called me at 10:41AM. She had managed to get into the Blink-182 concert using the badge that I had purchased off of Korean_Jesus, and had wound up staying the night with a couple of Navy seamen.

Paul and I spent most of our day at the convention. There’s something magical about the last day of a convention: the energy is a world apart from day one.

I chanced upon the opportunity to meet Pokimane and take a photo with her. While waiting in line, we met Grizzz and bujunic.

I had the security guy take a photo from an alternate angle, but of course, that’s lost.

Over at the LiveU booth, Luis recognized me. I participated in their broadcast, receiving a dare:

Beside the LiveU booth, we met aranhawaii (Chess on Twitch) and Awkwards_Travel.

I roamed around a while in search of something shiny, and came across Xocliw:

I returned with a shiny, something I had actually acquired the day before and simply extracted from my satchel, and met JoeyKaotyk:

We met alpha_akira, PlanetChessClub, PurpleLovePower, and tt2468 by the LiveU booth.

At the UnlimitedIRL booth, Taylor Webb refunded me for the two months of service I hadn’t intended to stay signed up for. I spotted theGunRun chatting with someone nearby. We also met CookSux.

I had hitch take a selfie with me:

We moved along, and met lycheepop, who was representing Rise Above the Disorder. I snapped a photo of her with Paul – this, of course, was lost.

There was a meet and greet for DrLupo, but the line was capped off. I saw MrsDrLupo nearby, and introduced myself.

We met DrGluon nearby.

We met Alex Cruttenden, PM at Blast, at their booth.

We met JustifydWarrior and Merlin, his bunny. We also met Keeoh and KoalaFrys. We met Manco1.

At the OBS booth, we met Fenrirthviti, donlumps, and Jim, OBS lead.

At the Twitch Staff Booth, I engaged msongvo and WarpWizzle. I asked them what signal Twitch was sending by refusing to individually consider the cases of broadcasters who’d run afoul of their community guidelines one too many times. They brought in Shimesaba.

We met Blackmanhand, KosmicKloud, themadbun, Someguy022, EmmyWithLove, and GrumpyWarVet.

Out on the terrace, I met babyhsu888:

waterlynn, JakeNBake’s girlfriend:

and GiannieLee, who was running around all full of energy.

Nearby, Valkyr_ttv was in need of a light, and spotting the cigar in his hand, I asked if he had another by chance. He produced one, and so I sat and chatted with him and Chesspieceface. When I learned that Chesspieceface was based in San Diego, I mentioned needing a place to stay for the next couple of nights. Chesspieceface was hesitant, but provided me with his phone number in the event I couldn’t scare up anything else.

I spied BizSNES’s SNES puppet, and said hi before heading back inside the convention center.

We met TheAznInvasionX on my way out of the con.

While waiting on Alaana outside of the con, we met CaptainContent_, who also knew Korean_Jesus, and miss_gator.

We met BrokenCowLeg, who was broadcasting, at which point Alaana showed up:

Alaana told me about Dane, whom she had met at the Blink-182 concert. He had some Airbnb properties and offered that he could help her with her career as a creative.

We met HardyPartyTruck, and I caught CookSux, JoeyKaotyk, and Haremi again as they walked down the path together:

Alaana recognized lulumeister02.

We had dinner at Mary Jane’s inside of the Hard Rock with the 1UpOnCancer folks – the folks at the table sitting next to ours, somahplays and sevisaurus, were just wrapping up their meal when we walked in.

iamMisterIRL joined us for dinner, and I took the opportunity to chat with him and better understand his interest in the broadcasting space.

During dinner, I had Alaana look for a place where we could spend the night. She hit Airbnb, while I hit Google. We found that Airbnb would have run considerably more for something that would accommodate the two of us, whereas we could get a room within walking distance for a much more reasonable rate.

When it came time to settle up, Alaana was shocked by the price she was charged for her soda. She had ordered more than she could afford. I put both our meals on my card, taking from her some cash, but the situation gave me some pause.

After exiting the Hard Rock, Paul and MoxyMary’s service dog, Jack, saw each other. They were accompanied by yanDreaya and KeepinItKawaii.

We bumped into TroubleTruck, whom I’d just Tweeted in response to earlier.

Alaana and I returned to the Hilton to retrieve my belongings. I took another look at my phone, and realized that the room rate I had previously noted was no longer available.

At 8:52PM, Alaana tried calling Dane from my phone, leaving a voicemail.

We walked from there to the Travelodge by Wyndham, San Diego Downtown Convention Center, where we spent the night. I’d booked us into a smoking room, but asked the receptionist whether a non-smoking room was available, and she took care of us.

At 11:34PM, I received a text message from Dane in response to the voicemail Alaana had left for him.

Alaana offered that I could cuddle with her, but I chose to sleep alone.

Monday, September 30

We had a light breakfast at the reception lobby. I had a couple of pastries, and introduced some coffee to my bowl of Raisin Bran. Afterwards, I handed off a beer to the man at the front desk.

Alaana gave Dane a call. During the call, she referred to me as her friend, stated that I would be leaving town that night.

We walked over to the 12th & Imperial Transit Center, where we boarded the Orange Line. We were stopped by MTS enforcement and told to step off at the next station, but fortunately, we were let off with a warning.

Back on the Metro with fare, we continued on our way to Dane’s office, Red I Nation.

When we arrived, Dane had someone in his office.

I gathered that Dane had interests in radio (KNSJ) and TV. He told me that he was managing a young Twitch broadcaster, a Fortnite player. He also had some interest with Gary Payton. Wallace Wang is a business partner. Formerly a standup comedian, he recommended Dave Chappelle’s latest.

Three more people joined us in Dane’s office: Ian, Sam, and Victor. They talked about coffee, one of my personal interests. I listened up.

We accompanied Dane to Diadel Coffee (2873 Adams Ave A), where Ryan, a SD native, showed off his roaster to Dane.

I chatted with Victor a while outside. He showed me some photos of the cannabis plants he’d grown.

We returned to Red I Nation. Dane dropped some more names: Joseph Tsai, Ted Chung (who’s working with Snoop Dogg). He showed a couple videos from his YouTube channel. Shared Stash investing. Social justice.

I gathered he earned some of his money through promoting products.

Alaana and I met Dane’s partner – I didn’t know whether he meant business partner or life partner, and assumed it was the latter.

We grabbed all our belongings, and Dane drove us out to Ocean Beach, where we had dinner at The Holding Company (5046 Newport Ave). I wound up putting the meal on my card after Dane signaled he would go to the ATM and grab some cash to hit me back. I think he may have handed me $20: I distinctly remember it not being enough to cover the entire meal, and certainly not enough to cover Alaana and himself.

After dinner, we went to XPerience Virtual Reality (4967 Newport Ave). There, I met Spencer Sellay with Skreens. I left my backpack with Jose and his wife so I could move unencumbered.

Dane, Alaana, and I went to and from the pier, walking to its end. The sun had already set by this point. I shot a photo of the pier, the moon looming above it. A man on the pier cut up some fish and placed them into a small cage at the center of a larger structure, which I learned was a lobster trap.

On the way back, I got a surfer bro’s attention after I observed his phone drop. He told me twice, “You’ve got a good heart!”

I didn’t know how to respond – just doing my part, looking out for others.

Maribel and Linda showed up with some loud. A couple of joints were rolled. A glass pipe joined the mix.

Dane had been asking people for their connotation of the word “spliff” all day: Alaana broke away, and came back quickly with a cigarette. She handed me a joint that had gone out.

Israel had a toy gun held up to his head and repeatedly pulled the trigger on himself. I called attention to what was going on.

I watched as Alaana took the toy gun, aimed at inside of her mouth, and pulled the trigger.

At 9:07PM, still inside of XPerience Virtual Reality, I started shooting.

It’s pretty safe to say I’d started tripping by this point. I can be heard instructing everyone to get the fuck out of the building. Dane chimed in, “now!”

From here, my recollection of the sequence of events is very hazy. I leaned heavily on the data to piece together what happened.

Alaana told me I kept stopping to talk to people. She started talking to Dane about getting us a room so we could “play contact improv.”

I remember being at the liquor store, Newport Farms Mkt & Liquor (5004 Newport Ave), where I spilled some water on the floor. Dane was there at the time, as corroborated by him. Alaana said we went there before going back to the car – she had wanted to grab a vodka cooler.

Dane told me we made it back to the car together, but I wandered off saying that I wanted to get some air, only not to return after twenty or thirty minutes.

At first, I was looking for Alaana and Dane. By the end of the night, it’d shifted to looking for Paul and everything else I’d brought with me.

I found myself separated from Alaana and Dane. I remember asking aloud where they were. As time crept on, it slowly dawned upon me that they were long gone.

I made a series of video recordings starting at 10:47PM. The metadata from the photos I took immediately afterwards put the location as the northeast corner of Newport Ave and Bacon St, right across the street from Newport Farms Mkt & Liquor.

Sometime later, I misplaced my iPhone 7 Plus and lost Paul.

I remember urinating in public. Remember telling a couple that I’d lost everything, and the man offering me a bump of coke, which I attempted to take. Remember a young lady offering to help me find Paul, her telling me to wait outside of a business, and me wandering off impatiently. Remember approaching a group with one tall, broad man who had a dog with him, and that man giving me a collar with a dog whistle built into the buckle.

From my iPhone 8 Plus, I made a couple of phone calls to new contacts I met on the street.

“Jimi Eow” at 1:11AM
“PUB JEFF” at 2:02AM, whom I’m positive was with the “King of OB,” who cackled after hearing about my lost things

A young man named Tristan helped me out. He bought me a bottle of water at Riteaid and provided me with a hoodie from out of his car to get me through the night.

I followed him a while. He tried busking, but I blew out his first set, which he called me out on.

I had wild thoughts going through my mind. I thought there was some underground sex trafficking operation. I noticed all the white vans and box trucks that may be complicit in a body-snatching job.

Given all this, I felt there was something oddly Pied Piperish about Tristan, so I hung back as he walked off into the night.

At 3:08AM, alone and fearful, thinking each slowing car that passed me may potentially whisk me away to some seedy San Diego underworld, I called 911.

The police officers who arrived were not particularly helpful. After checking me for weapons, they had me sit against the squad car while they asked me questions.

I asked if there was somewhere they could take me where I could charge up my phone and wouldn’t be alone. I strapped myself into the back seat of the squad car, and shut my eyes. They took me to the hospital.

I charged my phone at the check-in counter. Find My iPhone reported my missing iPhone 7 Plus last in the vicinity of the Ocean Beach Riteaid (4840 Niagara Ave). When I pulled up the app at 3:58AM PDT from outside of the hospital, I could see that it was there.

The police wouldn’t take me back – “we’re not your personal taxi” – but they did ping another officer in the area to take a look around. That officer found nothing.

The reporting officer’s partner urged me to man up.

I sent out a message across my Twitter and Facebook accounts letting my followers know the predicament I was in:

https://twitter.com/yetieater/status/1178996177095684098

I wanted to keep charging my phone, but there was no accessible charger. I briefly considering checking myself in to the hospital so that I could get a free ride back to Ocean Beach, but decided against doing so. Who knows how long that would take?

At 5:12AM, I took an Uber ride to the last reported location of my phone. I arrived at 5:25AM, and I watched it move in real-time. I raced after it to the public restroom. I saw a couple there, approached them, asked if I’d met them earlier that night. They responded, no.

At the entrance of the men’s half of the public restroom was a shopping cart filled with someone’s possessions. From around the corner, a man appeared. I asked if he’d picked up a phone recently, and he told me that he hadn’t.

I kept on walking in search of any sign of my things or of Paul.

I came across one of the two people I’d seen outside of the public restroom while searching for my phone, and asked if he had a smoke. He produced a butt and asked if I had a light, but I had lost my lighter along with everything else. He introduced himself as Duck.

Later, I came across Duck again. He had a lit cigarette in hand, and offered to share his smoke. I spied my phone peeking out of the left pocket of his hoodie. He told me he had found it on the floor. I retrieved it from him. He lamented it was just his luck that he found a phone he couldn’t put to use after telling me about the lockout that had occurred when he’d unsuccessfully attempted to brute-force my passcode.

I called Spirit Airlines at 5:16AM to see if I could salvage any value from the flight I was about to miss.

I kept walking, talking to everyone on the street. I approached each one by asking if I’d met them, then explained I was looking for my belongings and for Paul. I bummed a couple of smokes in the process.

I bumped into Tristan again. He took back the hoodie that he’d lent me, and lent me a battery pack so I might charge my phone. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a Lightning cable. I was able to borrow one of those, along with a 1A USB power adapter from another man.

At 9:07AM, I posted to the Lost & Found Pets of OB 92107 Facebook Group (Facebook), and Taylor Booth (@boothsbutterflyeffect) called me 40 minutes later informing me someone had dropped Paul off. I recovered Paul from Taylor at Dog Beach Dog Wash at 10AM, his face heavy with tear stains.

Reunited with Paul, we walked back along the beach, looking for any signs of my gear. Nothing.

We dipped into Ocean Beach Kabob, where I ordered lentil soup and tacos. The woman behind the counter also brought out a paper boat of gyros meat for Paul. I ate and charged my phone for a while. Resting my head against the counter, I fell asleep briefly, but rose again.

At 12:03PM, I redeemed 12,500 United miles and ponied up the $75 close-in booking fee for a flight home.

I looked around for Tristan so that I might return his battery pack. I tried locating his car, thinking I might deposit it there, but I couldn’t remember where he’d parked.

We left Ocean Beach at 12:30PM, and arrived at San Diego International Airport at 12:43PM.

Even without physical ID, I was able to clear TSA after filling out a form and answering some questions over the phone, but the TSA officer advised me against going back out to bum a smoke.

While waiting for our flight back home, I cruised around, looking for a charger. A young lady left a small black clutch behind, and I ran after her with it, returning it to her.

At the gate, I got some rest at last.

Back at home

Alaana called me at 11:05PM on October 1, 2019. Dane had put her up in a motel room. He had been pushy, looking for sex. She gave him a massage, he gave her one back (she said it was the worst she’d ever received), and then she signaled she was tired, and that she wanted to go to sleep.

As I think back on that night, and how it all went wrong, one question stands out in my mind: why didn’t Dane call me?

Here’s one explanation… Men have two heads: trouble is, they can only think with one of them at a time. I had the sense that Dane had been trying to isolate Alaana after we left XPerience Virtual Reality.

All told, here are the losses:

ItemReplacement ValueURL
Fujifilm X100F digital camera, Serial #72A01649, silver, in a brown leather half case, red shutter release button, Think Tank camera strap (https://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/camera-strap-v2)$1,099.00https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N33CT3Z?tag=yetieater-20
2017 MacBook 12″ MNYF2LL/A, space gray, Serial #C02TV3TPHH21, within a black BUILT neoprene laptop sleeve with OXY logo, charger
Apple iPad Pro 3rd Generation 64GB WiFi MTEL2LL/A 12.9″, space gray, Serial #DLXXQ4F0K7M9, in Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) Smart Folio MRXD2ZM/A, Serial #G55XK0N7KNP6
DxO One digital camera, Serial #C01A 1609-220546, in DxO One Outdoor Shell (yellow)
Google Pixel 3 XL 64GB, GA00470-US, clearly white, IMEI 990012011205496
NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 MR1100, Serial #53A17BNV0271A, IMEI 014975000590106
NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 MR1100, IMEI 014975000628369
massdrop x Noble Kaiser 10 In Ear Monitors$900.00https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-noble-kaiser-10-universal-iems?utm_source=linkshare&referer=Y8HSZ9
Joby GripTight PRO TelePod$99.95
ZTE MF923, IMEI 869142021322144
Massdrop peak Merino Hoodie, Medium, black, with thumbholes
Cross Classic Century 10KT Gold ballpoint pen$116.00https://www.cross.com/cr_en_us/4502
EQUIPD USB-C hub, grey$32.99https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079K6M2QL?tag=yetieater-20
Lumintop IYP365 Aluminum flashlight, Black, Cree
Service Dog Vest, orange with patches indicating “Seizure Alert Animal”
1.6″x5″ logo stickers reading “yetieater” – there were MANY of these (approximately 100 in two different styles)
Aquis Adventure Microfiber Towel, Graphite, Extra Large (29″x55″)
Mehaz Professional 660 Nail Clipper$9.46https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002XY7HDE/?tag=yetieater-20
Wood-handled metal pin brush
Quip toothbrush, Product RED$49.99
Jansport backpack, grey-blue, with red Embraer keyring embroidered ornament, reading “REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT” in white lettering on reverse
Grey Gemline sling backpack with IBM-branded adornments on zipper pulls
Fossil black leather satchel
Burberry Brit polo shirt, Small, black
Lost Vape Orion DNA GO + Orion Plus Pod
Etymotic Research ER20 High-Fidelity Earplugs, Blue Tip with Clear Stem, clamshell case$13.93https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0044DEESS/?tag=yetieater-20
Night guard
Delta Business leather toiletry kit, navy blue
1/3 cup plastic measuring cup

As my original flight time loomed near, I had briefly considered taking off without Paul, writing everything off. The mental calculus when removed from feeling cash-strapped is easy: of course I shouldn’t have left without Paul! Everyone I stopped and asked for help from knew that I couldn’t take off without knowing what had become of Paul.

The greatest loss wasn’t the property: that can all be replaced. Only a couple of the items had emotional significance:

  • The Cross pen was part of a set that my father had given to me when I was in high school: it was the pen that had slipped from my pocket that one night in Tulsa
  • The Burberry polo shirt was the one I wore to the shoot with Alvin Tan and Karla Kush

What pains me most was losing the photographs and work in progress. I lost all my photos from LA, including the behind the scenes shots I’d taken from the shoot, as well as everything from San Diego that hadn’t made its way to the cloud from my phones.

Moving forward

There were many small failures that led to catastrophe. I shouldn’t have gotten as high as I did – I guess I need to learn to say no to drugs. Meanwhile, I imagine someone probably watched expectantly as I sloughed off my backpack, filled with my valuable possessions, and said nothing, waiting to see whether I’d walk away without turning back, before picking through my gear gleefully when I had gone.

Finding myself alone and without nearly all my earthly possessions led me to ponder: what separates me from the homeless? Is there something fundamentally different about me that I would be able to bounce back were I to find myself truly stranded?

How do you solve that classic riddle: one knight tells truth, other always lies… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_and_Knaves

This time spent without so many of my things has been an experience, to say the least. It’s given me the opportunity to consider just what is necessary for me to operate, as well as to ponder the importance of building, maintaining, and bolstering systems for disaster recovery. I never would have thought that my trip to San Diego would have ended on this note, but what can I say?

Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.

K1NGD1LLY

I signed on to Destiny on Friday, April 7, unsure who I would run Trials of Osiris with at drop.

I picked up K1NGD1LLY from DestinyLFG.net. His post said that he was a 1.8 K/D player with a 2k elo on his main account. I invited K1NGD1LLY to my party, and started my stream while looking for a third player.

I took K1NGD1LLY to a private match to kick the tires a bit, expecting an even matchup. The first match was slow – K1NGD1LLY was still running a PvE loadout. I didn’t have my Trials loadout on me, so I ran the Palindrome, a weapon that I rarely use. In our second private match, he managed a single kill while I had my attention turned to picking up a third player.

What I saw during our 1v1 session was a player who had limited confidence on the offensive. He expressed surprise time after time over his own deaths (“two-tapped!” “one-hit melee!” – no on both counts).

I ran one passage with K1NGD1LLY. More surprises, or lack thereof, as the web of lies grew. The good stuff is below:

Important Timestamps

  • 8:33 “I don’t understand why this guy is running off – probably wants to use a sniper or something here”
  • 10:14 I ask K1NGD1LLY what his main account is, and K1NGD1LLY claims that Taitors is his main. I follow up by asking why Taitors is comm-banned, and K1NGD1LLY offers a plausible explanation
  • 11:02 “I don’t get why he keeps running away. It’s kind of – it’s really weird. To me this is highly, highly…”
  • 17:38 “I don’t really believe this guy, but he could surprise me.”
  • 21:11 “I’m just having a really tough time believing this man, and I have no team. This is really frustrating.”
  • 26:08 “I don’t fucking trust this guy at all. He doesn’t know the map – is he just playing stupid? He doesn’t ever push me in a 1v1… What the fuck? I don’t get it. I’m taking a risk – if he’s a bullshitter, then fuck him. He says he’s on a recov – I don’t know if it’s true or not. And didn’t really give me a good opportunity to find out. Like, I get consistently outgunned by people playing at my skill level with this thing [the Palindrome], because I don’t fucking use it.”
  • 31:50 “Alright, so we’re going in. If this guy [K1NGD1LLY] turns out to be a complete shitter, we ditch him and pick up Foogba, because Foogba is OG.”
  • 39:30 K1NGD1LLY says that he hates the Hunter melee and claims that he mains a Warlock – Taitors mains a Hunter
  • 41:10 K1NGD1LLY bails from my res and walks into a 1v2 after our team has gotten the refrag on my killer, then asks, “Who runs flashbangs?”
  • 42:09 “I don’t trust him because his decision-making… Who the fuck tethers in a 2v1 like that? What is that?”
  • 53:55 I ask K1NGD1LLY for details on his supposed account recovery
  • 56:30 I call K1NGD1LLY out
  • 57:35 K1NGD1LLY says, “I just think it’s pretty funny how you don’t believe me, but the game that we lost I played better than you, and we played bums.”
  • 1:00:55 I begin a monologue about the difficulty ahead, given what I know about K1NGD1LLY’s performance across the passage. Out of nowhere, K1NGD1LLY says that if I want him to play, he’ll play. As luck would have it, we run into a team that defeats us
  • 1:21:10 I wish K1NGD1LLY good-bye, and he dips without a word

After reviewing my session on Sunday, April 9, I sent a message over XBL to Taitors. I didn’t know if he would respond, but he did, and the rest is history.

20170409 Taitors K1NGD1LLY
Taitors gave me the green light to out K1NGD1LLY

PlanetDestiny blacklisted K1NGD1LLY from using DestinyLFG.net:

If you use DestinyLFG.net, do yourself a favor and claim your gamertag. That, alone, is enough to stop most people from misrepresenting themselves as you. I’ve been informed that, as of Saturday, April 8, DestinyLFG.net requires you to claim your gamertag to use their service.

K1NGD1LLY’s Bungie.net Profile www.bungie.net/en/Profile/Membership/254/13489403


I had the opportunity to run a passage with the real Taitors on Monday, April 10:

I am pleased to report that the real Taitors is a solid player.