Posts Tagged 'PAX'

All Philler, no killer


I went to Yellowstone today and it was awfully good fun, but as these PCs are once again woefully under-equipped for uploading pictures, and since making a post about a park without visual aides seems pointless, I shall postpone that post until I am in Sioux Falls, SD (where I shall hijack Verr’s equipment).

So, here is, as promised, Job, Eric, Arminas and myself rocking out like it’s 1964. Credit to Snappy for the camerawork!

I Feel Fine

Can’t Buy Me Love

Hello Goodbye

I never said I was cool.

Also, have an awesome picture shot by Xantus’s housemate on Santa Barbara beach:


That’s all for today, but I promise I will have more in the next post. That post won’t be tomorrow, however, as I have yet another 26-hour Greyhound ride to South Dakota starting at 9am.

Hooray =(

End of part three

With the west coast at my back, I find myself facing the long haul back towards the sunrise and the east coast – and home.

The west coast has been a hugely interesting experience, very different to the south, which in turn was very different from the Appalachia/south-east region. I covered most of the elements that I found new in the California post, but Portland and Seattle have their own (slightly damper, colder) personalities too. As I said, there’s this sort of assurance to the north-west. The youthful, freewheeling personality of California turns into a somewhat more reserved and adult – but still essentially liberal – area that is supremely self-confident and a touch elitist. Not that I think that’s necessarily a bad thing at all. The northwest reminds me of Britain, in fact, more than anywhere else I’ve been and it’s not just the weather. I like it here. Santa Barbara and Seattle are both places I could imagine spending a stint of time in, maybe a couple of years, in a couple of years. Who knows? The future is an interesting place.

Tangent: By the way, the Seattle Art Museum is pretty great, and free on thursdays. It has some mesmerizing glasswork, a couple of fantastic pieces by Nick Cave (the artist, not the singer, though they share a similar mental aesthetic), and a brilliantly-done main exhibit, currently about destruction in art. Really good. No photography allowed, however.

The last day of PAX was short but sweet, the outstanding moment for me being the three-times ascent onto the big stage to play Beatles Rock Band, for which I joined forces with job from waaaay back in West Virginia (so long ago!), the sadly illiterate devlEric (<3), whom I will see again in Minneapolis, and Arminas, who I will be visiting in Chicago. The songs were Can't Buy Me Love, HelloGoodbye, and I Feel Fine. Ominously, Snappy was on scene to diligently record all these endeavours, and I will fortunately/unfortunately have videos to post later. I'll edit them into this post and link back to them when they are in my hot-handed possession.

As it happens, I have kind of said most of what I had on my mind during this leg of the trip, so instead of repeating myself, I will turn my attention forward. Irritatingly, I missed the bus this morning because it was unexpectedly full and I had no way of getting a ticket earlier – despite efforts to – due to various debilitating policies operated by the company. So, I am an extra day in Washington, and a day cut short in Yellowstone. No matter; I shall survive.

The area I'm headed to/through is commonly collectively called the Flyover States. It's apparently a whole lotta nothin'. I'm hoping that the batteries on my various electronic amusements remain in the green for a long time though, as this Yayhound trip is a stonking twenty-seven hours in length. Fun times. I’m hoping however that, once off the bus and the dreary tameness of the main roads, I will stand a chance to catch some of the more majestic scenery that I associate with – at least in my head – the evergreen north of America.

Plus I am dead chuffed to be able to wear warm clothes again.

Enough prattle. Here’s the third album, with a few as-yet-unposted highlights:






















To the east!

I put on my robe and wizard hat…

Last year, the slogan for PAX was ‘Welcome Home’.

I confess that, whilst I was always up for coming to PAX if only to see the spectacle for myself, I was apprehensive. Honestly, I was sort of worried about the kinds of people who might be here. It’s ridiculous, really – quite aside from the fact I’ve been staying with folks from the internet, I’m a lot like many people here, but whilst I’d like to think I’m fairly well-adjusted the stigma of the gamer is strong and difficult to ignore. I had a few feverish visions of having to deal with the very worst of the stereotypes.

Of course, I was dead wrong. And the last few days have been a lot of fun, a lot of fun. I’ve met a bunch of people whose screennames have become familiar sights over the last few years, and I’ve now got a wealth of memories that will stay with me for a long time. Some highlights:

– Seeing WickerBasket, a Scotsman who flew over just for this expo, furiously singing Cool for Cats into a Rock Band microphone at 1 in the morning.
– Trying to figure out who the werewolves were (you had to be there).
– Finding out TinyLobsta is not actually a jerk, and him discovering I’m not a douche.
– Wandering around the gigantic expo hall searching for loot and giveaways.
– Hiding a perfectly spherical panda in a fridge.
– Bumping into forumers left right and centre, and being reliably cussed out for my sniping.

Speaking of sniping, you know how I said we were due to play in the 6v6 TF2 tournament here? Well, we made it to the final before being firmly (but not brutally) put down by a semi-pro team who obviously knew what they were doing. Team was:
RandomEngy, Demoman
TinyLobsta, Scout
Snappy, Medic
Lemur, Soldier
Musan, Soldier
and myself, of course, on Sniper, of course.

It was a hell of a lot of fun (we cruised to the final without conceding a single point) and there are photos of our team somewhere, no doubt to soon be shared. We won a processor worth $1300 – but only one. We’re going to eBay it and split the profits. A nice little bonus that nobody had counted on.

I don’t know, I’m trying to put this into words but it’s really pretty difficult to. It’s hard to explain the sheer novelty of what is still a pretty unfashionable hobby/culture being celebrated so enthusiastically. Rest assured there is a reason that I haven’t made it to WordPress to update, despite being surrounded by computers.

Welcome home, indeed.

LFM: 75,000 nerds raiding Seattle, PST

Sooooooo, PAX. Though it’s probably just meant to be a cool-sounding acronym, it means ‘peace’ in Latin. But it’s not exactly peaceful.

Packed into all six floors of the Seattle Convention Centre is the biggest gaming culture expo on the planet, really rivalled only by E3. Hosted by the omnibenevolent ‘internet celebrities’ of Gabe and Tycho, creators of Penny Arcade, the three-day blowout is a sweaty mass of all things geek. And though people who know me might think I’m pretty geeky, honestly, I’m an amateur compared to a lot of people here.

This is going to have to be a relatively short post as I’m currently midway through a Left4Dead tournament with RandomEngy, Urquan and ILMTitan. After mutilating our first two opponents, we’re through to the third round which means things are starting to get serious. Tingly.

PAX is a lot of fun. It’s a huge hall filled with kiosks, swag giveaways, demos and such, and elsewhere there’s room for TGCs (not really my thing), tabletop games, handhelds, consoles, and just sundry computer use. Speeches and speakers are ongoing throughout the day; I myself attended Gabe and Tycho’s Q&A session, which was tremendously funny. Sadly the other two items I was interested in (homosexuality in gaming and ‘Designing for Failure: why winning sucks’) overlapped timings, but nonetheless I can’t complain.

I’ve actually been typing this in breaks and sadly, we were just knocked out three rounds to one by a pretty good team. We reached the last six, though! Tomorrow I’m in the TF2 tourny, so I’ll let you know how that goes as well.

Uh anyway, it’s all a bit of a blur so I’ll just leave it at this for now and go into more detail tomorrow. Game on.

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