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comprehension

I read all my previous years of PAX posts and would like to inform you that I have described the experience inadequately.

Whether this is me being too close to it, lacking sufficient word-smithery or the direct result of interference by some divine pantheon of animated gaming forces I cannot tell you. I only know that my detailing of what Jason and I did and saw during the course of those 3 sweet days every year is merely the sketch of the backside of the dragon's whom we were riding.

My description is lacking to the point of more resembling a lie than truth. It is like Achilles twittering "Swimmin'!" while being dunked by the heel into the River Styx.

But yet I will try once more to scratch into electrical stone the meaning and happenings of the past weekend. If not by direct exposition, but by a slow trodden path about the indescribable thing, like sandy foot prints visible around the base of an invisible obelisk of awesome.

(PAX also apparently makes me try to write like Tycho, so sad.)

The good news, is that Jason and I have escaped the dehydrating embrace of the PAX-flu, a dodge I attribute to my wife's insistence that I adhere to some basic hygienic practices. So fear that no more!

My story begins on the Saturday night before the epic stand-fest that was that night's concert, we had dutifully joined in congress with the prevailing meat queue to insure that we would get to stand so close to the stage that we would stand through all 6 hours of the show for fear of losing our FIFO'd birth-right.

Two interesting things happened in line, the first is that they had hired a company to entertain us while we stood in a drab concrete walled room. To do this they hired a company who employed a fascinating mix of improv comedy, 1970's teletype terminals, internet videos and interactive cell phone txting technology, and it all really worked.

I introduce that strange business concept to setup my much more mundane story. Behind me in line was a father and teenage son. Presumably the son was too young to be out at a concert that was going to go well after midnight, so he was being chaperoned. As we stood in line we were shown some iconic internet videos and got to "txt" which one we wanted to see.

While I found watching those videos enjoyable, I was far more enraptured by the son's attempts to imbue his father with the necessary context for the "things" he was seeing.

It was smug satisfaction at first to be sure. Me getting to lord over my near complete cultural internet knowledge over this lowly soul. However after the third video the son gave up, stating simply "Yeah, there is no way I'm going to be able to explain this to you", this was when my feeling of superiority flitted away, a cold hard thing sliding into its place. Slowly the realization that one day, my son would be enjoying something completely incomprehensible to me began to dawn.

I know this should have been an obvious revelation, circle of life and such, but it still shook me. Some people worry about becoming less able as they age, becoming less deft of mind. Apparently I fear the one day where my internet searches which result in my finding funny videos to watch dwindle to a trickle and then to a dusty dry river bed. A day when I failed to find something on the internet funny...

Perhaps one of these days I'll get around to dealing with the fact that I'll eventually get too old to wear a hoodie with a robot on it too. =)

PAX Day 2

The non-profit Cookie Brigade was back in force this year. My friend Irene brought along a particularily clever contraption for hauling her cookies about.

We started the morning off playing a new card game from Steve Jackson called "The Stars are Right", which is vert similar to Gin Rummy, except that you yell "Cthulhu!" instead of "Gin!". I enjoyed it so much that I bought a copy on the spot.

I also purchased a copy of Telltale Game's re-release of Monkey Island, and intend to purchase the game Osmos which is a refreshingly slow and calming take on puzzle games.

Another game I'm watching carefully Torchlight which is an obvious Diablo clone, and while I doubt it will be as good as Diablo 3, the word on the street here is that that won't be released until 2011. Whereas Torchlight is coming out in 2 months and will only cost 2 months. So I have decided to support them, if only to help feed the illusion that Blizzard has some semblence of competent competition.

One sad note of mention today, during our wanderings through the Expo Hall today we came upon a barely clothed waif of a girl, presumably having wandered into the convention center to seek shelter from the rain. I offered her my coat to cover up with and asked if she knew where her parents were. She insisted she was fine, and that they knew where she was, but an extra glint in her eye betrayed the lie. (Honestly, whatever they pay these girls to put up with people like me is simply not enough.)

The capping of the night was the Jonathan Coulton concert, while this year he sang similar songs as last year, one of the big differences was that I was no longer the only person loudly singing along. In fact, the entire thing resembled something more of a "Jonathan Coulton lead sing-a-long" than a proper concert. But it was still amazing, and well worth the pain in my feet of 6 hours of precarious balancing in my meager parcel of personal space. It is now nearly 5am CST, and I question whether I am perhaps too old for this aches in my knees. =)

PAX 2009 Day 1

As you can tell from the tears of my overburdened wife it is PAX time again!

The day started as most days do, with breakfast. Sadly, it seems no breakfast places in downtown Seattle are open before 8am, I honestly wonder how the Senior citizens of the area are able to survive? After searching in vain for nearly a half hour, we settled on splitting an unreasonably sized donut.

Upon returning to the hotel, there was an amusing incident where a PAX attendee mistook Jason for one of the co-creator's of Penny Arcade, Tycho. He came up and began immediately entreating Jason about "having the grammar club at PAX next year". I attempted several times to tell the man that he was mistaken, and he ignored me, so convinced he was of Jason's true identity. After three verbal attempts at disuasion, I eventually told Jason to present his drivers license to the man which finally proved his identity sufficiently. Although, in fairness to the attendee, they do look awfully alike.

We had a big issue in that Jason left his PAX badge in MN, which as it turns out is inconveniently far from Seattle. Luckily his old roomate Nate, saved the day, and we eventually received the badge allowing us to tear into the soft underbelly of gaming entertainment that is PAX.

I haven't quite digested all the things I've seen here. But one easily understandable thing was that Jason and I got to take part in a World Record attempt for the most number of people playing a Nintendo DS simultaneously. The old record was 340 or so, and we easily topped it with 950+. So that was neat. They tried to set a Sony PSP playing record as well, but fell one short of it at "4". =P

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