Let me preface this inevitably long post with a blunt statement:
PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) was a ridiculous amount of fun.
I do not wish to fill this post with many many pictures, so if you would like to see more than I share, email me and I will send them to you.
The drive up to Boston started at 6:30 in the morning. It has been a looooooooong time since I was last up that early.
This is what the sky outside of Bob's apartment looked like at about six a.m. when I was taking my things out to the car. Patrick and I spent the night at Bob's with Caryn so that we were all guaranteed to be up at the same time. If Caryn doesn't want you to sleep, you don't sleep. Trust me.
The drive up took us about..... Hmm. I'd say about six hours, counting rest stops so Caryn's and my overactive bladders could relieve themselves. We were officially on the road--we got onto the NJ Turnpike--at around 7:30. From there it was pretty much straight north to the George Washington bridge into New York. By the way, traffic in NY sucks. Massively. Once we were out of NY it was on to Connecticut, the smallest little state that goes on forever. Seriously. You look at a map of the US and think, "Oh, Connecticut isn't really that big!" But when you drive through it, it goes on forever. Just boring trees and hills.
At least, on the highway.
I did a lot of knitting on the way up, working on my sweater. I think I managed to get about 7-10 inches knit on it. That's the back, basking on my lap in a bit of feeble sunlight. Connecticut was having a bout of cloudiness on Thursday.
The hotel that Bob booked for us was gorgeous, and very very high-class. We felt a little awkward because everyone else who seemed to be staying at the Fairmont Copley Plaza were all dressed in business-casual at the most laid-back. It was a little disconcerting when we discovered it was valet-parking only. We were also slightly disconcerted at the service and the room. It was far and away beyond our expectations, and I was very impressed. The room was gorgeous and large, and three of us could stand comfortably in the bathtub. Everything in the bathroom was marble/granite and get this: they had drying lamps in there! That was kind of strange to me.
We tried our hardest not to use or touch anything we didn't absolutely need, as the hotel would drain your blood charging you for the incidentals. There was a king-sized snickers bar in the snack basket they provided. Normally, they're a little over a dollar. If you ate the one provided for you, they would charge you $5. Yeah, we thought that was a bit much.
We spent pretty much the rest of Thursday wandering around and getting lost in the intricately connected malls and hotels that make up what seemed to be Boston's central hub. We found the convention center so that we weren't wandering around lost on the first day. We made people around us nervous with our loud New Jersey talking. We discovered a wonderful little Japanese noodle restaurant called Wagamama, which is apparently really huge in the UK and only has one location in the US. That is, Boston.
Friday morning, we were up and getting in line for the Opening of the Doors at around 11, forgetting that on Friday the doors don't open until 2. That was okay, as we all had our gameboys and cell phones and of course there were "swag bags" that had lots of advertisements for us to look at. When the doors finally did open at 2, we were swept along into the line to the Expo Hall.
Let me take a moment to explain how PAX worked.
There was, as a main sort of attraction, the Expo Hall. This is where game developers and various other brand names set up shop to show off all their latest demos for new games and give out free swag to people who said "Ooh this looks cool." As I said, there are demos to play and people in "the biz" to talk to and all kinds of other fans to chat with and have serious, deep conversations about video games with. Or, you know, say, "Ooh this looks cool" together.
Orbiting around the Expo Hall were a variety of tables set up by independent tabletop developers such as Zombie Dice. And, circling likes hawks mapping out a varied and very interesting schedule, were the panels.
The panels were interesting, and covered many different topics. From self-explanatory names like "It Has a Good Beat, and I Can Kill Zombies to It" (a panel I sat in about music in video games) and the more obscure titles like "Greetings from a Dead-Tree Dinosaur Cartoonist v1.1" (a panel from newspaper comic artist Bill Amend [of FoxTrot fame]) they tried and were mostly successful at creating a panel for everyone. They brought in people from all over the place to talk about games, their development, the music, the art, the technical side, the history, the future, and everything in between.
But, back to the Expo Hall.
Caryn and Bob escaped to go do some exploring on their own, and Patrick and I continued to wander for a bit before I had to depart for my music panel. It was there that I discovered Mike Krahulik, the artist behind the webcomic that started the entire convention, Penny Arcade. He was sneaking around the hall and I spotted him instantly, and asked as politely as my excited mind would allow (I admire this guy's art skillz. They seriously rock) for a picture. He then prompted me for a picture with him, which I was equally excited about. To quote him, "Well, you obviously know I'm a real person, but now you can prove that you actually saw me here."
Patrick of course took it as I was laughing, so I am making a funny face.
Unfortunately, due to a combination of rapid climate changes and being in the close vicinity of literally thousands of strange people who were all lumbering sacks of viral hell, I have contracted a thing. It's not quite a cold, but it's not the flu. My sinuses and my throat are protesting, but my throat could still be protesting from my loud and profuse cheering at the Saturday night concert. Returning to work in such a state is unpleasant at best, and downright miserable at worst on a day like today.
Today, I was ten minutes late to work because a cop decided he was going to stop me and try to claim I was truant, which is being a minor and skipping mandatory school. I haven't been able to be considered truant in three years. I have been stopped before, because apparently I look like I'm 14. I was more annoyed that this particular officer has stopped me twice before this and still didn't believe I am 20.
Then I got to work, and we got visited by the DM. He is a nice guy, but him being there is stressful and it makes Matt the Store Manager turn magically into a raging douchebag.
Then the FSA (Food Safety Administration) lady came in to do her inspection. Matt the Douchebag abandoned me up front for two hours straight because of this. (We passed the inspection, though, which is very good.)
And then I walked home in the rain, because Patrick was running very late getting out of work.
When I walked in the door, I found that Kobold had somehow managed to shift his cage around on the carpet and had torn a hole in the pillow we keep in his cage. Also that he had torn most of the stuffing out.
It was not a good day for me.
However, this ends the first PAX post. I shall continue the rest tomorrow.
"That thing has my things! He's got his slimy mitts all over my doodads! He's touching my junk! No one touches Oghren's junk and get's away with it!"
~Ohgren, from Dragon Age: Awakening