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PAX

So, let me see. PAX. A mixed bag of fun and awful, but the awful is only because I was definitely Doing It Wrong. PAX is basically the best run, most organized, least smelly, friendliest nerd-con I've ever been to. It might have something to do with the west coastness of it, but I'm not so sure. I'm sorry but this entry is extremely long, and maybe not entirely coherent, because I am SICK. Blaaargh.

This is what I looked like on Friday. The idea was to be the Prince from Katamari, as interpreted by your average hipster. A sort of "game-inspired fashion" thing. I don't know, man.
The end result was that I was extremely comfortable and will undoubtedly wear and use everything in this costume again in my day to day life. (Just not all together.) Unfortunately, it was too damn subtle. When I stepped out of my apartment and looked around, I quickly realized that I didn't look any odder or more "in costume" than your run of the mill Fremont resident. Seriously, people in Fremont dress strangely, and not "cool", or "innovative" or anything like that. People around here actually live the steampunk lifestyle, or actually only wear the color yellow, or actually have maintained their blue and purple streaked hair for the past twenty years. It's very nice, except when you're the one who WANTS to stick out. :P

So we got into the con, having picked up our badges the night before, and wandered around. I was with my BFF Ian, who was planning on running into people he knows and games with regularly. I've never met any of them, because they are all mysterious people from the ~internet~.

Fairly quickly we ran into Audrey and Geordan in the exhibition hall.

Now, almost nobody on my flist will understand my description of these two. Geordan is like if Tuan didn't suck. He's this li'l asian dude who lugged around his DSLR the whole time (and knows how to angle a shot to get one's whole body into a picture; he took the above photo). He has slightly oddball tastes, and has a damn good sense of humor about everything. And Audrey is like if Hope didn't despise me, and was a scientist instead of attempting her hands at artistry. A kind, platonic ideal of "nerd girl" who programs for a living, wants to go back to grad school for statistics, wears her hair in a no nonsense ponytail and is a FREAKING ROBOT at the hardest damn NES game ever invented: Marble Madness. Slightly bent towards feminist, does musical theater, very into How Things Work, and rather inwardly oriented, except when it comes to Geordan. They are a lively, delightful couple and I want them to move to Seattle, stat.



After hooking up with them, we managed to find Colin, Ian's local friend who, I suspect, will eventually be my friend, too. He was working the con as an "enforcer" so, after cramming some delicious crepes into our mouths, we parted ways. Ian, Audrey, Geordan and myself wandered around the exhibition hall for a long time. I was bored to tears. The unfortunate truth is simply that I am NOT a gaming nerd. I'm a fantasy scifi anime fandom nerd with a bent towards meta. Playing games, and having the prospect of new games to play dangled in my face, just isn't all that exciting to me.

There were a few bright spots. God of War III looks gorgeous and exactly as it should, although the doink who was playing it at the time couldn't wrench the horns off of this three-pronged goat devil beast thing (tricorn, perhaps?) and it was frustrating to watch! I bought two shiny scrumptious D6 from Chessex with actual numbers on them instead of dots, which makes my brain happy. Osmos makes me think it's like the first stage of Spore except as the whole game, which is exactly what I would like to spend my money on. I got to stare at Muramasa, the next game made by the Odin Sphere people, and it's basically the most beautiful game since Okami. And Audrey and Geordan performed "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" at the Beatles Rockband booth, which was fun when we got like six other people singing along with us. Spontaneous cooperation with strangers is always enjoyable.

I ran into Rachel's little sister, Laura, just randomly. We hugged, said hi, I told her that chiptunes were awesome and that she needed to go pick up her badge, and that was it. It was lovely. Oh yeah, PS, she's totally hot. When the hell did THAT happen. I hope she had a swell time!

We found ourselves at some point by the tables where the guests were, and MC Frontalot was there. So I went up and told him that he had saved me from burning down the Hynes convention center in a giant ball of rage two years ago, and to buy his other CD, plus a DVD of Nerdcore Rising! Woot! He may or may not have recognized me, but I think he enjoyed being complimented. (Who doesn't?) The guy is a prince among men, that's all I'm saying.

Anyway, I split up with Ian & etc and went to play some DS. That was boring so I wandered around the con some more. It was lame. I was annoyed as hell that my internet friend Aergonaut hadn't found me yet, or anyone else. I was wearing my GQMFing badgebrooch and was hoping that someone from ONTD_ST would recognize it. I was hoping someone from Metafilter would recognize my very brightly colored outfit and introduce themself. And primarily, I was wishing, desperately, that someone would say "Hey, are you from Katamari???" but nobody did. :(((

I went back to find Ian & friends and we all went to a panel that afternoon which was the musicians of the con in a big panel with a whole lot of silly Q&A. The whole day, I had been worried about being able to get into the Anamanaguchi concert. The first some number of people to show up that morning got these wristbands that promised entry into the concert, and then it was a first come first serve situation. So I was stressed. But then! I don't know how it happened, because I was dying in my DS game at the time, but Audrey poked me and said "this guy has a wristband" and THE GUY IN FRONT OF US IN LINE GAVE ME HIS CONCERT WRISTBAND OMG. I gave him a hug. AWESOME. I'm a big stupid fan of Anamanaguchi and Chris was going to be there and I just had an awful feeling about not being able to get in. Then we played tetris until the line started moving. Audrey, as expected, is a damned robot at it.

The Nerdcore thing panel was pretty funny. Sir Front talked a lot about porn, and there was much fangasming at Jonathan Coulton (who I just Don't Get, and everyone at the con probably would have killed me if they had known.) And the kids from Anamanaguchi were LOLARIOUS. The lead guitarist was just blathering unstoppably basically the whole time. They were full of beans. I just liked their music before, but now I'm a bonafied Fangirl, because they are extremely dweebish awesome guys and obviously, I want their scrawny, pale, nerd bodies.

Dinner! Much Marble Madness was had, and then dinner time consisted of running off to Pike Place where we ate at a cute cafe that looks out onto Puget Sound. My chicken was a bit dry, but the clam chowder was A++ delicious, so it's all good.

When we got back I went into the queue for the concert. I felt very, very lonely. Ian took my bag so I wouldn't have to worry about it (thanks Ian!) since he was just going to play more board games with his peeps. I was bored to tears for ages and ages. Eventually, EVENTUALLY, FINALLY, we moved. I was nervous. Where was Chris? I'd never been in a concert alone before. Would people dance? Would it suck? Would it be too loud? What if I didn't like them live? What if I EXPLODED INTO A MILLION PIECES. I never go to concerts, for some reason they stress me the hell out.

So I got into the room and crammed up front, stage left. We milled around, waiting for the show to start. Some kid behind me had like, five giant bags on the ground, and I thought to myself "My god, all his swag is going to get trampled! Thank god Ian took my stuff!" I kept craning my neck, hoping someone would recognize me, or *anything*. I decided, Aergonaut (Chris, whatevs, same diff) probably didn't get in early enough and is probably stuck in the back and I should look for him. But then I'll lose my spot up front and I'm so short and augh! The guy next to me was all "gurl, you lookin for your peeps?" and I was like "there is a boy from the internet who has my phone number, but I don't have his, but he knows what I look like, and I've been trying to find him all day, and when I do, I'm going to punch him in the neck." And the guy, who assumed it was all about Con Poon, was like "you should! He doesn't deserve you! Cali guys suck dick!" lol.

THEN A GOOD THING HAPPENED. I popped out to the edge of the crowd to give one long glance at the back and see if someone I knew was there when the first come first serve people were piling in, and this guy behind me says "excuse me? Are you dressed like the Prince from the Katamari games? Or are you just wearing that normally?" I was seized with such joy that all notions of propriety left me, and I grasped his shoulders with both my hands, shook him a bit, and shouted "YES! YES I AM THE PRINCE FROM KATAMARI AND YOU ARE THE FIRST PERSON TO NOTICE OH MY GOD THANK YOU THANK YOU" The person beside him was like "really?" and I explained, with the guy who recognized me, that it was like, not supposed to be verbatim, but more realistic fashion whatever, and then I put the headphones on my ears and did the "lalalala" pose and HE GOT IT TOO HOORAY! And the guy who recognized me said "I noticed you earlier and it's the coolest costume I've seen all day!" It was extremely gratifying.

So I stuck it out in front because of my new friends, Guy Who Thinks I Got Dumped and Guy Who Thinks My Costume is Awesome. The lights dimmed and people went "whoo!" and then I heard "Sarah?" from behind and WHABAM. THERE WAS CHRIS! It turns out that the guy who put the five bags of crap on the floor was SAVING SPOTS for Chris and his friends! OMG! FATE (see, foreshadowing, dudes)! I felt weird about hugging him because he is shy and I tell him to marry me all the time, so I asked and we hugged and it was a good hug! Good hug, Chris! ANYWAY the concert started and it was heckafun. I didn't think I would dance but FUCKING A, Anamanaguchi makes me go all bouncy. Also the Guy who thought I got dumped went "start a pit! A hugging pit!" and there was laughter. And later, I tapped him on the shoulder and pointed at Chris and said "he's the guy!!" and he said "PUNCH HIM IN THE NECK!" hahahaha~

Anamanaguchi was fanfuckingtastic. I pogo'd too fucking hard and basically killed myself, though. Guess what? I'm OLD. My ankles hurt. My throat hurts. My shoulders hurt. My face hurts. It's two days later. I'm sick, but still, I suspect that this is why I'm sick. TOTALLY WORTH IT.

I managed to get home with Ian around 1, went to sleep around 2. That was Friday.

Saturday, I woke up at ass oclock because this panel I wanted to go to, (basically, women in the videogame industry: ladyparts: the lady panel), was first thing. We missed our bus and I was late. When I got there it was weird. They were talking about some interesting, thoughtful things, and the questions were usually really great, but the answers were so shallow, or so useless. And when they started treading on some real, heavy, proper feminist theory, they just labeled it "feminist theory" and sort of moved on. Like it wasn't the time or the place to introduce people to that. I'm sorry, but that is EXACTLY the sort of infiltration and introduction feminism needs, and there were some really huge missed opportunities.

I stayed in the panel room for the next thing, which sounded cool but turned out to be so epically boring that I wont bother to go into specifics. Luckily! Ian called me and invited me to lunch. On the way out of the panel I ran into DarthParadox and Sora, there was hugging, hooray. I got to hang out with Colin, Audrey, and Geordan again, who remain very cool people, and it definitely felt like Old Times with #avalon, a bit. Anything where you can meet strangers and have them automatically be your friends with whom you get weird jokes is good.

After lunch I attempted to play Dr Mario with Ian. THAT GAME IS HARD. The controls are so touchy! What the diggity damn hell! Audrey WON Marble Madness, marking her down in history as a complete freak of nature. And I called Chris. Eventually, after a bit of stupidity on my part, we met up and decided to play some board games.

We decided, after a certain experiment with a game that sucks as a 2 player, on ... Scrabble!

I spelled CRAM, LIME, and my favorite, GOUT, before I realized OMFG MY BADGE IS GONE. In the console freeplay room I had broken it and attached it with wire and it had popped off somewhere and I FLIPPED OUT. I ran up to the Info Desk and they were no real help. So it was time to retrace my steps. In the process I spazzed uncontrollably. Eventually we made it back to the game room where you check out tabletops for freeplay. And THEY HAD MY BADGE! And I proved it was mine, and they gave it to me, and I tied it on with twine, and THE DAY WAS SAVED. So I called Ian and apologized for ripping his head off. But he showed up right then and we decided to play Dominion.

Chris had played it before, Ian owned it, so I was in the unenviable position of just being the stupid girl again. :/ But it's a fairly interesting game, if not exactly to my liking. Eventually it was time for Chris to leave. Bye chris! It was swell, even though I never got to embarrass him in front of his friends and talk about iCarly. ALAS. I have no idea if he liked me. SO CHRIS, DID YOU LIKE ME? I WILL CRY IF YOU DIDNT.

That evening I had planned on going to the Metafilter Meetup, but it was in some bar up the hill. and there was a panel that sounded really interesting happening at exactly the same time, and I hadnt eaten dinner, and there was already a line for the panel, and wah! So I decided, fuck MeFi, I'm already at the con, I'm paying money for the con, so freaking be it. I grabbed a sandwich from Subway (my third sandwich of the day. Breakfast was turkey on a bagel. Lunch was waldorf chicken salad with cranberry sauce on wheat. Dinner was ham & veggie on roasted garlic.) and sat in line. I mentioned to a stranger next to me that I had decided to go to this panel instead of meeting strangers from the internet, and the guy behind him was like "ORLY?" Turns out, he was a metafilter guy, staying with other mefi people, who had made the same decision I had. We made friends! I drew a picture on his iphone! We discussed the history of botanical nomenclature in the 1800s!

But then after the panel (which was interesting but basically just a lecture by a college prof) the MeFi people decided to go to the bar anyway. And Ian had been sitting in the back the whole time! O M G! So I decided I didn't want to go drink beer and be bored n a bar. Ian and I went to borrow another board game.

We borrowed MASTERMIND, which Ian was good at. And then it was my turn, and I was TRAGICALLY AWFUL. This was my first sign that there was something wrong with me. When I was little, I was actually quite good at Mastermind. Comparatively, of course. I was so put out by how terrible I was that I didn't want to play again. Some guys at the table with us were talking loudly about how they needed to find some more people to play Dominion with. So I spoke up and was like "we'll play!"

So Ian and I met Cory, Ashley, and Kerry (I think?). They were really nice folks who live in Seattle! We played like three games of Dominion, and somewhere along the way it clicked for me. I officially Grok Dominion. I still don't like it very much. But I *get* it. The whole reason Ian was hanging out with me and not doing other stuff was because his friends, Eli and Katrina (I think?) were going to show up and play games that they hadn't played before, but they were really late or something.

Eventually they showed up, we said bye to the local peoples, and popped over to the other side of the room wherein we played two different games. Tsuro, which you would think I would love but I actually despise, and Rorshach, which I'd never played before. It is a party game that involves interpreting ink blots. It's a lot simpler than you would imagine. We were playing with a bunch of other people who were Ian's friends. I liked all of them, too.

We played until like, 2am. Ian was coughing, we were both achey and exhausted. I felt malnourished. So when we got home (another cab faire) I cooked brusselsprouts and scarfed them down. I was up until 4am. I set my alarm for ten the next morning.

When my alarm went off, I turned it off asap. When Ian came to say hi, it was 11am. We were going to miss the penny arcade panel #2, which was basically the only reason I wanted to go to the con. I felt AWFUL. Aches and pains everywhere. Did I mention that I got my period on Thursday, and it's been the heaviest it's been in MONTHS? Immune system: Low. Hydration: Low. Nourishment: Low. Stress: High. Physical Exhaustion: High. Social Exhaustion: Uber High. Being nice to your best friend's other friends is HARD, y'all. Even if they are all fabulous people. I opted not to go.

Around 3, I got out of bed to have cereal and tea. I had the chills. I ached everywhere. My throat hurts and I still can't talk very well. I watched cooking shows and cuddled with the cat. I started writing this writeup.

Around 5, Ian called. I could barely understand him, but the gist of it was, he was achey all over, and had a FEVER, and was coming home. I felt much better about my decision to stay home. Evidently, all the things I wanted to do at the con today were completely packed and I would had spent all day on my feet, waiting in lines, or losing badly at board games I don't particularly like (and sometimes, understand.) Ian looks, sounds, and feels terrible, and being a sweety, brought me ricolas.

So, on Friday I boasted all the time about how I am a high-level con-goer, know how to handle myself, and blah blah blah. Well, even I screw up. At least I know I made the right decision to stay home today. After I finish this, I'm going to make more tea, and make something to eat. Soup. I learned that being the noob in an established friend group SUCKS, even when they are welcoming, friendly, and engaging. I had never actually done a con alone, I'd ALWAYS had a dedicated con-buddy, because people told me to my very first con. And I know have concrete proof that it's true. I'll never go to a con without my own dedicated buddy, and I'll drink way way WAY more water. I think I might like to work PAX, but we'll see. I hope whatever it is that Ian and I have is just con-flu, and not real-flu. We'll see how we feel tomorrow.

Sorry this was so long!

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
samuelp
Sep. 7th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Your costume is spiffy. Even spiffier because I own those exact headphones (minus the custom rainbow headband).

Thankfully, however, that is the only part of your outfit I have ever worn.
thatjamiegirl
Sep. 7th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Your costume is amazing! HOW DID NOBODY NOTICE WHO YOU WERE FOR SO LONG??
mizufae
Sep. 8th, 2009 07:10 am (UTC)
they probably did and just didnt say anything to me. bastards.
ashisfriendly
Sep. 7th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
I didn't understand ANY OF THAT. But I read it.
aergonaut
Sep. 8th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
Haha. Nice meeting you irl. Too bad you and Ian got sick. D= That's why I don't touch people at cons. People were giving high-fives in another line I was waiting in on Friday and I totally denied every single one of them. They would walk past after getting like ten high fives from the people in front of me and then look at me expectantly at which point I would return their look and then proceed to look away. I do not have a full and annotated record of where that hand has been, endorsed by another known sanitary hand, and therefore will not touch it.

But yea. Hella confluence of fates shit that I just so happened to be standing behind you at the Anamanaguchi concert.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )