PAX Day 2

Today contained so much, yet resulted in relatively few pictures. I shall do my best to distill the wonder for you.

Tea & Crumpets

Crumpets

I’ve never had a crumpet before, but they were so good that I’m definitely going back tomorrow… er, later this morning. Mine had something akin to a small omelet on top: egg mixed with bell pepper and sliced ham underneath. The crumpet itself is slathered in butter and is somewhat like an English Muffin, though it tasted a lot better.

The scones were also OMGmazing.

The Omegathon: Round 3

Support the Omegabat!

There had been a lot of hype about round 3 because it was Halo. As it turns out, it wasn’t just Halo… it was Halo 3, with a map never before seen by anybody, played in Firefight mode on Legendary. There were teams of four players competing, and whichever team got the lowest score would be entirely out of the Omegathon.

The Omegabat’s team not only won, they did so by an enormous margin, more than 2:1. Unfortunately, @eye_shuh lost later in the day and is now out of the Omegathon, but we showed our support and we’re completely proud of her. She played an amazing game the entire Omegathon.

Ultimate Dungeon Delve

Puddings and Slimes

In this event, sponsored and run by Wizards of the Coast, teams of five attempt to complete a series of encounters in 45 minutes or less. Each encounter is allotted 45 minutes and a team that either dies or fails to complete in that time is disqualified. If you can finish all six encounters you win a new D&D book (one just recently published) and both your name and your character’s name go into the Wizards’ Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately, we were out in the third round. This room completely kicked our asses. We were stalled by slimes and a pudding that you can’t even see yet, and when we got to room two (top of the stairs there) we discovered a gelatinous cube that had been invisible until that point. Unfortunately, we hit the cube with only two minutes to go and it was over.

Our DM was fantastic though and we all had a really great time. I could do it again tomorrow, but I’m going to give it a miss. Though I enjoyed it, it was a bit more stressful than I like for a variety of reasons. Think I’ll do some board gaming instead.

Concerts

We less than three JoCo

Because of the Delve I got to the concerts late (though I’m not sure I’d have gotten in at all if Morgan, who played as our defender in the Delve, hadn’t given me her wristband. ❤ Morgan!), but I was in time to hear most of Paul and Storm and then Jonathan Coulton (joined by Paul and Storm for most of his set). Though I love JoCo, I was a bit disappointed that it was all songs I’d heard before. I suppose I should have expected that, but there wasn’t as much interaction as I like in concerts and it was only OK.

Until he sang They Might Be Giants, or did an awesome electronica remix thing that included the Mario Bros. theme. I pretty much geeked out at that point.

Paul and Storm was a pleasant surprise. I’d only heard a couple of things by them before (and had forgotten those songs until I heard them sing them tonight), but I can still recognize that their concert wasn’t just all stuff they’d written before. They did a fair amount of improv and talking/interacting with the audience, which I really appreciate. They’re funny guys and put on a great show.

The concert was epically full of win. Great night.

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Trying to blog during PAX

So far my days and nights have been packed, so it’s been hard to keep up with writing about PAX. At this time, I’ve got all my photos thus far uploaded, titled/tagged/described, and blogged about, and I’m hoping to get one more post written either tonight or tomorrow morning about PAX Day 2. The photo side is far more time consuming than the writing side, which I guess is to be expected, but I want to do this right so I’ve been giving it a decent amount of attention and effort.

Right now I’m about to run out the door to hit the Ultimate Dungeon Delve, which is a Wizards of the Coast event in which we participate in a series of Dungeons & Dragons encounters. An encounter is essentially a combat event, and in this case it is timed at 45 minutes. If we can finish and survive it in that amount of time, we go on to the next encounter. And then the next. There are five or six in all, and if we make it to the end we get a book and our names in the hall of fame.

PAX has been freaking fantastic so far and it just keeps getting better. Stay tuned for more details, both photographic and descriptive, about the awesomeness that is this weekend!

PAX Day 1

PAX IS OVER 9000!!!

The first day of PAX found me in a line a mile long, snaking back and forth through a room unquestionably dubbed The Queue Room. Though the doors to PAX didn’t open until 10 a.m., people started lining up at 8 a.m. and I got there somewhere around 8:30 thinking I could play some Nintendo DS. I also foolishly carted along by MacBook and all my chargers.

As they packed us in more and more, my claustrophobia coupled with slight agoraphobia began to cause me problems, but we didn’t get really cramped until about half an hour until the doors opened. I managed to survive the half hour, as you have probably surmised.

During the queue, a screen displayed a variety of things for our amusement, and despite the picture above very few of these were cheesy videos. There was someone behind a curtain typing to us and on the screen we saw what looked like an old black terminal with green terminal text. They were quite amusing, and we greatly enjoyed the experience.

I was a bit overwhelmed during the day, partly because I’d only gotten about eight hours of sleep over the past 2.5 days and partly because I was still hungover from the Triwizard Drinking Tournament. And though I didn’t attend a single panel I had intended to, I still had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the day.

The high point of the day was playing Nintendo DS with some people and breaking the Guiness World Record for most Nintendo DSes played in one place at one time. 315 Australian kids had previously held the record, so it wasn’t too tough for us to smash that (we had well over 900 going).

For more details, check out the photo set on Flickr for various witty comments and great snapshots of the con so far.

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Triwizard Drinking Tournament

Welcome Us!

Though this event was technically Pre-PAX Day 2, it gets its own post because it was just that epic.

For those unfamiliar with the name, the Triwizard Drinking Tournament is a pub crawl to raise money for Child’s Play Charity. The format is simple: in each bar there is a challenge, and these challenges involve drinking shots. Sometimes the challenge is a duel, with each spell being a different shot, but we are civil about it. The challenger buys the shots, both duelists drink the shots, and if one refuses then they lose.

Oh, and if you hadn’t gathered, it was Harry Potter themed, so we were self-sorted into houses prior to ever arriving. I was with Hufflepuff.

What I didn’t realize was that the drinking and dueling doesn’t really have anything to do with anything. It’s fun and funny, but the charity part of the event is based on donations. The challenges, duels, and score-keeping is completely irrelevant, existing in a vacuum, so if I attend again I don’t think I’ll drink as much. I thought we needed to go through with the challenges, so I ended up drinking a bit more than I would have otherwise.

This was a great opportunity to meet and hang out with people and we had a TON of fun. Check out the rest of the pictures for witty commentary and drunken snapshots.

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Pre-PAX Day 2

Day 2 was, if anything, more awesome than Day 1. After all, how could it not be? Today included more Magical Mystery Tour, the Pre-PAX Dinner, and then the Triwizard Drinking Tournament.

Meetup and Monorail

Reciprocal

Indeed.

Strangely enough, or perhaps as one might expect (based on what The Simpsons have taught us), the monorail only exists to cover 1 mile. Yes, you get on, and you debark a mile later. I’m a bit curious how much it cost to build.

SciFi Museum

Welcome from the World of Tomorrow!

The SciFi Museum (there was a music side as well, but we were less interested in that) was pretty cool. Except that half of it was closed and the people running it were dicks. OK, maybe they weren’t that bad, but they didn’t allow photography of any kind. None of us particularly understood this rule, as photographs without using a flash is easy to do (so there’s no risk to damaging anything) and taking a picture of stuff isn’t really hurting anything. I would think sharing pictures would be good marketing, but instead every time we tried to snap a picture they snapped at us to put our cameras away.

So, you know, I just “checked Twitter” a lot.

Yoda Rocketman! Robots Donatello Stardate Awesome

Funland

Nomad's the coolest

There was some sort of arcade thing we went to after the SciFi museum where most of us sat and just checked Twitter. I did play a game where I used a rifle to shoot at pirates and a canon squirted me with water, but someone else took a picture and I don’t have one =(

CCST

CCST Group Photo

We got back to the convention center just in time to meet up with the Cross Country Super Trip. These intrepid adventurers piled into cars and vroomed across the US of A to come to PAX, forming a terrible mix of caravan and zombie-creating-machine.

Pre-PAX Dinner

Skillet Menu

Prior to the Triwizard Drinking Tournament we had a fantastic dinner together at the Naval Reserve Building. Though three options were offered, most everyone had the burger and fries. Unscientific polls suggested that this phenomena was due entirely due to the presence of “bacon jam.”

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Pre-PAX Day 1

There are certain facts we know to be self-evident:

  1. Today was very long.
  2. Today was very awesome.

My flight from Denver to Seattle was around an hour and a half late, but I was still able to meet up with the Magical Mystery Tour (MMT) for lunch without too much of a problem. Ironically, I managed to get there on time (with a quick, somewhat expensive taxi ride) while the MMT was about an hour late, at which time I proceeded to awkwardly insert myself into the existing social structures that had begun to form at nine this morning.

Essential Bakery

Essential Bakery

The coffee here was absolutely fantastic, and the sandwiches were pretty good too. I was pretty nervous when everyone showed up due to my general introvertedness and social anxiety/awkwardness, but once we got on the bus and began chatting everything seemed to work out. Funny how that happens when we’re all at a common event, have similar interests, and are generally incredible nerds.

Gasworks

Gasworks

We got our food from Essential Bakery to go and ate it at the Gasworks, a park near what were presumably oil refineries at one point. Following our delicious repast, we had a quick few games of Mario Kart DS in the shade of a nearby… thing. The structure was as mysterious as the oil silos.

Ballard Locks

Fish vs Twizzler

Ballard Locks is a dam… where there are locks… to raise/lower the water so boats can go through.

Also, there were enormous, jumping fish, and as this sign so helpfully warned us, they have been known to attack Twizzlers. If you carry a Twizzler across the Locks, the fish will maul you. To death.

Archie McPhees

Toys at Archie McPhees

This was the most random gift shop / crap store I’ve ever been in. Highly amusing, but I do not regret buying absolutely nothing there. Still, it was a fun stop that caused many a chuckle.

Trophy Cupcakes

MOAR CUPCAKES!

OMG CUPCAKES!

So, I’ve always felt that cupcakes pretty much always taste the same. Trophy Cupcakes is special though, or so I have been told, and the cupcakes are all gourmet and unique and awesome. Subsequently, I have acquired six to test over the next few days. I’ll let you all know the results.

Sheraton Hotel

Laptop Desk

I actually stopped in at the hotel before heading to Essential Bakery, but all I did was drop my luggage then turn and run back out the door to get to the bakery on time (or, as it turned out, an hour early). The room is spectacularly nice though and I’m really excited to be here through Monday. It’ll be a good get-away when the crowds become overwhelming (and with my penchant for agoraphobia, that probably won’t take too long).

Dinner at Kell’s Irish Pub and Restaurant

People at Kell's

Kell’s was a lot of fun, and in addition to giving me my first drink of Glenlivet 21 year scotch it was also great service and a tasty hefeweisen. Unfortunately, the food was sub-par at best and the steak they served me was the second worst I’d ever had. In addition, the prices were unreasonably high for what they served. I know the cost of living and whatnot is different here, but I’d have gotten a mindblowing dinner from Rodizio back home for the same price as a really poor one was at Kell’s.

I’ve eaten at Kell’s in San Francisco and it was pretty horrible there too. Not sure why I had expected this one to be better.

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