[If your internet connection places you in Outer Mongolia, turn away now. I'm not kidding about the picspam. I could have just uploaded these to a Flickr album, but the commentary wouldn't be nearly as fun. Get yourself a sandwich and a cup of tea because we're in this for the long haul.]
I know, I know. PAX ended a month ago. But then I took a little drive across the USA with my good friends and Dtoiders, Mechman13 (Steve) and JJMcCallum (JJ), and I don't even care.
My PAX trip actually started long before PAX. My sister emigrated to Vancouver two years ago and I hadnít been out to visit her yet because Iím an impoverished student and probably a bad person. Vancouver is also home to bushofghosts or katamayadamacy or Maya or whatever she goes by these days, so the weeks leading up to my trip were spent flailing about the four hour bus ride to Seattle. We ate an obscene amount of sushi and deemed this tweet from teh_tommy to be the best thing ever. The second tweet also sums up the trip pretty nicely, much to Mayaís chagrin. I am probably a bad person. Sorry, Maya. <3
We arrived in Seattle without me accidentally leading the US border control to believe that the pair of us were in need of a cavity search and four hours of questioning, and I made my way to my hotel, the Red Lion. There was a small congregation of smokers gathered outside the front door, so I dropped my bags and this happened.
We headed up to the hotel to watch cartoons and eat candy, and the boys seemed rather smitten with my hat from the Vancouver lookout tower. Not pictured is my first ever hug with Ecks, who gives the second best hugs ever. (Iím giving myself first place and the number of comments on the caliber of my hugs throughout the weekend would support this.) Ecks once asked me if you could miss somebody you hadnít met yet. I think you can.
Later we went out for Thai food and played a hysterical game of Cards Against Humanity that may have involved me bagging the room a noise complaint on the very first night. Oops.
Wednesday was also the night I learnt that Ecks' snoring bordered on a war crime and that no amount of putting pillows on my head or sleeping in the bath would fix that. Thursday morning saw me a grumpy, undignified mess. Or more of one than usual, at least. Of all the early morning wake up calls, however, there are worse people to have at your door than Maya.
Thursday night was the meetup at Gameworks, though how many games were actually played that night, I have no idea. People who hadnít already spent the last couple of days in the city started to trickle in and many hugs were had. Andy liked my accent, Gobun screamed in joy at the presence of JJ, Spencer and I started the weekend-long diva off, and we all took advantage of an inebriated Bloodspray. Business as usual, then. Also pictured is community member Legion189, or at least a printout of his face. It spent several days in compromising situations (mostly crotches) and it was almost as though he was there in person despite being several thousand miles away in Argentina.
Fun fact: there are three people in this world who can get me to do shots. Two are Dtoiders and the other is my mum. The shots may have led to the next part of the evening, which was Bloodspray challenging everybody in a five-mile radius to an arm wrestling match. He valiantly defeated JJ and Gobbldigook, only to have his ass handed to him by PanaMusica and Gobun.
For the record, Gobun is the best trash talker I have encountered in recent memory and played Bloodspray like a banjo. He'd let Bloodspray push him almost to the point of victory, only to go "NOPE" and slam him down. Not even my cajoling of, "Conor, if you lose you're a cblogger," could spur him onto victory, though these comments did encourage a mighty roar of indignation and a few degrees of leeway.
The following week saw Bloodspray at work with no memory and an arm too sore to write reports with.
Because I'm a masochist, large parts of today were spent with pretty boy Spencer Hayes and filming interviews with indie devs. But you don't want to hear about that, so here's pictures from the Destructoid Live Panel.
Sadly, food fashioned into projectile weapons were strictly banned at the third edition of the Dtoid panel, but that wasn't going to stop us from shenanigans. In lieu of an actual presentation, the slideshow consisted of randomised (and often hilariously inappropriate) pictures pulled from Google images and we were also treated to an animated segment of Podtoid. This went down to cheers and raucous laughter, which became slightly muted when we realised that PanaMusica's young kid had watched the entire thing with us. Oops.
We hadn't actually had anything planned for Saturday, or at least not until Gobun sent out a message on the Twitters telling us all to go to Elephant and Castle. We made a quick trip to the store (because crisps, Oreos and ice tea are known for being a balanced diet) and couldn't resist going on Streamtoid, which broadcast to a whole three people before we had to kill it after making no less than seven policy infringements in the space of ten minutes.
When we finally headed to Elephant and Castle, Josh decided it was a good idea for us all to do Irish Car Bombs (it is never a good idea to do Irish Car Bombs), Gobun gave me the piggyback he promised me on Twitter a while back, and Gobun and Spencer went into a stairwell (I know, I know) to trade clothes, which is totally manly and heterosexual.
When the bar closed and the party moved outside, I was treated to my favourite conversation in the entirety of PAX. Spencer, diva that he is, told me to shut up over something. A diminutive (and rather drunk) Asian lady sporting a brightly-coloured wig, with whom I'd made friends in the elevator the day before, was in earshot and the exchange went as follows:
"You can't tell her to shut up! She has a voice and will not be silenced!"
For the first time that weekend, Spencer was lost for words.
The legendary Husky Hog had also got his hands on numerous Dtoid stickers and was intent on leaving his mark on the great city of Seattle. I present these pictures without comment and the plea to not to fired and/or arrested.
As the majority of you reading this wonít be of the British inclination, you probably wonít understand what Iím talking about when I mention Jaffa Cakes. And for this, you have my sympathy. Allow me to enlighten you. Jaffa Cakes are a type of cake. (Spoilers.) Theyíre filled with orangey goodness, dipped in dark chocolate and totally worth shanking a bitch over. They also come in a tube, which, when empty, can be slammed with enough force that the lid is expelled at reasonably high speeds, becoming what I lovingly refer to as a Jaffa Cannon. Iíd brought a tube over to spread the Jaffa gospel and fellow community troublemaker Andy Dixon bet me a dollar I couldnít hit Hamza on the head with it. Never one to back away from a challenge, I stepped up to the plate, aimed the tube in his direction, slammed down hard and waited. The lid sailed through the air in a majestic arc and, almost in slow motion, landed squarely on his perfectly coiffed head. Andy wordlessly handed me a dollar, and thus started my career earnings in the States.
Hamza destroyed my Jaffa Cannon because heís a jerk.
Then we all said goodbye and Andy Dixon and Gobun made me cry because they're jerks.
I left Seattle snot-ridden and several degrees warmer than the average human being. We stopped off for breakfast and, in a fine display of what I consider to be the American dream, I was hugging the toilet bowl in a Dennyís bathroom even before my ridiculously-sized portion of pancakes arrived to gloat at me. In short, I was pretty ill. Naturally, I thought it best to have an early night with a cup of tea. Or, drive a couple of hours to Portland to hang out with Jon Bloodspray, which is what we actually did.
Those are fairy tattoos. They glow in the dark. Mine lasted a week and Bloodspray proudly wore his to work. We also made midnight trips to 7-Eleven for energy bars and played I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1, but the real point of this is that we had glow-in-the-dark fairy neck tattoos and are probably cooler than you. We also Skyped my mum and a drunken Bloodspray pretended he was in an episode of Doctor Who.
ďSo, where did you guys meet?Ē Iíve come to almost relish the awkward silence when I explain how I met a friend on the internet. Internet friends arenít what they used to be, but itís a foreign concept to many. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and even Google+, the Irish red-headed step-child of social networking, have ensured that faceless anonymity is a remnant of the past for those who want it to be. Itís reached the point where I drop the ďinternetĒ prefix altogether. But Steveís family are polite and Mormon, so they just smiled.
This is community member mid3vol, or Mandi, as I know her. Weíve met once in the two years since we started talking and we live 5400 miles apart. I also consider her to be one of my closest friends. Iíd had a quip prepared for when Iíd be standing on her doorstep in San Diego, something about asking her if sheíd accepted Jesus as her lord and saviour. But when a pint-sized Californian is hugging your significantly taller self and trying (and failing) to lift you up, you start to worry about ruining the moment.
See you soon.
I genuinely wasn't planning on coming to PAX next year. At all. I have a friend teaching out in Hong Kong at the moment and I've said that I'd tour the South Pacific with her next summer. Due to last monthís shenanigans, I have no money. To top it off, I was all for taking a step back from Dtoid after PAX thanks to my final year of college. And then just two hours into Wednesday evening, I looked at JJ and he looked at me and we both knew we were coming back.
We often talk about being a family here at Destructoid and itís not a word I throw around lightly. However, the community here has been such a large part of my life for the last two years that anything less would be an insult. Iíd be lying if I said that itís always been easy, but thatís family all over, right?
Family is sushi on a bus ride from Vancouver. Family is Cards Against Humanity, piggybacks, dogpiles, faux-British accents and Irish Car Bombs in Seattle. Family is glow-in-the-dark fairy tattoos in Portland. Family is talking until 03:00 on a hotel corridor overlooking a San Diego freeway. Family is driving 3471 miles across the United States. Family is struggling to keep it together in a Boston airport because you donít want to leave.
Youíre my family, and I love you for it. See you next year.