"Nihil" is the pseudonym I use for writing / gaming on the internet. I came across Destructoid by searching for information on Way of the Samurai 3. Tubatic had the most comprehensive coverage on it I'd seen anywhere.
For that, and for leading me to this awesome community, I thank him.
I started gaming in kindergarten, when the most advanced piece of hardware I could get my hands on was a black plastic handle and an orange button attached to a brick. I used it to blow up little squares on a black and white television screen. A couple years later, I was molested by the girl next door after beating her copy of The Legend of Zelda. I have mixed feelings about the experience.
Unfortunately, over the years, my ability to maintain a passion for games has waned (as in being able to play through them start-to-finish). This is due to various reasons and issues that would be too emo to get into at this juncture. But even though my passion has waned, my interest in them has not, thanks in great deal to the extraordinary friends I've made during my stay here.
The four of us set out early - after Knut boss-wrapped our roast beef sandwiches and got coffee for Law and Bey, we managed to get there with relative ease.
And then there she was... the city of lost dreams and strong coffee. Or whatever. I'm not big on traveling; I'm one of those assholes that's content seeing a picture and saying it's just as good as spending the money and gas actually going there. But when I'm the one producing the pictures, there's an important sense of tangibility that makes it worthwhile, and a sense of nervous anticipation that comes with the act of preserving moments; attempting to get the shot that tells the best story. I haven't done anything like that in years because I lost the drive and the desire to capture the world this way, to show others what I see and feel what I felt.
So naturally, I had no idea what I was doing with my camera half the time besides fiddling around with the fucking thing...
And when the time came to actually start taking pictures of interesting (there's that word again) things, it was almost always a halfhearted quick shot, so as to be considerate to the people moving around me. And without flash, so as to be considerate to the people who have something against sudden flashes of light from an indeterminate source.
Which, I quickly learned, is really shitty for capturing cosplay.
After acquiring PAX bible books of glorious information and relevance, Law - being the ingenious man that he is - made it his top priority to get a Dtoid pin from the Fangamer shop. Bey and I followed after we bid adieu to Knutaf, who went in search of teh haloz.
I was aware of the fangamer Dtoid pins since last year, and yet again waited too late to buy one of their fine products online just to get one. Not once did it fucking enter my brain that they would be here, and that they would have the pins again. Because I'm stupid. Luckily, I had Law and his magnificent asian cerebral cortex to guide me to the promised land of sweet pins and shirts and this poster that I had also been eyeballing on their website for a good year.
FUCKING FUCK YEA is what I say to that shit.
With that outta the way, our merry band splintered further to pursue different goals. Lone wolf (and cub) that I am, I ventured into the expo halls by myself, which I regret yet simultaneously feel was necessary to my first convention experience.
My first mission was to head back downstairs and pay a visit to a couple of Penny Arcade VIPs. I was somewhat surprised how scarce the area was but it was only Friday, and it was still early, I suppose...
THOUGHT TRAIN DETOUR AHEAD
Here's the thing with me and celebrities: I don't really care for them in general. Don't get me wrong; I very much appreciate their work and contributions to whatever craft they are in when I take notice. But at the end of the day, they're people, too. With lives to live... I never had role models growing up. My parents pretty much ruined that childhood aspect for me. If nobody is perfect - and in most cases, more imperfect than not - why would I bother looking up to them? Why does everyone wanna be like Mike? Is basketball really that important? I don't even like basketball. It wasn't until I started following Penny Arcade and listening to their podcast, and subsequently watching the show, that I started to understand this sentiment.
It helps a whole lot that they are basically putting their lives on display here. Not just showing/talking about what they do to entertain us, but their relationships, their causes, their fears and tragedies - this is who they are and what they are about. No censors, no glam, no self-fellation. Okay, maybe a bit of self-fellation, but rightly fucking deserved. They're not just good at what they do; they're the best and that doesn't mean being perfect all the time. But you don't hear about them doing dumb celebrity shit. You don't see them in tabloid articles shining a light on the shit-stains of their otherwise pristine Hollywod life. They're just really funny guys that turned a good thing into a phenomenon of altruist endeavors, without shedding one ounce of credibility.
So when the time came while I reflected on my life, to ask who I would admire and want to be like, if there ever was anyone to make me feel that way, the answer came pretty readily: These guys and everyone they work closely with. They've made it and they've got it made, for as much honest people can be in their business. If I were to ever end up like them, I would continually thank all the people I had to literally murder to get there. Whenever I would pass any of them on the street, I would refrain from hailing them - not because they're ordinary people that the media damns and glorifies, but because I would actually be starstruck.
So it took a bit of pumping up and coaching to finally approach the booth...
And it took a bit more ball-growing to finally get in the practically nonexistent line...
And then I talked with them, and shot one of my favorite pictures out of the whole fucking weekend.
After some mention of swine flu, I left their table and aimlessly wandered back into the halls.
I saw this thing. It was pretty cool.
As I was taking in more exhibits while walking by a doorway sheathed in black cloth, a strange young man approached me, asking if I wished to enter The Secret World... demo. "Shit yeah!" I exclaimed in my head, simultaneously affirming my desire to the man, to witness what lied beyond the mysterious doorway.
The room was already packed, and there wasn't much space to begin with. I scrunched into a little spot to the side and eagerly awaited for worlds to reveal their secrets...
Turns out- it's just more video games.
Even though it was a live demo, there wasn't anything new I hadn't heard before. Nonetheless, it was still fun and I'm still anticipating the fuck out of this MMO, as if you weren't already aware...
Afterwards, I craftily managed to get every society's dog-tag that they were handing out to "initiates" (which I assume was a no-no, since one of the exhibitors called me out for it, but was a good sport), that were signing up for beta.
Sweet souvenirs for an awesome upcoming game: Check and check.
By this time, I remembered the keynote and Q&A, and started trekking upstairs. When I finally bothered asking for a point in the right direction, I came across the Omegathon roster...
The second most fuckable omeganaut
I walked into the live stream room and found familiar faces at last! I sat with Mr. & Mrs. Designer and caught the very tail-end of the keynote, much to my relief. The Q&A started shortly thereafter. We laughed. We cried. We learned new swear words. And then we left the room. I went off alone again and what followed was a hodgepodge of sights, sounds, and sex that I can only recall in photo-dump form:
At some point, I decided it was a good idea to go outside the convention center and find the separate theater that a panel was being held in.
After going around the block once, I asked one of the enforcers to point me in the right direction, which sent me down another block, without avail. I doubled back and asked once again where might this fabled theater be, at which it was explained to me that the theater was actually inside of a hotel, not a whole building itself. By then the panel was underway, but at least I became familiar with the surrounding geography, which I'd use to my advantage tomorrow. So I went back inside the convention and wandered some more...
I'd gotten the text that our party was to meet up and head back to Knutaf's house for dinner. A fine plan, but this left me with a dilemma of sorts, which I will elaborate on later. I found Bey and Law along with two additional members of the cblog cadre; Kraid and Crime Minister. Fine gentlemen they were, let me tell you. Actually, let me show you:
Another faved picture from the first day. I don't know what compelled Beyamore to strike a heroic Abercrombie pose, but it lifted this moment into magnificence. The man is special; don't judge him.
Programmer. Hero. Canadian.
The rest of the crew assembled with us on the staircase and we proceeded to roll out, like fucking bosses. It was at this that time I felt a certain electricity in the air that only comes with a "visionary's" intuition... Or an antisocial dweeb's restlessness. Two pictures were birthed into existence during this precious window of time:
Law's disembodied floating head, salivating at the thought of devouring the Phonics Monkee in a most vicious manner...
And the infamous Reservoir Dogtoid Shot, guest starring two unknown fellows on the right, who were strutting just as hard.
Now, Dtoid dinner parties were thing I was really looking forward to. Another goal I had on a mental checklist, being one of the few things I hadn't written in my notepad. I figured it would be a natural occurrence, but I was kinda taken aback when I learned we would be staying at Knut's for the duration of the evening. And being that he was my solid ride back to where my shit was, all the factors that I considered would turn the night into a failure, won logic out. It was my first time here, as it was many other Dtoiders, and I didn't have the guts or gusto to bother anyone else who was attending, for a ride back to Knut's. The one thing I didn't want to do on this trip was be a burden on someone else who had their own plans. Having a place to crash at for free was miracle enough. So I packed up my balls and hoped that I would get a chance the next day.
Back at Knutaf's pad, a flurry of merriment ensued. Complete with lizards.
I'm sure it was apparent to everyone that I was out of my element. In fact, it was pretty much confirmed when I was asked as much, twice. It was a comfort to learn that I wasn't alone, as Bey shared similar sentiments and social withdrawals. With a bit of coaxing, we both came out of our shells, if only for a moment to sing horribly off-tune. Even with my nervous tick of fiddling around with inanimate objects and electronics, instead of engaging and getting to know everyone in-depth, it helped a lot that I was among interesting people- nay, great friends. The first day of PAX '11 was a relative success and a solid opener for the rest of the days to come...
COMMENT REPSPONSE DEALIE
@smurfee: It was a decent size plane, nothing to get all peed in the pants about.
@Qal: Message sent to Conrad.
@Andy, Bey, Corduroy, Knutaf, Steezy: You guys are so awesome. It was fun to just bask in the awesome, let alone get formally acquainted with you.
@Fame: You were. I noticed.
@Celica: Stay tuned!
@manasteel: I NO RITE?!
@Aurain: A rare breed, those nihils are... someone call Nat Geo.
@Jaded: Oh man, if just that freaks you out, you would loose your shit at the pictures I wanted to take earlier in the flight, while the plane was tipped on its side over the coastline...Your blogs are a joy to read as well, thanks!