I'm not sure exactly what to say, here. I made my reintroduction a little over a month ago, and I've done a "Ten things" post even farther back than that. I'm in sort of a weird place here; I'm kind of the new guy, but I'm also someone who's been around forever. So, instead of re-reintroducing myself, I'd like to tell you all a story. It's not exactly a short story, but I hope you'll find it interesting.
Somewhere around 6 and a half years ago, Niero moved Destructoid's base of operations from Miami to San Francisco, mainly to be closer to the game industry's hub in the bay area and Silicon Valley. They held a great housewarming party that I was fortunate enough to be able to attend, and that's when I first got to know some of the site's founders. That was also the first time I met Spencer in person, so I'm estimating I've known him about half of his life at this point. (He's a babby, is what I'm saying.) Anyway, it was a great party, and I was thrilled to be able to meet folks like Chris Kohler from Wired and Niero in person. I also got to spend some time talking and playing games with Hamza Aziz, who was the community manager back then.
A few months later, Destructoid partnered with a graphics company to create some really nice quality vinyl wall hangs, and held a contest to give away a couple of the larger ones. They aren't available anymore, but I was fortunate enough to win that contest! Hamza asked if he could just hold on to it so I could pick it up the next time I got to San Francisco, and I agreed that that would be fine. (In retrospect, I think I may have "won" so that he could save on shipping the thing, but I'm not complaining.) Since Mikey was the original artist and happened to be visiting at the time, I asked if they could have him sign it for me before I picked it up.
As far as I can tell, this is it before it got all marked up.
I don't get to San Francisco all that often, as it's a three hour drive for me. So it was a few more months before I visited my friend in San Jose again and was close enough to justify the detour to Dtoid headquarters. While smartphones were technically available at this point, I didn't end up owning one until just last year, so I had a bit of a hard time finding the place again. I was using a TomTom GPS to find the building and I had forgotten to bring the car charger with me, so I was turning it off and then back on every couple of miles to conserve power. I had a cell phone, but I couldn't get reception very well. It took me longer than I had thought it would to reach the building, and it was at least an hour after sundown when I finally got there. I tried calling Hamza at the number he gave me, but there was no answer. I tried the buzzer, but couldn't reach the door to knock on it (San Francisco's homeless population is notoriously aggressive, and most houses in the city have fairly significant metalwork to prevent panhandlers going door to door at four in the morning). I must have stood outside the house for half an hour or more. I tried banging on the garage door as loudly as I could, tried calling the number six or seven times, but no one answered or came to the front door. I didn't ever really get scared, but I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I was about to give up when someone who knew one of the other residents in the building came along; this was probably around 9:30 or so Sunday night by this point. I told him I was here to visit Hamza, and he told me to wait outside, that he'd let him know I was here. Eventually, I got in and Hamza thanked me for picking the thing up, and gave me a Dtoid bobblehead as thanks and apology for making me wait for the poster. He also gave me a brief tour of HQ, which had been modified to accommodate the set for the Revision 3 Destructoid show. This was somewhere in May of 2010, just before Red Dead Redemption released, because I remember that was the main story they were covering on the show that night. I got to very briefly meet Tara Long and Jonathan Holmes, and both of them signed the poster for me as well. I hope I didn't mess up any takes by banging on the garage door!
Later that year, I attended PAX Prime (err, West... I keep doing that!) in Seattle and participated in the "adopt an avatar" program initiated by Sean Carey many years ago. (If that's not still a thing, it really should be.) While I was taking the pictures, I also asked people to sign a PAX 2010 program for another Cblog recapper, Sentry. It collected signature after signature, not unlike a yearbook before graduation. It was surprisingly difficult to prepare it for mailing once I got back home, `cause I decided I really wanted something like that for myself. 2010 was the year I met a lot of Dtoiders, and I think it's the first year I met and visited with Knutaf, who's one of the nicest guys you're ever gonna meet. His wife and I share a fascination with cephalopods, so we got along beautifully from our very first meeting. I didn't stay with them that year, but came and visited Saturday night with the gang, which included Corduroy Turtle, COM_01, Bbain, Law, Occam's, and M. Randy Dixon. (I was also suffering from porcelain-shattering gastric distress that year, but if anyone else knew, they were polite enough not to point it out.)
Fast forward another year, and I decided that I would sort of adopt my own avatar for PAX 2011. I took the poster down, carefully rolled it up, and brought it with me to Seattle that year. If you've never tried to bring an oversized, four foot square poster on an airplane or around a crowded convention with you, I can't say that it's easy or that I recommend it. I flew out of SFO that year, and by coincidence ended up sitting next to Daniel "Husky Hog" Lingen on the way up to Seattle. He didn't know who I was apart from the freak with the giant paper roll, but we met up at the Rock Bottom pub later in the convention and had a good laugh about it. I traipsed that poster all around Seattle, grabbing autographs from any Dtoider who was willing to hold a Sharpie. I got the most signatures just after our group photo that year, which you can see above. Pens were being passed around right and left, and I'm pretty sure a homeless guy who was wandering by scribbled in a corner somewhere, just to fit in.
It was another adventure carrying the beast back home to Sacramento, but this is running long as it is, so I'll spare you the horrifying details. The upshot is, it's been hanging proudly in my game room ever since, and I look at it every day and remember fondly the people I've met and the great times I've had with members of this community. It's no exaggeration to say that it's both an honor and a privilege to become an official part of Destructoid after all these years, and I'll do my best to contribute in a meaningful way to the site. This is an adventure for me, a new chapter in my life, and more than a little scary. I'm not sure where this all will lead, but I'm glad to be taking these steps alongside friends.
The poster, today, in its natural habitat. You can open the image in a new tab if you'd like to try and find your own name.
P.S.- if you have any questions for me, let me know! I'm looking forward to working here, and thank both Niero and Chris for the opportunity.