We left the house on Friday around 9:30 – a little later than intended, but not at all concerned about it. We were feeling strangely lethargic about the entire weekend; something we attributed to a lack of sleep and caffeine. We loaded up the Mazdabator, made a quick pitstop for delicious pretzel buns, and hit the road.
The border was surprisingly busy for a Friday morning, and it took us over an hour to get through. I convinced Ed it would be an excellent idea to stop at Target in Bellingham so we could pee but mostly so I could do a quick run through the store to pick up some American essentials. In addition to my Diet Coke, I also got new headphones and a poncho and .. this:
“Big deal”, you sez. “You have one of these already!” Well, not exactly:
Ed spotted him on a shelf in Target, and I squealed – it’s AWESOME AND SO BIG. He takes up an entire shelf on my recently cleaned Ikea Expedit, and those shelves are not petite. It’s completely ridiculous, but I love it – it almost fills the gaping hole in my living room where my gay porn used to be (it got relocated to the bedroom; I’m trying to make Ed gay by osmosis). Beaming with delight and an empty bladder, we piled back into the car and continued our journey south.
The plan was to stop at Doug and Ali’s to drop off our bags and then head downtown to PAX, but we arrived in Kenmore just as rush hour was starting and quickly determined that it would take us several hours to make our way through traffic. We decided to stay at the house and hang out with friends instead, reasoning that there wasn’t anything we were dying to see on Friday night (I’ve long since given up on my dream of actually seeing a PAX concert) and the house was cozy, filled with delicious foods and people, and we were really very lazy. I got to have Christmas at Ali’s (opening three months of Amazon shipments I had sent to her place instead of paying extra to ship to Canada), Hazel shared all her toys and drool with me, and there were BBQ’d meats made of deliciousness. It was Kid Movie Night at the house, so Ed and I excused ourselves to tackle the next Must Do on my weekend list: hit up the Lego Store in Bellevue Square and try to find TOMS Wrap Boots at Nordstrom. I struck out on the boots (which is really annoying – I need to try them on before I can order them, but they don’t appear to be in store anywhere in Canada), had a grand time in the Lego store, and discovered my new true love: Nutter Butter Blizzards at Dairy Queen. Holy SHIT those things are amazing – I could eat twenty of them, except a) they’re only in the US until this Wednesday and b) Nutter Butters aren’t available in Canada. Still, I enjoyed the fuck out of the one I had, and promptly went to Safeway to buy a bag of Nutter Butters to bring home with me. Do you think if I took them to DQ they’d stick them in ice cream for me? PEANUT BUTTER IS AWESOME!
We went back to the house after the guests had left and the kids put to bed, and sat around in near silence in the living room playing Words with Friends (add me: Drunk Bettie). I had been resisting WwF all this time, but finally caved in and bought it and promptly started a half dozen games with various people. Planning to PAX it up to the fullest in the morning, we turned in and got some sleep.
We were up and watered and out the door by 9:30, and were at PAX after some fancy parking by 11am. We went to pick our lanyards in the receiving room, and I was really annoyed to learn they had run out of swag bags. Keep in mind that this was 11am on day 2, and they had already run out even though all passes had been sold in advance – what’s up with that. I didn’t necessarily want the swag for myself (I give 90% of what I get to my coworker who can’t go to PAX), I still like picking through it and seeing what’s inside so that kind of sucked. We hit the show floor and wandered around the exhibits for several hours, trying some games and looking at nerds. Some of the things I’m looking forward to:
- Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick (makes of Fruit Ninja), which comes out on September 1st for iOS and Andriod
- Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS, coming out November/December respectively – these were the first true exposure I had to the 3DS, and will likely be the titles that make me buy the device I’d been ignoring since launch. I was extremely impressed with how the 3D aspect was delivered in the games, and am now looking forward to getting a 3DS for those titles and:
- Pokedex 3d, which is already out – a free app you can download now from the Nintendo eShop; it allows you to scan QR code-like images to unlock the Pokeman within and see all their stats and images in 3D. It was really well done, and I’d be much more inclined to try and catch ’em all if I get to scan things all future-like!
- Minor Lords, an iOS Tower Defense game coming out by SRRN Games – the beta I tried was really fun and well done; looking forward to this release
- Mass Effect 3
- Bioshock Infinite
- Age of Empires Online
- Nun Attack for iOS, a game that I can’t find anything for online (don’t google “nun attack”; the results are .. depressing)
- Word Fighter, the only iOS/Andriod game to make it into the PAX 10 – a Mortal Kombat meets Boggle kind of game that I am desperate to get my hands on
So .. a lot, but mostly indie or small company games. As usual, my refusal to stand in line kept me away from the larger booths, but there was still a lot to look at and I got my hands on quite a few different games on the floor.
Then came the waiting.
Ed wanted me to see the Acquisitions Inc panel with him, so we left the convention center to go over to the Paramount a couple blocks away. We were alarmed to see the size of the line that had formed with almost three hours to go before the thing even started, but we got in line to secure our spot. It was here that PAX was the most insufferable it’s ever been – standing in the hot sun for 3 hours with no shade, no drinks, nothing to sit on, and surrounded by obnoxious nerds who WOULDN’T STOP FARTING. Don’t get me wrong – I fucking love nerds – but I have to draw the line somewhere, and my line comes up long before you get to the bottom of the barrel nerds: the gargantuan, the unfortunate, the spastically awkward, the “I HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT THIS POPULAR THING AND YOU WILL HEAR IT”, the glommers, those who can’t hold their goddamn farts in when standing in a line several thousand people deep – those. I can’t get with those. Maybe it was my foul mood at the line I was standing in, or how much my feet hurt, or the fact that I was just not into PAX at ALL this year, but I really did not want to be in that line with those smelly awkward jackasses braying stupid catchphrases all around me for multiple hours. I was even pissed at my fellow nerd sisters, all of whom seemed to fall into two categories: those who used “cosplay” as an excuse to dress like a complete whore for attention, and those who were female versions of the farting disasters mentioned above. Yeah, I’m no prize myself, but I didn’t show up to a game convention in a completely unrelated-to-anything corset, and I don’t fart in public .. so I win, really.
The panel was funny, but I was far more interested in the building itself – the Paramount Theatre is fucking GORGEOUS. I spent most of my time looking around me in awe (and rolling my eyes at people behind us who repeated every.single.joke. to one another loudly when they weren’t eating bag after bag of Crinkle Time Happy Crunch Flakes) and taking pictures like this:
By the time the panel had ended before 6, we were exhausted and starving so we decided to leave downtown. We drove around for a bit, “accidentally” finding ourselves at Archie McPhee before going to Red Mill for a fantastic burger dinner eaten outside in the glorious Seattle evening. We made our way back to Kenmore to hang out with an assortment of Suttleses, and discussed the day and our plans for Sunday: we were done.
This year, we spent one day at PAX – maybe 7 hours worth, and most of that standing in line. We skipped both Friday AND Sunday even though we had a 3-day pass, and couldn’t figure out why we were feeling so very, very “meh” about the whole thing. I have a theory, though – the end of August snuck up on us, and we were utterly unprepared for the event. Between my scooter troubles and London planning, I had pretty much forgotten that PAX was coming until it was the night we were supposed to leave for Seattle and we were in no way ready to go. I hadn’t done a lick of reading – had no idea what panels were going on, events, parties, concerts, who would be there – nothing. I was completely out of the PAX Loop, and it came across as complete apathy for what was happening around me (as well as some rage: STOP FARTING). This was our third PAX in a row, and it’s gotten bigger each year .. and this year, it felt as though there were simultaneous too much going on and too little. Things everywhere were making me cranky, from the booth babes that weren’t supposed to be there (oh, you’re “media” – well, that explains your skin tight cat suit and assless chaps) to the terrible, terrible booth shoutcasting that wasn’t done by Marcus and could have been done so much better by me (seriously, give me a call next year – I’d be happy to not suck for anyone wanting live game coverage at their booth). We were both tired and .. just not into it, I guess. We completely dropped the PAX ball this year, and while I’m definitely going to PAX12 next year, I’m going to actually do some prep work so I have a great deal more fun than I did this time around. And maybe I’ll wear a corset just to a) fit in and b) show them how it’s supposed to be done. Heh.
Once again, the three things I look for at PAX were not there: a booth for Jet Set Radio Future Future, a section in the Squenix booth for The World Ends With You Again, and anything Katamari related. So, I will try again next year. I have not yet given up hope, even if it wavered a little at PAX 11.