Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Crystal Skull

I met Dan Aykroyd tonight in the loosest sense of the word "met." I stood in line at the liquor store for a couple of hours, shook his hand, said "Thank you, Mr. Aykroyd," and left with a signed glass skull filled with vodka.

This was to promote his product, Crystal Head Vodka. It's really a cool little bottle, but I haven't tasted it yet. At 3pm, I found out the signing was at 4pm. I hopped on a bus, walked to the SODO liquor store, found out the whole store had moved, and walked the mile or so to the new location. Then I stood in line for a long time, and then it started to pour down rain. With my treasure in hand I waited on the street for a bus, which came but not before I was drenched from head to toe. Positively drippy.

Pretty much the end.

I would totally do that again though.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I am one who tumblrs

I just started a tumblr page and I'm calling it "Step 23: Quest for World Domination." I plan to use it as a show-and-tell for other people's stuff. Stuff I think is cool, anyway. Y'dig?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A slow month meets Best Buy

Where are we. So after PAX, Jer was sick for a week. We think it was swine flu. He's better now.

Life has been nice and quiet since then. Some laundry, some World of Warcraft, and some television watching. This morning we're having a TV stand delivered and in a couple of weeks the TV should arrive. It was sold out when we bought it. There's a small story there. I'll sum it up with: buying pick-up items from Best Buy is not as easy as you'd think. One of the worst customer experiences ever.

Okay, I'll back that up a little. There was a deal with the TV we bought, that included a Blu Ray player. Best Buy was out of stock of both so we arranged to pick up the Blu Ray player later and have the TV delivered about a month later. Fine. The people we worked with were great, very good in fact, but the computer system they use leaves much to be desired.

I got home with my Blu Ray player receipt to an email saying it was available for pick up. Turns out, after calling to confirm the email message, and going in the next day, the computer system set aside an open box item for us and cancelled our warehouse order. There was much finagling of the computers to get them to acknowledge our order of a NEW player. Hey, Blu Ray players are temperamental. I'm not risking it.

I went in a week later to pick up my player and they couldn't find it at first. Computers again. The people were super nice though, just completely handicapped by what they had to work with. While I waited, two people got angry and started yelling "Don't buy from Best Buy!." They were escorted out. Awesome.

You know I hesitated to share this story because we I can just hear someone mumbling, quit complaining at least you have new stuff. True. But I also saved for it. And we replaced the fuse in our current TV a year ago so we could afford a nicer one down the line. And we've never had a nice TV stand. We've been using shelving Jer has used since high school. End defensiveness.

The local Greek Festival is this weekend. I'm excited about that. And I finally ordered a duvet cover for the guest bedroom (smartbargains.com) so Lily will have a proper place to sleep when she visits next month. Whoo hoo!

And I paid our first water/trash bill as homeowners. I think that makes us official now.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) for fun and profit

This is my third PAX -- it's a video game convention started awhile back by a couple of guys who make the successful web comic, "Penny Arcade." I overheard someone say there were 75,000 people there this weekend; I have not confirmed this though I can believe it.

Jer and I and a couple of like-minded friends spent all day Friday in the Expo area. This is a huge section of the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle dedicated to game booths and includes game demos, free t-shirts, posters, merchandise for sale, game art, and fun gimmicks to get you to pay attention. One game company had what was basically a mechanical bull dressed up like a dark horse and geeks got in line to sign a waiver and get bounced around on it, until finally they were hurled into a large air-filled plastic tub. Probably injured for life.

It was awesome.

I came away with many many free t-shirts, but unfortunately all but one were sized for boys, meaning they will be work out shirts. My favorite free stuff came from Rockstar Games. They had the best shirt, I thought (it was woman sized and looked nice), and really cool Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars stickers. But the booth itself was really boring. I got to hear "Teddy Bear" on repeat on the beaterator as they tried to prove that anyone can lay down a beat. (I disagree) There was a line to watch a demo for a game called something like Red Heat Redemption, but you had to wait in line for 45 minutes, which I did. Wild West style game, huge environment, realistic body responses to getting shot. Yay? It looked cool though.

Bioshock had the best trailer, I thought. The graphics were just amazing. Jer loved the free poster but I didn't care much for it.

Brink, a game about a future colony cut off from earth on the brink of civil war between opposing factions, had the coolest overall presence -- demo, t-shirts, posters, and booth. The presenter was the CEO and played the game for us. He was very personable and the LED lights around all of the booth were awesome. The graphics in the game were incredible. Yet I still probably won't play it. I don't see much point in games where the primary objective is to create cool avatars and spend the rest of your time killing other avatars. I may have missed the point. It happens.

Female gamers were not well represented. We were in attendance, not in force but we were there and our group is clearly growing. Unfortunately the panels I attended didn't really reflect that we existed. So let me tell you PAX organizers what I want. I would like Adventure Games, and you can go ahead and capitalize that. I want to talk about WoW, or hell, any MMORPGs if you promise they are not a straight up copy of Wow (I'm looking at you Aion.) I do not want to talk about Hello Kitty Online. I don't really need to hear about female terms for teabagging over and over as the extent of my gender's involvement. (Cumsquat? Clam slam? Really?) You know what I did most of Saturday? I played Professor Layton and the Curious Village on my DS Lite sprawled on a bean bag chair, while I waited for my husband to wait in line an hour to play Diablo III for 5 minutes. Whee!

By the way, I have money to spend. Give me a reason.

I did buy two things: a Galaga mousepad (awesome!) and a Miskatonic University t-shirt from The Dreaming store. Yeah, I got a million shirts for free and I still BOUGHT one because I wanted it. (Left 4 Dead? I do not want to wait in line for 3 hours to play your stupid demo to get a t-shirt. I will give you ten bucks and free advertising to avoid that. But whatever, you do what you want. Your strategy seems to be working for you.)

I don't really want to get into the panels much, except to say two words: TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES. Dude. DUDE. I do not want to be critical here. I know how hard it is to get up in front of people and do a panel, but maybe you could test that shit out ahead of time? I waited an hour and a half to see the Windows desktop and a screen resolution drop down menu? Fuck me.

Also? My female video gamer friends? When you have an opportunity to ask a question during Q&A, could you please not be a psycho stalker or talk like a fucking six year old? You are making us all look bad. Seriously. One stupid woman got up and said, "Hi. I'm your stalker. I tried to follow you home last year but my Dad wouldn't let me." And she said it all creepy and low. And she looked to be about 35.

She is probably reading this right now and planning her revenge. Super.

If it's not clear, I hate the Q&A portion.

So in summation, the Expo hall was pretty cool. Very creative, lots to see, I enjoyed it. The panels, eh. Not worth waiting an hour for. Too many problems. I never did find the LucasArts Cantina that was on my map, so I can't comment on that. And the crowd control needed some work. I point you to the moment after, what, a few thousand people left the "Make a Strip" panel and no one could move because they had two little doors for us to exit through. Someone tried to open an emergency exit, an enforcer blocked the door, and then an organizer finally made the enforcer stand aside. If there had been a fire at that moment, we would all be dead. It's a fact.

Oh right. I was summating. PAX is good. Friday was the best day to go. I am not there now because I hate crowds and needed a break. I wish the panels were not so sociologically centered. I just want to see cool stuff and talk to the writers and think about story and art and find out what computer programs they use.

More of that, please.