because it’s all I think about right now.
PAX Prime just wrapped and the after party was a Scott Pilgrim movie viewing. Seemed like a good way to cap off three days of unadulterated nerdom. Do you even understand what that means? There was absolutely no adulteration to the nerdliness! Considering how very, very little I usually disguise my nerdish-ness, one can only imagine the appalling level of nerdery conducted on the premises of the Seattle Convention Center. But I digress, we were discussing PAX.
Now then, PAX is Penny Arcade eXpo. Which comes to Seattle once a year on Labor Day weekend. Its bounty consists of video games, board games, D&D, Magic, Cosplay, Music and any number of more specialized activities. It is hosted by Penny Arcade and attended by a large number of luminaries in the aforementioned areas. Much like a Sailor Moon costume, the place was literally full to bursting with dork. Huh. Looking back on that sentence, I probably should’ve gone with a Tokyo hooker joke and really nailed the double entendre. Oh well, whatcha ya gonna do.
I am not possessed of the ability of recall necessary to relate everything that happened at the convention. Instead, I will tell you three short stories that I hope will illustrate how much fun was had.
Number A: Rooster Teeth (RT) is a group that makes Red vs Blue, Achievement Hunter and RT Shorts. All series I am deeply enamored of. I have a number of friends who also enjoy their work, one of which was unable to attend PAX. This friend asked me to obtain some merchandise for them. Now, I feel I should state that RT is a pretty popular group, thus rendering purchasing from them an ordeal. As I arrived at their booth, I discovered this fact for myself. I walked up near where they were sitting and then over to the merchandise thinking I would simply buy some. I was misinformed. “The line starts back there”, the Enforcer (the people actually running PAX) said, gesturing vaguely in a direction. I thought initially that the vagueness was because he was somewhat disinterested in where the line was in general and my waiting in it in specific. Not so! The vagueness had to do with the difficulty of perceiving the end of the line from his vantage point. I discovered this because when I stood the two hundred feet away where the line began, I could not in fact see him or my goal. Awesome. A scant 45 minutes later, I had returned to my original place a little older, a little wiser. I bought my merchandise and moved over to have it signed. I was lucky enough to be able to speak with both the creator and my favorite character, “Burnie” Burns and Joel “Caboose” Heyman respectively. More importantly, these two were the favorites of the friend this item was for. I spoke to each of them for five minutes a piece, what I’m sure is a lifetime to them when they have fifteen hundred people to meet. They were both quite down to earth and friendly. What amazed me most was when I talked to Burnie was that, at the end of our conversation, he said, “Thanks for stopping by Shaun, it was great to meet you.” Now, it is absolutely no exaggeration to say that I cannot remember the names of more than two people when I meet them. At parties, I am basically operating off a Rolodex of “?”, “Lol” and “That guy who hit on James’s lesbian cousin.” I don’t know how better to state that I am functionally retarded when it comes to names other than this sentence I just wrote. Burnie managed to correctly identify “Guy #438” as “Shaun”. If it would’ve been possible and appropriate to slow clap for him at the booth, I would’ve done so.
Letter 2: PAX features an event called the Omegathon. In it, chosen Omeganauts compete to win a grand prize. The competition events are all games and the prize this year was a trip to the Tokyo Game Show and $5000 in spending money. It’s tradition for the final round of the Omegathon to remain a mystery. Contestants are unable to prepare for it and need simply rely on their general skills to win. This year it was a custom Claw Crane game (one of those claw games stocked with stuffed animals, usually found at an arcade) stocked with plushies from video games and webcomics. Overall, it was a close competition except at the very end where the winner pulled away. I have never really experienced color commentary for a claw game match, so it was pretty novel. Additionally Jerry “Tycho” Holkins saying, “Son, it’s a complicated world.” in his Dad Voice whenever the machine miscounted and required an extra quarter always brought a smile to my face.
Option Plork: I should be angry about this one. Kris Straub and Scott Kurtz raided a minibar and proceeded to get smashed whilst holding court on a “talk show”. This was their panel. I’m not really sure how many things there are out there that I am qualified to do. However, there is no doubt in my mind I was qualified for this. My resume of drinking and alternating between bantering and babbling is unimpeachable. But it was not me up there and instead Scott and Kris. Scott Kurtz, a man of considerable girth and boundless mirth , was in top form. Kris Straub, an arabic fellow with a gift for comedic tangents was ruthlessly funny. These two savaged my form with humor. They strapped me down and pounded the bamboo slivers of one-liners under my finger nails with the hammer of hilarious back and forth. They tied me up with jokes and no matter how many times I said the safe word, (“Penobscot” incidentally) they refused to release me. It was a two hour panel by a couple of drunks bringing their friends up on stage and abusing them in a fashion that bespoke camaraderie. At one point Scott asked their guest Erica, “You’ve got a lot of shit in your face. What’s up with that?” ‘Cause, you see, she has a lot of piercings and then… he just like. You know. Anyway, you had to be there. Later Scott discussed how Erica had noted a bum lying jauntily on his cardboard as, “Why, look how comfortable that homo is. Hobo! I meant hobo.” Thanks to that and their follow up jokes, I now have the term “Hobosexual” in my arsenal. And I don’t mean the soccer team.
So there you have it! Three stories by a nerd for a nerd. It’s like the convention never ended. Take care you goddamn hobosexuals! Bunch of filthy transientbiens.