Monday, November 1, 2010

Rallying for W00tstock!

Hi, remember me? Yeah, I know, I'm not very good at this whole blogging regularly thing. This is why I will never be an author. Anyway, this past weekend was crazy busy! (Warning, this post will probably get quite long.) First up, Saturday October 30th and the Rally to Restore Sanity:

My day started quite early...3:45am early. Took the 5am bus to Boston to fly to DC. The airport was pretty busy...with flights to DC. There were 4 flights in my terminal that were all going to DC, and it seemed most people were going for the rally. There were signs and t-shirts with various witty remarks. Everyone was in high spirits, and there was lots of discussion about the rally. I even had a TSA agent tell me that he wished he was going to DC with everyone.

We arrived in DC ahead of schedule, about 10:45am. The rally was supposed to start at 12pm, but I had read that Stewart wouldn't take the stage until 1pm. Plenty of time! Passengers from my plane broke into groups of 4 and 6 to share taxis. Which, it turned out, was a good thing, because the taxi fare was quite expensive! (I need to take a moment to explain that I flew into Dulles airport.) I shared a cab with 3 other people. We joked and laughed and got to know each other as the cab flew down the relatively empty highway. We thought we had it made, but the cabbie explained that the highway was dedicated to airport traffic and that when we got off that highway we would hit traffic. Boy did we ever. We soon came to bumper to bumper traffic, hardly moving, and we were still a good distance from the National Mall.

The cab driver, ever so helpful, told us that he could take us the rest of the way, but that it would cost us three times as much because of the traffic, and that there was a metro station just ahead that he could drop us off at. It sounded perfect, so we went for it. (Incidentally, that cab ride was $50. I don't even want to think what it would have been if we'd gone all the way to the mall.) Upon arriving at the metro station, we were greeted with a large crowd. Turned out the crowd was waiting to purchase tickets for the train. Once you had your tickets, there was no line. It was crazy, but the line was moving in an orderly fashion and the crowed was in good spirits. Again, almost everyone was on their way to the rally. It was about 11:45am when we got to the metro station. About an hour later, we had our tickets and had gone upstairs to the platform. (I just want to note here that there was no metro staff anywhere in sight - no one was directing the lines for tickets, and there was no one on the platform.)

1pm came around and the first train showed up since we arrived at the platform - completely full. There was no room for anyone else. We learned at that time that this had been the situation for the last couple of hours, and people were taking trains back to the beginning of the line and getting on there. We couldn't go forward, so the next train that came along going to the end of the line, we hopped on. The train was moderately crowded, with people trying to get to the rally, and people who had already been and had left. We were told it had gotten very crowded at the mall, and it was impossible to see or hear anything. Still, spirits were pretty high, and everyone was happily chatting about the rally.

Our forward-type motion was short lived however, as the train came to a stop at the very next station. An announcement was made that the metro was suspending all service to Vienna (the end of the line) until further notice, because the crowd there was just too large and they needed to clear congestion at the station. Everyone was told to get off the train. The crowd at this station was 3 times as large as the one at the station we had just left. At this point, there was really no hope of getting to the rally. I decided to just go back to the airport and watch what I could online and on the news from there. My flight was due to leave at 4:50pm.

Now, you might be thinking right about now that it was a pretty big disappointment (and a waste of time and money) to go to DC and not make it to the rally. You'd be wrong. Jon Stewart may not have given a clearly defined agenda for the rally, but I had my own clearly defined agenda. Whether Americans want to admit it or not, the world watches what we do, and they see our newscasts. The America that gets portrayed by a radical few is not the America that I live in every day. This rally was an opportunity to show the world that America isn't as insane as it seems in the media, that we really do know how to get along and work together. The fact that there were an estimated 215,000 people who made it to the rally, and who knows how many more like myself who brought down the transit system and never made it to the rally, is just brilliant, and exactly what I wanted to be a part of. Everyone will have their own take from the rally, and whether it was successful or not, but to me, I think Jon asked America to show the sane are out there in force, and we did.

My only regret is flying into Dulles - never doing that again.

Sunday, October 31st

My weekend ended in Boston with W00tstock, and it couldn't have been a better ending, though it wasn't without its share of frustrations. This was my first W00stock, and although I had seen tweets about it and a few blog posts, I really didn't know what to expect. I just knew I would enjoy it. (If you're not familiar with W00tstock, it was started by Paul and Storm, Wil Wheaton, and Adam Savage and is billed as 3 hours of "geek vaudeville." Wil was not present due to filming conflicts, but was represented by Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy.) Since it was their Halloween show, it was requested that the audience wear costumes. It took me awhile to figure out what my costume would be - I really wanted to dress as a pirate for Paul and Storm's "The Captain's Wife's Lament," but at the same time thought that would be a bit cliche. I knew it would be a geek audience, so I could get away with a geeky costume. I came across Star Trek uniforms online, and the idea came to me - I would combine the captain's uniform from TNG with pirate accessories to make: Pirate Captain! Corny and geeky all in one. That's how I roll.

I left my house at 4pm to get to Boston for the 7pm show. It's a 2 hour drive. I made it to the show with just minutes to spare. I fucking hate driving in Boston. So much so that it bears repeating: I fucking hate driving in Boston. Between the road construction, the bizarre intersections that make no sense, and police barricades for no apparent reason, I was beginning to think I would never make it to the show. (Later I would be unsure I would ever make it out of Boston to get home, but I eventually prevailed, both times.)

The show was absolutely fantastic, more than I could have hoped for. It didn't end after 3 hours...closer to 4.5 hours, but I was cool with that. One of the highlights for me was Grant Imahara. Now, I knew Grant from Mythbusters, but had never googled him to learn about his background. I knew he had an engineering background, and was definitely into robots. He talked about his (promotional) time as C-3PO over the course of 10 years, and what it was like inside the suit. It was a neat behind the scenes look at one of the most iconic robot figures in our culture. And so cool that he wore the suit! My respect level for him definitely went up a few notches after his presentation. (I'm not going to lie...I think Grant is a good looking man and I have to say, he looks even better in person.)

The only thing I was disappointed by is that Adam wasn't on stage for very long - I would have thought that as one of the founders of W00tstock, he would have had more of a presence. Maybe the time had something to do with it, I don't know. Adam, by the way, is exactly how he is on Mythbusters - friendly, zany, a little immature and just awesome. He makes a good wookie too. Going back to the plus side of things, I was introduced to the music of Marian Call and if you have not been introduced yet, go, go now to her website and get introduced. Her use of a typewriter is just magical. That's all I'm saying.

If you get a chance to go to W00tstock, I would highly recommend it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Geeking Out

With the news of an upcoming W00tstock show in Boston (Halloween night no less!), and the countdown started for next year's PAX East, I'm already starting to geek out. This totally helped:

Geek and Gamer Girls Song - Watch more Funny Videos

Saturday, September 11, 2010

To @GamePolitics

This cannot be said in 140 characters or less, so it's a blog post instead.

I, like @wilw's many followers on Twitter, saw last night's exchange between the two of you. I believe there is a disconnect between what you were looking for, and what the twitterverse gave you. @wilw is not a geek/gamer political figure, per se. He is however, a huge role model and a person of influence in the geek/gamer world. He represents us primarily by BEING one of us. He lives and breathes geekdom. He does not hide that fact. He promotes the normalcy of geeks and gamers in everything he does, from his books to his appearances at conventions and shows like W00tstock. He is obviously not alone in this, but there is a reason why @wilw was made Secretary of Geek Affairs. Big names like @wilw and @feliciaday make the rest of not only feel that it is ok to be geeks, they make us proud to be geeks.

It is unfortunate that your conversation went the way that it did, but truly if you want to follow someone just living the life of a geek, @wilw is the person to follow.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Game Review

I just finished a challenging puzzle game called Machinarium. I really enjoyed World of Goo, but this was even better. The graphics are very uniquely styled, and the soundtrack creates a wonderful ambiance that complements the game perfectly. When you first start the game, you don't really know much of the story, but it unfolds as you go. By the time you get to the end, you just want to cheer for the little robot that you have been following around.

The makers of Machinarium, Amanita Design, are offering the game for just $5 right now. Take advantage of this - it's worth it!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, the first one in, oh, 7 or 8 years I guess. The doctor ordered a blood test for Celiac Disease. For those unfamiliar with it, it is an autoimmune disorder where the body cannot process gluten, and it causes damage to the intestines and leads to a host of other health issues and, if untreated, organ failure. Sounds pleasant, no?

I'm a little freaked out by the prospect, but on the other hand I know something is wrong and I need not only an explanation, but a way to fix it.

Have I ever mentioned hospitals/doctor's offices terrify me?

Yep, fun times.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Guild

I love The Guild. Especially when they do things like this:

<a href="" target="_new" title="Season 4 - Music Video - "Game On"">Video: Season 4 - Music Video - "Game On"</a>

Vork is full of win in this :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Decisions, Confusion, and a Lack of Conviction

Comic Con was this past weekend, and I jealously read every tweet/facebook post/blog/website article detailing it. I've promised myself that one of these years I really am going to go. In the meantime, all the talk of Comic Con reminded me of PAX. That, in turn, reminded me of Dragon Age and how much I enjoyed that game. It's going to take a lot to top it. This leads to my current dilemma - what game to play?

I've several games on my computer that I can play - in fact I've started all of them. None of them are filling that game need that I have in my soul right now. I find myself bouncing back and forth between games, playing, but not satisfied. I need a good story. An RPG that is more R than G, if that makes any sense. A good book would do the same thing but books are too short - I can make a good RPG game last for a year. I read entire book series in days.

Another alternative would be for me to return to my writing. I have several stories that I've started, that have a lot of promise, but I just haven't finished them. I'm not really sure why. Maybe there's a little fear that no one outside of, well, me, would like the stories when finished. Or worse - that even I wouldn't like them. Maybe I just have no motivation. Maybe I'm just lazy. Yeah, that sounds right.

So, that leads me back to what game to play - I need a lengthy RPG with a strong emphasis on story that I haven't already played. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time Flies On

I take a week's vacation, start a new job, and next thing I know July is almost past and I haven't posted in months! Things have been crazy, settling into the new job and all. I won't bore with details - but I will post later with some game and book reviews.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The what comes next part

So the other post was getting too long, so I decided to make this a separate post. My really big news is that after 3 long months, I have a new job! I start April 12th, after a short vacation next week. Woohoo!

PAX and what comes next

So, so much has happened in a very short period of time! Last weekend I enjoyed about 32 hours of pure geekiness that is PAX (East.) I don't know if I can even do it justice here, but I have to share my experience.


I arrived later than intended to Boston, and so I was fairly behind in line and as such did not make it into the keynote or the first Penny Arcade panel. This was not a good start, as I was *very* much looking forward to the keynote by Wil Wheaton. Nothing I could do about it though, so I wandered around and tried to get my bearings. I explored the expo, and checked out the gaming areas. Eventually I ended up back outside the main theater, where the keynote had ended and the panel was proceeding. It was then that I noticed there was a table for Wil. (I also spotted Dr Who (aka crimsong19) whom I had run into earlier in the day.) A few of us formed a line, not even knowing if Wil would be doing a signing after the keynote, but really hoping he would. He did! We waited for nearly an hour, but eventually there he was, in all his geek glory.

I have to say I conducted myself pretty well when it was my turn. I had brought Just A Geek with me for him to sign, so I promptly handed that to him. I was wearing the shirt he had designed, and he commented on how the shirt looked familiar, the book too, and I replied with a not-so-witty "I thought you might recognize them." *Groan* Anyway, after he signed the book, I got my picture taken with him, and then, because I was part of the Cookie Brigade, I asked if he wanted a chocolate cake ball (not knowing then, *sigh* that he hates cake.) He politely declined, and although I also wanted to purchase Memories of the Future, I was so nervous and shaky by that point that I just thanked him and left. (I would spend the rest of the weekend trying to get a chance to buy that book. In the end, after waiting in line again for an hour, I ended up buying Sunken Treasure because I was just $5 short on cash. Plus side is, I have 2 signed books by Wil, and I didn't get all nervous and shaky the second time. Then again, I didn't say anything other than "how much are your books?" *sigh*) He was really cool though, and genuinely spoke with anyone willing to speak with him.

I honestly don't remember what I did immediately after Wil's signing. I think I wandered around again. I did go to the Nvidia panel at 6 - that was the next thing I was really looking forward to, and I LOVED IT! Made me wish I had waited a few more weeks before upgrading my gfx card. Oh well. CRANK THAT SHIT UP! That's right, Nvidia.

After the panel I stood in line for the Girls and Games panel. I met some really nice people. The panel, sad to say, was a complete let down. As bad as I felt for doing so, I ended up walking out.

Next I went and hung out in the Rock Band lounge until they closed up for the night, and moved on to the concerts. The Rock Band lounge was awesome, and the highlight was watching the game developers (maybe drunk, maybe not - I can neither confirm or deny) play their own game.

I missed Protomen, and the beginning of Anamanaguchi, but watched the rest of the concert. It was a great time, but I was definitely tired when 2am rolled around and I went out into the cold to try to catch a cab. Unfortunately, fighting a bunch of other geeks and drunks for a cab was a battle I was quickly going to lose. Enter Knight in Shining Armor. A friendly passerby stopped and offered me a ride. Got back to the hotel and fell asleep sometime around 4am.


Boy 8:30am came awful early. I also realized that I had been totally overwhelmed by everything the day before and hadn't eaten anything since breakfast! Saturday was much more relaxed - I knew the layout of things now, and made sure to take time for eating. I decided enough of the taxi business, and drove to the convention. Parking just down the street wasn't too bad - ended up being less than roundtrip taxi fare.

I started out with the Kotaku and Croal panel - another really great panel. I spent most of the day just wandering around and checking things out. After lunch I spent some time in my Codex costume, getting my picture taken and hanging out with some other cosplayers. Eventually though, my feet were just too sore and I ditched the costume. I didn't catch any other panels, but still had a great time in the expo and in the Rock Band areas. At 6 I thought I would go get dinner at P.F. Changs. After waiting for an hour (!) for a table, I was joined by a couple of fellow PAXers. (I hadn't met them before - they came in for dinner and upon hearing the wait time, they were going to leave, but I offered that they could eat with me.) Although we ended up waiting yet another hour for a table, we had a great time just talking about games, PAX, and technology. Turned out we all work in IT. Dinner was great (I'm using that word alot, but it was) and I got back to PAX in time to walk into the concerts for the evening. Bed was slightly earlier this time - about 2:30am.


Up at 8:30am again. Started off the day with brunch at Charley's with a group of fellow female gamers. Only 16 of the 30+ gamers showed up, but it was a good brunch anyway. I was feeling slightly ill though, so I didn't manage much of my breakfast. Ironically, the mimosa at the end of breakfast made me feel better.

I had absolutely no plans for Sunday, so I just did whatever struck me. I checked out League of Legends in the PC freeplay room, and played a few demos in the Expo. I discovered a veritable treasure trove of used games and had to exercise serious willpower to not buy a bunch of games I really didn't need (given that I had just purchased 6 new games prior to PAX.) My willpower was not so there when I went back to Bandland and purchased MC Frontalot's new cd, Paul and Storm's new cd, and a dejected pirate shirt for Justin. I spoke a bit with MC Frontalot and Paul and Storm, but (regrettably) did not take a picture with them. In the end I watched the finale of the Omegathon, and then, sadly, PAX was over.

So, boring play by play over, here is why PAX was so great:

1. It's gamers from all over the world getting together for one thing: games
2. I didn't go with anyone, but came away with several new friends
3. Developers, musicians, Gabe and Tycho, and special guests were all just there, in the crowds, hanging out with people. They were completely approachable, and so friendly. These are the type of people who I would never dream of meeting, and yet here they were! (One of my best memories is of Gabe and Tycho playing Rock Band in the freeplay area.)
4. The concerts! My friend Justin has talked about MC Frontalot, and Paul and Storm before, but I had never seen them. They were fantastic! I had a wonderful time at the concerts, and can't wait for VGO to release their cd.
5. Gaming, gaming and more gaming. If only I had more time for gaming!

Next year (yes, there is a next year) I will bring my PC with me so that when I need a break to sit and relax for a bit (and game) I can do that in the BYOC room.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Choices We Make

As I believe I recently mentioned, I upgraded my computer for maximum game enjoyment. I was all set to hook my computer up to my TV with an HDMI cable and play Dragon Age...but I didn't have any HDMI cables. Thankfully, Amazon was able to supply me with several, at the low, low price of $3.23 each, and free shipping. I just needed to wait for them to arrive.

I received 2 packages in the mail from Amazon today - the HDMI cables, and Wil Wheaton's Just A Geek. The HDMI cables are still in their package. Instead of getting my high def on, I read Wil's book. Why? Because in the end, a game is cool, but books are the stuff of legend.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Holy Shit Batman!

I am so totally, completely in love with Dragon Age: Origins. For my gaming tastes I've always been into RPG's, and my primary game source is the PC. As the years go by there seem to be less and less RPG games for the PC, but the ones I find tend to be pretty good. I enjoy them at least, bugs and all. I'd fallen into a bit of a dry spell with PC games, and had resorted to MMORPG's. (I know, that has become a huge game field in its own right, but I never really got into it. I am extremely selective about the MMORPG's that I play.) I found that playing MMORPG's in beta was the most enjoyable, so I did that for awhile. Then I started seeing ads for Dragon Age. 

The ads looked good, as game ads tend to anyway, even if the game is complete shit. I decided it was definitely going on my "want to play" list. I didn't really get excited about it though, until after the game was released and I heard chatter about it on Twitter. Now I *really* wanted to play that game. Lucky for me, I got the game for Christmas.

Dragon Age is the first RPG I have played that by the end of it, I wanted to play it again. Usually once I finish an RPG, I never see it again. The reason for wanting to play it again is the same reason that makes this game so great - the story. Even though the basic events of the game will always be the same, you can have a vastly different experience playing it based not only on your starting character/storyline, but also on the decisions you make and the interactions you have with your party and NPC's. Speaking of! This game has some really tough moral dilemmas. I'm very much looking forward to the expansion coming out.

Gushing about Dragon Age aside...

So far this year has been ultra exciting for me, as far as my geekiness goes. I've played Dragon Age, and am rebuilding my computer with the intent of hooking it up to my HD TV to play Dragon Age again with the graphics set as high as possible. (As excited as I am about playing HD Dragon Age, I'm just as excited about upgrading my computer. It's been too long since I've mucked about in the guts of a computer, and I've missed it.) 

But that's not the best part...

For the first time, Penny Arcade has brought PAX to the east coast (PAX East, not to be confused with PAX Prime.) I've always wanted to go to conventions like Comic-Con or PAX, but they're always on the west coast and so I haven't been able to go. When I heard about PAX East I was thrilled that finally there would be something on the east coast - in my backyard no less! I had to go. 

I'd almost forgotten about it until Feb. 3rd when I noticed a retweet by @wilw about weekend passes for sale. I immediately went to the site and ordered my 3 day pass. I had good timing apparently, because later that same day, they were completely sold out! Now I can't wait for the end of March to get here so I can PAX out for a weekend. 

The cherry on top of this geeky sundae - Wil Wheaton was announced today as the keynote speaker at PAX East. Having been a fan of his during his ST days, to being a fan now of his books, blog, and overall Secretary of Geek Affairs-ness, I am just thrilled beyond words that he is the keynote speaker. Hopefully I will make it through the weekend without any embarrassing fangirl moments. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy New Year...I think

So here we are, in 2010, and I have not been very good about blogging. I have a lot going on, which I can't get into yet, but hopefully it will all get worked out soon. In the meantime, I finished reading the Codex Alera. For those who have not read this, it is a series of 6 books by Jim Butcher. You follow the journey of a furiless shepard boy as he grows into a young, powerful man (with furies!) leading his people against the deadliest foe they've ever encountered. Fantastic series, great character interaction and growth - I can't say enough good about it, except to read it for yourselves.

That said, I would *love* to see Codex Alera in movie format! A movie for each book, otherwise you'd be cutting far too much out of the stories. If you've read the books, just think of it: the Canim, the Marat, the Icemen, and the Vord all done in the same incredible motion capture animation as the Na'vi from Avatar. Not to mention what could be done with the furies! The battle scenes could make LOTR and 300 look paltry in comparison. I wouldn't even care if the movies were each 3 hours long - it would be incredible.

I think I just talked myself into reading the entire series all over again.

Are you listening Mr. Butcher?