Tuesday, August 29, 2006

PAX 2006 Saturday Review

This last weekend I had the joy of going to the Penny Arcade Expo located in Bellevue, Washington. For those that don't know, the best way to describe this is to just say that it is a gigantic party for the readers of Penny Arcade. Now the readers tend to be geeks of all types (video games, board games, card games, manga, anime, comic books, etc) which leads ot a pretty fun environment for like-minded individuals. This year there was definitely a shortage of space in all parts of the event.

I started the morning racing to the Halo 2 tournament to get a slot. Needless to say, I didn't get to play as I was the odd person out (it was 4 man teams). So after burning 2 hours trying to get into the tournament, I decided to sit in my despondent mood and watch people. I was joined shortly by some friendly fellows (Chris and Matt I believe). I tried to get in the free play area for computer games and console games, but both lines were incredibly long. when I tried last year, I got a grand total of 10 minutes of PC play and 30 minutes of console play for the time I had spent waiting in line.

Next I left the conference center to go stand in line for the expo hall (yes the line was that long). I was very impressed with how quickly the line moved and before I knew it, I was in this loud, vibrant room that played to almost all senses. The Microsoft was good with selections of the newest Age of Empire on PC which was very impressive when I gave it a whirl. Also there was Lego Star Wars 2 and also 5 or 6 xbox 360 games that I didn't get a chance to play but sat and enjoyed the wonderful sounds and graphics. The Ubisoft booth had a few setups to play some of the new and upcoming games, but also had a gigantic projection system to show off trailers of their new games. Nintendo was one that I was really looking forward to as I really wanted to see the Wii in action. I didn't see it there, no anything to do with the Gamecube. Everything was very, very DS oriented and they had about 30 game stations setup. There were a bunch of card game booths (sorry, didn't dig deep into those). NCsoft had a booth setup next to D&D online booth. NVidia had a booth that was so packed that I could get within 15 feet of because there was a layer of 8 deep in people crammed around it, so I skipped it and picked up some Penny-Arcade tee shirts, books, and pictures.

I then headed over to their second facility at one of the local hotels conference areas for the tabletop/card game areas via the shuttlebus that they had setup. And by shuttlebus, I mean a greyhound bus running every 10 minutes or so. I ended up spending about 6 hours at this area soaking the atmosphere and the much more friendly gamers. There was a room setup for folks to do some Star Wars LARPing as well as a very large room with eight 25 foot tables as well as a bunch of smaller tables setup. I was slightly disappointed when 60% of the room was setup just for organized tournaments (the new card game Spoils and also the PA organized tourneys) as there was not enough tables to do pickup games. The room was so crowded the AC couldn't keep up and they had peopling playing games in the hall. Out of pure serendipity, I ended up playing games with the same people I did last year (David and Larsen). We played Chrononauts, Ninja Burger, and Pink Godzilla Dev Kit. In addition to David and Larsen, hooked up with a bunch of other folks to play more of the same. In review of the games, they were fun. I own both Chrononauts (time travel card game where you manipulate the timeline to match your time line) and Ninja Burger (delivery your burger in 30 minutes or less without being seen), but Pink Godzilla was released at PAX and I think I will buying before too much longer. In that one you play a game development company and you are competiting with other companies to make the best games the quickest.

Overall the conference was overwhelming and crowded but I really, really appreciate the time and effort that all the enforcers, planners, and organizers put into the event. It was just a tremendous blast. Thank you Gabe, Tycho and company and I will see you all again next year!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pluto, I mourn thee

So I was initially bummed out by removing Pluto from the mix of planets. I thought of all the literature and such that would need be rewritten and foudn heart that the web has become very integrated in peoples lives and all it takes is a slight change to wikipedia to change the web's encyclopedia entry.

It is probably best for astronomy as a whole to define planets and other heavenly bodies. Why didn't they do this before? Did they just say, "Hey, you are a planet." I just don't know, maybe Matches can enlighten me. I just have to ask though is where my class M or class O planets are? Why not borrow Star Trek and start classifying all heavenly bodies? Maybe they are and I am not into that scene enough to know it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back from the midwest!

Well we just spent two weeks hanging out in the midwest. Specifically in Michigan and Minnesota. We had lots of fun, but at the same point travelling has become much more stressful. Miranda did well but wow, is it hard to travel with an infant, let alone be travelling for 2 weeks. But we made it.
miranda in midwest 170

So we got to see a ton of family and friends, which is great. We handed out a bunch of cards to our websites and to our photo album. For those that are looking for all the pictures we have in flickr, you will need to be a flickr member (it's free) and let me know what your flickr account is so that I can add you to my circle of trust. You can't just blindly trust everyone on the internet.

Also we got to go see Joy (Michelle's cousin) and Jeremy get married. It really was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception with great food and music. Unfortunately Michelle missed alot of the ceremony as Miranda decided to mess up her diaper and then demand to be fed. Timing was impeccable.
jeremy and joy's wedding

Finally, my brother took me to Chicago to see Tom Waits at the Auditorium Theatre. The show was just plain awesome. The played many of my recent favorites as well as some stuff that I didn't recognize. The sound setup was great as well as all the musicians. One of the highlights had to be during one of the encores when they did Murder in the Red Barn as a more bluesy version instead of the clanging version. It was just a plain fun experience and I owe it all to my brother. Thanks!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Going underground...

So I am going to be off the blogging for a while as well of my normal news sites. Want to get some reading done and other misc stuff. Will resume normally unscheduled random posts when I feel like it again.

And Andy, where is my picture comment?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

1 year in review

Today was my 1 year anniversary at my new job. It is amazing what can happen in a year and how much I have had the opportunity to learn. In retrospect, I am still glad for the decision that I made to come out here.

The primary reason for leaving my last job was for a better opportunity. There is only so much you can do with software in a metal bending company. They don't see it as an opportunity to gain new avenues of cash flow. They see it only as a necessary evil and cost to run the machinery. I wanted to experience what happens when software is the primary driver of cash. In this case, the software enables the sale of goods, but that is a heck of a lot closer.

Another main reason for leaving my last job, was two of main thought leaders (imho) left the company. They were the reason I was still there that long. Some may say that is loyalty to your boss/boss's which leads being trapped in a position or stagnation. In this case, these two exemplified true leadership. The kind that creates a vision of what needs to get done and infects those around them with the desire to carry that vision to. Beyond that, they did what they said. Simply that.

So they left, and I did too. That is not to say that all the people I respected left. In fact there are still some very brilliant people there that I wish I could steal away!

Besides changing employers and regions, which I must say the Pacific Northwest is gorgeous minus the horrific traffic flow design, our family expanded. That just adds to the joy of things and the new learnings there. It is quite the perspective changer. It also brings a little more worry to my life, but we try our best.

So what do I have? I job I enjoy and am learning from. New, brilliant people I get to work with. A gorgeous daughter, I get to spoil. A new area to explore.


miranda smiles

Registered for PAX

Going to Penny Arcade Expo again this year. Only going for Saturday though.

If you like gaming and are not going, shame on you.

Interested in going? Get pre-registered.