PAX

Woot! gods, please forgive me.

I turn my friends into jealous bitches every time I mention it (and maybe I’m getting a little annoying talking about it too), so I avoided it in my last post. It has now become apparent that I’ve offended the Woot! gods. I must correct this.

During PAX, I checked my twitter feed regularly. Around mid-day on Saturday, @WootLive said something that made it apparent that whoever runs @WootLive was at Bumbershoot. I love Bumbershoot, but with a choice between Bumbershoot and PAX, PAX seemed the logical choice of place for Woot people to be on Labor Day weekend in Seattle.

 So I said:

@WootLive how can you be in Seattle and NOT at PAX?

and @WootLive made me giggle:

@AmandaRainBHM We try to only cover COOL events. #uncalledforslam #oneofusisatPAXtoo

Not long later, @wootgatzby introduced himself as the Woot person who was at PAX:

@AmandaRainBHM Hehe, I’ve been at PAX the last two days. Nobody even asked about the giant woot! symbol on my shirt. =(

@AmandaRainBHM (They don’t let me have access to @WootLive though. Something about restraining orders, public indecency, and fire.)

And thus began my twitterfriendship with @wootgatzby. This was another of my favorite highlights of PAX (even though we didn’t really meet).

Since then I’ve also met another Woot! employee via twitter. Another nice, funny guy who is new to Seattle, but this one doesn’t include Woot in his profile, so I’m not going to share his name here (in case he actually likes his privacy).

I’m enjoying the odd twitterfriendship that I’ve developed with these Woot! people, and hope we can still meet for a game night some day (after I’m done with school).

PS – If you’re one of the other people who I met at PAX, I do have a couple more PAX posts coming eventually. You probably aren’t forgotten.

PAX: In a nut-shell

PAX was pretty amazing.

Seriously. Where else can you be in a line with hundreds of other people in sight for two hours and have everyone remain patient? When else have you looked down on the floor of a theater to see more than three quarters of the audience fiddling with their laptop, PSP, DS, or phone while waiting? People who weren’t messing with some form of electronics before a show or panel looked out of place.

I began the weekend with my wish-list of panels. I picked all of the panels that I wanted to see, then eliminated panels that overlapped (of course, giving preference to any that may enlighten me about getting into the industry or what it is like working in the industry).

I was left with a list of panels for Friday that was packed so full that even if there were no lines, I wouldn’t be able to make all of them. I knew this, and I accepted the reality that I would be lucky even if I got into half of them. My “wish list” for Saturday and Sunday was nowhere near as full, but still had some very intriguing panels.

After all of my planning, I didn’t actually attend any of the panels that I’d planned on.

I’m always a bit embarrassed that I know very few names of people who are legendary in the industry I want to work in. Warren Spector is one of those names. Until a friend gave me a hard time for not knowing who Warren Spector is, I was clueless. After I was enlightened, I decided that I should go to the keynote.

On Friday, I got in line bright and early. I sat and chatted with Alex from New Jersey and Adrian from Texas while we waited in line and again during the keynote. Adrian and Alex were great fun and I regret not swapping contact information with them.

The keynote was spectacular. If you are passionate about gaming, work in the industry, or want to work in the industry, I highly recommend listening to a recording. All of the recordings that I’ve found have poor sound quality and video that isn’t worth watching, but are still worth listening to. A couple options are here and here.

After the keynote, I stayed for the Penny Arcade Q&A. It was amusing, but I think I would have preferred to spend that hour walking around the show floor.

On Saturday, Hubby and I met up with friends and sat in line for Acquisitions, Inc.; a live game of D&D with Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (the Penny Arcade guys), Wil Wheaton, Scott Kurtz (PvP Online), and Chris Perkins (who I have heard is a legendary DM). After sitting in line for about 20 minutes, an Enforcer came by and told everyone that our section of the line was the end, and we should turn away everyone who came after. We waited another hour before the doors opened, and in the end our section of the line (about 200 people) weren’t able to get in. There had been a mis-count. I was super bummed, mostly because of the hours wasted waiting to get in (and knowing that we would) when I could have been seeing games!

Saturday morning we met a friend for breakfast (most expensive bowl of oatmeal ever). At the table across from ours Warren Spector was having his breakfast and reading. Even though I’d only learned who he was a few days before, I was a bit star struck.

The rest of Friday and Saturday we socialized with friends and wandered the convention center. I never actually played any games, since it takes me way longer than the 15 minutes to decide if I like a game. I loved watching the Rock Band free play stage; it was fun seeing people cheer more for performers who tried and sucked than they did for performers who were just mediocre. The Saturday night concert was great fun. Paul and Storm were great. I would love to see them live again.

Hubby wasn’t feeling well on Sunday, so I was on my own. I explored all the areas that I hadn’t seen yet, and then I walked through the entire expo floor again so that I’d know where I was going.

Sunday was the day I was going to put my cards to use. I was going to introduce myself to people at the various MMO booths, talk to them about how they got into the industry, and ask them for advice. But that dreaded shyness took over, and I just couldn’t talk myself into bugging people when they were obviously busy. I did end up talking to a couple of people who work at MMO development companies. I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not being more outgoing.

In all, it was a great weekend and I can’t wait until PAX Prime 2011.

(Edited 10/14/10: Because I’m a dork and like to believe that PAX continued until Monday. Corrected references to things happening on Monday to reflect Sunday.)

I’m Back!

I intended to start posting about my experiences at PAX the day I arrived home. That didn’t happen… So what’s been going on?

First of all, I was exhausted from all the fun and craziness that is PAX. That coupled with that I’m not the most eager writer ever might have been enough to get me to postpone writing about PAX.

And then there was the suitcase ordeal. That is a story for another post. It was Tuesday afternoon when the suitcase issue was resolved and then the reality that part of my little vacation was set aside for studying sunk in, and I had to move on to school work.

My final for last quarter’s class (Fundamentals of Finance and Accounting) was due two Fridays after PAX. (more…)

Would you like one lump, or two?

I haven’t made time to write since last Sunday. So, to keep myself in the habit (and help me sleep better), I’ve decided to share this (relatively unedited train of thought) post. Think of it as the two of us sitting down over tea, and me monopolizing the conversation.

This last week flew by. Work was chaotic (in a verging on maddening yet semi-controlled sort of way), so much that I postponed a day off just so I could take that day knowing that I wasn’t perpetuating my backlog of work.

I mentioned recently that writing here has been helping me sleep better. This past week echoed that reality. I’ve gone back to waking up in the middle of the night thinking about everything and nothing, and having some really strange dreams. I’m sure it is fueled by my excitement for PAX (and then graduation), my eagerness to have a change in my career, and my nervousness about making it happen.

PAX is less than twelve days away now! I’m still fretting about being prepared. My hubby and a couple of our friends have planned what they’re going to wear each day. And they’re guys. I’m trying to get on that bandwagon, but I only have one shirt planned. For the other two, I’ll probably just pick whatever seems appropriate the day before.

I’ve started planning which panels to attend. I’d like to go to all of them, and then have another 3 or 4 days to wander and gawk over/play with all of the games and toys that will be there. The reality is that I’ll probably do a couple of career focused (not fanboy focused) panels per day, and spend the rest of the time exploring the glory that is PAX. Oh, and drinking caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.

I did decide to bring “introduction cards” (business cards, but for me – not for any business), because a little help to my networking skills couldn’t hurt. I haven’t decided what to put on them yet though. That may be my next task.

Well, that and completing two weeks worth of school work in the next 10 days.

~ Amanda

A few PAX related links

Still looking for that reset button.

Today is already getting better.

Earlier today I tweeted about my day being off to a bad start. It was. I woke up feeling hung over and aching all over (even though last night I only drank water). I had one co-worker upset about a change request I’d sent them after testing an update to one of our internal systems. I’m sure I annoyed the heck out of another with a few emails for little changes on a different project (fortunately, the second co-worker didn’t complain).

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Preparing for PAX

I get to go to PAX this year! One month from now, the gamer masses will converge on Seattle for a three days of geekyness (as will music lovers for a different event, expect traffic). This will be my first PAX.

For the past week I haven’t been able to get PAX out of my head. Going to PAX is a big deal for me, both as a fangirl and as someone who wants to work in the video game industry. My inner project manager is planning what to bring and what to do, and making lists. A good plan starts with a list of things that need to happen right? (Well, after an objective, but that is already defined: PAX + Fun + Networking.) 

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I’m going to PAX! (aka woe was me)

Last year was a busy year. I struggled to keep up in school and keep myself motivated, and even though I had plenty to keep me busy, I was insanely jealous when Labor Day weekend came around and my husband went to PAX without me. I spent the weekend working on a final paper for my Intercultural Communication class (one of my favorite classes so far), but I couldn’t stop thinking about (more…)