#PAXAUS – Day 2

I tried to sleep in. I honestly did. But at 9:00am I was awake, despite the best curtains I have ever had in a hotel room. Even at noon, it feels like midnight in here; I had to sneak behind the curtains to confirm that the light bleeding along the edges wasn’t an illusion.

After discovering yesterday that running from session to session is not a great way to spend a day (and missing half of them anyway), I had quite dramatically cut back on my personal schedule.

But I wasn’t going to miss “Penny Arcade – Make a Strip!” even if Mike wasn’t available. Kris Straub was a great fill-in; although his art wasn’t entirely to my tastes as much as Mike’s he was a lot more personable and engaged with the Q&A portion of the event.

I am in awe of how open and vulnerable Jerry Holkins is prepared to make himself. I don’t know if it is partially a well-exercised act, but despite agonising over whether to reveal personal details about himself, he always comes through. He’s not afraid to just be himself. I wonder if that’s the secret sauce that makes the PAX con so great; the fact that it originates from geeks with a great attitude about life.

The Six Rules of PAX should be a model for Tech Cons.

Sometimes,… (often… (always)) his unflappable nature results in a blue tinge to proceedings. Q: “Invent and illustrate a new form of erotica” was Chekhov’ed delicately on the corner of the desk and eventually resulted in some delightful Vesperotica / bat erotica.

It is a delight just to listen to Jerry ad-lib and riff.

Next up, I had a political panel which included two lobbyists and one Scott Ludlam. Hearing him speak always reminds me that a quiet measured voice often garners more attention than a raised voice.

It was an incredibly packed session; the queue snaked around corners, and I think we ended up with slightly more people in the room than there technically should have been. But it’s all good. It is good to see that level of interest in activism; I am taking it as a sign of an interest to do something, rather than thinking it might have seemed an opportunity to roast a politician or perhaps gloat over other politicians not-present.

I have many thoughts on the topic of activism in the general sense. I need to find more time to think them through and write them out. Or do something constructive with them. But for now, the call-to-action I felt compelled to write will have to do.

I spent a brief period in an “Are Gamers Social?” session. As much as I was interested to find there are all kinds of geek spaces starting to show up in all the major cities, I think the panel was a bit un-structured and could have done with a bit more preparation. Or perhaps a better premise than a question with an obvious answer.

I left early.

The session on “Geek Culture/Identity: Exploring the Reality of ‘Fake’ Geeks” had a much better premise, a much better panel and a much better moderator than most of the sessions. I’m wondering if PAX should do more to prepare panel moderators for their duties, because it’s not as easy as just showing up with an idea and some guests.

What is a Fake geek… or what is even a Real geek. The panel didn’t really come to a solid conclusion, other than, almost any topic with passionate adherents could be considered geekery. And I don’t disagree. But then, maybe instead of spending a lot of time on the central question we could have moved on to the answer that everyone is a geek for something, and maybe we should all just pay more attention not to alienate those with geekery that we do not quite understand. In a stereotypical jocks-vs-geeks stand-off, aren’t both sides misunderstanding how similar they really are?

I would love for a panel to explore that point in more depth.

This was the point in the evening where the musical entertainment in the main hall proved more interesting than the sessions I had ticked off on my schedule. I ended up seeing some of the Doubleclicks’ work on-stage, and I enjoyed it greatly… especially their tabletop song was a work of art.

And the Axis of Awesome had a bit of a shaky start with feedback from the speakers, but they had some great bits, and ended incredibly strongly on a whirlwind tour through the musical landscape of the last decade based on a single four-chord progression. Music has never sounded more monotonous to me than it did for the last 5 minutes of their act. And surprisingly, that’s a compliment… I think.

We ended the evening late with a full room for the “Sex & The Modern Geek” session; who would have thought that’d draw a full room.

A great discussion, helped along by some various scholarly and thoughtful input from the panel. I think there was a certain level of discomfort in the room around a few of the topics raised, but overall a great audience. I wish there was more room for topics like this at PAX.

Acceptance comes from understanding. Understanding comes from exposure. Discomfort is part of the process of losing your discomfort.

It was a great session to end the day on.

The realisation there is only one more day left (and one that ends early at 6pm at that) makes me a little sad. There are certain conferences I could spend a great deal more time on if the constraints of life would only permit it. I don’t think I would enjoy every panel on the schedule, but I could certainly fit a few more days in.

Alas, time to rest so I can make the most of the last.

Day 239 – And A Show

Tonight was delicious.

We had walked all the way along the river till we ran out of riverside restaurants. Only to spot a spiral staircase leading up to even more options. We selected the very first at that stage.

Apparently there was a show on somewhere, because we got asked several times if we wanted the 3 Course Meal that everyone was having before their performance. I still do not know what was on; I just know we didn’t go to it.

We did choose the Three Course Meal though. I had the cottage cheese/beetroot starter. Trout with the most delicious sauce and a zesty salad with sweet mango pieces. And crème brûlée for dessert. The portions were just the right size and absolutely delicious.

Heading back along the river we were then treated to a surprise show over the river.

I still do not know what the occasion was, but it was a nice way to end the evening.

Day 170 – Dinner and a Show

Tonight I went to Wet’n’Wild with some friends… after work and the gym. You could call it a bit of a packed day. Had a great time trying a few more of the slides. I don’t quite have a complete set yet, but I’m working on it.

Maybe I’ll manage to complete the set tomorrow?

There was only one hiccup all night. The racer slides had a bit of a mishap when someone got stuck halfway down… we theorized that they might have lost momentum by not keeping the front of their mat pulled up inside the tube. Trust me, that sentence actually makes sense…

Everything else worked out brilliantly though.

Dinner and a Show
Dinner and a Show

And when it gets dark, they turn on the light-show on the various slides. I hadn’t had dinner yet before heading out, so I took the opportunity to sit down with a burger and some chips and watch the people come by with the flashing lights in the background.

Anyone else up for a day in the water? 🙂