#PAXAUS – Day 1

I bought our tickets many many months ago. I think almost as soon as they became available. They are just too much of a bargain to take risks with how long they will be available.

If you want to ask me “What’s a Pax?” – go over to Penny Arcade, read some comics, and maybe watch a video or two. A PAX is essentially a glorious celebration of amalgamated nerd culture. Over a three day weekend, there are panels on many varied topics, a show floor for PC, console, handheld hardware and games, board games, and many places to play and try a little bit of everything.

All set on the south bank of Melbourne, with all the food, and entertainment, and gas torches.

We’re now at the end of day one, and it just doesn’t feel like there is enough time to get to everything. Too many sessions. I am on average triple-booked throughout the day. I need more time to see all the great cosplaying. I need more time to play all the games.

Or perhaps a better filter. As great as the event is overall, it is not all equally great. I’ve been in two panels that felt a bit under-prepared. Like the host had had a great idea for a session, suggested it, got accepted, and then didn’t do any work to put together a cohesive set of questions and a narrative digging into the material. Which is a shame, because I was looking forward to the sessions on diversity in games.

And although Mike didn’t manage to make it to Australia this year, Jerry (Holkins) is firing on all cylinders like always. I like his words. He puts them in order in the most fantastic way. I need to figure out if there is something I could ask him to sign on my pass. I am leaning towards “A Second Naked Kris Straub” at the moment for reasons I cannot adequately explain outside of the context of the game of Quiplash I witnessed. I could easily listen to him all day.

I had a specific request lined up for Mike as well. Something from First 15 that I thought would go well on a T-shirt, but I will have to forego that privilege for now.

Maybe that was more to assuage my guilt over not knowing what either Mike or Jerry looked like last year, and possibly accidentally snubbing Mike at the pin-trade. Which I have since learned would have been an even more severe snub for the fact that pin-trading came forth from his imagination.

It is a shame that all these cool people gathered here together disperse again in less than 48 hours.

3 days just feels too short.

It’s like… less than 1% of the year. Does that sound like enough to you? It doesn’t to me.

Day 90 – Patterns at Night

I love flying places.
I don’t love delays, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story that I won’t go into right now.

Landing is the best part, especially at night. There is something about illumination in darkness that draws me. It’s probably one of the reasons I like walking late at night.

What makes landing so special is looking at the city-scape sliding along underneath the plane. A pointillist picture of light splattered on a dark landscape.

The lights all drift along seemingly without pattern, other than the bright streaks of the major highways. And then every once in a while when the flight-path aligns right and we reach the right position, the points suddenly snap into rigid patterns. Straight lines that were completely invisible a moment before become completely self-evident.

Patterns are in everything, and sometimes what it takes to see them is finding just the right perspective.

Getting to 10k at Night

I went out for a walk tonight to get to my 10k steps for the day. I also took the camera with me to try to take some night shots freehand.

I need some more practice at one of these two things; and my bracelet buzzed as I got back to the car, so you can guess which of the two turned out sub-par!

Nevertheless, below are the results with some commentary on each image.

Day 73 – Indirect Traffic

Go, Slow, Stop
Go, Slow, Stop

I wish the component images had been a little sharper; I clearly didn’t check closely enough. I was waiting for the lights as I was crossing the road on my late night walk tonight, and my eye was drawn to the bright colouring of the traffic lights on the school sign. At first I thought I’d slice it in thirds and composite a single sign from the three colours, but I think I like it better this way because it captures the light on the trees and footpath as well.

Day 53 – FitBit In The Dark

Most days I don’t get to my 10000 daily steps. My FitBit is very happy to point out how far I fall short. Tonight, 3500 steps just didn’t seem like an acceptable total.

So I went outside and had a walk in the dark.

I didn’t quite make 10000, but I think I got close enough for my comfort.

Add on top of that a nice solid 36 minutes of being “very active” apparently, and I almost feel like the FitBit dashboard is complimenting me. Below are some shots I captured along the way with my mobile, so excuse the poor low-light quality.

I may make night-walks a more regular part of my routine. Or at least walks in general. It’s very satisfying when the FitBit does its happy little buzz when I meet a goal and I don’t feel that nearly often enough!

Day 24 – Three-legged Night

I came back from Melbourne tonight. Melbourne had some weather, so the plane was late to arrive and hence late to leave. I was sufficiently late that I missed the opportunity to share a taxi. My driver was very extroverted when I was just feeling tired. I wonder if it is rude not to talk to the driver.

Once home and unpacked and caught up on 3 days of missed Internets, it seemed like a good idea to go out and take some night pictures with the tripod and camera remote. I was curious if I could get somewhat sharp shots as well.

They aren’t perfect, but they are a lot closer than my last attempts. I’ve read a little, and it seems the book-tips work:

  • Always use a tripod
  • Always use a remote
  • Always use low ISO with longer exposure

These are all always-es with asterisk-ses.

Art on the Lake
Art on the Lake

We drove down into a new estate where random neighbourhood art just happens. There were ducks in the lake, but I couldn’t think of a way to capture them in the available light. One of them sounded a bit strangled as we walked away from the ramp.

Along the Waterline
Along the Waterline

In the opposite direction I thought I’d see if I could get a sharp shot of the chain-link fence. I think I managed pretty well I think. I was hoping the clouds wouldn’t come out as light, but I couldn’t have the rest of the image without the clouds. Alas!

A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park

And finally, a path through a park dotted with lights. I was hoping to get the trees on either side sharp, but I seem to have failed in that. It would have made a nice frame in the middle of the shot had I succeeded. Still, it’s not a bad shot.

And of course, the header shot.

Which is the umbrella roundabout in the new estate as well. That one came out much better than I thought it would. I took a few shots and picked one without blurred cars. I worried having anything outside the umbrellas might ruin the picture, but I think it actually works better with some of the surrounds.