Friday, January 2, 2015

[RAVE] New Year's Eve 2014: Literally a rave.

New Year's Eve wrap up post? Ok sure. This will be a very long story since I have time to start writing it up as I fly home from Phoenix. It's primarily for my own benefit so I can look back and revisit it, but if you care to follow along I wholeheartedly welcome you for the ride. So:

I flopped out of bed at 5 AM Pacific on Tuesday to make my 7 AM flight to New York. Stopped in Phoenix to switch planes, then on to Milwaukee before finally getting to Laguardia at 6:30 PM Eastern.

In Milwaukee, we picked up a large black dude who squished me into the corner of my window seat. I'll be honest: it sucked a little bit. He turns to me and says nervously, "I never flew before." Instantly, the mood lightened.

"No shit? Are you scared? It's cool man, flying is fun. Thousands of people do it every day, don't worry about it. You'll see!" We talked about take offs and landings, what everything looks like from up in the air, and how he was meeting up with people in Georgia before going on to Alabama.

I checked into the hotel around 7:30 PM, changed clothes, and walked over to Pier 36, the venue for Kaskade's "Redux NYC" show. En route, a couple stopped me. "Excuse me, do you know where Pier 36 is?"

"Ha! No. But I'm looking for it too. I know it's up this way, c'mon." So we walked together, they talked about how he's more into Kaskade's progressive house style tunes, but she really wanted to check out the deep house style set that was happening that night. Then we waited in the freezing cold until after 9:00 for doors that were supposed to open at 8:00. When I finally got to the door, the VIP ticket scanners weren't coded to accept VIP bar codes, delaying entry and keeping us out in the cold even longer. It was miserable, people were crying foul, and I'm not even sure it ever fully got sorted out, but at least they let me inside.

In the coat check line, I encountered some fangirls that I recognized from Kaskade retweeting them on multiple occasions. I said hi and that I knew them from Twitter, which went exactly as awkwardly as you might expect, and then we all promptly buggered off on our separate ways.

I forgot to eat since breakfast at the airport that morning, so I hit up the food trucks outside and had schnitzel for the first time. The chef guy running the truck was really cool, and it actually hit the spot.

Around that time, I posted a tweet wondering if I was the only Californian at the show.

Spoiler alert: I was not.

I got a reply from a webcam model saying that she was there and also from California. I offered to buy her a drink and ended up hanging out with her ragtag band of merry fellows for the rest of the night: a local girl in LED studded shoes, a sorority girl from Florida and her gay BFF, and another sweet couple that I think was also local.

Everyone was super friendly and we danced until Kaskade played "4 AM" at 4 AM, which is my favorite thing ever. Halfway through the night, we pushed our way toward the front of the crowd just in time to see Skrillex show up and take over the decks for a few tracks. It was a total surprise to me, and I loved it, but others (haters) felt differently.

The sorority girl and I seemed to hit it off really well, and she danced with me to "4 AM", and it was just a perfect moment. We all followed each other on Twitter, hit up Dunkin Donuts, and said our farewells.

Four hours later, I was on my way back to the airport, en route to Phoenix via Chicago Midway.

I landed around 6:30 PM Mountain, 30 minutes after doors opened at Decadence. Savoy was up first, but I didn't get out of the hotel until after his set ended. There was a snafu with the shuttles that were supposed to take hotel guests to the venue at Frontier Hall. Also, it was cold and raining. Rain in the desert is super dumb because everything dissolves into a muddy slick. Fed up with waiting for transportation that may never come, I walked to the place and got my shoes and jeans all fucked up.

I could hear Kaskade's "A Little More" pulsing in the air as I danced through the parking lot. Then I waited in the entrance line, then the 21+ wristband line, and finally got inside half an hour after I had hoped. Thankfully, they had booked Kaskade for a 90 minute set, and he was playing "Move For Me" as I walked in, and who am I to argue with that?

I wandered over to the VIP area and found that the barricade holding out the pleb GA crowd had room for people to climb up and stand above everyone else, elevating my god tier VIP status /even further/!! That was where I perched as we rolled into 2015 and where I shared a lot of love with all the beautiful weirdo ravers around me.

I met a girl from LA who was there to see Seven Lions. She danced with me to "Strangers" and I could see in her eyes the exact moment when his "Running to the Sea"/"Breakdown VIP" mix blew her mind.

There was another girl nearby who was 100% frowns, her clearly intoxicated nerdy boyfriend haranguing her. I literally saw her tell him, "You can go home for all I care!" She was so grumpy and unhappy; I felt bad but I didn't know what I could do. I motioned toward her to my Seven Lions buddy and she nodded knowingly and frowned.

There were two other couples nearby, one hetero and one gay dudes. The gay dudes had their arms around each other and they were so cute I had to reach down and hug them both. They were confused at first, but then the hetero couple joined in for a five way hug. Then my Seven Lions buddy piled on, and the gay guys patted my ass, and I reached out to the unhappy girl and beckoned her to partake of the love. She was reluctant, but with six of us begging her, she couldn't resist and her sour face finally broke into a smile and laughs. She was still upset at whatever her boyfriend did, but for that moment I hope she felt #ALittleMore happy.

Fedde Le Grand played "Sky Full of Stars" to ring in the new year and everyone had their lighters and phones up in the air. The rest of the night was all smiles and dancing. A guy wandered past and gave me his rave glasses; I passed them on when I left the building. On my way to the bathroom, I passed a female couple kissing and they were so cute I had to accost them with a group hug too. Just doing my part to make 2015 the gayest year on record.

Leaving the place was worse than trying to get there. No shuttles still, and there was no separation between people waiting for taxis and people waiting for friends and family pickup. It was a clusterfuck of drunk assholes all trying to escape the cold first. Walking back in the cold and damp, the clouds parted and a security truck descended from heaven and the sweet security lady offered me a ride back to the hotel on her angel wings. I was very deeply grateful for that.

In the morning, the bellhop called me a cab and while I waited a guy came up to me, "Hey, do you play?"

I had my League of Legends World Championships tshirt on, so I said, "Yeah, a little bit."

"Yeah, I saw you here last night and I said to my wife, 'Hey, that guy has a Warhammer 40k backpack.' She said, 'What?' and I was like, 'You know, the game I play with the models and the dice?' And she just rolled her eyes..." He was from Oklahoma and he lamented the lack of local gamers to play Warhammer with, and then we chatted about our favorite armies and units and the hobby in general until his shuttle to the Cactus Bowl arrived.

As he left, a straight-laced 40-something looking couple cruised out of the lobby. They commented on a straggling raver's outfit as he stumbled into the hotel. Somehow, there was music playing when he walked by, and I said to the couple, "Is his phone ringing or is he just radiating music?"

They laughed and went on about the concert they saw the night before with their daughter over at Frontier Hall. I smiled and told them I was at the same show. The lady said to the guy, "They don't call it a concert, honey, it's a rave." They talked about how excited they were to see Kaskade, and how they had never heard of him until, by chance, they saw him play in Vegas and fell in love with his music. We talked a bit about EDM culture and how nice everyone is at raves. My cab arrived just as the valet brought their car around, so we all wished each other a happy new year and that's the end of this story.

Whew. Happy and healthy 2015, everyone!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

[RANT] Complaints about lack of crowd noise at Worlds?

I posted this as a comment on the League of Legends subreddit in one of the many threads regarding the lukewarm audience cheering heard on the World Championship Finals livestream:

I've been to plenty of nerd gatherings (from Anime Expo, to Comic-Con, to PAX, to MLG, to Worlds Semis and Finals) and one thing is always the same: crowds of nerds like us don't cheer for no reason, and our silence is not an indicator of our mood or enthusiasm. 
On average, we are a group of respectful, intelligent, and thoughtful people. When someone is talking, we tend to shut up and listen. When we're watching the action happen, we tend to shut up and focus on it. 
And when we see something we like, we will react to it with more passion than anyone else on Earth.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

[RANT] TDKR (spoilers)

I saw The Dark Knight Rises last night. I had some problems with the end. Not "the ending", but the whole end sequence. Spoilers and nerdrage abound, so properly warned ye be, says I.

Monday, July 16, 2012

[RAVE] Another con, come and gone

Here again I sit upon the threshold of post-con depression, that sinking feeling of returning to the doldrums of real life after a weekend of saturating myself in the best of what nerd culture has to offer. The venue this time: San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

I wasn't even sure I would go this year. Some personal stuff happened between preregistration (which was done onsite at last year's con) and the start of this year's con. This wasn't the first time I've had to go to SDCC alone, but it's more fun and practical with a partner. Who better to save your seat while you run to the bathroom between the Supernatural and Doctor Who panels? But I digress...

I wasn't even sure I would go this year, but I'm glad I did. I made checklists of primary and backup goals, like I always do. There is so much programming at SDCC that I could easily double or triple book myself all four days of the con.

My goals for SDCC 2012 were pretty simple:

Friday, January 20, 2012

[RAVE] @jonathancoulton, I could kiss you on the mouth!

Originally posted here, emphasis added by me:
Is it really as dire as all that? It’s an emergency is it? Tim points out that he and a lot of other content creators have been happily coexisting with piracy all this time, and I’m certainly one of them. Make good stuff, then make it easy for people to buy it. There’s your anti-piracy plan. The big content companies are TERRIBLE at doing both of these things, so it’s no wonder they’re not doing so well in the current environment. And right now everyone’s fighting to control distribution channels, which is why I can’t watch Star Wars on Netflix or iTunes. It’s fine if you want to have that fight, but don’t yell and scream about how you’re losing business to piracy when your stuff isn’t even available in the box I have on top of my TV. A lot of us have figured out how to do this.
There's a lot more to JoCo's blog post, like the part about:
Looking at the music business, yes profits have gone down ever since Napster, but has anyone effectively demonstrated the causal link between that and piracy? There are many alternate theories (people buying songs and not whole albums, music sucking more, niches and indie acts becoming more viable, etc.). The Swiss government did a study and determined that unauthorized downloading (which 1/3 of their citizens do) does not create any loss in revenue for the entertainment industry.
so I can safely recommend making time to read the whole thing.

Friday, December 23, 2011

[RAVE] SWTOR: Putting the "RP" back into "MMORPG".

I specifically avoided beta testing Bioware's STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC because I didn't want to spoil it for myself. Now that it has gone live and I've had a chance to scratch the surface of it, I can already say that the game is the second most immediately immersive MMO I've played.

"Immersion" is a term that gets bandied about a lot when discussing persistent online worlds, and Warhammer Age of Reckoning's "WAR is everywhere" motto really shone through in the starter zones, especially for Dwarfs and Greenskins.

In SWTOR, though, the NPC interactions make the gameplay experience really like a roleplaying game.

I'll save my breath here and just echo Mike Krahulik's opinion, because he has already put my feelings into words:

First of all, a lot has been made about the new “fourth pillar” of story telling. Is it really all they are making it out to be? In my personal opinion, yes, it really is a big deal and let me tell you why.  In the short time I’ve been playing SW:TOR I have already given more thought to my character than I ever did in all the years I played WOW. I’ve had to make hard choices with my Bounty Hunter that have made me honestly think about who he is and what he’s like. At first I intended to play him as a real asshole but some of the moral quagmires these quests put you in just aren’t that black and white. Do I do what gets me the most credits? Do I stay loyal to the person who gave me the job even it means hurting Innocent people? As a result of all this I have a character that is a hard ass bounty hunter who has a soft spot for people in trouble and children. The only thing I could tell you about my WOW character Dudefella is that he was a mage and a hell of a good dancer. 
Of course all MMO’s now are going to have you taking quests but I think the big difference here is that I tend to care more about these quests. I will admit I am not a quest reader when I play an MMO. I click and click until it’s accepted and then read the breakdown on my way out to wherever the wolf bladders are. Playing a class in SW:TOR is like playing a single player Bioware game. People are talking to you and you’re deciding how to respond and making dialog choices. Turning the quests into an interactive experience makes me care a lot more about them. A quest is still a chance to get XP, money and loot but it’s also an opportunity to advance your character towards the dark or light side based on your decisions. In most MMO’s taking quests is what you do so that you can go play. In SW:TOR, taking quests is playing.

Bioware has always done an incredible job of putting you in your character’s shoes and making you care about them. The fact that they have managed to transfer that into the MMO space is a fucking triumph in my opinion.
I started a Smuggler character named "Ruxin" and the first thing that happened was some douchebag NPC jacked my starship. So now Ruxin is stuck on this dumb planet trying to find the guy and get his ship back, but the locals keep dragging him into their civil war by heaping money on him (which he gladly accepts) to run odd jobs for them. Ruxin doesn't care who wins the war as long as he gets paid, but he's discovered that he does care about helping orphans and exposing spies and doing the job he was contracted for even if it means choosing violence over a peaceful solution. All of these little details have come to the surface through my own choice of dialog options when interacting with the quest NPCs.

I was on the fence about playing this game at all, but I'm glad I gave it a shot because it's pretty awesome so far.

Monday, December 5, 2011

[RANT] In which I stifle my nerdrage at the @nerdist taping (spoilers)

WARNING: This post talks about shit that happened (or will happen?) on an episode of the Nerdist TV show that airs in January 2012. If you're so nerdy that you care about talk show spoilers, don't finish reading this.