How to Prepare for PAX

This originally appeared on the old 1oS blog, but I’m updating and reposting it here, as I think it might still be useful. 

Someone asked me if I had any advice on what they should expect when attending PAX, or how they should prepare for their first gamer convention. I do! And some of this advice is also good for any gaming or nerd gathering (SDCC, E3, etc) and some is specifically for the PAX culture. But I hope you find it all helpful.
Continue reading

Every one of your stupid complaints about the Ghostbusters reboot, shot down in flames

So, new Ghostbusters project is finally getting off the ground. It’s a reboot with a female cast, from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.

Naturally, the internet lost its shit.

I saw a lot of moaning, criticisms, and prejudgments, and conveniently, most are summed up pretty neatly in this GeekTyrant article by Joey Paur. I generally like GeekTyrant’s coverage, but this particular post is as selfish and misguided as it gets. Let me break it down:  Continue reading

My PAX Prime 2014 schedule

Yes, I’ll be there! So will Kat!

FRIDAY 8/29 | 8:00PM – 9:00PM | HEDGEHOG
Game Show Night: Jeopardy!
This…is…Jeopardy! Well, no it’s not – since all the answers and questions are going to be about gaming and geek culture, it’s more like Mild Peril. The contestants will be you, the PAX attendees, so bring your thinking caps to this panel—you might be on the show! Just don’t wear anything that will clash with host Dan Amrich’s incredibly blinding red jacket. Part of Game Show Night at PAX Prime 2014!

Note: This is the middle block of Game Show Night, between Pyramid and Blankety Blank. The show really starts at 7 — but show up early if you want to be considered as a contestant for any of the games!

All three games will be livestreamed on Twitch here, starting at 7pm on Friday night! 

SATURDAY 8/30 | 2:30PM – 3:30PM | SPHINX
Help Design Game Journalism Story!
You’ve been invited to help design a games journalism simulator, a majestic open-world universe featuring Doritos-stained keyboards and fantastic bribes for reviewing games. This satirical panel, featuring game press veterans, invites the audience to participate in the faux-design meeting, allowing for honest and humorous discussion about some of game journalism’s most persistent myths.

SATURDAY 8/30 | 5:30PM – ??? | TABLETOP FREEPLAY
Our annual PAX tradition continues — The Great Dalmuti! All are welcome, as it’s a card game you can learn on the spot. Or watch this. But we’ll do that for a while Saturday night.

SUNDAY 8/31 | 8:00PM – 9:00PM | WYVERN
Three Old Guys Play Falling-Block Games
Join us for the 30-year history of falling-block puzzle games, from the genre granddaddy Tetris through clones and milestones like Columns, Super Puzzle Fighter, and even a few you’ve probably never heard of before. As usual, our panelists will demonstrate how not to play.

The Mystery of the Nearly-Broadband House

Whenever Kat and I talk about the house we will one day own — that is, the house we hope to buy once we get off the rental treadmill — we have agreed that one necessity is that the entire place be wired for broadband. I want Ethernet jacks in every room so we can stop relying on flaky WiFi for all our various computers, video streamers, game consoles, and whatever else comes up later.

We found a great place in Hayward for the move back to the Bay Area, and I immediately noticed that the walls contained both coax barrels and RJ-45 jacks marked DATA in most rooms. There’s even one in the kitchen.

Could I be that lucky — is this house wired for broadband? Well, if I am and it is, I haven’t figured out how to make it work. And this is where I need your help.  Continue reading

Update on the 2013 PC

If you’re just tuning in: I built my last PC in 2008 and decided to buy one, for the first time since the late 90s. I went with iBuyPower for a few reasons: Price-shopping, they beat everybody else on the market (at least for what I wanted), and I’d spoken to two recent customers — one about three years ago, one just this past year — and both had positive things to say. I also heard “I have no reason to avoid them” from a few pros that I trust. One of those recent customers recommended I go pick it up in person, thereby saving shipping costs and potential damage, so that’s exactly what I did on Friday morning. They are about 45 minutes away from West LA, and I was in and out in 30 minutes. I then spent all night — literally, until about 4am — installing software while simultaneously rebuilding and reformatting my old PC to be Kat’s new gaming rig, so we could play games Saturday when she woke up. Since this happened right after E3, I’ve been exhausted all weekend.

So here it is:  Continue reading

My new PC, circa 2013

Order placed! It’s my first new PC since 2008, and the first I haven’t built myself since the late 90s. I went with iBuyPower because people I trust had good experiences with them, I can pick up the build locally and not even risk damage during shipping, and because their prices were crazy low — on par or better than me doing it myself. And I won’t panic about bending CPU pins or frying chips with static electricity during install!

For the folks who like to get into details, my goals were silence, a fair amount of future-proofing, and good H264 encoding performance. I don’t overclock. So, after polling some pals and the advice of Tested.com columnist Nathan Edwards, here’s what I cooked up:  Continue reading

Boots? Let me tell you about my boots

My Drinky Mouse outfit: The slippers look great, but hurt like hell.

If I have learned one thing from years of inconsistent cosplay, it’s this: Don’t forget your feet. I’ve had more fun ruined by crappy footwear. I go to great lengths to get everything right and then an hour into whatever I’m doing, suddenly I’m getting blisters or my feet start cramping or whatever. Sneakers with your Boba Fett armor is something of a cop-out, but I understand why people do it. Still, I have always felt there had to be a way to have quality, comfortable footwear that makes sense with your outfit, no matter what it is. Continue reading

Star Wars “fans” have a thing to learn from Tom Lehrer

No one is more dangerous than someone who thinks he has “The Truth.”

My personal hero in life, Tom Lehrer, said those words in regards to religion, but today I realize they apply to something far more important: Star Wars. 

Today it was reported that Zack Snyder is developing a new Star Wars film, a Jedi tale inspired by Seven Samurai (which itself inspired Lucas when creating Star Wars). We will see if these reports turn out to be true, but it doesn’t really matter, because fans have made it clear that this is a terrible thing and should not exist. A totally random comment from someone I do not know (I just searched Twitter for “Zack Snyder”) is totally representative of the chatter I’ve seen all morning:  Continue reading