by postmortem on 6/09/2011

On this day, I woke up late. Somehow, my alarm had been silenced, meaning either I had not properly set it, or it had gotten me up without actually waking me and I silenced it out of habit. I think Grim ended up waking me with a phone call saying everyone was headed to breakfast. I said not to wait for me, and got ready for the day faster than I ever had before in my life. I think I showered and got dressed and whatnot in less than five minutes. Additionally, due to my purchasing spree the previous day, I was out of cash. The closest ATM was two or three blocks up the street at a 7/11, so I jogged up there and back just in time to catch the tail end of breakfast. Conversations was about what would be expected, HBO, games, etc. We all once again headed to the line and began our ride in to Seattle. Along the way, myself and Kermit talked a lot about writing and some of the many Halo projects I’m involved with and swapped contacts. When we got to the convention center I decided to grab a footlong from Subway (spicy with everything!), while Grim got some food from a crepe stand for a very attractive girl handing out Alienware lanyards and other goods (his story to tell). At Halo Fest, we arrived just in time to get front row seats for the Bungie panel.

My view

Although it was before my time at HBO, it made me proud to hear that Bungie went to HBO when they needed help figuring out their own game’s timeline.

After the panel, it didn’t seem like there was much else happening until the Halo Universe panel in an hour, so I headed over to the PAX floor across the street to see what that was all about.

I wandered around aimlessly, checking out the various booths that were more about marketing than community and networking, which disappointed me quite a bit after my highly social ComiCon experience in May. But, there was still much to be impressed by, as can no doubt be confirmed by anyone who saw the Skyrim booth. Like all who laid eyes upon the (life size?) Alduiin that cast its wrathful gaze over the show floor, I couldn’t help but migrate over in that direction. I didn’t jump in line to play (two to three hours for a game I’ll play eventually regardless?… no thanks), but I did watch for a bit as others enjoyed the demo.

While doing so, I noticed that a familiar face was standing next to me. I said hello once again to Jonathan Goff, who seemed thrilled to introduce me to Eric Raab, of Tor and “Stomping on the Heels of a Fuss” fame (for those who didn’t read Evolutions, the short story is an excellent and strikingly realistic analysis of Brute pack behavior and provides a little insight into the desperation of human faith five hundred years from now). Realizing the opportunity, I whipped out my copy of Evolutions which I had received from Goff at ComiCon and asked Eric if he would sign it. We spent a little time searching for a marker (they were out of black at all nearby stores, go figure), and managed to find a pen instead. Shortly after he finished signing, a woman he had previously asked for a marker showed up with one. So now my signed Evolutions copy has a little double dose of Raab.

We wandered over to the Bioshock Infinite booth together and looked things over, chatting a bit while doing so, before I said my farewells and headed back in time to catch the Halo Universe panel.

One thing that the video doesn’t express properly is how awesome it was when Thom activated his energy sword to keep the zombies at bay. Sitting on the ground right next to him, the very distinct sound of the plasma sparking to life sounded out. Apparently it wasn’t loud enough to be captured by the IGN cameras, but it was a great moment, and all of us from HBO got a kick out of Kevin Grace giving a shout out to Mr. Loftus in reference to keeping the universe consistent going forward.
Afterwards I headed over with everyone to the line for signatures, where I got my copy of Evolutions signed by Traviss (I already had a signed copy of Cryptum), and chatted with her about my excitement that she was writing the next Halo novel, telling her that I absolutely loved “Human Weakness”, as the writing style perfectly tackled two of my favorite non-human characters from the Halo universe. I thanked Mr. Bear for fleshing out the story of the Forerunners after so many mysterious years with little information, and for the perfect style he chose to portray their society, without giving too much away. Shook their hands and wandered for a little bit, before heading immediately back to get seats for the next panel (I wasn’t going to sit on the floor again!)

While waiting, Kermit pulled aside Dan Ayoub, and he took a little lashing from Kermit, ncsuDuncan, and myself on his comment that “text terminals are boring” from one of the previously released ViDocs.

The moment was captured on tape, minus my beautiful face, and Dan Ayoub gave a shout out to us during the panel, mentioning “the HBO guys” (can be seen at 11:05 for those not watching the whole thing.)

Another great moment was when Dennis Ries stuck the Jackal, and the crowd cheered for his wonderful redemption from one of his previous demos. It was funny though, because he did it just as Dan Ayoub announced achievements for Halo one, so in the video it’s hard to tell if the crowd is cheering for achievements or for Dennis. It seems Dan thought the crowd was cheering for achivements, and Dennis thought the crowd was cheering for him (I was cheering for your Dennis!) And for the record, I was also one of the first to cheer for skulls being unlockables once again. I say one of the first, because as it turns out twenty other Halo fans were also the “first” cheering right alongside me for the brief second before the whole crowd erupted in applause.

And of course, everyone was very impressed with Dan’s French skills (Canadian background or not).

Wait, what happened to the day? Was I supposed to be doing tweet updates or something? ...
Isaac Frankel
Grunt Birthday Party, Boom skull, all skulls hidden, achievements based on the community done stuff, lots of mentions of HBO and HBO people.
Isaac Frankel
If you hear me yelling a lot during the campaign panel video, its because @ wasn't there to yell louder than me. :P
Isaac Frankel

After the panel, I left Halo Fest with a small group of HBO members and we walked to PF Changs and ate there. After dinner, I headed over to the Paramount theater, both to scope it out for tomorrow and to get in line for a game themed concert (I guess). Either way I didn’t end up going, because I found out through a text from my friend Erika that there was a gaming lounge at PAX where we could all sit down and play Halo.┬áSo Erika, Kermit, Grim IV and myself met up there and played well into the night… as it turned out, a bit later than I really should have, causing me to miss the line back due to a faulty GPS in my phone, unreliable directions from locals, and my general inability to function in a large city (did I mention I’m moving to Chicago next month?). Additionally, as I was on the phone with my girlfriend a chain of events was set in motion on that night, one which unfortunately cast a depressing gloom over the surprisingly sunny Seattle weather and events. You’ll hear a bit more about it here and there throughout the write up, but generally this is the sort of thing I don’t like to recall, let alone get entangled with the recollection of the better parts of an amazing trip.

So needless to say I ended up spending far too much money on a cab ride back that probably could have easily been avoided, and went to bed feeling pretty miserable about the night’s proceedings after leaving PAX.


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