Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reflections of PAX

"So what was the highlight?"

This is the single big question that I always and repeatedly get asked after going home after PAX.  What was the big game, the best booth, the best swag that made it all worth it.  And it completely misses why I love PAX.

I've been to PAX five times now, and tomorrow I leave for PAX number six.  When I reflect back upon all the moments over those trips (and there are a lot of them), I don't think about that time I got to play Dishonoured or Gears Of War 3 or Titanfall or whatever other "before it came out" game I got to play.  I think about the time I got to shake Ken Levine's hand and get a poster autographed by him.  I think about the moment walking down the street and seeing Jonathon Coulton walking down the street beside me.  I think about the time I got to shake Randy Pitchford's hand and tell him I loved Borderlands.  Or the moment I got my gameboy flask signed by Alexey Pajitnov, and seeing the puzzled expression on his face as I handed it to him to be signed.  I think about the moment I arrived at my first PAX, went outside the convention center to pick up my badge, couldn't find the booth and turned around and asked the guy standing behind me if he knew where the badge pickup was.  Upon further reflection I realized that guy was actually Jerry Holkins just having a quiet moment outside.  Or this past year, talking with Mike Micha after the Jackbox panel and seeing on his face the sheer joy and passion for his craft as he described some of the crazy ideas they have for #IDARB.

But you know what, even those memories aren't really what make PAX so special to me.

What makes PAX special are the moments with friends.  Like the time Ryan and I upon arriving in Seattle one evening wandered the streets looking for food and ended up accidentally walking into a rather sketchy bar of the alternative lifestyle variety, realized where we were, then hurriedly backed out the door.  Or the time when I got together with some of my best friends and got up on a stage in front of people outside the Juicy Juice bar and played Bohemian Rhapsody in Rock Band in front of a crowd that cheered us on.  Or the time me & two friends scored exhibitor badges and walked around the expo hall before it opened to the public and were just in awe at how surreal it all was to see that place devoid of huge crowds of people.

Last year's PAX was different, yet the same for me.  A year later I don't really remember much about playing Lego Dimensions or Mirror's Edge Catalyst, but I'll never in the rest of my years forget sitting down with two good friends in a hotel room and recording a podcast where we shot the shit about the stuff we saw at the show.  Or sitting in a bar on a Sunday night with the 0HITPOINTS crew & friends and just having a blast hanging with some really cool, fun, awesome people.

So while yes, the window dressing is all about games, if that was all that PAX was it wouldn't be so special.  What makes PAX so special is the human aspect, the people, the great times with friends, old and new.

Though yeah, the swag is pretty sweet too.

Friday, April 27, 2012

NHL Round 2 Playoff Predictions

So uhm, yeah, that round 1 didn't go the way I had hoped. Here goes with round 2:

Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Flyers vs New Jersey Devils
My Prediction: Philly in 6
Wife's Prediction: NJ in 5

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals
My Prediction: Caps in 6
Wife's Prediction: NY in 7

Western Conference

Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators
My Prediction: Yotes in 6
Wife's Prediction: Yotes in 7

St Louis Blues vs LA Kings
My Prediction: Kings in 6
Wife's Prediction: Kings in 6

There you go.  So with Vancouver out, I'm a bit torn on who to root for.  This really is a sucky year for teams I follow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NHL Playoff Predictions 2012 -- Round 1

It's that time of year again, time for my yearly blog post mentioning my NHL playoff predictions. Here goes. And of course, as with previous years my wife's predictions are given as well (we have a completely not elaborate scoring system and the winner at the end of the playoffs gets bragging rights).

Eastern Conference

NY Rangers vs Ottawa Senators

My Prediction: NYR in 4
Wife's Prediction: Sens in 7

Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals

I'm biased on this series, as I hate the Bruins, but I really think this one has the making of an upset. Caps won't go far past round 1, but I really think they have the potential to surprise an overachieving B's club.

My Prediction: Caps in 7
Wife's Prediction: Caps in 7

Florida Panthers vs NJ Devils

My Prediction: NJ in 6
Wife's Prediction:NJ in 6

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers

Man, this one is just going to be a war.

My Prediction: Pens in 7
Wife's Prediction: Pens in 5

Western Conference

St Louis Blues vs SJ Sharks

My Prediction: Blues in 5
Wife's Prediction: Sharks in 5

Phoenix Coyotes vs Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago worries me. They are definitely my dark horse for the west, I wouldn't be surprised to see them surprise people and go far.

My Prediction: Chicago in 6
Wife's Prediction: Phoenix in 6

Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings

Back around Jan/early Feb Detroit was my pick to win it all this year. I dunno what's going on there, but they've really stumbled of late. And I know what Nashville is capable of in the playoffs, there's a definite risk here of having a goalie steal a series. I hope Detroit wins, but don't be surprised if Nashville makes it through.

My Prediction: Preds in 7
Wife's Prediction: Preds in 7

Vancouver Canucks vs LA Kings

This is the year. See you all in June when Hank raises the cup.

My Prediction: Canucks in 5
Wife's Prediction: Canucks in 5

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Rome Hit & Suspension

NHL fan-friends, make me understand the Rome suspension.

How is the Rome hit:

different from say, this classic hit by Scott Stevens that was largely hailed as one of the great plays of that series:

Okay the NHL is different now. New rules have been put in place (this season) to try and curtail concussions. But this means that in only 8 years a play that would've been the highlight of the night, and put you into the hall of fame, is now something that will get you kicked out of the NHL finals, and vilified as being one of the dirtiest players to hit the ice.

I agree, Rome's hit was late. According to the NHL rulebook, interference is called when a player is: "Moving laterally and without establishing body position, then making contact with the non-puck carrier is not permitted and will be penalized as interference". Okay, I buy that. Rome did move laterally into Horton, he didn't have established body position. Having said that however, watch the Rome replay, he's actually moving in for the hit as Horton is making the pass, it just took that extra second for the contact to be made.

But, why a match penalty?

Again, according to the rulebook "A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner." So presumably the reasoning is that Rome *intended to injure* Horton. I don't buy this. Rome's hit was late, but he didn't raise his elbow. His feet left the ice, but only after the hit (he didn't "jump into" Horton). I guess the referees saw it differently.

So then, why the suspension?

Historically the NHL has had one of the worst reputations for being completely inconsistent with suspensions. Sometimes players will get no suspension, others will get several games for similar plays. Some of the common variables that reportedly are involved include whether or not there was intent to injure, whether the infraction was premeditated, and the big one -- whether or not the player is a repeat offender. Going down the list, I already commented that it did not seem to be an intent to injure. Given the play transpired in the span of a couple seconds it's difficult to see how this could have been premeditated. And finally, Rome has never been suspended in his NHL career.

But apparently the play was "dirty" enough to warrant being suspended for the duration of the Stanley Cup finals. I'm hard pressed to think of any instance of this happening in the entire history of the NHL. The last time a player was suspended in the finals was when Pronger clotheslined Dean McAmmond. This was a play where there was clear intent to injure, and Pronger was most definitely a repeat offender. His suspension? 1 game. So extrapolating: a split second play with no premeditation, by a player who's never been suspended before was 4 times as bad as a clear hit to the head by a player who's been suspended and had run-ins with NHL disciplinarians throughout his career. Huh?

Please, make me understand.

Edit: Some interesting links

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Round 3 Predictions

Boston vs Tampa Bay

My Prediction: Boston in 6
Wife's Prediction: Tampa in 6

Vancouver vs San Jose

My Prediction: Vancouver in 6
Wife's Prediction: Vancouver in 7

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Round 2 Predictions

And round 2 is up:

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning

My Prediction: Tampa in 6
Wife's Prediction: Tampa in 7

Philadelphia Flyers vs Boston Bruins

My Prediction: Flyers in 7
Wife's Prediction: Flyers in 6

Western Conference

San Jose Sharks vs Detroit Red Wings

My Prediction: Wings in 6
Wife's Prediction: Sharks in 7

Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators

My Prediction: Canucks in 5
Wife's Prediction: Canucks in 5

PS - round 1 predictions results were a little off from last year, but using the scoring system the wife & I usually use (2 points for predicting the winning team, 1 for the number of games) the scores are 12 for me, and 9 for her. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NHL Playoff Prediction 2011 Version

It's that time of year again, time for me to actually post something in my blog. :) Since the only thing that I ever put in here is hockey predictions, here goes. Again, as in years past my wife made her predictions as well.

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers

My Prediction: Washington in 6
Wife's Prediction: NY in 7

Philadelphia Flyers vs Buffalo Sabres

My Prediction: Philly in 6
Wife's Prediction: Buffalo in 6

Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens

My Prediction: Montreal in 7
Wife's Prediction: Montreal in 6

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning

My Prediction: Tampa in 5
Wife's Prediction: Tampa in 7

Western Conference

San Jose Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings

My Prediction: Los Angeles in 6
Wife's Prediction: Los Angeles in 6

Detroit Red Wings vs Phoenix Coyotes

My Prediction: Wings in 5
Wife's Prediction: Coyotes in 7

Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators

My Prediction: Ducks in 7
Wife's Prediction: Preds in 5

Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks

My Prediction: Vancouver in 5
Wife's Prediction: Vancouver in 7