PAX East 2015

March 6 – 8, 2015 – This year we were really lucky – we got 3 day tickets for PAX East and scored a room at the Westin attached to the convention center.  So, what does PAX look like to us?

  • Various video games while waiting in lines for the main hall.  Still not beating Faster than Light.  Also getting to the main hall line 2.5 hours early so we can get seats really really close to the stage.
  • Good food.  We brought danish, applesauce and juice drinks for breakfast, got lots of venti iced mochas from Starbucks, discovered some great pasta and cashew nut chicken and rice bowls a the convention center, and went to Legal Test Kitchen (LTK) a few times.  Favorites from LTK included their lobster truffle mac ‘n cheese, fried fish tacos, and anything with scallops.
  • Fun speakers.  We particularly enjoyed hearing story time by Telltale Games, Rooster Teeth, Chainsawsuit Live (funniest guys we’ve every seen in person… “Team Murder Dad” anyone?), anything by Mike and Jerry from Penny Arcade, and the Acquisitions Inc. D&D (“Is this whole room a zone of truth? …”).
  • Concerts.  We really enjoy the concerts, and particularly liked hearing Super Guitar Bros and watching Bitbrigade provide video game music during a live play through of Metroid.
  • Exploring the Expo Hall.  This year’s slow shuffle showed us a lot of up and coming indie game developers with very well-developed concepts.  Most games appeared to be Betas, though we did see one pre-Alpha.

Boston Celtics Game

March 4, 2015 – Last night we were fortunate to get great seats (around Section 9, row 20, seats 15-16) for the Celtics vs. Jazz game at the Garden.  We got there early, and had a pleasant walk over to the arena.  Our first goal was to find food.  We settled on a five piece chicken fingers (with General Tso’s sauce) and fries, and a couple bottles of water.  There weren’t any bar tables are spots to eat, so we took the food back to our seats.  The chicken fingers were really good, large and nicely fried, and the sauce was a nice accompaniment.  The fries were normal shoe string fries, but there were a ton of them and they had a nice bit of salt on them.

The game started off very slowly offensively, but by the time the second half started the Celtics got a boost with some nice three point baskets.  The crowd was on its feet for the final minute, and their enthusiasm only dipped momentarily when the Jazz pulled ahead by 1 point with 1.8 seconds left.  The Celtics’ couldn’t get the ball inbounds to Thomas, and called a timeout.  After the timeout the ball was lobbed to Zeller, who had had a rough night from near the basket.  Zeller caught the ball over the defender’s hands, and went back up with it for a little lay in with less than a second to go.  It was a good night at the Garden.

Exploring the Texas Hill Country

January 25, 2015 – Yes, today was the last day of PAX South.  The weather was also perfect, and we decided to head out to explore the area after checking out the Gearbox panel first thing in the morning.  We also saw that there was a massive storm heading towards the East coast, so last night we changed our travel plans, moved our flight up to 9:30 am on Monday, and got a hotel in Houston by the airport.

To the panel!
To the panel!

After breakfast at the hotel we headed north toward Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.  Along the way we passed through Fredericksburg, a charming and very German (Strasse on street signs, anyone?). Enchanted Rock is a huge dome that offers a short hike to the top and fantastic (and windy) views over the Texas countryside.  There’s also a little cave you can crawl into, but unfortunately we weren’t dressed for the occasion.  We did enjoy sitting on the giant rock and taking in the views of the quiet, brush covered hill country. After climbing down the rock we got two root beer floats from the concession stand.  The ice cream was good, though be warned that the floats are quite small.

The weather was not this nice in Boston.
The weather was not this nice in Boston.

Then began the grand trek back to Houston.  We didn’t run into any traffic on the two lane road back to Fredericksburg, and we made good time to the Rudy’s BBQ by Austin.  They didn’t have the green chile with brisket, but they did have fantastic moist brisket, creamed corn, and airy white bread.  Really, there’s no way to describe the brisket.  Sweet, salty, moist, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth beef.

Yes, I made it across the creek.
Yes, I made it across the creek.

We made good time to the hotel, gassed up the car, and went to bed thinking things were good to go.  What we didn’t know was that the early flight we selected would be canceled overnight (go figure, the flight leaving later would be allowed to fly as scheduled), and that we would be flying through Newark, getting there and leaving just as the snow started.  To read more about that adventure, check out this post.

Day 2 of Pax South

January 25, 2015 – Highlights of day 2 of Pax South:

  • Visiting the Alamo on our way to the convention center is always a highlight of a trip to San Antonio.  We enjoy the history, quiet (well, unless you wind up in the middle of a school group, with 45 excited third graders), and obvious pride that the locals take in preserving their site.
  • Learning about the new Starships game at the Firaxis Megapanel, and seeing some live gameplay.
  • The Make-a-Strip Panel is another favorite for us, and combines a Q&A with Mike and Jerry actually creating a comic on stage.
  • Quick stroll along the river walk.  The river walk (at least when it isn’t crowded) is a peaceful stroll through the city.
  • Lunch at Azuca Nuevo Latino.  We got there before the dinner rush, and after the late lunch rush finished.  For a starter we went with the tortilla soup.  I’ve never ordered tortilla soup before, but this was good – thick, hearty, well spiced, with big pieces of chicken and lots of crunchy tortilla strands.  We each got the pork, roasted vegetables, and chimichurri as the main course.  The chimichurri was the star of the show, and perfectly complemented the pork.  The bread and butter they brought to the table was interesting (in a good way), similar to a cornbread with bits of sweet corn kernels and something that tasted like dried cherries.  Dessert was a fantastic berry and peach creme brulee, with the caramelized fruit nestled in the thin custard.
  • An Evening with the Kurtz Family – Who knew that transporting a dog via plane could be such a process?
  • Saturday Night Concerts – The Returners were ridiculous and the surprise of the night. That Phantom cover was off the chain.