The flight home was surreal. We managed the return sans crisis, so I was able to absorb every tolerable movie they had available, and some less tolerable, and some which were far better than they are generally believed to be. It was pretty fresh actually and I daresay I enjoyed myself some appreciable percentage of the time; Brenna and I high fived over the sleepforms of our larvae.
We do need to have a conversation about Australian beer, though.
White Rabbit, Little Creatures, or James Squire proved reliable, and I developed a thirst for Cider because you had Goddamn well better with the rest of their taps. The experience for the enthusiast was much like other large American cities, New York and Los Angeles let's say, which are recognized as Beer Deserts.
Beer, wine, and coffee are part of an occasionally asinine artisinal conversation in my part of the country, and all are viable avenues of geekery, but like anything you look too closely it's possible to get stuck way, way up your own ass. You develop a kind of linguistic moat to protect the thing you love. The term for that is Jargon, but I find Jargon itself to be Jargon for linguaphiles. It sounds like some malevolent emperor, and in a way its function is the same: the cultivated maintenance of warring fiefdoms.
I am from Washington state, a place where every material component of the spell that creates beer literally crawls up out of the ground, so the environment has to be a part of the conversation. It allows for what are essentially "stunt beers," beers to attack the mouth. That's common craft beer generally these days, the IPA being a recognized agent in this conflict. The gearshift between my customary glass and the local color practically broke my neck.
Someone gave me something at the last show I went to called VB, warning me in clear language about its "quality." It became clear fairly quickly that drinking these beers and making fun of the beers they were drinking was far more important than anything actually in the glass; they were the sheet upon which the evening would be written. They were decidedly not ends in and of themselves. It was merely some phase of the ritual, and ritual is appropriate, because somehow this stuff was transmuted. This is how a beer recognized for being expressly, almost defiant in its badness became a rung on some celestial ladder.
As bizarre slash terrifying as it is, there is another PAX in about a month's time, which means there is another stalwart crew of Indie developers whose wares made it through our judging device to be inducted into the PAX 10. Other PAX shows are a little more focused in this regard - both focus on games local to the shows, like a farmer's market you might say, and East has an especially strong mission to promote mobile concepts. The original PAX 10 is far more broad in scope. The ones I judged didn't make the cut, so I'll be over at their booth also to see what I missed. This year's worthies are Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche, Badland, Escape Goat 2, Gunpoint, Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime, Owlboy, Ridiculous Fishing, Rogue Legacy, Sokobond, and Towerfall.
In ther news, part eight of Sand is available. You are welcome to gnaw at its rind.