A Full Week and an Empty Wallet

Last week was exceptionally full. On Monday night, Jim and I performed our show at UCB NY. The house was seventy or so people, and many of them were unfamiliar faces. Our show was met with tepid response; much of our material was new and untested, and though Jim and I laughed a lot writing things like, "Knock-knock. Who's There? Your Husband is Dead," didn't seem to entertain much of the elderly audience. Our tried-and-true material went over just as well as always, and Brendan's show that followed was fantastic. After the show, I met Sergei from TGQ, and we had drinks at some local shit-house bar.


Tuesday morning, I woke up early and went down to Ground Zero. I took the subway past the closest station, and then walked back towards the site in grey, cool rain. The sky was low with clouds, and the street smelled like hot dogs and acid.

I was expecting to be moved -- so many of my close (and somewhat callous) friends have returned from Ground Zero shaken. But I felt nothing. I didn't even think the site was overwhelmingly large, which is the most common refrain I've heard from visitors. It was just a hole in the ground, certainly big enough for a couple buildings, but not any larger than I would have expected. Maybe my detachment was due to never seeing the towers in person; perhaps the site is more personal when it's not just a pit, but negative space -- a hole in the sky where there wasn't one before.

Maybe it's because I slept through 9/11.

I grabbed a sandwich and flew back to Los Angeles for E3.


I hate to couple both of these entries together, but that's what the week was for me. I went from Ground Zero to the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo. And there, I made a bunch of new friends; writers and artists from The Gamer's Quarter and Insert Credit.

This was my first E3. I've been dreaming about them since I was a little girl, pouring over the dog-eared pages of EGM magazine, squinting at low resolution photos of new games and new hardware. For those of you who don't know, E3 is where game companies preview their next year's worth of gadgetry and entertainment. The name is really self-explanatory. On Wednesday morning, I went to downtown Los Angeles at 8am, and nervously entered the convention center. I didn't have my pass yet; there was a possibility that I wouldn't even be allowed into the exhibit hall. When I went to the media room, I brashly demanded a badge; Wes had told me the night before, "Act important." From the look on the badge-handler's face, I'm guessing this wasn't necessary.

From there, I met up with Josh Kushins, (who is always at the events I want to go to, thanks to Bender-Helper), and went into the South Hall. And then immediately to the Square-Enix booth. As always, they had girls dressed up like Mithra. The corporate of a lifetime.

We headed into the S-E theater and watched the premiere of Final Fantasy XIII, as well as footage of older titles already available in Japan. Thirteen stars a female lead, designed by Tetsuya Nomura.

It's the second time I've been under whelmed by the announcement of a new Final Fantasy; the first was when XI was proclaimed an online title. Given my history with XI, however, I can only imagine that I'll love this new game. And now that I've written that sentence, I'm starting to get anxious. 2008 is a long way away. Time from disappointment to blind excitement: One Paragraph.

I toured the halls and phoned the few people I knew from Gamer's Quarter; it was decided that we'd all meet up after the show ended, and then head out to dinner. I can't say I've ever made more instantaneous friends. Really, everyone was fantastic. And we all spoke the same language: Geek. The ten of us headed to Little Tokyo (not my idea!) and played video games in the Mitsuwa mall for a couple of hours, before getting ramen.

At the ramen table, we all reintroduced ourselves and someone suggested we play our cellphone ringtones. All but two of us had game rings. I almost cried. I mean it. I've never met anyone else who uses a chiptune as their ring, and here was a full table full of like-minded people. We laughed at extremely specific geek bits, and then and Wes treated us all to dinner. It was magical.

The next day, I was one of the first 10 people into the west hall, and was determined to play Nintendo's new console, the Wii. By the time I walked to the booth, the line was already four hours long. This new, inexpensive, system is certainly going to be the winner of the next generation. It has novelty, a huge library of emulated games (the damn thing's going to play Turbo Grafix titles!), and the smallest footprint of any of the new machines. And that damn amazing controller.

I didn't play the Wii until the following day, and instead toured around the halls with TGQ people on Thursday. I was introduced to smaller titles and development houses, and tried out some virtual reality stuff in Kentia hall.

Finally, on Friday, I stood in line for an hour to try out Nintendo's magicbox. It was fantastic! The control was responsive and intuitive, and the games were quirky and loveable. Unless I get a job on TV, I can't afford the 600 dollar PS3. No matter what happens, though, I'll be in line on launch day for the (rumored at 199$) Wii.

Too bad about that name, though.

Friday afternoon, TGQ and IC went out for Thai in Thai-Town, Los Angeles, and then headed back to 's house. We watched a DVD by Mega64, a video-game sketch group paid by Ubisoft. Extremely specific, to be sure, but they have an audience and they make money. And, the shit was funny! I don't know if you'll get much of the jokes if you're not a gamer, but you may want to check it out, anyway.

Soon after, we had our bittersweet goodbyes. Matt gave me a stack of Gamer's Quarter book-marks to hand out, and I've already distributed about a quarter of them.


Finally, in Call-to-Adventure news, you can now purchase prints of my original photography through Paypal. Soon, I'll be filling the gallery with new pictures. Please support my hobby by purchasing some ART. One can never have enough ART.