Thursday, August 23, 2007


The wife and I are less than a day from the start of PAX, I'm looking at a schedule designed to keep 30,000 nerds at bay for three days (it should do just fine), and I can't help but begin to anticipate what we'll see there.

And for the sake of brevity and convenience I will be lumping together the whole range of people attending PAX into the word "nerds" and our activities into the word "nerdity".

Without further ado and in no particular order, here is a list of the things I predict we'll encounter a lot of this coming weekend.

1) Claustrophobia.
I've never seen the convention hall designed to handle that many people. Come to think of it, I've never seen the shopping mall designed to handle that many people. Here's an overhead crowd shot from last year.

It's going to be like this, but with much more pushing and shoving.

2) Energy.
That many nerds all doing what they do, en masse, for a solid weekend can only result in a very high-energy event. I expect to see nerds very excited that they got to meet Gabe and Tycho, that they got to meet Wil Wheaton, that they managed to drink half a bottle of alcohol the night before, haven't slept and are still on their game when it comes to Guitar Hero, I expect a lot of hyper nerds for a lot of very nerdy reasons.

3) Swag.
Our first stop is likely going to be the exhibition hall, where we can wander about and get swag from companies that are happy to cater to and get feedback from this large a sample of nerdity.

4) Pictures.
I am going to get as many pictures as I can of the whole range from Cool to "uncool even among nerds." Natalie will be of great assistance in getting the attention of people that would otherwise not notice me and my camera in the sea of nerdery. In fact, I think this can be considered a separate point.

5) Boobs as currency.
If you didn't click on the photo above yet, do it now. If you have, go back to it and count how many women are in that crowd of over 150 people. I saw three people I was sure were women and a couple of maybes. This means that, like so many times before, women are rare among throngs of nerds, and will be treated accordingly. The wife understands this and also understands how to use this to her advantage. Simply by virtue of attending with a person with one small chromosomal difference I fully expect to get a lot of choice swag, meet many many more people than I would have otherwise, get into far better parties and all manner of other advantages. I'll be sure to report back on this.

6) B.O.
Every FAQ and "recommended" list I've ever seen for conventions and gatherings explicitly emphasizes deodorant. Every single one. That they go that far out of their way to do so is not to be taken lightly. Check out the following video at the 2:32 mark.

I'd like to apologize to my wife and her acute sense of smell in advance, because there is a chance that she will be suicidal/homicidal by the end of this expo for this reason alone. Also for one of the first times I'm glad that my own nose is nearly exclusively decorative. I hope to report back on this and say this is a myth. I really really really hope this.

7) Exhaustion
Natalie and I are bringing tea mugs and will scope out a convenient place for hot water early on, because caffeine will be our poor-sleeping lifeblood at this thing. Especially since day 1 begins at 6:30 or so. However, I don't expect it to be an issue until day 3, perhaps even when we're on the return flight home and there's nothing left to see or take pictures of or watch or play.

More points may come as I think of them.

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