PAX East 2017 - Day Zero

The morning started out a bit lethargic. My roommates for this trip and I were a bit slow to wake up, having stayed up late into the night visiting with each other Wednesday night. Reconnecting with friends is always one of the best aspects of these trips and so far, this one has been no different.

But eventually, we finally got up and moving (and by we I mean, myself, Ally Mushka, Frank Bozzani, Kaylie Woomer, and Jonathan "Xyger" Landeros). Ally had plans to go  visit her potential future law school Harvard so we all wished her well as she went on her own adventure. Another friend - Michael Choueiri - showed up to film a quick interview segment with Kaylie for a documentary he's working on about gaming. Kaylie, embarrassed to "perform" in front of everyone else, was bashfully adamant that we leave. Xyger and Frank went off to meet up with some other friends. I taunted her and continued catching up on Twitter and whatnot, but I was quiet. The two filmed their segment and then we got our stuff together to go join our friends across town.

A short Lyft ride later and we met up with Danny Juarez, Tony Horvath, and Griffin Guccione (whom I recently hung out with in Las Vegas). The had hopped on a red-eye flight and were dismayed to learn that most hotels outside of the Vegas area don't allow check-in at any time. So they had wandered the city for a few hours that morning before ultimately stopping at the Starbucks where we met them. But Griffin had returned to their hotel to plead with the concierge for a room so they might finally get some sleep. He was successful so the rest of us walked over to meet him.

But now hunger was overwhelming the desire for sleep so Michael (a local) took us on an adventure to the food court at M.I.T. We split up to get our desired food options and sat down together. Again, catching up and reminiscing is just delightful. After lunch we headed back to their hotel, where they were able to get the second of two rooms they had all booked together. And we went upstairs to the room to hang out for a bit, turning on Now You See Me 2...because it wouldn't be PAX without a crappy movie I guess...

"Unfortunately," my phone was nearly dead and I had left my charger back in my hotel room so I excused myself and caught a ride back (with the phone indeed dying en route). While it charged up back in the room, I did some writing, and chatted with a couple friends in the digital space. Eventually, my phone had enough juice that I headed over to the Convention Center to pick up my badge, meeting all of the Irrational Passions guys and other friends who had independently made their way over from the hotel. New to the party were my dear friend Alex O'Neill and Logan Wilkinson. We all took a quick picture in front of the PAX East sign and started to head back. With most of them needing to hop a train back to their hotel, Frank and I returned back to our hotel room (with Kaylie and Xyger returning with the IP crew). We would all be meeting back up in a couple hours for a small dinner Alex had put together.

Back at the hotel, Ally had returned so Frank and I got to hear about her time visiting a Constitutional Law class. This is also Ally's first PAX so we tried to give her a bit of a heads up for what to expect outside of the usual "hanging out with friends." Eventually, the time came for us to walk back over to dinner and meet up with everyone else.

The three of us arrived first so we went inside and claimed the reserved table, with everyone else joining us a little bit later. Rock Bottom is a nice little pub that many of us visited last year so it was on our list of places to return to and I was delighted Alex had selected it for the dinner. He had spent quite a bit of time gushing about their Mac 'N Chicken dish while I had fond memories of my Cuban Cristo. We all ordered our food and, again, delighted in each other's company.

A little ways into our food, Greg Miller showed up and joined us, adding his usual boisterous energy to our proceedings. But given the week Kinda Funny has been having, I think he was also grateful to be around our energy as well. Regardless of our individual stances and opinions on all the drama surrounding the community this week, we represent a faction of the community that goes out of our way to support one another and hang out, traveling across the country to do so. And we wouldn't have the friendships we've formed without Kinda Funny. So I think that was a good thing for Greg to enjoy tonight.

We continued to laugh, joke, and share stories together. I was admittedly a bit quiet, slipping into my observation/listening mode: which was not lost on Greg as he tried to engage me with some lighthearted banter. But I was enjoying watching my friends have these conversations. Alex has clearly been looking for somebody to share the Zelda experiences that he's been bottling up and Greg was that person so I sat there, enraptured as they discussed their adventures, still trying to respect those around them and avoiding getting too detailed (though I don't particularly care about spoilers and will have likely forgotten a lot of the details discussed by the time I start playing the game next week).

Eventually, the Irrational Passions guys had to make their way back before the trains stopped running, leaving only a few of us left with Greg. And we briefly touched on the elephant in the room: all of the drama caused by and in response to Colin's tweets. Greg echoed the sentiments he laid out in the formal response but mostly, I appreciated that he genuinely listened as I expressed my own concerns. There are conversations too big to have in 140 characters and this was one of them. I might eventually try and outline my thoughts on the matter but for the time being, I will say this: Greg Miller is fiercely loyal and I am continually grateful for the kindness, support, and friendship he has bestowed upon me.

Eventually, we all made our way back to our hotel room and I spent the last hour or two writing this up as my roommates visited, caught up on social media, and started drifting off to sleep.

PAX East begins tomorrow.