The last two months has been one the most intense periods of travel and activity of my life. This is how it went down.
It started with a weekend trip to Vancouver, BC with Nicole. At this point we knew craziness was about to descend, so we decided to get a weekend to ourselves in and enjoy one of our favorite cities. We returned to Tojo’s, a great Japanese restaurant Nicole first introduced me to in 1995, for the first time in many years. We also took the opportunity to see Machete (awesome), The Girl Who Played with Fire (very good), and The American (meh).
We got back late on a Sunday night. The very next morning I went to the airport to fly back to Canada. This time my destination was Edmonton. I spent a couple of days visiting BioWare’s office and talking about all things Dragon Age. I got to see some of Dragon Age 2, which looks awesome, and had good discussions with the folks there.
The day after I returned from Edmonton, the Green Ronin crew began arriving for our annual summit. This is usually a three day affair at which we make our plans for the following year and discuss the overall state of the company. We extended it one day this year so we could have most of the staff in town for our 10 year anniversary party at Dragon’s Lair in Bellevue. Summit and party both went well, and we had a productive few days and a bit of fun.
Before all the Ronins had even left Seattle, I was on board another plane and heading to Chicago. I was there for a week, primarily to attend Riot Fest. I saw 24 punk bands in 5 days and had a blast. Most awesome for me was finally getting to see Articles of Faith, one of my favorite hardcore bands of all time. I had waited 23 years for the opportunity and they did not disappoint. Since they also played a “secret show,” I got to see them twice. Bonus! Other great moments included the Busted at Oz reunion show (featuring bands like the Subverts, Silver Abuse, and the original lineup of Naked Raygun) and a terrific performance by the Zero Boys.
The punk rock was awesome but that was only part of the Chicago fun. Ken Hite was kind enough to put me up at his house and when I wasn’t at punk shows I was eating my way across Chi-town with Ken and frequent guest Will Hindmarch. Had some great food at Hot Doug’s, Frontera Grill, Xoco, The Publican, Kuma’s Corner, and Dawali Mediterranean Grill. Also got to see a Nazi u-boat, play For the People, and talk a lot of history with Ken. I squeezed a lot into those 7 days.
I got back to Seattle late on October 11. I then had two days to pack because I was moving to Austin! Thankfully, I was not trying to pack up all my shit, just what I thought I’d want to have in Texas in my new apartment. In moves that were very much us, Nicole started by packing up kitchen stuff so I could cook, while I picked what games and miniatures to bring so I could play. By Thursday morning the U-Haul was packed and ready, and we’d even squeezed in a dinner with Rob Schwalb, who was in town visiting his corporate masters. Always great to see Dr. Evil.
We took off on the 14th and we had four days to get to Austin. Nicole had a clever plan to stop in Portland and go to Ikea for the furniture I’d need. Since there’s no sales tax in Oregon, we saved a bunch of dough. The drive was about 2500 miles and Nicole had to do it all since I have no license. She was awesome and did not blanch even at the 15 hour day we had on Saturday. We listened to two audio books on the way (American On Purpose by Craig Ferguson and Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett) and they really helped pass the time. We went east through Oregon into Idaho, then south through Utah, and southeast through Arizona, New Mexico, and finally Texas. We arrived at my new apartment on Sunday night. Phil, Gina, and Andrew helped us with the move in, for which we were very grateful. Then at 9 am the next day I started my new job at Vigil on the 40K MMO.
I’ll talk about Vigil and settling into Austin later. For now suffice to say that I had a couple of weeks to acclimatize to both new city and new job and things are going well. Nicole flew back to Seattle after the first couple of days. It was weird to live alone all of a sudden but I had something to look forward to: NeonCon. This convention in Las Vegas happened to fall just a couple of days before Nicole’s birthday. We decided to meet there to celebrate. This gave us a chance to see a bunch of our friends and enjoy Vegas for a couple of days. It was a brief reunion but we made the most of it. I won’t see Nicole or Miss Kate now until Christmas (boo!).
You’d think that would be quite enough travel for the time being but I have one more trip this year. On Thanksgiving Day I’m flying to London. I’m going to be a guest at Dragonmeet, a one day game convention held on November 27. I last attended Dragonmeet in 2002 and it was a great time. I’m looking forward to going again, seeing many of my UK friends, and squeezing in as much London fun as I can manage. After that the whirlwind really will subside. The return to a day job means accruing vacation days and such, so such travel won’t be as easy. I also won’t be as broke, so it’s a trade-off. I guess I really need a day job that’ll pay me well and allow me to travel a lot, but for now the grim darkness of the far future will have to do.
Originally published on LiveJournal on November 10, 2010.