I think i'll split the wedding part off into a friends-only post though. Just cause.
So the PAX part of the trip:
I got to PAX about 8:15 friday morning. Either i was five or ten minutes too late to get a concert ticket wristband, or they weren't handing them out in a very organized manner (i'd believe either.) After picking up the con bags and lanyards they sorted us into a bunch of lines in a very random manner. I'd guess there was something on the order of 20 lines set up, three or four of which were already mostly full, and i got put into the leftmost one. While we were waiting in line they had a big screen setup with some "wait in line" entertainment which consisted of someone running a lot of scripts to play videos and do simple little games or trivia contests, most of which involved the audience texting stuff. Since i've actually got unlimited texts now i tried a few of those out, but i spent most of my time doing tad mode in Dragon Quest 9, and probably picked up about a dozen tags.
At 10:00 they started letting people into the exhibit hall. They actually let the leftmost line in first, the one i was in, which is how i know the line organization was somewhat random. I went to check out the Squenix booth first and tried out Final Fantasy 14. I was rather disappointed with the character creation options. You only get to choose between five distinct height settings, without a very big range, and aside from that there don't really seem to be any options for changing your build at all. It seems to be entirely impossible to create a broad-shouldered, small-chested catgirl =/
After going through the character creation, trying the introductory fight (which seemed pretty boring, but it was part of the introduction) and having the game crash on me i moved on. I looked around the rest of the Squenix booth, wandered briefly through the Capcom booth, wandered by the OnLive booth just long enough for someone to try and convince me to sign up for a free demo or something (not only am i dubious of the whole idea, they didn't seem to have any games i actually wanted to play) and then went by the Harmonix "booth." I watched a couple different groups playing Dance Central. I'm not interested in getting an XBox. But if i did have one, well, so far i'm not really interested in Kinect either. But if i had an XBox _and_ i had a Kinect, well, i might pass on Dance Central anyways. A lot of the dance moves looked really dumb =P I also watched a couple groups playing songs on Rock Band 3, but if they had the professional instruments there i didn't see them.
After that i walked across the sky bridge thing to the other half of the exhibition hall, stopped briefly to watch a few minutes of whatever the big Wii dance game is, and then made my way to the Nintendo booth, which was rather crowded. The main attractions were Dragon Quest 9 and Metroid: Other M. They had a couple demo units for DQ9, but more importantly they were also giving out free bags with a Slime on them, and perhaps more important than that there were a lot of people doing tag mode. They also had a line of people waiting for the Metroid Other M demos, some Golden Sun DS demos, a demo for the Wii PixelJunk Shooter look alike, and probably a few other games i didn't notice. I pretty much just stood around doing DQ9 tagging until about an hour or 45 minutes before the 1:30 OCRemix panel, at which point i decided i probably ought to get over there in case there was a line. Well turns out there was a line, and it probably would have benefited me to have shown up even earlier, though i did make it into the first half of the room. They talked about a lot of cool stuff, did some fun contest stuff (identify a video game tune, street fighter 2 competition using a hacked chinese copy of the game) and towards the end announced their newest project, a Final Fantasy 5 remix album! The album is actually being done in five parts, the first part, "Wind," is already up! After the panel i bought an OCRemix t-shirt. If i'd been willing to buy two i would have gotten a free copy of the Donkey Kong Country 2 remix CD, but that's not really one of my favorite games music-wise, and i didn't really need two of the same t-shirt since unfortunately they only had the one type.
After that i hung out in the "handheld lounge" which was actually just a ton of beanbags spread through the... atrium? right next to the "theatre" the OCRemix panel had been in. The "official" DQ9 tagging event started at 3. Luckily i was able to grab a spot next to a free electrical socket since my ancient "DS Fat" was just about out of battery from tagging, and my phone was just about out of battery because i'd been reading "Cryoburn" on it in between bouts of DQ9 tagging. I spent a couple hours giving away all the cool maps i've collected and gathering more tags. I'd figured i was done when i got over 30 to unlock the basement and was just collecting the rest to see if i could get any more new maps, but then during one of the many DQ9 conversations i got into while tagging i was informed that for every 100 tags you get you get an extra spawn point in the alchemy fountain in the basement of the inn, up to 1000 tags. So from that point on i was out to collect as many tags as possible. When the number of people started to get low a little over an hour later i figured out the trick of kicking all the most recent people out of your inn so you could re-collect them again quickly :)
Finally around 5 i decided i should make my way to the hotel. I needed to check in, and more importantly drop off my damn bags, before going to the concerts that night. I think it took me between 30 and 45 minutes to walk to the hotel. On the way i kept an eye out for places to eat, but the most promising place i saw was an Outback about half a block from the hotel. I checked in to the hotel and crashed in my room for a little bit. I thought about taking a nap but decided i didn't really have time for that if i wanted to have dinner _and_ get in line for the concerts early. Despite my usual abhorrence for eating alone at "real" restaurants, i decided Outback was my best option and left about 6:30 and got there about 6:45. Had a yummy dinner and walked the rest of the way back to the convention center. I got to the concert venue just a little before 8 and got in a huge ass line. After serpentining our way through numerous hallways and stairs we got to a dividing point where they were funneling most people up to the balcony seats, but told us that we could go look for empty seats in the main area if we wanted. I decided to take my chances with that, and found that there were actually a dozen or so seats left open right up front. Not front and center, but second and third row back on the far right side. I sat in the second row and had three or four seats empty to my right. Someone else game and sat next to me, but then left, and then a group of three people came and sat next to me, but then left. Not sure what i did wrong :)
So i had second row seats for the first two bands, The Protomen and Anamanaguchi, which went till 11. I guess either a lot of people were Anamanaguchi fans or people were starting to get tired or something, because a fair number of people got up and left then. Not a significant percentage, but enough so that i was able to move over to a front row center seat for the second half of the concerts :) After that was Metroid Metal, followed by The Minibosses. It's kind of a toss-up between Anamanaguchi and Metroid Metal, but in general the later the night got the more i enjoyed it. I know The Protomen have at least one or two songs i like because i've heard them on KSPC, but i wasn't enthralled by their setlist overall. Anamanaguchi was definitely better though. I'm not sure if i'd say Metroid Metal was better, but i _do_ like the source material quite a lot :) Plus they had a giant Metroid balloon that they tossed out into the audience during one of their songs, which was really cool, even if it did end up popping after a bit :) And of course The Minibosses were just awesome :)
The concerts wrapped up around 1 or 1:30. I got to the hotel at 2 and tried to call shelleycat, but sometime between our last text exchange at 1:30 and then she'd fallen asleep, so i read a little bit and crashed around 3 i think.
I got up at 7ish saturday morning, but instead of showering and heading off to wait in line right away i ended up lying in bed for an hour or two reading "Cryoburn" :) So i headed off to the con around 9 or 10 instead, stopped at McDonalds to get some breakfast, and then went straight to the Nintendo booth. I'd found out from a couple cute girls the day before that Nintendo was giving away Metroid: Other M t-shirts to people willing to wait in line to try the demo. So i got in line and while waiting did some DQ9 tagging. (Unfortunately the cute girl in line behind me did not seem to be into the game so i never had an excuse to strike up a conversation with her =) After waiting in line for... 30 minutes? An hour? Not sure exactly, i got to try out the game. It seemed pretty fun, aside from the parts where they made you switch to FPS mode, which was a good thing because i'd already pre-ordered the game right before i left home :) I got my free t-shirt and then did some more DQ9 tagging for awhile before running off to wait in line for the Weekend Confirmed panel. Given my experience the previous day i tried to get there a little earlier, but still ended up in the middle of a long line, but again managed to get a seat just at the back of the front half. The panel was cool, and know i have faces to put with the voices on the podcast, and at the end they handed out free t-shirts, so i ended up with three new t-shirts from the con total (though two of them were large rather than medium =P)
After the panel i stopped by the PopCap room to pick up some Plants vs Zombies traffic cone hats, then went to the handheld lounge again to do more DQ9 tagging, but i had to leave around 3:30 to walk back to the hotel so i could catch a ride to the pre-wedding party.
[snip saturday night stuff]
Sunday i got up a little late and checked out of the hotel. They were nice enough to let me check my suit carrier with them, and they also told me about a street car thing that had a station near the hotel and another one near the convention center. I had to wait five or ten minutes for it to show up, but it only took five to ten minutes to save me twenty minutes of walking time! Woot!
I spent pretty much the whole last day in the handheld lounge. Since i'd already checked out of the hotel i was wearing the slacks and button up shirt that i was wearing to the wedding, so i was probably the "best" dressed person there, for a very non-convention sense of "best" :)
I had gotten a couple hundred tags the previous days, and was aiming for 500. I'd just hit 499 when i checked the time and realized i needed to run to catch the street car. I set my DS to tag mode and figured of course i would manage to tag one more person on the way out, but this was the one day where i managed to pick a path (or go too fast) to tag anyone else while traversing the con. And then i think i missed the street car by a minute or two because i had to wait ten or fifteen minutes before one showed up.
[snip rest of trip]
Wow, long post is long.