Tuesday, August 30, 2005

PAX 2005 and the amazing Page Turner Guy

So, the weekend is over now and I have finally recovered. Here's the five cent summary for anyone that cares about how my PAX went.

"It was lots of fun".

Now, the three dollar version:

John and I started waiting in line for the "early entry" line on Friday at about 2pm. First we stopped at Dairy Queen (because that's how far from the convention center the line was) and had some hot dogs. For some reason that particular Dairy Queen has no burgers, or even a grill for that matter.

We checked out the con, which was chock full of lines for everything, and went upstairs to say hello to a few of last year's Omeganauts that got picked for this year's contest. We then saw a few panels and took a break for dinner.

After dinner, I think we got back into a line again. We were waiting for the concert with three bands. The first was a pianist who played video game theme songs. He did an excellent job, including playing the Mario theme with a blindfold on. Next was Optimus Rhyme, who was so-so and the finale was a band that played Nintendo songs on their guitars. They were all decent, but my favorite was probably the piano guy. We stayed until after 2am that night when the concerts were over.

The next morning, I got up and was back at the con by 9. First thing I did when I got there is tried to get signed up for the Halo Tourney. John and I ended up finding two partners. One was another former Omeganaut from last year and he brought a friend. We figured we had a pretty good team, but we ended up getting paired against the guys who won the whole tournament in the very first round. So that was the end of the Halo tourney for us. I'm glad it was them that beat us, because otherwise it really would have sucked to lose in the first round to someone.

After Halo, I watched another round of the Omegathon (Kevin and Matt, the guys I knew from last year both passed Mario Kart) then we went to lunch with Heather. When we got back, it was time for the Mario Kart Double Dash tourney. John and I had some time to kill, so we practiced in the "Freeplay" area with some other guys...who kept beating us. I figured this was not a good sign. :-)

We got into the tourney of 64 players (we were the 2nd people on the standby list) and ended up doing pretty poorly. In our first race, we got 8th. Then 6th. Then 4th...and in our fourth race we got 2nd. So while we were improving on the fly, it wasn't good enough...and we were knocked out in the first round. I wish it was a singles tourney, the doubles is REALLY hard to master if you don't play it all the time (we don't).

We walked around some more then got in line for that night's concerts. This concert was probably better over all than the first night. The first act was another pianist who did video game tunes, but she had a secret weapon. She brought: "The Page Turner Guy".

The Page Turner Guy followed her out on stage, and sat down on the bench next to her. At first, I thought he'd be playing a duet with her later, but instead soon learned that his sole reason for being there was to turn the pages on her sheet music. He would stare intently at the pages, then stand up about 30 seconds before it was time to turn a page. As she would come to the end of a page, he'd reach over, quickly turn it and finally pat the pages back down. He'd repeat this every time she reached the end of a page. I chuckled a little, and someone next to me whispered that he did this same thing last year.

After awhile, I started to find a lot of humor in this. The guy who knew about the Page Turner and I started to quietly speculate that perhaps he was in love with her, and this was his way of expressing that love. Or perhaps he always wanted to play the piano, but couldn't....so he turned pages for a living. We were both chuckling under our breath a bit at these theories, when someone shouted out "Go Page Turner Guy!" as he turned another page.

Now, this of course got lots of people laughing. I was also very relieved that someone else saw the absurdity of the Page Turner Guy. After that outburst, people began cheer each time he turned a page. This would immediately be followed by laughs from half the crowd and "shushing" from the folks who were really into the music. Then something strange happened.

Page Turner Guy stopped turning pages.

Now, on the one hand, I could understand why. Page Turner Guy knew that his presence was disturbing the audience and that the audience was probably disturbing the piano player. However, when he stopped turning pages, something strange happened. The pianist kept playing, presumably from memory.

But no one could be prepared for what was to come next:
She turned her OWN page.

I immediately whispered to the guy next to me to ask if he had just seen that. He had. We discussed quietly how Page Turner Guy must have been heartbroken. Not only did she apparently not need his page turning services, as she seemed to be able to play the music without him.....but now he was just sitting there, unable to do anything but sit there. He wasn't turning pages (the audience would only cheer if he did) and he couldn't get up and leave (we might boo)....so he just sat there. On the bench. For the rest of the show. Doing nothing.

Poor Page Turner Guy.

Anyway, after that whole performance (which was great, all laughter aside) came MC Frontalot. I can't say I caredalot for his particular style of rap. "Nerdcore rap" he called it. After about 4 of his songs, we stopped standing up and went to the seats in the back of the auditorium. Lots of people were into it, but it just wasn't my thing.

MC Chris came out next, and was definitely the highlight of the show. Of both shows. He was funny and his music was actually good music. So much so that I wanted to buy the CDs so I could hear the lyrics better. I'll have to find some of his CDs, as I never got around to buying them that night at PAX because of the huge lines.

The night was finished off with another band that did guitar renditions of Nintendo themes. This would have been novel if I hadn't seen the same thing the first night, but it was ok for awhile. I spent half that concert playing with a borrowed PSP.

Sunday morning was a slow day. We didn't get there until noon. Watched a panel or two, played some DDR and then watched the final round of the Omegathon. Neither Kevin or Matt from last year made it to the finals....but the final match was a game of Atari Combat, or as I always called it: Tank.

Best game of Tank I've ever seen.

Then PAX was over and I went home to go to sleep. I feel like I'm still tired, but it was definitely a fun weekend. I spent a lot more time than I thought I would at PAX. I think I may have even spent more time there this year than last year, which is surprising in itself. But it was good times.

This weekend: Bumbershoot!

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