Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Ed and his son Billy and I took off at 4 in the morning Thursday for Origins. I had stayed up all night and was barely coherent for the trip out, though I could only manage 45 minutes of sleep total in the eight-hour drive, my head bouncing limply against the webbing of my shoulder harness.

Billy was as annoying as he usually is, and as instantly forgivable. Early on I made an obvious joke about a sign we had seen for Pony League Baseball, and after that he would glare at me every now and then and shake his head and mutter: "Ponies...playing...baseball."

Billy was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and every day must take a daunting regimen of drugs and enzymes to keep alive, and every night has to suck on this noisy inhaler machine to clear out his lungs. When he was born, the doctors said he could be expected to live to be perhaps 20, but that has been pushed indefinitely into the future. He's 14 now. Ed
unavoidably dotes on him--Billy stayed in our room as much so Ed could make sure he kept up his regimen as to save money--and lets him talk back way too much, but I can't criticize.

We got to the show before it opened at 1 PM on Thursday, and we were directly across from Paizo Publishing booth, which had a new
Dwarven Forge prototype on display: A 25mm-scale (approximately 1/64) Roman Coliseum. Available around Christmas, it's going to cost a fortune at retail (Stefan said something between $300 and $350), but I have got to get one for my store. Even if we didn't have people coming in every week looking for some kind of miniature Coliseum, I would still want it because, well, I'm that much of a geek.

There was an entire other Clash of Arms crew already there, and the booth had been already set up. Basically it was Charlie and myself behind the booth taking the money, and all the other adults doing demos all day, while the kids played games. We were busy much of the time, even on Friday when I had no voice because of the hotel air conditioning and I had to croak out prices to people as best I could.

One sees people in this industry that one sees nowhere else in the world:

Ryan Johnson, in my opinion the Ed Wood of the adventure game industry. He started off the show with his table piled high with his now-infamous Prison Bitch card game. Last year, he was in the heart of the historical games area, but this year--in my opinion because of the controversy surrounding PB--he was exiled to a part of the dealers' hall that, had the hall been a simulacrum of the North American continent, would have had him on the northern coast of Hudson Bay. By Friday, all of the PB games were gone, presumably because the convention organizers objected. By Sunday he was gone completely, whether voluntarily or involuntarily I couldn't tell.

Steve Jackson, walking around the hall with his odd swaying walk, as if being pushed back by all the applause he expected to receive at any moment.

Chris O'Neill, who used to work in the warehouse at Chessex pushing carts around and making moon eyes at my niece, now has his own cheesy photocopy game company and only communicates with me with the single word "Duuuude."

My old employer Don Reents from
Chessex, with whom I get along much better these days, as we can't stand the same people.

And then there are the attendees at these shows, who make me look like William Powell.

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