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I arrived in Portland a few days early to play tourist. Here's two cool things I took pictures of that I wanted to share with other GHC11 attendees!

My friend Jen (@jenred) took me out before GHC11 for some hiking and beautiful views. It's amazing the sort of natural beauty you can find not far from the city! I looooved the waterfalls, since I just moved to the desert and damp Portland just seems extra lush and beautiful.

A cool thing to do at lunch or after the conference: Take the Tram up to the top of the ridge. Lots of great space for the view of the city and photo opportunities, and it only costs $4 for the tram + $2 for the trolley to get you there. (It's just past the edge of the free zone, sadly!) You can definitely walk the last stop, but it's a bit noisy with construction so I just paid the $2 and then used it as an excuse to ride the streetcar loop to see the area. So pretty with the fall leaves changing!

More about the tram here: www.portlandtram.org/
terriko: (Default)
I was in North Carolina for my friends Matt and Jen's wedding last weekend, and it was really lovely. In fact, I think that they've really raised the bar in my mind for what makes an awesome wedding. My favourite part of it all was that they encouraged a bunch of folk to bring games and play in the hotel the day before... so by the time the wedding happened we had all these new friends and were good to play a few more games and chat on the patio. Very fun!

Kernersville and the surrounding area was beautiful and lush and green -- very exciting since when I left Ottawa, barely any of our trees had leaves out. It was like stepping off the plane into summer. The weather held perfectly for the outdoor ceremony, although we had a slightly rainy few days overall. Still, it was a nice excuse to play indoor tourist and enjoy things like bakeries and museums, as well as time spent playing games and hanging out with people.

I've uploaded a few photos from the wedding, for the curious. As you can tell, weddings are serious business. ;)

What was less fun was the plane ride home. My flight was delayed, which meant I'd miss my connection, so I was told I'd be stuck in Chicago overnight waiting for the first flight to Ottawa at 8:30am. No hotel provided either, since it was weather related. We all spent 3 hours waiting in Greensboro with 10 minute updates telling us the plane hadn't taken off. Everything closed at 8pm so there was no way for us to get food for several hours before the plane finally arrived around 10pm. I was glad for my penchant for packing snacks and plenty of entertainment! United didn't so much as offer us an extra drink on the plane for our troubles, sadly -- at least Air Canada often gives me a cookie!

When we got into Chicago, I decided on a whim to check the board and see how badly I'd missed my flight. Whereupon I realized the Chicago-Ottawa flight had also been delayed. And then I realized it was delayed so much that they hadn't left. And then I realized it was at the gate I'd just left... it turns out that the second leg of my flight was on the same plane! So a quick check with the gate agent and I just got back on. Sure, I didn't get actually home 'till closer to 4am... but I didn't have to sleep in O'Hare airport!

I'm not sure how I feel about having jet lag despite staying in the same time zone, but there's no time to recuperate: I need to prep a job talk for next week, and there's still thesis to finish! Wish me luck!
terriko: (Default)
Just had to share now that i have a few photos:

More photos in my angry birds gallery. But that's not all the birds -- My friend M's made a bunch of bigger ones, and J's sewn up some pigs too!

The fun part, however, will be playing with these at PAX. We're hoping to toss a few into crowds and play line games with them. Should be fun!
terriko: (Default)
We met one of the women who works at the hotel in the elevator, and she said that they loved having PAX there because even though it was a huge crowd of people, everyone always seemed so happy.

So I've spent the weekend around happy people, playing games and seeing demos and getting free stuff (including oh so many free t-shirts. Kudos to Sega for tossing women's shirts into the crowd! I'm so excited about mine.) It's weird how normally after a conference, I feel kinda exhausted and don't want to be around people, whereas coming back from PAX I feel relaxed and eager to try out a few more games.

This weekend, my personal group raised $80 for Child's Play with our cookies, and we handed off a box of them to someone more eager too, so she probably raised even more (I'm guessing she was the one who raised $4000 -- since she was over 2k when we met up with her!). The whole group raised $7900 + a bucked o' change. I got to hear about the work that happened behind the Humble Indie Bundle (including some insinuation that another bundle could be in the works!), saw some hilarious out-takes from Telltale, watched an excellent concert from Paul and Storm and Jonathan Coulton (And I'm sure MC Frontalot was awesome, but from where we were we couldn't make out his lyrics, and the performance lost something when you had to use a cell phone to figure out what was being said! Apparently opera halls aren't designed for nerdcore, but at least he makes all his lyrics available for free!) Susan and I tried out Kinect and found it surprisingly, shockingly fun. Especially the battle/trick race game we were playing that had us holding our hands up to drive imaginary cars and tipping around to do tricks. When we got there, there was basically no line, but we gathered one with our antics!

Susan's hat and my backpack were clear hits, and less trouble to wear than full costumes, so now I want to make more hats. People were always surprised to hear we'd made them ourselves including the patterns -- and some were disappointed because that meant they couldn't just buy one themselves!

Anyhow, it was a very fun weekend, and I'm coming back feeling less stressed and ready to conquer this term.


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