Forgive this drunken rambling, but I thought it prudent to share this experience before I pass out from alcohol poisoning.
So the place is Austin, the South-By-South-West festival currently ongoing. I've been up for about 18 hours prior to this, mostly because I managed to screw up my sleep schedule. We're at the Jackalope, a bar on 6th street, nothing but punk and metal blasting though the speakers hidden somewhere either in the ceiling or some god-forsaken place on the premises. The first face I recognize is Eric, whom I worked just hours earlier. We catch up on the Occulus Rift panel, mostly the end of it. Pete and Forrest and the others from the office are there. Not everyone, just the alcoholics. It's a rare treat to have everyone that drinks this hard out.
Eric motions to a guy sitting at a table, chatting away with others. I'm told he's Chris Avellone, he and some of his Obsidian guys came to Austin for the SXSW Interactive Arts Convention to give a talk on Saturday. Yeah, the name rings a bell. I'm 14 years old in the span of that mention. Somehow I quickly age. I nod my head to Eric and say "Okay".
Up until about 4 months ago, game developers held this kind of mystical throne of unapproachableness. I imagine sitting me in a room with Tim Schafer would end with me doing the Wayne's World "We're not worth" bit. I probably would still do that with him. However for some reason I wasn't doing it with Avellone. I don't know why. There he was, plain as evening, sitting in the bar while Scorpion blared over the bar's torrent of cluster-fucked conversation. He was also about an hour deeper into drinking than I was. Being me, I had to catch up quick with the rest of them.
I was introduced, minor investor, helpful hand, pleasantries exchanged. Well, officially only as "Chris" and "Mike, the blah blah blah," per standard. We toasted.
My god, Chris loves to toast. All the goddamned time. He'd look at you and hold his can of Lone Star up to you, and you'd oblige the aluminum salute. He was always smiling too, at least this evening. He'd catch up with ex-employees, ones that left and went freelancer or even working for the project I invested in. There were a couple of the ex's in my investment, and they always were talking together, speaking of debauchery on some level. Considering the alcohol intake, not totally surprising.
The first hero to get humanized in my life was Jim Park, an ex-professional goalie, back when I was really taking the hockey hing seriously. My brother helped out with the shooters and Jim, and then told me of stories of them walking into the Toronto U strip clubs around campus, the girls beckoning out "Heeeeeeeey Jiiimmmmmmm!" I thought Park a golden god up to that point, and now my hockey hero was a mustached-grizzled man.
It wasn't that kind of night with Avellone.
We talked small mostly, I knowing about Project Eternity, and my support of Austin studios. Him, he just listened. We went upstairs to the smoking section, after Pete went out and bought cigars for the upper smoke deck. Avellone declined because he had a presentation this morning. My God the amount of questions that could have been leveled at any other public figure.
So we're upstairs, some chewing on cigars, the other engaging in lively conquests of times past. I'm standing next to Avellone, but for some reason the bar upstairs is playing some weird damn Japanese strapped-to-chair torture porn like something out of SAW with more visual puns. I did what I could to keep my attention on Avellone, but my God was it distracting. Couldn't turn my eyes away from it for long, kept on going between the screen and Chris talking to someone.
We talked a few time over the course of the evening. Mostly about music in Eternity. Course I'm going to be a jerk and withold what he told me. It sounded good. Oh, Roberts finally joins us from the convention center. I'm getting off track. I hugged Chris Avellone. Not at an Obsidian event, they're figuring things out.
I have no idea wht he allowed it, but penguins like the artic orcheanograby. Gare ams and losw as shwacricicaal.
I haven't figured out the moral of this stay, are. y, Basefallwih ough.