Tuesday, August 10

Once you leave ______ you will not be able to go back.

[Okay!] [I'm not ready]

A combination of onset Torticollis (seriously I forget how many chronic diseases I have some times), poor organisation and Chris' boy-like desire for me to stay just a little longer (long enough for one last MTG draft and Blizzard sketch group) mean I am still sitting here at Luke's computer in Irvine and not out in the harsh unforgiving American wilderness. I've heard OC referred to as 'the orange curtain', a joke about the fake tan and idyllic American veneer that covers everything and everything here. It feels to me like a bubble, insular and artificial but at the same time as comfortable as a dream you don't want to wake up from. But it's all about the company you keep, and after three weeks I feel like I'm still near the surface. I have definitely made friends with people here, and the friendship is true. I have made contacts and seen what I came to see. But I can't shake the feeling I could do more. Fortunately I will return! I've added some time to the end of my trip to refresh and reaffirm any impression I've made here. It's Chris and Luke (and everyone I've met), it's Irvine, it's Blizzard. With that in mind I'm ready to leave. Right now I'm packing up and booking my train (some 10 hours :/) to go see an old friend in San Jose. I hear they have the most insane house there;

The Winchester Mystery House is a well-known California mansion that was under construction continuously for 38 years, and is reported to be haunted. It once was the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester, but is now a tourist attraction. Under Winchester's day-to-day guidance, its "from-the-ground-up" construction proceeded around-the-clock, without interruption, from 1884 until her death on September 5, 1922, at which time work immediately ceased.[2] The cost for such constant building has been estimated at about US $5.5 million[3] (if paid in 1922, this would be equivalent to over $71 million in 2010).[4]

The mansion is renowned for its size and utter lack of any master building plan. According to popular belief, Winchester thought the house was haunted by the ghosts of individuals killed by Winchester rifles, and that only continuous construction would appease them. It is located at 525 South Winchester Blvd. in San Jose, California.[5]

From wikipedia of course. Pity I'll not be there for Halloween as it sounds pretty damn spooky. Perhaps I'll get some footage and insert Boo's in the background heh.

Way back when the internet was still fresh and companies thought they could somehow make money out of it by harnessing the magic of arcane web-masters, a teenaged boy spent his afternoons trolling Geocities (anyone just get nostalgia rush?) chat-rooms. There was no word for Trolling, indeed there was no Internet meta-culture at all. It was the wild-west of the internet; no federal agents snaring deviants, town sheriffs (mods) so old and slow they were impotent, prospectors giving up their lives to join the 'gold rush' and plenty of young confused settlers hoping to find a better life in a new virtual country. Into this anarchy I swaggered: the man with no name. Shoot four men dead before they could refresh their pages, then off for a sordid night in a recommended saloon before heading to the menu-bar for a stiff drink to erase my history. Not that anyone else knew how to check the history (although years later I taught my Mum so she could track my younger brother's movement, double win for Sunny) or even would have.
One afternoon I was particularly impressed by a girl* whose disdain for civility and quick wit matched my own. When she* left I followed her IP trail to another establishment across town and managed to impress her*. She* told me of a website for free thinkers and aggressive expansionists under the guise of a Gargoyles[TM] fan-site. Fan sites have always been a great part of the internet. In reality they are virtual communities generated by one thing they have in common. Usually that thing is extraneous, serving as an ice-breaker and excuse for the social group to form. It was here, at the now defunct Miniclan.org that I spent a good chunk of my teenaged time interacting with people from all over the world. It was 30% philosophy, 30% role-playing (which works very well when you never see or hear the other players, in your reality these 'players' actually are their characters) and 40% friendly banter.
It was there and then that I met 'Djali' and we quickly became friends. She actually visited Melbourne one year and we met up, sharing stories and the phenomenon of meeting someone from 'the internet' in real life. I preached to passers by from the book of Mr Strong and she chased possums through the gardens. Some ten years (of irregular missives) later I am finally in California and preparing to return the favour.

A fitting way to kick off the scariest part of the trip. But hey, meeting people is easy. Right?

In other, non-gaming related news (seriously I'm getting to the good stuff in a few days, Love to Play: USA and all that) I went with some upstanding Blizzard folks to see a Musical version of Young Frankenstein. It was excellent, as you'd imagine, and since I'm not going to Broadway it was good enough to see it at the Pantages theatre in Hollywood (on the walk of stars). I must also report that LA is by and large sprawling and dirty. There are no real landmarks to make you feel like you're there (aside from the excessive number of American flags). The city centre isn't really much bigger than Melbourne, but then the inner suburbs go on forever. Everything is far more spread out in California too. Tall buildings stand alone in seas of car parking and every second road is 8 lanes wide. I don't think it's a place anyone needs to go. Not even on holidays from Australia.


Josh said...

Hey Sunny, after being rather busy for an extended period of time, I've finally caught up on your blog! Sounds awesome, can't believe you've met so many cool people, and don't stress about the job thing. You have your whole life to get a steady job, just focus on the great experience you're having. Much love, take care, your cous- J.

sunny said...

Thanks cuz! Made it to San Jose. It's all pretty damn cool.