Thursday, August 23, 2007

Books, Games, and Chinese

Back in New York.

I flew into Seattle last friday (it's thursday now) and got to visit Valve Software. Oh my, how it was awesome! I took a taxi from the airport and got to Bellevue around noon. After a little of being lost in the Bank of America building, I finally arrived at the Valve offices (they're on the 10th floor - they are the 10th floor). The office is balls sweet. Their next offering, The Orange Box, is in the very final stages of development and needed to be done-done in a matter of days, so everybody was very busy. The extremely generous Greg Coomer took time to show me all over the place and introduce me to the folk. ChrisB and the Shermanator were away, but I did meet the Valentes - Doug and Jen - and they were really great. After Greg toured me through the 9th, 10th, and 11th floors (they're expanding) I went to grab some lunch. Full of pizza, I returned around 2 to meet the man himself: Gabe Newell.

Gabe really is the nicest guy. He took me around to meet some other folks and I got to play Team Fortress 2 on the Xbox 360. That seemed to be what everyone was playing. There are 360s in every office. And huge flatscreen monitors. And mysteries of The Future. I suck with a gamepad so I did very poorly, but I am maximum-psyched for this game. I can has TF2?

Gabe then showed me two new character videos: Meet the Solder, which was just released, and the next one. It's hilarious.

Then I was sat down to play Portal at a proper PC. I love Portal. Portal is some of the best writing of any game I've played. It's is wicked funny. I didn't play all the way through and I didn't play any HL2: Episode 2 because I wanted to save the pleasure for the done thing, but now that I look back on it, that machine was a lot nicer than my hunker and I probably should have played all I could on the uber-nice hardware.

After saying goodbye and thanking everyone again, I meet up with the Hangs and spent the rest of the evening and the following day with Lizzy and her fam. There was a lot of Chinese I didn't understand (all of it), but we got to go to the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project and Pike Place. And the Chinese food was really great.

Then it was back to MN for a few days. I finished my book (Spook Country) which I didn't particularly care for but which was partially about an idea Sam and I had years ago called the Outernet. Anyhoo, I also watched some Battlestar and visited Cora and Brittany.

My mom and my sister and my sister's friend and I all flew back to NY on Monday. We youngins saw Spring Awakening and mom saw Phantom. They left yesterday and now I'm all alone in my new place. My roommate hasn't arrived and I haven't unpacked. I'm reading a new book on Sam's advice and am loving it oh so much. More later. Next week I'll try to make it to Boston. More later.

Stay soft, pink, and healthy.