Thursday, August 01, 2013

2013 WBC Day 4

Tuesday is a big day for some people at WBC. The morning and afternoon are devoid of events in order to run the big auction and auction store. I am not one of the people that care about these things at the best of times. Normally I will either sleep in, or I will get up and open game. This time around neither of those things were really in the cards. I woke up early (around 6am I think) feeling absolutely terrible. Both Robb and Pounder were snoring (both sounded stuffed up; my thinking was I'd probably spread the plague to them) and I couldn't find a way to either be warm or fall back asleep. I decided that since I was awake the best course of action was probably to just get dressed, grab my book, and go read in the lobby or something. I put on some headphones and turned on my mp3 player and did just that for an hour or two. The lobby was still pretty cold, and I felt pretty terrible, but the sun was up. I figured I'd go outside to see if it was any warmer and maybe read out there for a bit. It was a little warmer lying in the sun with my long pants and jacket on so I read for a bit. I got tired soon enough and figured I'd just take a nap.

Then it got dark as someone stood between the sun and the hat that was covering my eyes. I had my headphones on so I couldn't hear, but I struggled awake, took them off, and tried to figure out what was going on. It was someone from the hotel who thought I was a hobo trying to sleep on site without paying. He asked for my room number and to see my room key both of which I was able to do. He looked at me weird but I told him it was too cold in my room and warmer out here and he left me alone.

Eventually I got bored of sleeping outside and wandered around the hotel for a bit. Robb and Pounder were still asleep so I couldn't go hang out in the room. Instead I watched some demos in the sampler showcase and then went to Nick Henning's Legends of Rock demo. I didn't know what that was, and I knew it wasn't an event, but it was something to do. It turned out to be a game he's been designing for the last year that he wanted to demo and get feedback for. Being sick I was unwilling to actually play but I did stick around to watch other people play because I had nothing better to do. I don't generally like 'beta testing' games in either video or board game form anyway. It did seem like an interesting enough game with decisions being made and a neat theme. I particularly enjoyed that you had to name your band at the start of the game and then when you recorded an album you got to name that too. The game I watched featured Robot vs Deep Slurple vs The Happy Turtles vs Amish Rake Fight. Much cooler than just refering to people as green or red.

After that I wandered around the auction store. There were some things that looked interesting enough, but I'd decided that maybe I should be frugal what with being unemployed and all and didn't spend any money on long out of print games I likely would only play once. I ran into Pounder at the auction store and we wandered around a bit afterwards.

Robb was still asleep, so I couldn't go be miserable in the room, so I just hung out in the lobby being miserable instead. Say hello to people; refuse to shake their hand. Sceadeau wandered by and made fun of me for being Patient Zero and then took Pounder away to play Hanabi and left me behind. I tried to help by pointing out a nearby store that sold board games and might have Hanabi in stock but Elaine called them up and they didn't. One thing I'm learning is I could have made a fortune this year if I'd bought all the copies of Hanabi in Toronto when the shipments came in and brought them to WBC and sold them at a markup. Everyone is looking for a copy. It really is the co-op game for gamers.

I decided I was too cold in the lobby, so I went back outside to nap in the sun. If someone had told me that I was going to go away on vacation in order to play fewer games and sunbathe I would have told them they were off their rocker but here we are. There was a slight breeze which would make me shiver but the sun itself was pretty warm. I covered my face with my hat but ended up lying with my hands exposed. I was only out for an hour and a half or so but I got a bit of a sunburn out of it. No pain really, but my hands are definitely redder than they should be.

By this point plans had been made to go eat at the Texas Roadhouse at 4. It was a little past 3 so I decided if Robb was still asleep I didn't care and I was going to the room anyway. I still had to try to find a way to post Monday's blog post, after all. He was gone, but I still had no internet. Pounder came back and he had internet just fine. I guess it's a problem with my computer then. But I have a USB key (thanks Bell) so I just transfered the text file to his laptop and posted it from there.

Robb came in at 3:50 and said it was 4 and time to eat. I said it wasn't 4 yet and kept fiddling with my computer. Apparently the implication was that we were leaving early to go eat. But I was sick so I wasn't up to that particular deductive leap. They dragged me off anyway. The Roadhouse itself was very nice about my gluten issue. They don't preseason or marinade most of the steaks and they were more than willing to isolate part of the grill for my steak alone after scrubbing it down. The sides were really sketchy but they ended up letting me just get two sides of apple sauce. No spoon for most of the meal, sadly, but I did eventually get to eat everything and it didn't make me sick so score one for the good guys. And now we have a second place I can eat which will make Pounder happy since I think he was getting tired of Red Robin.

Actual games start at 6 and there were plenty of things I wanted to play. But I didn't feel like playing any of them. Instead I just went to the room and felt terrible. At 8 was a seminar titled 'How to Win at Being Human' and I feel like I tend to lose at being human so maybe they'd have something interesting to say. At the very least I could huddle in a corner of the room there feeling miserable just as well as in the hotel room.

The seminar ended up being put on by a nice young woman who has been coming to WBC for 6 years and wanted to just share some of the things she's learned. It sounded like maybe she was considering going back to school to do a masters on this stuff, or maybe she's going to become a wacky health guru on the internet or something. She had a background as a massage therapist and an art degree or something like that. At one point of the seminar she briefly trashed science as a thing which caused a ruckus around the room as one guy chimed in with some stories about how big business is ruining everything by corrupting science and another guy who is a scientist sniping back about how science is awesome but sometimes people twist it for their own means. Considering a lot of what the presenter had already talked about had been generated by science itself I feel like she was actually more in the second guy's camp but it seemed like she may have been treading a little into conspiracy wack-job territory herself.

It reminded me a bit about a Penn and Teller episode I watched recently about vaccinations. They talked about one study that was funded entirely by a lawyer that wanted to sue vaccine makers who paid a scientist to come out with a fraudulent study linking vaccines to autism in children. The guy published the study and it's been a huge problem. Science itself has completely refuted that study and I think the scientist has been charged for fraud in some manner, but the damage has been done. Crazy people refuse to vaccinate their children because of one fake study and their own paranoia.

At any rate, back to the seminar. The meat of what she was discussing is how games make people feel good because the limbic system likes to reward things like status, consistency, and fairness all of which are abundant in the structure of board games. Her theory is that we need to change the way we approach life to line up better with what the limbic system rewards in order to make us feel better and make good decisions. It seemed like it made sense if you could come up with good rules, anyway. She is running a series of 4 seminars and went over a bit of what was coming up in future days. The next one was going to be about nutrition, and how current conventional wisdom is terrible and causing the problems it's supposed to be preventing. Misunderstaning cholesterol and such things, and how meat isn't nearly as bad for you as the grain industry wants you to think. The second one would be about how absolutely atrocious shoes are and how we should all go barefoot. That one made me think of Sky, because he only goes barefoot and likes to rail about how terrible shoes are. The last one was about the brain but she ran out of time before she could really go over what would be going on in it. (There were technical difficulties getting her computer hooked up to the projector.)

The bottom line was she at least had interesting things to say. I'm a big fan of critical thinking and that means showing up and learning new things about what people think is a good thing. Maybe she's a crazy person, maybe she isn't. But having a new way to look at things can't hurt as long as I think about it and come to conclusions myself. Which, I hope, is where she was going with the science rant in the middle. Science is awesome, but we can't just take what any given scientist says as law. You need to look at the studies and interpret things yourself. If only everyone had the time to do all this research!

After that I went back to the room, played a little Rogue Legacy, felt terrible, and went to bed. One thing I did before going to bed was pop a couple extra strength Tylenol that I'd apparently packed in my bathroom bag. They claimed to deal with fever and maybe that would cut down on the shivering. Turned out yes, since I actually couldn't get to sleep because I started sweating under all my blankets! I actually had to turn the AC back on and take off Pounder's extra blanket before I was finally able to get to sleep.

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