PAGE III: THE POWER OF MARIO COMPELS ME
Jesus Christ! From the downtown convention center to Nintendo HQ it only took me 15 minutes (with a map, and despite a slight bit of backup on the 520E). What the fuck?...
So I got to the American landing/birthplace of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Link, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Samus, Mother Brain, Kid Icarus, those Ice Climbing guys, Mike Tyson, Diddle Kong, Bowser, that sexy fairy in the Zelda games and Yoshi (well, not really bragging about that last one)... and it was just a regular looking office building. It was just a nondescript glass and concrete box. Honestly, I didn't know what I was truly expecting (People dressed in Mario and Bowser costumes running around and doing cartwheels in the front yard of a complex in the shape of a giant Triforce?), just not a gray office building with a small "Nintendo" logo above the front door. If you weren't looking for that logo you would have missed it too. Man, if I ran things I'd have painted a giant fucking mural around the entire main building of an exact replica of World 1-1, with Mario the size of a van. Then I would have made love to it.
Anyway, I walked through the front door, up past the front desk, and tried to get inside, but the secretary was having none of it. "I'm sorry (she looked me up and down contemptuously)... sir, but this is a place of business, and unless you have business with us I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
So I went back out to my car, put on my red UGA hat, used a thick magic marker to draw a giant, burly, Italian mustache on my upper lip, and then charged right back in there claiming, in a big booming voice, "It's-a me! Mario! Mama mia! I'm-a big racist stereotype who likes-a lasagna, shooting Tony Soprano, and kissing the Pope's-a ass! Where's-a Luigi? He-a owes me some-a spaghetti and a cheap whore!" (This must have been the reason why I bought that hat 15 years ago... It was destiny.)
The secretary and a bunch of other guys in suits (who were just leaving as I entered) pointed to the cubicles and offices in the back and let me stomp right past them. I was a man on a mission. That mission was doing awesome things.
I was just wandering the halls, taking peeks into boring office after boring office, when I came upon the biggest, sweetest, most awesomest room I had ever seen! There were giant, stuffed Nintendo characters everywhere, a 62" plasma on the far wall with every Nintendo console ever made hooked up to it, and two passed out hookers on the sturdy, mahogany desk next to three long lines of blow. I went straight to the plasma TV (ironically a Sony) and put inSuper Mario Galaxy and then Metroid Prime 3 into the attached Wii. I played and played and played. I was so into Metroid that I didn't even hear the main man, Reggie Fil-Aime, enter and walk up right behind me until he started screaming, "Hey'sa yous! Whatta the fuck yous-a think yous-a doin', paisano?!"
Without missing a beat, I turned around and said, "Heeeeey, what'sa matta you? Yous-a ruined my game! Why I outta whacka yous!" I then challenged the big man to Wii Tennis and utterly kicked his ass. But Fil-Aime was like Death in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey: I kept whooping him but he kept saying shit like, "Best-a two out of three!" And then, "Best of five!" And then, "Best of ten!!" He was getting more and more agitated and pumped up, until he finally just cracked (after my 12th win in a row) and started yelling, "I'sa kill yous!" over and over.
I calmed the man down though by offering him a "be-all, end-all death match in Wii Mortal Kombat." "What'sa that?" Reggie asked. Then I grabbed a Wii nunchuck and smacked the crappola out of his mammoth skull. Damn, that thing's HUGE!
I booked it out of that glorious office once he hit the ground, and then I ran around the Nintendo hallways screaming "Octorocks! Leevers! Which-way-to-go?! SEGA sucks!" (my childhood friends Elliott and Jason would have been so damn proud of me!). Then I stuffed a bunch of plush Pikachus that I found (they were all over the goddamn place) down my pants and claimed I was a Pokéball when security and the cops arrived. As they tried to hurl me out of Heaven on Earth Inc.'s front doors, I begged "Nooooooooooooooooo! I bought every goddamn Nintendo ever fucking made! Even the Virtual Boy! You should all suck my dick! I bought the goddamn Virtual Boy!"
After that it was an hour and a half trip back to my hotel on the 520W. Jesus H. Christ! Build another bridge, Seattle! Is it really that fucking hard? Have Starbucks and Microsoft fit the bill. Call it a "Non-puffy Pants Wearing Tax." Then you either get a newly funded bridge to alleviate all the shit traffic to and from Redmond at night, or you get to see Bill Gates (and whoever the Starbucks guy is) wearing puffy pants all the time. Win, win!
I was pretty hungry by the time I got back to my home away from home (the Marriott), but luckily there was a fantastic 5-star seafood restaurant right around the corner from me. At least I SAY it's 5-star! The fine folks at Chandler's Crabhouse brought me a couple of Alaska Amber Ales, the best goddamn, non-white salmon I've ever had, and a 6" (length) by 4" (height) by 3" (width) cut of the gooeyest banana creme pie I've ever slid down my waiting throat. I've only had 2 pieces of banana creme pie in my life, but this one definitely beat out that other one. By the end of dinner I felt just like Mr Creosote. Look it up. Good times.
Back in my room I read some of the book I brought with me (Drew Curtis' It's Not News, It's FARK), made some mental notes to make fun of my friends in the newspaper industry for doing pretty much everything Drew points out as being FARK in his book, and then went to sleep. Jet lag was still fucking with me.
PARTY, MICROSOFT STYLE
Friday came and the sun kicked me wide awake with its brutal brilliant rays (it was sunnier than my trips to Las Vegas almost the whole fucking time... I figure those numbers for "Seattle suicides" must either be completely wrong, or its the coffee and grunge that's causing so many fuck-ups to whack themselves in sunny Seattle). I then took off for the final day of the conference.
I usually don't do too well in crowds of people that I don't know, but I enjoyed the hell out of An Event Apart. I even sat with some new peeps at lunch, and had them compliment me till I blushed.
Well, they didn't actually SAY that last part, but you know they were thinking it. I mean, I did whip it out at one point as a conversation piece. But I digress. The rest of the seminar was just as educational as the previous day, and every speaker was a genius god of the intarwebs (I am legally bound to say this, and I want to, seeing as any one of the speakers could either hack my site or utterly destroy me online just by wishing it), but after the Google guy was done with his talk I cornered him and had a little tete-a-tete with the gent.
He got the point... Though I wonder if he truly loved his wife and kid seeing as my shit still doesn't pop up on Google again yet. Those two eat like fucking horses too. So expensive to keep in my attic.
After the conference was done, I drove back to my hotel (in the middle of the biggest, most fucked up, city-wide, road construction project ever attempted on any city EVER) to get cleaned up and take a number 2. It is absolutely AMAZING how when you have to take a giant crap in a strange city that all the roads leading back to your hotel are closed, all the short cuts you try end up leading in different directions all together, and how retarded cunts block firelanes and the entrance to your hotel's underground parking garage because asking them to move their fat asses apparently gets them flustered enough to LEAVE THEIR CARS IN PLACE and then run inside the lobby to find their even more retarded husbands who then get sheepish and submissive when they come out to find you shitting through their driver's side window, and wiping yourself with their suit jacket that they left in the back seat.
After that satisfying relief, I borrowed somebody's taxi ("Yes, it was I who called you, Shanbu! Hurry up and just drive before the real people who called you come out... What? No, I said it was ME who called the taxi! Shit, here they come! DRIVE, ése!") so that I could head on over to the conference's closing night party over at The Big Picture art-film theater over on 1st Street. The party was hosted by Microsoft and some other company that I can't remember, and all I have to say is that web geeks and nerds do NOT know how to throw a fiesta. No open bar for an hour and a half of a three hour gathering? Geeks need to drink more than normals just to wash away the shame! There were only like 50 to 70 of us there; Microsoft could have covered alcohol for us for two full days just by looking under one of their VPs' sofa cushions! And the biggest form of entertainment that night was Guitar Heroes on the 360 set up in the small theater. And one of the speakers was busted so one of the two guitars never even came through.
I myself (after 5 or 9 drinks) found a small lounge tucked away behind the bar, with a Nintendo Wii hooked up to a 36" TV. 4 guys were already looking like tools playing Wii Sports (you can't help looking like a tool with that game), and so I started hitting on another cute Wii-spectator named Irina, who happened to be from somewhere in Eastern Europe. She had a delightful accent, and a beautiful rack. After a while 2 of the guys stopped playing and I convinced Irina to join my team for a match of doubles tennis. We trounced the other players, and then I kicked everyone's virtual ass in Bowling.
It was during a break from the Wii that I told Irina I'd get her a drink, and that was when I found out that the bar had already closed. Bullshit, but I'll continue. I found a bunch of half-drunk glasses, and did my best impression of Tom Cruise in Cocktail (without going that gay) by mixing some up for Irina, and chugging the rest myself.
After a little while even the scraps of alcohol ran low and Irina and I took another cab over to the Jillian's (complete with bar) over by my hotel. I learned a lot from that second cabbie of the night: things like even if you only had one little drink two hours before driving, DON'T [go driving] — the cops pull people over left and right in Seattle, and even if you blow below legal they still give you a ticket or tow you or whip you on the streets; drugs are apparently easier to score in Seattle than in Tijuana, but a white boy like me'd get chewed up and spat out if I ever went looking for them; and Seattle-ites hate, hate, HATE Frasier Crane and all those who inquire about him or where the good doctor really lived.
A few more hours of bar time and then playing skeeball at Jillian's and I was spent. Well, almost.