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BlizzCon > NewsOct 30, 2019 4:00 pm CT

My Road to BlizzCon: Irvine has tasted my blood and found it sweet

Well, I assume Irvine found my blood sweet — it was sure thirsty enough to get some.

I have been in Orange County for 24 hours. I have already wandered through what appears to be the medical center of the area, met my evil twin, been condescended to by a cat, and walked four kilometers to get to a 7-11 and back.

An embarassment of falling

Back in 2007, I used to read a lot of sites about World of Warcraft, and because I was still a blithering egomaniac then — let’s not pretend I grew out of that, either — I always felt like I could do better.  This led to a long and comical series of arguments with my wife Julian who, as she always does, presented a perfect counter argument — If I was so sure I could do better, why not apply to that one site that’s looking for writers? Usually I will find a reason to cowardly weasel out, but on this one particular day I ended up doing just that. I applied, and after a while found out that yes, they wanted to hire me.

I would later find out that they didn’t all want to hire me. Frankly, I have always wondered what would have happened had I not been hired to work there and not learned a great deal about professionalism and grace from the people I’ve met while working first at that site, and then here at Blizzard Watch. It’s hard to imagine the past twelve years without this constant.

Take this, it’s dangerous to go alone

Today, I decided to go exploring the Irvine area I find myself in. According to my phone, there was a 7-11 off in the distance I could walk to. The difficulty was in walking out of the area of my room — it was clearly not designed for pedestrians, and that whole going blind deal makes people nervous about licensing you to drive. Still, I’ve survived in the icy boreal tundra of Canada for 13 years, I figured I could walk to a 7-11 and back.

As soon as I made it to the bike path I fell right on my posterior and sliced up my hand trying to negotiate a simple step up. Bleeding, cursing, and checking to make sure my phone with the GPS was okay (it was, yay for phone cases and Julian’s insistence I get one) I was helped to my feet by a friendly gentleman. A brief discussion of why I was in the area led to the revelation that I was here for BlizzCon, and he and I engaged in a few minutes of light banter about Overwatch and why Tirion Fordring went out like a punk. His words, not mine, and he may have sworn a lot more. He informed me he was a paladin back when it meant something and asked me what I thought of WoW Classic.

Buoyed by this meeting, although irritated that I had cut my hand, I made my way out to the road and walked about a block when the police cruiser pulled up.

Lets do the time warp again

When I first started back in 2007, I was very much apprenticed when it came to game writing. I’d written for publication before but not to this degree and I really have no other way to say it — without Liz and Dan, I’d likely have sunk like a stone. I look back at those days and realize just how rough my style was, and whatever improvements I’ve made over the years are almost certainly due to them. Liz in particular has shown me how to try and deconstruct an issue when thinking about it in a way I simply hadn’t before I met her, and if there is any cloud to this BlizzCon the fact that I won’t meet her is definitely one of them. Sorry to miss you, Liz.

She also taught me how to take a whole paragraph before telling you what happened with that police cruiser. The policeman asked me if I was someone I am not, and said that said person had left one of the many, many hospitals in the area (seriously, there are so many hospitals around here) and he matched my description. I am of course not that person, and after a brief exchange wherein I explained that I’ve spent the last thirteen years in Canada, the policeman left to continue his search.

My helpful evil shoeless twin

I walked another block when I realized the man who helped me up was wearing a shirt and jeans very similar to my own, and that we were not wholly dissimilar in our appearances. Also, he had been missing a pair of shoes. I would normally have commented on this, but I’d ripped open my hand and the bleeding was throwing me off my game. The gnawing certainty arose that yes, I had seen the man they were looking for, and this strangely similar man had escaped them because I didn’t realize it at the time.

The remainder of my walk to the 7-11 was fairly uneventful by comparison. I saw the Blizzard campus — yes, it’s that close — because I walked down the wrong street, and eventually I found the 7-11 and a host of other shops and places to eat, including a Carl’s Jr. I moved away from California in 2002 and the last meal I had in the state was at a Carl’s Jr, so I may have found the place I will eat when I leave this time. Or maybe not — I didn’t like it in 2002, so probably I won’t now, either.

Two days to BlizzCon, y’all. Two days. If things keep on this way I’ll be hip deep in replicants by Friday.

Oh, I didn’t forget about the cat. We’ll talk about that cat.

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