PAX East 2011: Making Plans

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Mar 1, 2011

Filed under: Nerd Culture 81 comments


I’m usually a pretty relaxed guy. I’m not as stressed about unemployment as some people are, and I try to take hardship in stride. But I have curious eccentricities like anyone else, and I’m sometimes stressed by things that others would find trivial or even enjoyable.

1. I HATE travel

I find it immensely stressful. Partly this is because travel is so difficult. If I’m separated from my medicine, I become, basically, an invalid. And it’s terribly hard to GET prescription meds on the road. Even moreso during the weekend. So, losing a small item can render the entire trip worthless. You can keep pills in more than one container for redundancy, but you can’t split an inhaler in half. And drug stores have become overbearing and nanny-ish when it comes to “stocking up”.

But most of my stress comes from the basic difficulties of moving around. Getting lost. Making sense of foreign public transportation systems. Securing belongings. You might lose your stuff. Or lose yourself. Or get stranded someplace.

Then there’s the challenge of finding accommodations. They need to be close to your destination. They need to be affordable. And in my case, I need to be able to make sure there haven’t been pets in the building for any length of time for the last several years. Animal dander can reduce me to helplessness in very low doses, and finding out my room is poison after I check in is a mess.

It’s expensive, time consuming, confusing, and risky. No matter how fun the location is, if I’m the road, I’m stressed until I get home.

2. I get stressed in crowds

Some people thrive in a crowd. I don’t.

3. I HATE last-minute plans

One of my ways of coping with the stress of travel or crowds is to plan it ahead of time. I want to have lots of time to find just the right place to stay, plan just the right route, plan our expenses, and pack all the right stuff in order to avoid complications. I can cope with these things better if I see them coming and have time to mentally prepare myself for them.

And yet, here we are, planning a last-minute trip to PAX East. Months ago we scrapped our plans to attend, because we just didn’t have the money. Your recent generosity has changed that. We’ve got enough to pay the bills for a while and still have some left over for the trip to Boston.

But doing this at the last minute is messy. PAX runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 11-13. Three day passes are sold out. Saturday is sold out. Application for press passes is closed. If we go, we’ll have to miss Saturday.

We don’t want to get tickets until we’re sure we can find a place to stay. We don’t want to book a hotel until we have the babysitting worked out. But we need to get tickets soon before they sell out.

I have a bunch of emails from people asking if I’m going to PAX East. Lots of people want to meet me. I want to meet them. I want to see the exhibits. I’ve wanted to go for years, and now that I have the free time it seems like a good time to go.

It might not fall together, but we’re working on it.


From The Archives:

81 thoughts on “PAX East 2011: Making Plans

  1. Randy Johnson says:

    The obvious solution is to find a trustworthy Twentysider that lives in boston to crash with and have play chauffeur.

    1. S. Richmond says:

      A man who trusts a random internet denizen can consider himself a lost cause.

      1. Hitch says:

        A trustworthy Twentysider in the area to scout potential locations might be nice. Someone who can check to see if the “nearby” “affordable” hotel isn’t really a rathole severely underestimating it’s distance from the venue.

        1. thebigJ_A says:

          I’m from Boston, I could do that.

    2. Wolverine says:

      It’s called CouchSurfing, look it up…

  2. Antwon says:

    Clearly, Shamus and I need to do some sort of psychic energy foreign-exchange program or something at some point. Me, I love travel! I regularly take flights to random far-flung corners of the country, suitable for aimlessly driving around in rental cars! Though I “cheat”, able to semi-happily survive by sleeping in locations like “the back of a van” or “the frozen concrete patio outside of someone’s dorm room”. (And agreed: the concept of cobbling together last-minute plans can go die in a fire.) Still, I’d love to trade for a more Zen outlook on hardships and potential unemployment from time to time….

    Seriously, though: glad that the generosity of well-wishing readers has made such a thing at least a possibility. Here’s hoping that it can come to fruition and all that. I will keep fingers crossed and think good thoughts over here….

    1. MichaelG says:

      I knew a guy once who would go into JFK airport in NYC on a Friday night and just take the next international flight out he could get on without a visa. He flew to some weird places for the weekend.

  3. Wouter Lievens says:

    You sound like Sheldon Cooper dude :-)

  4. Mumbles says:

    I don’t remember if I gave you my two cents about this, but here it goes. If you’re going to do PAX, you need to do it properly. Three day passes allow you to take it slow and avoid the crowds when they get insane. Plus, I think a Shamus panel would be REALLY cool and if it had the right subject matter, very popular.

    I say skip it this year and plan for next year. Hell, I might be able to make it out to PAX East by then.

    1. Kibbin says:

      Maybe there should be a mumbles pannel where isntead of asking you questions about music and comics or something fans can come along and attempt to troll you. Maybe with prizes for the best.

      But otherwise I agree, the more time you can spend at any con the better, there’s nothing worse than seeing everything you want but only in five second windows before you have to run off to the next.

      1. Mumbles says:

        Whoever gets me to start spitting up blood first gets to go out drinking with me that night. I like this idea and I already can think of a handful of Spoiler Warning fans that would win.

        Yes, exactly. I’ve been to Comicon and it’s kinda the same song and dance. You want to treat it like a vacation rather than a day at the races.

        1. X2-Eliah says:

          Good thing you put in the ‘first’, else you’d have one heck of a nosebleed and pub bill to pay. It’s just a case of knowing when to go for the batman angle. ^^

          Or asking Jarenth/Des for tips. That also works. Then clubbing them over the head so they don’t steal my spotlight, the bodies could be disposed of in a nearby channel/ditch..

          Wait, what did I want to say? Oh nevermind. Here’s a substitute thought to cover a lack of the actual one: Batman wears cat ears and is white, and I’ll bet all Arkham criminals by default call him a girl. I wonder how many batmen are there in one of those cheery bosom festivals, then.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          “Whoever gets me to start spitting up blood first gets to go out drinking with me that night.”

          And youll throw in a punch in the face free of charge,because youre such a good sport.

        3. Jarenth says:

          If you could guarantee me that there’d be a Mumbles panel next year, I would start planning and saving for the trans-Atlantic trip right the hell now.

          Also, X2: I’m pretty sure I can take you.

          1. Mumbles says:

            Spoiler Warning party at Pax West in the hizzzzyyyy

            1. krellen says:

              I might actually go to something like that.

              1. Jarenth says:

                How could we not?

                1. krellen says:

                  Because California is a long way away?

                  (It’s not that far for me, but you’re in Scandinavia, aren’t you?)

                2. Jarenth says:

                  The Netherlands, but you’re close. And yes, it would be a terrible distance to travel, and probably ungodly expensive.

                  Hence my ‘I would have to start saving right now’ quip.

                3. krellen says:

                  Dangit, my first guess actually was Netherlands. Why don’t I ever learn not to second guess?

    2. AbruptDemise says:

      The only convention I’ve been to is within my state’s boundaries, but I think I’d try and make it up to Boston if a Twentysided panel was going on.

      EDIT: And yes, the three day passes are so much better than one-day tickets. If only they were unlimited in supply…

    3. macil says:

      Have to agree with Mumbles here.

      If you’re missing out on Saturday, you’re generally missing out on all the feature events, too (at least, that’s true of most conventions). And conventions are exhausting enough without all the other hassles.

      If you do go, make sure to arrive a day early and a day late. Its much less stressful!

  5. X2-Eliah says:

    Uhm, yes. Echoing the suggestions of other folks, don’t go for this year, go for the next. Last-minute convention visits are completely not worth it, less so if you have to constantly worry about all your belongings & health.

    Use the extra cash to get your book proofread.

  6. Burningdragoon says:

    Saturday being sold out was a deal breaker for me. Going one day didn’t sound too appealing and two days with a break in the middle didn’t make much sense either. I didn’t try to make plans until two days before it sold out so that was my fault. Besides the medicine and pets thing I mostly agree with your points though

  7. ccesarano says:

    I was originally keeping mine, but I have a 3-Day pass I won’t be using (I just had to take 3 sick days off of work, and taking three days off for pleasure a few weeks later seemed…well, it seemed like a fast way to convince my NEW employer to fire me).

    I don’t know how these ticket things work, but people can apparently sell theirs. I know it is only ONE three day pass, but I’d be willing to donate it freely to you guys. I’ll know that it went to good use.

    1. Klay F. says:

      If only my current state of health was better, I’d buy that thing up in a heartbeat.


      1. ccesarano says:

        Nah. As I said, I was looking to keep it just as a sort of…I dunno why. But, if I can donate it to one of my favorite writers on the Intarwebernets, then I’d look at that as +4 Paragon points.

        1. Matthias says:

          (I hope the formatting doesn’t screw me here :-))
          (Edit: it did…)

          Shamus: Can I have your 3-day pass?

          – Sure
          – Whatever
          – Screw you

          Results, respectively:
          “Of course, here you go! I hope you have the best time at PAX!” Paragon + 4
          “Take it, I have no use for it.”
          “Give YOU my ticket? Well, all right, but I better not catch you having fun!” Renegade + 4

          1. Jarenth says:

            That is exactly how Bioware would do the dialogue.

          2. Irridium says:

            Thats so close to Bioware dialog its scary.

  8. shiny_things says:

    If you do end up showing up without Saturday tickets, you may well be able to find some on Craigslist Friday even’. I don’t know about PAX, but in general the day before is the least-troublesome day to get make an exchange – it doesn’t suffer from the standard Craigslist disease of procrastination and poor communication, since people just want to make the exchange while their good is still of value.

  9. krellen says:

    You know, you might just be internet celebrity enough to get Gabe and Tycho to hook you up with something for Saturday.

    Also, every item on your list fits me to a “T”. Though it sounds a bit like you’re trying to justify your hate of travel a bit – it’s okay to own up to being a homebody. I am!

    Hipster time: I was doing staycations before they were cool.

    1. Ramsus says:

      Yeah, I’m exactly the same way (including the asthma and allergies). It sounds like Shamus’ allergies might even be worse than mine.

  10. Jeremiah says:

    Instead of the stress of a last-minute trip to PAX East, come to GenCon! You’ve got until August to get it planned!

    This is in no way influenced by my preference of GenCon over anything PAX.


    Completely unrelated: yesterday’s Dinosaur Comic made me think of Mumbles.

    1. Mumbles says:

      Oh man this brightened my morning.

      1. Jeremiah says:


        There’s a series of about 7. Make sure to read them all.

        1. Jarenth says:

          I cannot believe I’ve never sent those BTC comics to Mumbles before.

          The second comic in that series is my favourite comic on the Internet, ever.

    2. RTBones says:

      Seconded. If tickets and planning are issues, Gen Con may fit the bill this year as you have much more time to prepare. Save PAX East for next year.

  11. Irridium says:

    I was also planning to go this year. Then I lost my job. So now I’m not.

    Made me sad panda. Hopefully next year…

  12. Mari says:

    I’m with you on the crowds thing and the last minute plans thing but I love travel. The problem is that travel – crowds = visiting BFE all over the US. Yes, I have seen every tiny cow town along the west coast and middle-western parts of the US of A, including the discovery that the southwestern portion of Idaho smells like COWS all the time.

    I’ve hit the tiny, one-horse towns of the deep south while managing to completely avoid New Orleans and once getting so lost and confused in the crowds leaving the Atlanta airport that I made it all the way to Tennessee before regaining my senses enough to head back down to Warner-Robbins where I was staying, a little ways SOUTH of Atlanta.

    My next travel goal is to visit the Virginia/DC/PA/OH area without actually entering a fugue state in the nation’s capital. I’m planning ahead and already have an appointment to discuss medication options with my doctor. My goal is to beg a prescription of Xanax. Although if the jokes are to be believed that might be counterproductive.

    I’m really glad that the donations came rolling in for you guys. It’s nice to think that you’ll have electricity for a while to keep entertaining me.

  13. nilus says:

    I totally understand the hate of last minute plans. I actually refuse to go to any of my wife’s family events unless they give me 5 days notice.

    The other two items never bother me. I love travel. My old job allowed me to travel internationally and it was great. I thrived on the thrill of a new environment.

    And I love geek crowds. Never been to PAX but I love Gencon, even though I am probably gonna have to miss it again this year. Its great to be surrounded by people that share your passion.

  14. RTBones says:

    There’s an old saying – there’s only one thing worse than being on the road, and that’s NOT being on the road. I completely understand where you’re coming from. Travel (plane, train, automobile, bus, boat, dirigible, whatever) can be a hassle – not to mention food and accommodation in someplace unfamiliar to you (let alone where they don’t speak your language). It is certainly more of a hassle today than it SHOULD be. But it can also be extremely rewarding.

    For me, I’ve grown up traveling, and I can’t imagine ever NOT doing it. When you’ve done it long enough, there are certain things that become truisms. For everything a reason. Planes and trains get delayed. Weather happens. Stuck is stuck. Getting lost is sometimes the best way to find yourself. Lost luggage can be replaced. Reservations can be changed. Hand signals can substitute for English when communicating. The world keeps revolving. While a certain modicum of planning is essential, last minute planning is sort of a way of life for me. It has to be, given that my job can require me to be in almost any corner of the globe on short notice. I don’t know that I would have it any other way were it completely my choice.

    I’ve done this for long enough now that I have friends and colleagues that can tell if I haven’t gone anywhere in a month – apparently, I get “cranky” if I don’t get my travel fix. To put it in perspective, I’m one of those folks that can be gone halfway around the world for three weeks, come home for three days and have to go somewhere to unwind. Half the fun of going somewhere for me is just getting there.

    But that’s just me.

  15. SteveDJ says:

    If you take the above advice and skip this years, waiting for the next … why wait a whole year? What about PAX West? (…from someone biased – I live in Seattle area).

    1. We live on the East coast and PAX East is drivable– in fact we used to live up there and I used to make the drive with the kids several times a year to visit family.

  16. Jarenth says:

    Shamus, this might be a silly or inappropriate question, but you keep referring to ‘we’ throughout your post. Who’s ‘we’? I would’ve gone for ‘Me and the rest of the Spoiler Warning crew’, but seeing as Mumbles isn’t going this seems a little far-fetched.

    1. Shamus says:

      Yeah. Shoulda made that clear.

      Myself and my wife.

  17. Drew says:

    I went to PAX East last year, and had such a blast, I’m going back again. Sucks that you’re missing out on the 3-day pass thing, because without Saturday, it really blows a hole in the trip. I’d say see if you can find a Saturday pass somewhere from some good samaritan, or otherwise it might just be worth taking that good advice in this thread and waiting for next year. It’s a long trip to get 1.5 days of convention in.

  18. LizJ says:

    You might want to see if you can get invited to the Turbine party Friday night, if you still play LOTRO.

  19. Kdansky says:

    I will quote to you something a doctor said to me:

    “Everyone has some psychological problems, be they depression, phobia, nervousness, anxiety of anything else. We all are very busy, and do not have time to bother with therapy on each and every single issue. But at the point where it prevents you from doing things that you would like to do if it weren’t for those issues, you have to make a stand and beat them.”

    It’s usually easier than you’d think. Fear of crowds (or spiders, or travel, or people, or cats) can be very easily overcome with proper therapy. As a bonus, the act of beating your inner demons results in a huge confidence-boost. It’s character growth at its finest.

    While I agree that travel isn’t often “fun”, you word it in a way that makes my alarm bells shrill. I’ve been there, and not being able to go on vacation in another country WILL make your life less fun. Most problems you see are purely in your head. Accomodation canceled your rooms? There’s always a second hotel. Trains delayed? Read a book, wait a bit. Luggage lost? Go to a grocery store, buy some underwear and toothbrushes.

    1. krellen says:

      Shamus isn’t describing a fear of crowds – just a discomfort in them. They cause stress – a classic introverted response. Introverts can get out and do crowds, but it’s a draining experience. Planning helps alleviate that stress.

      There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert; we’re just a minority.

      1. Kdansky says:

        There is no difference between “Fear of crowds” and “experiencing discomfort in crowds” or “anxiety when confronted with crowds”. Those are the exact same reactions to the exact same issue, one is just worded politically correct, because “fear” is unmanly. One is not supposed to be afraid, but we all are.

        This has also nothing to to with introversion. Introverts are not defined by their inability to use public transports or go to parades, but by their small selection of friends, or that they do not talk to strangers. It’s just a phobia (and nothing more). Read what he wrote, it’s clear as daylight: It’s a list of incredibly unlikely things to worry about, or to be afraid of. Being afraid of things that are imagined is the definition of a phobia. It’s also telling that quite a few points are rather vague, because involuntarily not thinking it through is the norm.

        Planning can actually backfire badly: You try to avoid the stress actively, and your brain will then associate avoidance with non-stress, and of course you’ll end up stressed even more if you ever cannot avoid it. The less you confront it, the worse it gets. Should you not plan? Of course not! But you should not invent sophisticated escape tricks to avoid dinner with three friends.

        I know what I speak of. Trust me on this. ;)
        Or you could also read up on it, even wikipedia will do fine.

        1. Zukhramm says:

          Since when was discomfort and fear the same thing?

          1. Kdansky says:

            Discomfort is (among others) a symptom of (weak) fear.

            Give me a reason which is not a psychological issue why someone should feel discomfort in a crowd of people for no reason…

            Technically, we are talking about
            Which is also caused by phobia.

            1. Daimbert says:

              Why would you simply claim that there are no reasons? There are tons of things that happen in large crowds that can be annoying or irritating, which is a big reason why I avoid crowds. Some of them are:

              1) Excessive waiting for various things you want to get or get to that others do.

              2) A crush of people, which may result in a loss of personal space.

              3) It being generally loud with a lot of different conversations all going on at once.

              4) Reduced freedom of movement; it’s hard to walk through crowds.

              5) Many more people means many more things you have to pay attention to, as they are not always easily predictable, even in their movements.

              And I’m sure there are others. Now, some people enjoy some of the more positive aspects of crowds, but I’m not one of them and so can’t say what they are [grin]. But there are reasons to dislike and feel various negative emotions, including discomfort, which may just be the sum of all of them.

              As for anxiety, if you are going to go into a situation that you don’t like much, of COURSE that will make you a little anxious. If it didn’t, THAT would be a psychological problem (and, interestingly, is something that psychopaths characteristically lack).

        2. krellen says:

          This has also nothing to to with introversion. Introverts are not defined by their inability to use public transports or go to parades, but by their small selection of friends, or that they do not talk to strangers.

          Introverts are defined by whether they gain or use energy from interacting with people. There is nothing wrong with introversion, and avoiding crowds because they cause stress – which means “cost energy” – is not a psychological problem that needs to be corrected. Shamus does go do things, he does interact with people and strangers (and not just online; he called Desert Bus this year, after all).

          You are just out-and-out incorrect. Shamus was working hard to justify why he didn’t like going out and being around people, largely because our society assumes extroversion, and, as you are so clearly displaying, persecutes a horrible bias against introversion.

          You do not know what you are talking about. You might want to read something written by an actual psychologist about it.

          1. Kdansky says:

            Standing in a huge crowd is not “interacting with people”, and if that makes you unwell, that’s called agoraphobia. Nobody assumes extroversion here, me the least. Actually calling desert bus is something an introvert would never do, but someone with issues in crowds certainly can.

            Working hard to justify fears? It’s called: Denial.

            Flaming me for pointing out that he could do something about the issues he obviously has and make his life more fun? Being a total douche.

            1. Kdansky says:

              Missed the edit: Trying to make everyone fit a label like introvert or extrovert is ignorant at the least. It doesn’t even work for genders very well, not to speak of psychological issues.

              In the end, it is Shamus’s choice if he wants to do something about it. I am sure you are reading the comments, and I tell you: The issues you speak about can be solved. It’s a matter of training, and it usually doesn’t even take a long time (though it can be exhausting). You will probably never feel totally at ease in crowds (or travelling), but you can quickly get to a point where it is only a minor inconvenience. It’s not a god-given punishment for being renegade in your last life, it’s just your brain messing up.

              1. Pontifex says:

                This article needs to be read to empower oppressed introverts and (if possible) get extroverts thinking a about the ways they unthinkingly hurt us introverts.

                Caring for your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch

                As an introvert, i would like to defend Shamus further by saying that large groups are stressful, but its not out of any sort of fear. Its because I want to give each person the attention they deserve as fellow human, and you can’t spread yourself around enough.

                A crowd is overwhelming without any structure. After three years in china I was still stressed out in public (being on a bus with 100+ people crammed in, getting in line at KFC with 400 others, etc…) but in my classes at the university I was teaching 50+ students with no stress because there was a _structure_ and I was _expected_ to help and deal with each person! But a dinner conversation with more than 3 others will take more energy than teaching a class of 55.

                The world needs extroverts, but extroverts need to see the value in the introverts in the world… we need a _few_ people around who can think BEFORE they speak. :-D

              2. krellen says:

                One final word: Everyone can be divided into introvert/extrovert, although (as with almost every distinction there is) it is a scale and not a binary distinction. The difference is neurological – an actual, provable, testable difference in the way the brains of introverts and extroverts work.

                It is not possible for me to rewire my brain to run off endorphins rather than acetylcholine.

                Oh, and standing in a crowd is interacting with people. They are there around you, you are receiving stimulus from them, you are interacting.

                1. Kdansky says:

                  Great, then I’m 50% each, which makes the distinction all but meaningless. Depending on the questionnaire and my mood, I end up with either result. Introvert/Extroverts is a very forced label and will only really be a decent fit for the border 10% of each category. Hiding behind such a label isn’t the prudent thing to do.

                2. krellen says:

                  Let’s forget about questionnaires and Myers-Briggs, shall we? This isn’t about that.

            2. Daimbert says:

              Well, from wiki (which you cited as a good reference):

              “Introverts are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement.”

              It seems to me that a crowded situation may indeed produce “too much stimulation”, and thus overwhelm an introvert, thus leading to discomfort and dislike. There’s nothing wrong with that, any more than there’s something wrong with extroverts who get bored easily if they have to be on their own for a while.

              As for Desert Bus, introverts won’t necessarily have a problem with that. I’m not sure why you’d think that. I’m a prime introvert, and I can run meetings and give presentations to small or larger groups of people. And wasn’t the Desert Bus thing a bunch of small group/one-on-one interactions? That’s something that introverts LIKE. That a lot of people might be listening is not something that necessarily bothers introverts. Now SHY people on the other hand might have a problem with that, but not necessarily introverts.

              The real issue here is that you are calling this reaction a problem when there’s no real reason to think that. Shamus’ list is basically just a list of “These are the things that I’m dealing with that would make PAX less fun, which are reasons for me to wait for a better time/situation”. People finding different things fun and coming to a different cost/benefit analysis of doing something is not a problem that needs to be overcome.

            3. Shamus says:

              For the record, I am a massive introvert, and being in a crowd is stressful in much the same way that meeting new people is stressful.

              But please, there’s no reason for this to be so heated. On either side. I appreciate the advice. I’m aware of my various neurosis, and I confront them when I really need to. And it’s not that big a problem until I start layering stuff together: Travel AND last-minute plans AND meeting people / crowds.

              1. Kdansky says:

                >I'm aware of my various neurosis, and I confront them when I really need to. And it's not that big a problem until I start layering stuff together: Travel AND last-minute plans AND meeting people / crowds.

                That is what I hoped. If you know about the issues and they do not impact you except for rare cases, then you’re fine. It’s very typical that you only feel it when multiple bad stressors hit you at once, because you’ve got a certain tolerance for stress. At the point where you feel you’re missing out, you should do something about it. It’s not actually hard or complicated.

    2. Sumanai says:

      Taking on another note:
      Luggage lost? Go to a grocery store and buy the appropriate asthma medication and… wait. Aren’t those prescription only? I remember Shamus mentioning once that it’s a pretty specific medication too, and not “yet another asthma med”. How’s that going to be fixed? The meds are needed daily. How easy is it to get new ones in an unfamiliar area, on the same day as they’re lost (which might be very late in the evening)?

      1. Kdansky says:

        Get more than one set of medication. Put one in your jacket. Put one in your wife’s bag. Put one in your bag. Put one in your pants. Put one in your car. Put one in your hotel room.

        If that’s not enough, you are probably stricken by lightning first. I would also not recommend driving cars, since that is so much more dangerous.
        If the doctor won’t prescribe it (why shouldn’t he if you make a good point), switch doctors.

        And when you reach the point where even this is just too dangerous because you instantly die without your meds, then you shouldn’t leave the house to begin with, be it PAX or grocery shopping.

    3. Daimbert says:

      Will that travelling be fun enough for someone to balance out the things that aren’t fun? Only the person can judge that. As an example, I take university degrees for fun. I can certainly understand, though, how most people won’t find the fun of taking those courses fun enough to overcome the things about taking classes that aren’t fun.

      1. Kdansky says:

        It’s not about “I don’t have fun at conventions”, it’s about “I would have fun at conventions, if it weren’t for my anxiety”. The former group doesn’t have to do anything about it. I don’t have to learn to like dancing, because I just don’t like dancing. But if I already like dancing (or want to go to PAX), but the crowds intimidate me, I could try to learn to not be bothered by the crowds, so I can enjoy dancing (or going to PAX).

        If you’re nervous in crowds, but would really like to go to PAX (or the cinema) but won’t, because you know you cannot enjoy it due to nervousness, then you need to make a decision:

        Do you stay at home and miss out, or do you tackle your inner demons and try to overcome them?

        1. Daimbert says:

          You missed my point. The point was more “Is it going to be fun enough to overcome the things I don’t find fun?”. It seems that in a year where Shamus had had everything arranged beforehand, the travel and the crowds wouldn’t be enough to overcome the fun he’d have a PAX, and so he’d go and have a good time. But with the late date and not having plans arranged, all of those little annoyances are making it so that he’s wondering if it’s worth the hassle. Only he can answer that question, and it’s not him having to overcome anything. For some people, crowds and last minute rushing around making plans are more annoying than they are for others.

          1. Chris Arndt says:

            Ah ha!

            He’s making an economics argument! Since economics is politics we’re going down a dark rabbit hole!

  20. Zukhramm says:

    Just give me a map and there’s nothing I’d love more than to be in a city I’ve never been in before. Traveling with others it seemed odd how much they packet for the trip. Their smallest bag or suitcase was the size of my only one. It’s not outer space we’re going to I thought, they have anything I would ever find myself in need of (now if the case was needing medicine, the of course would be less true), the whole worrying about “do we have everything, have we forgotten anything?” never got to me. It’s just stuff, we can get more of it any time.

  21. Specktre says:

    I’d love to go to conventions like that–it’s always on the East or West Coast. I’m trapped in what people in the US like to call “Flyover Country”.

    1. Bubble181 says:

      Be glad. You try to find a con in continental Europe. Some in London I could theoretically go to (but that’s not continental), and maybe one in Paris and one in Berlin that’s worth going to (for me)? Having about 95% of famous webcomickers live in the US doesn’t help much, either.

  22. thebigJ_A says:

    Aw, dude, it’s easy to get your “medicine” on the road. Especially if you come to Boston for PAX East. I know all kinds of “pharmacies” around here that will fill your “prescription”. WINK.

    You can use the money I sent you. You know, for your “co-pay”. :)

  23. Sumanai says:

    About medicine, have you considered saving an old one? When using an inhaler, check the expiration date. If it’s after the trip stop using it before it runs out and change to a new one. Then take both with you and use the older inhaler as a backup.

  24. AndyL says:

    That’s odd. This post doesn’t show a date on the main page.

    1. krellen says:

      That’s because there’s a later post from March 1st – only the most recent post for a particular day shows the date on the main page.

  25. Pingback: PAX East
  26. Amarsir says:

    I just read your wife’s blog and found it insightful, especially where she pointed out the efficacy of “sold out” = “day off.” Some things really do work out, especially with the right perspective.

    You married well, Shamus. You married well.

  27. DaveMc says:

    I think the solution here is clear:

    1 TwentySided reader who’s going to PAX
    1 laptop
    1 Skype connection

    = Shamus-in-a-box

    You could even Skype in to panel discussions! As long as nobody minded that sometimes your comments would sound like “Well, I thiiiiiiiink th-th-that _ass Effe__ is reeeeallly …”

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