Continuing the story from earlier this week…
While gorging myself on the appetizers and champagne, gawking at the epic wins up for auction, people watching the nerd celebrities it was announced that the silent auction would end in 5 minutes. I went and checked all my written bids, being outbid on each. Hanging my head in shame, I went in to the main dining room and found my seat. Again, located at the back (I bought early this time, WHY MUST I BE AT THE BACK? I’m so short). But this time I took a seat that was facing the main stage.
I chatted with the other table members, meeting interesting people in each chair. Us nerds are friendly folk. We began dining, and I dove into the auction guide to look for items to bid on. Drinking wine and chatting with the fellow next to me I decided to bid on several items, and calculated an amount that I could spend without Fiancé getting *too* mad about. “It’s for the children!” was the excuse I’d come up with.
The bidding was aggressive. The items were fought for by very generous bidders. The barbs and quips that the amateur auctioneers/MCs Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins were spouting urged on the bids. Dinner and a show, really! At this point I had been waiting for #209 to come up. Eventually the time came, and I raised by bid flag.
Multiple flags were raised from each table, even the fellow next to me was bidding. Eventually the flags started dropping and it was just me and a few other bidders. Fiancé wasn’t happy, she is quite the scrooge, and showed it by stepping on my shoe and elbowing my ribs. Hard. But it was my money I’d saved especially for this event and I kept saying “It’s for the children!”. My fellow diners at the table chided her J.
Suddenly it was down to me and someone up front. Neck to neck, I couldn’t lower my flag. This was my last chance, as the following items were going to go for mega-bucks (appearance in a PA strip, voice over in a Bungie game, and a Half Life Gravity Gun (I mean “zero-point energy field manipulator”), etc.) I held my bid flag steady, not wavering but getting near my cut off point (which was double what I had told Fiancé I’d limit myself to).
Just about at my limit, the flag in the front dropped. I kept mine up, and they stopped the bids. I’d won. I’d won and my company (Microsoft, woot-woot, shout-out) was going to match the bid (minus the value, which was only listed at $100). I cheered, threw my hands up in the air and party-pumped my forearms. I was ecstatic. The next items went for far more than my winning bid, showing just how awesome the CPCA attendees are. Seriously, that Gravity Gun above went for $21k (he won at $20k, but decided to put another grand on there. Cause he was JUST THAT AWESOME).
During these additional bids a CPCA rep came up and got some of my information and gave me a brief intro on how to go about finalizing my contribution. It was Robert Khoo! Holy crap, Penny Arcade royalty (well, to us nerds in the know). Again, Dammit, everyone looks better in a suit that me. (This last part about the rep’s identity may be inaccurate, I was drinking and ecstatic. I can confirm that Mr. Khoo was indeed dressed rather dashingly).
When all the live auctions were done I was a little buzzed from the wine and champagne (liquid courage, and dulling the daggers Fiancé was shooting at me. Her eyes, so cold!). The three people who I’d met at the bar came up to see who won the bid on their item. Surprised looks on their faces when they saw it was their piano-dining companion (man, I don’t even want to explain that, but I will: Bellevue be so swank you eat at pianos). I was then introduced to them again, but this time more formally. The woman standing before me was Kim Swift, a lead designer for Narbacular Drop and it’s younger but very popular sibling “Portal”. Huh, that explains why her name was on it as the contributor. I got a few of their emails so we could stay in contact to fulfill the promised auction item. Additionally, I was told that I must stop by the Airtight Games studio for a tour and demo. I was very pleased that I’d won this, Airtight had been on my radar as it was a local game company made up of industry vets (many from the team that did the AWESOME Crimson Skies games) and anything related to the wunderkind Portal (really, if you are reading this you don’t need a link about Portal).
My mind befuddled by the knowledge that a brain on FREAKING PORTAL was talking to me (and that I’d imbibed a couple more glasses of celebration wine) I stumbled on my next words. What came out was odd and embarrassing, but was me trying to explain that the donation would be matched by my company. I was so embarrassed after they left, I’d looked like a tongue-tied fool. Ahwell.
Immediately after, Gabe shows up. “You WON???” was his exact words, I believe. It turns out his boss was the other lead bidder on the item. I chatted with his boss (the owner of PG.) and as a friendly gesture I promised him to get a Pink Gorilla into the portrait. I puzzled over how the artist would fit both me and a mascot together in a little graphic on the game, but was awoken from my mental query by a promised kick-back in Pink Gorilla stock (Pink Gorilla doesn’t actually have stock, BTW, so it wasn’t a bribe in case there are any internet-lawyers out there crying foul-play).
Annoyingly, when I went to pay for this my bank blocked the payment. No idea why, I had the funds, it was an area I frequented, and we tried both credit and debit swiping. I called, they said it was because it was past 9PM on the east coast (really, gonna cut me off at 6PM? Jerks). I made arrangements and offered a blood oath to the PA cashier as I was quite embarrassed by this. The next day I went to my bank, made them fix the issue, and contacted the CPCA cashier and made good on the donation. All the info in this paragraph was just for me to vent about how much my bank annoys me.
A few days after I was emailed by the Airtight Games folks, and they let me know I had free-reign on the design. Being artistically inept, I told them I’d be happy with whatever they did; from extreme parody humor (astronaut, gorilla hunter/safari guy, whaler…) to something that looked extremely serious. I spent a night trying to pose in front of a camera, gave up and took a couple of straight on and profile shots. When I sent those I just listed that I loved my hair, my chin, my genuine smirk (I wear this when I’m happy, I’m told), and my tattoos (the visible ones are on my collarbone, I sent them reference on that too). They took a look, and agreed on a whaler theme. This delighted me immensely, but I didn’t let them know why (hint, look at your browser URL).
Check in next week for some info about the team, where to find the image, and anything else I feel like putting. No preview on the game though! UPDATE: Here it is!