19 May (7.00pm EST)
The great thing about living in a city that has recently hosted an Olympics is the infrastructure. Forget about taxis, I thought as I confidently boarded the trademark efficient Sydney trains. An hour and what seemed an interminable procession of slightly deranged midday train travelers later, I get off the train wondering whether the ten dollars I saved getting the train was worth the half an hour or so of my life I'll never get back.
Luckily there was only 50 escalator trips before I gain the relative security of the checkin for United (yes, our planes crash a lot, so what?) Airlines. The friendly security subjects my luggage to a friendly check, and judging from their sour expressions I'm glad they didn't have any gloves or lube handy.
Lingering last minute phone calls from the departure lounge and a flurry of SMS before setting foot on the plane mark my last contact with the mainland. I quickly settle into a sleep in the surprisingly spacious seats. Very generously United have stuck me in the middle of a couple of business associates who seem to take an inordinate delight in consulting and handing things to each other in front of me. It didn't prove an annoyance for long, luckily the teenage boy in front of me put an end to that practice by jolting his seat almost into my lap, thus preventing
any further document exchange, with the added side benefit of preventing me getting deep vein thrombosis by cutting off blood supply to my lower limbs.
This is all drama queen material, however. I pity the fool who doesn't like travelling, it's always an adventure. As we cross the internationaldate line, we have already racked up a bland in-flight meal (I guess it didn't help matters that I had a fantastic dinner at one of Australia's finest restaurants the night before departing), a showing of The Majestic (disappointing and jingoistic), and Legally Blonde (strangely satisfying, which may well be proof of the curiously bran-stultifying effects of air travel). Ali is meant to be next up, and so far I have to say that United owns Air Canada in terms of in flight service and movies. Even if the "fuck" word in movies has been replaced by the sadly utterly inoffensive "gosh darn".
There is a definite horizon broadening aspect to travel that makes us Australians lucky. Our position has many liabilities, but being so far away from the rest of the western world means encounters with it are always real voyages of discovery. From a previous work trip I personally gained a great deal of affinity for travel and have learned to value it beyond measure as a tool for opening the mind. Which explains why I've got a big smile on my face as I listen to my Three Piece Suite CD single, surrounded by slumbering Americans and budget package holiday aussies.
Anyway, the reason for me being sent over is to cover E3. My technique is going to be a little different than what is expected. Yes there'll be the games news but after reading endless E3 accounts that seem carbon copies of each other, I'll be intending to provide something a little more entertaining. Don't fret however, it's a great sign of the maturity of the Australian gaming community that I'm writing this material for you, on Bane (MPU)'s notebook, on a plane booked by Term (QGL), with a camera sent to me by everyone's favourite wannabe seppo, Trog. The beauty of having a national approach means that nobody has to kiss anyone's ass, and that impartiality and a more tailored to the community approach can be
achieved. It also means that you can achieve a great level of interaction - if you're finding fault with the coverage, please relay your specific concerns (say it is gay is not a specific concern) to firstname.lastname@example.org and he will relay your issues to me, where I assure you they will be given lengthy and just consideration by the pool.
As you may have gathered, this section is sheerly for my thoughts. As opposed to the coverage of actual gaming, I'll be endeavouring to convey the spirit of the event as well as just giving sheer information overload.