Normally I will let an event pass without a thorough deconstruction. Bonnaroo is an exception. Every single one is unique and wonderful, and often better than the previous. Now that I have been to two MAGfest happenings, I can safely say the same is true.
MAGfest 2014 saw seven brave adventurers, including myself, leave from our warm homes in Florida to take an 11 hour trek north, arriving Wednesday evening at our glorious hotel just outside of D.C.
The fellowship consisted of my brother, Shea, the MAGvirgin, but professional rager nonetheless, as well as my girlfriend, Chrissie, who I would soon discover housed reserves of rage deep within her being as well.
None of us really got into the cosplay vibe going around, but we appreciated the creativity and bravery on display from the other attendees, some attention starved, some legitimately impressive labors of love, and everything in between.
The main draw of MAGfest, for me, is certainly the music. In between, I’m usually in the sprawling expanse of arcade and console machines, swooning audibly. Shea was drawn to Excitebike most of the weekend, never making it very far past the third level. Admittedly, he probably did better than most of the other poor souls who attempted it. That game, like many in the arcade, was unforgiving.
Me, I spent a good amount of time on a variety of machines, Duck Hunting left handed, just for good sport.
Shea and I struggled through the archaic jump mechanics of the original Mario Bros.
Keyboard Mania made us look like fools, DDR always had a line, and therefore went unchallenged.
We had one or two successful games of Smash, a rare occurrence for those unwilling to wait for a turn.
I taught a 12 year old boy the harsh realities of FPS ass-whooping in the LAN Modern Warfare 3 area.
Etc. Etc. Etc. We played many fantastic games and shared even more smiles and warm fuzzies.
Joust was the discovery of the weekend. Using PS Move Controllers, players battle in a makeshift arena, trying to jostle the other players’ controllers by charging at them, while protecting your own ball of light. It was neat, and I never actually got to play it. Luckily, Ezra is bring the joust home and picking up some controllers. Shit will go wild, mark my words.
All that said, the main draw of MAGfest, aside from the joys of raging for four days straight, is the music. This year didn’t disappoint. The One-Ups played prom night (which was really just like every other show, but with a few people dressing up here and there) and one of the band members took the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend on stage, followed by the Chrono Trigger victory music. It was sweet in the nerdiest way.
The next night was the DJ battle, which was perfectly rad, with the exception that my beloved and very expensive futurehoop developed a kink, effectively ending my flow abruptly. (I can get it retubed for a $40 fee, which I plan to do as soon as that amount of money becomes available to me. Might be a little while.) Not a complete tragedy, but certainly a bummer.
During that same night, while playing random guitar outside, we encountered a wonderful human being and cellist by the name of Sam. Long story short, we jammed for passersby in the hotel. It sounded beautiful, and instantly made my night. We later had a party in the room and everyone sang along to some righteous Radiohead with cello accompaniment. Sam is certainly our best new friend of MAGfest. If you’re reading this, Sam, congratulations. Let’s hang out soon.
The next night we saw the X-Hunters and Machinae Supremacy, both very metal in their own rights. There was quite a lot of raging going on at the latter. Probably better that I didn’t have a hoop there. Flowing and raging are two different beasts entirely.
Anyway, it is impossible for me to go into every detail of MAGfest, but this post was mainly for posterity, because I never want to forget this experience in particular. I’ll be back next year, and probably every year that I can, and I highly recommend that you do the same.
I’m glad to be home, and even though I’m flat broke (as I should be, after a fantastic vacation like this), I’m happy to be among the group of friends that I get to share these good times with.
Thanks to Bryan, for introducing me to MAGfest, and to Kaitlyn, for being one of my favorite new people. To Ezra, for his timely and sage observations. To Shea, for his companionship and for battling the demon that is Fireball whiskey (to great success). To Calvin, for being a worthy Call of Duty opponent, and a legitimate party person. To Tom and Adam, for grinding as well as they raged. To Heat and company, for sharing their next door party room, and for his kind words about my music. To Sam, for his beautiful music, and for all he brought to the group. Last but not least, to Chrissie, for being a wonderful human being who I love very much, and for dancing in bear feet slippers like no one else could.
See you guys next time.
I’m going to be honest here, and hopefully something meaningful can be gleaned from this.
At the risk of sounding like a hipster, I’m getting weary of some of the aspects of social media. Let me be clear: I like Facebook, quite a lot. I think it’s a wonderful tool for connecting family and friends who would otherwise be very distant, physically and emotionally. But I’m noticing flaws in my friends and family almost every day, based on their activity on social media.
Everyone has flaws, that’s obvious, but sometimes the way a status is posted or a comment is shared can be a window into the type of person you are. I used to spend much more time on Facebook than I currently do. I would use my status updates to share some of the things going on in my life: how my grades were, how my shift went, what I just ate, etc.
And these things aren’t bad at all. They aren’t even annoying most of the time, except on those days when I’m feeling more than a little cynical. (We all have them, unfortunately enough.)
I actually like when my friends post things like that. It only registers for a brief second, but I’m happy that they’re happy with that delicious looking lasagna, or taking a random picture of a baby doing absolutely nothing.
Those status updates aren’t meant to entertain me. They have nothing to do with me. They’re just somebody else sharing a moment of their life with the world. That’s a beautiful thing, on a very broad level. You’re creating a virtual scrapbook page by page, every day of your life. This is a tool that we too often take for granted. We’re building something massive, and it only gets bigger as time progresses.
But overexposure to this new medium has opened the door for some less-than-desirable qualities of your personality to seep through. In particular, Facebook and all social media magnifies the preexisting vanity in everyone of us. We want our story to be constantly fresh, funny, exciting, and relevant. Every “like” we get sends a dose of endorphins flooding through our system. We feel accepted. This is an addicting process. So we continue to post little bits and pieces of ourselves, and we continue to be validated by our peers. The cycle is endless, and many of us are perfectly happy within it.
However, we should remember that the experience is what we treasure. Baking your first pie is a story, and if you decide to tell it to the internet, more power to you. But everyone has a pie story, and the story will always be most important to its author.
If you get too used to staying in the cycle, you will read many pie stories, and you may live your own pie adventure vicariously through someone else. That might be fine and dandy, but you’ll never truly know what that experience is until you do it on your own. And there are so very many experiences that you don’t even know about yet.
Share everything, if you desire, but remember that everyone is out living their lives too. Don’t forget to live yours.
Well, what prompted this stream of consciousness? The recent death of Paul Walker, to be honest. I’ve noticed that many of my friends are posting about it, some sincere, if not brief, condolences, some rhetorical questions like “who is this guy?”, and many cries for attention. I usually let these things fly, and go on with my life, but I do take a little time to stop when death is a subject.
Using someone’s death, even a celebrity’s, to bring more attention to yourself is despicable. I’m sure these particular updates are borne from ignorance, not pure spite, but that is hardly an excuse. If you don’t care that someone you don’t know is dead, that’s well and good. Do not brag about not caring. Do something interesting, make a post about your own life. Make a goddamn pie.
You’ll get comments, you may even get likes from other ignorant individuals, but you do not grow from this. You bring us all down when we see this update, knowing that people like you exist, choosing to use the latest shocking news story to bring as much attention to yourself as possible, without regard for the moral cost of your words.
I know, you have freedom of speech, you can say whatever you like, and you even may just be trolling for a comment war. But please, consider the world outside of yourself before you act. Make that first step toward being a true and compassionate human being, and I promise, you’ll find serenity along that road. And you certainly won’t be alone.