Geek’s Guide to Seattle during PAX West

So you’ve bought your passes, packed your suitcase, and you’re ready for PAX West! But while you’re in Seattle, what else are you gonna do?

One of the largest U.S. gaming events, PAX West is something you’ve probably looked forward to for months…if not years. Personally I’m pretty pumped for the event and I’m a Seattle native. I can’t imagine how much excitement there would be if you’re riding, flying, or driving into town for this event. The good is that the wait is almost over! And even better, you’re coming to one of the nerdiest cities this country has to offer. Even beyond PAX West there’s a whole ton to do here while in between events, or if you just want to get away from the crowds for a bit. Here are some of my favorites!

MoPop Museum

Right now the Marvel exhibit is being shown at the Museum of Pop Culture and it is absolutely to die for. Not only does it feature first edition comics and original costumes from all of your favorite Marvel movies, but it’s more extensive than you might think. Another feature of the MoPop is their Indie video games lab and sci-fi/fantasy exhibits. I’m actually a member of this museum I go so often. It really is the best.

Add-a-Ball Arcade

This gem can be found a block away from the Lenin statue and across the street from Theo Chocolate (which gives chocolate factory tours FYI). The spot is jam-packed with arcade games, pinball machines and all kinds of nerd goodness. It is a bar, so this is not a kid friendly establishment, but if you’re looking for one of those you can try out Full Tilt in Ballard.

Pink Gorilla

This retro game spot has drained quite a bit of my savings on their rad retro games and gaming systems. They have just about everything you could wish for with retro gaming and even some newer games/gaming systems. Word on the street is that they might have a booth at PAX West but, just in case, you can find them in the University District.

Pinball Museum

Still looking for some fun? Check out the Pinball Museum on on the south side of downtown with the Pinball Museum! With systems dating back to 1934, the Pinball museum is a great way to keep the nerdom alive in between events.

Archie McPhee

This is a joke…shop. This store is packed to the brim with practical joke merchandise, and is a fun spot to grab a souvenir more impactful than a magnet. You’ll find this haha spot in Wallingford.

Columbia Tower

While most may point you in the direction of the Space Needle, you can save your dough and get some pretty spectacular (weather permitting) views from the Columbia Tower. Hop in and take the elevator to the 73rd floor for the observation deck! You won’t regret it.

Outsider Comics and Boutique

This little shop is pretty awesome and you’ll find them at a lot of geek events around Seattle. You can find all of your fav comics and game pieces here as well as jewelry, clothing and events.

Food place

Since there a are quite a few food places that you could/should stop by in Seattle I’ve added some great ones here with links to their pages. Pick your poison.

Happy Con, everyone!

 

Why Gamers Dye their Hair and other Universal Mysteries

You may have noticed that a lot of gamers have less than natural looking hair. Hell, I have less than natural looking hair. And by that I mean blonde. Which is actually a perfectly natural hair color, but the polar opposite of my own naturally almost-black colored hair. The question of why people dye their hair has stumped scientists and horrified parents for time immemorial. I mean seriously, can’t you just imagine a teenage Egyptian getting yelled at for using henna to dye their hair? Okay, that’s not historically based at all, but stick with me.

There are obviously as many reasons for dying one’s hair as there are for people who have dyed hair, but I’ve put together this little list based off of personal experience and complete nonsense I’ve construed in my own mind…also shit from people I’ve talked to who have hair that’s different from their natural color. Reminder when reading: It’s not the color of hair that makes a gamer…unless you’re Ninja. In which case it very well might be.

1. We want to look like someone we admire

girl pink GIF

I like to think of option number one as parallel to why people cosplay. I cosplay because the characters I dress up as are bad-ass and share attributes that I admire. It’s not about putting on a costume. Cosplay is about embodying some part of yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to express. That’s also why cosplayers are so much more intense than buying a costume off Amazon. It really is a passion project. Think of hair in the same way, it’s a love of something you weren’t born with that you still want to embody as a part of your identity.

2. We don’t feel like we belong anyway

the sword in the stone disney GIF

A lot of people in the sci-fi/fantasy/gaming communities feel an “otherness” and that’s why they connect so deeply to these genres. I can definitely relate on this front because I was raised in a community where I never saw anyone who looked like me. I seriously felt like some kind of alien, and I distinctly remember seeing Spock for the first time and relating so deeply. I was like him. We both were a part of two different cultures and felt torn between them. I felt like I identified more with a fictional character than I ever did with a real-life person. I’m not saying this to be sad, but to emphasize how important these communities are. If we’re going to stand out, why not change our hair color? I think people who have never felt like they fit in (even when they’re ‘normal’) have a lot fewer shits to give when they’re thinking about changing something like hair color.

3. It’s personal expression

green hair model GIF
Now here’s a crazy thought. What if it’s just self-expression plain and simple? Hair, like any other kind of body art, is just that …art. Hair stylists are artists. Whether you’re going all pink or getting a glorious rainbow dye job, hair is just another way of telling people who you are and who you want to be. It’s a way of building out an internal identity that you identify with. It’s a way of making you, more you.

4. Yes, it actually is about rebelling

hair rainbow GIF

Hands up if you were raised conservatively! I happen to know that a lot of people with dyed hair would have probably been disowned if they had come within 5 miles of their hair with dye, before their 18th birthday. So when it came time to “grow up” we did exactly what we were never allowed to do when we were kids. It’s kind of like buying all the toys you never were allowed to get when you were a kid. Now we’re the boss and we’ve got 18 years worth of rebellion to make up for.

5. Absolutely no reason.

21 Annoying Things You’ll Only Understand If You Have A Crazy Hair Color

You know, some people dye their hair for absolutely no reason. True story. It just seems like a good idea, and that’s it. I would venture to say that usually, these are one-timers, not people who keep up with their hair dying, but there are exceptions to every rule, so you really never know!

In the end, it really doesn’t matter why people dye their hair. For a lot of gamers, it’s a way to feel more in touch with a personal identity and a community they love. And you know what? I think that’s beautiful and amazing. Keep being yourself, lovelies.