I just arrived in San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference, which takes place all week at the Moscone Center. I haven’t been to GDC for a few years (when it used to be in San Jose), so it’s a little strange to be back, but San Francisco has always felt like home to me, so it’s comforting to be here.
My grandparents, now nearing 90, live in Berkeley, smack in the middle of the “gourmet ghetto” section just west of campus. When I was a kid they lived in the hills of El Cerrito, where we used to visit them. I loved that house. The modern architecture with the huge plate glass window that looked out over the bay, the smell of the green-ness of California, the snails that popped up in the dirt near the front door. They had a huge backyard that sloped up into the hill behind the house and my brother and I used to go “exploring” in there, hunting for bears (Stephen Colbert would be so proud). I loved being outside in California when I was growing up. The smell of eucalyptus still makes me happy.
Last year when I was here it was for AERA, the American Educational Research Association’s annual conference. I came out with a bunch of friends from Madison and we spent several days running around Union Square and the Market Street area being stupid and feeling anxious about presenting at the conference. It’s hard now to be here because I remember so clearly when I was here before and who I was with and I miss them and I miss that time. But it seems like every time I come to California I have that same nostalgic sense about me, like this is a kind of home I keep returning to.
My oldest friend in the world, Brandon, lives here now. He works at Stanford but lives up in the Mission and I’ve been able to see him every year for the past few years I’ve been coming out here for conferences. It’s pretty great to be with Brandon. There’s something almost illogically comforting to be with someone who’s known you so long, through every stage of your adult life. We met when I was 17 and he was 16 and we worked together at a record store in the Kansas City suburbs. We were really close for a long time and then we lost touch about the time I started grad school. But now we’re good again and sometimes I don’t think I can ever communicate how much I appreciate him being in my life.
The conference starts Wednesday but there are two days of events leading up to it, including the Serious Games Summit and the meeting of the IGDA’s Education special interest group. I’ll be running back and forth between the two but hope to reconnect with a lot of folks I haven’t seen in a while. Should be good.
Of course the highlight for me personally will be Tuesday night when I get to see my Brandon DJ at Casanova in the Mission. There are few things in this world that make me happier than listening to Brandon play records for me.
More liveblogging from the conference to come…