Off to Los Angeles! We flew down with Erik Wolpaw, Jay Pinkerton and his wife and Josh Weier and his wife, all Valve denizens who were up for awards, too. Party plane! Well, not really. I mean, it was a 737. You could barely make your way to the bathroom to avoid disabling the smoke detector. And we’d been up since five a.m.
But they met us at the airport in a Stretch Limo! With a bar! And twinkly lights in the ceiling! And a deferential driver who smelled of tasteful cologne and said things like, “Certainly,” ”No problem,” and “Right away”.
We climbed in and headed for the hotel which was on, get this: The Avenue of the Stars! Go, Ellen. Go, Ellen. It’s your birthday. Go, Ellen. Palm trees swayed past outside as we discussed who was probably going to win what and why they really shouldn’t, because, let’s face it, Portal 2 was the best game EVER. But the consensus was that Ellen had a real shot at going home with a statuette. The guys had drawn lots as to who was going to have to make a speech if this or that award was won. Valve was up for Best Studio and Portal 2 was up for Best Game, Best XBox 360 Game, Best PC Game, Best Multi-Player Game, Best Song in a Game TWICE (Exile Vilify and Want You Gone), Best Original Soundtrack, Best DLC (I don’t know what THAT means), Best Performance by a Human Male TWICE (Stephen Merchant as Wheatley and J. K. Simmons as Cave Johnson) and, drum roll please, ELLEN MCLAIN AS GLaDOS FOR BEST PERFORMANCE BY A HUMAN FEMALE!!!! The conversation was a wonderful balance of excitement, high spirits and a kind of profound befuddlement that a bunch of esoteric artists from Seattle would be wandering around in the Great Cultural Wasteland. (L.A.: Get over it. You’re the GCW. Everybody knows it. Let’s talk about the elephant in the living room.)
But boy do they know how to build a hotel! The outside looked like it should be inside and the inside was FABulous. If there’s anything that makes Ellen happier than staying in a fancy hotel I’ve yet to find it. But we didn’t have long to enjoy it because we had to get changed for our walk up the Red Carpet!!!! Ellen had decided on a beautiful outfit that I had bought her consisting of an ankle-length straight velvet dress overlayed by a beadwork chemise and a carved velvet jacket with ornate fringe on the hem and sleeves. She wasn’t going to be dressed even remotely like any other woman there. She looked incredible. (Yes, that’s right. I, the voice of The Sniper in Team Fortress 2, can successfully appreciate, select and purchase haute couture for my wife. Advice to young male gamers who nurture the hope of having offspring: learn this craft.) She topped it off with an incredible amber and silver necklace, which I also bought her.
We all met in the lobby and walked out the door. It was time to head for Sony Studios and the VGAs!
Stay tuned for Part 3! Into the Belly of the Beast!