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The GIO Half World Tour

 

GameInformer Online has a variety of features to keep someone occupied on the site. Articles on the front page, the forums, and the blogs section. It offers so much to keep someone coming back. But there is one thing that has kept me returning time after time. The community. I joined the site back in '11, but quickly left since I was mainly looking at the articles and preferred the magazine. But in '12, I came back and discovered the community of this site. While I may have become a lurker on the site, I still keep in touch with a majority of the people I call my friends. I play games online with them, I even have some of their numbers and text them now and then, and have even gone as far as to meeting them in person.

A glimpse of "Ironyville" Or as it's actually called, The Four Nations


In early June, I was playing Minecraft with fellow GIOer God Of Irony. We were talking about how I've met a couple of you guys in person, and he mentioned how he's always wanted to meet someone from the site, but no one lives near him. (Anyone near him who was willing to meet in person anyway) I joked how I wouldn't mind taking some time off and driving up for a visit, and he was thrilled by the idea. A couple weeks later, we were playing Minecraft yet again, this time with Stranger and Hannibal in the party. I touched up on the subject of visiting Irony again, and joked how if I went up to see him, I could visit Stranger while on the way up, since I was literally passing through the area where he lived. As I mentioned the name of the area, Hannibal caught the name and mentioned he was going to be in that area on a certain date. It was from that moment that all of us started making plans to make these meet ups happen. It was originally supposed to be two stops, the meetup with Stranger and some others, and Irony. But then as I kept looking at the map, it expanded into something more...

 

On Saturday June 15th, my trip began. I left at exactly midnight that night, and drove straight from Florida all the way to Kentucky, the first stop of my cross country road trip. Due to scheduleing conflicts, Hannibal was not able to be able to make this meeting. But there were still three other guys I was set to meet while there.

 

“DJ?” Those were the words I heard as I exited the parking garage I parked in. I saw a guy walking across the street, but thought nothing of him since I was more focused on trying to figure out where to find the library. After hearing my name, I realized it was actually PaperCamm. After the usual introductions and “nice to actually meet ya” bit, we went to the Library where myself, him, Stranger, and iDreamRunner were supposed to meet.

 

The two of us sat in the library for awhile, waiting for the other two to show up. I tried texting Stranger again, since he was the only one I had the number for, and a few minutes had passed after the time we were supposed to meet. I kept looking at any and everyone who walked in and out of the entrance, since Stranger was the only one of the three I didn't know what he looked like. I had seen Camm and IDR before, but Stranger I knew nothing other than a general description he gave of himself. I look over at the entrance again, and notice this bigger fellow walking over to us. I keep looking at him as he keeps walking closer to us. As soon as I begin to think “Why is he walking to us?” it quickly hits me that he was Stranger.

 

As he pulls out a chair and sits down, me and Camm just look at each other, then back at him. After the introductions, we decided to scout out what was open and what wasn't, since we were still waiting on IDR with no news on where he was. After wandering around for a bit trying to find something to do, we eventually settled on an ice cream shop, where iDreamRunner eventually found us.

 

Camm: “I'll never understand the Sasquatch thing” Honestly, neither do I. Neither do I.

 

After awhile, Camm had to leave. Then me and IDR parted ways from Stranger after a few more hours of talking. Due to the fact I had been up for 36 hours straight, and I was refusing to get a hotel room unless I absolutely had to, IDR was kind enough to offer me his couch, which added an extra hour to my drive to see Irony, but hey, I got some sleep.

Left to right: PaperCamm, Stranger, Me, iDreamRunner

Sunday June 16th,

Michigan

 

I finally arrived in Michigan, where I met the man for which the entire trip came to reality. Like Stranger, I had no idea what he'd look like. He had also given me a general description, but nothing solid. As I was sitting in the parking lot waiting, the second I saw a van pull up, I knew it was him from his talks of his vehicle 'Betty'. I knew he'd stand out from the crowd. But I did not anticipate him walking out in a leather trench coat with sunglasses. Though I was disappointed there was a lack of a fedora.

 

After meeting, he took me to the park where he introduced me to something I had never seen or heard of before. Dagorhir. Basically, LARPing, without the role play. Hearing about it, it can sound like a complete awesome idea, or the stupidest thing you've heard. But after doing a few rounds with him and his friend, I was enthralled by how much I loved it. And I don't care if I had the weapon advantage, I still kicked his friend's butt at the game.

He was enthralled by my game collection. It's only 120+, I don't know why.


While the next day may not have entirely gone as he had planned, he improvised quite nicely.  I literally ordered a Crabby Patty from a restaurant we went to. It was actually called that, and it was delicious.

God Of Irony

Tuesday June 18th

Iowa

This was a tractor trailer I came across on my way to Iowa. It was glorious.

 

After parting ways with Michigan, I began trekking towards Minnesota. There were a few people I was hoping to meet on the way, but those meet ups couldn't go through. Which I will make up for guys, it will happen eventually. But on my way, I detoured off my route slightly to make my way towards Iowa, where I met non other than born4this. While we only met for dinner at a Wendy's (Oh the irony. Will explain later.) we sat and talked for three hours straight. Time just flew by, and we talked about a wide variety of stuff.

 

“I was shocked you wanted to meet me. It's like, I know this guy, but yet I don't.” That's actually been the case for a few of you guys that I've met. We know each other, but yet we also don't. And while I may never have listened to his podcast all that much, I was still interested in meeting up with him. And man, was it a good one.

born4this

So after a quick snap shot, we parted ways and I headed on towards Minnesota. Arriving just before midnight. I really do drive too much.

 

Wednesday, June 19th

Minnesota

That day was the day I finally got to meet one of the stranger people you will meet, and follow on Twitter. After getting off from work, Caudex picked me up from my hotel room and we went off to a local pizza joint. That he got lost trying to find. Yes, lost in his own town. I don't care if that's the part he hardly visits, he still got lost. Twice. So after dinner we headed back to the room for a bit, and locally co-opped Left 4 Dead. I had not played that game since my cousin left for the army. So being able to play couch (Err, twin bed) co-op, was one of the best experiences in gaming I've had in awhile. Especially it being a game I had not played in so long, and that I hold special because it was a game me and my cousin would play over and over, terrified of the freaking witches.

Caudex

Thursday June 20th

I got to meet Lara Croft!... cosplayer. Yep, fellow member Theora Craft was next. I met up with her for lunch before she had to go to work. Which is kind of a shame, because I would've loved to have gotten a pic with her in her Lara Croft outfit. As I was waiting for her to arrive, I was sitting there, actually worried I would not be able to recognize her without being in cosplay. Because the only pictures I had seen of her, she was in the Lara gear. But sure enough, I spotted her, just barely. Haha/

 

“Zombies go after meat, so you would think they'd go after the boobs since they're right there.” Or something along those lines. We had gotten onto the subject of the Dead Island: Riptide European Collector's Edition, and talking about the... grotesque half eaten bust. And being disturbed that the fairly proportionate breast area was unaffected, while the rest was mauled. Highlighted conversation of the entire trip, right there.

Theora Craft

After letting her get to work, I made my way over to the Mall Of America, since it was literally down the road from where we met up. And was this a sight to see. When I went in, I promised myself I would not buy anything, since I needed to save up money for the rest of the trip.

Lego store and a freaking rollercoaster inside the more

 

As I walk out of the mall with this shirt, I yell out... and expletive I can't say on here. Haha. But yes, I was mad, but very happy with this purchase.

 

Wanting nothing more than some real good food, I met up with Theora after she got off from work, and we met up with her partner and went off to eat. Theora even mentioned how I barely talked after we got back to the house after dinner, but I was too entertained to hear her explain how they met. And see them interact. They were so adorable, I could not help it. As a thunderstorm rolled in, they sent me on my way so I could get back to the hotel before it got real bad. Which was a shame, because I was loving just watching them.

 

Friday June 21st

On the last day of visiting Minnesota, me and Caudex visited once again. After checking out of my hotel room, we went off and visited a local arcade, and had some fun doing the Terminator shooting game. Then we trolled Best Buy somewhat, and actually walked out with a sale of some games. He bought one, I bought one, and he got the third free. He got the free one since I'm just that generous. (That and there was hardly anything I wanted and/or didn't have already)

 

If you by any chance happen to follow Stranger on Twitter, then you will know of his strange habit of “shipping” people. And he has a bad habit of shipping myself and Caudex together. A week before the trip began, I sent Greg (Caudex) a message saying that after we meet, I would post a tweet saying the two of us had kissed, even though we didn't. I wanted to troll Twitter for it's strange desire to ship us. But he came up with the idea of them wanting proof that it happened. So after some scheming, I came up with an idea to give them proof, while not actually kissing him. And this picture came to be. I had turned on Twitter text knowing there would be some responses. And after the pic was posted, the two of us stood in the parking lot for a half hour laughing hysterically at the responses we had gotten. It was the ultimate troll we could have ever done, and we pulled it off masterfully.

 

So after saying bye, I headed off to the next group I was meeting that same day. Back when I was heavily active on GI, Alison Rapp had begun her days as an intern here. I had been following her for a good long while, and enjoyed following her randomness on Twitter. (And her newfangled obsession with Garrus from Mass Effect) While she was delayed in getting to where we were meeting, I did manage to meet up with firedude3663 while we waited for her. Once the two of us met, we went ahead and had some dinner, and talked for awhile until she got there. He unfortunately had to leave not long after she got there, but we did get a pic of the three of us.

Ali, myself, firedude3663

I did not even see what he was doing until I saw this picture...

 

Alison: “Also I'm bringing my husband because I'm cool like that.” Me:”You're bringing Garrus?!” Text between me and her from earlier. And she did, she brought her real husband, not Garrus, unfortunately. Haha. But it was cool meeting him also. But Alison was exactly as energetic and lively as I had anticipated her to be, and I loved it.

Ali, ladies, some men, you're welcome.

 

As the night continued we kept talking some, but eventually they both had to leave (And in a flash flood, nonetheless) so I watched them head off, while I stayed put as it stormed like crazy. About two hours later, everythgin had passed, and the roads were clear enough for me to travel. So, I left and headed straight on towards my next Destination.

 

Saturday June 22nd

Montana.

 

Montana Is one of the deadest places I have ever been to. Like, when I first entered the state, I had honestly believed that mojomonkey12 had lied to me about living here, and was sending me here to die. But believe it or not, the monkey does reside there. And yes, I managed to meet the primate himself. Which his house, is nerd central. Gamin statues galore. I mean, they were everywhere, and freaking impressive.

 

Sunday June 23rd

Just... Look at it. Glacier Park. The entire thing was the most spectacular sight I have ever seen before. So breathtaking.

Mark of the Sasquatch

 

“Several of us have talked about it before, but no one has actually done it.” After hearing him say these words, it really hit me that I had finally done something. For the past few years, I've been stuck in a kind of “rut” with my life. Despite moving, getting a job, and all that jazz, I still felt like I had been doing nothing with it. But once I heard those words, that feeling changed drastically.

 

Monday June 24th

 

The monkey and Sasquatch went shooting. Not a good combination, but it was so much fun. I've shot air guns before, but not real ones like these. And it was the most empowering things I have done.

NOT A MONKEY. MOJO IS NOT A MONKEY

 

Tuesday June 25th

Jacked Up Indie & Mojo Show, take two

 

Sadly, the day I had to leave the monkey. But at least I got to be on The Jacked Up Indie & Mojo Show, yet again. And this time, I was “live” so to say, seeing how I was at Mojo's house. But he didn't let me go without several surprise goodies....

PS3 case

The Old Republic CE!

Normandy replica

He got us matching Glacier Park shirts, but we never got pics of us wearing them...

Ooh ooh, ah ah.

I think Mojo's rubbed off on me too much...

He gave me one of his knives. I'm just blown away by how generous he was. Just thank you.

 

Wednesday June 26th

Nebraska

 

This was one of the more brief encounters on my trip, but nevertheless, I got to meet Chris Mrkvicka and his wife. While I may not have said much during our dinner (Since I was exhausted from all the traveling and lack of sleep) I was listening to their.... Interesting, conversations. None of which I can repeat on here since they were that bad, but also so... “good” to hear. Yes, they both are crazy. And are great for each other. Haha.

Chris Mrkvicka

Thursday June 27th

Kansas

 

If you by any chance follow Thejourneyman66 on Twitter... Then you should know of his lack of sanity form the crazy pictures he posts form all the anime he watches. I did not actually anticipate to meet him. I jokingly tweeted him one day to see if he was on the way from Nebraska to Texas. And he actually was. I was absolutely shocked, but he didn't want to pass up meeting him.

 

While his town couldn't offer much to do, we did have a good lunch, and played some couch co-op Halo. Which brought back some bittersweet memories of my childhood with my cousin. That was our game as kids, and the fact I could co-op it again locally, felt great.

Thejourneyman66

Friday June 28th

Texas

 

What I wanted to do was go to the brony convention Fiesta Equestria, to meet up with Superkingc77, and meet iDreamRunner again, since they were both at the convention. (And one of them running it) But seeing how I don't have GPS and I couldn't figure out how to get to the hotel, I met up with SK not far from his house, and stayed the night, since it was like really late that night and I wanted nothing mre than sleep, since I had not gotten any since leaving Mojo's house. (Yes, I'm that stupid)

 

Saturday June 29th

 

Before going to the con, I slipped out a little ways to meet up with non other than Hannibal. Yes, I got to meet with the 6'7” giant. (he is that tall) While our encounter may have been brief, it was still fun getting to actually meet him. Considering he was the very first friend I made from the site, it was awesome to actually get to meet him.

Hannibal

I'm 5'9" he's 6'7"...

 

Before I get onto the con, I would like to clarify I am not a brony. Never have been, never will. However, from the two days I spent at the con, I actually enjoyed myself. I happened to be IDR's +1 to a mixer with the voice actors from the show. Kelly Metzger was the only one I really got to talk with, but I did chat with nearly everyone there. Including Andrea Libman. Which, I managed to snag an autographed plaque by her for a steal at an auction.

Sam Vincent guilted me into buying it. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have bought a pony themed anything. Seriously, all his fault.

 

But despite not being a brony, the entire con was actually really fun. It took me by surprise. It was one heck of a weekend.

 

June 30th – July 5th

 

I spent an entire week in Houston with SK. While I couldn't hang with him as much as I would've hoped for, when we did, it was incredible. One day I had a foot race with a couple of punks over an argument about Mass Effect (Best argument ever, also I kicked their butts), went to a nightclub with one of his friends who was in a Pikachu outfit (I can not stop gushing about her), and we went to bingo. (…) Houston was... Just the best place I had been to, and I have not seen nearly all it can offer. When I get the chance, I am going back. That's for sure.

SuperKingC77

Saturday June 6th

Orlando, Florida

 

The place where I currently call home. Orlando is a good place to stay, but it offers me nothing anymore, since I spent a good majority of my childhood here vacationing. And while I must get back to the daily routine of work, I will not forget what I have accomplished on this trip.

My baby Justine, who has survived the entirety of this trip.

A total of about 6,400 miles

 

As I mentioned at the beginning, I really joined the site in March of 2012. I have amassed a huge network of people I am proud to call friends. While everything may seem good for me, I have hit some low points while being a member here, and am still going through some. While I may not be able to say that it has changed for the better for me, I am still kicking and screaming, because of these connections I've made on this site.

 

Back in December of 2012, I did hit an all time low. Not long after that, I got a message from markus1142 saying he was going to be near my area. After some planning, I drove up to his route back home, and met up with him and his wife. This was way back when I was still the cowering Sasquatch who was afraid to do anything. As they pulled up to the Wendy's where we were meeting, I kind of slowly made my way over to them, not sure what to do. He was the very first person from GI I had met. And after we parted ways I kind of kicked myself after not asking for a picture. Out of everyone I knew from the site, he wasn't the first person I anticipated to meet first. But I am glad he was. Despite being simple and brief, it did help change me.

 

Since then, I slowly began spreading out. After moving to Florida, I met a few more of the Floridian GIOers. After meeting them, I drove up to freaking Texas to meet Hut, and a few months after that I came up with the craziest road trip idea to meet two of the most identical people on the site, Jolt the Cynic and Joyful Penguin. Driving Penguin all the way up to TN to meet Jolt, then drive back.

xking595x

TurdFurgy

DeadManWalking

Me, Joyful Penguin, Jolt the Cynic

Bonus pics of Jolt and Penguin on our day trip.

 

Silvershine08

gogamenerdkid

I have done so much that I never thought I would. To this day, I have met 23 people. Some I consider close friends. Others are people I know, but don't know all that well. But one thing is for sure. I don't regret anything of what I have managed to do in doing all of this. I owe a lot to the community of the site. And I'm not stopping here. While it may be awhile before another meeting spree like this happens again, I can guarantee it is not going to end. It has been a pleasure being here and doing things I never thought I would be doing.

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