ExtraLife Gameathon 2016 – Team Bombshelter

Well, first off, the final numbers aren’t in yet but:

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Yeah. Given that we’re a Canadian team, and that’s in US Dollars? I’m incredibly happy, and proud of my team. Seriously, they all come together at the last minute, and it just works. And they’re brutally generous with both their time and money.

That’s also not the end of the story, either. I’m currently sitting on about $325 Canadian in cash donations from the day-of (we keep a donation bucket).

And finally, if you’re so inclined, you can donate until December 31st, 2016. Just click right about here, and we thank you. Please, remember that this is in aid of CHEO (the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario), so,if you’re Ottawa, Kingston, that kind of area, and have, or know kids, chances are, someone you know will make use of CHEO’s services at some time. It’s a great cause, and we’re always happy to try to help them out in some small way.

So, the event itself!

I must admit, I had some trepidation going into it. It’s been … All round it’s been a rough year – I’ve had a lot going on at work, and personally, and I’m exhausted. So, it was tough to organize this year, and I almost didn’t bother. Almost. But, I had some concerns that we were going to get a super small turn out (we didn’t) that donations were gonna be tough (they weren’t) and that maybe the events time had passed for us (it hasn’t).

Call it a minor crisis of faith.

Well, I did the traditional lessons learned – We sold our pool table (that came with the house when we bought it) last winter, so that opened up a ton of space in the basement. That really made the PC gamers a lot more comfortable (And a lot more comfortable than they deserve! Basement trolls, every one of them). I picked up a couple of sets of folding table LEGS, and built two more “door tables” to provide as much space as I could, and that left us with an extra tabletop space surrounded by bookcases (which was actually really nice, the ambience was pretty great!) The network was strung from the ceiling like a spiderweb (main connection to gigabit switch, out to a gigabit switch on each set of two tables). I actually planned the layout of the house for the event on paper this year, and had myself an honest-to-god checklist, rather than just doing it all in my head. And, it all appears to have worked out fairly well.

So, speaking of that house layout, this is what we had:

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The living room – aka “Xbox Alley”. All consoles, all the time. Three years ago, this would have been the primary hub of activity, this year, not so much. We did have some bodies out sick, though, which made a big difference. Even so, our console division dropped off, which is interesting to note (also, smaller screens showing up this year, with the exception of my own, more on that later).

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Like I said, my own TV was the exception. In the dining room, I took over: That’s 65″ of 4k love – It’s my house, dammit, I’ll play the way I want to. I also knew I was going to have a huge set-up, anyway, because of my racing rig. What you see in front of you was: Xbox360, Xbox:One, Logitech G920 racing wheel/pedals/shifter, LED backlighting on the TV from the powerbar (those are AWESOME), and my Republic of Gamers G571 laptop. I was all set to play pretty much anything. Next to it was @pingoderp’s Xbox360, which basically got used for Portal.

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Family room was a general congregation area, and Rockband/DJ Hero. I was surprised at the turnout for the Rockbanding. Very good though. And the SumoSac’s were, as always, well loved by the kids for flopping out and spending time on mobile gaming, and Nintendo DS.

Basement. I wasn’t kidding. This is where the PC Master Race is shunned… I mean, situated.

Tabletop room 1!


Tabletop room 2!

I ended up not involved (for obvious reasons) but for a number of reasons, we tried a “PokeWalk” – a couple of the parents (primarily organized by @Yumi Kiddo) took a number of the kids to Carleton University to do a few hours of Pokemon Go. It does sound like it went well, and definitely helped us at the house, because it lowered the crush of kids running around for the afternoon (our highest volume of bodies is about noon to 9pm, and it can be a distinct “crush” of people in a relatively small space). I get the impression this went very well, but may have been a horde of babbling kids tearing at the nerves of a couple of parents *grin*

Lessons learned? Always.

  • the couch in the family room can’t be on the west wall – kids would jump onto it, and bump the wall-socket network cable, taking everyone out down in the basement
  • Rockband, even on a smaller scale, is still a success – IF it’s separated from all the other gaming, because it’s loud, and not everyone wants to listen to it
  • upgrading the connection (from 27/3 to 60/10 made a huge difference, and no one had any issues beyond the bumping from the couch).
  • consoles have dropped off, tabletop has grown hugely, and PC gaming staged a notable increase
  • it remains a huge amount of work to set up. Like…. a lot.

    How much? Well, take a look at the pictures, and you see what goes into the rooms. We move furniture around. the networking consists of eight gigabit switches, and somewhere around 700 feet of Cat5e. Four of those switches were new this year. We upgraded the connection, as noted, and that costs money. Ok, sure, I wanted that too but. There’s the hydro – November is our biggest month of the year for obvious reasons. It’s about an extra fifty percent of our monthly bill, for that weekend. Food, that we lay in, beyond what other people generously provide.

    And mostly… time. It takes A LOT of time to set up, tear down, organize, lead, and fundraise for. Probably 130 hours of pure, physical set-up and tear-down, plus time talking to people about the event, what we’re doing, how we’re doing it.

    This is the thing. We’ve now done this for five years. And it IS a lot of work. And early on this year, it was somewhat disenchanting to see the… lack of enthusiasm. And I know, times get tough and get better and we have good years and bad years.

    But, what I know at this point is, to turn the house into a charity fun-house (which is really what we do) for about eighty people coming and going (which is about what we have) costs me. Well, us. It costs money – I spend about $200/year now – it was more three years ago, but now we’re down to just replacing broken/obsolete things, and any hardware needed. It costs time as noted.

    But you know what?

    It’s still worth it. It really is. The event comes together, it’s really fun, we have a great time, there are some great moments, and once we’re doing it, I’m reminded of just how awesome the people I’ve surrounded myself with, are. I’m incredibly fortunate. And that good fortune is one of the reasons we still do it, despite the work, the frustration, and the inconvenience. Because we can, and it is just work, frustration, and inconvenience, and we can deal with that.

    Because at the end of the day, we do something good, and that’s really worth it. Especially right now.

    So, will we do it again?

    Well, at five years? Yeah, we’re totally going to. I’m not completely sure what form it’ll take. We may have some other options for a location coming up. Something that would really take the pressure off us in terms of the intrusion of the event into our home for weeks. I’d miss having the event at home, for sure, but it’s grown to a point now that it may really not be viable to keep doing it at home. However, a bunch of other stuff will have to come together for that to work, too.

    Cryptic much? 😀

    At the end of the day, we do it for CHEO, and I think we do an amazing job. I haven’t heard what the numbers are for fundraisers for Ottawa, for CHEO specifically, but we are regularly near the top. Which means we really are doing something good for the world, and for our community.

    Pretty much every parent we know has made use of CHEO’s facilities at some point or another, and those that haven’t? Likely will. It’s that kind of facility.

    So, one more time, with feeling, if you want to drop a few bucks, it would be hugely appreciated. Just click that link up there at the top. You know the one. Go on. Click it. You know you wanna. Makes you feel good. Doooo iiit.

    Seriously, if you’d thought about it, but didn’t get around to it, now’s the time! so, please do, if you can.

    And yeah, we’ll probably be back next year.

    But for the moment, I’ll leave it with this. I’m wicked proud of my team. Players, fund raisers, donators, all. All amazing. Thank you again Team Bombshelter, you’re awesome, and I don’t do this by myself.

  • 2015 #extralife #gameathon

    Yes, I hashtagged my title. Live with it.

    I had previous written this “We’re right on top of the Gameathon”. Well, I never posted that. So, this is a little bit of pre- and post-gameathon.

    First things: if you don’t know, it’s a charity event that benefits the Children’s Miracle Network, via Extra-Life. In turn, you choose your hospital, in our case, that’s CHEO, or the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

    With that explanation, if you’d care to donate a few dollars, five, ten, fifty, five hundred, whatever you can, the best place to do so is here, through me!

    Donate via me!

    Yes, we have already completed our gameathon for 2015: However, donations are still counted towards this years totals until December 31st, 2015. So, if you want to donate? Please click the link. CHEO is a great, great cause. And, honestly, I would expect them to be busy in the new year: Refugee kids are going to need help, and I’m sure CHEO will be part of that effort.

    Anyway, back to the event!

    The team has become this weird combination of nerds, geeks, car-people, and .. yeah. General weirdos. There’s Chapter 11 Section 62 representation, @wrenchhaus, and the old university crew: The Bombshelter. Basically, we are legion.

    This year, we changed things up. How? well, you’d need to know last years, first. So, here’s last year:

    This year, instead of the island in the livingroom, we’re trying a long table around the walls. I think it’s free’d up a bunch of space: we had a problem last year with people needing to get in and out (food, bathroom). I think we’ve alleviated a lot of that with the new set-up.

    On top of that, with The McFee being out of town, we’re skipping Rockband and making room for more PC’s. The entire basement, in fact, is dedicated to PC gaming this year.

    Then, we’ve set up two bedrooms/offices upstairs with tables and chairs for serious tabletop action:

    At this point, in fact, we’ve got a full walk-through video for 2015, again. My apologies for … yeah. that’s me doing the voice over. So, I apologize in advance.

    Once again, I failed to do a second walkthrough. This year did, in fact, end up being signficantly different to previous years: not only did the Tabletop gaming get a lot more attention, but at the same time, one non-nerdy-family-game got played for no less than four straight hours, by a group that grew to nearly fifteen (somewhat intoxicated) bodies: “Catch Phrase”. I know. I don’t get it either. Sadly, I didn’t get any video of the idiocy involved, either, but that’s life. That said, we brought in the kids, too, and there were games of My First Carcasonne, and the like. The adults delved into a group favorite, Pandemic, as well as Elder Sign, and a multitude of others.

    The PC master race was, as is appropriate, well represented by basement dwellers. I mean, I set up the PC gear in the basement. Note the network cables EVERYWHERE.

    Speaking of the hardware, this is what it takes to set-up the house, to do things the way we do it. I’m not sure I’d recommend this to others: it’s a ton of work, and every year I end up buying more and more gear, especially networking gear. I got very lucky this year, and a neighbour was throwing out two tables (and by tables, I mean doors, with those folding legs bolted to them) which I picked up for free. Without that, we’d have had issues, so it was incredibly fortuitous.

    So,yes, the hardware and set-up. Couches get moved from basement to ground floor: the ground floor is entirely consoles.

    Also, my racing rig, which I finished at about 11pm the night before the event, and stood up extremely well. Althuogh I think I need addtional plyons… I mean, bracing.

    The hardware!

    Ok, so the house is rigged, before anyone shows up, with:

    Ground Floor:
    -Asus AC68u router
    -TP Link 8 port switch
    -TP Link 5 Port switch
    -TP Link 16 port switch
    -350′ Cat6 network cable

    Basement:
    -TP Link 5 port switch
    -TP Link 8 port switch
    -TP Link 32 port swtich (it’s what we had)
    -250′ Cat6 Network cable

    Once everyone was plugged in we had:

    Ground Floor:
    -11 TV’s (32″ to 50″)
    -5 Xbox360s
    -6 Xbox:One
    -1 lonely PS4

    Basement:
    -12 gaming PCs of various sizes, shapes, and forms

    This year, though, we didn’t blow a breaker. You laugh, but last year, we blew breakers repeatedly (due to a bad piece of wiring we’ve since had corrected) so badly that it blew a hole in the breaker itself, which had to be replaced, last winter. I’ve never seen anything like that. Compared to last year, I think we were actually bigger this year, but it’s hard to tell, because, as I pat myself on the back, I think we organized much, much more effectively this year.

    So, while it IS a ton of fun, both in the set-up, preparation, and the event itself, there is a point to all this. And the point is, to raise money for CHEO. Which we did in spades.

    Again, donations don’t close on this year’s event until December 31st, 2015. So, feel free to click that link up there, and make even a small donation.

    Here’s the numbers so far though.

    We’re showing up as the 285 biggest fundraising team in the event (international, 6265 teams, total). However, once the $400 USD I have addtionally makes it to the organizers (next week) then we’ll jump… We may jump into the top 100 teams. Which is INSANE. Most of those top-100 teams are corporate, and where they’re community teams, they have dozens, even hundreds of members raising funds. Again, I’m incredibly proud of my guys and girls: they put a ton of effort into this.

    And yes, I know it’s not a competition. But boy, leaderboards, am I right?

    Team Bombshelter is, once again, the #1 fund-raiser for CHEO, via Extra-Life, and the gameathon. I’m incredibly proud of not only our direct team, but the people who support us (with fooooooooood, in large part), those who donate incredibly generously, and those who come to wish us well. Our numbers are not 100% yet: I have a number of cash donations that are still coming in, but it looks, on the surface, as though we’ve (in what we thought was going to be an “off” year) broken through $3200 USD. That’s somewhere around $3800 in Canadian funds, going back, directly, to CHEO. Over the last four years, we’ve raised juuuuuuuust about $15,000 in Canadian funds[1].

    It should be noted, however, that the newly-formed “Ottawa Guild Superstars” were nipping at our heels this year! That’s pretty damn, awesome, too.

    [1]we lost our team historics this year, and we still don’t know why. Fortunately, I had screen captures of the previous years’ totals, so we’re not totally lost, but it is a shame, and I have to get back in contact with Extra-Life again to see if that can be rectified. It’s not a huge deal, but we are gamers, and our leaderboards are important to us. 😉

    [24-HOUR GAMEATHON] The Rules: 12 Hours of Nordschliefe

    Driftin' for the Children

    I was bored, so I made a thing! It’s not great, but it gets the point across.

    So, we’re on. Right now, it appears we have seven to ten drivers, which, for an inaugural event, is decent.

    I’ll have to work on a driver list.

    But, here’s the ‘terms’ of the race.

    1] the game is Forza Motorsports 4 on xbox360.
    2] The track is the Nordschliefe:

    3] The car class is B. Specifically, topping out at B-500. Other than that, anything goes. Tune as you see fit. If you need assistance setting up your car, I recommend ForzaDroid as a set-up tool. It’ll give a good, basic tune that’ll get you around the track.
    4] The settings are “Full Simulation”. So, you gotta worry about tire wear, gas, and damage. The pits will be open. Under simulation… body damage does not get fixed. I found that out the other day. That means major contact? your downforce is FUBAR, and probably, so’s your aero. that takes your carefully-set-up handling and top-speed into the shitter. For the rest of the race. Be warned.
    5] Because of 4] keep the contact to a minimum. There’s gonna be some (rubbin’s racin’), but don’t be a moron and ruin everyone’s day. It could be 14 miles/fifteen minutes plus to get back to the pits in a wrecked car.
    6] No quittin’.. You wanna stop racing? park the car on the grass and wait for the race to end.
    7] Race is 12 hours. I have a feeling that’ll stretch a little, because you can’t set a ‘timed’ race. But, with a 9 to 9-and-a-half minute lap, approx 6.5 laps per hour, makes for a 77-lap, 12 hour race. I’ll probably set 80 laps, just to be safe, and we’ll run 12, maybe 12 1/2 hours.

    Right now, the starting grid is:

    Me
    Colton
    Kendra
    Adrian
    Melissa
    Andrew T

    I’m hoping I can interest a few players from XBL into joining in: HOTLZ77, Choccy, and Sleight-of-foot (who have all been bustin’ my rivals times for months, and are therefore worthy adversaries).

    Sadly, it’s not quite as big as I’d hoped. But, I think the easiest way to deal with that is…. Fill up the spaces with AI. Which is going to make for a sixteen car field. If anyone wants in at this point, let me know.

    One reminder: If you’re not actually raising money: MAKE A DONATION. This is especially important for players. While the race is gonna be fun (hell, the whole weekend is gonna be FUN) the point is to raise money for CHEO, The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, via Children’s Miracle Network. Even small donations make a huge difference: if we have twenty people playing and everyone chips in $10, that’s $200. If everyone on my facebook list chipped in FIVE bucks, that’d be over a grand. It adds up really quickly. And it’s a really good cause.

    And if anyone wants to commit to double their donation to me IF I WIN THE RACE? You’ll know by 8:30pm on November 2nd, as it’s a 12 hour race. Tell me ahead of time. I will, of course, race dirty to double the donation.

    [EXTRA-LIFE.ORG GAMEATHON] Update – T-41 Days

    So, I’m gonna do this pretty regularly, it’s a good way to keep track of OMG WHY THE FUCK DID I DO THIS AGAIN?

    Right now, Team Bombshelter is a team of seven, although it sounds like eight by this evening, so I’m gonna count it as eight.

    Again, @blingdomepiece is bringing his epic Rockband set-up. This is his thing.

    We have, tentatively-for-sure, four drivers so far for what is going to be, I suspect, a 12-hour race, not a 24-hour race. Logistically, the 24-hour race is tough. We’ll see though.

    The drivers are:

    Me, your humble host, driving a nearly-ready 2010 3.8L Genesis Coupe (B499 class)
    Colton, Car unknown
    Kendra, Car unknown
    Melissa, driving a currently-sitting-in-the-garage 1985 1.6L Chevrolet Chevette, which will eventually be a high-B-class car

    I need more drivers.

    The Senatron Will, I assume, be gaming from home, because eighteen-month-old twins.

    @BambiBlue will again be killing everyone on Team Fortress 2, or something similar. I think she may have a Durham Basterds Compatriot in this, however. We’ll see.

    @Chaos_introvert will be… I have no idea what he’ll be doing. But he’ll be doing SOMETHING, dammit.

    wHAT i GOTTA start doing is sourcing equipment. I’m trying to get hold of both xboxes, and TV’s. We need to have enough to run FORZA 4 for everyone who’s racing, and extras for “the others”, plus HALO at least later in the evening (espeically if we only run a 12-hr race).

    IF anyone reading this can loan us an xbox, TV, copy of Forza 4, Copy of HALO 1 re-release, leave me a comment, and I’ll get back to you. This same plea will be going out on FB, Twitter, and Google+.

    Repeatedly.

    Also, if I have mentioned it?

    Make a donation to the effort! I need your money, FOR THE CHILDREN.

    Extra-Life Gameathon Preparation

    I’ve been running Forza4 a lot again, in prep for the 24 hour gameathon in November. I’m STILL trying to organize a long race on Nordschliefe, with a dozen drivers. I’d hoped for a 24hr race, but I think I may have to cut it back to 12, or even 6 hrs, just to build the interest.

    So, yeah. I’ve been prepping my car. *grin*

    Set up suspension.
    Run on autocross for handling feel
    Tweak.
    Run
    Tweak.
    Run.
    Tweak.
    Run.
    Head to Nordschliefe, verify it works at high speed.

    Part of the high-speed verification is watching the tire temps, and whether I’m getting camber-wear on the straight-away at 140mph +, and decide whether I want to sacrifice some corner to increase the longevity of the tires.

    Extra-Life.org 24-hour Gameathon 2013 – The enbegininininining.

    Well, I’m starting it up again, TeamBombshelter is live again for the 2013 Extra-Life.org 24 (or 25) hour gameathon. The proceeds not only go via the Childrens Miracle Network, but extra-life/CMN allows you to pick the specific hospital you want to funds to go to. Due to proximity, I’ve chosen the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario again this year (CHEO).

    So, two things.

    1] PLEASE DONATE! It’s a really good cause, you get a tax recipt, and the 100% of donation goes to the cause, NOT beauracracy.
    2] If you’re willing, join the team. Last year, we set up five TV’s, a projector, and several PC’s and did a ton of multi-player LAN gaming. I’ve already been asked if tabletop is acceptable. IT IS. If you wanna play boardgames at 2am? I’m all for that. If you want to play from home, that’s awesome too.

    last year, we raised just shy of $2700. I’d like to beat that this year.

    We did it, much like this, if you want to see the fairly epic set-up:

    To that effect, I’m not just gaming for 24 hours. I’m setting up a 24-hour RACE (one race) on Forza4. I plan on having a co-driver, so I can opt out for a few hours to play HALO deathmatch, but I want to race 24 hours. More details will follow, and I will be looking for other participants! If you’re a race fan, totally want you in! I’m working on classes now, but I will be running a 2010 3.8L Hyundai Genesis Coupe, modified, and tuned to B500 level/class, that should give you something to work with.

    The event is November 2nd, 2013. I know, that’s like, three months from now. But I want to start now! If you want to join, join up, and start your own fund raising! If you want to donate, do it now, so I don’t have to bug you again. 😉

    DONATE HERE!

    More will follow over the next little while!

    GAME ON!

    [GAMING] Well, That Was A Thing!

    Whew.

    Thirty-six hours after the completion of the Extra-Life.org Gameathon, I’m pretty much human again. First the numbers.

    1] Seven (official) Participants
    2] 24 hours of gaming
    3] My fundraising rank: 451st of 15,858
    4] Team Bombshelter’s Fund raising rank: 137th of 2375
    5] $2521.34 TOTAL RAISED ($998.84 raised by me)
    6] 14 HOURS of Forza Motorsports 4
    7] 6 hours of Borderlands 2
    8] 2 hours of Halo:CE: 10th Anniversary edition
    9] 1 hour of Left 4 Dead 2
    10] 30 minutes of Bejeweled 2
    11] 30 minutes Burnout:CRASH
    12] 3 TV’s
    13] 3 xboxes
    14] 1 projector
    15] 1 epic rockband set-up on PS3
    16] 2 massive PC gaming rigs

    How it went?

    Well, it went well. Actually it went really well. I spent Friday setting up the house. Unlike other teams, we (ok, I) decided that we should get as many people together in one place to game, rather than do it remotely, over XBL or Steam. This, however, was going to call for a fairly epic set up.

    We actually have a kinda silly number of TV’s in the house right now (3). So, the plan was to set ’em up in a U, or triangle, with xbox’s attached, and a switch in the center. We’d still be playing on Xbox Live, but we’d also be playing LAN variants of games. This.. worked well:

    What we ended up with though, with the generosity of @blingdomepiece was better.

    Well, it was three xboxes as noted, but we were able to swap out the 32″ TV for @blingdomepiece’s 46″, that he loaned us at the last minute. This left the 32″ open for the kids to play Mario games on, on the Wii. So, the final set up looked like this:

    The reason for the offer from @blingdomepiece was, well, we were at his place anyway, helping him transport his truly epic Rockband setup. Now, when I say ‘epic’ I mean it. I’ve never seen anything like this. Paired with @mightydogking’s projector, it made a hell of a set-up:

    Off to one side of that, we set up yet another area, for @BambiBlue and her brother to set up their PC gaming rigs. Bambi’s, as is normal in the level of bizarrity, was donated by @Alienware for use over the weekend, and she streamed for ’em while she played her 24 hours, while singing as well.

    Morning started bang-on time. I fired up Forza Motorsports 4, first, and dove in. When Pwned88 showed up, he fired up the other copy, and we had duels, with Jay subbing in and out (loser out on each race). Unexpected epic car of the day? 1992 GMC Scyclone tuned up to C425 level, which was destroying “B-Class” (B499) vehicles on short tracks, but getting eaten on long tracks because of the gearing I was using.

    At the same time, @BambiBlue and her brother dove into their PC’s and relied heavily on Team Fortress 2 and a host of other steam-based games to get them through.

    @Blingdomepiece sang for the best part of thirteen hours, before his voice quit on him. THAT is hardcore. He had a steadily changing band, who’s musical choices ran the gamut from stadium anthems, to crooning country, to top forty pop. Everyone who helped him (he ONLY plays Rockband. It’s his thing) were rockstars in and of themselves.

    One of the true highlights was six-player “SLAYER” HALO:CE multi-player. All the players in the room, two per TV, and all the smack talk you can imagine. By the time we started this, we were already past the twelve-hour mark, 8pm.

    BUt, to make it really interesting, player ages ranged from 10 to 41. How THAT for a multi-generational coming together of gamers?

    And while the ten-year old didn’t win a round, he put aside his own smacktalk, was calm, rational, and even COMPLIMENTARY of the people who were shooting his block off. Trick, we were all really proud of you. And, for all that, he held his own! When he remembered not stand in the open, and get a little stealthy, he got some kills, and good, clean, smart kills, at that.

    That was a good, solid, two hours of play. We also tried to get some Left 4 Dead 2 going on, but, I’ll be honest, we’re either not built for that game, or it’s just not as good as I remember the first being. We quit after an hour or so, because we just weren’t having that much fun.

    As the non-team bodies started to filter out and go home to sleep, the rest of us settled into a groove. One of the TV’s went dark: there was no one left awake to play on it. I played more Forza and Borderlands between one in the morning and four AM.

    Jay and I competed on Forza, head-to-head with long, thirty to fifty mile, races, on an even playing field (read: same car, stock tune). We tore off lap after lap on Road America, Maple Valley, Laguna Seca, and a multitude of others.

    At 4am, though, I started to nod. This was bad. Twenty hours in, and damned if I was going to quit, or just fall asleep. I was actively not concentrating on Borderlands2: I couldn’t concentrate on aiming, or on the missions.

    I opened another Redbull. I didn’t put vodka in it.

    What I did do was switch to Burnout:Crash, and Bejeweled for an hour and a half. It was just enough ‘rest’ to get me through. By 5:30am, I switched back to Borderlands 2 again, and finished off the mission I’d been failing to get through. At 6:30, the wheel and pedals came back out, and I was off down the road (or around the track).

    At 7:16am, with forty-four minutes left to go, I needed a bump again. There was only one thing for it. A single race. A long, long, single race.

    At 7:22am, I headed back to Germany, and the Nordschliefe, also known as “The Green Hell”. 14 miles, 22km of fast, technical, nearly-unmemorizable track. The holy grail of auto racing circuits. And I set up a three lap (66km) race. I chose my weapon (1992 GMC Syclone, modified to B492 level, with longer gears, and an extra sixty horsepower). At 7:31am, the green flag dropped.

    I was really suprised. Better still, as the clock ran down, I hit the start/finish line, literally and figuratively, with one lap to go in the race, and 8 minutes left to go in the 24-hour gameathon. I’d previously turned a respectable 9:52.434 from a standing start, but I hit the start/finish line for this last lap flying: 148MPH at 6700rpm in six gear. In a pickup truck.

    And I ran well.

    In fact, I finished the race at 8:02am: twenty-four hours and two minutes after I first sat down at my xbox.

    Not only that, but despite no sleep, and gaming for twenty-four straight hours, I set a personal best time: nine minutes thirty-three seconds around Nordschliefe. Even better, I did it “clean”. I didn’t go off the track, I didn’t hit a single other vehicle, I didn’t hit a wall, nothing. I hit every corner right, or even if I did it wrong, I didn’t do it so wrong I wrecked the car.

    This is what happens when you combine a CarNerd(tm) and a GameNerd(tm).

    At that point @Dogandgarden came and got me, pushed me into the basement, and she and @blingdomepiece sang the gameathon out with GladOS’s “Still Alive”.

    I was then sent to bed.

    I got three-and-a-half hours sleep, and got up again. I’ve never been able to sleep during the day, no matter how little sleep I get the night before. When I got up, the house was NEARLY in one piece again. @dogandgarden had enlisted our “community service slave” to get all the furniture back where it needed to be, and I got the rest done. The house was back to normal.

    By 9pm, the final totals were in, the cash from the door was counted (oh, yeah. Everyone who came to play, had to donate, if they hadn’t already).

    And, that was that.

    I’m thoroughly stunned by the money we raised. I set the bar intentionally low ($150 for the team) as a goal, figuring that maybe a hundred bucks a piece was realistic. The people who have donated are phenomenal. I’d list ’em, but it would be waaaaaaaaaay too long a list. Of note though, we had eight or nine donations over $50, three of those over $100, and one of those for $200. A huge number of people sponsored $10, $20, or $25 dollars each.

    Basically, people emptied their pockets for CHEO.

    So, thank you to all who donated, participated, and cheered along. I said it kinda faceciously at the top of this, but I’m not, at all. I’m absolutely blown away by the generosity of people, and you all renew my faith in humanity sometimes.

    We’re totally doing this again next year. And I have IDEAS.