You know that show "Connections"? I'm feeling like an episode of it right now. Here goes...
I was really happy when I found out that Space Channel 5 was being ported to the PS2, because I never got around to owning a Dreamcast and felt like I'd missed out on a handful of groundbreaking games because of that. I was even happier when I found out that Space Channel 5 Part 2 was also being ported, and that the two games would be sold together for about $20.
But between the announcement of the SC5 port and the release of the SC5 port, I lost my job and pretty much quit paying attention to video game release schedules. Eventually, I got a phone call from a place I'd applied at 3 months earlier offering me a job at the Uni bookstore, which they had just taken over.
This was right before Christmas, and at Thanksgiving I had finally confided in my mother that I hadn't had a job in 7 months. Against my wishes, she told everyone in our extended family about my situation and I scored just over $1300 cash during the holidays, enough to pay off all outstanding bills and make the salary from my new job enough to squeak by on. Plus just a tiny bit extra.
I saw, by chance, a mention of the GBA port of SC5 and remembered that the PS2 version was supposed to be out by now. I found a copy and ordered it. The games were good -- especially SC5p2, which fixed all the flaws of the original, but had never before been released in the US -- but they were dubbed, which bothered me because I'd had the OSTs for months and was used to the original Japanese voices.
I began to poke around ebay for import copies of the games and Japanese hardware when someone pointed out that there were both modchips and software-based solutions to the region issue available through various channels, for cheap. All I needed was a US Dreamcast and a copy of DC-X.
A mention of this here yielded a kind offer. I also offhandedly mentioned my plans to my supervisor at the new job while I was explaining to him why SC5 was so cool. Surprise, surprise, he had a DC that he never used anymore and was willing to sell it and all his games and accessories for a very low price.
My boss is a really cool guy. He's very artsy and knowledgeable about movies and comics. In fact, he runs his own alternative comics show every year along with this gang/collective he's part of. They have a really neat warehouse/studio space on the ourskirts of town (named "Fort Awesome") that is absolutely stuffed with bizarre things like lithography equipment and a pachinko machine and a Duran Duran board game.
Anyway, with this firm offer of a DC at-hand whenever I want it, I start placing orders for stuff. SC5, SC5p2, Jet Set Radio, Typing of the Dead, a keyboard...and yesterday on a whim I cruise by Toys'R'Us and discover that they have marked down what few games they have left to $4.90 and $9. I grab Crazy Taxi. Now I have a game and am starting to want to play it.
Today I drop by work and leave my boss a note about this (also returning the copy of American Ninja 2 & 3 that he lent me). A couple hours later he calls and asks if I wanna come pick up the console. Of course I do!
We (K and me) drive over to his house and hang out a bit. Eventually we get around to actually *getting* the Dreamcast, and discover that only the actual console unit is in the house. Everything else is in storage at Fort Awesome. This is fine, because I've been wanting to check the place out for a while. We all drive over there.
It takes us a long time to find the games/controllers/cables/etc. because we're spending so much time looking at all the incredible STUFF in the place. Did I mention the original lobby card for "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies", autographed by director Ray Dennis Steckler (who *also* signed it as "Cash Flagg")?
That lobby card was in the quadrant belonging to a guy whose mother, before she died, was the long-time secretary to a well-known fantasy author named Robert Jordan. As in "the guy who writes all those fucking Wheel of Time books". So the guy got to know Jordan pretty well, and through some (other) chain of events, ended up buying the author's near-complete collection of Playboy magazines at a ridiculously low price. My boss told me this story once at work, while I was flaming Mr. Jordan, who I hate with a passion that burns like a thousand suns, and whose name had come up because we had just gotten a shipment of his newest book
So as my boss is semi-hunting for Dreamcast parts, and K and I are wandering around staring at the wonders of Fort Awesome, I see a familiar banner peeking out from under a stack of random detrius.
"Ew!" I exclaim. "The Drew Barrymore issue of Playboy! And here's one of the Anna Nicole Smith ones!" I continue, holding the magazines aloft, one in each hand.
"Yeah," says my boss, "those are Robert Jordan's."
Ew. Fucking Ewww.