1. It's good in life to occasionally go through a very unpleasant ordeal. Kind of like how native Americans do the Sundance or whatever (good god I am a huge douche for making that analogy), it cleanses the soul and makes you stronger and also makes you appreciate your normal life when you see how bad it could be.
2. Visiting old friends and having to answer "so, what have you been up to?" or "what's new?". It's rare to be faced with those questions and they are always a moment of crisis and great depression for me. I think "hmm, what have I been up to?" and realize the answer is not fucking much. Have I been living in India? no. Have I been building cars and racing them? no. Have I gotten married or kids? no. Have I been dancing or biking or anything that I love? no. Have I started my own company? or written some great freeware? or made an autonomous walking robot? no. What the fuck have I been up to? It makes you realize you are not doing much with your life and might shake you into taking some action.
(the worst time for this question for me was during my unemployment period between Oddworld and RAD; people would ask if I'd been travelling the world, or having lots of sex, or whatever they think a rich, great-looking single playboy is supposed to be doing when they have no job; I would always have to answer, nope, not doing any of that)
3. It is sort of useful to get a barometer of who the game industry is these days. Just from the people who stop by to talk to us, and who we see in general, you can kind of get a random sampling of the industry. The big thing this year seems to be a lot more actual mobile developers, and a lot more semi-corporate "indies" (basically just meaning small teams, small budgets; the term "indie" in game dev is losing meaning, it's becoming like "indie" in music or movies, just meaning not the big-budget highly produced mainstream stuff).
4. Meeting people who read my blog has been nice; I've been surprised at how many came by, especially people from the olden days when I was writing .txt files about 3d pipelines and vipm and such. It's hard to tell how many people actually read this stuff, and some times I start thinking "what's the point" (actually the main point is that it clarifies my thoughts and makes me write it down for myself) so anyhoo, it's cool.
5. San Francisco is so fucking great, I miss it terribly. I'm sure a lot of it is just that it's sunny here in SF now and it's still bleak in Seattle, so any place sunny looks good to me. And I'm sure some of it is that I miss the carefree unemployed fun in my life back when I lived in SF. But most of it is just that I really love this city. I love the people who live here, the gays, the hipsters, the crack-heads in the loin, the Lebanese grocers and the old hippies-cum-yuppies, the latinos in the mission, it's great, it's kind of amazing that it has resisted gentrification so well. I love how walkable and bikable it is, I love the row houses and the hills, the views, the clubs, the ethnic dives and the temples of haute cuisine. It's really such a wonderful mix. I think most GDC attendants don't really get out of the Sodo/Union Square area, which is a shame because that part of the city is the absolute worst part of the city *by far*. When I lived in SF I never went to that neighborhood, it's full of douchey bankers and computer programmers and lots of foreign tourists shopping at horrible mall chain stores.
6. Quiet time. Oddly, standing there on the show floor in the middle of the chaos of crowds and blasting music has been a rare peaceful time for me recently. I've been consuming too much media recently, either watching movies or reading magazines or browsing the internet or whatever, any time that I'm not working or doing home improvement, I'm consuming media. At almost no moment in my day am I just sitting with my own thoughts and nothing to do. On the show floor my mind would wander and I realized that I haven't had that time, and that sitting around philosophizing is one of the defining things about me (and what led to my rants originally - an excess of shit swirling around in my head that had to be let out somewhere, like a puss-filled cyst that I popped on the tongue of the internet (like a teenage cum-overloaded cock that I shot on the face of the internet (like an american tourist's butt in India that I explosive-diarrhead all over the squat toilet that is the internet))).