Sunday, June 29, 2008

Arcana Heart 2 Weekend of Awesomeness

This took me a while to post, and even though it was last week, ill write anyways.

So last weekend was MWC, which is a big tourney in the midwest for a bunch of fighting games.

For those who don't know, I went to New York last year (actually a year back from now I was there), and I stayed with a New York Melty Blood player who goes by "Sp00ky", and his real name is Vic. He was very hospitable, and went out of his way to help me out there and let me have a ton of fun. Anyways, he went and bought Arcana Heart 2, the arcade board itself, making it one of like, 4 machines in the entire country. He came to Chicago for this tournament, so I offered to pick him up from the airport and accommodate him during this time. He came early, on Wednesday night, even tho the tourney was Friday - Sun, so us Chicago players can have a chance at playing Arcana Heart 2 for the first time and have plenty of time to session. So Andy (Capps) and Phil (meta) came over wed night. We picked up Vic around 10, and then got back to my place. He set up Arcana 2 in my room, and then he was tired so he went to sleep. However, with it being our first time playing, myself, Andy, and Phil all played till like, 7AM. I used Lilica for pretty much every single match, except like, one where i tried Dorothy and lost all the hype I had for her, and one more where i tried out Mei Fang.

Thursday around noon, I had to pick up Ryan (Fubarduck) from the airport. It was simple and uneventful, we went to the HIP and got some food and got some stuff from radio shack before we had to pick up Raphael (DeathScythe) from the airport around 2. However, unlike picking up Ryan, picking up Raph wasn't as easy. So he calls me and tells me that he's waiting at like, gate 3J. I go to terminal 3, and there is no 3J. I call him and ask him if he's at the right airport, he says yes, i ask him if he's outside, he says yes. Apparently, Ryan figured out that he must have been at the departures section. That means that he got his baggage, instead of going outside at the doors that are right there, he went inside the airport toward the center, up the escalator and THEN went outside, and must have not noticed that people are only getting dropped off and that nobody is picking up anybody. Airport - 1, Raph - 0. We eventually found him, and headed over to Mitsuwa for lunch. Everyone got some food, some people bought stuff at the bookstore, and some did a bit of shopping at the marketplace section. After that, we went back to my place and played Arcana 2 for a while. Then around 10PM, we went over to Giordano's, and got some Chicago style pizza. After that, we played Arcana 2 till whatever time in the morning. After everyone else went to bed, me and Raph played a buncha matches of Lilica vs Zenia against eachother, and it was pretty fun.

I had to pick up Will (TheWill) from the airport friday morning around 9:30. After maybe 2-3 hours of sleep, we (me and Vic) head out and pick him up, surprisingly traffic is heavy. After we get him, we head back home and play arcana 2 and gnt4 until like, 1:30 when we head out to Nickel City so Ryan can play in the Third Strike tourney. We make it there and Vic sets up Arcana 2. I set up Party's Breaker, and play a buncha matches against PBJ Mixah, and play some Arcana 2. I watched the finals for the 3S tourney, which decided what team goes to SBO for 3S, and Justin, KOFiend, and Gootecks won the tourney. There were only 4 teams, which is a shame, but hopefully people will donate or theyll get extra cash to be able to go and have fun. After that, I was running the Melty Blood tourney. It went pretty smoothy considering we only had one setup for it. Results are:
1 - Justin
2 - Vic
3 - Me
4 - Ryan

After that, me and Vic played a bunch of casual matches, and then we head back home, with me taking Jon (KOFiend) and Arturo (Sabin) back, too. The drive takes a long time because of the construction on the 94, but we make it back after stopping at BK for food. We (AGAIN) play Arcana 2 all night. Jon had to head back to NY via Midway airport early in the morning, so I drove him to Jefferson Park and he went back. I went back home and crashed for a while. The Guilty Gear tourney started at like, 11AM, and Will wanted to play in it. Thankfully, Andy wanted to record it also, so he took Will there, meaning I got to sleep in a bit. A few people wanted to play in CvS2, so we had to make sure to get there before 3, so we left at 1:30 again and got there in time. People went and played their games and stuff, and sat night was the Arcana 1 tourney, so Arcana 2 never ended up getting set up on Saturday. Results of AH1:
1) Arturo
2) Me
3) Justin
4) Noel

We headed back after that and played Ah2 at my place all night again. This time, I decided to try Petra, because her combos look cool, and she looked fun. Me and Anthony end up playing it till 5 or 6 am.

Sunday rolls around and after only a couple hours of sleep, i'm up again because people want to play in the smash tourney, which starts at 11, and Vic wanted to get up early and set things up early. I get there in time, and Esom (who came by sat night) takes the stragglers there for sunday. Sunday is pretty much Arcana 2 day, so we throw a team tourney and a singles tourney. Results of both are:
Teams:
1) Team Love/Hate (Me and Arturo)
2) Team Sp00ky (Vic and XAQshinor)
3) Team Sunny Side Up (Justin and Noel)
4) Team IDK -_- (Andy and NappyJin)

Singles
1) XAQshinor
2) Ryan
3) Justin
4) Me

Afterwards, we just played casuals till the night was over. I played pretty much only Petra after the tourney, because I'm still learning her and was trying out new things. After we get back, I, again, play only Petra for the rest of the night. I liked the Ice arcana cause its a giant Penguin, and Penguins are cool and stuff, but the ice dash (which starts out slow, but then gets really fast) was messing up my combos because i needed that quick dash. However, fire had the same explosion that Ice has (fire had it first actually) so I decide to go with Fire, and it actually ended up being perfect for how I play Petra. After playing all night, Monday is airport time, yet again.

I drove Ryan, then Raph back around 9 or 10 ish or something stupid early that I dont even remember. I got back and took a small 2 hour nap, and a couple guys from Wisconsin came over, and we were playing games and stuff. Around 3:30, everyone had to go back to the airport, so the wisconsin guys, who were going there anyways, drove them back. Me, Andy, and Phil ended up staying up till about Midnight to make our sleep schedules go back to normal (cause if we went to bed at like, 5PM and slept for 12 hours, that would have been dumb), so we ended up talking about how much we missed AH2 and we watched random anime and talked about random stuff.

So I got a ton of playing in, and pretty much, I can't wait till i get back to Japan so i can play it anytime i want!

4 more weeks!

-Rob

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Super Happy Last Weekend in Chicago for the JP Girls!

So as you guys may or may not know, there were 3 girls and 1 guy from the school that I studied abroad at in Japan who studied at DePaul for the school year. I picked up two of them from the airport when they flew in - Yuri and Mayumi, back in Aug. Anyways, the school year ended so this was the last weekend for some of them to be in Chicago. Chihiro is the other girl who came, and Takeo is the name of the guy who came. I met Takeo once or twice, but he apparantly spent a lot of time studying in his room so he didn't hang out as much as the other girls.

So Saturday, I have to drive Chihiro back to the airport from downtown Chicago. Her flight is at 12:15 or something, so she wants to be at the airport by 9. I pick up my friend Alex, who's in the same Japanese class that we were all in, and then we go help her get to the airport and stuff. She's waiting in the lobby of her dorm, so i pull my car around the back, and Alex gets her and her stuff, and we head on out to the airport. She called me at 7AM asking me where i was (i just woke up) and that she was waiting. i told her 8 was when i was coming, but i felt bad that she was already waiting, so i left a little early and ended up picking her up around 7:40.

We get to O'hare airport and find some temporary parking (3 hours or less for $4.00). We go inside, and the terminal is packed with people. It was kind of confusing finding where to go, because the end of two of the lines were back to back, so it didnt look like there was a place the line started. We ended up finding it and waited in line for a bit. Then we get up to the counter, and she has no problem checking in, and her flight is ok. She had a big suitcase, a small suitcase, a backpack, and a small bag. The two smaller bags were her carry-ons, and the others she was checking in. However, the limit for suitcases is 50 pounds. If it's 50-70 pounds, you pay an extra $50. Her big suitcase ended up weighing 87 pounds. Because it's over 70 pounds, they would have had to charge her some crazy fee, like $287. English isn't her first language obviously, so she started to panic because she wasn't sure what she should do. We ended up opening her suitcase, she found a big shopping bag type thing, and we threw 20 pounds of crap, and her small carry on bag in there. Big suitcase went from 87 pounds to 67 pounds, so she paid the extra 50 bucks, the other bag was 42 pounds, and then her carry-ons were fine. Thankfully we avoided what could have been a way worse fiasco and she wasn't out a crazy amount of money. She goes to security, we say our goodbyes, and then we head out.

After that, i take a nap, wake up, put in the air conditioning in my room, and then I head over to Andy's (Capps_Indigo's) place for a night of gaming. I play Party's Breaker, Arcana, and Melty, and stay till like, 4:45AM. I gas up my car, it was 56 bucks for like, 13 gallons. Crazy. I head home and get to sleep around 6AM.

Sunday is my graduation, my parents wake me up at 1:20. I take a shower get dressed, etc, they take some pictures, and then we went to the commencement ceremony. It wasn't too bad, i got there around 2:45, it started at 4, and was over around 6:45. Me, my parents, and my sister went out to eat after that, and then it was time for the last night for Yuri in Chicago. She stayed at the same dorm as Chihiro, but since the school year ended, they kicked everyone out, so she was staying with Alex for a couple days. I headed over there around 9ish.

I got a good parking spot like, right in front of their apartment, which is actually kind of rare because there's usually no parking in that area for free, especially not so close. When i got there, since Alex's graduation was earlier in the day at like, 9AM, him and Yuri just woke up from sleeping. So they were nice and awake and stuff. We kinda just hang out and chill till like, midnite, when one of Alex's roommates, and a friend since freshman year, Pete, got back. Me, Alex, Pete, Yuri, and Tim (another one of Alex's roommates) headed out for some pizza. We went to Chicago's, since it was open till 5AM. After we finish, we decided to head out to the lake. So I drive around trying to find a place where I can park, eventually, I get to a park, but since it was so late, the parking lot's parking thing was off. We cut through a park and sat on these big concrete steps for a while, just chillaxing. After an hour and a half or so, we headed back (i think it's close to 2:30AM at this point), and went back to the apartment. Afterwards, Alex, Yuri, Pete, and I walked to this parking lot that's right near the apt, and went up to the 8th floor of it, and from there, we had the awesomest view of the skyline. So we kinda just stood there for a while and talked a bit, but had a lot of silence and thinking time. It was kind of neat. After we saw some light from the sun starting to rise at around 4:30, we decided to just walk to the lake this time since we knew there would be no parking. We get there and it's like, 5AM. We sit there for a while just chillaxing again. Eventually, the sun rose around 5:30, and we hang out till about 5:50AM. We walk back to the apartment, and I crash for 2 hours. I bought a monster (energy drink) earlier in the day since I'm the one who's gonna be doing the driving, i wanted to make sure I was awake. I also had to pick up a letter from one of my teachers, so I go do that really quickly, since Alex lives right near the campus, and at about 8:50, we head out. I ran into a bit of traffic, but got to O'Hare around 9:20AM. I park in the hourly lot again, and Pete, Alex, myself, and Yuri headed on into ohare. Her flight said United, so we headed over to that terminal. After waiting for a while in line, they end up telling us that we have to go to Air Canada (as she's flying to Canada first before heading back to Japan). We walk over to the next terminal, and wait in another line for a while and then she gets checked in. She only had one suitcase and one carry on, but the suitcase was 70 pounds, so she had to pay 50 bucks. After she gets checked in at around 10:30, we hang out for a bit. Mayumi and her boyfriend were there to see off Yuri also, but they left after a short time. Me, Pete, and Alex hang around with Yuri until about 12:10. We said our goodbyes, and then we all headed off. Thinking that my parking thing was at 9:30, not 9:20, I thought we had plenty of time. I get in the car, look at the ticket, and it ends up saying 9:20, and it was 12:19 at the time. I end up driving fast and getting to the ticket booth barely at 12:20, so I only had to pay 4 dollars instead of 10 dollars (because it would have been over 3 hours). I drive back to my place, Pete and Alex have some soda, and we hang out for 15 minutes or so. I walked them to the bus stop, and since it's probably the last time I'll see either of those guys, we say our goodbyes as well. After that i just passed out for a few hours, and wrote this up.

It's funny because even though one would think I have a better chance of seeing Alex and Pete again, because of how things are, it's prolly not gonna happen, and I have way better chance of hanging out with the Japanese girls when I get to Japan. Either way, it kinda felt like a "last day in Chicago" for me, too, since my last day will most likely be spent playing video games with my friends. A lot has really changed in just a few days, since we graduated, and the study abroad for the girls is over, everyone finally goes their own way after 4 years. I'm not much of the sentimental type, but it was a bit sad seeing everyone leave for the last time.

6 weeks left till Japan!

-Rob