Tuesday, March 4, 2008

alcohol > snow

Im gonna take this one back a little bit and start in the middle of the week. On Wednesday night I was driving my girlfriend home and we ended up driving through a fucking blizzard. I could hardly see at all because the snow was so heavy and thick and I constantly had to stop the car and get out to clean off my headlights because the snow I was driving through kept completely covering them and I could hardly see. After driving for a long time like some kinda senile old man I finally managed to drive her home. On the way back it was just as bad, but to make matters worse I realized that my gas tank was well past the E mark. This instantly brought back horrid memories of the last time I went to Nebraska with team Chicago and we ran out of gas in the middle of no where. The last thing I wanted to do was run out of gas in a blizzard, but I didnt really have much choice but to keep driving since there were no gas stations open at this hour in my tiny fucking town. Eventually I finally actually made it home somehow and I just sorta parked my car sorta halfass in front of my apartment.

The next morning (Thursday) I woke up to find my car completely burried in snow up to the windshield and considering I had no gas at all basically, I didnt even think about driving to work. I put on my snow pants and walked to work through the thick snow. When I arrived, all of the teachers and many of the students were out front shoveling out the front lot so people could park their cars. I grabbed a shovel and helped dig for a while and we ended up digging well into 1st period. Eventually it was enough and everyone could get their cars in. I walked home and when I returned home I was happy to see that the town did a nice job of clearing out the parking lot in front of my apartment and unburied my car. I had made plans to go skiing with Ryoko (my girlfriend) that evening so after work I changed my clothes and headed out. I was pretty nervous on the way to the gas station that I would break down but luckely I made it there... and I really have no idea how I did considering how long my car was well past Empty.

I picked her up and she told me that she realized that she had lost her cellphone at some point between last night and now. I called her phone to see if it was somewhere in my car but there was no ring. I told her we could check my place later. We enjoyed skiing for 4 hours at a place like only 10 mins drive from my apartment. Afterwords our bodies were both pretty tired and we were both pretty hungry. It was already about 10:30 at night at this point but we went back to my place to have some dinner. When we arrived at my apartment Ryoko suggested that I tried calling her phone again in front of my apartment building in the parking lot. Much to my surprise, this time we heard the phone ring in the distance. We headed towards the sound and it lead us to the general area of a pile of snow along side a fence that was about almost as tall as me that went out about 7 feet from the fence and stretched along side it for maybe 3o feet. The phone must have fallen out of her purse when we were getting in my car to go home Wednesday night during the blizzard and got plowed into the big snow pile when they cleaned out the parking lot. We were happy to hear the phone ring but then were suddenly filled with a sense of despair as we then heard the sound of her phones battery dying. As a result I couldnt keep calling her phone to confirm the location so we had a rough idea as to where it was but certainly not very exact. I turned on my car again so that we could use the headlights to see and I grabbed a shovel and started digging. I gave her another shovel that I had in my car but was unfortunately pretty weak so it didnt do much good. I probably dug in the snow for around 45 minutes. My body was already aching from the skiing all day and all the digging earlier but I kept trying. Eventually after 45 mins she told me to just give up. I had already dug up a section of the giant snow pile all the way to the fence and theres no way of telling if I had simply completely missed the phone or if I had already dug it out and re buried it without being able to see it. I didnt want to give up because I felt bad knowing that the phone was somewhere there and all of her contact information for people she knows was stored in her phone and she didnt have most of the info anywhere else. It seriously felt like looking for a needle in a haystack (at the risk of sounding cliche) or digging for some buried treasure when you dont know where the fucking X is... except pirates got to dig for treasure on a tropical island while drunk on fine rum... I was sober and freezing. I told her sorry and that I felt bad for not finding it but she was happy that I at least tried (though I still feel bad). I made us some spaghetti and then drove her home since it was already really late and we both had work in the morning.

The next day (Friday) I went to school and it was more or less a regular day... until 6th period. Many of the student's parents came to watch their classes and we had several of them come watch our 6th period English class. It was no big deal to me and I didnt mind. However.... the parents stayed after 6th period and had a meeting with some of the teachers. When 4:15 rolled around I got ready to leave the school and head home to get my stuff and drive to the train station just to catch the 5 pm train as I always do. Unfortunately, when I went outside to go to my car I found that doing so was impossable. Due to the fact that our school isnt very big and to all the snow, the parents had to just pile their cars in anywhere that they could find room. This meant that my car was now blocked by about 10 or so parents cars and I had no way to go home until their meetings were over. I sat around and waited, hoping that they would leave soon. After much time eventually I got out of there a little after 6 pm. I knew that by the time I got to Tokyo it was going to be almost 10 pm so I figured going to Akihabara to play casuals was more or less pointless since sometimes people start to clear out of there as early as 10:30 or 11. Knowing this I figured I would make the most of the situation so I decided I would get nice a drunk. Before getting on the train I bought a bottle of Suntory whiskey from 7-11. I slept for an hour on the train and then after I transfered trains at Takasaki I spent the next 2 hours on the train, drinking whiskey and chasing it with cola, and playing Final Fantasy V on my DS. I had to get off at Akabane to transfer again since I was heading straight to Shinjuku this time. I used the opportunity to buy the latest Arcadia from the bookstore at the station since I didnt know the tournament schedule for the weekend yet. Much to my dissapointment, there were no tournaments scheduled anywhere in Tokyo, Chiba, or Saitama for the entire weekend. I recieved an email from my friend Liz while I was on the train. Liz is also an ALT and lives in the city of Numata which is next to where I live. She said that there was a concert of this Japanese band that she likes called Quaff and they were playing in Tokyo at Takadanobaba on Saturday evening. She asked if I would go with her. Finding out that there were no tournaments afterall I told her I would go with her and to reserve me a ticket.

By the time I finally arrived in Shinjuku I had finished the entire bottle of whiskey and was feeling pretty good. It was about 10 pm and even though I was pretty buzzed, the desire to play some Guilty was still strong in me, so I headed to Vegas. There were a few people playing there and I got some nice games of casuals in. It felt like old times playing drunk back in Chicago at Blacksnake's place since I never play intoxicated anymore these days. After about an hour it started to get dead in there so I figured I should just head to Current and get further drunk. It was more or less a typical night at Current. There were some regulars there but the place wasnt rediculously packed. Chip made his return after a 3 week trip to San Fransisco for a business meeting. We talked a lot about various things and about Street Fighter IV and he was telling me stories about Ono since he knew him back when he used to work for Capcom. He still is skepticle of how this game is going to turn out. I told him about my impressions of the game from playing it at AOU. There of course were some posative things and some negative things but IMO the game still needs a lot more work and Chip doesnt think that Ono is going to pull through on this one unfortunately. The bar ended up staying open till 6 am which is an hour more than ussual. There were enough people there till late to justify keeping it open longer. As a result I was drinking from about 8pm to 6am, yet I still felt fine. Granted I was wasted but I wasnt feeling sick or anything like that. I left and headed to the ussual spot for sleep.

Saturday I woke up and my head didnt hurt at all thanks to the fact that I drank the whisky BEFORE all that beer. I got an email from Masami (one of the bar tenders of Current) saying that he was playing a concert somewhere in Tokyo with his friends from Norway (the 2 guys that I met the weekend of the Iron Maiden and AOU show). I wanted to go see his show but I already had made plans with Liz so I told him I would just see him later that night at Current. Liz told me to meet her at Takadanobaba at around 6:30 pm for the show. That meant I had about 5 or 6 hours of time to play some Guilty so I headed for Akihabara casuals. I enjoyed a nice long session of Gear and played well for the most part. At one point I had a 17 win streak until I eventually lost in a close match to a Millia player (::shakes fist at Millia::). Eventually it was about time to go so I headed for Takadanobaba.

I met Liz in front of the Takadanobaba train station and we took a short walk over to the small club where the concert was going to take place. By the time we got our tickets and I shoved my large backpack into a tiny 100 yen pay locker (somehow), I cashed in my free drink voucher that came with the ticket at the bar and got myself a Kirin on tap. We headed into the tiny room where the concert was going to take place. There was hardly anyone there at all. This concert was mostly just smaller underground bands and there were 7 different ones playing that night. I think we might have missed the 1st or 2nd band that went on but I didnt really care nor did Liz since the only one she ever heard of was Quaff and I never heard of any of em at all. The first band that we saw play I think was called Core9th or something, they had a guitarist who sang, a bassist, and a drummer (who was a hot Japanese chick and was really the only talented one in the band). They had a bunch of sample techno type stuff going on and it sorta just didnt sound that great. After their short set ended I got another beer, I figured I already had one so I might as well just keep drinking until the night was over. The next band to go on was uhh... I honestly dont remember the name and I dont have the ticket stub with me, but it doesnt matter cuz they pretty much sucked. They had 2 singers and 2 guitarists and a bassist and a drummer. All guys, they sounded pretty generic. The coolest thing about them was the lead singer had a nice AC/DC shirt on. After their set I got another beer. The next band to go on was Quaff. These guys had the same linup as the previous band having 2 singers, 2 guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. Unlike the previous band, however, Quaff was actually good. They were the only band that actually played a single fucking guitar solo in any of their songs. The song writing was nice and I actually enjoyed their set. They were sorta like borderline visual kei band but they didnt look overly extreme. One of the dudes had a mask on and most of them had spikey dyed hair, but none of them were wearing drag or anything like that. Liz, of course, thought they were hot. Unfortunately they only played like 7 songs. After their set I grabbed another beer. It was still not too late so we decided to stay and see who the next band was. They were a band called Bermuda Vagabond. To put it quite bluntly they sucked. They had 7 band members. 2 singers, 2 guitarists, 2 drummers, and a bassist. They reminded me of a cross between Slipknot and System of a Down but less tallented than both. Given that I hate Slipknot and think System of a Down is alright on occasion at best, I didnt exactly enjoy their set. The main singer was just this big fat guy who was screaming a lot and the songs all sounded the same. After their set we decided we would just see how the next band was and if they sucked we would leave. They were called the Garlic Boys and I didnt really enjoy them either. Liz described it as "screamo" but whatever you wanna call it... crap is crap. She wasnt digging them either so we left during their 2nd song. As we were leaving, the guys from Quaff were in the lobby/bar area talking to people. I urged Liz to talk to them but she chickened out since she isnt confident in her Japanese and I guess they were sorta intimidating. We got our stuff and stopped at a convenient store to get some quick food.

Liz decided she would go with my to Shinjuku because I wanted to show her Current. She had a hotel already reserved somewhere else in Tokyo though so she could only stay about an hour until the last train left Shinjuku. When we got to Current they had another one of their metal events with guest DJs and as usual the place was packed as hell. Liz isnt much of a metal head but she enjoyed the bar and thought that Mogi (the bartender) was hot but didnt get a chance to talk to him. Eventually Liz had to go so I walked her out and she left. I stayed till closing again and drank the whole time, talking to various people I see there often. The guys from Norway said they were going back to Norway later in the week so I wished em a safe trip back and stuff. Nothing too crazy went on but it was good times and I got good and drunk again. After closing I headed back for more sleep as always.

Since I had no plans at all for Sunday, I dedicated the entire day to playing some Guilty since I didnt get too much time to play this weekend so far (6 or so hours may seem like a lot to some people but for me lately thats not that much for 2 days). I went to Akihabara Club Sega again. It was good and packed and lots of various top players were there. I managed to beat Zero and Osaka B once. I had several small win streaks and was winning more than I was losing in general. Ogawa eventually showed up to and said hi. At one point I left the arcade to get some food. On my way back I passed by another arcade a few doors down from Club Sega and noticed they were having a location test for SFIV so I went in to check it out. They had a bout 6 cabs going and the first thing I noticed was someone was fighting Sagat. I stayed for about 15 mins and watched and I saw both Balrog (boxer) and Sagat in the game. Both characters were CPU only and werent yet on the character select screen. I sorta wanted to play but the line was long and id rather play Gear. I then headed back to Club Sega. When I got back I asked around to various people if they wanted to team up for SBO since I still had no team. I even asked Ogawa if he was going to be able to play in SBO this year and he said maybe but he still isnt sure. After having a bunch of people tell me they already had teams, Basara (the Slayer player I teamed up with a few weeks ago, also the same guy who I hung out with in Tachikawa months ago when they all let me crash at one of their apartments during SB2 quals) showed up. I asked him if he had a team and he said that he was teaming up with Domi, but much to my surprise he said that I could probably be the 3rd member on the team. I was pretty happy to hear this since both Domi and Basara are very solid players. Basara said something about Domi having to work a lot lately though so he wasnt sure how well it will work out. I exchanged contact info with Basara. After that it was about time to leave. I played Ogawa's Eddie 3 times and lost but the last time was extremely close. After that I said goodbye to everyone and left to go home.

On the way home on the train I got an email from Domi. The rundown of the email was basically him thanking me for joining the team. Then he proceeded to explain that he hasnt had the chance to play the game much yet this year and might be a bit rusty and said that he may not be able to go to a lot of qualifiers. He suggested that because of this maybe I should look for another team. I told him that hes a strong player and that I still wanted to team with him. I know that sometimes the Japanese can be very indirect and at first I wasnt sure if he was being honest or if he was saying this in order to sorta indirectly say he didnt want to team with me. I showed the email to my girlfriend later and she told me that it didnt sound like that at all and that he was being sincere. I havnt heard back from either of them yet so I dont really know if this is gonna go down or not, but Domi (AN) / Basara (SL) / ElvenShadow (FA) would be a pretty solid SBO team I think. I guess I will just roll with it for now and see how things go when quals start next month. Ill keep my options open but for now its at least nice to know that I have something to fall back on and am not completely without any options.

I still feel bad about not finding my girlfriends phone btw...

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