So I suppose you’ll want tme to talk about this thing that got me to spend more than 24 hours out of town for the first time in a year and a half, do ya? All righty.
djtyrant and I left Ventura at about 6:00 in the evening (on account of the fact that Jimmy was working until 5:30 that day) and started on the long drive out to La Jolla. Following my dad’s advice, I took the 101 to the 134, all the way out to the 605, until we hit the I-5 that would take us to our destination. Note to self: Don’t do that again. I know the point of going to the 605 was to avoid driving right through the middle of LA, but no matter how you look at it, the rook takes two turns to move to the same spot on the board that a bishop can reach in only one, no matter how much traffic we might’ve run into along the way. I busted out the CD I’d burned the night before of all the NSF and SPC files I’d converted to MP3s. About half of them actually played. Oh well. Meanwhile, we discovered two of the most hilarious road signs on the way there: first was a sign of a family running across the road that was tantamount to “Caution: Illegal Immigrant Crossing”. (No border problems here, eh?) No more than 10 miles later was the sign that caused Jimmy to crack up: “Emergency Pullout: 1000 ft.”
We finally arrived in La Jolla at about 10:00, spent a good 15 minutes driving around the shopping center where the arcade was located in an attempt to find the place before figuring maybe we should go inside to look for it. Sure enough, we go inside, head down the escalator, and we find m1_prominence (the organizer of the tournament) standing at a nearby table. We say hi, he razzes me a bit on being a conservative (he’s a libertarian – close enough for me!), I do a couple of pre-event interviews with him and a couple of the competitors who were there at the time, we play a couple practice games, then head back to Cory’s apartment to watch the MST3K version of Manos: The Hands of Fate.
I don’t know how many MSTies are in the viewing audience here, but suffice to say that only three of the five people who started watching the movie actually made it to the end, and two of them had already seen the thing once before. Every seven minutes Cory would chime in with, “This movie is… so… BAD!!” as if the out-of-focus camera shots and watching scene after scene of nothing but a rear-view mirror or the same couple engaging in a tepid PDA didn’t you clue in to that fact. We got out of there finally at about 1:30 in the morning, and headed to the hotel room to crash for the night.
We woke up at about 8:30 in the morning (a full hour and a half after Cory had asked us be at the arcade, of course), ultimately decided against partaking in Days Inn’s “continental breakfast” (read: “stale muffins and orange juice that tastes like they forgot the oranges”), checked out of the room (a full seven hours after we’d checked in), and headed back to La Jolla.
More pre-game interviews were done, before the thing got started at noon. Da Roots was left available as a qualifying song, making me cringe at the notion of how high qualifying scores were going to be in this event. I played Flying High and got a 95.60% – not bad considering it was my second best score on that song ever, and my best had been achieved about an hour and a half prior, but I had a vouple of sour notes in the middle and was worried about the score not holding up. Shortly after my attempt, a stink was raised about how low the volume was on the machine, and so all the people who played up to that point had the option of re-qualifying. This sent my anxiety level through the roof – I knew my score was tenuous at best, and now everyone who had a lower score gets another chance to catch up to me – and lo and behold, they all do.
So here I am, just waiting to be told that I’m now in 33rd place thanks to some prima donna who couldn’t hear the music because he stomps the arrows so loudly he ends up drowning out the music (wasn’t this the sort of thing we tell novices to the game not to do?). I think I asked to look at the scorechart about 37 times to count how many people were ahead of me. When I learn that there can be no more than 31 players with a higher score than mine, I breathe a sign of relief. (And no, there’s no way in hell I’m re-qualifying; if you got a lower score on your second try, you’re stuck with it.) It later turns out that I qualified in 29th place rather than 32nd, but all that really determined was who I’d be the sacrificial lamb for. (Incidentally, Mr. Prima Donna person complains on his re-qualifying attempt that the pads gave him 5 Way Offs. They decided to seed him first and get it over with – dude was gonna keep whining until he got the ranking anyway probably.)
My first-round match ended up being against JJK, who’s probably among the top 10 DDR/ITG players in the area. I ask him to be gentle with his song choice, and he thankfully obliges, choosing While Tha Rekkid Spins as his song while I pick Dawn as mine. Predictably, he pastes me on both songs. Near the end of WTRS, I shout “This one’s for you, Jon!” and do a brass monkey at the end of the song. Suxor6 Represent. 🙂
Besides that, the tournament was an absolute blast. A few of the first-round matches ended in upsets, and one match was decided by seven-hundredths of one percent. Prima Donna got upset in the quarterfinals, and naturally leaves the tournament immediately thereafter. The eventual winner of the whole thing was someone from Chicago who defeated JJK in the final round. He didn’t lose a single song in the entire competition, and had a handful of 99%+ scores to boot. In fact, the last song of the tournament – Let My Love Go Blind – ended with this guy scoring 99.54%, A Full Excellent Combo with only 15 Excellents. He wound up winning $375 for first place, which was a $120 profit even despite the plane ticket he needed to get here. (But at least I could outlast him at Manos. 🙂 )
The tournament ended around 8:45. (Mind you, since I was videotaping this thing, I ended up being on my feet for practically the entire time. By the end of the night, it felt as if all the blood in my body was filling up around my feet.) Jimmy and I stop over at Wendy’s to eat (the first real sustinence I’d had in about 24 hours), and make it back to Ventura just before midnight.
Now, let’s see – we’ve just got done with a 3-hour car ride from a 9-hour long ITG tournament. What should we do next? Of course – head over to EA and play ITG!
We both play a couple games apiece, trying out some of the songs that we’d seen being played several times at the tournament (namely Solina and Lemmings on the Run), our scores obviously showing the effects of the car ride and the extended time in an upright position. Then sense got the better of us and we left. I dropped Jimmy off at his place, headed back to my place, and learned that I’d have to rummage through the hall closet for the sheets to make my bed with. Yeesh.
On a related note, I finally got a new USB drive for ITG use today, and broke it in in a pretty nice way:
This was The FEC That Almost Wasn’t. I hadn’t warmed up (since I just popped in to test the drive out) and was very unsteady on the last few jumps.
One of the drumrolls got me on this one. I could probably FEC it in a few more tries, though.
My best score on the song, and on top of that I’ve got my highest peak combo thus far, thanks to my FCing all six of the songs I played with the flash drive today.
OK, I started this thing over an hour ago. I think I’ll stop now. G’night.