Saturday 30 July 2011

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Embarassing the Boy

It seemed like a pretty good plan when I looked at it on paper.  We got home from Vegas on a Thursday and we wanted to be in Anaheim on the Friday for a gaming convention.  Come home, pick up the kids, do a little laundry and head right back out.  Simple right?  What I forget, and I've done this before so I should know better, is that we have to sleep sometime.  We had eight hours between arriving at the farm to pick up the kids, until we had to leave to catch the next flight.  Lots of time for laundry and a repack, not so much if you want to get any sleep in.

Not that I didn't try and free up some more time.  I called Alaska and tried to switch to a later flight.  It used to be their policy that you could switch to any flight within 24 hours for a $25 change fee.  Now it's been reduced to a 6 hour window.  I also asked about our first class upgrades clearing since the system was showing there were first class seats available.  I was told that those seats were being held for revenue sale.  Really Alaska?  You're holding First Class seats for walk-up sale six hours before flight time?  I've been a big Alaska airlines proponent for a number of years now, but I'm starting to get a little disenchanted.  I'm becoming more and more curious as to how next month's Southwest flight goes.

Back to Anaheim, for us, means back to the Hyatt Regency Orange County, one of our favorite hotels.  It's not that everything is perfect here, but they do everything well, and when something isn't quite right they take care of it right away.  It's got a great mix of location (a mile away from Disneyland with a free shuttle), convenience (Target, Subway, Pizza Hut and Red Robin all next door), and comfort (newer hotel with recently remodeled rooms and we are always given an upgrade to a suite here).  The free breakfast buffet for Diamonds is really good too.  We might be staying here a little too often though, as within an hour of our arrival there was a note under the door from the general manager welcoming us back.

Now for the reason behind our eight hour turnaround.  Today was the opening day of the MLG tournament in Anaheim.  MLG stands for Major League Gaming, and it is the professional tour for people playing Starcraft, Halo, and Call of Duty.  There are five regional tournaments being played (Anaheim is the third) leading up to the national championships in Rhode Island this November.  This is where my son is in his natural habitat.  He understands everything that's going on, why the players are making the moves that they do, what kind of strategy they are employing, which teams don't get along and what they could be doing better.  I, on the other hand, don't understand anything.  You want to see a boy cringe?  Put him in a room with thousands of his peers and ask questions like "Is that Halo they're playing?" or "Which team is winning?"  Apparently I am "That Dad".
I'm pleased to report though, that after 5 hours of watching the pros, I am starting to pick up on the logic and technique behind Halo and Call of Duty.  Starcraft still mystifies me.  Hundreds of people will stand up and cheer a move in Starcraft that to me looked like a line of ants taking a detour.  I'm learning the personalities, which is interesting (they're treated like UFC stars), but outside of the surrender screen I have no idea what's going on.  There's two more days of this tournament, so I'll do what I can to learn the game.  In the meantime though, I have, for the boy's sake, stopped asking questions.