Monday, February 27, 2006

Wow, thank you vegas!

So I might have to get down to las vegas sometime.

Sounds like a lot of fun!

Friday, February 24, 2006



No pictures today. Sounds like we may have left our camera last weekend when we went out of town. That's not particularly a happy thing. I hope it's not at the indoor waterpark. :/

Things are shaping up to be nuts already this weekend. The small amount of time that I think will be free will msot likely be taken up cleaning the house/basement and watching kids at the same time. So you probably won't see me much this weekend. Then again, do you ever see me post on the weekends?

Maybe if I'm lucky I can get some time to work on the MAME machine this weekend. okay, who am I kidding. That's not going to happen. =)

In other, sadder news, star roms is closing it's doors. It was one of the few places that you could go to get legal arcade ROMs for emulation. :(

Until next week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

We love taxes!

So I finally got a call back from the company that handles our HR stuff at work. They have no idea on the HSA stuff. Apparently my own personal research was more extensive.

So I took the dive and filed my taxes the way I think is correct. We'll see how it all shakes out. Even still, we now have (well, within 2 weeks) funds to start on finishing the basement. As soon as II can pin down my wife on what rooms will go where and whatnot we can start getting some people talking to us about prices.

On a different note.

I got to play 3 games of pinball over the weekend! heh. Yes, I had to go to a bowling alley to do it, but I played 2 games of Harley Davidson pinball and one game of demolition man. Both machines had issues, but I haven't apparently lost my touch, I won a free game my first play.

I've got to find some local place that I can play some pinball now and then. =)

Oh, and pics of the xbox ripped to pieces are coming eventually, I still have to get a part from radio shack. The one I went to yesterday didn't have the part. (something similar to the pic below, I pulled that image directly from radioshack) They guy told me that they are phasing out that part of radio shack. So I guess they'll move into just selling cell phones and RC cars or something, I can't think of any other things they sell there. Ah well, there's got to be somewhere locally that sells electronics gadget parts.

Friday, February 17, 2006

xbox saga

So, here's the story on the xbox project I'm working on. You know, the one you don't care about but I mentioned I was going to post about. Yeah, that one.

I had this great idea a few months ago on how to manage my xbox software from within my arcade machine. Normally I have to open up the back and unplug the control panel and plug in a regular controller. But then an idea -- I could splice in a controller! Should be easy right? I just have to figure out how to hook up a controller to the same port as the control panel. And even better, I could use a wireless controller for that!

After mulling over the options, I decided to open up the xbox and splice a cable into the wires that the controller connects to. That way I have 2 controllers connected at once right? Sounds good, let me order up some cables.

After round 2 of ordering (I ordered the wrong cable the first time, doh) and a few weeks I was ready to begin.

Today I cracked my xbox open here at work on break. A couple of my buddies come to see what's going on and after talking about this for a few minutes they decide that it's not going to work. WHAT??? The xbox controllers are USB based. Apparently there's a reason you have to have a USB hub with more than 2 USB devices -- just splicing 2 USB controllers (or devices in general) into the same wire isn't guaranteed to work.

So I'm wondering what I'm doing now, with my xbox torn open and it's guts spilled all over my desk. I have a few ideas. What the current idea is is that if I put a switch in the +5v power line of the controllers it should switch one on and one off. Assuming I don't screw something up and overload my xbox, maybe I'll take some pictures and post what I end up doing next week.

By the way THIS is why my MAME machine never works. I just have to get some non-essential feature working in it, so the xbox stays out of the machine for weeks at a time... Oh well. The kids might be a little disappointed, but I'm having a blast!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Meh, I should post more.

It's been almost a week.

Lots of stuff I have to put down, not a lot of time to do it. Or brain power.

Did I mention I'm sick? Again? Bleh. Have been since Sunday. Hope the cough wears off today, my throat is getting raw.

A few quickish notes, with more in-depth maybe tomorrow on my latest xbox project.

First, yes, we are finishing the basement. How much we have hired out and how much we do ourselves is up in the air. I'd like to do some myself to save some cash, but ultimately I want to have the hard labor paid for. This is where it gets tricky -- what people think is hard labor and what isn't is quite debatable.

Personal preferences:

framing - hire, but could be talked into doing myself with help from friends. I'd have to do a banister style railing at the bottom of the stairs that scares me. Everything else would be pretty standard.
heating/insulation - self w/ help from friends.
plumbing (bathroom) - (dependent on cash available) part self / part hire, though we'll see what happens here. Mostly I'm concerned with the hole in the cement floor for the drain. I did my own sprinklers, somewhat familiar with the concepts of plumbing. And It's not intimidating to me at all.
wiring - self, though I may enlist my former electrician uncle (and pay him if I have to) to help. Only really worried about the connections to the fuse box.
Sheet rock - hire. I don't want to haul sheetrock around, and if I hire it out it could be done in a weekend rather than dragging it out for forever doing it myself. I can also do the mudding, but same situation, it's probably worth the few hundred to have someone do it professionally.
paint - self
carpet - hopefully whoever we buy the carpet from will install it for us as well. We'll see on that one.
linoleum/tile in bathroom - self? I think we will probably do cheap linoleum here due to cost, heck I'd even be OK with just cement. My wife probably wouldn't though. heh. Maybe we could get by with just cement until we re-tiled the kitchen and used the old linoleum for the downstairs. Assuming you can do such a thing. heh.

Either way this should be a big project. I'm looking forward to it and I'm not. It's going to take a lot of time. It'll definitely be worthwhile once it's finished though. I'll keep you guys updated every step of the way.

In other news, I hate HATE the new HSA health insurance crap. Not only does it feel like I'm paying more for less, but it's more hassle to manage. And it requires an extra form for my taxes. :P Still in the almost complete stage on that one.

Better quit now, this is getting long.

Lastly here is a fun site I was directed to by a friend. Careful, it can suck away some time if you're into classic games. =)

Friday, February 10, 2006

To pin or not to pin

Apologies for the lack of updates lately. Between sick kids and other responsibilities all I've been doing is playing world of warcraft. I have a number of things I want to say, I just am not making the time to say them.

It's tax time again. Ever since I had to pay $600 or so in taxes I've been making sure I get a reasonable tax return. This year blew me out of the water. Let's just say that I never expected to get a tax return that was over $5k. Assuming I didn't screw it up horribly, I have gotten one.

So in practical terms, what does this mean? Do I actually have the money to get a pinball machine?

Well, yes and no.

After discussing options with my wife we've decided to finish the basement. It was close between a pinball machine and finishing the basement. And, though I may never live this one down, I opted for the basement first.

I just can't justify a pinball machine when we have no place to put my MAME machine and the newly acquired magic sword.

If I'm lucky we'll have enough money to get a room I can use for a game room/computer room. We'll see.

Now I have to finalize my taxes and figure out what the heck I am doing on finishing a few rooms downstairs. Wish me luck.

As for my good friend (and his little brother in the background there) I'll have to wait a while longer.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


I'm tired.

See TheMama's blog in my links for some of what's been happening lately. Nothing huge, but lots of little things. Life. =)

I got 6, 4 and 4 hours of sleep the past 3 nights. I've been going nonstop. And getting seemingly less done because I'm over-exerting myself.

I have a few irons in the fire on what I'd like to post here next. At the moment I'm thinking about game development. Again.

It's something that I keep coming back to, for a number of reasons. How it effects the player. What a good game is. Why a good game satisfies while another makes you irritable. Etc...

I'm not going to get into it tonight, but I will start down the road here soon of what I think about games.

First I've got to go to sleep though.

Thanks for dropping by.