kb blogging at elowel.org
A Rich Kid's Weekend 10-04-04 21:00
[or how to spend $500 you don't have in one weekend]
[or how I broke two xboxes in a thousand words]

The story starts on a lone Friday morning when I wake up with a hint of a gameplan for the day. It was so simple. Go to the mall with my friend Mark, get some well needed clothes, head back and play some more Project Gotham Racing 2, wait for friday night to roll around and get trashed.

So even before I can get in the shower, Sal calls me up and runs the idea by me. It sounded too crazy to be true. But it wasn't crazy, though after all was said and done, it was crazy.


But the story really starts way back, back to a hot summer day when I took a trip out to the great state of New Jersey. I love the arcade. Sal hates the arcade. Somehow we ended up there and played a little known game called Outrun2. From that moment we were hooked and sadly spent most of the beautiful weekend plucking quarter after quarter into the most holy of holy machines. After that weekend I went back to Connecticut and Sal went back to work so neither of us got to enjoy the game.

In a twisted dealing of fate, we learn that the game will not come out until late October. As September rolls by, we are alerted of the odd early European release of the game. That is when the idea hits us. A modchip. Yes, a $40 modchip is all we need to play our favorite game a whole month early.

And there we were, a seemingly innocuous Friday morning, contemplating taking a car ride straight into Chinatown picking up a modchip and installing it as soon as we get back. For what it was worth the plan was crazy. It was going to be expensive, could we even make it to the city, do I trust my car on the mean streets of Manhattan, can I even solder, can I even solder a modchip into a sensetive Xbox, will I fuck the Xbox up? Well to almost all those questions there is a resounding yes. At the time, many were still filed under "no".


The Williams street bridge is a small two lane, you-dont-want-to-pass-the-car-or-risk-death kinda bridge. Hardly something you would expect to get into Manhattan with, compared to the likes of the Holland tunnel, GWB, etc. Heck, this bridge is free and flings you right into the center of downtown.

We get the chip (a low tier one) and ring it up (albeit overpriced, but this is Manhattan). Jump in the car, and sadly prepare for the longest leg of the journey. The ride back was about 2 hours. Over an hour of that was just moving 5 or 6 blocks across Manhattan, the rest was 50 miles across Long Island, you do the math.

Opening an Xbox for the first time is not as easy as it seems. But over the course of maybe a dozen times, you become pretty efficent and taking it apart. Radioshack happily provided us with the 30watt soldering iron and screwdrivers we needed to get this thing off the ground.

Maybe if I actually had an Xbox this story would end differently, but I don't. I so deeply desire to have its glowing green front LED in my room, but it is merely a dream right now. That's right, me and Sal were essentially going to pull an "Ambush XBox Modchip Installation" (check you local listings) on our friend Ryan's XBox.

The first problem was trying to use a marker sized solder tip on wires thinner than a normal paper clip. No bueno. The second problem was trying to get a damned wire to stick to the modchip. The third problem was solering one point wrong on the motherboard. The fifth problem was trying to boot the XBox with a random cable unplugged. These were fixed quickly with some trial and error, but the real problem was soon to come.

After further post-operation research continued (I told you it was too good to work) a very helpful site remined me "I cannot stress this enough, if you think it can be done with a 30-40 watt iron you are making a $200.00 mistake" [via Llamma's]. Ooooo, what was the wattage on our iron? Yep, a hefty 30watts. Surer than shit, we fried the motherboard. But was the modchip fried? Could it still work?


Mark is an awesome kid. A freshman who we managed to bring into out tight group on a drunken spur of the moment. He is a trusting kid, maybe a little too trusting, or maybe we were too convincing. Either way we had in our hands a second XBox waiting to be cracked open and to have its motherboard devirginized. Sal and I, who were is deep in an XBox surgeon mindset popped that chip in. Might I add that by this time we are midday Saturday, and replaced the 30watt iron with a respectable 15watt soldering iron.

This time the XBox actually started. But there was no trace of the modchip working. It was clearly broken. But the games played, the DVD's were watched, our minds were put as ease. Even that fun was squashed when last night it stopped dead. Looks like the fried modchip was a ticking timebomb that probably surged something here or there.

So that's right folks, count em 2 dead XBoxes. But our dreams are still not over. We bought Ryan a new XBox today, and Mark is willing to wait a little bit. We will have our modchip, and we will have our Outrun2.

How do I rack up a tab this big in one weekend?
$135 1 Used XBox
$135 1 Also Used XBox
$55 Modchip
$7 30watt Soldering Iron
$6 15watt Soldering Iron
$12 Tool Set
$55 Broken Phone
$25 Lost ID Card
$5 Laundry
$20 Gas

Total: $455
That's what I call one crazy ass weekend.
10. It's just so simple.
9. Safer then doing 80 in a 25mph zone.
8. Oscar Caliber Performances
7. Because Livejournal are communists.
5. Can you say W3C compliant?
4. No more [user has deleted post] cop outs.
3. Everyone knows everyone.
2. Cody and Alex are sex machines.
1. Did I mention it is just so damn simple.

Edit: And the real reason why elowel rocks, the users.
[you're damn right Cody]

Expect long winded semi/pseudo philisophical post coming soon.
So Saturday I scrambled like a dog trying to get everything ready for school. Went out for a lovely dinner and by the time I went to bed I was exhausted.

Sunday, woke up early and got on the boat cause it's move in day at school. I managed to finagle move in two days early, as official move in is today (Tuesday).

The past two days have been your standard drunken college haze.

As for the PVR, well that thing has been sitting in a FedEX hub station since 7am Friday. So instead of the "By 430" I get the shaft.

Finally wow, elowel breaks a 100 users and then some. Dayum.
Firecracker Campbell's 09-02-04 20:40
[or Fire in your mouth in 3 minutes]

After a summer that has gone on for waaaaaaay too long, you start to get creative in making random lunches. Anything can become a meal.

Case in point, Campbell’s Chunky Soup or more specifically, Sirloin Burger with Country Vegetables. On a spur of the moment I was abruptly callled over by the bottle of hot sauce omniously sitting on the kitchen table. And wouldn't you know it, that very hot sauce ended up being liberally applied to the now hot bowl of soup in front of me. And like the scene in Pulp Fiction, I had what "alcholholics would call a moment of clarity."

A new meal was born, and damn is it good.

1. Obtain Campbell's Chunky Sirloin Burger with Country Vegetables
2. Microwave 3 Minutes on High.
3. Apply liberal amounts of Cholula hot sauce [no substitutes].
4. Stir =)
5. Enjoy you soup "experience."

I have seriously been living off this for almost a week. Mmmm mmmm good.
A Better Default Template 09-02-04 11:31
The default design is so simple, I love it. However by default the code is a little messy, and the structure could be cleaned up.

Currently the default structure is:
|- center
|- table
|- table
|- table
With some CSS tricks, as well as general clean up, you have:
|- div [body]
|- div [posts]
The template you are seeing now looks the same, but much nicer under the hood. Works in both Moz and IE, and is almost W3C [didn't check errors yet] compliant.

View the page source for the change as I'm not sure how this thing would do if I copied massive html/css code into it.
My Current Desktop 09-02-04 10:10
I feel like sharing.
PVR - The Anticipation 09-02-04 08:29
So in preparations for this years movein I have decided to forego my tv. In lieu of bringing that 13in shit box I figured I could get a tv card and watch tv on my superior 20in flat tube. But not just a tv, I got myself a pvr card.

It was a spur of the moment kinda thing, so I didn't get to splurg as I would of liked to. I opted for the cheaper AverMedia m150 instead of the htpc/pvr standard, WinTV PVR-250. I sacfrice a remote, and a slightly better featureset, but picture quality has been said to be as good if not in some cases better.

On the software side of things, looks like I'll be sticking with GB-PVR since it seems to be the only decent free, windows pvr software out there. Oddly enough the pvr realm seems to be weighted toward linux. However I'm really not in the mood to fiddle with linux at this time or go down that path. If GB-PVR doesn't go well, I really like what they have to offer at SageTV, I'll pick it up in a few weeks if it looks like I need it.

If this card works as good as I hope, I'll be able to save myself some time from torrenting all my shows. Also probably will look into a hard drive just for the pvr, 200gb sounds good.
Lets see where this goes.

Edit: It was 330 in the morning and I was tired, and thusly was rather peeved by some functions of this place. A little sleep changes a man.
Hello, 11-11-04 20:14
My name is kb. I'm new to elowel.
page: 4321