Building the (Im)Perfect Beast, Part III: Fuck it!
Final steps: Put the fucking controls in the fucking holes that are 1 and 1/4 inches in diameter, put the Ultimarc Mini-PAC and wires in and connect them to all the shit, connect a ground cable to all the shit, install WinIPAC on the PC and program it to work with all the shit, download 26 gigs of illegal games that work with MAME, BOOM. Celebrate with mass quantities of beer. Drink liquids to cure hangover.

Who says I don't finish what I start? Besides everyone?

Now to kick my own ass and make the website. Eh, maybe next year.

Green Shit

The 1 and 2 player buttons are on the front of the control panel, see? I'm tricky like that.
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Building The (Im)Perfect Beast, Part 2: Literal Electric Boogaloo
I've kinda moved over mostly to Tumblr as the Ruskie spammers' blitzkrieg on my comments section is kind of phhhhhlllllt, and I mostly communicate photographically these days. But lets finish what I started so I can move this to its own domain at some point. I'll keep this somewhat short and lacking in details that I'll add once it's ported to an actual website so that I can get this damn thing done.

Remember when HR tags were cool? I try to forget.

The next step was to cut the siding using a table saw and nail it to the frame using a brad gun. Corner protectors were bradded (is that a real word? Who cares? Not me) onto the corners.


The original plan for the glass top was to cut some glass with some kind of a glass cutting contraption that one of our friends in the windmill business has. However, Shane was about to donate an old end table with a glass top to St. Vinnies and asked if I wanted to use the glass top for the MAME cabinet instead of cutting glass. I thought about it for a while and figured why not, we were already deviating massively from the blueprints, lets see how cheap we can go. It worked perfectly.

Cutting and fitting the control panels was probably the biggest challenge we faced. I'll spare the details for now and maybe insert them later, but we ended up getting creative and eventually found a way to make them somewhat stable using particle board and wood screws. Eventually it was decided that the easiest way to make the control panel removable for adding or fixing controls was to not really make it removable. Shane says it shouldn't be too much of an issue to unscrew a few of the wood screws if I needed to change or fix the controls and then screw them back in, so that is what the plan will be. (To this day, a year later, I still haven't unscrewed either control panel, though I plan to do it soon as you'll see later.)



The button, joystick, and spinner holes are all 1 and 1/4 inch in diameter so that I'd only need to buy one drill bit, and that's pretty much the standard sizes for the spinner and joystick holes anyway. As for the design of the control panel, I just planned it in my head and then traced it onto cardboard and then used the piece of cardboard as a template to drill the holes. I forgot to plan out the holes for the 1 and 2 player buttons, which turned out to be another blessing in disguise. Shane suggested I put them on the front or sides of the control panel. Brilliant. I decided to put them on the front in case I decided at some point in the future to add pinball flipper buttons to the side.

At first I planned on leaving the sides unpainted and wood colored like most of the cocktail cabinets from the 80's, but I did some testing and decided that it would look 342% more awesomer if I spray painted them black with glossy spray paint. So I painted everything black and put several layers of liquid polyurethane on the control areas to give them some protection from getting damaged by angry fists and fingernails. We spray pained the sides of the the glass black on the underside so that actual cocktails won't damage the paint.


Added some pads to keep the glass from touching the wood (and to give a little space for top ventilation without the need for more hole drilling), added some small wooden feet and pads to the bottom, and we were finished with cabinet construction. All that was left was to add the electronics, which will be part 3 when I get done with that next week or next year or next never.

Building The (Im)Perfect Beast: Part 1
This past summer I, with buttloads of help from my brother-in-law, built a MAME cocktail arcade cabinet. The goal was to see if I could build relatively decent machine for as little money as possible. The final damage, not counting parts I already owned: about $280. That includes the cost of beer that I used to bribe my bro-in-law as he preferred to be paid in alcoholic currency, but that and other unconventional costs will be elucidated eventually.

the big black beast

This is a documentary of the building process. I am extremely indebted to many other nerds who have aging Web 1.0 websites that chronicled the building of their own cabinets, as they provided invaluable information that helped me to not make major fuckups while building this, and I want to return the favor and pay it forward to anyone else out there who is fumbling through the construction of their own MAME machine. Eventually I plan to put all this info into an actual website under a domain name that I own, but for now I'm cramming everything into LJ while I sort everything out and decide if I want to learn Perl or PHP or just say fuck it and use ancient HTML for the site.


Ever since I heard about MAME in 1998 and started illegally downloading arcade game ROMs, I've wanted my own impostor arcade machine so I could play ALL the games, and how they were intended to be played. Keyboard buttons and mouse controls just don't cut it for me, that's now how Pac-Man and Tempest were designed to be played (Eugene Jarvis, the guy who created classic games such as Defender and Robotron 2084, walked up to me at one of the recent Midwest Gaming Classics in Milwaukee while I was losing my last life on a Tempest machine, and I lamented to him about how Xboxes and other modern consoles no longer have spinners; he grinned and said "Yeah, they FUCKED IT UP!").

Step one for me turned out to be finding an extremely generous relative who knows how to build things with wood. My dream remained a daydream until I found a beaten up Pole Position cabinet by the dumpsters near my apartment, and I asked my sister and brother-in-law Shane to help me get it up my stairs. It was stripped of all the controls, the stickers were falling off, and it probably had rain damage among other abuses. It didn't quite make it up the stairs as it's ungodly heavy so it remained in my garage, but Shane suggested we rebuild the outside of it from scratch using his power tools. I didn't want to take apart a classic machine that either me or someone else could potentially repair and get working as it was, but kept that idea on the back burner. Later at Christmastime my parents gave him a table saw for a present, and one of the first things he said was "cool, we can build Sean's arcade game". So I knew he was serious about helping, and once the weather warmed up enough to make it not so painful to build things in Shane's outdoor shed (and also after some lengthy procrastination) I figured I could bribe him with beer to help me, since he drinks lots of it and I know jack shit about wood and nails. He agreed. Turns out he had 3 saws in his shed and was an experienced wood builder despite not working in that field. I had known him for years but never knew that he spent all of his summers in college building decks and had built the decks, bars, and patios in his current and previous homes. Help was right under my nose for eons and I never knew it, as it usually is.

I decided on a cocktail style cabinet due to space and convenience considerations. Not only could I use it as a general table in my smallish apartment when it wasn't in use, but if everything went horribly wrong and I never got it working at least I'd get a neat looking table out of the deal (you can see the extreme lack of confidence that I had venturing into this). I found blueprints for a Pac-Man cocktail cabinet here, and figured I'd use it as a general guide and not try to make an exact replica. Many extreme liberties would be taken.

We went to Menards to shop for wood, and Shane suggested that we build a frame out of two by fours and put wood siding on it, like what he did for the wood bar he built at his previous home, instead of using particle board for everything. I was skeptical at first as I worried about stability, but decided to try it since it had the advantage of less weight, and getting the size of particle board we needed would have meant buying a big sheet of it that wouldn't fit in any of our vehicles, as my sister was out of town with their SUV that day. It turned out to be a good decision.


So the cabinet, to be eventually named Dahlia, had humble beginnings as a bunch of two by fours nailed together by a couple of guys sucking down beers (Shane preferred Miller 64 as he was trying to lose weight; I'm always trying different things but at the time I was consuming various brews from Lake Louie and big 22 oz bottles of Chocolate Bunny beer from Rhinelander Brewing Co.). We used Shane's chop saw to cut everything to the dimensions in the blueprints and connected them with 2 and a half inch wood screws. Apparently the proper way to screw in a wood screw is to first drill a nail hole that is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole that the screw needs so that it goes in easily and doesn't crack the wood.

Part 2 will be shat out next week, or next year, whenever I feel like doing it.
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More crap from the 2012 Midwest Gaming Classic

I'm feeling conflicted and slightly hypocritical about this. When I see a classic game cabinet like Pac-Mac, I want it to be restored to its original form. I want it to just be playing Pac-Man. Not Donkey Kong or whatever else. I see abominations like this all the time and I want to cry. It is a Pac-Man cabinet, it should only be playing fucking Pac-Man. But then again, I have an old sit-down Pole Position cabinet in my garage that I want to convert to something else, perhaps Omega Race, as I was never much of a fan of PP. The cabinet is kinda stripped and beat to shit anyway.

Took this picture for reference, in case I want to restore that stripped sit-down Pole Position cabinet into a sit-down Pole Position cabinet.

It's fucking TRON. 'Nuff said. I didn't check to see if there was a hidden room behind it. Thanks to the Star Worlds Arcade humans for bringing their arcade experience to a room at the MGC.

I loved this game as a kid, but could rarely find it anywhere, and quarters are scarce for little kids to scrounge up. I played it here for the first time in 20+ years and got 80,500 points, my highest score ever. Not sure I ever got more than 20k as a kid. That's what 20+ years of practicing Food Fight strategy in my head did for me.

Visions from the 2012 Midwest Gaming Classic
Pics from this year's Midwest Gaming Classic, I.E. my kid-in-a-candy-store weekend:

Atari co-founder Ted Dabney joined us via Skype. The connection was shitty and a lot of what he said didn't come through. He said he's not buddies with Nolan Bushnell (the other co-founder) anymore because Nolan forgot that Ted had a daughter that he even used to babysit for.

Walter Day, the referee from the King Of Kong flick and keeper of the video game high score hall of records or something like that, stopped by to promote the Twin Galaxies video game superstar trading cards that he's now hawking. There was an autograph session later on, some of the people on the cards signed and gave away cards, but they didn't have any to buy. I bought some of Billy Mitchell's hot sauce from him when he was here 5 years ago. (No I don't have a hobby of going around buying hot sauce from celebrities, but this sauce had a special label on it for the MGC).

Yup, all you have to do to get your own video game trading card is stay awake for 2 days straight playing a video game, like what Tim McVeigh (no relation to the Oklahoma City bomber, or so he says) did to score a billion points playing Nibbler. Kitty McScratch thought my Infinity Invaderz LED watch was the best thing ever. The 2 guys who run the MGC got their own cards too, and they explained how they were going to throw in the towel after the 2004 event lost a shitload of money, but a shitload of people told them they had to keep going and would even volunteer to make it happen. Thus, in their words, they shared the card with a hundred others who gave of their time to make this event an annual reality. That was cool of them to share the credit.

This isn't a real pinball machine, it's a giant horizontal monitor that emulates the classic Star Wars pinball machine from the 90's. There's a vertical monitor that tells you that you're playing Star Wars pinball, so I'm assuming this is a multiple pinball game emulator, but I'm not sure.

A Moon Cresta cocktail machine. "Hey you little shit, this isn't a table for you to eat your lunch and play your 3DS, the table IS a game, move your stupid ass so I can play it."

Sadness. A broken arcade game. Don't worry little Wizard Of Wor game, the nice video game doctors are gonna make you all better. I hope.

My ass is beat so I'll post the rest of the pics I have some other day when I'm more awake. Only took me 6 weeks to get around to posting this, so it might be another month or 2.

The Borg war, the Vietnam war
One finds the most interesting things when searching the Internets for Star Trek slash fiction.

But hey, who wouldn't want to honk Troi's bewbs?

I'm working on stirring up enough trouble to have interesting things to post here. Sort of. But then again posting publicly about kind of trouble I'm brewing wouldn't be a good idea. So until I have more somewhat interesting stories from the present to.... present, I'm turning this journal into more of a place to tell somewhat interesting stories from my past. Starting with this one:

It was a Friday, I was about 19ish. College was done for the week, I had stopped at the nearby comic book shop to grab some comic book goodness and was headed to my car with my loot in hand, shielding it under my shirt from the slight rain that had started to fall. Next stop was my hometown to pick up some high school buddies to take to Milwaukee. Nuclear Assault was playing the Rave, and they had to be seen. Or so I thought it was my next stop.

I'm walking to my car and some bum-looking guy says something to me. I asked him what he had said, I hadn't comprehended it. He got a bit defensive and asked if I was trying to start some shit with him. I said nope, misunderstanding. He asked me where I was going. South, I said. He asked me if he could hitch a ride to Fond du Lac. Intuition, which wasn't always so keen in those days, told me he wasn't a threat. Slightly drunk perhaps, but not a threat. I said sure, I was driving that way anyway.

He had a mustache, a baseball cap, was a bit of overweight and sort of long hair but sort of not really, that kind of look that he just hadn't felt like cutting his hair for a few months. In the car he sat still but kept jabbering about whatever, and this was what I learned about him: He was a Vietnam vet. He had a few drinks in him. He was an obvious alcoholic. He was done barhopping in this city for now and wanted to go to a bar in Fondy.

He asked where I was eventually going. He then asked why, because to him college was about being broke all the time and not having money for shit like shows. I forget what I said. Not much, as I wasn't interested in conversing. But I remember most of our discussion about Vietnam.

He talked a bit about what the war was like. He said that despite what the movies might portray, the black people he was with tried to stay hidden, stay out of trouble, and stay out of firefights whenever they could. But one of the white guys in his platoon was definitely the stereotypical batshit psycho bad guy. This guy would shoot at innocent villagers, rape innocent villagers, and be as much of a piece of shit as he could. Make the occupation's reputation go from bad to worse. He didn't make it home from the war though, a bullet got him in the neck one day and that was that.

I said "hmm, it sounds like he got what he deserved".

The drunk guy suddenly had this look on his face like he had just had a life changing epiphany. He turned to me and said "you know what? You're exactly right."

Right about then we arrived in Fond du Lac. He asked me to pull over by a nudie bar (a very inconspicuous nudie bar, I didn't know it was a nudie bar at the time, but I would end up there a few times later and it was the kind of place you wouldn't know was a nudie bar from the outside, or even after you had walked in and had a drink. You had to be looking the right way). He gave me a 20 dollar bill, thanked me, and got out.

Cool, I thought. I was still alive and now had some more spending money for tonight. But I had this weird feeling that I had given that boozehound an understanding of karma for the first time. Maybe he'd stop killing his liver? Shit, no. But I was enough of a moron at the time to think that I could make some kind of a difference like that in people's lives.

The show that night was fun. I remember talking to the band's drummer for a short while after the show, he was camcording the chaos. He got a bit edged at me at first and told me the Nuclear Assault shirt I was wearing was a bootlegged shirt (I didn't know it at the time), but he let it slide and then filmed me pointing to my shirt and shouting "bootleg!"

I keep fucking procrastinating to fucking write about my fucking adventures
In June I joined the local chapter of the Fucking Bike Club. I guess it started in St Louis and has spread to other cities. The mission: every full moon we meet at "the corner", and bike to wherever, usually with a backpack full of beer. (Some people have built convenient beer holders into their bikes. Note to self: get on that shit.)

I bike to the corner at 8:30 PM. About a hundred other bikeaholic souls are there as well (I'm not good at counting, there were probably more). We're getting ready to bike at 9, for some of us this means shooting the shit with the other FBCers, for most of us it's polishing off a can or 2 of Pabst or whatever their brew of choice is.

At 9, our fearless leader stands on top of some kind of air conditioning thing or something and shouts "Welcome to the Fucking Bike Club, you are all now permanent members!" Cheers all around. Then he explained this month's theme, which was Rubik's Cube. Each of us who felt like doing it (no rules, no politics, just come as you are and bike this bitch) wore several different colors of clothing, and at the end of the ride the goal was to be wearing all the same color. I didn't play but I helped out a few others, and at the end of the night I found myself wearing a white wife beater that was a two sizes too small.

Then we started fucking biking. No destination, just follow whoever feels like being the fucking leader. People in cars asked us if we were the Full Moon Bike Club (the clean and press-friendly name we're sometimes called). 10 minutes later I found myself at some part on the east side that had Frisbee golf structures, or holes, whatever they're called, it's been too long since I've played. Met some decent fellow bikers and chatted.

Then we biked to the bike bridge that goes over highway 30 and hung out at the top of the bridge. At times big bunch of people jumped up and down to try and make the bridge swing, which freaks out an acrophobic like me who's terrified of roller coasters.

Then we bike to the back of an abandoned building. A bunch of people climb onto a hill and moon everyone, chanting "this is what my butt cheeks look like", in tune to that familiar chant heard at the big anti-Walker rallies at the Capital this winter.

Then the few of us who had survived the typical attrition found ourselves at the Crystal Corner a half hour before bartime. I felt proud yet dorky to be sporting my too tight wifebeater. Mission accomplished.

The rest of the details I'll not spill here, as I gotta keep some secrets, and I'm not sure if the first rule of the Fucking Bike Club is to not talk about the fucking bike club, or maybe just the details, but then again we don't really have any rules, we just bike this bitch to death for the sheer purpose of biking this bitch to death, and that's the only rule you need.

(I couldn't make the July and August rides. Had to work July, and it conflicted with a bitchin' party in August, even more bitchin' than the FBC.)

adventures in meatheadedry
Whilst bicycle riding nex to Lake Monona last week in the evening with my pal Angel, some dude in a SUV driving down West Washington Ave bellowed the word "FAGGOTS!" at us. Really loud-like. It sounded like he had a real passionate disliking for homosexuals. Angel, being a lesbian, shouted "YOU KNOW IT!" back at him, but being straight I couldn't truthfully say that myself. But what was confusing was that in the immediate area there were just the 2 of us and one other person riding his bike the other way, and there was no way to tell who was gay. Perhaps he was a bit clairvoyant about Angel, but he used the plural form of the word. It was kind of dark out, there were no rainbows on us, and there wasn't a dick in my mouth. So what made him shout gender-preferential slurs at us? Perhaps he just hates on bicycles. Perhaps the Gaydar in his big manly SUV was malfunctioning.

I spent much of the winter (which still seems to be clinging on for dear life) on a bit of a health kick. I first tried to lose some weight via the 4 Hour Body method that is googleable, but only lost about 5 pounds over 2 months, perhaps because I gained some muscle weight with all the protein I consumed. Then I illegally downloaded the P90X videos and PDFs, as some girls I know do that workout with a lot of success with the lean version that is more geared towards calorie burning. So I started the 90 day program with the intent to at least not gain any of the annual winter blubber, but I soon decided to also do mostly the body building part of it just to see what would happen.

Day 90 was this past Sunday (which I spent drunk at the Brewer game in Milwaukee and at an Irish bar a few blocks away afterward). I would say that my results are mixed, mostly because I did the program half-assed. Most of the workouts are about an hour long, and the Yoga X video is an hour and a half. Plus there's an extra 15 minute Ab workout that takes place after 3 of the 6 weekly workouts. That's just too damn much time. And the workouts are so intense that I couldn't finish some of them ever (I never got more than 5 minutes into the Ab video). Screw that poopie! I feel better than I ever have, but I don't look much buffer, and I haven't lost much poundage (not that I had much to lose in the first place, but I still don't have a six pack tummy, still a little bit of a beer gut down that way yonder). And there is a "recovery drink" they want you to buy, but my recovery drink after the workouts was sometimes a beer or sake. I didn't even do a protein shake afterwards (which I sometimes do now, as it's helping to make by body a little stronger and my appetite a bit lesser).

What I did end up doing over the winter was slowly learn how to take better care of this aging body I'm currently trapped in, and slowly get some better habits than what I had before. A year ago my breakfast was usually one or two bowls of Lucky Charms or Booberry cereal and a glass of kool-aid. Now it's sometimes fried egg whites, sometimes protein powder in either water or oatmeal, often times green or black tea, sometimes some kombucha, and sometimes a bowl of Cinnamon Life cereal if I'm in a hurry or just want to fill myself more. I still do the P90X crap, albeit a lighter 30 minute version that they recommend for program graduates, although I graduated with an equivalent GPA of perhaps a C minus (just like the first college I went to).

I'm by no means a meatheady jock now or any shit like that. I still eat crap here and there, and nobody is gonna look at me and say "wow what the fuck did you do". But I feel a hell of a lot better, for what that's worth.

Perhaps next time I'll have something more witty or soul-searching to barf up here, but right now my damaged soul is trapped within Final Fantasy XIII.

party for your right to fight
One thing we know how to do here in Wisconsin is drink and party. Mostly because there's a lot of people here but not much else to do, especially in the long ass winters. So it figures that the shit that's been going down in Egypt / Tunisia / Libya would hit the fan here soon, as any reason to party in the streets is a good one here.

Being that we're nerds and geeks and freaks here, there's been lots of awesome protest signs / costumes about Scumbag Steve, DeLoreans, AT-ATs, and Legend of Zelda to name a few. I finally traveled the 9 blocks to party with my cheesehead brothers and sisters this past Saturday and snapped a few pix of my favorites from the Kerfuffle At The Capitol that's going down in my hood:

A bit blurry (and kinky) but it says "Scott, why can't we be friends with benefits?"

I think I wandered into the wrong protest.

See that shit? 100,000 humans partying outside, Lambeau Field style, when it's 23 degrees F and snowing? We be hardcore.

I could get on a soapbox and rant for hours about the shit that's going down, but opinions are like assholes. Just look up the word "plutocracy" and you'll see what we've been living in this past decade, or perhaps "plutarchy" is a better term (plutocracy + oligarchy). Tax the fuck out of the rich again, which bait-and-switch Obama keeps forgetting to do, budget problems solved. It's us vs. them, in a nutshell. People are slowly waking up to this, more so now that it's finally hit the middle class who were too busy stuffing themselves at TGIFridays to give a shit until now. I remember a few years ago when there was a banking crisis in Brazil, the big news was that the middle class were rioting along with everyone else. I wondered if that would ever happen here, kind of doubted it but something finally is hitting them directly, instead of the stealthy indirect way that's been going on for years.....

Oh shit there I went ranting when I said I wouldn't. In short, I don't think this thing here in WI will end well in the short term, but maybe most people will start voting (an ounce of prevention that beats 100,000 people protesting the disease) for their best interests? Eh, maybe not, there's too many stupid douchehats.

I read you nearly every day LJ but lately I'm too lazy to rant about douchecopters
My spill-proof coffee mug at work (these days it's just a black/green tea mug and occasionally a diet soda mug as I've mostly given up coffee) has been in service to me for more than 10 years at different jobs. For most of these years it has had a big Britney Spears sticker stuck to the side of it, the result of a lunch date at Taco Bell with a coworker in which the girl I was with plopped a couple of quarters in one of those sticker machines and commanded me to sport it on the mug. That was years before hipsters ruined the irony thing for everyone.

2 days ago at work I was washing out the mug in the sink in the break area. A girl from sales was washing out her mug next to me. She was rocking the sorostitute look: bleach blonde hair, fake tan in winter, general appearance suggesting she'd be terrified at the thought of marching to a different drummmer.

Out of nowhere she says to me "OMG I love Britney too!! Do you like Justin Beiber?"

"Uh... Nope" I said.

"Aw too bad" she says, "I thought we were feelin' each other for a second."

I have no idea if she sensed the irony on my mug and was being sarcastic, or if she was serious. I suspect the latter.

After being horrified at how I looked in a recent family photo, I've been on the Criminal Fitness Plan in which I've been downloading bootleg copies of things like the 4 Hour Body book and the P90X DVDs from file sharing sites because I'm broke as a joke. I'm not sure how to feel about the suggested diets in the 4 Hour book. Eating lots of egg whites and beans sounds like a good idea for someone who never leaves home as they can drop ass all they want, but I have to interact with bosses here and there and can't be constantly crapping my pants.


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