Thursday, February 19, 2009

Voyage of one Man's Broken XBox 360

February 13, 2006 - Somewhere in China there was a birth that would cause me much joy...I rephrase that, a birth that would help steal hours from my life, a birth that would help me in times of boredom. This was the date that my XBox 360 was manufactured.

Later that month, or maybe it was March (details), I walked into a Best Buy store in Janesville, WI and find the treasure that I have been seeking for months, the coveted XBox 360. They were impossible to get a hold of since their release the previous fall. But the Gen 2 models were finally released in mass quantities. I had two choices at that time, the Core model, or the Pro model. I of course opt for the pro edition...wireless controllers, hard drive, basically every feature that you would eventually have to get for the Core anyways.

The 360 Pro Edition

I walked into my gigantically enormous living room of a bedroom, opened it up, sat on my sofa and played away. I think my first game was Ghost Recon - Advanced Warrior.

My XBox was there for me when I finally moved out of Whitewater and moved into Cottage Grove, it came with me when I became homeless for a few months and stayed with Guss at his Grandma's place by Pretty Lake, and it of course has been hanging true with me in Waukesha, it has been by my side (or rather by my TV's side) for almost 3 full years, until recently, when it took a turn for the worse.

There were initially rumors, ones I knew of when I first purchased the unit, that XBox's were failing do to overheating, they said though, the problems were resolved with the Gen 2 units, so no worries I figure. Rumors persisted that Microsoft had knowingly released the gaming console with a defect. They finall did fess up to it and created a 3 year warranty for any console that experienced this unique problem.

What was happening, from what I read somewhere and I don't feel like citing, is that components were to big to fit into the footprint, and the heat sink over the GPU (Graphic Processor Unit, I think) was shrunk in size. This decrease in size can allow too much heat to get to the GPU and along with natural vibrations, the GPU's glue gives way. This might not be what really happens, but was the jist of what I read. Anyhoo, when this happens, you get what is commonly referred to as the "Red Ring of Death". The XBox power button has 4 lights surrounding it, lit normally to show what controllers are on. But when 1,2,3, or 4 of them are red instead, this means there is a problem. Three of the lights are fairly simple fixes, but when you see 3 red rings (oddly 3 worse than 4).
Satan's Doing...I mean Bill Gates

I figured I received a good console, even though some like 5-30% are expected to fail. My friend Guss got the dreaded rings a couple years ago, and late last year Mark also experienced this. I was one of the first of my friend's to get a unit, and mine was still ticking I thought.

February 14, 2009 - Three years and 1 day since its birth. I was playing some Call of Duty - World at War online, waiting for my buddy Peter to show up. We were going to just stay in and drink in an attempt to save money, and if you notice the day, my intent was also to boycott the holiday as my initial plans fell through and I didn't feel much like going out. I was going to give my attention to the thing that was always there for me the last 3 years (Yes, I am purposely trying to make myself sound super-lame and pathetic, haha). We were going to kill some Covenant and Flood, maybe destroy some Halo's while we were at it. The game loads, it tells me there is an update available, for I haven't played the game for quite some time. I mean to hit the button to accept the update, but missed and continued. I wanted to update, so I shut the system down, with the thought to reboot and install the update.

I turn the unit back on, and I see red...."no, no no" Try again, and again, same result. I let it sit for a while, take the hard drive out and it turns back on, ok, good sign. Put the hard drive back in, RED. Take the hard drive back out, turns on, we play a mission. I try the hard drive again, red, red, red, ever since, red. It was official.

I slept on it, but of course it was broken. So, I called Microsoft to see if I was within the 3-year warranty, as I knew I as close and wasn't sure when exactly I purchased it. The dude, who talked way too fucking fast and sounded Aussie, told me it was all good, (I think he said something along those lines). Monday I printed off the shipping label that Microsoft sent to me and after work removed my XBox from its home and took it to the UPS store for its journey.

You can still see the dust prints :(

The Journey
Monday, February 16 5:25 PM - Elm Grove, WI (C'mon, just say Brookfield)
I officially leave the XBox in the care of some punk ass looking kid at the UPS store. I make him scan me the tracking #, so I know he takes care of this and doesn't steal it.

10:48 PM - Elm Grove, WI
It hops aboard a truck, bound for somewhere great, I hope it takes pictures for me to look at

Not Elm Grove/Brookfield
11:14 PM - Oak Creek, WI
Umm, well, tomorrow it will go somewhere great, it must have wanted to say hi to Mike & Andrea before it took off.

Tuesday, February 17 6:55 AM - Oak Creek, WI
Godspeed, my the brave UPS men and women handle you with care little buddy.

So, the first pic for OC was the A&W off Ryan Rd.

There is silence, I begin to worry, did weather cause an accident spilling packages all over the road? Then did a deer in, let's say, Arkansas, stomp on it. Birds then began to grab the shreds of plastic and use it for their nests? The suspense was killing me, not really, but if you haven't noticed, I am overdramatizing just a little bit.

Wednesday, February 18 4:47 PM
Whew, it has arrived in Mesquite, TX...bring me back some barbecue please.

10:01 PM
I guess it was loaded on a truck, not sure why the scan.

Shit you not, the Mesquite Hooters - They'll take care of my buddy

Thursday, February 19 9:20 AM
It has arrived to the repair center. Here, finely skilled techinicians, who were probably trained for, minutes, maybe even hours, will try to coax my buddy back to life. For now I wait, it is out of my hands...probably in the hands of an illegal immigrant or some white trash dude, but, the point here is, it is out of my hands.

9:30 PM
I receive an e-mail that the service center has received my buddy, an e-mail will follow when the unit is repaired and sent back to me.
Saturday, February 21 5:50 AM
Excellent news, I receive an e-mail fro Microsoft saying that my XBox was repaired and being prepared to ship. Another e-mail was to follow the tracking #.



No tracking number shows up in my inbox. Panic sets in, worry consumes me. I log into the XBox website to track the status. Good news, it did ship, it was currently in Hodgkins, IL on that following Wednesday.

not one good picture to use for Hodgkins, IL....worthless, like the rest of the state.

Thursday, February 26
I arrive home from work to see a note on my door, it is from package was in the apartment front office....I hop in the car, and the first thing I do is....go to Taco Bell, Iwas hungry and in need of tacos. Yeah, so, I picked it up, hooked it up, downloaded GTA IV Lost and the Damned, play for like 10 minutes, and, yeah, that is about it, been busy ok.
Back Home - At Last

Tuesday, March 3
After warmly welcoming home the XBox by playing several times with a smile, I decided it was now time to punish it for breaking down and running away. I went to Best Buy to purchase my brand new Blu-Ray player, which took the form of a Playstation 3. Truly, all it is meant to be is a Blu-Ray player, but a new baseball game was out, The Show, and it looked so much better than what XBox had to offer. I have been playing that since. But, no worries, when I get bored with that, I shall return.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Back to the Present! (Would have made for a terrible movie title)

First off, thank you to those who have been actually reading my college story. I have found that a few more people than I initially thought actually read this, literally few, but HEY awesome! I have been getting comments from several of you(I thought I said few).

-Some are scared of when they might arrive in the story, but still seem to be glued and intrigued. I will tell everyone now, my intentions are not to make anyone look or feel bad, maybe other than myself. If I think a statement will make anyone maybe feel uncomfortable, I will probably omit it, though I will throw some funny, uncomfortable moments against those I know will laugh about it.

-Some have commented on my amazing memory. Now, the first few days, are easy, but as things became routine, things will become more and more vague and will probably jump timelines a little bit.

-A couple times I have gotten some comments building upon my memory of events that were written, those are very much appreciated.

-One person is sort of upset that he/she...ok she, has not yet been mentioned...soon Stacey.

So keep reading, but right now, it is back to 2009.

A lot has happened to me since my last actual post. In August I was laid off, went through a pretty rough patch to be completely honest. I was given three weeks severance and had 3 months of health insurance, and to honest, I didn't think it would be any trouble getting a job. The experience I have, no problemo. The first week and a half, I didn't work too hard at it for I thought I was going to get a job that I was already well through the interview process prior to me getting laid off, I knew I was down to 2, and I had a friend who referred me.....turns out the other candidate already was working there through an agency, bam, ouch. Set back, I quickly ended up collecting unemployment checks. Guess what else was happening around that time, September 2008, oh, just the complete economic meltdown. Jobs were not going to be easy, I started working with a recruiter.

Well, end of October, I did get a call from another recruiter, woke me up, I answer, he wants me in for an interview that day in Mequon. I hungoverly suit up, and head over.....he wants me to meet the company. That goes well, and early the next week I go back again, that went well....then they wanted me to start the next week. That was fast, but, that works perfect for me. November 6, I was officially employed again. And 3 months in, I can say, I feel like a person, not a is very pleasant.

I do want to thank all of my friends and family for being there in tough moments for me. My buddy Peter said, you can tell who your true friends when you lose your job. Everyone was concerned, and offered their help or showed their concern. I do want to personally shout out a thank you to Peter, Bernard, Jake, Mike & Andrea, Erin Healy & Matt K, for being awesome to me during awful times, and of course Lauree for the amazing care package, that was awesome!!!

Other Stuff

Really, past blogs talk of my rowdy drunken adventures. There really haven't been those, unforgetable stories to talk about, just, all average nights and weekends. I have been having, fun, just nothing to write stories about. I think that has to do with winter, I'm a summer time guy.

I did start losing weight at New Years. I decided to not post all about it this time, as that has not worked for me in the past as I hoped it would. I am proud to say overall I am down about 30 lbs. I still am a long ways from where I want to be, but, have been developing better habits, and once it warms up will start working out again.

Okay, Current Current Events

Well, now just the busy things that you only would hear about when they just recently happen. The most disturbing thing in my life at the moment, my XBox 360 has died. The dreaded Red Ring of Death! I have had this XBox for approximately 3 years, the warranty for the RRoD, 3 years. My unit's manufacturing date 2/13/06, the date of death 2/14/09. errrrrrr. Well, the guy from Microsoft said it was cool, emailed a prepaid UPS label, and today I sent it off for repair, godspeed buddy.

Speaking of games, I finally found a Wii Fit. Played a bit yesterday, but today I went through everything they have....and no lie, that thing really actually works you out pretty good, though I might just be out of shape though.

Umm go Brewers in 2009!

That Was a Lame Post

Yeah, it was, I hope you wasted your time though. I am sitting in bed, and am getting more and more tired, and this piece of garbage was the result. Stayed tuned for the adventures of my Xbox oh, and Chapter 2 is coming of my college story. Chapter two doesn't really have any funny moments, and is pretty short, and I have to start on Chapter 3 still, so, just keep on me!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

#4 - My Collegiate Life - A Random Rant to Close Chapter 1

The Previous Posts:
#1. Prologue - The Night Before it All
#2. Moving In
#3. Meeting People

Now for the Thrilling Conclusion to Chapter 1

The next day was Labor Day, and it was the last day before classes were to begin. I had yet to really explore the campus, so when I woke up, I printed off my schedule and took to the campus for the first time. It was a fantastic day, the weather was perfect for a good walk. My first class Tuesday was in a building called Carlson Hall. My first class was Micro-Economics. So, I found Carlson then headed over to where my other classes were, most were in Heidi Hall that semester. I was an undeclared major, but I knew I was going to go into business, just wasn’t sure which aspect I wanted to pursue. I wasn’t concerned about being undeclared, most of the classes the first semester were all gen-eds anyhow. After walking around, I decide to head back to see if I had a roommate yet.

Carlson Hall

At last! Chris was there, organizing his stuff. You know how you form an impression of how someone might look just from talking over the phone and forming an opinion of their personality. I pictured a clean cut rich boy. I was off a bit. Chris had a large wallet chain and had an obvious like of the color black. Sort of unkempt greasy black hair. Oh lord, what unlucky draw did I get? Immediately from talking with him though, I knew he was a good guy, not some hardcore jackass, so was slightly relieved and sort of excited that he obviously shared the same taste of music as me and let me remind you a 32” TV and an Xbox! My most pressing question was why he would live in the dorms when he lived just two blocks away. His answer made sense, to get out of the house and experience the college life. Let me be pretty general with Chris here, he comes off with his appearance of a tough hardcore guy, but he is a complete softy. He was/is a great guy! He did hang a Canadian flag in our room and loved hockey, which I still find weird to this day. But the flag did make it fun when people would stop to ask if one of was Canadian, then see their confused faces when we both replied no. Chris just loved hockey, cold weather, and the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), so it was natural for him to like Canada. Overall, our very different exteriors and personalities with the same type of interests seemed to make a really good match.

Unfortunately, poor Ben’s roommate had yet to show up. What a jerk! I mean, he does realize that there is school tomorrow right? Speaking of school, I was nervous, college, here it was, officially. Part of the fun of being in the dorms, is finding friends who have the same class as you. Unfortunately for me, no one I knew had economics, so, I was going at it alone. I took it easy that night and got myself a good night of sleep, for the next day, Tuesday September 4, 2001 would be the start of a new beginning, by the next Tuesday things will just be routine…I figured.

Chris & I - Apparently after a Tornado Strike

I showed up about 20 minutes early (last time that happened) picked a seat in the middle-back away from anyone else. It was a very nice room, state of the art equipment. That was the only economics class in that room, the rest of the classes were in what amounted to a cement fortress. We went over the syllabus and the expectations of the class. Talked a bit about economics, supply and demand, that sort of stuff and then we were done. My first day of school was done at 10:45.…awesome! Also, good news for Ben, his roomy, Jon, had moved in finally. The kid seemed really cool, he liked to drink and party and was a pretty normal dude.

Wednesday was a bit more packed with classes, with four. It started off with my one and only math class of college. I had tested out of the algebra class and was put directly into MATH 103, which dealt with matrices, which let me tell you, was unlike anything I had ever done in math before. You see, I hate math, though I can be good at it if I were to apply myself. All I knew is it was easier than calculus, which I had my senior year in college. The best part of this class was Terri was in my class. Umm, double ‘in’! Well, actually, the best part of this class may have been the Teacher, Rao, who really liked flowers, and liked when you drew flowers on your test, he was, a weird individual. The worst part of this class was that is was at 7:45 in the morning. This seemed ok to me at the beginning and when I scheduled it. I always had to be to High School by 8:00, and had to wake up at 7:00, this won’t be any different. Yeah, I quickly learned that college is not the same. That was the last 7:45 class I ever had! Friday mornings were the worst. Who would have guessed that Thursday night was the big party night in Whitewater?

I had English 101 right after math, and then a break. The afternoons, after I ate lunch, I had History of the United States with the most, monotone, professor ever. Now, I like history, and in High School the history teacher was sort of boring, but had some energy to him. Granted, I learned more of his personal history than world or U.S. history, but, I could stay awake. This professor though, wow, have you ever listened to paint dry? That was this guy! Thankfully, the girl sitting next to me was absolutely gorgeous. Before class we did the typical Frosh thing making sure it was the right room and whatnot. She seemed pretty cool, her name was Christine, and I found out she too lived in Knilans Hall, on the 1st floor. I just found myself a walking buddy! I was always too shy to try and press anything with her, but I always wondered if she was ever attracted to me at that point. We always stayed as alright friends and she even lived in a house next to me a couple years later.

It turned out Christine also had Economics with me as well, and I think she had another class afterwards normally or was always with other people, so we weren’t walking buddies those days. But later in the semester she did head back to the dorms after class and we walked back. I remember this simply because a friend of hers walked back with us. He was a short, stocky guy with a red coat, and his little legs just wouldn’t move as fast as mine and Christine’s did (Christine is short as well though), we had to keep holding up for this kid, man Mr. Slow Guy annoyed me! I’ll give you readers a hint, there is a bit of foreshadowing here.

Not to sound boring, but I honestly can not tell you the first party I went to, who I went with, or even if that first weekend if I stayed in Whitewater or went home. I have a hunch that my first party was somewhere on Prairie St. It apparently was a good one! Life was definitely good though!