Complete MAME cabinet


While I was away in New York, my husband had to keep himself busy somehow.¬† So, he did exactly what I would have done and put together an overly ambitious list of project and things to do ūüėĬ† Upon hearing all of his plans, I really hoped that he would just focus on the little finishing touches with the arcade cabinet and I am quite happy to say that this is exactly what he did (well, there were a few other things that he did, because he’s awesome, but this was the main one.)

Among the finishing touches, you can see that there is now a marquee across the top.¬† Our good friend “the Nighthawk” came over to help him out with the wiring for it, so that it lights up.¬† There’s a little switch so we can turn the lights on and off.

He has plans to redo the marquee as one solid sheet of paper from a printing company down the road.¬† For now, it’s several overlapping images that shows when the light shines behind it, but it still looks cool!

He also had the chance to spray paint the logo on the sides.

He set up a spray booth and cut out the stencil by hand.  It was a lot of work, but totally worth it!  Have I mentioned yet that L designed all the graphics himself?  I think it looks really cool!

Of course, now he has plans for more touches being sprayed on, upgrades, and future cabinets.¬† I can never be certain if he’s serious or not, but so far he’s mentioned a series of networked racing games (the ones where you sit right in them and play a car race game) and skee ball (especially after our recent trip to Castle Fun Park).


November Announcement

nanowrimo_participant_icon_122x244 November is quickly approaching and I thought I should officially announce that I will be participating in NaNoWriMo again.  This will probably mean that I won‚Äôt be updating much.  Not that this will be different from my pattern lately, but at least you‚Äôll know why.

My story this year is surprisingly political.  Not sure if it‚Äôs influenced by the voting frenzy (Canadian Federal election just finished, Municipal election is November 15th, not to mention the US Presidential election November 4th, and a BC Provincial election sometime spring 2009) or by the Asimov Foundation series that I‚Äôm currently reading.  I‚Äôm just going to go with it.

I‚Äôve been doing more plotting this year than last year and I think it‚Äôll help me with the actual writing portion.  At least I hope it will as I‚Äôll also be juggling my belly dancing class and my financial accounting class. 

Speaking of those other classes, here‚Äôs a picture of me in my hip scarf for those who wanted pictures.  Not the full fancy costumes but it makes the whole thing a bit more fun!


First Belly Dancing Class

005205, originally uploaded by amfdesigner.

Tonight was my first belly dancing class and it was a lot of fun! The class was very crowded though so we didn’t have much room and it was difficult to see the instructor. It would be nice if they limited the number to enroll to something a little more reasonable so that we got more out of it.

This class is very much like the class I took before. My former instructor teaches from this studio as well, which explains the similarities. I already have a copy of the CD to practice with, which is a good thing, because we’re actually going to learn a choreographed dance throughout the class.

A lot of the moves came back to me, but there will be some that need practicing. For instance, my shoulder shimmies really need some work. But, I think it’ll be fun.

If I enjoy it well enough I might just sign up for another session and look to moving on to the level 2 class when I’m ready. I’d also LOVE to get into some of the costuming. The other two women who are taking the class with me and I have all decided that we’re going to try to find a practice coin belt to wear at class and for practicing at home. Hope we can find some soon!

Progress on our arcade cabinet

So we left home early and had breakfast at my in-laws.¬† We wanted to get there before my brother-in-law went back to his place in Vancouver but we also wanted to get here early enough to get some work done on the arcade cabinet.¬† Since we both have full-time work + a class now, we’re trying to get as much as possible done on the weekends, so our weeknights can be for studying.

We pulled everything out and started by cutting out the holes for where the speakers will go.¬† It turns out that the jig saw that my father-in-law has is a bit ‘finicky’ so the cuts were a bit rough, but all our digits are still in tact.¬† But, we then had to go and grind the edges of the hole so the speakers would fit.¬† L installed the speaker shelf on the upper cabinet and then did a bit of priming while I ground the holes for the speakers on the lower cabinet.¬† Then we got to start spray painting!¬† We’ve done a good coat on the top and bottom and hopefully will have some pictures up soon.¬† There’s still a lot of artistic things that need to be done, but hopefully it’ll only take another few weekends before it is up and running!

Some Arcade Cabinet Pictures

I thought I should post a few pictures about the arcade project.


Here are some sample pieces where you can see the colours we‚Äôre working with.  The bottom will be a textured black and the top will have a hammered gold finish.  There‚Äôs a graphic that L has done up too, but I haven‚Äôt saved it onto my computer to upload yet.  The orange copper colour is probably a bit too bright for the design.

Test paint  (1)

We‚Äôve actually done a fair bit of assembly on the basic shell, but still have to do the entire control panel.  We discussed some different layout options for it today, but the design hasn‚Äôt been finalized.  The cabinet is a bit more finished now, but we don‚Äôt have any more recent pictures uploaded yet.

Wings (2)Wings (5)

You can kinda see how dark it is outside in this picture.  Since most days we are working after work hours, it‚Äôs always a bit of a race against the clock to try to get things set up, do some work, and then put everything away again.  But, we‚Äôre still managing to make fairly good progress.

Having the Right Tools

One lesson that’s really hitting home as we build our arcade cabinet, is that it really helps when you have the right tool for the job.¬† I’ve always had a fascination with tools.¬† In my marriage, I’m the one who actually owns most of the tools and I drool over one day having a well-appointed workshop where things are neat and orderly.

Luckily, for our current project we are doing a mixture of buying and borrowing, which is helping to keep costs down.  Both sets of parents have a good selection of tools and most of the work so far is being completed at my in-laws place, because they have the room to set up power tools and do messy things like spray painting.

So far, we’ve had to purchase a router and several different router bits, but here’s a brief wishlist of things that I’d like to add to my own personal tool collection.

1. A workshop – I’d love to have a room dedicated to doing work just like this.¬† A place where my tools can happily live and be accessible, as opposed to the current arrangement where they are spread between our hot water room and a full tool-box under our built-in vacuum.¬† As our next house will need the room to house a grand piano, I think having a workshop will probably also be feasible.

2. A table saw – We muddled our way through some longer cuts with the router, but I think it would have been much easier if we would have had a proper table saw to work with.

3. A powerful drill and a full set of bits – My drill is great, but it’s a beginner model.¬† I’d like something with a bit more power, and a better selection of bits to use.¬† Very helpful when you need to countersink something or bore a larger hole.

4. A workbench – this will probably be a feature that comes with a workshop, but a place to put stuff so you can stand while painting it will definitely make my knees and back much happier!

Since we are likely to build more things in the future, I consider tools and such a valuable investment.¬† My parents always had a well-appointed workshop that was very well organized, so it just seems natural to have these kinds of things on hand.¬† I think I’d also like to have some electronics tools in the future so that I can learn to work more with those as well, but so far, I haven’t really had a good project to work on.

Arcade Cabinet Assembly Plan

I think I mentioned in my last post that we were building an arcade cabinet and I just thought I’d stop by and let people know how it was progressing.¬† I didn’t really have a good concept of what still needed to be done, so my husband emailed me a step-by-step list of things to do:

1)      Cabinet sides
a.      Slot cut sides once slotting cutter arrives
b.      Sand edges to even
c.      Prime sides again if necessary
d.      Base paint
2)      Other boards
a.      Angle cut where necessary
b.      Cut speaker holes, ventilation holes.
c.      Sand edges to even
d.      Prime pieces again if necessary
e.      Base paint
3)      Cabinet assembly
a.      Buy caster wheels
b. ¬† ¬† ¬†Buy 2′ x 4′
c. ¬† ¬† ¬†Cut 2′ x 4′ to frame bottom of cabinet
d.      Install casters on base
e.      Assemble upper and lower portions of cabinet
f.      Buy and install t-molding
g.      Adjust monitor shelf
h.      Install angle braces under monitor shelf for additional support
i.      Install angle brackets on upper cabinet, to align holes for carriage bolts
4)      Control panel
a.      Design and print CP graphic
b.      Cut boards for CP
c.      Mark layout on board
d.      Cut laminate to size
e.      Drill holes
f.      Router board for flush mounting of joysticks and track ball
g.      Install buttons
h.      Wire grounds and controls
5)      Finishing
a.      Mount computer inside cabinet
b.      Hook up components
c.      Buy plexiglass/glass monitor shield
d.      Buy plexiglass marquee shield
e.      Design and print marquee graphic
f.      Make and install monitor bezel
g.      Create side art stencil
h.      Paint cabinet side art

Yesterday evening we made a trip to Home Depot to pick up a few of the supplies that we could get.¬† The weather is slowing us down the most right now.¬† We’ve gotten a rainy spell and the only sunny periods seem to happen while we’re stuck at work.¬† The fact that my husband usually works 6 days a week hasn’t been helping much either.¬† We’re also waiting for a particular tool to arrive which we were expecting sooner.

My First ‘Camp’ing Experience

While on the outside I look calm and serene, on the inside I’m a bundle of nervous energy flopping all over the place.¬† Why the nerves?¬† I’m going to my very first ‘camp’ today – WordCamp Fraser Valley.¬† I’m not entirely sure what to expect but I am looking forward to the different speakers.¬† Hopefully I will also be brave and not just sit by myself the whole time.¬† I’m hoping that I’ll have a chance to chat with people a bit, because that’s good practice for me.¬† I’m also hoping to get a bit of blogging inspiration and some ideas.¬† Not only for this blog, but there’s also a website project at my work that’s been going on forever without much progress.¬† Never know where your new ideas might come from!

I <3 little feet

I ‚̧ little feet

They do look pretty cute (even if the hearts point in opposite directions).  Both my step-brothers’ wives are pregnant right now and my friend just announced that she’s pregnant, so  I might just be doing up a few more of these.  If I do make a few more, they will definitely go more quickly for several reasons.  1) The first time doing something new is always slower; 2) they (probably) won’t have any embroidery to do; 3) I’ve learned that working with the fleece is tricky so I’ll probably only use that for the soles.

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D20 Booties Completed

D20 Booties Completed

Just in time since we leave next week!  Now I just need to put them away where I can find them again.

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