Infinitely-Lazy Shortcut - Finished Final Pics Well, hello there! It's been a little while; not too long though, right? I think? Actually, it's been way too long, indeed. I have some explaining to do and some dirty laundry to air before we get started on this new project log; the 1st of quite a few project logs that have been clogging up E.E.L.'s brain like three runs to Taco Bell in one day does to a lactose-intolerant without any fiber intake, so please afford me this much if I run off-topic before there really IS a topic, okay? I'm going to answer the main Q that some of you may be thinking right now, assuming you're familiar with me/my work from the past, so here we go. 1). What the bloody-jumpin'-freakin'-hell happened to you!? Well, see, the short answer is, my life has been turned upside down and back again. The long answer is, my long-time career-shattering job I was in possession of for close to two decades was ended. Not by choice, but by necessity (because of the piss-poor economy Stateside). I worked for a small business; family-run. I was the only non-family employee, but the odd thing was I was probably the most-valuable considering I was keeping them afloat with over 60% of the income from my department, but I was let go because the company was going to go under if they didn't let SOMEONE go; that person was me because I didn't share the last name with the rest of the employees. The worst part was, I was told on the SAME DAY I SIGNED A LEASE FOR NEW PROPERTY; was given the bad news when I returned to work that early afternoon. Needless to say, I was VERY irate about it. The pseudo-boss I had gave me the news with tears streaming down her face, along with her brother. I'm sure they were crying because the only person who could actually DO any of the work was being swept out the door like a two-day old turd on the brand-new carpet. But I digress. For those that didn't know, I was (am) a graphic designer and t-shirt printer. I have been tinkering with it since I was 11 years old. To put it into perspective, I worked on Macs when they had a killer reputation for quick and powerful processing, and it was the ONLY graphics platform available. My first "illustration" program I touched was MacDraw. I recall when Photoshop came out--the first one. Illustrator 88+. Etc, etc. Bottom line is, I had been around it for quite a while. And I loved it. I enjoyed every minute of it. I miss it more than I could even begin to iterate here in a stupid project log. It was (still is) a big part of me, and not having my print-room makes me feel naked and incomplete in an odd way. I spent so many hours there; so many records played in there; so many gallons of sweat spilled there because of no A/C on occasion and working in a 100+-degree room. I remember watching the Sept. 11 attacks on an old tube TV from Sears-Roebuck (with wood-grain!) in that room. I enjoyed that place, and enjoyed my job. And it really wasn't a job to me. It gave me an outlet to push my creativity out and flex that muscle we all seem to have (at least those creative types out there). I put in overtime, but wasn't paid because I was salaried. I loved those 2 hour lunches too. And my own keys to the place. And the 2-am modding escapades in that building! I was modding there when a hurricane dropped right on top of us and my car was flooded out. Bottom line is, I was very sad to see it go. So now I was unemployed. That fast. I was given what they could afford to me to help me out, but I was screwed, plain and simple. The hell was I going to do? I needed something QUICK, even if it was temporary because of the lease on the new rental being a major increase in rent. But, those $30/hr paychecks will be hard to match. Then I recalled something. The manager of Performance-PCs had offered me the modding dept about 6 months prior and I kind of laughed softly in his face about it because it was a couple tax-brackets lower. Hell, that could work. Right? So I talk to the owner about it all; explained the situation, etc. I'm hired easily. But things are really bad, financially speaking. I won't go into specifics, but things really sucked in comparison. A month later, I'm miserable. Work is so different. And irritating. And suffocating. The lady is feeling a little ill, but nothing really clicked. Then, on a whim we get a pregnancy-test... Yup. Positive. Oh. My. God. So life gets any more interesting. We scramble to get the wedding plans cemented; making everything from scratch including the clothes and cakes. We get it done. And it was beautiful. Perfect. PERFECT! And we get the house we were fighting with the bank over and I rely on my impeccable and exorbitant credit to float us into the house. I really believe had I not had such stellar credit, we would be sleeping in a cardboard box right now. And nine months later, the most-beautiful thing in the world to me was born. And it changed my life. For the better. Made me, along with his mother, a whole person. Complete in every way. Except, for those awesome paychecks I still miss. There is so much more to the story, like failed business attempts and massive debt, but I'll leave it there. Enough has been said, IMO. You get the picture. I miss my laser. ----------------------------------------- Now, time to move on the dirty laundry I mentioned earlier. Heh. Heh. Now, those that know me personally know I do not take kindly to being snubbed or mistreated in any fashion. I'm a very easy-going kind of dude, and I afford respect to everyone. But sometimes, some just piss me off. And that includes companies. Computer supply companies. For those with a longer memory can recall I was graciously given an article in Custom PC for my Blu-Bawx I scratchbuild project, thanks to the infinite kindness of Antony Leather and the rest of the staff at Custom PC magazine and Bit-Tech. But--there's a downside to this. There was prize-pack from misc. companies for having your mod or whatever in the mag. Prizes from companies including Corsair, Cooler Master, MSI and QuietPC. Guess what? I only received the gear from Corsair and QuietPC. ***update - As of August 27th, the issue has been resolved with Cooler Master due to the exhaustive help, support and badgering from Bill Owen, Antony L., Richard S., as well as some help from Nic - Cooler Master US and the Cooler Master rep that actually has a brain in his gourd - - Mr. Wu from Cooler Master Taiwan who put his foot down and fixed the whole issue. Infinite thanks, Mr. Wu! Your reputation proceeds you, kind sir. And it should be pointed out that there was no help at all from the UK team. Shame on you guys! *** MSI didn't respond to ONE attempt at contacting them. Nothing. Nothing! So, here's the bottom line with this issue. I didn't necessarily care that much for the prizes I was supposed to receive because they were mid to low-end gear and I tend to use good stuff myself, but I WAS going to give it to my step-daughter for a system for her. So, good job, MSI! You made my step-daughter cry, you morons! I had been using MSI boards off-and-on for a while as well. Socket 478 days I loved their red-PCB'd boards, since red-n-black was always my color scheme. But, because of this snubbing, you guys have lost me as a customer and supporter as well. You guys suck. You have a new name to me.... or three... I think "MSI" probably stands for this, since they don't seem to want us modders to use their gear, right? Or, perhaps this in my case: Nah....I think it just means this: So here it is, you jackasses. Enjoy it. It's for you. Eat my @$$ Award just for you. -------------------------------------- Now, finally, with all that BS out of the way, let's get to some friggin' moddin'! At least, assuming I haven't been banned at this point for my rant. This project is based around a Lian Li PC-A10 chassis. Back when Lian Li really new what the hell they were doing. What an awesome case. And so much potential! Being the new, svelt, and affordable E.E.L., I was able to snag a couple of these extinct cases from work on the real-cheap because they were both missing mobo trays and one was pretty beat up. I was basically sponsored these cases, for the low cost I paid for them. The irony of it all was, I happen to have an A10 mobo tray in my arsenal of computer parts I've pack-ratted over the years. So, that takes care of that. This build is for my best friend, who has been extraordinarily patient with all of this. He gets the 1st stab on these cases. His theme is always a "biohazard" type of thing. Some recall my previous build for him based around this idea. Well, he loves it. And who am I to mock him for it? ...I do. Yes. But still. To each their own, right? So, here's what I'm going to do: That's what he saw a little while back when it was in the preliminary stage of design, but-- I gave him the option of a "weathered" build or a clean build. He chose clean. ....sooooo, he gets weathered. I'm such a rebel. Let's take a look at the chassis, shall we? Nothing special. At least, at first glance. Some one had applied a horrid psuedo-carbon fiber vinyl film to the front door. I'll fix that. Oooooh, I will. It's in bad shape, but I've seen a lot worse. I can turn it around. Some dents on the panels, etc. I think it'll add to the theme though. I love the layout inside. Seriously. For the smaller size of the case, you can really fit some serious cooling in here. I love it. Let's start stripping her down. A lot of surgery needed. A lot of wiring I'll no longer need! Oh yeah...these are gone. Let's remove the racks, here... These are definitely gone! This too... Let's get rid of the top IO ports too. I'll need some room to work and maneuver so this will make it easier. There. Simple. I'll keep this thing for later. They always come in handy! There's a little fan controller built in. It's gone too. Peek-a-boo! This is going to be really fun! Now, hopefully I can post again within a couple more years! Forgive me; It's been a little while since I've been in the driver's seat and my log-fu is a bit rusty. Not unlike this case will be. I'm sorry, guys. Truly. I'll be a better modder. I promise.