a great weekend with friends

This weekend was extremely full of fun and good times.

With a birthday dinner gathering for a friend, an afterparty with Rock Band, and an impromptu house concert on Saturday, visiting friends with a new baby while our XBoxes were repaired on Sunday, we did a lot of the things we really like.

It all started yesterday afternoon when I began my preparation for a friend’s birthday celebration. I reinstalled our online capable XBox 360 and went on XBox Live and downloaded (Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar by Felicia Day and The Guild for play in Rock Band. Then one of our friends came over and brought a copy of Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s book, which she picked up autographed for us (and even personalized for my wife) last weekend.

We drove with her to La Petite Camille where we had dinner for seven to celebrate our friend’s birthday, then the entire party of seven came back to our house. We watched Vienna Teng and Jonathan Spottiswoode play the concert portion of TEDxBoulder, which we were originally planning to go to, but had a lot more fun watching with our friends. Then we played Rock Band, Beatles Rock Band and eventually a couple of friends picked up real guitars. One even gave an impromptu house concert.

Once it bled over into early morning Sunday, we all went to IHOP and had some minionade and other Despicable Me themed meals. We said our final goodbyes around 2am and my wife and I came home and quickly fell asleep.

We were awakened by her grandmother around 10AM, wanting to be taken to church. Since we had to go to San Ramon to get two of our XBox 360s fixed today, my wife asked if she could find a way home from church. She decided because it was cold not to go.

My wife cleaned up the living room from our “wild party” last night and we left around 11:30 for San Ramon. I called the XBox repairman as we got closer and he asked if we could come by around 2:30. This was good as we were both hungry, so we went to Athens Burger in Dublin and had a good lunch. I had a pastrami burger and my wife had a bowl of chili. We split an order of fried zucchini, which is their house specialty. The waitress was wondering why we’d never been there until we explained that we were from Pacifica and just visiting. It was a cool little diner atmosphere with a small arcade full of classic games and a pinball machine. If it was a little more local, I could see us visiting often.

We dropped off the Xboxes in San Ramon at 2:30 and the repairman said he’d keep me updated. He kept his promise. We tried to go to Costco to get gas and due to the local Costco not having a gas station, we went to a Shell station down the street. I filled our tank and got back into the car to a text message that one of our XBoxes was already fixed and he was just testing it to make sure it worked properly.

We went to visit a friend and his wife and new baby in Dublin for the afternoon. While there, I kept getting updates from the repairman. The XBox 360 that I bought back in February had been broken before I bought it and repaired badly. I guess the guy fixed it up just enough to get a quick sale out of it. The “repair” job he had done actually broke it worse. But the guy I took it to today fixed it up good. He added lots of extra cooling elements, a newer model heatsink, an intake fan on the top of the case, a fan speed control mod that makes the XBox louder but much cooler and on top of that, he fixed the problems. It is noisier but fully functional again. It now has the modification it should have had to repair it the first time around before I bought it. The old XBox that I replaced after its dvd drive “died” needed a new laser.

While we waited the four hours or so for the repairs, we hung out with our friends in Dublin. Our friend is a “game enthusiast” and let us play a cool game on his PS3 called DeathSpank which I hadn’t heard of but we played for a good hour or two. It is a ton of fun and I just found out it is also available for XBox Live Arcade, so I’ll be obtaining it and playing some more here at home.

We debated going to see a movie, but it was $12 each for tickets so we just stayed, played DeathSpank and hung out until the repairman called and said he had finished testing both consoles and was ready for us to come pick them up.

It was a good visit with our friends and we ended up buying a flatscreen monitor and wireless mouse from them on the way out.

The charge to fix both XBoxes was only $50. I tried to give the guy $60 and he refused to take the extra $10. He was a very nice guy and so far seems to have done quality work. I’m glad that I found him and that my wife was willing to make the trip out with me to get this all done today.

We got home around 9:00 after a brief stop off at Target for Orange Juice and some other supplies. We also picked up a big tub of cheese balls!

I play tested our repaired XBox for around 30 minutes and while it is loud, it works great. I had been having trouble with a few games loading before the fix and there are no problems now. I’m very glad to have it back in working order.

So while it was a “long” weekend, it was a good one. I think we needed it after the stressful times we have had at work lately.

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