No More Welfare Junkies

I saw this picture on facebook today.

I agree with what it says.

If you are on welfare, then you should be able to prove that you are living according to a set list of standards.

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I have personally seen so many people that live successfully off the system. Need more money? Have another kid. Pretend to look for a job and just let the checks roll in.

Take the benefits and buy crap.

Take the money and buy smokes, booze, and drugs.

I serve in the military and I am required to meet stringent requirements just so that those who don’t want to work can get a free ride and live however they want. Now, I know that I do what I do voluntarily. But this irks me that my money is paying for things that it shouldn’t be buying.

Well, I thought “Why doesn’t someone do something about this”.  Everyone wants to talk on facebook about how it needs fixed but no one does anything about it. Well, I wondered how hard it would be to actually DO something.

So, I looked up the basics of submitting an idea to become law. I found the following article.

Building a Bill in Congress
As soon as you start working with the United States Congress, you begin hearing about this bill or that bill. It’s as if someone named Bill is everywhere in Washington. In the congressional context, a bill is simply a proposal, an idea, that’s written up in legislation and presented to the Congress.

Starting with an idea
It all starts with an idea, a simple concept. You take that idea to your representative or senator because you see a need, you have a cause, and you want it to become a law.

Remember that only members of Congress can propose resolutions that are considered by the entire body. Your task comes down to convincing a member to actually want to introduce your idea.

Anyone can write up, or draft a bill, but only a member of Congress can introduce it. However, the more work that you do for members, the easier it is for them to work on your behalf. When you have a bill that you want Congress to consider, writing it up in legal language and presenting it to your representative or senator as a draft is a good idea. Lobbyists routinely draft legislative proposals.

Figuring out how to write a bill is easy. Just look up an existing bill on the congressional Web site and follow that format to compose your proposal. Although your representative may make a few changes, he and the staff won’t have to do as much work creating the bill by themselves.

Looking at the types of legislation
Several kinds of bills can be introduced and each one has a special designation.

Bill
The bill is the most common form of legislation. It’s an idea, a proposal, and in the House it receives the designation H.R. for House of Representatives (not House Resolution as many people think). In the Senate it gets S. for Senate. A bill becomes law when it’s approved by both the House and Senate and reaches the president’s desk for signature. After it’s signed by the president, it’s no longer called a bill, but becomes an “Act.”

Resolution
A resolution is much the same as a bill, except that it’s usually concerned with the operation of the House or Senate. In other words, it’s about something that concerns only the institution and doesn’t need to be signed by the president. In the House, such a resolution is designated H. Res. and gets a number, and in the Senate, it becomes S. Res.

Joint resolution
A joint resolution is virtually identical to a bill. Contrary to what one would expect given the name, it can be proposed in either the House or the Senate and it goes through the same procedures as a bill and must be signed into law by the president.

One slight difference between a bill and a joint resolution is that a joint resolution frequently has a preamble, a paragraph explaining the justification for the bill with all the “Whereas” resolving clauses that are a feature of legislative language. Joint resolutions are also used to amend bills already under consideration. A joint resolution gets the designation H.J.Res. in the House and S.J.Res. in the Senate.

The only time a joint resolution differs in its procedure for consideration is when it’s an amendment to the Constitution. Then it has to be approved by two-thirds of both houses to pass, and it’s also sent to the states for ratification rather than being signed (or not) by the president.

So, all I have to do is write up what change I want to see. Submit it to a congressman, and ask that it be presented for legislation. Possibly get 10,000 signatures. And push it to people in the communities. It can’t be that difficult.

With the recent rise of the Tea Party and the strong pushes for general conservitism, people might actually get behind a few of these ideas.

The big one that I would want to push is Mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients. After that, maybe move on to the term limits for elected officials. George Washington, our greatest leader of all time, knew that leaching off of the system was a bad thing. He stressed against it. Be it welfare, career politicians, or any general sort of government sponsored tyrany.

Could I write a bill to weed out the druggies? Sure. Will I? Possibly. I’m actually looking in to it now.

The government is by the people and for the people. They aren’t our protectors or our parents.

Last I checked, each of us reading this are one of the people. There is no reason we can’t try and make positive change.

The first step to case modding. (Case Modding 101)

So, most people that are in to gaming on their computers know what a case mod is.

You buy a stock case.

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You punch a window in the side.

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Maybe a blowhole for the top.

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Possibly a custom paint job.

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Stuff it full of amazing components.

And go.

Well, I had always been interested in case modding. I looked at it with a wonder and an awe that I can’t really quite explain. I loved the way cases looked when they were all fancy with all of the fun little trinkets that a case could contain.

My big problem is I had no skill to do such wonderful work. Or at least this is what I told myself. So, because of this, I found myself purchasing pre-modded cases.

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They look okay, in fact, some of them even look downright awesome, but you are aware that you have the same case as hundreds or even thousands of other people out there.

For some people, this is okay. For others, this might be considered partially unacceptable.

Well, after  years of owning pre-mods, of using bland cases, and of using computer cases that were pleasing to the eye but still plain, I decided I finally wanted to go a little bigger and do my own mod.

My first mod.

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In fact, I posted pictures of the results recently. It turned out quite nicely.

Well, the point of this post is to actually encourage you to take that first step.

I started by purchasing a coolermaster Elite 343 for my new computer. It’s a great case. Pleasing to the eye, small enough to tote around, but big enough to hold all of my components nicely. I was happy with the initial case. But I was curious so I started digging around and I found that there are many resources online for case modders. Many videos. Many tutorials. Many places to get good information for taking that all important first leap into the world of actually cutting holes in a $50 piece of steel.

I’ve decided to take a handful of them and put them here. I have also decided to take a few short lists and post them here so you have an idea of what you need to purchase if you want to make your life while modding considerably easier.

So, without further ado, I offer a list, a string of videos, and some verbal encouragement. With a little luck, a little willingness to try new things, and a little bravery that causes you to pick up a jigsaw, you can have something that just screams your name.

Here we go.

The Tools

The following is a list of tools that will make your adventure in modding WAY easier. Not all are required, but all are useful.

-Safety Glasses (REQUIRED!)

-Jigsaw with a 20tpi blade (Cuts steel)

-Handheld drill with drill bits

-Hole Saw

-A rotary tool (Dremel or some other brand)

-Tape Measure

-Masking Tape

-Pen/Pencil

-Hand files

-Handheld rivet gun

-Screwdrivers (Phillips and Flathead)

See? The list of tools are all things that you most likely have sitting in your garage or basement already. Even if you don’t, I think the rotary tool is the most expensive one. Do you have friends? Do any of them have any of these tools? Might you be able to borrow a tool? Possibly bring them over with their tools to help you cut up your fantastic case? Just a few things to consider.

The Mod List

Okay, so there are a number of mods that someone can do to their computer. I offer you the following four suggestions that are super simple. Deceptively good looking. And while they have been done to death, are a GREAT place to start modding. I give them to you in the order of difficulty.

-Case Handles (Four drilled holes. That’s it!)

-Blowhole (Five drilled holes, and 10 to 15 minutes with a rotary tool)

-Case Window (One drilled hole and 20 minutes with a jigsaw)

-Painted Case (3 hours with a can of spray paint)

See, this list is short, but it offers up some great ideas. Almost everyone starts with one of these four projects. Each is awesome because they give you the opportunity to do things how you want to do them in a way that has your own personality and style to them.

Since I do enjoy writing, but I am also notoriously lazy, I am going to post a few links to help you with these projects. While I could explain them in depth and detail, the videos that I am going to share do a much better job since you can actually SEE what you are doing or what is going on.

Lets look at our first mod…

CASE HANDLES

See, this is super simple. Now, you don’t have to purchase your handles from MNPCTech.com if you don’t want to. Believe it or not, I bought mine at walmart out of a clearance aisle. Just look wherever someplace sells drawer handles or gate handles. Simple.

Case handles are the easiest mod you can do to your computer.

Okay, next one…

CASE BLOWHOLE

Case blowholes can be done on the side or the top of a case. While I did my blowhole up top, the video below will instruct you how to do a blowhole on the side.

Again, SIMPLE! It’s not hard at all to do these simple mods.

Okay, so you have handles now. You have a possible blowhole on your computer, be it in the side of the case or on the top of the case. That’s awesome. BUT, how can we go a little bigger?

Well, lets move on to mod number 3.

CASE WINDOW

With a single drilled hole, and a jigsaw (Or a dremel if you feel so inclined), you are about to put a window on the side of the computer. Now, the acrylic (Plexiglass) that they use is available at most any walmart or home improvement store. Home Depot has the perfect size for about $3.00.

But, I digress, on to the video.

… All I can say is that wasn’t hard at all. No, NOT hard. I did this recently even, do you want to know how my case turned out? AMAZING! Straight edges, smooth after I took a file and sandpaper to them, and after putting in the channel edging, it looked smokin’.

But, this leads me to mod number 4.

CASE PAINTING

I like red, blue, green, black, and a handful of other colors. But, my case, while it was black, just didn’t “pop” the way I wanted. So, this is what I decided to do. Icebreaker red.

Well, I thought to myself, I’m not good with a can of spraypaint… is there a way I can learn?

heh…. yes. Yes there is.

Now, I listed tools, I listed some videos, but now I’m going to talk about something that is just as important as the basics I posted above.

TAKING THE PLUNGE

Case modding is an amazing hobby. There are SO many things that you can do. The only limit is honestly your imagination. Recently, I mounted speakers in to my case so I didn’t have to lug speakers around to places with me. I thought that was pretty awesome.

I’m considering mounting a monitor to my case on a swing arm right now. Possibly putting in storage space for a keyboard and mouse. I don’t know. But, regardless, this is what I am enjoying doing right now.

So, this is what I want to say to you as you read this.

Case modding is not hard!

It really isn’t. It’s fun. Sure, we all make little mistakes. But honestly, that is half the fun of learning the hobby. Taking that first step to put a drillbit to the steel was the hardest part of the process.

As I stood in my basement with a fully dissasembled, BRAND NEW, computer case before me, I had my drill in hand and was nervous.

My lines were drawn, my cuts were figured out, and my first hole was ready. I put the bit to the steel, pulled the trigger, and at that point, I was committed. I don’t have skill when it comes to things like this. In fact, I often half-ass them. But I found that once the drill hole was in, I was in for the long haul. I pulled out the drillbit, plunged my jigsaw in to the opening, and pulled the trigger. I haven’t looked back since.

I know the material from the videos and the blogs. I knew that if I followed the lines on the case, or used a piece of wood as a guiding edge for my saw that I could cut a straight line. Once I made that fourth straight line and the plate of steel fell from the case and tinkled to the floor, I knew that ground had been broken.

This wasn ‘t hard. This was fun.

5 minutes with a file to get rid of a sharp edge and I suddenly had a place to put my newly opened plexiglass.

I had modded my case.

You can to. I know you can.

Hell, if I can do it, any untrained monkey with a jigsaw can do it.

I promise you, it’s easy. Just take the plunge.

Jump in.

Mod it till it bleeds!

(On second thought, just mod it… don’t bleed. That usually requires a trip to the emergency room)

It’s Icebreaker Red

Holy Crap. It’s been a while.

I could apologize, but hey, it’s my blog. I can do what I want.

So…. here is the post.

Let me preface what I did and why.

I have never done a mod before. Today was my very first.
There were a lot of lessons learned.
There were a few mistakes.
There were a few moments where I was really glad that I have the job I have.

So, with that in mind, let me show you what I’ve been up to.

I’m in the process of building a new uITX machine and I wanted to go with a tiny case. But after a little debating, I decided to go with a Micro-ATX.

I’m cheap, so because of that, the case had to be cheap.

Enter the Cooler Master Elite 343.

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This case seemed really awesome in my view. Two weeks ago when I settled on this piece of steel and plastic, I said to myself “Garen… That’s a really nice case”.
I figured since it was a nice case that I would wind up putting it on the floor by the desk and just occasionally admire its stunning rugged black beauty.

Then came Bill Owen.
I stumbled on him on the internet and suddenly I had this urge to cut holes in stuff. Paint stuff. And all round be a little more manly.
Thanks Bill… I think.

Anyways… I am in the Coast Guard and I serve on a ship.
The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw to be specific.
See? This is my ship.

Now, being in the military give me access to all sorts of cool stuff.
Wanna install a blowhole? Great. Here is a steel knockout punch.
Wanna cut plexi? Great, here is the bandsaw.
Wanna engrave someone on that plexi? Awesome, here is the engraver.
Wanna cut a freehand hole? Perfect, here is the jigsaw.
You can see that having access to these kinds of toys can be a bit dangerous.

Anyways, you saw the picture above, I started with a fairly attractive case.
However, after watching the MonsterMawd videos, listening to the podcasts, and spending WAY too much time reading this forum, I decided on the following.

-I need a blowhole.
-I want a window. But not something gaudy.
-I need something custom that says… “Me”.
-I have to have contrasting paint colors.

I’m still figuring out what I’m going to be doing for the electronics, switches, and so forth, so those will come later… but with this list of awesome features (Simple ones to start with), I have created the following.

Notice the contrasting icebreaker red and the black? This inspiration came from the colors of my ships hull. You can see a better version of that contrast here…

But enough of the ship… back to what I built.

The blowhole is clearly visible here.

Chrome on Red looks nice if you ask me. I used a hydraulic steel knockout punch to make the 3″ hole. No sharp edges. A touch of sanding. And a perfect circle. No sparks, noise, or metal shavings to deal with.

More view of the backside and the blowhole.


A side profile shot of the case.

My cuts weren’t the straightest on the window hole. However, this was my first time. Next time I’m going to use a jig to ensure straight lines. The window is 1mm plexi. I’m going to use 1/8″ or 1/4″ next time I think.

I wasn’t able to get my hands on the 3M 4010 (Tape of the Gawds), but I was able to find the Loctite equivilent. It works well enough.

Now, if you look close, you can see that there is a little etching on the plexi. This was engraved. The symbol you are looking at is my rating designator. I am an E6 / IT1 in the Coast Guard. This is the badge that I wear on my sleeve (In dress uniform) that tells you what my job is. I figured this was the part that screamed “Me”.

Here is is a little closer.

Okay, so we have the paint, the window, the blowhole, the etching, and the tape of the demi-gawds.

Honestly, I’m happy with my work.

I don’t think I’m done with the project yet though. While the parts for the computer showed up today, and I’m writing this post on the new system, I think the case is going to receive a few more tweaks.

Handles are next.

Here is the info I’m using for that step….


I hope the read was enjoyable.

-Garen