Perry’s Birthday Celebration

Here’s my full set of pictures: Perry’s Birthday Celebration 2010. I believe Valerie also took some.

We celebrated Perry’s birthday today. We had dinner at Red Robin’s. By the time we got back to my place, I had realized I had forgotten to asked the waitress to take our picture, oh well.

At the end of dinner, Perry busted out his free Cold Stone coupon asking if anyone else was interested in getting ice cream. Sarah had secretly ordered a birthday cake for him and had planned for me to pick it up. Somehow it was suggested Perry could get his ice cream to go and save for later. No, no no, that was a bad idea. I was trying to decide what to do. Should I reveal we already have a Cold Stone cake for him? While Perry was about to order something, I tapped him on his back and said you should save the coupon for later. Perry goes, oh… I had wanted to pick up the cake in private and surprised him later, but it was too late now. I asked for the cake and Perry figured out it was Sarah who got it for him. Originally the cake was supposed to say “Happy Birthday Old Man” (it even says that on the order form), but it appears they just wrote “Happy Birthday Perry”.

We got back to my place. A couple decided to play a round of Settlers, while the rest of us busted out on Rock Band:

settlers rock band

Someone also busted out PGR3 sometime along the way. From what I hear, Chris dominated.

Here’s some other pictures I thought turned out pretty neat:

Phillip enjoying onion rings Valerie and Perry rock band PGR3 shrimp tempura hmmmm ying ying and valerie perry pointing

The ice cream cake from Cold Stone was really good. (Thanks Sarah!) It was a chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, but also had pineapple and coconut. Mmmmm. Unfortunately I realized last minute that I didn’t have candles, so Perry had to pretend to blow out imaginary candles. You can check out the video on Facebook: Happy Birthday Perry!

Perry's birthday cake Perry blowing out imaginary candles Perry cutting the cake A slice of the delicious cake

We had several extra slices that Perry was going to take home. Unfortunately my freezer was out of space, so it stayed in my fridge. By the time we left, this was what it looked like:

melted ice cream cake

We ended the night night with some 4 vs 4 Halo 3 (Perry, Sathana, Valerie, Chris vs Toland, Phillip, Saran, Tom – unfortunately Ying Ying couldn’t participate) . The teams were actually quite even and we found the winning factor to be which team was using the big screen TV. Playing 4 player Halo on a 24″ LCD just isn’t good enough.

Friday Gathering!

It’s been long time since I invited Perry-tachi (see definition #2: tachi) over for dinner and games. I’ve seen Perry a few times since New Years, but everyone’s been really busy lately. There was that potluck over at Valerie’s sometime earlier this year, which was really fun. I still remember Ike (pronounced EK) shouting “grape tree house” over and over again during Pictionary. Oh yeah, congratulations on Sathana for getting his Ph.D. candidacy! This gathering had been long overdue and I was happy to see everyone again and that everyone was doing fine.

I sent out an email on Monday asking if people were interested in coming over on Friday/Saturday night for dinner and movie/games. I was a bit sad when only 3 people had responded and only Perry and Carolynn accepted. I sent out another email on Wednesday night and got 1 more accept from Sathana. It turns out that somehow my email ended being caught by UW’s spam filter. Here’s the email in full:

Hey guys!

It’s been awhile since we last got together at my place. I was wondering if people were interested in grabbing dinner followed by either a movie or Rock Band.

I recently acquired The Good, The Bad, The Weird, a Korean movie that looks hilarious:
Of course there’s English subtitles.

I’m open to other movie suggestions as well.

Or we can always do what always do and play Rock Band. Since we’ve last played, I’ve gotten plenty of new songs. Let’s say Friday tentatively, but if people prefer Saturday instead, we can do that too.

//Toland (^_^x)

Maybe I had too many links in my email or maybe is considered a spam domain? Saran and Tom found out earlier today and wanted to come. Valerie also found out last minute and came over too. Perry even spoke with Joe and coordinated some Halo 3 over Xbox Live (he currently works in New Mexico). It was a full house once again.

We decided if 4 or less people, we’d have dinner a Sushiland. 5+ and we would go to Yea’s Wok. Only 4 were available for dinner (or found out early enough to join) so we ended up eating at Sushiland in Bellevue. I was surprised that at 7pm on a Friday there was hardly any line. It did get a bit busier later on, but previously on Fridays we had to wait upwards to an hour.

Afterwards we came back to my place and setup another Xbox 360 console using my 24″ Dell LCD. I really need to get that projector for my basement. That’ll be sweet. The few of us who had arrived early played some Beatles Rock Band while we waited for the others to arrive. I noticed that they now show you your friends’ score and I was surprised we actually beat Tekman’s and Angel’s score in Yellow Submarine.

Most of the people arrived and we started some Halo 3 4 vs 4 multiplayer action. It was hilarious hearing Joe and Perry speak over the microphone as it’d be delayed a few seconds on a screen and as someone mentioned Perry sounded like a high-pitched chipmunk. And for some reason, the chat wasn’t blocked per team, so we were able to hear everything they were planning. The teams actually turned out to be quite even after a few matches, but I think Joe was just goofing around after the 3rd round. Having Perry and Joe on the same team originally was slaughter for the 4 of us. Our team was much more even, where everyone would have about the same number of kills. On the other team, Joe and Perry would have 20 kills each, while the others would have about 5 kills each.

Joe called it a night and some people switched over to playing a soccer game. In the meantime, I deep fried some shrimp tempura. Did you know that Costco sells these awesome Panko Breaded Shrimp (Kirkland Signature brand). At first I thought it was shrimp with Panko mix where I would dip the shrimp and deep fry them, but it turns out they come pre-breaded. Yet another win for lazy Toland! The instructions provided actually tell you to use the oven, but after experimenting a few times, I find that 2 minutes at 350F is perfect for 3-8 shrimps. 2.5 minutes is still good, but at 3 minutes you have black charcoal shrimps. People seemed to enjoy them. 🙂

Afterwards, we switched over to Rock Band and tried out some of the new songs I recently got. Rock Band was a blast as usual. Singing Lady Gaga was really fun. We also got to try out OneRepublic, White Stripes, 3 Doors Down and a bunch of other music I’ve acquired since our last gathering. I even tried expert on drums and guitar for several easy songs. Expert on drums can get crazy difficult.

The last of us splitted around 2:30am and ended the night with Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch. Did I mention it’s been a long time since I had so much fun. Few probably know the reason why I setup this gathering. And today was going so well too! Sigh…

Perry’s birthday is next week, so we’ll probably do something again to celebrate.

Rock Band Drum Pedal Starting to Crack

So yesterday while playing Beatles Rock Band with friends, I noticed stepping on the drum pedal felt a bit weird. Upon closer inspection after our gaming session, it looked like the drum pedal was beginning to crack about 1-2″ above the bottom hinge. If I recall correctly, Harmonix was replacing them even out of warranty. So I began the hardware warranty process (page which for some reason doesn’t render under Firefox 3.5; had to switch to IE).

I was reading the requirements of the RMA, even though I mentioned I had a Rock Band [1] drum pedal, it mentioned that in the RMA I needed to include a proof-of-purchase within 60 days:

STEP 3: Providing Proof of Purchase
Because our Limited 60-day Hardware Warranty requires that you are within the first 60 days after purchase, we will need a legible copy of your original sales receipt to determine eligibility. The sales receipt must clearly show the following information:

  1. Item Description
  2. Purchase Amount
  3. Date of Purchase
  4. Point of Purchase

They didn’t mention any specific exception for the Rock Band pedal. So I decided to contact their support:

Hi, I purchased the full Rock Band kit back in Feb. 2008 and my friends and I play about twice a month. Recently my pedal began cracking, about 1-2″ from the bottom hinge.

I recall that Rock Band was replacing pedals even beyond the 60 day warranty period for defective pedals and was wondering how I can start that process.

Thank you.

In the meantime, I found a small flat piece of metal (wrench that came a the toolkit used for building some furniture) and duct taped it to the cracking area, hopefully to prevent further cracking until I can get it replaced.

Got a reply this afternoon:

Thank you for contacting Rock Band Warranty Support!

I apologize about the trouble you are having with your drum pedal. We will certainly be happy to get you a replacement.
To start the process we have two different shipping methods for you to choose from:

With an express order you will receive the new item within five to seven business days, but we do require a $125 pre-authorization hold on a credit card. This is not a charge, simply a hold to ensure that we are going to get the broken item back. When you receive the new item, it will come with a pre-paid shipping label for you to send back the broken item. As long as we get the broken item back within 28 days, we will release the hold from your credit card and you will not be charged.

If you would prefer not to use a credit card, the second shipping option that we have is the standard shipment. With this option we will send you an empty box with a prepaid shipping label that you use to send us your broken item. Once we get this and scan in the label, we will send you your new item

If you would like to do an express order, please give us a call at (650) 628-1001 as we cannot take credit card information over email. Otherwise all we need is your shipping information. We look forward to assisting you!

Please let me know if there is anything else we can assist you with! Additional support can be found on our help site located at or if you would like to speak to a live agent, please call (650) 628-1001.

Thank you,
Rock Band Warranty Support
Electronic Arts

Looks like I’ll have to call in to start the RMA process, which I can then confirm that 60-day proof of purchase is not a requirement to get my drum pedal replaced. w00t!

Lips Update

So I finally remember to ask the Xbox discussion about the issues I was hitting with Lips.

It turns out that all my issues stem from the fact I have a USB microphone connected to my Xbox 360. Somehow microphone registration gets all screwy because of that. In my case, I have my Rock Band microphone plugged into the Xbox 360 at all times. The fix is to unplug the USB microphone when you’re playing Lips. Apparently this will fix both the 2nd microphone lighting issues as well as the static noise, video and audio out of sync issues, as well as the freezing issues.

Other good news is that Harmonix (creator of Rock Band) is going to patch up Rock Band so it can use the wireless microphones! From MTV Games:

LipsWe broke the news that the highly regarded microphone bundled with Microsoft’s “Lips” karaoke game would not work with “Guitar Hero” or “Rock Band” at launch.

Harmonix and MTV Games have now addressed gamers’ concern over the lack of compatibility, and there’s good news to be shared.

“Microsoft and MTV Games are working together to ensure that consumers will be able to use the wireless mics from ‘Lips’ with ‘Rock Band 2’ after launch,” said the companies in an e-mailed statement. “More details on timing to come. Harmonix and MTV Games strive for all third-party controllers to work with the ‘Rock Band’ games, fitting with Harmonix’ open-platform philosophy for controllers.”

Sounds like we’ll have a patch in the coming weeks! Will you use the “Lips” mic?

That’s great news! Being able to play Rock Band with a wireless microphone would be neat! Then I can scrap my Rock Band microphone and not hit into these issues anymore!

Rock Band 2 + Xbox 360 Live Points Deals

Wow! It’s been quite awhile since my last post. Things have been quite busy at work and with the darn construction going around here, I’ve been waking up at 9am. I haven’t gotten a chance to blog about Joe’s Birthday BBQ or my recent camping trip. Hopefully my workload won’t be as bad in the coming weeks.

Anyway, the following deals are time sensitive, so I thought I’d blog about them now before they evaporate. has a few Xbox 360/Rock Band deals going on this weekend:

Xbox 360 Live 4000 Points for $40 or Xbox 360 Live 1600 Points for $16. These are normally $50 and $20 respectively. You’re basically getting a 20% discount making it 100pts/$1 instead of 80pts/$1. Pretty good deal considering Live Points don’t usually go on sale and if you order $25+, you get free shipping and since these are considered “gift cards”, they’re not taxable (even in WA).

If you’re seeing a different seller on the main page, please look on the right side, and you should see as seller and the lower price. Given that this deal started earlier this weekend, it’s currently back-ordered, but you’re still allowed to purchase it at the discounted price.

If you’re wondering if it’s better to get the 1600 points or the 4000 points, the better deal is the 1600 points because at 4000 points, you save about 5 cents, but the savings are pretty negligible. I would recommend buying 2x1600pts to qualify for free shipping.

Buy Rock Band 2 for the Xbox 360 and get a 1600 Live Points Card

Here’s your chance to add the new Rock Band game to your collection and set yourself up with 1600 Live points. That means the 84 tracks from the game plus about 10 downloads with your points. This deal will keep you rocking for a while! Offer limited to products shipped and sold by Promotion ends on October 4, 2008 at 11:59PST. Offer good while supplies last. Limit one per household. See Details.


Order the standalone version of Rock Band 2 for the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Live 1600 Points card by October 4, 2008 in our Video Games Store and receive the Xbox 360 Live 1600 Points card free. To redeem this offer place both participating products in your cart and proceed through the check out process. At the end of your order the cost of the Xbox 360 Live 1600 Points card will be deducted from your total order. This offer applies only to the purchase of the standalone version of Rock Band 2 for the Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Live 1600 Points card offered by and does not apply to products sold on our site by third-party merchants or through third-party areas such as Marketplace or Auctions. Limit one per household.

How to Qualify for the Rock Band 2 Points Card Promotion:

-This offer applies to qualifying purchases made before 11:59 p.m. PT on October 4, 2008 while supplies last on the “the standalone version of Rock Band 2 for the Xbox 360” and “the Xbox 360 Live 1600 Points card.”
-Offer does not apply to out-of-stock items.
-The cost of the Xbox 360 Live 1600 Points card will be deducted from your total order at the end of the check out process.
-Offer can only be applied to orders placed after 12:00 AM PT on September 21, 2008, and before 11:59pm PT on October 4, 2008.

Since I was planning to pick up Rock Band 2 already (just didn’t want to pay retail), getting a free $20 worth of Xbox 360 Live Points made a pretty sweet deal. Too bad I had to pay WA sales tax, but even considering that and the fact that the 1600 is really worth $16 this weekend, I’m still saving over $10.

Finally, this probably isn’t time sensitive, but Xyon informed me there was a new free Rock Band song: Stephen Colbert DLC hits Rock Band. The song is called Charlene, a pretty short and hilarious song by Stephen and the Colberts. Those flawless expert achievements are finally within reach!

More Free Tracks for Guitar Hero III and Rock Band

Time to jam.
Time to jam.

Just got alerted that there was a new free track for Guitar Hero III: Guitar Hero III July Song Track Releases:

Top Gun Anthem Single Track (available July 3)
Price: Free
Songs: “Top Gun Anthem” written by Harold Faltermeyer as featured in the famous movie starring Tom Cruise.

I guess it’s a freebie to celebrate the 4th of July. You can listen to the music on YouTube: TOP GUN ANTHEM

Since I was on Xbox Live downloading this free track, I decided to see what other DLC (Downloadable Content) was available for games that I own. Apparently they released new costumes for Ninja Gaiden 2 for 200pts each. I really have no need to pay $2.50 to get a new costume for Ryu Hayabusa.

Anyway, it turns out that Rock Band is also release a new free track. According to *** DLC Week of July 1st – Crüefest Pack plus free song!:

Hey everybody, next week for DLC we have the Crüefest Pack for $.99 per track (80 Microsoft Points) and a track from the movie “The Rocker” by Vesuvius absolutely free! Also check back on Monday and I may have some other news-type-stuff for you.


“Promised Land” – Vesuvius
(All tracks utilize the original master recordings)


“Promised Land” – Free!

You can go listen to Promised Land and watch someone play on YouTube: Promised Land- Vesuvius Rock Band Guitar Expert. Sounds like another song celebrating July 4th, Independence Day.

McDonald’s/Rock Band Promo – 8 Songs Discounted to 80pts

Along the same lines as the previous post, thanks to Mike C for pointing out the fact there the McDonald’s/Rock Band promotion that went on last month that dropped several songs to 80pts ($1) was still in effect.

According to Shacknews:

Marking the third promotional campaign to feature Rock Band downloadable content this week, developer Harmonix and fast-food eatery McDonald’s have teamed up to offer cheaper downloads of select songs across the next month.

Beginning today, the cost of two individual Rock Band tracks will be temporarily lowered to 80 Microsoft Points ($1), down from the average asking price of 160 Microsoft Points ($2). The promotion will run for a total of four weeks, with the discounted songs changing every week.

Meant to promote the McDonald’s Dollar Menu, the cheaper downloads are available for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 editions of the multi-instrument music title.

The discount schedule and specific per-week songs are:

5/6/08 – 5/12/08 :

5/13/08 – 5/19/08 :

5/20/08 – 5/26/08:

5/27/08 – 6/2/08:

The promotion was supposed to end on 6/2 and only 2 songs were supposed to be discounted each week, but it appears even though the promotion is over, all 8 songs are being discounted. Not sure if this is a permanent discount, or if it’s a glitch, but if any of those songs interest you above, you should get them soon. The only 2 songs I really know from that list are: Blink 182 – “All the Small Things” and All-American Rejects – “Dirty Little Secret”.

2 Free Disturbed Tracks for Rock Band (Xbox 360)

Got this deal from FromHyd on SD. According to the thread, you can get 2 free tracks by Disturbed (which is released on June 3rd, 2008).

  1. Go to Disturbed / Xbox / Rock Band
  2. Enter the following code: 1lfa89
  3. Click Submit
  4. Enter download code you receive on your Xbox Live Account

To redeem your token code, go to the Xbox 360® Dashboard and enter Xbox LIVE® Marketplace. Select the Redeem Code option to enter your code to begin downloading your content.

When I tried redeeming the code in Firefox, I got the error: You have already redeemed your code!, but it worked fine in IE7.

Disturbed According to Xbox 360 Fanboy, the following 3 tracks by Disturbed are scheduled to be released on 6/3:

  • Indestructible
  • Inside the Fire
  • Perfect Insanity

So it’s probably going to be 2 out of those 3.

You’re probably wondering what exactly is this deal? And what does it mean by Best Buy pre order code? I actually have no idea and the thread doesn’t really go into specifics. Someone did mention:

Code works. Disturbed Pre-Order Pack downloaded. OP repped!

So maybe pre order refers to the name of the download: Disturbed Pre-Order Pack which Best Buy was distributing. Or it could be you had to pre-order something at Best Buy to qualify for this code. Either way, I’m not sure what it means, but if you’re questioning the ethicality (is that even a word?) of this deal, I would suggest you probably skip it until more details are revealed.

Update: Apparently today is June 3rd.

Update #2: According to Mike C, Indestructable and Inside The Fire are the 2 free tracks in this pack.

Update #3: Looks like all the download codes have been redeemed.

Guitar Stand (Rock Band Dork)

So there was a sale on guitar stands last week and I contemplated on getting one for my Rock Band/Guitar Hero III guitars. People on the thread were saying the guitar stands work fine for Rock Band guitars. I told Ungsunghero about my plan and he said he would start calling me “Rock Band Nerd Dork“.

The double guitar stand they were selling ($14 shipped) was out of stock, so I contemplated about getting 2 of the single guitar stands (also $14 shipped). However I thought too long and those sold out before I could purchase them. The only thing left was the triple guitar stand ($20 shipped), so I decided since I do technically have 3 guitars, that’ll work out. I originally had 1 Guitar Hero III wireless guitar and 1 Rock Band wired guitar, but Ungsunghero had gifted me an additional wireless guitar since I had told him I was thinking of getting another wireless one.

I got the stands on Saturday morning and putting them together was rather simple. It was a bit flimsy, but seems to do fine. For $20, I can’t really complain.

Triple Guitar StandTriple Guitar Stand + Guitar Hero III Wireless GuitarsTriple Guitar Stand + Guitar Hero III Wireless Guitars + Rock Band GuitarTriple Guitar Stand + Guitar Hero III Wireless Guitars + Rock Band Guitar
(from Rock Band album)

I haven’t figured where exactly I want to put it, but I’m planning or changing the layout of my living room anyway.

UPDATE: Ungsunghero corrected me and said it should’ve been Rock Band Dork and not Rock Band Nerd.

Still Alive (Portal) – Free Song Download for Rock Band (Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3)

portal guitar Thanks to StanMan for forwarding me this link: Still Alive for Rock Band Free Tommorrow

ROCK BAND Media Alert


This is a triumph … Harmonix Music Systems and MTV Games have teamed up with Valve to bring the song “Still Alive”, released as part of The Orange Box collection of games on PC, 360 and Playstation 3, into the Rock Band library. And, as icing on the cake, the track will be available as a FREE download on April 1 for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and April 17 for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system.

Written by Jonathan Coulton and originally performed over the end credits of Portal, the experimental single-player game in The Orange Box, “Still Alive” found its way into the heads and hearts of gamers and quickly became a cult classic.

“While the cake may be a lie, the free download of “Still Alive” is confirmed truth,” said Greg LoPiccolo, VP of product development at Harmonix. “‘Still Alive’ is an awesome song that brings together great gaming and great music. We’ve teamed up with Valve to deliver a free download of “Still Alive” as a “thank you” to our fans for their incredible support.”

Rock Band has lit the industry on fire by opening a new market for cooperative musical gaming,” said Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing at Valve. “We’re delighted Harmonix has selected the track for inclusion in the growing library of tracks available for this phenomenal title.”

With the addition of “Still Alive” to the Rock Band library, there are now more than 70 tracks available for download in addition to the 58 tracks in the original game. To date, gamers have purchased more than 6 million downloadable songs for Rock Band since its launch on November 20, 2007.

Downloadable content for the Xbox 360 will be available via Xbox LIVE® Marketplace using Microsoft Points and is downloaded directly to the Xbox 360 hard drive. Downloadable content for the PLAYSTATION 3 system’s version of Rock Band will be available on the PLAYSTATION®Store through the free PLAYSTATION®Network and is downloaded directly to PLAYSTATION 3 system’s built in hard drive.

Rock Band is rated “T” for Teen (lyrics, mild suggestive themes) by the ESRB.

I found this on Rock Band’s forums: DLC April 1st! Huge success!

Hey everybody!

This week we have a special present for you in celebration of April Fool’s Day. For $0 (0 Microsoft Points) you can download-

“Still Alive” by GlaD0s and Jonathan Coulton (master)

Due to work Sony is doing on their store they won’t be adding new material for a couple weeks so this won’t release on PlayStation Store this week. When they go back up with new material in a few weeks, though, it will be there lovingly waiting for you. For free. I’ll post something up here when it is available on that platform.

It will be available on Xbox360 on April 1st.

Also special thanks to Valve and to Jonathan Coulton for helping to make this happen. You rule.

If you don’t know what Still Alive is, you’ve been missing out. It’s the ending song for Portal (part of The Orange Box).

Unfortunately when I went to go download it right now, I was unable to connect to Xbox Live. That’s when I found this article: Reminder: Xbox Live Maintenance on Tuesday April 1:

On Tuesday April 1st from 0200-0500 PT Xbox Live will be offline for maintenance. As a result, the ‘My Xbox’ section of will be unavailable, and the Xbox forums will be in read only mode (you won’t be able to post.) The remainder of will be available.

Find out what time the maintenance will begin in your time zone

This is for maintenance, there are no new features on your that will appear on your Xbox 360 console or when the service comes back online. This is server maintenance only.

Those bastards! *shakes fist* Guess I’ll just have to wait till tomorrow. The freebie appears to be available for the whole week, unless you own a PS3, which then you’ll have to wait till Sony fixes their marketplace.


Here’s’s official story on it: Rock Band April Song Track Releases

Harmonix and MTV Games have announced the release schedule of individual song tracks and song packs for the game Rock Band™ for the month of April 2008. Fans will be able to purchase songs for 160 Microsoft Points per track (unless otherwise stated) and entire packs of songs are available at a discount.

Hooray, the April tracks are here!

Tracks marked with an asterisk (*) are cover songs as made famous by the listed artist. Tracks without an asterisk are original master recordings.

Week of April 1, 2008

  • Individual tracks released (this is a FREE download starting April 1):
    • “Still Alive” by GLaDOS and Jonathan Coulton (from the game Portal)

Rock Band downloadable content is playable and integrated into setlists in all game modes including Solo Tour, Band World Tour, head-to-head competition either locally or online, and from any Quickplay mode. Start flexing your fingers and mark your calendar for these exciting song tracks, available through Xbox LIVE® Marketplace.