Category Archives: etc.

dementia, detritis, etc.

Blowing a Gasket!

Blowing a Gasket!

I’m so psyched (or is that psychotic?)–I got the gasket fabrication table built! I just need to add a few amenities like an exhaust vent to carry away those nasty VOCs that are released when you weld the rubber gasket pieces together (otherwise, you get tumors in your lymph nodes). That was a big project and I’m glad to see it finally coming together. I’m on track to be knocking on doors in December for custom gasket work. I’ll go out prospecting and making measurements one or two days. Then I’m in the shop for a day making the gaskets and I schedule to go back out to the restaurant, hospital, college, jail, whatever, and install the gaskets. It’s a cool setup, I’ll take pictures and post ’em sometime.

I’ve been so busy getting the gasket shop together that I haven’t done much with the website or forum. There’s only one of me and I gotta put my energies into what’ll pay the bills and put food on the table. I need a clone. Any volunteers?

Bio-Engineered Terrorist Designer Disease

Bio-Engineered Terrorist Designer Disease

As I sit here writing this, I’m convulsing in pain as an invisible hand grabs and twists my bowels. Every joint and muscle in my body aches. And still I write this post as the ultimate futile act of defiance against the bio-engineered designer terrorist disease that threatens to consume my pitiful life. Damn, terrorism sucks. But I’ll be dead soon. See you in Hell.

The Samurai School of Appliantology

The Samurai School of Appliantology

This is our clever name for our do-it-yourself appliance repair forum. This post explains how to access the forum. Please keep reading.

Due to the higher cost of maintaining the Samurai School of Appliantology, we’ve changed from an open forum to membership-by-approval forum. Each page view from non-supporting members costs us money. Since I’m running this forum out of the kindness of my heart and my own pocket, that’s just not a sustainable situation now, is it? Like the saying goes, “There’s no free lunch,” and the cyber world is no exception.

So, how do you become a member? Easy as pie, comrade! Follow these three easy steps:

  1. Give $10 or more to the United Samurai Beer Fund. A $10 contribution is good for one year. A $20 contribution is good for three years. And with a contribution of $30 or more, you get lifetime appliance repair support at this website plus 12,500 FREE ad impressions at Fixitnow.com! If you contribute through Paypal, I receive the notification instantly in my email and can approve you sooner.
  2. Register for a free Ezboard account. The Samurai School is hosted by Ezboard and you need to have an Ezboard account to access the forum. Don’t worry, it’s painless and free.
  3. After you’ve created your Ezboard account, email me your account name. Once we’ve received your Beer Fund contribution, I can log into Ezboard and admit you into the Samurai School.

In the School, you’ll find answers to thousands of appliance repair questions on all types of major kitchen and laundry appliance. You can also do a search to find the information you’re looking for. Many of the threads include photos and diagrams.

If you’ve already given to the United Samurai Beer Fund and would like access to the repair forum, just email me and I’ll approve you. If you paid by Paypal, make sure you email me from the same email address from which you made your Paypal contribution so I can look you up. If you previously mailed in a check, include your full name and mailing address when you email me.

If you’re already a member (i.e., you’ve already posted in the forum), go ahead and log in here.

Ok, then, talk to you later. Live long and prosper.

Clawing my way out of Computer Hell

Clawing my way out of Computer Hell

It’s been a tough haul out of the mess that the Yahoo Intellisync program made on my computer (Intellisync lets you synchronize your Palm calendar with with a database on the internet so Grasshoppers could look at it and Mrs. Samurai could add things like watching the kids to it.) I had to completely reformat my hard drive…several times, and do a clean reinstall of Windows. The system still wasn’t stable so I had to take it back to Dr. Tim, the designer and builder of my awesome computer, for major surgery. He chanted Hare Krisha over it and sprinkled it with magic Woofle dust and got it running right again. But I’ve emerged from that disaster with a more robust system. We now have four computers networked together and connected to a broadbad internet connection through a router. Another benefit of the router is that it’s a hardware firewall, so all the computers are protected from malicious probes.

Haven’t been doing much ‘pooting lately. Been busy getting my shop set up for the gasket fabrication service I’ll be launching soon. It’s been a lot of back-breaking work clearing out the basement, throwing out four full-size pickup truck loads full of accumulated junk, making room for the 4′ by 8′ gasket fabrication table that I have yet to build. The pallet of gasket stock, magnets, and the gasket welder were all delivered by freight truck yesterday. They’re being stored outside under several tarps, hopefully impervious to the steady rain we’ve had for the last two days. I’ll move them into the workshop tomorrow and they’ll stay there until the fabrication table is built, hopefully later this week. Stay tuned for some exciting pictures.

In keeping with my migration away from Yahoo, I’ve given myself over to the Dark Side and jumped into the MSN camp with both feet:

  • I’m using a Hotmail account for my main email client and will eventually close the Yahoo account as important email gets switched over to Hotmail. My Hotmail address is samurai_appliance_repair_man@hotmail.com. Use it in good faith.
  • I deleted the Appliantology group at Yahoo Groups and reincarnated it in MSN Groups. After I’ve finished the housekeeping (e.g., uploading photos and files, adding links, customizing the appearance, etc.) I’ll open it up for the Grasshoppers to peruse and join
  • I even downloaded and installed the new MSN 8 software. It’s pretty cool but all the features don’t work in the downloaded version so I’m waiting for the CD to arrive. If it does all it’s hyped up to do, it’ll be well worth the $10/month. And, by the way, it includes its own version of Intellisync so I can give it another shot.
  • I pinned up a 4′ x 7′ blowup of Bill Gates’ face on the wall directly behind my monitor so I can always feel the imperious gaze of the Master. We are Borg, resistance is futile.

Another change I’ve made is to change the forum from an open forum where anyone could post to a Membership-By-Admission (MBA) forum. To be approved for membership, you have to contribute to the United Samurai Beer Fund. Details on this coming in another post.

With a computer workstation installed downstairs now, I can listen to Live365.com while I’m working down here. My favorite stations are Radio Prank . Com and ((( HaLLuCiNoGeNiC ))). Radio Prank has some really funny schtick on it and it’s well worth the $5/month subscription to Live365.com to get it.

More coming soon, stay tuned.

Crash nā€™ Burn!

Crash n’ Burn!

Fighting through a major computer crash. Everything was running far too good to just leave it alone. So, like an idiot, I downloaded and installed Yahoo Intellesync yesterday so I could access my Palm schedule online. The program overwrote several files critical to Windows and cut off my cable modem connection (I’m posting this entry via the dialup connection that we keep on my wife’s computer as a backup) and my computer has been a trash heap ever since. Windows won’t even re-install itself. I think I’m going to have to do a low-level fixed disk re-format which means I’ll lose all my data. The icing on the cake is that I have no backup. It’s going to be a long fight back up.

I hereby damn Yahoo and all it’s manifestations to Hell. I will no longer be using Yahoo Messenger or any other Yahoo service that I can reasonably avoid. I will also be deleting the Appliantology group as soon as I am able. I will re-direct all email to my hotmail account and my Yahoo mailbox will soon cease to exist. I will curse them with every breath. May Yahoo find itself being slowly squeezed to death by its more worthy competitors, AOL and MSN. May a thousand viruses and DoS attacks infest their servers so they can have a taste of the extreme hassle they’ve caused me. Die, Yahoo! Die!

Back At It

Back At It

Back from my trip to Waco. Good trip, bad flight, same old story. But I’m back, re-oriented and re-focused. I’ll be starting back up the service side of my bidness but doing commercial appliance gasket replacement. It’s a very mundane sounding but highly specialized and profitable niche bidness.

All my residential appliance repair work will be done exclusively through this website. Commercial appliance repair work pays more and has a higher profit margin than residential work. The thing you always run up against in residential work is “How much is a new one?” The economics of an in-home appliance repair business is that it usually costs more just to get your trained technician butt into someone’s home than they’re usually willing to pay to have their appliance repaired. That’s usually not an option in the commercial world where everything needs to be fixed yesterday. This allows the service company to charge a fair rate for expert on-site repairs.

So, my efforts over the next several weeks will be in setting up my shop for commercial gasket fabrication. The gasket welder and stock are being shipped from Waco. I should be selling my first gasket replacement job well before the end of the year. Wish me luck!

Off to Waco

Off to Waco

Well, friends, I’m flying down to the sprawling metropolis of Waco, Texas, Saturday morning for a big Mr. Appliance meeting. I’ll learn the subtle art of commercial refrigeration door gasket fabrication and replacement. Also, Whirlpool factory reps will be there to teach us repair procedures on the Calypso washer and the Duet washer and dryers. I’ll be back Thursday night, all brainified on commercial refrigeration gaskets and the latest Whirlpool equipment.

Although I haven’t posted all week, I’ve been busy behind the scenes with all sorts of web projects. By far the biggest project was helping my good friend, Hodji, move his cafe from the Cool Stuff page on my website to his new home at his very own website. Stop by and say hello. Congratulations, Hodji!

After trying several blog commenting systems, I finally settled on the current one (if you don’t know what a blog is, check out blogger.com for more info). All the other systems I tried were java-script-based–slick, but they made the homepage load too slow. So I went with the current non-java system–not as slick but it allows comments without dragging the system. Look for the little links at the bottom of each entry, on that says add comments and another that says read comments. Check it out, let’s hear from you!

Had to work out some bugs on the newly-installed Idya text-based advertising system. It’s Arnab’s brainchild and he was a great help in getting it going. It’s working great and I highly recommend it for your website.

Finally, Ezboard, the host of the Samurai School of Appliantology, installed a major upgrade to their system and, as you’d expect with any major upgrade, there where some wrinkles that had to be ironed out. It’s working well now and has some slick new features, too, like a built-in chat room, forum profile, active members list, and hottest topics list. Check it out!

I won’t be able to do live help or get on Yahoo Messenger at all while I’m down in Waco but I’ll still be able to answer questions in the forum each day and maybe even do some blog posts live from Waco! Ok, talk to you later.

Comprehending Engineers ā€“ Take One

Comprehending Engineers – Take One

Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, “Where did you get such a great bike?” The second engineer replied, “Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, “Take what you want.” The first engineer nodded approvingly, “Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit.”

Hillstomping Update: The Adirondacks Trip

Hillstomping Update: The Adirondacks Trip

Well, for all my big talk about bagging all those peaks, we ended up only bagging one. The hiking trip to the Adirondacks turned into more of a camping trip since the summits were immersed in clouds. We camped the first night in the Garden parking lot and then headed down the John’s Brook trail by the dawn’s early light, seven easy miles to the Slant Rock area where we made camp for the night. It was chilly, drizzly, and uniformly overcast that day and the next, too. When we climbed up Mt. Marcy the next day, we were right smack in the middle of a cloud with visibility of about 50 feet. Since there was nothing to see from any of the high peaks, there was no point in climbing any more of them so we broke camp and hiked on out. Back in town, we purchased adult beverages and camped out at Marcy Field where we built a raging inferno, imbibed liberally on fermented grain beverages, and ate MREs.

Miscellaneous trip notes:

  • Crossing Lake Champlain on the ferry is always a pleasant experience. The ferries are well-run by friendly crews and very economical at only $13.50 round trip.
  • We met the hut master at the Johns Brook Lodge, a cynical fat guy who loved to hear himself complain about cynical fat guests.
  • At the Bushnell Falls lean-to, there were five older guys from Ohio staying there when we passed it on the way to Slant Rock. One guy had an enormous hairy beer belly that hung over his waist with a giant scar that ran down the length of his belly and flacid, droopy teets to complete the picture of health. Another one was smitten by Ouzo, my German Shepherd hiking bud, and we stopped to chat for a moment. As we were leaving, I noticed wads of white toilet paper in the woods in front of the lean-to. Not 50 feet up the trail from the lean-to was the outhouse. These guys either didn’t know the outhouse was there or they enjoyed taking dumps directly on the forest floor in full view of the lean-to. I think I now see why Ohio is called the Buckeye state.
  • German Short-Haired Pointers are the most neurotic dogs I’ve ever seen.
  • The AMC is a superior mountain club to the ADK. I think this is probably due to the AMC’s prominence in its domain, the White Mountains, where it works in partnership with the USFS to educate hikers on the wise stewardship of the land. The ADK, on the other hand, is forced to play a subordinate, peripheral role in the Adirondacks to a heavy-handed state regulatory agency, the NY DEC, whose keyword is “mandate” rather than “educate.” For example, in the White Mountains, the AMC teaches that dogs should be on a leash or otherwise under control. A good-tempered dog obedient to verbal commands is under control and it’s left to the owner to make the final decision on whether or not his dog should be leashed. The NY DEC, on the other hand, mandates that dogs must be leashed at all times with threats of rangers patrolling and slapping you with a $50 fine. This basic mistrust of the individual to make the right decision is the cultural keynote for New York. Where New York has legions of bureaucrats sitting around spewing out Rulz, New Hampshire prefers to give the individual good information and then trust that they’ll make the right decision. New York relies heavily on government action; New Hampshire relies on volunteerism and cooperative action. The Adirondacks would be a great place to hike except for that thing around it called New York.
  • But New York almost totally redeems itself with its flagship product, Genesee beer. You can still purchase this fine light-bodied beer for only three bucks a six-pack at the Stewart Shop in Keene Valley, NY–a real treat for the quantity beer drinker.

Gone Hiking

Gone Hiking

Heading out to the Adirondacks today for a backpacking trip. I’ll be meeting up with a couple of buds from PA. The K-9 unit and I will camp in the van at the trail head tonight waiting for Dave and Bob, who should be there around midnight. Tomorrow morning we’ll all hit the trail, face-first and screaming, all the way to the lean-to. We’ll set up base camp and, over the next three days, bag all the high peaks of the Adirondacks: Mt. Marcy (5344′), Mt. Skylight (4926′), Mt. Haystack (4960′), Basin Mtn.(4827′), Saddleback Mtn. (4515′), The Gothics (4736′), Mt. Armstrong (4400′), and Upper Wolfjaw Mtn. (4185′). We’ll hike out on Sunday and I shall once again be firmly ensconced in Mrs. Samurai’s strong but very womanly arms by late Sunday night or the wee hours of Monday morning.

I’ll spend this morning doing last-minute packing and head out around noon for the four-hour drive to the trail head. If you need appliance repair help while I’m out on the trail, call me toll-free on my cell phone at 1-800-GET-LOST. Or you could go ahead and post your question in the forum and one of the other fine gurus will help you.

Live Help Poll

Live Help Poll

So, I’m wondering about offering live help anymore at Fixitnow.com. Seems like there’s enough personal help with the forum, Yahoo Messenger, the Appliantology Group, etc. I just don’t know how useful live help is with all those other forms of communications available. So, I turn to you, my gentle grasshoppers, to help me decide. Tell me what you think works best. Won’t you spare me a second or two of your boredom while you’re stuck there at work and come answer this poll on live help? Mucho domo’s.

Commoonications Update


Ok, I finally broke down and installed Yahoo Messenger. My handle is zenzoidman. I also added that spiffy whatchahoozit to the homepage that tells whether I’m on- or off-line. Not only does it tell whether I’m on-line or not, but you can click it to send me messages. Big Brother meets Big Yahoo.

Live Help Update

Live Help Update

More changes are brewing here at Fixitnow.com. This time it’s live help. Currently, I’m using Live Person to offer live help to users. I wouldn’t mind the $700/year cost for the service if it weren’t so glitchy. So, I’ll be phasing out the Live Person system in favor of the free chat room in The Appliantology Group. You have to join The Appliantology Group to access the chat room, but membership is free.

Also, instead of posting the live help hours here on this page as I’ve been doing, I’ll post them in The Appliantology Group calendar. So, for example, if you go the calendar for today, you’ll see an entry that live help is being held in the Appliantology chat room from 3-5pm. It’s pretty cool. And, so far, it’s all free, too. I got a feeling the days of the free ride on the web are coming to an end, maybe including the free stuff at this website, too. Later days, brah.