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Saturday, October 26, 2002

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 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.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 01:39 ET.  [permalink]
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Saturday, October 19, 2002

Comprehending Engineers - Take Three

What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?

Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 16:44 ET.  [permalink]
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Comprehending Engineers - Take Two

To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. (Safety factor of 2)

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 05:01 ET.  [permalink]
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Advertise on!

Reach millions of eyeballs for less than a penny per impression! It's the deal of a lifetime! We're jumping on the micro-ad bandwagon pioneered by Google's AdWords Select program and further popularized by such cool services as Blogger and Arnab's BlogSnob. And we're doing it cheap, too. Just $10, the minimum purchase, gets you 12,500 impressions right here on our homepage. Your ad will also appear on all the other pages of this website, too-- and this website has over 1,000 pages. That's one helluva lot of exposure for just ten measly bucks, dontcha think?

Oh, I know what you're asking. You're wondering, "But why should I advertise on your website rather than some white supremist's or the Hare Krishna's website?" Excellent question! The reason is that we need the money more than either of the two aforementioned groups and we have better taste in beer.

So, ready to strut your stuff in front of the whole virtual world and place a micro-ad for your website? Ok then, come git you some!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 04:43 ET.  [permalink]
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Friday, October 18, 2002

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."

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 12:54 ET.  [permalink]
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Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Appliance Tip of the Day: Dryer Stops when the Start Button is Released

appliance tip of the day archiveSo, your dryer starts up when you press the start button but stops when you release it. Whether a Whirlpool/Kenmore or GE/Hotpoint, this tip o' the day awwta hepya.

Even Heat Control BoardIf you dryer is a Whirlpool/Kenmore, the culprit is this little boogar, the Even Heat Control Board. It's located in your dryer's control console, you'll have to open it up to get to it. This parts breakdown of the control console will help you--it's item 13.

GE/Hotpoint dryers have a belt break switch that stops the dryer if the belt is broken. The drum will turn while the start button is pressed but the motor will not stay on. In this case, the cure is pretty painless: replace the belt. If your belt isn't broken, then check the continuity of the belt break switch, located beside the motor. If the belt and the belt break switch are both good, then the motor is bad and you'll need to replace it--come git you a new one. Whether replacing the motor or the belt, it's worth spending a few shekels for a GE/Hotpoint dryer repair manual. Or, better yet, ask the Samurai in live help.

Awwite, go fix your dryer.

grasshoppers once again enjoying dry skivvies after repairing their kenmore dryer

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 18:44 ET.  [permalink]
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Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Appliance Tip of the Day: Gas Dryer Problem Solver

appliance tip of the day archiveIf you're having problems with a gas dryer that only heats a short time then shuts off the flame, the first thing to do is to completely disconnect the vent from the dryer and run it again to see if the symptom changes. If it does, you know the problem is the vent, read this page for more info.

If the problem doesn't change with the vent off or the burner never fires up at all, then the problem is inside the dryer. This page will help you troubleshoot the key components inside the dryer.

A common problem is the glow ignitor gets hot and turns orange, you hear a click, but no flame and then the ignitor goes out. This is almost always the gas valve coils, an inexpensive part that's easy to change. Don't mess around with just changing one of them, save yourself a headache and change out the set. You won't be out a lot of shekels. Buy the set here.

If the dryer runs for a while, shuts off and then won't even let you restart it for a while, this is usually a bad motor--the motor is overheating and its internal thermal overload is kicking it off. You should confirm this by measuring for 120v at the motor's run start winding terminals.

If you need help making electrical measurements and using a multimeter (or if you don't know what that is), read this page. You won't fix much in the appliance world without a multimeter. You can buy a good quality, inexpensive meter here.

grasshoppers sitting comfortably with the master in warm, dry skivvies freshly dried in their gas dryer

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 16:35 ET.  [permalink]
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Monday, October 14, 2002

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.
Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 03:42 ET.  [permalink]
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Wednesday, October 09, 2002

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.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 08:14 ET.  [permalink]
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Monday, October 07, 2002

Appliantology Group Update

Just added a gruntload full of appliance repair photos and diagrams to the photos section of The Appliantology Group. There are hundreds of images covering various repairs on all major appliances. Check 'em out. Oh, you can only access them if you're a member of The Appliantology Group. If you're not a member, it sucks to be you!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 18:40 ET.  [permalink]
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Live Help Poll

So, I'm wondering about offering live help anymore at 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.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 13:06 ET.  [permalink]
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Sunday, October 06, 2002

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.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 22:30 ET.  [permalink]
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Saturday, October 05, 2002

Live Help Update

More changes are brewing here at 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.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 17:04 ET.  [permalink]
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Friday, October 04, 2002

Brain Drain

Just got back from a three-day section hike on the NH Appalachian Trail with my K-9 hiking bud, Ouzo. Found out that EZBoard, the host for the Samurai School of Appliantology, has been dead in the water for the past couple of days. They're back up now.

The backpacking trip I just returned from was a trial run for my four-day backpacking trip next week in the Adirondacks with a couple of friends from PA. Since I want to take the K-9 on that trip, I needed to see how he'd do in backpacking life...and how I would do carrying the extra food needed to keep him alive. Both of us did just fine. In fact, Ouzo didn't even want to come home. He's slinking around the house wishing he was back on the trail.

For your reading pleasure, here are some pearls from the trail gleaned from this last trip:

  • Of all things to be caught without, toilet paper should not be one of them. It's light enough that you won't be overly burdened by carrying a little more than you think you need.
  • Wet wipes kick ass! Especially the red ass.
  • Carrying a backup pair of skivvies is wise. Carrying a backup to the backup pair is inspired.
  • Carry a backup source of light to your LED headlamp--the mountains get dark very early and the nights are long. Good choices for backups are a candle or cyalume sticks.
  • The first night out is always the most difficult for sleeping. Carry a sleeping aid. Vodka works well.
  • A robust coffee substitute: Add two bags of Celestial Seasonings Island Maté Spice tea and one bag of Twinings English Breakfast tea to a half quart kettle of water just brought to a boil. Steep for seven minutes. Keep toilet pack handy.

More on the planned Adirondack expedition in an upcoming Hillstomping Update. Don't touch that dial!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 09:58 ET.  [permalink]
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