It all makes perfect sense …

“Can’t you see?
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents,
Pounds, shillings and pence.
Can’t you see?
It all makes perfect sense.”

— Roger Waters, Perfect Sense, Part II Roger Waters - Amused to Death - Perfect Sense, Pt. 2

Roger Waters at the Continental Airlines Arena, May 24th

Last night, I was able to see Roger Waters perform live at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. If you don’t recognize the name, he’s the voice you probably recognize when you listen to Pink Floyd songs.

I’d continued to follow him during his solo career and fell in love with the Perfect Sense song I quoted above, but when the tickets said “Dark Side of the Moon,” I was expecting only Pink Floyd material. But when he finally played the song, I was in my happy place. They could have played boy band covers for the rest of the evening for all I cared; I was fully satisfied.

Another treat was hearing a song he’d written recently called Leaving Beirut, which is so full of emotion that it left me incredibly sad and angry afterwards. But, it also filled me with joy and happiness, because it also meant that there are still people who understand what caring about others and sharing what (little) you might have can do to make life just that much more bearable. Roger does his part by sharing this narrative with us.

Inside the Arena, looking at the stage from Section 127

It was a fantastic concert and the place was almost packed. The hum and buzz and energy was very palpable. When we left, sometime close to 11 PM, I was more energized than when I’d gotten there at 7:00 PM. This was exactly the kind of de-stressing I needed after the last two weeks and everything that’s been going on.

Thank you, everyone who made last night possible, especially the person who was kind enough to get us these tickets!

Links:

  • Perfect Sense, Part II: Roger Waters - Amused to Death - Perfect Sense, Pt. 2
  • Leaving Beiruit: lyrics, Roger Waters - To Kill The Child / Leaving Beirut - Single - Leaving Beirut

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Lots of miles on our Bosch WFK2401UC washer motor

(Disclaimer: I’m not an appliance repair technician, just a homeowner with an expensive appliance.)

We have a pair of stacked Bosch washer and dryer appliances, the WFK2401UC and the WTL5400UC. They weren’t cheap when we bought them, and now five years later, the washer motor gave out. Here’s what the back of the washer looks like, with the motor already removed:

Bosch WFK2401UC inside, without motor

It fills with water and drains just fine–it just doesn’t turn the drum and agitate. The drum rotates smoothly so the bearings don’t appear to be worn. The belt is in good condition. My guess: the brushes on the motor are worn. Here’s the motor before I started disassembling it:

Bosch WFK2401UC motor, PN 141860

After carefully taking the motor assembly apart, I was able to get the carbon brush holders out. Taking the connecting lead off the cap and sliding the brush out, here’s what one of my worn brushes looks like:

Bosch worn carbon brush, PN 154740

See that rectangular chunk on the left-hand side? That is what’s left of the carbon brush–it starts out close to 1.5 inches long! From what I can tell, the measurements of the brush are 3/16″ (0.1875″) x 0.5 ” x 1.5″.

Armed with this information in hand, I decided to source replacement parts locally. This was an exercise in failure: none of the appliance repair places have much in the way of Bosch replacement parts nearby. I also tried to get my hands on car alternator brushes which I’d have to cut and file to fit–no such luck. I even went to Carbone-Lorraine down in Boonton, NJ, to see if they had anything in stock that I could use as a start–they wanted to fabricate them for me, in two weeks. Defeated, I gave in and decided to get replacement parts from Bosch. Of course, I knew this meant paying a lot of money for what should be a $5 part.

After a little bit of searching around, I found Marcone Appliance Parts which had these parts in stock! As I expected, the price for a set of two carbon brushes was close to $30, instead of the $5 they ought to cost. But, it sure beats spending another $1,000-$1,500 on a new washer, right? So, I bit the bullet and placed an order which should hopefully arrive tomorrow or the next day.

In case you want to order them, here’s the information you’ll need:

If you need to order the whole motor assembly, you can get that too for just under $200:

If you’re a proud (or perhaps disgruntled) owner of a Bosch WFK2401UC washer, and it’s lost its magic smoke … perhaps this information will help you if you choose to repair it yourself–but if you do, remember to take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety, I’m not responsible for anything you do, etc., etc.

I’ll post an update once I’ve received the new brushes and installed them. I’m hoping this is all that’s wrong with the washer and we’ll be back to doing laundry in no time.

Update: The new brushes arrived today, May 22nd, and I installed them and reassembled the motor. Here’s a picture of the brand new brushes:

New Bosch carbon brushes, PN 154740

I had to experiment a bit with how the motor was mounted with respect to the belt tension, and it seemed to not be able to spin the motor at its full speed. I ended up removing the motor to inspect it and when I reinstalled it, I must have done something wrong because it made some really bad sounds and then shot an electrical arc which tripped the circuit breaker. I was afraid I’d let the magic smoke out of the appliance, but it seems to power up after resetting the breaker. I hope I can figure out why it’s not working properly before I do completely destroy this machine. 🙂

Update: Saul has kindly shared the PDF for the owner’s manual (16.1 MB PDF) (mirror).

Update 2010-09-23: After much searching and not finding, I scanned the Use & Care Manual for the WTA3500 and WTL5400 electric dryers (1 MB PDF). I did find the installation guide (537 KB PDF) too, which I also uploaded.

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Like to dress up your pets? Share your pictures on AOL!

Katie G. at AOL let me know that AOL Pets is teaming up with LIFE magazine for a Halloween Pet Photo Contest. Nothing says “I’m a weirdo” more than dressing up your pets, taking pictures of them and posting them online for the world to see! I know, I know, it’s “an expression of affection” … yeah, sure.

Sushi dog

Look at that. A dog. Made to look like sushi. Check out the grin on that kid. It just exudes, “When you’re done taking the picture, I’m going to pick up this here knife and stab you in the eye for making me do this.” I see years of therapy in this kid’s future …

Elephant dog

If dogs could talk, this one would probably say something like, “Not only do I look like Dumbo, but I feel really Dumbo.” I hope you doubled up on this dog’s treat ration that night, else I wouldn’t be surprised if he peed on your head while you were sleeping that night.

Look, maybe it’s just me. Maybe it really isn’t as weird as I think it is to dress up your pets. Perhaps they even like it–they are pets, after all. So, if dressing your pets and posting pictures is something you enjoy and your pet doesn’t seem to mind too much, then go and enter the contest. Ten lucky winners will have their photos featured on LIFE.com and one will appear in an upcoming issue of LIFE magazine. To get you started, here’s a link to CostumeSuperCenter.com, where they even have costumes for your pets! (See the “Pet Costumes & Mascots” link.)

Pet and Mascot Costumes at Costume SuperCenter

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Super Halloween costumes at CostumeSuperCenter.com

September is almost over and October is just around the corner, which means it will be Halloween soon! This also means you probably want to get yourself a Halloween costume. Here’s a great site online that offers a nice variety of costumes for all ages, CostumeSuperCenter.com.

Costume SuperCenter has Over 250 Infant and Toddler Costumes
Free Shipping at Costume SuperCenter
Hot Pirates of the Caribbean Costumes at Costume SuperCenter

Go check them out. Apparently, Steven Mandell (founder of Party City) is involved in Costume SuperCenter to some degree, too. Their corporate headquarters are right here in Northern New Jersey, over in West Caldwell.

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FSBO: 40 High St., Butler, NJ 07405 – $569,000

(I’m posting this for friends who are trying to sell their house. If
you have any questions, please call them directly at the number listed.
Thanks!)

40 High St.
Butler, NJ 07405

Professionally restored with inlaid hardwood floors, cypress trim,
living room with gas fireplace, kitchen with granite counter tops, new
bathrooms, plumbing and electrical systems. Walk to downtown and NYC
bus.

$569,000

(973) 492-5706

This fine home has been professionally restored to 1898 character and
charm. The inlaid hardwood floors and the extensive cypress trim has all
been stripped and refinished. The plaster walls have been completely
stripped of excess paint, refinished, and color-matched to the original
1898 colors. The entire interior of this home, from the gleaming floors
to the second floor foyer, exudes a charm and warmth not found in newer
homes. The living room features a custom gas fireplace with three-part
Basque relief, built-in bookcases and gold leaf border. The kitchen is
a cook’s delight, featuring granite counter tops, stainless steel
appliances and a Viking professional stove. Other updates include new
bathrooms with the finest fixtures, as well as plumbing and electrical
systems. The three-car garage is large enough for virtually any vehicle
and features a walk-up storage loft. Walk to downtown and NYC bus.
This is a home for the most discerning buyer, and must be seen to be
appreciated.
















First floor:

Ante Room: 4’x6′ — Provides an additional level of protection
from the weather, coat closet, features original door with beveled
glass.

Foyer: 10’x13′ — Trimmed ceilings with gold plated
chandelier, matching mirror, gold leaf mid-wall trim, cypress crown
molding with bordrer, cypress wood trim, oak floors.

Living Room: 15’x15′ — Trimmed ceiling, brass Victorian
chandelier, cypress crown molding, five original rebuilt double hung
windows, brick vented gas fireplace with oak mantle and three part
Basque relief, built-in bookcase, gold leaf floor border, custom period
furniture negotiable.

Dining Room: 12’x14′ — Nine foot wood trimmed ceiling with
crown molding, built-in cypress dish shelving, Cyprus trim with 8″ base
molding, inlaid oak flooring, walk-in storage closet, walls have been
stripped and color matched to original 1898 colors, furniture is
original 1800’s to early 1900 vintage and is negotiable.

Kitchen: 20’x11′ — Acoustic ceiling tiles with built-in fluorescent
lighting, ceiling fan, tiled walls, oak cabinets with granite counter
tops, stainless steel sink with Hansa faucets, Culligan reverse osmosis
water system, stainless steel Viking professional stove with griddle,
stainless steel exhaust hood, stainless steel refrigerator and
dishwasher, Andersen bay window and separate heat zone.

Breakfast Nook: Lighted walk-in pantry, adjustable shelving,
granite counter top.

Bathroom: Tile shower with stainless steel enclosure, tiled
walls, stainless steel fixtures, electric heat, vinyl floor.

Second floor:

Foyer: 8’x9′ — Trimmed ceiling with ceiling fan, crown
molding, gold leaf mid-wall trim, cypress wood trim and banister,
commercial grade carpet, solid hardwood doors.

Master Bedroom: 12’x11′ — Corner room with two windows,
attached nursery, single closet, pine flooring.

Bathroom: 5’x11′ — Tiled shower over tub, tile walls,
pedestal sink, ceramic tile floor, two linen closets, new fixtures and
plumbing.

Nursery: 8’x9′ — Off master bedroom for use as nursery,
sitting room or walk-in closet.

Bedroom #2: 10’x12′ — Pine flooring, corner room with two
windows, single closet.

Bedroom #3: 9’x11′ — Pine flooring, corner room with two
windows, single closet.

Third floor:

Bedroom #4/Office: 14’x12′ — Pine flooring, one single and
one double window, trimmed in oak, single closet.

Outside:

Garage: Three car garage with walk up storage loft.

Deck: 23’x10′ — Off kitchen, opens to yard, sealed with
sikkens.

Special features:

  • Professionally restored to 1898 character
  • 3 car garage with storage loft
  • New kitchen with granite and Viking stove
  • Modern gourmet kitchen
  • Trimmed ceilings
  • Cypress trim throughout
  • Inlaid hardwood floors
  • Original stained glass windows
  • Ante room, foyer and second floor foyer
  • Turn of the century furnishings available
  • Quaint neighborhood
  • Restored front porch
  • Completely updated electric
  • Deep yard with privacy fence
  • Full partially finished basement
  • City water and sewer
  • New roof, gutters and electric de-icing system
  • Walk to NYC bus
  • 5,000 sq. ft. back yard
  • Lot size: 50’x180′
  • Taxes: $7,068 (2005)

Bravo Smokes are more expensive than tobacco cigarettes … makes sense?

In a previous blog entry about Bravo Smokes, the faux cigarettes made of lettuce, I compared the price of Bravo to traditional tobacco cigarettes. One of my blog readers, Marti, emailed me about this:

Hi Dossy.. just read your article on the Bravo Smokes and I agree with
you over 100%. Why should I pay more to quit when I enjoy smoking.
[…]

John Chappell, the President of Safer Smokes, Inc., makers of Bravo
Smokes, actually took the time to write me an email about this very
issue. Here is the relevant excerpt of what he wrote:

Can the Eye Toy Kinetic really make you sweat? I couldn’t believe it!

We’ve had a PlayStation 2 for a while, and last year we got an Eye Toy camera for it. The game titles that use it are actually pretty cool: Antigrav, the hoverboard game; Play, the amusing little set of fun mini-games; Groove, the rhythmic hand-movement game just like Dance Dance Revolution is for the feet. The kids especially like Play, either playing Wishi Washi (or however it’s spelled) where you wipe soap suds off windows, or the Playroom where you can dance around with special effects being applied or be chased by bees — great fun to watch the kids run and hide behind the couch. So, as far as gaming console accessories go, I think this one’s got lots of potential. Great family fun, for sure.

Now, any full-body interactive game will cause you to physically exert yourself and tire you out and possibly even make you sweat. Sure beats sitting on the couch mashing buttons with your thumbs, right? But, if someone said, “Hey, you can actually get a real work-out, with the right software …” and you’re a skeptic like me, you’d laugh incredulously and think, “Yeah. Suuuuuuure.” Boy, was I wrong.

Well, this past Christmas, we got the EyeToy: Kinetic for PS2. It’s essentially a virtual personal trainer in a box, or so the marketing fluff claims. Well, it’s not as fluff as I thought. Into my third week of workouts, which it schedules and keeps track for you three times a week, I have to say, this is the real deal. If you take it seriously, you can get a real aerobic workout and perform toning and strenghtening exercises that will leave you sore the next day or two. The workouts last close to 30 minutes and include a warm up, a good mix of workout routines, and a cool-down stretch. The background music is even pretty tolerable, as far as modern electronic-beat pop goes. When you create your profile, it even records your height, weight and age, and will tell you how many calories you’re burning while you’re working out. As you progress, it adjusts and adapts the difficulty of your routine throughout the 12-week program it creates for you.

Kinetic comes bundled with what seems to be the next generation Eye Toy camera — this one’s silver, with a heavier base and a special wide-angle lens adapter, while the older camera we have is black and much lighter which makes it harder to position in a stable fashion. The one challenge with the camera is lighting: even on the “dim room” setting, it has a hard time with our cheap pair of lamps and the amount of light (and shadows!) they provide. But, overall, it’s more than adequate to get a decent work-out and play some games, as long as you don’t get frustrated when the camera mis-reads your motions now and again. We need to figure out a better lighting solution — we’re thinking about installing some track lighting. Maybe that’ll help.

The folks at Nike Motionworks have done a superb job for a first attempt at a “game” like this (if you can really call it a game). I’m definitely not the kind of person to go out to a gym regularly, and being able to do my routine in the evening, in my own home, makes it so easy I don’t find myself trying to make excuses not to do it! I think if more folks see real results with Kinetic and spread the word, this could be a real disruptive technology — in the near future, I can imagine some gyms setting up private rooms with a PS2 set up with an Eye Toy and Kinetic for people to come in and use. Could be a great business to start, once word gets out that it really works.

So, feel free to leave me questions you have, or if you’ve got a Kinetic, share your own story about it in the comments below!

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GEICO is available in New Jersey! About freakin’ time! Haaaaaleluja!

Yes, yes, YES! GEICO is finally available in New Jersey! Just go to their site and enter in your zip code!


I’ll be saving just over $800 a year in car insurance by switching to GEICO. w00t!

OK, you can thank me now.

go digital with that vintage vinyl look

If you’re like me, you probably have a large music collection and more and more of it in CD format, but you still have some vintage vinyl records for nostalgic reasons. Wouldn’t it be great if you could keep that vintage look and feel but have high-fidelity CD audio quality sound? Well, you can! Check out these nifty CD-R’s at Cyberguys.com:

These are 80 minute (700 MB) CD-R’s that look like the old “45” style vinyl records! You can get them as a 10-pack for $6.95 ($0.70 a CD), 25-pack for $14.49 ($0.58 a CD) for the colored disks. They offer a plain white version in a 50-pack for $31.95 ($0.64 a CD) as well.

If you’re not interested in these novelty CD-R’s and just want a source for cheap CD-R’s, Cyberguys.com also offers Ziotek 80 min (700 MB) CD-R’s, 50-pack for $14.49 ($0.29 a CD).

Check them out — they’re a great place for a geek to shop when you’re tired of surfing ThinkGeek.

halloween costume cuteness

Halloween is only a month away, which means it’s time to find some overly cute costumes for your kids if you haven’t already. The folks at babystyle.com have got some absolutely adorable costumes.

Check them out:


www.babystyle.com