Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Volume 2, Number 3: Harry Potter and the Aqua Teen Appliance Force

(Note: This is a re-posting of an entry I made on January 29, 2007, on a Yahoo! GeoCities blog.)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has a release date--it is July 21 (a few months earlier than expected; I would have put my money on October 27, and I'm glad I'm not a gambler because I'd make a lousy one). It will be released one week after the fifth film (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) comes out in theaters.

Surreal news, perhaps the most surreal I've heard in a long time: Several electronic devices found in Boston turned out to have been part of a promotion gone terribly awry. Freeways and bridges in that city were shut down yesterday because people there thought they might be bombs. Evidently, they never heard of what the promotion was for, something even more surreal than the news item itself: "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" is a cartoon on the Adult Swim late-night block of programs for adults on Cartoon Network. The primary characters are a milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball, all of whom can talk.

A feature-length film based on the show is coming out March 23. According to the Internet Movie Database, it will explore the origins of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force (better known as Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad,) and those three characters will "battle over an immortal piece of exercise equipment." I've been interested in their origins--I've always thought they were the result of another Dr. Weird experiment gone wrong.

Don't get me wrong, though--I won't rush out to the theater on March 23 to go see it. When you consider that the cartoon is made using PhotoShop, it seems ridiculous to spend $8 or $9 on a film that (also according to the Internet Movie Database) will cost an estimated $750,000 to make--just one-half of 1% of the budget for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." It stands to reason that if I should spend $10 on a ticket for the latter, then to see the former, I shouldn't have to pay more than... five cents.

Today marks the first anniversary of my successful do-it-yourself repair of the Whirlpool washing machine. I'll try to make it short: On January 29, 2006, I was washing some socks and underwear when my washing machine began making a ticking noise. Lo and behold, the agitator wasn't agitating and the spin cycle wasn't spinning. Both my mother (who has 20 times more experience with laundry appliances than I do) and an appliance salesman said the transmission was the problem. But the salesman made a mistake that ultimately worked in my favor: He said I should have a puddle of black goo underneath the washing machine. After I returned home, I checked the laundry room floor. Nope--no goo anywhere. I thought to myself, maybe it isn't the transmission, and I should investigate to see what it really is. I searched the Web for Whirlpool washers making ticking noises, and found a web site that said that the culprit was the "motor-to-transmission coupler" (Which is nothing more than two plastic parts and a rubber part). Not only was it a cheap part, but the same web site gave me easy instructions on how to fix the problem (and what a relief it was--it turns out I didn't even have to move the washer or anything else that required great upper-body strength, which I do NOT have). I found the coupler, and indeed, it was broken. Holy crap--I darn near threw away almost $300 and a perfectly good washing machine over this?!? I ordered the replacement coupler, fixed the washer a few days later when the coupler arrived, and what I felt as it ran was a combined rush of relief and excitement. Just think of finding a long-lost valuable item AND riding a roller coaster at the SAME time.

One year later, I may have another appliance repair issue, although this one probably won't cost me any money: Maytag is recalling 2.3 million dishwashers due to a fire hazard. Mine has never given me any problems in the 6.5 years I've owned the house, but the recall affects models built between 1997 and 2001, and it's possible that my dishwasher is one of them. I'll let you know later on this week. In the meantime, if you have a Maytag or Jenn-Air dishwasher, you may want to go here for more details on this recall. Suffice it to say that the Maytag repairman's suddenly got a lot of work to do.

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