The past couple of years have been especially intense and transformative ones for Team Samurai (me, Mrs. Samurai, and our two sons Stephen and Sam) with the creation and development of the Samurai Tech Academy. I know I make all this look easy and it seems like one day I just whipped out MasterSamuraiTech.com like, "Oh, look what I just pulled outta my ass."
But designing the Academy and creating all the content for it was probably the toughest project I've ever undertaken. The comprehensive, preeminent training courses at the Samurai Tech Academy and the website itself represents tens of thousands of hours of intense focus by the whole team. The only other thing I've ever done that comes close in terms of sustained project focus was getting my Master's degree in Environmental Engineering and writing my Master's thesis-- and I was a lot younger, smarter, and better looking then.
These past few years have been so intense that it changed my whole lifestyle for the worse. That's okay-- you have to do that sometimes to get shit done. Short term sacrifice, long term gain and all that. Plus, I'm extremely proud of the Academy and all of the effort from Team Samurai. But sustaining that kind of lifestyle is also a great way to die early. I'm 55 years old. According to insurance company death statistics, the 50's are death alley for men. If a man is going to drop dead, he'll generally do it in his 50's. That's exactly where I was headed if I kept up the lifestyle of the past few years.
So, I'm going to use this trip to make a lifestyle change, too. For example, I haven't been hiking in the White Mountains in years and certainly not as a lifestyle anymore. That, my friends, will change. When I get back, there's gonna be less work, a more balanced life, and many, many sweaty, blissful hours spent bagging peaks with the Oz Man in New Hampshire's White Mountains.
So with the release of two new courses at the Samurai Tech Academy, the timing is perfect for Team Samurai to fly off to Ireland-- the "Old Country" as the referred to by the Irish diaspora-- for a ten day vacation. I'll do the obligatory beer drinking and pub diving thing but hopefully get in some hiking, too. Wifi is ubiquitous in Ireland so I'll still be checking in here at Appliantology and checking/replying to email.
Well, mah bruvahs, I leave you with a non-traditional Irish blessing from the inimitable and iconoclastic Ween:
Aye aye aye, sharpen your boot, and bludgeon your eye
Aye aye aye, the blarney stone brings a tear to me eye
Not being a city person myself, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed New Orleans-- fantastic food and lots of fun in the French Quarter. For example, here's a plate of the best soul food you'll ever eat at a place called Mother's:
Pictured above is
Red beans and rice
Turnip greens with ham chunks
Grits with butter
All slathered with Tobasco
The food is spectacular and often exotic in New Orleans, so much so that sometimes people don't know what to think. Here, yours truly and a long-time Brethren in The Craft are helping Baby Sensei broaden his horizon and try some shrimp jambalaya:
But to truly enjoy a fine plate of New Orleans cuisine, you need to pair it with the proper selection of beer. But not just any beer, only Abita beer will do!
After enjoying a fine meal with the perfect local brew, then it's a good time to go catch a parade. Here's Applianceman97 (aka, Baby Sensei) and Mrs. Applianceman97 sporting their parade bling:
Not to be outdone, Mrs. Samurai shows off her parade bling, too:
And, of course, we had to do the obligatory, but short, walk down Bourbon Street:
Here's what the streets look like after the parades are over, around 12:30am:
As trashed as the streets were, they were sparkling spotless the next day. How does that happen? An army of street cleaners with machine, hoses, rakes, and a sea of humanity swarms the streets and cleans it up. It was even more amazing than the parades themselves! Watch:
There are two ways to deal with such reviews on Yelp, both of which are focused on perception damage control and so are written with the potential customer in mind. But they are very different strategies:
1. The Serious Business Approach: This is a direct approach where you politely explain that, although you don't know who the reviewer is, that you would be happy to refund all his money if he contacts you with his real name. Then go on to showcase how your business works. This is the approach that 99.9% of service companies take.
2. The Surreal Approach: This strategy employs the principle of Judo where your opponent's own force is used against him. In the context of dealing with a fake review, the idea is to extend the reader's experience of reading a bogus review into the surreal and, in so doing, lampoon the bogus review. It's the proven technique of illustrating absurdity by being absurd. Again, this approach is not for a typical negative review by an actual customer. This is for over-the-top, fictional reviews by people who weren't even your customer.
And for most service companies, the first approach is probably the best strategy. However, if you have access to a creative writer (you can hire my son, Stephen), you can take the second approach.
Here's the reply we posted to our 1-star "review" on Yelp:
Why bother to tell a tale, William E., if you are going to leave out all the best parts? Come, gentle reader, let me tell you the rest of the story.
Things admittedly got off to a rough start when I walked into his house and stepped on his dog and dropped my toolbag on the cat. I then tried to diffuse the situation by paying a compliment to his grandfather, who tearfully explained that she was his wife. When Mr. E started to complain about all of this, I interrupted him by loudly imitating goat noises. I do this periodically to connect with my totem animal. It’s a spiritual thing.
Mr. E showed me to the oven and left to comfort his wife. I then felt the call from The Beyond and began to meditate. I was carried off to the seventh Heavenly Realm where Fixituru no Dotukami, the Great Samurai Repairman in the Sky, dwells. There, we drank sake and had our back hair braided by cherubs. I then started up the path of total appliantological nirvana, but was rudely brought back to earth by the voice of Mr. E asking what the *bleep* I was doing. This is why I appeared angry to him: never interrupt a man who is hallucinating vividly.
After skillfully applying duct tape to the oven and making a random guess at what the problem was, I went to pull up the repair cost on my tablet, when I realized I'd mistaken a piece of cardboard for my iPad. Again. Punching the cardboard with my fingers and making beeping noises, I made up a price on the spot using my keen, appliantological wit.
After he told me “no way,” I quickly hid the piece of paper Mr. E thought the part numbers were written on because I didn’t want him to see the sacred doodles of divination scrawled on it. They are not for the eyes of the uninitiated.
We here at The Appliance Guru are sorry that, as Mr. and Mrs. E stood in their doorway and watched me soar away on my magical, flying toilet, wishing one and all a merry Kwanza and sprinkling enchanted pixie dust across the land, they were not thrilled by my services. If it pleases Mr. E, I can return to his home to perform ritual suicide—perhaps the sight of my steaming entrails spilled on his kitchen floor will be enough to repair any ill-will.
We thank you for using our business. Have a nice day.
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