Hold the eject button, then switch it on from the back. Then press eject again to get it out.
I'd take a chance at sending it to Sony, a slim will be less likely to give a YLOD down the road, if it is a refurb I'd imagine it was BR problems which would just be replacing parts. I dunno if they will give you a slim though, because I've never sent anything back to them.
Ask the local guy how he repairs them, if it's just a heatgun I wouldn't bother. Even with a proper IR station it's a matter of how long is it gonna last. If you can get a leaded reball that's be your safest bet at keeping your BC alive for longer, works out about the same price as sending it back to Sony too.
oralphie: Will this allow chuck norris to play backups??? PLZ HELP!!!