Beep. Beep. Beep.

So.  We were without air conditioning in our building for awhile today.  Fortunately it’s a nice day out with unseasonably low humidity and a breeze, so I was able to open the window to make it tolerable.

It’s amazing how much beeping you hear in populated regions (like college campuses) nowadays.  Seems like all day long, there’s beeping somewhere from a truck backing up.  There’s so much of it that it just kind of fades into the background with other stuff like birds chirping.  After awhile you don’t even hear it.  Something about the sound makes it carry over really long distances, and it’s also very non directional, making it hard to tell where it’s coming from.  It could be right around the corner, or it could be a mile away.  You can’t tell.  It’s just sort of “there.”

Last fall I put fenders on my road bike, which I use daily for commuting.  They work great, but they make the bike really noisy.  Now that summer is here and the weather is drier, I decided to try to figure out why the fenders are so noisy.  I took the front fender off and rode to work with just the rear fender.  The bike was TONS quieter without the front fender.  I think that’s the culprit.  The fender itself doesn’t rattle, so apparently something is vibrating against the bike frame.  My front fork doesn’t have dropouts to mount fenders, so I had to use zip ties to attach the struts.  Could be the struts vibrating against the fork, or the front of the fender vibrating against the underside of the brake, or who knows what else.  If I can’t figure it out and make it stop, I may end up getting a clip-on fender to use on the front.  Or I could replace my front fork, or I could forget about fenders on the road bike and get a hybrid or cyclocross bike (with better clearance for fenders) to use in wet weather.  One can certainly never have too many bikes…

This and That

So..  another summer is upon us.  Howard County schools finally let out at the end of this week.  I remember when I was a kid, summer vacation was almost 3 months long, and now it’s down to barely two.  Instead, there are tons more random days off during the school year, for “professional teacher work days” and the like.  Not sure if it’s a step forward or back, but I think if I was a kid I’d feel a bit gypped.

Three weeks after uncovering, the pool is finally clear, clean and up to a reasonable swimming temperature.  It was more of a swamp than usual this spring.  Over 3 weeks I’d say it took 20 gallons of 12.5% sodium hypochlorite, 10 pounds of dry acid, 15 pounds of baking soda, and 3 pounds of aluminum sulfate (a flocculent) to get it cleared up.  I had to vacuum to waste 4 times, compared to twice on an average year.  Not sure what the deal was this year, but I’m sure the April heat wave didn’t help.  It also didn’t help that the pool was already starting an algae bloom when we covered it in late September.  Didn’t feel like dealing with it then, knew at the time it was going to give me headaches come spring, covered it anyway.  Lesson for the day:  Never put off fixing pool water problems..  they never go away, they just become bigger problems over time.

The big new thing for the pool this summer is the salt water generator.  I installed it over the winter and early spring, in the hopes that it would cut down on work and help prevent water problems.  One of the problems with manual chlorination is that during the summer, you can’t neglect it, even for a single day, or you will end up with algae.  Automatic chlorine feeders are a step up, but you still have to buy, store and handle the chlorine, and you have to remember to keep the feeder full.  With the SWG, you dump an initial amount of salt into the pool, then you set the SWG and forget it.  Obviously they still require maintenance, but they eliminate the day-to-day drugdery of manual chlorination and eliminate the need to handle and store lots of chlorine.  Now, I keep a little bit on hand for “shocking,” but that’s it.  The jury will be out on the SWG until I’ve had it for a whole season, but up to now, it’s lived up to the hype and seems like the best thing to come along for pools since automatic cleaners.