Last Day at Leslie’s and Chemical Misnomers

Posted in Life in General, Stupidity by aliencam | No Comments »

Today was my last day working at Leslie’s Pools.  I have worked at this store for three years, and have worked under multiple managers, many of them terribly incompetent, and a few great managers.  (This is a very small store, only 3-4 employees at a time, so there is only one manager.) Yesterday was supposed to be my last day, but the manager hurt his back and could not work today.  (actual emergency room hurt his back, not just regular old “oww my back hurts”) I will miss most of working there, both the manager and the assistant manager are great.  However, I had to suffer through this little problem today.

Seriously, I have never been so insulted by a customer in my life.  A gentleman came into the store today and while I was testing his water (while other customers were waiting in line behind him) he proceeded to tell me that the recommendations I have given him were dangerous to his pool and he has been instructed by another employee of the store and the manager to ignore my suggestions.  Because of this, the customer said he was not going to follow the instructions I gave him today.

The customer’s 18,000 gallon Pebble-Tec pool is 5 feet deep in the deepest part, and my instructions were to add 32 oz of acid (which, I admit is slightly more than recommended), spread around the deep area near the return jets with the pump running.  These instructions were given on approx 07.29.08.  The next week (I do not know when because there was no name or date on the water test sheet)  the test results were a pH above 8.0 (no acid demand test was performed)  and the Alkalinity was 220.  The instructions were to dilute 16 oz of acid in a bucket of water and spread it around the whole pool (which could get acid sucked into the skimmer) while the pump was running.  At this time the customer was told that adding any acid at all to a pool if it is not diluted will result in the acid immediately sinking to the bottom of the pool and eating through the bottom.  Again, the pool is salt water, 5 ft deep, 18,000 gallons and the surface is Pebble Tec, which is made of cement and small ornamental stones (be reminded that part of the Pebble Tec curing process involves an acid wash, which includes acid.)

The customer followed the instructions given by the employee for a number of days (eight if the amounts of acid recommended by Taylor’s water testing reference booklet were followed), and there was a rainstorm on Thursday 08.14.08 that significantly lowered alkalinity in almost all pools in the area.  When the water test was brought in to me on Saturday 08.16.08 the test results included a pH of above 8.0, with an acid demand of 11 drops, and an alkalinity of 240.  This means that after adding one gallon of acid in the employee’s preferred method, and enduring a very in-alkaline rainstorm, the pool’s alkalinity increased by 20.

At this point the customer has wasted two trips to Leslie’s Pools, an entire gallon of acid, and currently has only seen a degradation of his pool’s chemistry.

Diluting acid before you add it to the pool DECREASES it’s effectiveness, and also only lowers pH, and not Alkalinity.

The MOST EFFECTIVE WAY to lower total Alkalinity in pools is to use a method called “slugging” which has been scientifically documented by Dr. Neil Lowry, founder of the Lowry School for Pool and Spa Chemistry.  This method would involve pouring 32 oz of acid (per 10,000 gallons of water) in one spot in the deep area of the pool one hour before the pump runs.  This higher concentration of acid allows more carbonates to be burned off in a shorter period of time, which decreases alkalinity significantly, without decreasing pH too much.  I understand Leslie’s being unable to recommend this method due to legal liability (if the acid is left for too long it could sink to the bottom and damage a vynl or fiberglass pool, and discolour pebble-tec) so I agreed not to suggest the highly superior method to customers.

Every single Leslie’s Pools training manual (Water 101 training, Water 101 test, the “Pool Solutions” book that is available for customer purchase, and others) instructs to add 16 oz of acid per 10,000 gallons of pool water at a time to the deep area away from skimmers and main drains.  However, for Fiberglass pools, above-ground or vinyl pools, and painted surface pools it does suggest diluting the acid before adding it for the reasons I stated above.  I documented eight separate places in the Leslie’s sanctioned literature that never once recommends diluting acid in the situation my water chemistry instructions were given, and then left all of these books open and marked with post-it notes on the shop counter.

I normally would not make a big deal out of things like this, but I will not stand to be called a liar and having my intelligence questioned just because of the imaginary safety precautions given by a kid.  Now that I have this all written out I will try very hard to forget about it and stop being so angry.  I also can’t stand being angry, so I hope I can control this soon.

“The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.”
Robert R. Coveyou


Quick adblock un-tutorial (unblock adsense text ads)

Posted in Guides, Life in General, Linux, Lists, Pictures by aliencam | No Comments »

This picture was taken back in January, on my back porch. I didn’t really have another good picture to post today, I worked all day and didn’t take any pictures. I forgot to cut my hair again today, I seriously need to do that tomorrow. My first day back at work was pretty good, I remembered everything even with that nine month hiatus, so I was able to jump right back in and do anything in the store, even the water testing and equipment repairs.

Talking about ads online. I really don’t like advertisements all over the interwebs, but I do concede that they are necessary for most websites to stay up. However, ads today are so annoying and so (vulgar, imposing, I don’t know) that most of us take it upon ourselves to install adblock first thing when we install firefox. This is great except for the issue that if everybody used adblock there would be no money in advertising, and the internet would no longer be commercially free. (I dont think this would be that bad actually, I like the web-2.0 collaborative free-time donation model the internet is slowly becoming, but, ) This would get rid of so many of our favorite sites, that we would have to just deal with it and not have those websites for awhile. But anyway, not all ads are so annoying that we have to block them. Google’s text ads I actually enjoy quite often. The google content ads will either have good relevant links to similar websites, or such obscure references that you can’t avoid clicking them just to see what the page is about. These ads usually match the color scheme of the website, and are not at all imposing. They also aren’t ambiguous to the point where we can’t distinguish between content and ads.

But these ads, along with all the bad ones, are blocked by the adblock firefox extension (if you subscribe to the EasyList subscription, which nearly everyone does). When I went to unblock these ads, in order to continue supporting my favorite websites, I remembered that google does not only do these nice relevant text ads, but also the annoying image ads that can contain punching monkies, flashing graphics, moving things, and generally annoying stuff. So I had to ask on the adblock forums about how to unblock only the text ads and continue blocking the graphical advertisements.

in short, here is how to unblock Google’s AdSense Text ads (and nothing else!) :

  • Open AdBlock Preferences
  • Add a filter with the text:

that’s it. Yes it is a lot simpler than it seems, but that filter works just fine. in case anyone didn’t know, adding “@@” to the front of an adblock filter means “allow”. If you want to write yor own adblock filters there is a good guide here: but I really suggest learning regular expressions if you want to get into anything more advanced (not just for adblock, regular expressions are amazing any time you want to search.)

Also, I would like you to ignore the ad at the bottom of this post. I know it is annoying, and badly placed, and it stands out, and I will be moving it to the bottom of the sidebar tomorrow (after I cut my hair. and maybe dye my hair again depending on the colour after I cut it. )

“Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.” -Thomas Szasz


Post script: I have 116 unread items in my Google Reader feed catcher… dang. I haven’t been reading my feeds very much the last week… add something else to my moleskine list…

another blog post

Posted in Life in General, Pictures by aliencam | No Comments »

After last night’s until-3AM coding and web design session, I should receive a swift kick to the circadian rhythm in just about… 20 minutes (depending on the 400 mcg of melatonin i just popped). Why would I do such an anti-rhythmic liver-blasting thing you may ask? Well, I have to get up at 5:00 AM tomorrow for work. That’s right, I’m back at Leslie’s Pools, my place of work since may 2005. Which makes it three years working there if you don’t count the 9-month break I just took for my first year of college… Tomorrow will be my first day back there, from 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM. Nice easy 12.5 hour shift for my first day back. We even get to wear hawaiian shirts because of the Memorial Day sale that starts tomorrow (strange Memorial Day choice IMO, but I see the Pool Store similarity.)

Some things I added to the blog are a Feedburner RSS feed (top right corner). Feedburner is an awesome site that lets you customize your feed to change and include all sorts of awesome stuff in the feed, and has an amazing statistics system as well. I also changed the sidebar over from all code-editing to wordpress widgets, and I made the right sidebar nearly-valid XHTML 1.0 transitional (the rest of this theme could use some work). I moved the awesome IntenseDebate comments system to the bottom of the post, and I tried to put a google ad at the bottom of the first post on the page, but I don’t know how well that went over. So subscribe to my feed, damelo clickage, comment, and just do whatever.

Anyway, it’s now twenty-eight minutes past when I should have been in bed, and I’m still online writing this and chatting on AIM and browsing all sorts of websites… I really should be going, so… back to the original aliencam dot net closing format for the first time in awhile…

no really great quotes on igoogle today…

“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” Douglas Adams


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