renee's downstairs tenants were moving today. they've lived here for a year - a young couple - but i rarely saw them to the point where i never introduced myself and don't even remember what they look like. for some reason they rented a large semi moving truck - large enough to move the contents of an entire house - to move the few items from their apartment. the semi took up 3 car spaces and was parked dangerously close to my motorcycle. the truck left by late morning, leaving behind a pair of orange traffic drums that needlessly kept the parking spots opened until the evening.
it was actually cold today, temperature in the upper 50's. i didn't bother going to the community garden since it rained yesterday. i put my seedlings out again, figured that despite the low temperature, they could still get some sun exposure. the seedlings are ready to be planted now, the tomatoes getting awfully leggy from the lack of proper sunlight. i would transplant them except the high on saturday looks to be 54°F with a low of 49°F. that's just too cold; after saturday however looks to be ideal planting time.
the backyard was fragrant with the scent of solomon's seals and lilies-of-the-valley. i put a plastic lid underneath steve's balcony wooden grow box, which has an annoying habit of leaking onto my deck below. i had a late lunch of kielbasa sauerkraut on english muffin. in the afternoon i biked down to market basket to grab a few things. the newly patched front wheel performed flawlessly.
i started working on my infrared transceiver project, plugging what i thought was an infrared transmitter to the miniature breadboard (shared with the 433MHz transmitter setup) and connecting the wires to my raspberry pi 3. the pins on the sensor are unmarked, and the only manual i found online was literally written in chinese, but fortunately the pin designation diagram was in english. later in the evening i installed LIRC on my pi and tried to run the program with no luck. i think maybe it's because i specified both an output pin and an input pin, when i only had an input. yeah, i discovered the IR sensor i had was actually a receiver, not a transmitter. a transmitter is just an IR LED, but the circuitry required to get it to work involves a transistor and a few resistors, so it's a bit more involved.
my spare trek bike is lying upside down in the basement, its rear wheel removed from that time i broke my hub axle and i was trying to see if i could reuse this rear wheel. it's front wheel was completely deflated from years of disuse, so i removed it from the frame and brought it outside to pump. no amount of pumping would inflate the tube, and i could hear the air escaping. i disassembled the tire and brought the tube to the bathtub so i could do the dunk test.
this tube had never been patched before, so was worth saving if i could just find the puncture. it took a while because the gash was so great the tube wouldn't even inflate enough to test. i finally found the damage, a 1/2cm tear, which i circled with a sharpie. i dried the tube, abraded the area around the puncture, smeared some rubber cement, waited for it to dry, then finally applied the rubber patch. before reassembling the wheel, i looked inside the tire to see where the puncture was and to make sure the sharp object wasn't still there. i found the matching gash in the tire but the sharp object was long gone. i finally reassembled the wheel with the fixed tube and waited to see what would happen. in the meantime, i retested that thrice patched tube hanging from a chair in my kitchen, this time properly inflated to make any leaks more noticeable. strangely, there were no leaks, so i decided to put it back into the spare rear tire again. everything looked good, but soon both tires went flat, including the patch i did previously.
the thrice patched tube i wasn't going to bother saving anymore. that tube obviously has other problems with it, maybe micro punctures that can't be detected, better just to install a brand new tube. the patched tube for the front wheel was more mysterious. i took it out, put it back into the bathtub, and noticed a new leak right away. i patched that leak, checked the tire for embedded sharp objects (there were none), put the tube back onto the wheel, inflated and wait. i didn't have to wait long, this time the tire deflated even quicker. instead of wasting my patches trying to fix this old tube, i gave up. most likely it has the same problem as the rear wheel tube, a bad tube that can't be patched anymore.
but that wasn't the end of my bicycle tire repair fun! i had a 26x1.75/2.125" patched tube from yesterday i wanted to install. i thought about that rear wheel, but the tire takes 26x1.5" and this tube wouldn't be a good fit. fortunately i have yet another wheel in the basement, this one with a brand new fat kenda komfort 26x1.95" tire. so i installed that tube into that wheel. as for the rear tire, i decided to install a brand new kenda tube. i almost didn't want to, a new tube was too good for that junky spare trek. but this would let me know right away if all the problems i've been having with the wheel is because there's something wrong with the wheel itself (like puncturing spokes) or simply bad tubes. after inflating both wheels i set them outside to see if they'll deflate. i checked later in the evening, they were both still inflated.
in my experience, a good tube never needs inflating. the tubes on my trek utility bike, i can go a whole year without ever needing to inflate them. once a tube slowly begins to go flat and needs the occasional pump to top it off, it's probably time to change the tube. of course some people patch the tube instead. i once found a tube from an old bike i lent a chinese astrophysicist that'd been patched 7 times. you might get lucky, find the puncture, save the tube. but the tube will eventually degrade to a point where no amount of patching will fix. tubes are cheap anyway.
speaking of cheap tubes, i ordered a bunch of inner tubes from ebay, which i discovered has the best prices. inner tubes by their very nature are inexpensive and i have no problem ordering no-name brands, though in this case i got branded tubes because they were just as cheap: 3x XLC 26x1.5/1.75" 48mm schrader valve tubes for $10.80 (that's $3.60/piece, there was some kind of clearance sale) and 2x kenda 700x28-32 schrader valve tubes for $8.80. it'll take a week to arrive but i'm not in any hurry. i was going to get them through amazon (kenda brand) but they were around $6 each. later i also bought some inner tube patches: 48pcs. traditional vulcanized rubber patches for just 99¢ and 10pcs glueless patches for $1.20. realistically, in all my years of riding, i've never patched a tire on the road. the one time i remember getting a flat tire (on the minuteman trail i believe), i was thankfully close to a bike repair shop who installed a new tube. if i was riding anywhere and really wanted to be safe, i'd carry a spare tube instead. patching is only done back at home, and occasionally a tube will still leak despite patching, as i've discovered today.
the aquarium has gotten too dirty but i've been too lazy to clean. when was the last time i cleaned the tank? was it back in march? if that's true, it's been a month and a half since the lasting cleaning. i decided to do a quick water change, scrubbed the algae off the glass while i was at it, a more thorough change some other time (where i disassemble the filter and replace the activated carbon, also take out the plants and carefully wash the algae off their leaves). it didn't take long, and though the water was murky afterwards, it soon cleared up.
despite the chilly temperature, as long as there's sunlight, the solar panels continue to do their job. today we made 37.53kWh, which is surprising given the less than ideal weather conditions. it also helps that the day continues to lengthen, sunset was at 8pm today. at this rate we're looking to make 1100kWh total for the month of may.
i finished the rest of the leftover ribs for dinner. at 9pm i watched the expanse on syfy via mobdro on my android phone. at 10pm i watched the american on fx via roku on my HDTV. just 2 more episodes left in the series! there was also a western conference playoff game 2, but i didn't bother watching it. i'm rooting for the houston rockets of course, and was pleasantly surprised when i saw the score and saw they beat the warriors, 127-105.