Fastlane Stained Stainless Steel handle – a small miracle

After a few months of going around with Endless Pools and the folks at DesJoyaux, the DesJoyaux folks hit upon a workaround if not a solution for my issue with the handle on my Fastlane turning a black color.

As you can see from this “Before” picture the handle (and portions of the stainless steel cage below that protects the impeller) was a murky black color. I was unable to wipe it off to any meaningful degree yet enough would come off if you touched it to get on your hands or your bathing suit.

Several weeks ago, Billy Fowler from DesJoyaux said he thought he had hit upon something that might be of use and suggested two cleaning agents to try. He very generously offered to take back any chemical left if I found them to be ineffective which tells me that he is standing behind his research.

Basically I dumped some of this “StainFree” product from “Natural Chemistry” into a bucket with about a quart of water, donned some rubber gloves and used a rag to wipe the handle. After two or three swipes I saw the stainless steel shining through! It’s much more of a chemical reaction than an elbow grease effort. If I soaked the rag and basically squeezed it around a discolored portion of the handle the improvement was immediate. A bit of rubbing helped a bit but as soon as the chemical was spent there was no amount of rubbing that would improve it any more.


Here is the after picture. I cleaned the handle, pulled the top off the unit and replaced the sacrificial anode (which was designed for  outboard engines) with a much smaller one but which was purchased from Endless Pools.

Now the question remains: Is this a permanent fix that resolves a one-off issue or will I need to periodically revisit my stainless steel pieces?

Posted under On the Home Front, Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on April 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Message to Elan Financial (They Manage EmigrantDirect’s Visa)

I sent the following (in two parts) to Elan Financial. Am I being unreasonable?

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction thus far with Elan Financial services who are managing my EmigrantDirect Visa card.

1) When received my first statement in January I immediately went to the Elan Financial website and signed up to have my bill paid in full each month from my bank account. According to a recent exchange I had through this messaging system I apparently should have been aware that, even after having double checked that the payment date was showing as February 6 (two weeks in the future), Elan’s system would not actually make the withdrawal since, inexplicably, this is not enough time for a financial institution in the 21st century to set up such a connection.

I saw no indication on the website that I was to ignore the listed payment date and go ahead and send in what to me would seem to be a duplicate payment via snail mail.

I am astonished that a financial company, managing the credit card portfolio for an ONLINE ONLY Banking service, is incapable of both setting up a funds transfer in under 6 weeks and is further incapable of communicating that fact on the website through which the financial arrangements are being made.

2) A few days ago I received a letter from Elan welcoming me and letting me know that I should activate my card and that my reward rate would be at 1% – no mention of the 1 1/4% that I signed up for and am ostensibly receiving. This was a bit confusing since I have actually been using the card for a month and a half now. Has Elan reneged on the original offer? Is Elan unaware that I am using the credit card?
3) Coincident with the above welcome letter I received a notice from Elan’s collection department whining about my not having paid my first bill. This in spite of the fact that I have been in contact with Elan via this secure messaging system and had clearly set up my account to fully pay my bill fully two weeks prior to the first due date. Can it really be that Elan’s various departments have no contact with each other nor do they have access to my account records?
4) My first attempt at crafting this secure message on the Elan website was lost when the website timed out after 15 minutes of “inactivity” and did not even retain a draft of the message. I again emphasize the primitiveness of a system, in 2013, that would be so unyielding as to not allow the customer a chance to either confirm that they are still using the site or to at least provide a mechanism to retain the work in progress. The page literally vanishes and is replaced with one showing that the session has expired. Also Elan’s website limits these messages to 3500 characters but does not actually tell you this until you submit and then doesn’t tell you by how many characters you have exceeded the maximum.
5) My recent communication with Elan regarding the minimum amount of points required to obtain a statement credit resulted in the unhelpful response that I should phone the rewards department during business hours. Ignoring the fact that the reward website needs to actually say what the minimum rewards amount should be rather than simply responding “You do not have enough rewards points to purchase this item”, I emphasize again that it is no longer 1980 and that email is a common and acceptable way to communicate. One of the reasons I deal with an ONLINE BANK is so that I can communicate asynchronously and not waste my time on hold waiting for a representative to get around to working with me.
I need the following from you:
1) Acknowledgment that my bill will be paid by your online system as it currently indicates that it will on March 6
2) Acknowledgement that my rewards rate is at 1 1/4% as was agreed upon with my initial application
3) Acknowledgement that I will not be fined or assessed any fees as a result of my trusting Elan Financial’s website when it indicated it would withdraw funds through a system that I, in good faith, set up weeks ahead of the payment due date.
4) Confirmation of the number of reward points required to redeem a statement credit.
I await your reply,

Posted under Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on March 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm

I Vote for Mars 2016

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Olympics. But I have no illusions that it does anything positive for the economies of the hosting countries. In fact I suspect that the ultimate cost to a country of the Olympics is far, far greater than any space mission would cost if they could be bothered participating. I just get peeved when folks start trying to tell me that the Olympics (or any new stadium for that matter) will do anything but suck money out of a city.

Just be honest, these provide entertainment, not prosperity, and we can all get along..

FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments

via School of Fail: I Vote for Mars 2016.

Posted under Opinions

This post was written by Marc
on August 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Uninformed opinions

Yep, this nails it. Not all problems can be solved now. Some never will be solved. The best you can do is grow and enrich our knowledge and use that knowledge to make inroads into our problems with ever cleverer solutions.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (updated daily)

via July 16, 2012.

Posted under Amusing, Opinions

This post was written by Marc
on August 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm

The Oatmeal Rules! Lawyers… the ones we hear about anyway… not so much

I’m sure you’ve already heard about this item, where the creator of “The Oatmeal” (Matthew Inman) executed a wonderful, creative and philanthropic smackdown on a small-minded stereotype-producing lawyer that had originally been retained to represent the interests of someone who was not quite above board in his handling of Intellectual Property – most notably “The Oatmeal” content published without consent.

Check out the full story here (on Philip Defranco’s site – jump to 1:08 if you’re impatient) and the final result here. Basically Matthew took an attempt to abuse our sometimes sorry legal system to not only suppress his gripes about having his work used without his permission, but to also try to extort $20,000 from him on top of that. Then the representing lawyer went hog wild and tried to sue everyone and everything associated with the debacle.

Brilliant and creative people are always such a refreshing breath of fresh air. Especially when they put the smackdown on people who epitomize all that is wrong with an archaic and badly out of touch legal system.


Posted under Amusing, Opinions

This post was written by Marc
on July 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm


It’s worth noting that anybody bright enough to have achieved the education required in order to correctly interpret this X-Ray is unlikely enough to be small minded enough to have any “issues” with any of the kissing combinations proffered.

FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments

via Dating Fails: BOOSH CHECKMATE.

More than skin deep

Posted under Amusing, Opinions

This post was written by Marc
on July 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

Heat Wave but the Living is good

Been in the pool 3 times already today.

Chore – pool – lunch – pool – chore – pool

I can certainly get used to this.

Summer is certainly the most satisfying season IMHO



Posted under Opinions

This post was written by Marc
on July 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm