The Origin of Gwar

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The things I’ve held onto over the years.  Here’s what I think is the 2nd edition of Gwar’s handmade origin comic.  Looks like it’s from 1988.  I’m sure I got it from one of their shows at Atlanta’s Metroplex back then.  Download it here.

 

Wherein the Young IT Guy becomes the Old IT Guy

I had installed and configured a trial of a web analytics package for my day job and had the server put through the wringer.  Among the issues found was a redirect buried deep in the code to cornify.com, “…the #1 unicorn and rainbow service worldwide, spreading sparkly happiness around the world.”  I added it to my list of concerns for the products developers and shipped it to them.  They responded that the cornify link was an “Easter Egg” put there by one of the coders  and wasn’t a security concern.

My immediate thought was this:  What if cornify becomes something else?  What if it stops being the #1 unicorn and rainbow service worldwide?  What if someone buys the name, or hijacks it, and it instead leads to an unsavory site?  How will you explain to your paying customers that you’re rushing out an update to the web app they’ve paid you handsomely for, and that their administrators need to burn their time updating it ASAP, because a redirect you added on a whim now points to something lawsuit inducing?  Less dramatically, and more likely, why would you want to deal with that inevitable customer  who gave you thousands of dollars for your product and doesn’t have a sense of humor?  The one who thinks it’s completely unprofessional and a poor reflection on them that your product did what you think is a lighthearted redirect?  Is being clever (and let’s be fair – it’s not all that clever) worth that risk?

And that’s when I realized I’d stopped being the Young IT Guy and I’d become the Old IT Guy.

 

WordPress and updating PHP beyond 5.3

My host finally set up the ability to upgrade PHP.  I’ve been running on 5.2 for roughly forever.  I host for clients, and most upgrades went without a hitch.  A couple, however, barfed a bit thanks to undeclared variables, generated errors the likes of:

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in \wp-content\themes\hybrid\library\functions\core.php on line 27

Thankfully, it’s a pretty easy fix: just declare the variable! for example,

if ( post_type_supports( $post->post_type, 'entry-views' ) ) {
$entry_views->post_id = get_queried_object_id();

In a library/extensions file generated a warning. To fix, I simply declared the variable $entry_views:

if ( post_type_supports( $post->post_type, 'entry-views' ) ) {
if (!is_object($entry_views)) {$entry_views = new stdClass; }
$entry_views->post_id = get_queried_object_id();

I had to do the same in a few other files as well.

The Upstairs Deck

It’s terrifying that the previous owners had a hot tub up here.  The railings, especially on the sides, are held together with a million brads and wishful thinking.  Time to make it less deadly.

IMG_1049This side doesn’t have a top ledge at all. Nope, just a 2×6 hastily nailed into a scrap that’s nailed into the siding.

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That looks sturdy, right?  It’s not like you’re nearly 20 feet off the ground.  Oh.  Wait.

The other end is a ridiculous hodge podge of thrown together shittitude.

IMG_1051See?  I don’t even… I can’t… I mean what…

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Front Stoop

In a stroke of genius the original owner of our home poured a huge cement stoop right up against the house.  By right up against I mean right up against.  What separates the house siding from the cement stoop?  Not a damned thing.  That’s right – it’s poured against the hardiplank siding.  Brilliant!

Unsurprisingly over the years water from rain and, more likely, snow has sneaked its way between cement and siding, and then between siding and OSB.  I tore out the siding and tore out the effected OSB.  Thankfully (amazingly?) the rot has not penetrated further than the first layer of OSB.  The dream is to either tear the cement stoop out and replace it with a deck or deck right over the stoop (and in the process redirect moisture correctly).  There’s no money in the budget for this sort of fancifulness right now, so a repair job was in order.

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Cleaned it all out, cut out all the rotted siding, trim and underlying OSB and replaced with new, and installed flashing in the affected areas down to the slab.

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Sided, sealed and caulked.  Ready for paint.  Those pillars remain on my to-do list.

External House Work Continues

Fire be damned.  We’ve got this scaffolding that we’re paying by the day for, we need to use it.

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Getting the dryer vent *close* to the outside is good enough, right?  There’s a lot of half assed work we’re having to correct on this house.  Not as much as on our old Atlanta house, mind you, but that house was some 40 years older and had been a rental.

IMG_0949Funny – the day prior to this pic being taken she yelled at me for using a ladder up there.  You can’t see it from here, but that ladder isn’t just resting on the roof.  It’s a a sheet of OSB with a 2×4 lip secured to it.  The whole sheet’s nailed to the roof.   So this isn’t quite as sketchy as it seems.

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Framing out for a railing on the Door To Nowhere.  Eventually it’d be nice to do a deck, but we definitely don’t have the money for that, and I don’t have the skills to build a second story deck myself.

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Tearing up the steps to get the scaffolding where we need it.

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The upstairs deck is shit.  Shit I say!  I can’t believe they put a hot tub on this thing.  There’s a lot of work to be done here, but for the moment it’s just about exposing and fixing rot so we can paint.

Wherein The Neighbors House Tries to Burn Down

Last Tuesday the 9th, in the evening, I was in the kitchen doing dishes. Amanda returned from a pet sitting gig and said “Are the neighbors in back burning stuff again? There’s some smoke.” We looked outside just in time to hear a massive “whoomp!” And their garage essentially exploded.
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And thus we ran around like headless chickens.  We, along with probably every neighbor on the block, called 911.  We evacuated our ancient cat and the dog and bird that we were boarding at our house.  Various and sundry items were tossed into the car , just in case the fire climbed the fence to devour our house as well.  Luckily for us the wind was blowing southward, keeping the fire away from our yard… but only just.  Lots of explosions and what sounded like fireworks were going on.  Explosions were things like propane tanks for camp stove.  Fireworks = ammunition.

It felt like forever before the fire department arrived, but it was probably only 15-30 minutes.  During that time the flames managed to climb high enough to be seen over my house from the street.  Another neighbor has video that I need to get.  At the time I wasn’t thinking much about documenting the scene.

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These pics are from my street.  I did not go to the cul-de-sac where the burning house was – they’d roped it all off.

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They put the fire out quickly, though disconcertingly they left a bit of the roof burning for quite awhile.

Because it’s Oregon, and because it’s the east side of Bend, the talk inevitably turned to meth.  I tried to give the neighbors the benefit of the doubt.  Besides, the house didn’t seem to get kind of traffic you’d expect a meth lab to have.  Investigators pored through the place for the next 24 hours and came to the conclusion that it was a carelessly discarded cigarette.  Basically the guy had flipped a burning butt into a can of butts in the garage and left.  A half hour later the neighborhood was in jeopardy.

We spent the night in a hotel, as our house smelled terrible.  The folks who installed our heat pump loaned us a big air filter that we ran all week and it made a huge difference.  Other than the house in question the damage seems thankfully limited to the house next door to it, which had their fence burn down, what looks to be some siding damage, and their windows melted(!), and most of the surrounding houses suffered from smell and soot and ash.

Riley, and the rest of the neighborhood kids too, was quite shook up by the whole experience.  One little girl was in my house crying.  On the plus side, we met a lot of neighbors.  Nothing like a house fire to bring a community together!

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The next morning we came home from the hotel and I did my best to work and try to feel normal.  It wasn’t easy.  Thankfully we had/have our never ending painting project to force us to focus.  Indeed it has.