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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This image was featured in a previous post.  This is the other side of the deck railing.  I’d grant points for the 4×6 were it not for the fact that the thing was fastened to the siding and deck with nothing more than a handful of nails and old deck screws that could barely support the weight of the beam, let alone the railing.

IMG_1056I tore the entire rail apart and rebuilt it, using whatever wood I felt was salvageable and replacing that which wasn’t with new.  The 4×6 is now lag bolted into the house and the lower outermost deck joist.  I had to remove the corner trim from the house (which was pretty chewed up anyway from the previous owner running nails through it to try to hold the beam on) and create custom replacement trim that was flat so the beam would sit flush.  Top and bottom rails and balusters are recycled.  Top ledge and some bits to the right are new wood.  2.5 and 3 inch screws throughout.  Why all screws?

IMG_1052Because originally it was all brads and a few nails.  Look at this!  Removing these balusters is easy – grab and pull.  Cleaning them up for reuse is another matter.  I’ve got a 5 gallon bucket half full of skinny, bendy little brads I pulled.

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More is better!  This guy’s addiction to his brad nailer is nuts.

IMG_1059Other side – complete.  Brand new notched 4×6, again lag bolted into the house and the deck joist below.  As with the other side, new top ledge and a few other bits.

IMG_1057Replaced the cruddy original top ledge along the deck length as well.  A 20 foot piece of 2×6 cedar decking isn’t cheap!  Frustratingly, while the top rails on the sides are 2.5 inches tall, the top rail along the length is 3.  My screws are insufficient, so I have to go buy a fistful of 4 inchers tomorrow so I can finish securing the ledge.

IMG_1061Bonus potato pic!  I am not a fan of our gas fireplace, but there’s no room in the budget to replace it right now.  In an attempt to modern it up  I pulled a few of our smaller bits of lava rock out of the back yard, baked it in my gas grill on high for awhile, and arranged it here, replacing the original ugly fake logs.  Not sure that I’m happy with the layout yet, but the effect is way cooler than it was.  Rearranging will have to wait til tomorrow, because these rocks seriously retain heat.

 

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.

Windows 8 net shares: “An extended error has occurred,” “System error 2148073478″

So if you attempt to path to a share (eg: \\10.92.22.44\myshare) and are met with An extended error has occurred, or you use a DIR command with a network path and receive Invalid Signature, or your NET USE attempt is met with System error 2148073478 has occurred, here’s a fix.  Turn off required secure negotiation.  Copy the following into a text file and name it whateveryouwantto.reg.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters]
"RequireSecureNegotiate"=dword:00000000

Double click the file to insert into the registry.

Or if you like, add it manually: open regedit and path to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters.  Create a DWORD value named RequireSecureNegotiate and leave it set to the default 00000000.

Prep for paint

DIY continues.  The front pillars are falling apart, and I hate the way they look anyway, so it’s time for them to go.

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What’s a pillar on a house built in the 90’s?  A big PVC pipe.

IMG_0869One down.

IMG_0875Building an epic marble run with the remains of the pillars.

IMG_0871These little dudes are everywhere on the house.  CUTE!!!one1!

IMG_0876Slapping some paint on for a little instant gratification.

Windows 8 – Classic Shell and the Auto Reboot Irritation

I’ve moved on to Windows 8 on my primary laptop and desktop because, well, time marches on. Microsoft did well with 7. 8, not so much. 9 will probably be better. But I have to admit that things seem peppier on 8, especially my virtualbox vms. That may just be the byproduct of a fresh build though.

Two things I absolutely have to do with a fresh 8 install are to wrest control of the UI from the poorly conceived desktop-for-a-tablet, and stop the damned thing from force rebooting after updates.

When it comes to the UI, Classic Shell is your savior. And it’s free! Can’t recommend it enough.

Stopping the auto-reboot is a simple reg hack. In the editor, head to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU

Create the dword value NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers with a hexi value of 1. Or even easier, slap the below into a text file, rename it .reg and double click it to insert into the registry:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU]
"NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers"=dword:00000001

Toying with the SickBeard database – SQLite

I’m moving around a bunch of data managed by SickBeard because I’m running out of drive space.  While SickBeard nicely allows for mass changes, it isn’t so friendly when it comes to gleaning certain information, such as a list of shows that reside in a common path.  SQL to the rescue.

Currently SickBeard uses SQLite as its default database.  Head to SQLite’s download page and grab the appropriate copy of the command line shell (in my case, Precompiled Binaries for Windows).  Stick it in the install path for SickBeard, where sickbeard.db resides.  Because I like to be safe I made a copy of my database, which I named sickbeard_2.db, just in case I did something stupid and broke it.

In a CMD window, path to the aforementioned location and fire up SQLite:

SQLite3.exe

Open the database with

.OPEN filename.db

01

You can list tables simply with

.TABLES

02

We’re after the information found in the tv_shows table. Want to see the columns in that table?

pragma table_info(tv_shows);

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This simple query gets me what I am after, which is all the shows located in the Toons directory:

SELECT location, show_name FROM tv_shows WHERE location LIKE '%Toons%';

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To dump the data to a file rather than to the screen:

.mode csv
.output FILE.csv
SELECT location, show_name FROM tv_shows WHERE location LIKE '%Toons%';
.output stdout

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Find FILE.csv in the directory containing SQLite3 and the db.

Google Authenticator Application Passwords

I use Google Authenticator extensively, as I’m a big fan of multi-factor authentication.  In fact, I wish I could use it everywhere I’m required to input a password.

But when using it with your Google account it can get in the way of applications requiring access.  A thick mail client, for instance.  An app that publishes to YouTube.  An addon that syncs contacts.

They’ve solved this problem by allowing the creation of app specific passwords.  Works great.  But, as per usual with Google, finding the information you need can be problematic.  So, log into your Google account and head here:

https://security.google.com/settings/security/apppasswords