After buying a home; Things you should do

After buying a home

So you just purchased a home! Congratulations! Now all you need to do is move in, unbox your stuff and you’re good to go, right? Wrong!

After buying a home there are a number of things you should do to make it habitable for yourself. Doing these steps will make your home buying and move in experience go much smoother. You’ll also be aware of any defects (that you can claim on your home warranty if you purchased one,) before they become big expensive problems.

After buying a home

Exterior

– Rekey or replace all locks. You don’t know who might have keys to your new house. Lock and door knob sets are about $100-$200 per door for decent quality ones.

– Mow (or hire a one time lawn service.) Frequently a house sits vacant for several weeks before your move in. Having a landscaper come out can cost as little as $50, but can make a world of difference.

– Clean and Check gutters. Usually a home inspection will catch any problems but you want to check downspouts for leaks and where they drain. Leaky gutters are one of the biggest causes of basement and crawlspace leaks. A simple fix here can save you headache and money later. A lot of leaks are caused by gutters not being cleaned out properly!

– Find the water main shut off. In a lot of newer homes this is easily accessible through the crawl space. Older homes may not have them at all. If you don’t have one, a couple of hundred dollars for a plumber to install one could be a lifesaver down the road.

– Find the gas shut off. This typically requires a wrench. The valve is usually easy to find as the follow image shows. I personally like to have a standard crescent wrench stashed in a kitchen drawer with a painted red handle for this reason, but there are specialized tools that work too.

After buying a home
In an emergency, just rotate the service shut off valve.

Interior

– Paint the interior! Do this before you move in and have stuff in the way. If you do this yourself it’ll just be the cost of supplies which is about $300 for supplies and paint in an average sized 1500 square foot house. If you have someone paint it for you, prices can vary widely depending on the skill of the contractor. Use this calculator to get a ball park figure when approaching professional painters.

– Replace light switches and faceplates. Light switches are only a couple of bucks each, even less if you buy a ten pack. Faceplates are frequently less then a dollar. Make sure to check for lights that are turned off by one or more switches. You’ll need to get a three way switch which are more expensive for each of these. Lastly, fire code in most areas mandate putting CFI outlets near sources of water like sinks. If they get wet they’ll trip and shut off power instead of potentially starting a fire.

– Test and label each switch in the electrical panel. You’ll need to switch power off to replace the light switches anyways so this is a good time to test the breakers. Use a small table lamp to test each outlet and figure out what rooms each breaker controls. Clearly label them with a label maker because I can tell you out of experience nothing is worse then trying to read a faded label written in bad hand writing while your power is out and you only have a weak flashlight for illumination.

– Install smoke detectors in each bedroom. Get the combination smoke/CO2 detectors if you have gas and install another one near any appliances that use gas. They can get expensive, but are good for many years as long as you test the battery on a regular basis. They can also save your life, so I would scrimp on only having one total.

– Clean and maintain the HVAC system. This can be done yourself, but I personally recommend having a professional do this for you. This usually only costs a couple of hundred dollars, but they can look at a system and see problems that you may not notice. A simple replacement of bad parts now can save replacing a several thousand dollar system later. While doing this, go ahead and replace the filter too. If you suffer from allergies it is a good idea to get a HEPA filter.

– Have the ducts cleaned. This seems to be one of the most often overlooked things but can make a huge difference. Dirty ducts will affect the efficiency of your HVAC system and can prolong allergies. Try to get someone who has the proper tools to do this. The $99 duct cleaning service coupons in your mail are not the way to go. A good cleaner should be $300-$500 in most areas. They will also be able to tell you if you have any loose ducts and if you have closed dampers that might also being affecting HVAC efficiency.

– Replace the HVAC thermostat with a programable one. Set it to be cooler during the days when no one is home and at night when everyone is asleep. This will save you a lot of money in the long run and usually pay for itself in only a couple of years. If you can afford it, get the Nest Thermostat.

– Clean everything else! This is another minor thing that can make a huge difference. Steam clean carpets. Clean windows, window sills, doors, etc. Scrub bathtubs and showers.

Moving in

So now that you have done all of that it is finally time to actually move in!

– Before packing, donate or sell anything that you don’t need or want.
– Label and pack boxes for which room they are going to. Do not label for what is in the box.
– If you have boxes that just go into storage, have shelves ready to receive them. High quality industrial shelving for garages and basements can be had fairly cheaply.
– Break down boxes as you empty them and put in a corner. This will make the unpacking process go faster and smoother when you aren’t stumbling over empty boxes.

So this is my standard list. What do you do when you first move into a new place?

Some of Portland’s well known bike thieves

One of Portlands biggest downsides lately has been the sheer number of bike thieves. Bikes have been stolen from racks all over town, from locked garages, “secured” spaces in apartment buildings and office buildings and directly off porches. Bike thieves have even graduated from cable clips to using portable battery powered angle grinders to cut through heavy duty U-Locks.

This has been a very lucrative practice for a few years now because a lot of people don’t write down the serial numbers of their bikes to get them back if they are recovered. News articles around the internet talk of people having to bypass the police, or setup their own sting with the cooperation of the police just to get their bicycles back. And the Stolen Bike Listing has helped reunite quite a few riders with their bicycles.

In addition to that, many of these bike chop shops run openly at the Eastbank Esplanade and the Springwater Trail. Luckily concerned citizens have finally gotten the police and other groups to start cracking down on bike thieves.

Below are the mugshots of 13 of Portland’s most well known bike thieves. Everyone of these people have been charged by the Portland Police for multiple counts of bike theft (note the multiple mugshots under most of them from repeated bookings.) If you see one of these people hanging out suspiciously near a bike rack, please call the Police immediately.

How 70’s Gay Porn Disco Music influences modern Trance and Electronica

How 70’s Gay Porn Disco Music influences modern Trance and Electronica

At one time there was a magical place called San Francisco. It was full of Gay Men, Drag Queens, after hour clubs, drugs and disco music. It was a place where stereotypes were born, where promiscuous men could have sex, do a line of cocaine, and shake their booty to the latest music for days at a time.  Unfortunately this Paradise on Earth was soon to crumble as that spectre of the 19080’s gay lifestyle, HIV, was already infiltrating the city.

Two prominent members of the community that crossed at the corner of Disco and Fabulous were Sylvester (known as the Queen of Disco) and Patrick Cowley. When the two met, Sylvester already had a moderately successful career. He was an founder of a musical group made up of black transwomen and cross-dressers called The Disquotays, a member of The Cockettes and a solo artist. He also had released several albums and had signed with Fantasy Records who’s best known act was Creedence Clearwater Revival.

One of Sylvester’s better known songs is his first hit single, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real.)”

Liking his sound, Sylvester asked Cowley to join his studio band and lay down some synthesizer tracks. One of their collaborations hit #4 on the Billboard dance chart in 1982 – “Do Ya Wanna Funk.”

Hear we can hear a great early electronica 4/4 beat that is the cornerstone of many modern House, Techno and Electronica songs. Patrick Crowley also had a successful solo career with hits such as “Menergy” and “Megatron Man,” as a writer for many other artists of the time, and as a successful DJ at Dance Club The EndUp. (Which is still in business, and plays music, especially Cowley’s, from this era every Sunday.)

But his other major musical contribution was the sound tracks to many Gay Porn movies. The pure sensuality and energy of his synthesizer is such that decades later they continue to be used across the entire porn industry.

Patrick Cowley died of HIV November 12, 1982, bringing his music career and pioneering musical influence to an unfortunate halt. But not before completing two entire albums in the year between when he first became sick and his death. Sylvester also succumbed to HIV on December 16, 1988 after a year of increasingly ill health. He followed his partner who had died a mere year before in 1987.

Fortunately for us, both men’s music lives on. We have even been fortunate to recently uncover some of  Crowley’s lost works that have complied and released as “School Daze.” Both were heavy influencers of the “Hi-NRG” style of uptempo disco and electronic dance music that first came out in the 1970’s. Combining high tempo beats with great lyrics that make just about anyone want to jump out of their seat and dance the night away, this style embraced electronic musical instruments to create unique sound.

Hi-NRG saw it’s peak in the 1980’s, with artists such as Donna Summers, Dead or Alive, Bannarama, and the Village People all getting into the Hi-NRG scene. Many of them used electronic music as backups to drive the beat of their songs. During this time they genre and style spread to Canadian and British Dance Clubs as DJ’s incorporated it into their play lists. It is interesting to note that many Electronica and Techno artists continue to remix Hi-NRG songs to this day.

In turn, Hi-NRG music heavily influenced House Music. Based on the pedigree of those highly sexualized rhythmic beats, House Music likely started in Chicago night clubs that catered to the African American and Latino Gay population of that city. It expanded to Detroit, New York, San Francisco and other American cities before spreading across the Atlantic Ocean to British and European Dance Clubs.

By the end of the 90’s House Music had not only superseded the Hi-NRG genre in popularity, it had become incredibly fragmented also. Techno, Electro, Trance and the various House Derivatives such as Electro House and Progressive House all come from House music as artists bent and recreated sounds in an effort to differentiate themselves from other groups.

Today, groups such as Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Moby, Front 424 and thousands of others continue to push the frontiers of Electronica music splitting it even further into more and more diverse genres. But if you listen closely you can still hear that driving, penetrating, sensual 70’s Gay Porn Disco beat pioneered by Sylvester and Patrick Cowley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfhDqIVUpSg

What music by today’s artists do you hear that 70’s Disco Porn beat in? Please comment below!

Foiled Terrorist Plots since 2009

Foiled Terrorist Plots since 2009

2009 May 20: 2009 New York City bomb plot Three U.S. citizens and one Haitian from Newburgh, New York were arrested in a plot to bomb a Riverdale Temple and a Riverdale Jewish Center in The Bronx, New York City in an alleged homegrown terrorist plot. It was also alleged that they planned to shoot down military planes operating out of Stewart Air National Guard Base also in Newburgh.

2009 September Najibullah Zazi of Denver was indicted on charges of trying to build and detonate a weapon of mass destruction. He and two others allegedly planned to detonate the homemade explosives on the New York City subway system.

2009 August – September: On September 24 William Boyd and Hysen Sherifi charged with conducting reconnaissance of the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia and obtaining armor-piercing ammunition with the intent to attack Americans.

2009 September 24: Michael Finton/Talib Islam a 29 year old man from Illinois charged with trying to kill federal employees by detonating a car bomb at the federal building in Springfield, Illinois.

2009 September 24: Hosam Maher Husein Smadi a 19 year old illegal immigrant from Jordan charged with trying the bomb the 60 story Fountain Place office tower in Dallas, Texas.

2010 January 7 Adis Medunjanin an alleged 2009 NYC Subway plotter attempts a suicide attack by intentionally crashing his car on the Whitestone Bridge in New York City. Medunjanin has since been charged for his role in an Al Qaeda plot to conduct coordinated suicide bombings on New York’s subway system.

2010 September 20: Sami Samir Hassoun, 22, a Lebanese citizen living in Chicago, was charged with one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted Continue reading “Foiled Terrorist Plots since 2009”