About twenty years ago my father and I restored a derelict cedar strip boat that was slowly rotting away at a cottage nearby ours.
It took us several years, and I think we did a ripping good job. We don’t have a “before” picture, but here’s how it turned out:
Unfortunately as is often the case with these things, we got it to about 98% restored then ran out of steam. There were a few things that we simply never got right. We lived with it for a few years, then we put in storage for 15 years or so.
We were storing it in a building belonging to our cottage association. But then the building was sold. This means we were faced with an important decision. Get rid of it, or sort it out.
We decided to sort it out and put it back in the water. Since neither of us has the time to work on it anymore it went to Woodwind Yachts and we (by we I mean my Dad) paid them to sort it out for us. There wasn’t much that needed doing, but that final 2% is often the most difficult part, as anyone who has tried to restore a vintage vehicle of any kind will tell you.
We got it back this week and took it for it’s first ride. We then had to immediately pull it out of the water and store it for the winter.
It doesn’t look particularly different, but there are some important structural changes that make it much more usable. Since we’ve got it back I’ve been working on replacing the hilariously dim incandescent bulbs in the running lights with LEDs. More on that to come…
Back at the cottage means more of my old LEGO sets! These were the smaller sets that you could sometimes convince your parents to buy you on a whim if you happened to be at the mall and begged loud enough, whereas the bigger ones like the seaport were reserved for Christmas.
The names of the sets are absolutely hilarious. “Screaming Patriot”? They sound like the names of unlicensed Halloween costumes. You know the type, where it’s clearly “The Incredible Hulk” but it’s called something like “Angry Green Man”. I’m guessing they were named by some Swedish guy who worked at LEGO in the 1980’s and 1990’s and was given the job because he had a relative in America.
I am rapidly approaching my fortieth birthday. That means I’m old enough to remember when Toronto was “Metro Toronto”. Long story short: Toronto used to be governed by many small regional entities who all cooperated under a framework called Metropolitan Toronto. Just before the end of the previous century this was replaced with one monolithic government in the name of “cost savings”. Whether that was actually successful or not I can’t say for certain (though my completely non-scientific intuition says it’s not terribly likely) but the neat thing is that you can still find the logo for Metro Toronto hiding all over the place. I try to take pictures of it when I see it.
My good friend and colleague CSJ and I started recording some of our conversations, mostly as an experiment to see how hard podcasting is. We decided to actually start publishing material as a podcast. Right now no one else has listened to it but who knows, one day there may be literally dozens of listeners.
Google Apps Script is a really nice way to interact with Google Docs programatically. You can write add-ons or stand-alone scripts to read or modify documents and have access to a DOM, which is a much nicer way to do things than attempting to use a REST endpoint or similar. The only problem is that while the DOM/object model is reasonably complete, it isn’t totally so. As of this writing there is no way, when dealing with spreadsheets, to determine if a cell is merged, or, more frustratingly, obtain the formatted contents of the cell. We really needed this information recently, so we decided to parse it out of the HTML that you get when exporting the document. This can be done in Apps Script itself.
The other day I was trying to do some web design according to IBM’s design guidelines. They provide color swatches as .ase files, which are read by Adobe products like Illustrator, PhotoShop, etc. I have none of these applications but I figured “hey how hard can it be to parse the file myself?”
I later found out that IBM Design does provide a site that shows the same information, but by that time I was way to consumed with the problem. That happens sometimes. But hey, now I can look at any .ase file! And so can you!