The Last Ticket

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital stops charging for parking on July 1st. So this morning, dropping off a friend for day surgery, is likely my last time paying.

Our Son, the Grade 9 Graduate

Oliver had his grade 9 graduation ceremony tonight. We’re very proud of him, and very thankful to the teachers, administrators and staff at Birchwood Intermediate who saw him through his three years at the school with flexibility, imagination and compassion.

Notebooks Mania

I’ve been on something of a notebook-marking tear this week. Every once in a while I remind myself that it’s possible to actually make your own notebooks – it comes as a surprise to me every time!

This time around it’s all by way of beta-testing perfect-binding approach for my book of klischees: I’m experimenting with glue and covers and using ribbons and string as bound-in bookmarks.

For today’s project I took 20 sheets of letter-sized paper and cut them in half, and then folded each each into a signature for the notebook; I stacked the signatures together into a text block, added some end papers, clamped the result in a book press, and glued the spine with white glue (three coats).

For the cover I used an old issue of Volume magazine: I cut off its back cover, sized it to the book, and glued it – and a string for the bookmark — to the text block.


Notebook Endpapers Stopped Working in Google Chrome

When Chrome 50 was released in April, my app stopped working because with that release Chrome would no longer allow use of the Geolocation API for non-secure sites.

The reasons for this are sound:

Location is sensitive data! Requiring HTTPS is required to protect the privacy of your users’ location data. If the user’s location is available from a non-secure context, attackers on the network will be able to know where that user is. This seriously compromises user privacy.

In other words, you probably don’t want your specific location, which needs to locate the township lot you’re standing in, flying around the Internet in the clear for anyone to intercept.

To make this work I needed to do two things:

First, I needed to purchase and install an SSL certificate. This cost me $34 wholesale from RapidSSL and took about 15 minutes to request and configure. I had to update my Apache server configuration to serve the site on port 443 instead of port 80, and I needed to ensure that any traffic going to port 80 got redirected to port 443.

Once that was done, the site was serving from But it still wasn’t working properly.

Chrome’s JavaScript console was reporting two errors:

Refused to execute script from '' because its MIME type ('') is not executable, and strict MIME type checking is enabled. Refused to execute script from '' because its MIME type ('application/json') is not executable, and strict MIME type checking is enabled.

There are really two separate errors here – the MIME type of .geojson files wasn’t configured in Apache, and Chrome wasn’t executing JSON files – but there was a simple, common solution.

The app needs two objects define to work properly, metadata and lots. These are JSON objects that define the metadata about each lot and the geographic coordinates of each lot’s polygon respectively. For ease of management, I had these loaded from the index.html like this:

<script src="data/pei-lots-wgs84-simplified.geojson"></script>
<script src="data/lot-data.json"></script>

While this worked, it technically wasn’t correct, as these were JavaScript files, not GeoJSON nor JSON files. Chrome’s complaint, in a sense, reflects this. The fix was easy: I renamed the files with .js extensions, and changed the index.html to:

<script src="data/pei-lots-wgs84-simplified.js"></script>
<script src="data/lot-data.js"></script>

With that change Chrome users are again able to identify which of the Samuel Holland-surveyed townships lots on Prince Edward Island they’re in at any given time. The source code repository has been updated accordingly.

Connective Highway Tissue

When Canadian Tire decamped for the far northern reaches of Charlottetown, HomeSense and Mark’s moved into its old location on Buchanan Drive and, as part of the renovations of the area associated with this, a new passageway, pictured below, was opened to the Staples parking, allowing traffic that, during the Canadian Tire years, was never allowed to pass.


This small change has been transformative if you’re moving about the big box district of the city. Let’s say you’re at Staples, for example, and want to go around the corner to Michael’s. Before the change you’d have to make a tricky left turn onto University Avenue from the Staples parking lot, fighting busy traffic in both directions. Then you’d have to get in the left-turn lane at the corner of Buchanan and wait for the light to change, eventually turning onto Buchanan.

With the new passageway you can simply head out of the Staples parking lot into the HomeSense/Mark’s parking lot and onto Buchanan. It can shave 5 minutes off the journey, and a lot of hair-raising traffic-crossing.

Map Showing Transformation

I realize that such things shouldn’t loom so large in my consciousness, but they do.

What happens when people have sex in the shower?”

An interesting profile of Toronto impresario Jeff Stober in Toronto Life:

Later, while looking at renderings for the hotel’s new ensuite bathrooms, Stober zeroed in on a sketch of a shower with an exposed pipe. “Why would you expose a fragile pipe? That’s a non-starter. What happens when people have sex in the shower? They’ll rip it off. They’ll burn themselves on it. No. I have zero interest in that. Next?”

Stober is the developer of the The Drake Hotel on Queen Street West in Toronto, a phenomenon I’ve missed completely during my 23 year sabbatical from Ontario.

Barrett’s Privateer’s Explored

With a Stan Rogers musical in rehearsal next to the Reinventorium, my days are filled with novel interpretations of Rogers’ canon. It’s equal parts enervating and thrilling; regardless, I find myself whistling 45 Years on the way home most days.

In this light, Barrett’s Privateers Explored is an excellent read:

Stan Rogers basically made up an imaginary privateer to carry a 60s anti-war theme in a traditional folk setting. Having said all that, many of the details, ranging from the type of cannons mentioned to the letter of marque reference, are very authentic. Stan Rogers did a fair bit of reading about privateering and appears to have been influenced by the historian Archibald MacMechan, who wrote several books on Canadian privateers, as well as a privateering song of his own.

It’s a line by line breakdown of the song. The song that by summer’s end will be burned into my ears.


The DEW Line, for Theatre

So I built myself this:


It’s an early warning system for performances in The Guild theatre, which sits mere inches from my office. It uses this schedule-harvesting code to pull an iCalendar version of the theatre schedule, and then this PHP iCalendar parser to look for what’s playing next. It runs in on a Raspberry Pi browser, and sits at the end of my office.

So now I’m never caught unawares by heartfelt belting outs of of passionate musical theatre anthems.