Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Big Pulitzer Prize Winner

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & ClayThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book has heft and it comes with big expectations too, because it was a Pulitzer Prize winner.
My first impressions were of very wordy, dense and descriptive passages packed with ideas and delivered by a very competent wordsmith. The scope of the author's imaginings is vast and fast and very suited to the times portrayed. It is the Big American Novel about the Big American Twentieth Century Project- dealing with opportunity, deprivation, motivation and immigration. Also of magic and art and popular culture, Depression, and sexuality. Behind all this fizzes the issue of not being in a war as well as finally being in a war- and then moving on.

Clever writing, great character development and good pace weren't enough to engage me fully on an emotional level though, and I'm more than ready for a new read.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

it's the process that rings my bells

Well I hope you can forgive the low graphic quality of the drawings shown below. You see that the final draft didn't even make it to ink....just a pencil drawing smudged and reworked over weeks until I found what I was looking for, to overlay upon the original lines. There were many other drawings, but ultimately I decided to take a few shapes that worked for me and emphasise them, while at the same time doing the simplest things possible to de-emphasise some of the shapes that annoyed me.

So for the moment, it is down to the details (and I was never a details kind of person) and the second coats of top paint on several edges and surfaces, and a fuel gauge that persist in defying me, and waiting for the upholsterer, and painting the cockpit floor, and other stories....

Friday, April 21, 2017

lids, lockers and mucky painted fingers

Bandicoot has a very generous cabin and the rear cockpit roof makes a third space which is very useful, but my thinking has been to keep it as simple as possible. It is very wide but not huge in depth, so I decided to make a built in structure across the full width of the transom with a movable step which also has storage. This means that access, seating and storage are combined to leave as much uncluttered floor space as possible. When needed, this allows space for a couple of portable deck chairs.

We have decided to use a local business to supply upholstered cushions and 'sunbrella' fabric side and rear curtains, but because they are very good in what they do we will have to wait some months before the boat gets the benefit of their work. I love supporting local enthusiastic business, but I'm not very good at waiting. In the meantime I'm painting the rails and side decks and preparing grab handles for the new roof. The cabin roof and sides are also being repainted.....I can't believe how much painting I find myself doing, it really isn't something that I particularly enjoy. Incidentally, I'm using Sikkens Cetol Marine Varnish for the two step/storage lids because I've found it easy to retouch on Beachcomber's decks, and quite hardy. The surface isn't as glossy or beautiful as with a traditional varnish but it can be recoated easily without sanding and I've learned that ease of maintenance counts for a lot in wooden boats.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

a marriage of shapes

Who said 'the devil is in the detail' ? And who would have thought there would be so much interest in a blow by blow record of the goings-on of this boat? She doesn't even have a mast...Despite there being very few comments, these little blogs of Bandicoot's new lines and nuanced features are getting a surprising number of views. TV must be at a low ebb at the moment. So these pics are about the marriage of a cockpit roof with a cabin. Finding the lines that define. (I was never fond of the shapes at the back of the cabin)

A most unlikely pair of shapes to harmonise the line of the new roof with the angles of the cabin.

Below, the old edges visible through the fairing compound.

Meanwhile, between painting sessions I'm making a seat base/step/esky cover/storage box/table for 500 mm along the transom. 2 x 800 seats, 1x 800 decked surface. The decked bit is on a piano hinge which allows opening to access cool liquid and picnic foods...A proper multi-function gismo that hides a multitude of messes and provides a convenient step down into the boat from the rear (under the hatch). The seat bases cover acres of storage space. We will have to wait for the upholstery that will make the two side areas into decent seating. A bottom step with storage is also being hatched in the wings....

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

who needs emoticons?

Introducing Ziggy our newest foster dog. We took her into our car on her way back from the vet, having just been de-sexed. She was disoriented and worried, but a few quick tucks of the rug and the pillow by Julia and she was snug and feeling safe. These three pictures were taken within about five seconds (I think the last picture shown was the first taken), and I find them powerful in the range of emotions that can be read in her face in such a short period- without her moving anything but her eyes.

On arriving home she was met by Sooty (our dog) and Fleur (our other foster dog). Fleur has made incredible progress since my post about her when she arrived. After an initial flurry the other two dogs have pretty much left her alone to adjust and recover, and her job tonight is simply to learn something of our physical and emotional geography, our smells and to find enough trust to believe that she will be safe.

Friday, April 7, 2017

clearing the benches (gimme shelter)

When the day came that the roof was weatherproof enough, and the paint cured sufficiently, the usual self doubts arose about the difficulty of moving the roof, of whether it would fit- having been built remotely from the boat, whether it would make a difference to the comfort and shelter on the boat, and whether it would make the boat look worse rather than better.

 Julia and I and a great pair of friends carried the roof from the ute, along the bush track to the jetty and lifted it on just as I had hoped we would. It slipped straight onto the notches provided and the temporary posts clamped to the coaming made it pretty level at their prepared height.

Despite drawing various positions and angles for the posts, it has been easy to find the preferred alternatives by clamping timber as below. It remains now to fix everything down, and harmonise the edges and transitions so that the structure looks to be part of the boat, not just an afterthought. This will also involve re-forming the cabin rear side edges (to an angle that echoes the angle of the windscreen).

In the hot afternoon sun it was pleasant to sit under the new roof, the four of us having a quiet beer. 
It fits.