So Tess and I have these left over IKEA bookshelves (the Billy model; yes I know that sounds vaguely sensual) from our old house. They survived the trip and so I thought I'd use them to cover up the dance studio-like floor-to-ceiling mirrors in our front room by truning them into quasi-builtins. We went down to IKEA, got a corner unit and two other Billy shelves in the same color only to find that, once assembled and standing next to our legacy shelving, they don't match what we have in the slightest. It's not even close to the same color. It looks like two different kinds of wood even!
Up yours, you Swedish-like people!
So that means I have to go to IKEA again (about a 3 hour process) to grab two more shelves and hope they are the "new birch veneer" color as well. And it also means that I'm left with another two Billy shelves which will have no home.
We don't have what you would call a lot of space for shelving (I know that sounds odd, but so is the house), and I already have another two Billy shelves (in dark brown) that were destined for the spare bedroom. Actually, there's one more set (non-Billy; a model with deeper shelves) floating around as well. And a half-height Billy, too, that was left over from my old office. So that's, what? 5 ½ extra shelves which need a place to live?
I guess I can take the lighter color ones, the deep shelf can go in the spare room, one Billy can stay in the garage, and 1 ½ shelves get a "Free to a good home" sign on them and are placed on the curb for the Oompa-Loompaz in Da Hood to take away.
I like IKEA and all, but enough is enough. I should have just custom built shelves in front of the mirrors. Probably would have been faster.
I have a solution for the cruise ship piracy problem: arm the vacationers. You know how they used to offer trap/skeet off the stern of cruise ships a while back? It'd be like that. Except way more fun. Here's how it works...
At several points around the upper deck, there are unobtrusive white weatherproof lockers. In those lockers are surplus bolt action rifles -- like old Enfields or something. They're about $80 each, and so almost disposable. Stock each locker with, say, two dozen rifles and 2,400 rounds of ammo on stripper clips (for faster loading), and 6 shotguns with perhaps 50 rounds of 00 buck each. You need about one locker for every 60 linear feet of deck railing.
Every locker has two crew members assigned to it, each with a key. All the lockers also have a centrally-controlled internal lock, and each is alarmed. The crew members wield the shotguns, and act as spotters. The passengers get to use the rifles. They sign up for deck rifle duty early on in the cruise -- before the ships weighs anchor.
Right after the life jacket drill, the volunteers get training on how the anti-piracy program works, and basic marksmenship. This only needs to be about an hour at most. Each person signs a heavy-duty waiver, is inducted into the shipboard militia, given an oath swearing to upload maritime law and the ethical dictates of the captain and crew, and finally assigned a locker station to report to in case of defensible action in warranted.
When word of impending piracy is broadcast, the locker crews immediately attend to their assigned locations. Those passengers cleared for rifle duty are asked to report to their deck station. Everyone else is asked belowdecks.
The gun crews check in each passenger using the barcode on their picture IDs, and assign each militia member a weapon (also barcoded) and 100 rounds of ammunition. Each newly-armed passenger is assigned a portion of railing, a field of fire, and given the order to call out any targets.
Once pirates are spotted, locker crews report the contact to the bridge, and ask permission to fire. (If the ship is fired upon first, return fire is immediately warranted, and able to be authorized by the locker crews directly.) The bridge makes the call to open fire or hold fast.
What this basically boils down to is a big cruise ship bristling with rifles that have an effective range of about 600 yards. Since all militia passengers can't be relied on to accurately shoot that far, the concept relies on volume of fire, purely as an ersatz area-of-effect weapon.
Piracy would end abrubtly, which would be a shame. The world would be much better off without those who would prey on the unsuspecting in it. The passengers would get a bit of extra excitement, and the sense that they are improving the lives of everyone who comes after them. Without something, they're basically trapped there like cattle, at the mercy of a glorified rape whistle. If you take an African cruise, pray that you get a ship with high-tech defenses. But really, a more permanent solution is warranted.
Morally, there's no grey area with any of this. These are guys who pile into little fast boats with rocket launchers, bent on maiming, killing and stealing. They'd leave an entire ship's complement for dead in a heartbeat. The minute they come after a cruise ship, the jig is up. They know what they are there to do, and so does the crew of their would-be target. A lower form of life than these I cannot imagine.
Besides, it'd be hellaciously fun to teach these bastards a terminal lesson in the differences between right and wrong. I'd pay double for a room on that cruise ship.
Well, it's over. Or, rather, just begun. The old stuff is gone, buried under uncountable efforts from lots of folks pulling 80 hour work-weeks -- and from some very bewildered and haggard old-timers putting up with the ruffians in their midst. All manner of interesting integration (both technical and otherwise) has taken place in the last 6 months. It's been both exhausting and rewarding being part of such a close knit team with a singular purpose, and I'm sure I'll remember all this stress fondly. "That which does not kill you..." and all that. All I really want to think about now is sleeping in and unpacking my house.
I've been working more than not the past couple weeks, and it's been frustrating. I can say that C++ blows. I like to get stuff done, not have to think about how to get stuff done. I never thought I'd say this, but... I miss Java.
So after a particularly long and frustrating day, I was grabbing a Naked Juice out of the fridge in the lobby (Tess needs her googly dividend, you know) and I saw the following on the little search term crawl screen they have in all the lobbies:
matrix mpeg bill gates steve ballmer
how do I kill myself
There I was holding my juice, thinking about what a crappy day it's been (more to come!) and for no reason happened to look up at the search terms scrolling by as I was walking out. I just focused on those two by random chance. The two lines were one after each other, right like that up there.
I laughed loud enough that the guy playing the piano on the break room broke cadence.
All is well.