Olympic griping and other news

Happy weekend, dear readers!

As I sit here watching the London 2012 opening ceremony and wondering if they’ll ever get around to mentioning the five hundred years of naval history to which Britain owes its very survival1. So far it’s not looking like they will.

That aside, though, I’ve been having a great week. On Thursday at work, I accidentally solved a pernicious problem with a certain GSM modem and emergency calling functionality while testing a different, more complicated variety. My first indication that I’d fixed something was the emergency dispatcher on the other end saying, “Hello? Hello?” Some hurried explaining and some removal of superfluous code later, I wrapped up two weeks of work with about six hours of actual work.

In other news, a new counterweight arrived for my trebuchet, a 50-pound kettle bell2 that should turn the marginally-performing trebuchet into a 140-foot screamer. Unfortunately, it’s much too wide and not nearly long enough. Picture the scene: standing in my backyard, the trebuchet creaked under the weight of its potential energy. Also standing in the backyard, I pulled the rope that released the main arm. The long end swung up in a graceful arc, trailing the sling. The short end dropped, then swung back past the centerline, pulling the whole trebuchet over to fall pathetically backward to the ground. I’ll need to hack together an outrigger so it’ll stand up all the way through a firing, and I’ll need to go buy some more sling rings from Lowe’s (since it flung one of them off into the yard somewhere). I should also probably learn to tie better knots.

In endeavors that don’t require knot-tying skills my years as a Boy Scout somehow failed to instill in me, I added a Chinese-built Type 53 carbine to my firearms collection (built in 1955). It’s a pretty good shooter, probably on par with my M91/30, but it’s in an ancient, badly beat-up Chinese stock3. Since the action’s still in good shape, I’m going to move it into a Boyds’ thumbhole stock and add a long eye relief scope to turn it into something after the scout rifle pattern. Pictures may be forthcoming once I’ve started the project.

Finally, on writing, I’ve released We Sail Off To War in its complete edition to my elite cadre of volunteer editors. It’ll be available in e-book form, revised and expanded, with some never-before-seen bonus content, soon4. There’ll be an information page coming before the e-book does, with a justification for selling something that’s free here and details on availability.

1. If you remember We Sail Off To War, you’ll understand why I’m steamed about that.
2. Did you know that cast iron is really, really dense? The box it was in broke while the UPS guy was carrying it to the door.
3. I understand they used soft woods to deal with rot problems.
4. i.e. when it’s ready.

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