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This is a question Winging It

Don Spang says: I once found myself winging it in a job interview and somewhat exaggerated my technical experience in the field of mainframe computer operations. 24 years later, I'm still there. Ever had to improvise to get by? Tell us you tales of MacGyver-type genius.

(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 12:31)
Pages: Popular, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Winging it on the wing
Several years ago my wife, 2 kids, some friends and their two kids were happily sat on a Boeing 747 about to depart for some sunshine and silliness in Orlando. The plane took off without incident and we settled down to a long and expectedly dull flight whilst trying to entertain/contain our excited offspring.
This particular aircraft had those little screens on the back of the headrests from which you could choose from several different films etc. ideal I thought, that'll keep 'em occupied for a while, but 15 minutes into the flight the screens on the back of the chairs were still not working, they would play for a few seconds, freeze, then restart again. At that time I was employed as a 'TV engineer' which actually meant I worked in a back street repair shop. Feeling a little irked by complaints from my kids I asked a passing stewardess what was wrong with the screens "I am sorry sir but the system is playing up, we are working on it though and will hopefully get it resolved soon" I don't know why I said it but it just fell out of my mouth "well I'm a video engineer, I could have a look if you want!" she smiled, said nothing and whent on her way.
A few minutes later she came back and asked "you said you were a video engineer?" "yes" I gulped, "well if you wouldn't mind having a look I would be very grateful" What could I do! I tapped my friend on his shoulder and asked him to follow me (I needed some moral support) got up and followed her through first class to the business end of the plane. I was presented with a bank of 8mm video players which were stopping and starting all on their own, "They are controlled by this" she said and pointed at a small PC screen. I touched the keyboard beneath it and the screen asked for a password "it's BA***w" (edited) she said. I logged in and had not a clue as to what I was going to do next, there were now three crew watching me, I was beginning to sweat then my friend whispered in my ear "it's a computer, just turn it off and on again" brilliant i thought and did just that, selected log off, waited for the screen to go blank then turned of a big red power switch, waited a few moment then turned it back on again. At this point a phone that hung on the wall in the galley rang, it was the pilot asking what was going on, she said a passenger was an engineer and was looking at the video system, she looked at me and said "who do you work for sir?" urm.... "Sony" I said (I just chose the make of the video players they had) the discussion with the pilot continued and she was clearly being told off. However, turning the computer off and on again fixed the problem, I logged back in and the video players sprang to life and worked normally, disaster averted. I walked back to my seat a hero and to rounds of applause from the passengers.

We were given two bottles of champagne as a thank you, I did ask for an upgrade to first class but alas there were no seats left.

She did tell me though that if they could not get the system working they would have had to refund every passenger £25.00.

That's definetly one for my CV: fixing a Boeing 747 in flight :-)
(, Fri 29 Mar 2013, 22:58, 9 replies)
I will get found out one day!
I wing it every day at work.
I don't mean to. I try really hard not to, but I have to.
As some of you know I am a British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter.
Everyday I go into new situations with new people who use BSL or English in new and different ways with their own idiosyncrasy or vocabulary and I have to just try and keep up. I do love my job even though it's hard in any number of ways..
It can be with someone with learning difficulties, someone being told they are dying, a lecture on the historical relevance of the Quaker movement or how someone is going to divorce their partner and take their children and all their worldly goods.
And almost everyday I leave work going 'Fuuuuuuuuck' as I am not sure I have done justice to the language and communication that has occurred.
Thing is, I do get asked back. I have regular clients who have become friends. I know people respect me in my work and would try and book me before many others in my situation.
I know deep down I am great at what I do...but that feeling of FUCK won't go away.
However, every day, every minute I am wracked with insecurity about my own skills. I think I am a terrible interpreter, everyone else is better than me. I think it comes with the territory. We are constantly monitoring our own performance, and so we should be. Who wants someone who is going to tell a surgeon to cut off the wrong leg? Who wants to go to jail if I sign one wrong thing? Who wants to lose their kids due to my ineptitude?
Any second now someone is going to point at me and go 'YOU CAN'T DO YOUR JOB YOU ARE A CHARLATAN'
I won't be surprised, I am just waiting for it.
And I am going to go 'yeah, thank god, it only took you 12 years to realise, now I am free to fuck off and fuck up something else in life'
(, Tue 2 Apr 2013, 23:43, 25 replies)
Dong an MA in criminology a few years ago, we all had to give the usual presentations
and quite formulaic they were too, with a talk, a handout or two, a PowerPoint display and a Q&A session.

I decided to do something different: sack off all the paperwork, and just present a nice picture to, hopefully, start a discussion.

I started by asking people not to write anything down, just to look at the picture and listen for a bit, and then share what they thought, promising to email everyone with references later.

I chose Omnibus Life In London, painted in 1859 by William Maw Egley and chatted about how it shows the omnibus passengers, of different social classes and occupations, variously observing and ignoring each other.
We see hints of mortality and immorality, giving an impression of both the the discomforts and the opportunities of modern life, and especially the possibilities of disease and crime.

Anyway… it went stunningly. I knew the subject really well and didn't need notes, and everyone sportingly joined in with a lovely criminological/art history discussion. I felt that the class had looked at the subject from a new direction AND I got a really good mark.

Best of all, everyone else's presentations changed drastically after that! One week we had a talk about a photo of people being shoved onto the Japanese bullet trains, to illustrate the pressures of modern life and their part in the problem of crime.

Another person based their discussion of the civilising effects of sport on society on the then-current World Cup, when the English fans were apparently waving inflatable Spitfires at the Germans!

My comeback gimmick was giving out a plastic fork with the name 'Elias' written on it to each student to symbolise that philosopher's ideas on the 'socialisation' of societies.

Soon everyone was winging it and we had a bit of fun in our presentation, with some really interesting discussions. What we learned was: if you've researched well enough you don't need a script, and your enthusiasm will be catching.
(, Sat 30 Mar 2013, 23:32, 9 replies)
My mum.
Was a flying instructor.
She used to build up her flying hours and get a free fly (no hiring the plane or paying for fuel) by giving instruction at the local flying club. As she was a single mum and I an only child that basically meant I spent a good portion of my weekends sitting in the back seat/luggage compartment of a single prop Cessna feeling queasy whilst watching my mum put some novice pilot thu their paces.

My mum as an educator (she ended up getting a doctorate based in education) was a great believer in "hands on learning". As an instructor this meant putting the student pilots in real situations to make sure that they knew what to do if certain things eventuated. She had flown everything from DC-10's to gliders and ultralights in all sorts of circumstances. To her, experience was the greatest teacher.
This meant that many of the scenarios other instructors might gloss over, she made the hapless students experience 1st hand.

Forced stalls - mostly done with forced landings maybe less than a hundred feet off the deck. Mum made them do it at several thousand feet. Your plane isn't always going to stall on the level, with flaps on full at stall speed is it now? So when you start to drop out of the sky and lose altitude rapidly it kinda makes finding a solution to the problem somewhat more of a sweat-breaker than it does when you have the runway in front of you and you were coasting in for a landing anyway.

CAT or clear air turbulence. Until you've experienced it you have no idea what it's like.
You're flying along happily when all of a sudden your plane drops up to a couple of hundred feet in a few seconds, leaving your stomach and anything you haven't evacuated out of it stuck to the roof of the aeroplane.
This was a fave of mums. In Mt. Isa, Queensland the wet season usually has daily thunderstorms in the afternoon. Fly thru 1 of those thunderheads and there's a good chance you'll get a taste of an air pocket. Scary as fuck but there's a good chance that sometime a pilot will get caught in bad weather (no amount of planning can cover that) so my mum would make the student pilots face the situation head-on by finding a thunderstorm and flying thu it.
At best we'd go through some rough and choppy air and get bounced around the cabin a bit, at worst we'd do the CAT dance and at least one of us would lose our lunches. Usually me.

As you might conclude from this tale I have a healthy aversion to getting my feet too far off the ground unless I absolutely have to.
Christ knows how many airsickness bags I chucked my nuts up into during the 70's and 80's but I reckon the highest points of distribution would've been where-ever my mum was training.

In the spirit of Juan Quar's post - my mum wasn't winging it so much as she didn't mind not being totally in control and certainly knew how to enjoy herself when the shit did hit the fan...

tl;dr - My mother tortured me and many student pilots by putting us in very serious predicaments whilst flying an airplane in the name of teaching the students how to deal with something first-hand.

EDIT: Despite the fact that my mum and grandfather both got their pilot's licenses at Biggin Hill (albeit 40 odd years apart - I think my grand-dad did it out of shame and competitiveness against his daughter) I have no desire whatsoever to learn how to fly.
(, Sun 31 Mar 2013, 6:06, 52 replies)
Best Man Speech
Many years ago now I was asked by my best mate to be his best man, in all honesty I was young probably about 22 years old, I drank a lot we dabbled rather often like in illegal substances (it's not big and it's not clever). The point is I was not exactly the most reliable person.

I did all the other prerequisites for a best man, organised a completely substandard stag do (mini bus to Liverpool city centre which resulted in most of us spending the night in cells).

It was a few weeks before the wedding and my and my mate went for a pint and we discussed the best mans speech, it suddenly dawned on me I had forgotten all about it, we had been friends for years and I just imagined that I would say a few bits off the top of my head and get away with it, then he told me that that's gonna be the focus point for everyone (he is in the army and a lot of squaddies were going to be in attendance).

Even the day before the wedding I had nothing, that night I got totally trashed with his squaddie mates and him, we say at about 4am and wrote what could possibly be the single most offensive piece of literature since the bible.

The day arrives, seriously hung over, start drinking very early and dabbling.

The moment comes, I stand up, I check my pocket the speech is there....relief....I open up the paper to see the compete and utter scrawlings of a drug fuelled alcoholic binged brain. Indecipherable characters that looked like something that would be found in a pyramid, huge CDC's all over it including the back that the whole crowd could see.

I paused, stuttered, took a deep breath and absolutely fucking nailed it. Well that's what everyone said. I can't even remember what I said at all, not one thing, but everyone bought me lots of drinks later including the father of the bride (phew) and patted me on the back and said it was the funniest thing they have ever heard.
They may have been lying but I don't care.

Does that count as winging it?
(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 15:07, 15 replies)
School physics lessons.
Dr Q. is teaching us GCSE physics and trying to get on to the subject of AC current and transformers. Youngster-RWH is chatting at the back and obviously not paying attention to the Dr.

Dr Q. observes this and after having produced the tray with the lab equipment in (laminated transformer W-piece and top piece, square bobbins with '1000 turns', '100 turns' and '200 turns' Dymo-labelled, wrapped with copper wire/terminated with 4mm sockets, and an AC-range digital volt meter, calls my attention and the whole class is suddenly concentrating on me.

"So, RWH- I assume you know all about this because you're not listening to me explaining this. So, why don't you come down and do the demonstration instead so we can all learn what you know".

Oh shit.

Oh hang on.

This is AC transformers, I saw this in the encyclopedia at home last week....(I was actually looking up something for geography homework and it was on the next page, the diagram looked intriguing so i read it up).

I didn't know all the terminology but I recognised that you put mains through the primary and the ratio of turns on the primary to the secondary changed the output voltage, so I wired it all up with 4mm leads and showed- look, 240 volts in, 24 volts out (100 turns on the secondary) but then if you change the secondary with 100 windings on for the winding with 200 turns on and remade the top bar and showed the output voltage had gone up to 48 on the scale.

Dr Q. Glared at me for a moment and then realised he created the scenario and I'd somehow navigated through it without giving him the excuse to punish me, so just curtly said "OK. Go back to your seat".

Mind you, the same guy also told me to expect a detention for not handing in my homework one lesson, during the content of that lesson I actually completed it and gave him my book. He relented and said- "Well, why didn't you hand it in if you'd done it? OK, no detention. Go home."

*phew*.
(, Mon 1 Apr 2013, 1:50, 2 replies)
Academic expertise
Not so long ago, I was asked at very short notice - less than 36 hours - to give a lecture to some of our postgrad students, the person slated to give it having had to go into hospital to have her appendix out.

So, the day before the lecture, I sat down to prepare. Like many academics, I work on the Micawberish principle that, as long as you finish the lecture at least one sentence better-informed than your students, you're fine. I didn't have to be an expert on the subject; I just had to know enough to talk convincingly for a couple of hours.

Talk convincingly? Waffle, I mean.

I thought I'd get away with it, too... until I arrived at the room where I would be teaching, and fired up the projector to show the PowerPoint slides to accompany my spiel. Something had gone terribly wrong.

All those lovingly-prepared bullet points - the which would both convey the important aspects of the arguments to the students, and provide me with prompts so that I knew what to say - were displayed not in nice big Arial, but as a series of abstract symbols and pictograms.

It was obvious to everyone that I was Wingdings it.
(, Fri 29 Mar 2013, 16:03, 3 replies)
Perls of wisdom
Out of the blue, a friend who was working in California, surfing the DotCom bubble at an online music company, called me up and offered me a month's work - at consultant rates, with free accommodation in San Francisco. I think I left scorch marks on the doormat as I headed for the airport.

The only slight problem was that the job was programming in Perl, a language had never used, and in fact never even seen. As a "fire fighter", brought in to save the project, I would be expected to get stuck into the work first thing on day one - there would be no "getting up to speed" period.

So I bought a textbook on the way to the airport, planning to spend the entire flight cramming the language. As soon as we had reached cruising altitude, I got out the thick book and turned to the first chapter.

Which was titled, with alarming prescience, "Perl from 37,000 feet"...

Now THAT'S winging it!
(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 14:34, 11 replies)
listen up, fatties!
when i first started to lose weight, i was in the weight-loss course at my local hospital. it was a lot more enjoyable than you might think and the experimental weight-loss drugs were pretty good, too.
after 6 months, i'd lost quite a bit of weight and the dietician asked me if i'd be willing to speak in front of the new group, to give them a bit of encouragement and insight from someone who'd already started the course..due to the fact that i thought i'd be one of many speakers, i agreed.
the day arrived and i very soon discovered that i was to be the only speaker, except from the dietician. i didn't have a fucking clue what i was doing.
and so followed an hour of me vainly attempting to answer questions about body mass index, calorific content and the comparative benefits of many different varieties of exercise. at the end of this hour, there was to be a proper q&a session with both me and the dietician. one particular bloke, who'd paid very little attention throughout(except for occasionally snorting derisively), waved a pudgy arm in the air and said "isn't this all just rubbish? i exercise, i eat the diet food, but i've put weight on. explain that, if you're so good!"
the dietician looked at him and replied "see that king-size mars bar you were eating outside when i got here? don't do that and you might lose weight."
tactless, perhaps, but a damn sight better than pussyfooting around someone who clearly wasn't ready to give the course a decent try.
(, Tue 2 Apr 2013, 15:21, Reply)
Don't have any stories of my own...
Dunno if these links will work, but anyway, this is from an Australian TV series called "Bush Mechanics" featuring some very inventive aboriginal blokes. It is a fantastic example of "winging it". Beautiful language and scenery, and great aboriginal humor.

Take the time to watch both episodes, right through to the end. Sorry about the poxy ads.

Part 1:

youtu.be/kfaJYkN9GZ4

Part 2:
youtu.be/ESwGyrCMKmg

Yeah, yeah, belongs to /links, but more in keeping with QOTW.
(, Fri 29 Mar 2013, 14:02, 9 replies)
Military Winging
Back when I was just a wee corporal, I got transfered to a new unit, which did CBRN recon (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear reconaissance). It so happened that a certification exercise was scheduled the next week.

The Setup: Our two Bio guys got sick. Bad sick. On the morning of the exercise. Which we couldn't call off, since "readiness" is part of the judging criteria. Boss Woman tells me that I'm it and to suit up. Now, I did do something like this a few years before, as a civvie firefighter. TOP MAN, right?

Anyway, we suit up, grab our gear, and enter a room in a coal power plant full of pipes, lab equipment, and general crap.

The Setup part deux: It turns out that the (also new) team leader was a total spacker. Physically and mentally uncoordinated, he didn't even know what he was doing half of the time (We do forensic sampling, and he contaminated pretty much every piece of evidence he touched). The 2IC saw this, and got him to swap patches with me.

The execution: It turns out that except for different radio talk, the military version of this is pretty much like the civvie version. So, never having been one, I winged the whole team leader thing, got good samples, good evidence, and prevented a (simulated) weaponized botulinum toxin attack on a football stadium.

Later, a note turned up in our in tray:

"We know you pulled a bait-and-switch on us. Consider this an inofficial commendation for the corporal, and tell the team leader he's an idiot. Be glad we like you enough not to fail you on your certification.
-The Judges"

The Fallout: A 500 euro bonus for "Services beyond the scope of normal duties", and a glowing recommendation for Officer Training. Result!
(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 13:56, 7 replies)
As a teenager I once borrowed a paperback copy of The Exorcist, which was THE hot book at the time, for just one night.
The person who lent it had borrowed it from someone else so I had to read it quickly.

Next morning in a Human Biology 'O' Level class I was asked a quite basic question about the spinal column.

Ahhh, I thought, I know this! and went on for several minutes about spinal fluid and how it can be tapped to provide a specimen for analysis where conditions such as meningitis are suspected.
The teacher and class were amazed. I had obviously researched this subject in some depth.

I'd actually got all my information from the book, where Regan's spinal tap is fully described and explained.

Reminds me of a comic character who made me laugh as a kid by giving a little lecture in class about a king of England, which shocked the teacher who'd assumed the lad would know nothing about the subject.
Of course, this was the 60s, and the character had read the information on the cornflake packet at breakfast.
(, Sat 30 Mar 2013, 9:30, 4 replies)
Getting out of RE homework
Long time lurker, first time poster etc.

This story concerns my friend Matt (for that is his name). In Year 7 or 8, we were given a short, simple piece of homework to do for RE. Now, the subject itself is a massive fucking joke, as is homework; but back then, we all saw it as really important, and feared the wrath (more than likely just a stern 'no excuse/you should have done it, you've had plenty of time' from the teacher) that would inevitably come from the teacher if we didn't get the homework done on time.

I got home, and did the homework; it took no more than ten minutes. It was some bullshit about Gandhi and the sanctity of life if I can remember. The next day, everyone's done it: bar Matt. He seems pretty calm about the whole thing though.

We get to RE, and we all give in our homework. The teacher gets to Matt, and stares at him, palm outstretched. Matt looks solemnly up at her.

"Miss, I haven't done it." Matt whimpers.

She sighs. "Why haven't you done it, Matthew?" She angrily asks, looking cross and more than a little bit pissed off.

Matt, rather than giving the general excuse of 'I forgot', comes out with the belter of an excuse: "My Dad died miss." He killed off a family member, just to get out of an insignificant piece of homework; a piece of homework, ironically, about the sanctity of life.

He played it off so well, and she bought it! She looked so sincere when she put her hand on his shoulder and gave her condolences. How Matt kept a straight face I'll never know. She must have been the most gullible teacher ever to walk the Earth (well, she is a Bible basher, so that speaks volumes) to think that someone would be in school the day after their Dad died.

So, Matt winged it by killing off a beloved family member to get out of homework...as a side note, in our leavers assembly, the speech I had written included many of Matt's bullshits (He claimed, among many other things, he can remember being a sperm), and the 'my dad died' story was in there. The teacher was at the assembly, and didn't look too pleased: in fact, she looked fucking pissed off.
(, Tue 2 Apr 2013, 19:49, 6 replies)
It's World Autism Awareness Day tomorrow
www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/waad
I'll be doing my bit by coming here and reading your stories.
(, Mon 1 Apr 2013, 6:44, 12 replies)
clowning around
if anyone ever asks you to help them out at a kid's party by dressing up as a clown and entertaining the children, DO NOT DO IT.
those little fuckers can smell the fear of a first-timer and their favourite game is Let's Twat The Clown.
started off winging it, ended up legging it.
(, Wed 3 Apr 2013, 14:42, 3 replies)
law is such a worthwhile career
A friend required a number of o-levels to go to do law at uni, coming from a family of lawyers and judges he thought it time he stopped mucking about with his failed collage course in a craft industry. Each module counted as an o-level and there were six of them, sadly there they were listed, at the end of the letter it said FAIL. Uni required a photocopy of all o-levels attained. Folding under the last bit that said Fail worked wonderfully and he went on to pass law, work at a big Supermarkets legal department and now i believe works in medical law in the big smoke...
(, Tue 2 Apr 2013, 21:45, 19 replies)
Having not read one particular text
prior to an English lit workshop during the colonial authors module at uni I was rather eager to avoid being too involved. When I was then asked to give my impressions on the themes contained therein I somehow managed to talk on, and engage the class in a deconstruction of, the subject for 45 minutes using only guesswork and any snippets of information I gleaned from their answers to my open questions. Got a distinction too.

Not a funny story but what the fuck do you expect from a student?
(, Fri 29 Mar 2013, 21:27, 1 reply)
I wanted to post a relevant story on this QOTW
But I couldn't think of one, so I just made something up on the spot hoping that no-one would notice. I think I got away with it.
(, Fri 29 Mar 2013, 13:04, 3 replies)
I just came in for a couple of days to help putting a document together
2 years later I'm still here, in charge of Water, Environment and Transport projects for the entire Asia Pacific region.

I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING.
(, Fri 29 Mar 2013, 2:15, 1 reply)
Stuck inside these four walls, sent inside forever,
Never seeing no one nice again like you,
Mama you, mama you.
If I ever get out of here,
Thought of giving it all away
To a registered charity.
All I need is a pint a day
If I ever get out of here.

Well, the rain exploded with a mighty crash as we fell into the sun,
And the first one said to the second one there I hope you're having fun.
Band on the run, band on the run.
And the jailer man and sailor sam were searching every one

For the band on the run, band on the run, band on the run, band on the run

Well, the undertaker drew a heavy sigh seeing no one else had come,
And a bell was ringing in the village square for the rabbits on the run.
Band on the run, band on the run.
And the jailer man and sailor sam, were searching every one

For the band on the run, band on the run,band on the run, band on the run

Well, the night was falling as the desert world began to settle down.
In the town they're searching for us every where, but we never w I'll be found.
Band on the run, band on the run

And the county judge, who held a grudge
Will search for evermore
For the band on the run, band on the run, band on the run, band on the run

(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 17:32, 4 replies)
I am a parent. My Son is 2 and a half (give or take)
Read all the books ya want, listen to all the advice, it might come in handy. I've pretty much winged it every day. Probably will until he's old enough to tell me how things work. The Mrs knows what she's doing though (or that's how it looks anyway).
(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 12:40, Reply)
I actually know a lot of (useful, employable and trivial) stuff in very high detail, and can apply the knowledge in the real world (quite acceptably well in numerous and documented occasions) -or else I'd not still be in a job . Never mind the hobbies.
But due to a Catholic upbringing where you are endlessly guilt-stricken thanks to the Church and the Folks correcting you (verbally or physically)on every tiny little infraction of their code of etiquette
, it's hard to have confidence that what you're doing in everyday life is OK and acceptable- in their standards (which aren't a matter of record, by the way, else you could call them on double standards...) and you won't be smitten by the angry hand of discipline no matter how correct you thought you were.

So, essentially, while I've been mainly right all along, I've been labouring under the phantom childhood malaise that I'm only just barely getting by, short of a thrashing for my shoddy performance.

Then occasionally I remember, hang on... I've made it so far. Surely you can't be shit at everything for this long and still be alive and making money. Managed to keep it going long enough to have a lovely girlfriend, grown up daughter, rewarding dayjob...

Yet sometimes when everyday details bog me down, I forget all of that- and the comfortable familiar (shit, we'll be found out and fired!) feeling comes back.

On the other hand, I look at the alternative-folks who feel no motivating force0 to take the easy money, to do the safe job, to rip the piss out of the system. The day I assume I'm owed it all is the day I become a tosser.

I've been in my industry for 12 years now, we just all move about between departments every couple of years so you don't get prematurely comfortable and therefore lazy. But the edge of fear about losing my job does make me try, even when I think I may be out of my league.

It's the non-tryers who get fired.
(, Wed 3 Apr 2013, 23:53, 2 replies)
A-level Design Technology...
For my A-level DT class our teacher decided to select some of her students and nominate their final projects for design awards, so as to augment the official grade and perhaps put some lacquer on our turds of CVs. In the previous year I'd somehow gotten a silver award, and so my teacher thought I should be able to go for gold this year. The only problem was that to get gold you needed some sort of industrial input to the project. A few people had gotten bespoke parts machined or printed, demonstrating an ability to communicate a design sufficiently to professional. I, on the other hand, being resourceful (read: cheap) managed to put my entire project together myself from offcuts and scrap. Despite this, and despite my teacher knowing I'd had no outside input to my project, I was still entered for the award.

Judgement day arrived, and I set up my project to be grilled. Three professional designers came up to me and asked me to describe my project. I'd built a set for a stop-frame animation, plus characters. The set was a secret lab, and the characters consisted of a professor, a school boy, and a monkey wearing massive boots. A classic concept. So far, my presentation was going well. Predictably, the very first thing they asked after that was, "so, in what way did you work with industry to put this design together?" I did that thing where you say "Well..." in an overly positive way to stall the conversation but trying to sound like you actually have something to say. I then lied and explained how I had been communicating with Aardman Studios with regards to my project, and how I had gotten feedback on the set design, lighting issues and initial stages of the character design. The judges sounded impressed, but they weren't fools. Immediately they asked who I contacted, and how. I replied, "Um, I spoke to a...Steve...who is an...animator at Aardman. We spoke on the phone...and...also e-mail."

'And also e-mail' - the loose thread on my weave of lies. I obviously would have e-mailed had I contacted them, so I had to say it to be believable. I'd created a fake, virtual paper trail. One judge then said, "so you have some printouts of your discussions?"

"Yep...yep! Got a whole load of those e-mails...somewhere. I haven't got them with me though. Did you want to see them?"

Another judge chipped in, "well, it'd be nice, but if you haven't got them printed out then perhaps just the first email or two that you sent and received?"

I smiled sheepishly. "Okey dokey...you want me to print then out now or...?"

Thankfully, those wonderful, merciful bastards didn't need them immediately, and I finished answering their technical questions about the actual build. At the end, they all smiled, shook my hand, and said that if they could just see a quick print out of an e-mail before they left at the end of the day, then they'd recommend me for an award. I was one more lie short of the gold. I scurried off while they judged others, and sat at the computer. Frantically, I wrote an e-mail to 'Steve', and sent it to myself. Then, I stripped the e-mail address and logo from the Aardman website, a picture of Morph and Chas from Google Images, and slapped them into a reply e-mail. I added a whole bunch of text saying 'thanks for the e-mail', and 'yes, we'd love to help your DT project', 'blah blah', and changed my address in the to-from text section to the Aardman one, remembering also to change the date and time to months ago. Flawless. I printed it out low-quality black and white to distract from any remaining flaws in the details, and ran back. The judges were still busy looking over other projects, so I asked my teacher to pass the letter on, and wiped my hands of the whole ordeal.

One month later, who gets sent a Gold Design Award? Not me. It was fecking obvious I'd faked the letter and my tower of lies crumbled like a sand castle in Stompsville. So close. C'est la vie.
(, Wed 3 Apr 2013, 14:26, 1 reply)
A happy coincidence
When I was younger, I was lucky enough to get into a very prestigious university. I was never particularly interested in politics or debating, mainly because I'm not very good at either, however a friend convinced me to join this dining club thing that was going on. It was kind of like a society, and I thought it'd be a nice way of getting to know people. At first it was awkward- I assumed we'd be talking about normal things like what jobs we'd had (I learned a lot in my job as a towel-folder, actually), but it turned out that none of them really had any experience. Soon the conversation turned to drugs, and it occurred to me that I hadn't actually taken any. Desperate as ever to fit in, I made up a story about how I'd once snorted a whole bag of ecstasy, which I thought would be impressive. Unfortunately for me, it turned out you can't actually snort it unless you cut it up on top of a Bible with a platinum card, and I had neither, having only gotten into the university on a sort of scholarship thing.

That's when these guys started passing around this white powder, all arranged in neat little lines on top of a copy of The Fountainhead. I didn't really know what to do when they finally passed it to me, but I must have done something right because ten minutes later we were throwing chairs around the restaurant and smashing open bottles of wine- really crazy stuff. I remember at one point the restaurant manager came over to kick us out, and my mate turns round to him and goes mental, saying shit like "watch your fucking back chappy, else I'll fuck you up good one of these days, I'll fucking bankrupt you, you little shit". I felt so bad for him. Then this other guy we were with pulls out the paper straw from before, and I'm thinking 'shitshitshit, not again', but instead of getting Ayn Rand'd again, he hands it to the guy and says "sorry mate, see you later".

Of course, I've got no idea what the hell is going on at this point, until I look back at the guy as I'm being dragged out of there, and I see him holding a blank cheque. Seriously, my mates and I took a shitload of drugs, fucked up a restaurant, and paid for it. Like just paid for it, and nobody even seemed to care.

Twenty years later, and we're best mates; we even work in the same office. Our wild days are behind us, though we do still occasionally fuck something up, just for a laugh and a bit of nostalgia.
(, Tue 2 Apr 2013, 17:09, 6 replies)
Cooking
No real plan before I walk into the kitchen, just get on and pull something together with whatever's available to feed the brood.

Few complaints other than the spirit of Gordon nob-end Ramsey seems to take over so it's no fun to be in the kitchen with me while I'm at it, but positive reception for the vast majority of grub I've served up over the years.

Exception was an aubergine and tomato tian. The oven disgorged a stinking greasy fucking mess. An offensive, oily, slimey, steaming dish of shit unfit for man or beast.

Still managed to get a fair portion down though.
(, Mon 1 Apr 2013, 2:17, 1 reply)
My entire love life.
No idea what I'm doing.
(, Mon 1 Apr 2013, 0:08, 2 replies)
Thank fuck for Apple
Got a job as head of IT in December, administering an office full of Macs. Hadn't really used a Mac before, but assured them that I wouldn't have any problems doing it. So far, it's been an absolute piece of piss.
(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 15:31, 14 replies)
I once
X-winged it.
(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 13:44, 7 replies)

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