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This is a question Failed Projects

You start off with the best of intentions, but through raging incompetence, ineptitude or the plain fact that you're working in IT, things go terribly wrong and there's hell to pay. Tell us about the epic failures that have brought big ideas to their knees. Or just blame someone else.

(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 14:19)
Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Grandad..
Mat J's post has just tickled a memory bone.. www.b3ta.com/questions/worldoffail/post584511#answers-post-584571

My grandad was one of those tinkering types, you know, the kind of bloke who has a 'spare room' filled from floor to ceiling with wonderous, and bizarre bits of wiring, gadgetry and obsolete technology from yesteryear. A man with more hobbies that anyone should ever have, he made model airplanes, trains, boats, steam engines, loved his electronics, photography, and watched open university religously every Sunday (during the 80s)

He spent pretty much all of his life confined to a wheelchair after losing his ability to walk after a serious bout of Polio when he was in his early twenties. As a result, he practically lived in this room, much to the annoyance of my nan, he was constantly making stuff, breaking stuff and starting the occasional fire. Some of his misadventures include:

CB aerials, made from soldering a fuckload of catering size cans of beans, acquired from the college canteen. An old christmas tree stand did'nt escape either, that ended up covered in foil, and was used to support a dipole out of the bedroom window.

A 'rocket ship' made from a load of fireworks, this was tested in his old garage, sadly we only got one trial run, as it shot straight through the wall of said garage, and finished it's maiden voyage in the neighbours greenhouse..

Wireless speakers. After watching me and my friend messing about with some cheap walkie-talkies, he send me to the shop to buy 4 set, and a pile of batteries, which he then proceeded to pull apart, used one of each of the pair to send the signal, and the other to receive, stuck em to some speakers (small miniature walkman speakers - anyone remember them?) and had me and my friend walk all over the house with them to test the range. Crackly, and shite quality - but to a pair of ten-year-olds, these were the dogs bollocks.

He wanted to make a submarine out of an old bathtub that the council left in the garden after they refurbished their house, but nan would'nt let either of us near the canal with it.. oh well, I guess we'll never know the outcome of that one..

He had the michievious and playful mind of a child my old grandad, and I spent many years of summer holidays at his house, in that bizarre room of his, than I did playing out in the sun with my mates.

The smoke alarms in their house had no batteries in them, my nan gave up after about a week because his soldering iron kept setting them off. The carpet was littered with tiny silver balls, springs, resitors and off-cuts from cables, breadboards and balsa wood.

God only knows what he'd have come up with, had he have lived long enough to discover the internet.

Shortly after he died, our family were helping to clear his house - and I insisted on clearing that room personally, purely so that as each bizarre contraption was taken out piece by piece, I could sit there by myself and re-live each crazy mis-adventure one last time, chuckling like an idiot with tears running down my face, it's one day that will stay with me forever.

The best moment, however, was when I found an old dusty folder buried in his vast collection of notepads, and in it was a small collection of BASIC programs we'd written together when I was still in junior school. He'd kept them all, and even added little notes on how to improve them.

I miss you so much old man, and I look forward to setting fire to my house with my grandkids, much to the annoyance of my wife when its my turn - and my spare room is beginning to fill up with old PC cases, and wires already..

*wipes cheeks after sobbing like a girl*
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 11:58, 11 replies)
Time to stop failing
Probably not that funny so skip it if you can't face the self confession that follows of how starting tomorrow I hope to turn my life around.

Quick background. 18 months ago after 9 years with the ex, 1 year of marriage and 2 years of parenthood she decided the day after her graduation and would potentially have a decent income of her own would be the best time to split us up. After the shock of it all the realisation came I'd put all my free time & effort into supporting her and effectively had no friends, no hobbies and no money.

So since then I've been living in my parents spare room. Spending as much time with my daughter as possible. This was clearly a massively important thing to my daughter who found her mum fancied a 6 week holiday to Australia last Christmas without her, several other holidays along the way, numerous nights out living the single life.

Like a thorn in my side I've watched the ex live like this while I paid solicitors bills to divorce her, with the routine threats from her to make my life hell anytime a decision wasn't in her favour. For 18 months I've plodded along in a daze, not really having much fun, had a battle with depression that I concealed from all but my Doctor. My work life went to crap and I know I've let my boss down by not getting anywhere with my work for too long. All the time gradually getting myself straight.

The son of a bank manager I should have been in a better place financially, apparantly my being too tight with money was another reason we split up, yet I came away in debt from supporting a lifestyle we couldn't afford as I was the only one of us with a salary.

Essentially I failed at life for too many years.

Over a year of scrimping and saving I paid off the debts I was left with. Beyond that I managed to save up a modest lump sum and told my parents I wanted to move on and move out to my own place. I cannot put into words the gratitude I have for my parents helping me make this happen with a generous loan.

Tomorrow I move into a home of my own for the first time in 10 years. I've worked hard to get this far. All my furniture is second hand but it's chosen by me because I like it, and best of all there is a bedroom for my daughter (in trying to agree over money I had trapped in the marital home she said I only needed a 1 bed flat at most).

My daughter and I have become so close and even though she's only 3 she's quite insightful. I don't know what to say when she tells me "she knows Mummy loves her but she doesn't love mummy and wants to live with me". I know nothing will happen for a while but I suspect the day will come when she's old enough she will decide to live with me instead. Until then I'm there whenever she needs me and the times she doesn't.

Starting tomorrow I'm going to try to put it all right.
Work hard. Look after MY home. Be the best Dad I can. Never live beyond my own means.

For the first time in a very long time I'm full of hope and every day I look forward to tomorrow. This time I will not fail.


Sorry for the lack of anecdote etc, just needed to put it into words really to see how far I've come.
(, Fri 4 Dec 2009, 17:26, 13 replies)
There's a flipside to this question.
Everyone kept telling George Lucas he should get off his arse and finish the Star Wars series...
(, Tue 8 Dec 2009, 4:57, 4 replies)
I have just completed a jigsaw puzzle
It was rather difficult and took me nearly eighteen months to finish. Which is great, as it said 3 - 4 years on the box.
(, Tue 8 Dec 2009, 10:02, 4 replies)
Project Chicken (Stop reading now if you don’t give a shit about me or my chicken)
I’m quite good at seeing projects through to the end, it’s just that I very rarely end up with what I actually set out to achieve. Back in march I decided to keep a small flock of chickens in my back garden. I did all the research and bought all the materials and built a really nice chicken run for my coop. I contacted the Battery Hen Welfare Trust and adopted 3 ex-battery farm hens and introduced them to their new home. Everything had gone to plan.

After a couple of days, things started to go wrong. One of the hens was bigger and in much better shape than the other two. It was also a complete bastard. During my research I had learnt that a new batch of chickens will squabble and establish a pecking order, it didn’t mention that the alpha hen might tear chunks out of the other hens. It was also stopping the other hens gaining access to food, water and the coop. I had effectively built a cock-fighting arena/chicken concentration camp. I had never seen anything like that in the sodding Good Life, “Ooo Margot, a tenner says the big one pecks the little ones eyes out…”

People on forums and in real life kept telling me that it should all settle down after a few days, but 2 weeks later I had two very featherless battered chickens cowering in the corner from the bastard. Enough was enough, I had to decide whether to let nature take its course or take sides. Being British I naturally sided with the underdogchicken. The bastard had to go. I had never killed anything in my life so I did a bit of Google research on the most humane way to dispatch a chook. I was amazed at how many web-sites are out there to help you choke your chicken. In the end she got a stay of execution as some friends with a large flock agreed to take her away.

So I was left with 2 hens (Charlie & Lucy), not quite the flock I had in mind but they got on well and Charlie was laying an egg a day, which more than covered my eggy needs. They both put on weight and their feathers grew back but poor old Lucy was never that healthy, her time in the battery farm had taken its toll and she died a couple of months later. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried like a sissy girl. I buried her with full honours and as I filled in the grave, Charlie threw herself in. Obviously she was overcome with grief (or she saw a tasty looking worm).

So there we have it, a flock of one chicken. I couldn’t face getting any more and watching them fight it out for the pecking order. She seems quite happy. I spend a lot of my spare time in my garden so I let her out of her chicken-run. She is more of a pet now; she responds to her name and follows me around. She loves being cuddled and friends and neighbours pop round to see Charlie and feed her scraps. People stop me in the street and ask about Charlie, they don’t give a monkeys stuff about me but they want to know all about my chicken. I spent September in Australia and the friends I made out there have all emailed me asking to be sent photos of Charlie. They occasionally ask how I’m getting on as well.

Apologies for length, photos in reply
(, Fri 4 Dec 2009, 12:52, 26 replies)
We just didn't think it through...
Many years ago I was helping a friend build a nice big garage across the end of his garden.

He had a partially complete LWB Land Rover parked where we were going to build. We tried pushing it but those fuckers weigh a ton, so he suggested he'd get the starter motor wired up and "Just move it up the garden a bit" later that day.

The next morning we arrived to find it 150ft away, right up to his house, with a trail of flattened wendy houses, swings and sand pits in it's wake.

Apparently he'd started it, ground it into gear and set off, only to remember he hadn't connected the brakes. Struggling to get it out of gear, the 4WD behemoth crashed it's way towards his kitchen, much to the shock of his wife washing up at the window at the time.

We laughed about it for a few weeks, until we realized we'd built the garage with no way of getting the Land Rover out of the garden now.
(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 16:35, 2 replies)
HOW TO CATCH 'GAY'
Back in 1988 when I was thirteen I had one overriding goal in life. Granted, I set this goal to one side for a brief period while I attempted to come up with a convincing way to make myself appear older so I could get in to see this new movie everyone was raging about called Die Hard, but after being told to: “Fuck off!” on four separate occasions by the duty manager at my local Odeon, I turned my attention back to my original plan.

It might sound a bit petty, a little stupid, not something worthy of a plan at all… but, well, here goes…

I wanted to know what it felt like to put my cock in someone’s mouth.

First port of call: the ladies (well, the pubescent girlies who lived round my way – I went to an all boys school at the time so unless I fancied acquainting myself with Strange Dave who used to decorate his Puma bag with little tip-exed on flowers and talk about how fucking marvelous Oscar fucking Wilde was all day fucking long, my chances of getting head at school were zero). It took me the best part of a month to realize the girlies were a non-starter. Apparently they’d rather listen to Bros, read Smash Hits, and gush over Jason-fucking-Donovan than entertain the thought of putting my wee-wee in their smile slot. I even tried it on with a few of the older women (we’re talking fifteen and sixteen year olds). I must’ve been told to fuck off more often than a Durex salesman at a Roman Catholic convention for nymphomaniacs with a penchant for the genuine cream pie feel in their gusset areas.

So I had to come up with another plan, another way to feel the warmth, the moist heat of another human beings mouth round my bell end. Then, sitting round in my room one night staring down at my hard as oak and aching cock, something occurred to me. Something my dad said once: “If you want something done, son, you’ve gotta do it yourself…”

Well… worth a (cum)shot, I suppose…

I stripped naked, stared down at my eager little frozen prawn, bobbing up and down and doing a little dance like a smaller, pinker MC Hammer, and deliberated how the fuck I was going to get the damn thing inside my gob. The answer? With great fucking difficulty, that’s how. I started by moving a book case to one side so I had a bit of uncluttered wall, then I sort of did a forward roll handstand thing so my head was on the floor and my cock was dangling down above me, and then using the wall as a brace for my back, I – ever so slowly – inched my feet along the carpet. Bit by bit. Little by little. I could feel weird things going on in my insides, felt like my kidneys were popping and my spin was rupturing, but I kept going. And then – and then… sticking out my tongue as much as I could… I… I…

… I licked my japs eye.

And then I instantly shot a hot wad of spunk over my own face, hair, and into my mouth. It felt like I was being attacked by the salty version of the face hugger out of Alien.

The shock of this made me loose what little concentration I had, I rolled to one side, twatted my bare arse on the bookcase which tipped over with a crash and pinned me to the floor. Momentarily, It was like a scene from a weird cross over gay porn disaster movie as I lay there sobbing, covered in gloopy manfat.

Pain? No, I wasn’t in pain, well, no more than a slightly dyspraxic tosspot teenager can take during the course of a normal day bumping into shit. No, I was – for one of the few moments in my life - actually disgusted with myself. I’d just tasted semen. Hot semen. Straight from the bottle. After I’d clambered out from under the bookcase and used an old sock to clean the sticky cock cream off myself, I looked in the mirror and thought: ‘You dirty, dirty, dirty boy…’

And I spent the next week or so wondering if I’d somehow managed to catch gay. Thankfully, I hadn’t caught gay.* But I did start hanging out a lot more with Strange Dave at school after this. But that was probably just a coincidence.

*Not that that’s a problem. Whatever floats yer boat, but the thought of ramming my cock up another fellas hairy ringpiece, well, its just not for me. A bit like tapas.
(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 17:04, 10 replies)
I was 4. He was 5. Don't judge us.
One day, little Sivvus woke up very early and fancied banana custard for breakfast. Her big brother was awake too, and said, "Okay! There are bananas!"

Little Sivvus and her brother went into the kitchen and cut up the bananas using a blunt knife, because mummy would be very angry if they used a sharp knife! After the bananas were all cut up, little Sivvus asked her brother, "How do we make custard?"

"I've seen mummy do it. I think she uses this." Her brother said, taking down a tub of cornflower. They emptied the cornflower into a mixing bowl and added 4 liters of milk and stirred it, and stirred it, until it was slightly less lumpy.

"Isn't it supposed to be yellow?" Little Sivvus wondered, tasting the gloop. Her brother nodded. "What's yellow?"

Little Sivvus thought for a while. "Why don't you pee in it, then it'd be yellow!" She said.

Twenty minutes later mummy came downstairs. There was a yellow bowlful of cornflower paste on the table, handprints everywhere, and a nasty smell. The children were nowhere to be seen.

And that, boys and girls, is why Sivvus doesn't make custard.
(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 19:17, 5 replies)
It took me five years but I finally finished my novel
All I have to do now is decide what to read next.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 17:15, 6 replies)
Hair
Now, I understand women have to go through the incredible pain of childbirth, bleeding out of their front bottoms on a monthly basis, and the peculiar – no, damn right fucking odd - notion of having sex without achieving an orgasm, but this is nothing compared to what your average man has to put up with. Yes, the terrible ordeal of having to shave every morning. Ladies, you really don’t know you’re born, believe me.*

Spurred on by boredom one Sunday afternoon I started rummaging through my girlfriend at the times beauty shit. She’d somehow managed to populate our small bathroom with various sized bottles of gloop, tubes of weird coloured crap, and little containers with flowers on that contained stuff that smelt like and had the texture of dandelion yogurt. I wasn’t sure whether to put this shit on my face or spread a bit of it on a piece of fucking toast, to be honest. And I swear these containers were breeding at night. I couldn’t recall my girlfriend ever purchasing any of this shit. It just appeared. As if from thin fucking air.

We were going out later to a play, One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest with that bloke out of Heathers down in that posh, fancy West End. I wasn’t really too bothered, but my girlfriend at the time wanted to do the dirty with this fella, Christian Slater, and I recall acquiring tickets in the vague hope this would get her hot and she’d hump my brains out with abandon when we got back home. Didn’t really give a fuck if she called me Christian while we were doing it, fuck, she could call me ‘Dad’, I really didn’t mind. Anyway, this meant I needed a shave. I hadn’t had one for a couple of days and was looking like a particularly scruffy twat. And that’s when I found the little string bag containing a jar of incredibly sticky crap along with a few scraper things that resembled lolly sticks and a shitload of little strips of waxy paper…

Moments later I had the incredibly sticky stuff smeared across my beard. This shouldn’t hurt too much, I reasoned. My girlfriend used this shit on her bikini area. She didn’t cry. In fact I’d watched her do it a fair few times and it looked, well, it looked easy… Far easier than going through the hassle of having a shave. I mean, that’s two minutes I’m never gonna get back.

With the shit smeared over my face, looking a little bit like Father Christmas after he’d gone down on Mrs Christmas while she’s got a particularly nasty yeast infection, I affixed a strip of the wax paper to my sticky chin and throat, patted it firmly into place, and then ripped it off nonchalantly.

Pain. Pain? Like nothing on this fucking Earth pain. It was like someone had just napalmed my fucking face.

I actually bent over double, tears in my eyes, and head butted the bathroom mirror hard in one fluid motion. By the time I’d gained my composure and stared in the mirror I realized something wasn’t quite right… I washed the rest of the crap off – took fucking ages, had a normal (though incredibly painful) shave, put all the lady-shit back where I’d found it and went and played Final Fantasy ‘til my girlfriend came home.

Even before she’d put her handbag down she caught sight of me: “Have you been at my hair removal wax? Well, you can fuck off if you think I’m going anywhere with you looking like that. I’ll go and see Cuckoo’s nest with Gemma instead. You tit, why can’t you just leave my stuff ALONE!?!”

I sat there for a while, fuming. Bang goes my night out. Bang goes my chances of a late night fumble. And bang goes a hundred quid on the fucking tickets…

Fair play though, when I went and had a look at myself in the mirror a little later I did look fucking weird…. I had managed, somehow, to aquire a nice neat, rectangular and angry as fuck red graze from my chin all the way down my throat where it finished painfully at my Adam’s apple. It looked like I’d attempted a DIY skin graft.

Don’t piss about with the lady stuff, gents… It’s not big, it’s not clever, and quite frankly it's incredibly fucking dangerous.


*OK, maybe having to tackle a can of Gillette shave gel and a razor every morning isn’t quite as bad as all the lady stuff. I’ll concede that. And technically there are some females out there who need to shave more often than I do anyway. I mean, I used to go out with a Greek girl at Uni my mates nicknamed Chewbacca. Whenever I went down on her I’d need a compass and a stout pair of hiking boots to find my way back out of that dense pube jungle. I swear once or twice I may have encountered the emaciated skeleton of a former boyfriend of hers who was less fortunate and died of starvation or exposure before the rescue services could locate him….
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 14:27, 18 replies)
Best in Breed.
Twas the summer hols and myself and Mark (a neighbour) are bored with endless football and cricket, the subbuteo and super striker challenges are complete. and there is not a tree left unclimbed.

Bored.

What would cheer us up?

A puppy.

Where can we get one?

Dunno

Why don't we make one?

Brilliant.

With our rudimentary knowledge of biology we knew that two dogs are needed to make others; and that one has to piggy-back the other for the magic to work.

Five minutes later he has a mangy mongrel and I have Mrs Simms Alsation which I volunteered to walk. We tried to get the alsation to mount the mutt but it was not having it. Soooo - I held the alsation whilst Mark lifted the other one into position and rubbed it back and forth.

Result? No puppy - but a half dead mongrel and me nearly losing a pint of blood.

Footnote - it is rumoured that both dogs were female so it wouldn't have worked anyway.
(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 17:05, 1 reply)
My good intentions
Almost always end up in pieces. You see, like Bloody Stupid Johnson of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, my creations very rarely simply fail. The almost invariably work, but have some fatal flaw. A selection of them is below:


The big hovercraft: This was actually a collaberation between my dad and I. We ended up with an enormous circle of wood and a woefully underpowered air compressor. I know what we did wrong though, and I've got mental plans for one that will actually work.

The small hovercraft: Made a noise like the saturn 5 taking off, but did work. As long as you didn't put it on water. If you did it would cover everything in a 10m radius in water. Everything.

Trebuchet: Built to about waist high out of bits of wood from the garage. It actually worked amazingly well, throwing pebbles over fifty metres. I decided to up the power by increasing the counterweight, but failed to realize that changing the acceleration of the stone would change the release point too. The stone fired straight up and nearly took my head off on the descent. I altered the sling length to account for that. In the wrong direction. On the second test it fired backwards and hit me in the bollocks.

Water balloon catapult #1: Built it from elastic rope and old seed trays. Pulled it back. Water balloon fell out and soaked my shoes.

Water balloon catapult #2: Built from the remains of the trebuchet mentioned above, but with elastic rope as the driving force instead of counterweights. Pulled it back. It broke.

Water balloon catapult #3: Fixed broken parts and added strengthening. Pulled it back. Let go. Throwing arm came up, hit stopper bar and smashed through the stopper bar, causing the entire assemblage to explode. Seriously, bits of stuff pinwheeing all over the garden. The water balloon covered about three metres. It didn't even break. Gave up after this.

Stilts: I already had one pair, but I wanted some slightly longer ones. Bought the wood, made the foot platforms etc. All was well. Strapped on the stilts. The bent, so I quickly took six inches off the height. They still bent. Another six inches off. This continued until they stopped bending. About a foot off the ground. It was only then that I thought to check the thickness of the wood... Turns out I'd asked for inch thick and got 3/4 inch. Not good.

The raft: Bolted together. It leaked constantly and rolled alarmingly. Used so much expanding foam to fix these problems that it was more foam than anything else.

The kitesurfing board: Took ages to make. It turns out that I bevelled the edges wrongly. It's next to useless.

The snowboard: I call it that, but it was a plank with the bindings from a mountainboard. Epic fail.




I might add more later if I can be bothered.
(, Sat 5 Dec 2009, 19:27, 2 replies)
Terrible Investment!
I think I will have to tell you the tale of my mate Mark and his failed investment.

Mark is a friend of mine, we have been mates since secondary school and where I decided to have a family, settle down and earn enough to be happy this guy decided to move down south and start working in the financial sector. Due to a couple of good investments Mark has worked his way up the corporate ladder, done very well for himself and earned a shitload of cash.

Anytime he gets big headed abouth the whole situation I like to bring him back down to earth by reminding him of the one investment he failed spectacularly at.

Back in the early 90’s Mark was approached to join a group of people investing in a scheme to buy a plot of land, sort out the drainage etc etc and build a modest theme park to attract tourists. Mark is a big kid really and for once his brain bypassed the part labelled warning bad investment. This lead to him parting with a decent sum of cash but he wasn’t too bothered as it would be worth it to be part of a backer for the next Alton Towers or Disneyland.

As the months passed the amount of money needed from the site increased, with the excuses always being different (building faults, electronic problems with the rides, faulty attractions). After a sizeable amount was invested the place was due to be opened when one of the workmen was injured in an accident, this lead Mark and co to get a little edgy as they didn’t want any compensation claims from visitors on the first day. The group decided to invest in another health and safety visit and sent along a representative for the group too.

Big mistake.

Thanks to the visit the whole place was eventually shut down costing each of the backers to lose everything they had invested. I never really saw much details of why the place failed the audit so spectacularly but Mark says it had something to do with an escaped pack of raptors and a T Rex. I just think the bloke behind the whole place was taking the money on the sly.
(, Fri 4 Dec 2009, 10:38, 7 replies)
Internet Guru...
I work in advertising. We have quite a lot of failed projects. One of my favourite was our old Chairman's "Digital Future" programme.

He'd decided (belatedly, this was about 2006), that that there t'Interweb thingie was the future, and that as our glorious leader, he should take a lead on the issues that might face us as an agency. Thus was born the 'Digital Future' scheme. It initially took the form of him going out on long lunches with people from Yahoo!, Google, etc., and learning about Digital. He also spent a lot of time in his office, 'surfing the net'.

After a couple of weeks, it was time for the big unveil; we humble foot-soldiers of the marketing industry would be giving up our lunchtimes and early evenings over a couple of weeks to be treated to his insights on various topics.

First session: Social Networks. A couple of introductory slides, then he told us about his time 'Undercover' on Myspace. He'd used his 16 year old son's photo and name, and signed up. There were a few gasps and giggles at this point....

We were treated to a couple of squirmy platitudes about 'cool bands he'd been following', and the like, and then he revealed the coup de grace. 'And here's a transcript of a chat I was having with a young girl from Wimbledon'.

And there, on the screen, is a prime example of grooming, albeit accidental, as a fifty-something ad exec chats online to a teenage girl whilst himself impersonating a minor.

By this stage, the giggles were guffaws, and even the senior managers, who'd been sitting at the front and being very attentive and polite, couldn't wipe the smiles from their faces. As the room gradually broke down with laughter, the Chairman cottoned onto the joke, and took on a demeanour of mixed embarrassment and anger.

That presentation was cut short, and the remaining sessions cancelled. And the Chairman doesn't get involved with Digital anymore. Gave us all a good laugh though, so not a complete failure...
(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 15:23, Reply)
DIY gone mental.
Everyone at some point in their lives will have the urge to fix something or build something or invent something...... sort of like the time our sink fell off the wall and I tried to repair it by plastering the screws back in.

Well, my dad was never one for DIY when I was young. We've always been a proper working class family and had to "make do" with stuff until it was falling apart, but if it wasn't electrical, he had no idea how to fix it, so broken things had to be replaced (but only when they were basically destroyed).

Then I got married and moved out and became used to having things that, well, things that worked properly. After that little project of my own failed, I moved back in "for a little while" (another fail) and found to my growing horror that my dad had discovered the wonders of DIY. This house and everything in it hs become his own personal chamber of horrors as he glues, saws and hammers everything in the house to an inch of it's life and then some.

It all began when he converted the loft. He did it himself, a pretty big task, and he hasn't made a bad job of it.... not amazing but better than I could have done. A heating pipe got knocked loose in the process though and the water came through the ceiling into my room. He nailed a piece of board over it "just to hold it" until he could repair it properly. That was four years ago. It's still there.

One of the hinges on the fridge door broke. He replaced the hinge with the hinge from the freezer door. So now, we have a freezer door that almost falls off whenever you open it and a fridge which doesn't close properly becasue the hinge is fitted wrongly.

You have to pull the bathroom door handle upwards because it's broken. Ditto with the flush on the toilet.

Every *single* piece of furniture I have ever owned which I thought had long been thrown out has been amalgamated into some sort of huge storage monster up in the loft.

My mum, God rest her, put up with it in silence and so did I. I endured being hit on the foot with the freezer door and trapped in the bathroom (he neglected to mention the handle's antipodean nature), but when the shower broke and he proclaimed he would "repair" it, I felt enough was enough and told him to stop being an arse and go and get a new one.

The base has a huge crack in it (steady!) and the water was pouring down through the floor into the kitchen. We need a new base. I told him, we need a new base, I said. And so did my auntie. And anyone else I mention this to. "Get a new base" they say. But when I said it, I was argued to a standstill because I didn't know what I was talking about, all the modern bases have the holes in a different place (!) and the pipes wouldn't fit under them because they're so small and you would have to dig into the floor (it's a wooden floor, I got a bit scared he was going mental when he said that). Any further argument led to massive huffs and he said that he would "make a good job of it" and it wouldn't look "home made".

He super glued over the crack.

Yes.

I know.

Well, when the water started pouring through the now even larger crack I thought he'd relent. He glued it again. Then he glued a sheet of plastic over it. I resisted the urge to pry it up myself, knowing it would come free by itself soon enough, and about 2 showers later, it did.


When that failed he went to work. Like a one man A-Team, he constructed his little contraption, a wooden.... erm, sort of platform with a bath mat stuck to it, built to fit inside the base and spread the weight all around the edges instead of in the middle where it's cracked. It's razor sharp edges are about as comfortable as standing on Kate Moss, but it does what it's supposed to. He then sealed the crack with plastic sealant and glued another sheet of plastic over it, finishing it all off with a lovely duct tape trim. "Won't look home made" seems to have been flung out the window, but I am assured he will sort out the hideousness of the thing by simply glossing the duct tape.

I can only assume that this madness will finally end when he turns around while making dinner one day to discover me and the entire shower cabinet have came down into the kitchen. I have to get my own place soon before I go mental or, heaven forbid, his crackpot notions start making sense.
(, Tue 8 Dec 2009, 1:42, 3 replies)
Many years ago,
I was doing my military training and we had all been discussing ideas on how to pull off a stunt to be remembered. Our drill instructor, who was also the highest ranking officer in barracks at that time was finally given a new Land Rover after months and months of whinging. There it was, shiny new, royal blue 110.

About a day or two later, under the cover of darkness, two of us decided to nick it. So what to do with it? Obvious really, we took it to the motor pool and sprayed it bright pink, then took it back where we found it.

We were all awoken rather earlier than usual and made to go outside as we were, and it was winter. We all went out to the playground where a rather irritated and somewhat annoyed c/o was shouting and demanding answers.
Nobody said a word and the vehicle was sent back to the motor pool to be restored to it's former colour and we all lost a weekend leave so or best laid plans had sort of backfired on us a bit.

Turned out fine in the end though. Two days later we were playing games on Dartmoor. After a nice ramble in the countryside we got back to our rv and there it was. The 110 and our c/o just getting out. While he was having a little chat with us the heavens opened and it pissed down. What he hadn't realised was when it was taken back for re-spray, it was coated in a water based royal blue paint and slowly began to run revealing firstly a nice pink roof before looking like a zebra which had been for a swim in strawberry yogurt.
We lost another 2 weekend passes for that. Tits up or what?
(, Tue 8 Dec 2009, 17:06, 5 replies)
Project: Gok Wan
Ever since I set eyes on Gok Wan on my television screen a couple of years ago, I wanted to meet her. I became sort of obsessed with Gok; I would often wake in a sticky mess during the night after having vivid dreams about her lovely smile and beautiful cheekbones. Her friendly, flirtatious voice drove me crazy with desire. She became an inspiration to me as well after I had read about her drastic weight loss, and as a little porker myself, I felt owed it to her to let her know how she had made me look at my own life. I realised that being an overweight, sweaty and generally unhealthy male was not good for anyone, especially me, and vowed to do something about it. I started out on a vigorous training regime and began eating healthily, and I shifted 2 stone in just a single month.

As the pounds came off me, my urge to meet the lady of my dreams increased somewhat. I just wanted to let her know how grateful I was and how much I loved what she did for bulbous bastards like myself. In the back of my mind, I realised I was becoming a tad obsessed, but the more I saw the new me in the mirror, the more I blanked out these thoughts. It was in Birmingham, one Saturday afternoon in March, that I took the first steps towards meeting Gok - and meeting Gok had become my own little project.

A huge crowd had gathered around a temporary catwalk, and Gok was due on stage to present 'How to look good naked', a show which had become one of my firm favourites. I could feel myself getting hot and flustered at the thought of getting up close and personal with Gok, and I dabbed my brow with a handkerchief numerous times whilst I waited in the restless crowd. I managed to push my way to the front, and I reached the end of the catwalk, almost touching the stage. Gok came out from behind the curtains and everyone cheered.

"GOK! GOK! I LOVE GOK!", I shouted at the top of my lungs, trying to get her to look over to me. It was hard to be heard over all the other screaming people, so I increased the power in my voice to an almost Brian Blessed size volume. This time I did attract some attention, but it was from a steward that was stood just in front of me.

"Anymore of that an I'll have to escort you, sonny", he said to me, placing one hand on my shoulder as he did so. I explained how much I loved Gok and that I just wanted to tell her how she'd helped me, but he was having none of it. I inhaled once more, and this time bellowed out at the top of my voice,

"GOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKK!!!

True to his word, the steward kicked me out of the shopping centre, with the help of two security guards and my attempt at meeting Gok had failed.

Not to be outdone, I wrote numerous letters to Gok at Channel 4, each time enclosing a picture showing how much weight I'd lost. Although I had no replies, I still had the determination to carry on. I would not fail this project - I would meet her one day, I was sure of it. Two months after the Birmingham incident, and now another 12 pounds lighter, I found out that Gok was doing a book signing at my local Waterstones. It was an opportunity I couldn't miss out on, and once again, I found myself squashed amongst hundreds of other people, all eagerly waiting to see Gok on a Saturday afternoon.

Eventually a queue was formed, and one by one, Gok greeted everyone who had come to see her. Then, after two and a quarter hours of waiting, it was my turn. I was clammy and nervous as approached her. She sat, smiling, and I was instantly reassured as I walked up to her.

"Please...please Gok, please can you sign this?", I mumbled, embarrassingly,as I slid my copy of her book over the table.

"No problem Girlfriend!", said Gok, and winked flirtatiously at me. I had the horn instantly.

"Gok", I started, "You have been an inspiration to me. I used to be 3 stone heavier than I am now, and because of you, I decided to change my unhealthy lifestyle and start doing something with my life. Thank you so much for being a smashing human being. I love you. I love what you do, I love everything about you. You are my ideal woman."

"Honey, are you gay?", came Gok's reply. She sounded shocked.

"No ma'am, I'm not. I'm 100% heterosexual and I think I love you".

Gok looked me up and down. "Security. Get this clown out of my sight", she shouted, clicking her bony fingers twice, and with that, I was kicked out. Pondering my efforts on the journey home, I realised that my actions had been wrong. I had just announced my love to a woman that I barely knew, no wonder she acted like she did. However, my project was complete - I had lost weight, and met Gok Wan, so it wasn't all that bad. I've carried on since and am now down to a healthy 14 stone, so, if you ever read this Gok: Thank You xx
(, Tue 8 Dec 2009, 22:19, 11 replies)
See, this doesn't apply to me
I'd say my best qualities are my tenacity, concentration and dedication to finishing everyth...


Oooh, look! A bee!
(, Fri 4 Dec 2009, 14:50, 1 reply)
Compost and The Heap Thereof
Confession time: I'm a bit of an eco-cunt. Well, sort of. I'm not a hippie. And I eat meat. Lots of meat, possibly to the extent that I'd be tempted to move to France if it meant I could eat blue-cooked steak and drink fine red wine everyday (if only it were that simple). And due to the excessive consumption of ale, I probably blast more methane out of my bowels than most cattle. But on the other hand, I am one of those pro-recycling, anti-waste types. I really hate to see perfectly recyclable packaging* or perfectly good food thrown into an oversize plastic black condom that is ultimately destined to become a couple more kilograms of landfill.

So when I first moved into a place in that delightful corner of London that is the Elephant and Castle, I was very excited to find it had a garden...or, to be more accurate, a few square feet between the house and the street which were full of soil rather than concrete. It was time, I decided, to start a compost heap.

I turned a plastic bin upside down and cut the top off. I designated a little plastic bucket in the kitchen and told my flatmates to put all their kitchen waste into it, and when it filled up I wandered down into the 'garden' and dumped it in the upside down bin. The initial results were marvellous: our kitchen waste had been halved. And I had stuff rotting in a little plastic box outside which would hopefully fertilise the few square feet of soil we used to grow plants.

Then came the rats. It became apparent fairly early on that we had a rat, as one of my flatmates managed to tread on it, getting out of the shower one morning. Apparently it went "crunch," then "squeak" and then scurried out of the bathroom. Unfortunately the little bleeders were digging in my compost heap as well - that is to say, they were able to nudge under my dismembered plastic bin and eat the stuff inside it. No wonder it had been "rotting down" so fast.

Not to be defeated, I went outside with a spade and a saw. Reasoning that this was not the best way to catch the rat, I set about digging a hole, and cut some wood to fit the bottom of it. I set the bin down in that and buried it, such the bottom of my heap was set firmly in the soil, and hopefully the wood would discourage them from digging.

It did. Alas, they were also able to knock the lid off the top and get in that way. When I put bricks on the lid, they started chewing through the plastic to get in. I'm sure at one point they were trying to nest in there, before a concerted campaign of rat poison got rid of at least one of them.

The other thing, of course, which seemed to discourage them was urine. I was one step ahead of the National Trust here - piss on the heap to provide nitrogen to encourage breakdown of the contents. I think it might also have frightened the rats away: I was advised that if you visit the heap regularly, the rats are less likely to come near it, so the sight of a large, drunken man, reeking of alcohol, lumbering over to the bucket, popping the lid off and releasing a volume of foul-smelling liquid over it would surely have put off the most determined of rodents. (I also found out that one of my flatmates had overdone it one night, realised there wasn't time to get his keys out and hurry to the bathroom, and decided the best course of action was to vomit in there, which must have terrifying for them.)

Still, after the rats had been scared off and it just became a box full of rotting crap, I had my doubts as to whether this stuff was actually becoming usable compost. And in the weeks leading up to us moving out of the house, I decided it was time to bury all evidence of this heap. I would pull the box up and break it up to go in the bin, and bury all the decomposing kitchen waste, urine, vomit and god-only-knows-what-else.

I lifted the box, fully expecting to find evidence of meals we'd eaten 18 months prior. Instead, beneath the top six inches of fresh stuff, I found a neatly compacted cuboid of rich, brown, worm-riddled compost. VICTORY WAS MINE!

I buried it all and have since attempted to start up a new one at my new abode. It's an exciting life I lead.

*A little part of me dies inside every time I have to throw a Tetra-Pak in the bin.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 15:30, 7 replies)
CB Bicycle
On around 12 years old I had a CB radio that was used to communicate the most inane drivel ever to drivel out of a driveling 12 year old. Anyway...one day, for reasons best long forgotten (finding girls houses) I decided that it would be awesome to mount this on my bike and triangulate for the aforeforgotten reason (girls). Using the various finely crafted machining facilities, tools, and superior fabrication materials at my disposal (garage floor/side of coin as a screwdriver/scrap metal junk left around) I somehow managed to mount the CB between the handle bars.

Needing to obtain an battery and antenna proved no problem as my neighbor conveniently left one of each secured to his new car in his locked garage. One butter knife later and the garage side window lock was free...and so were the battery and antenna.

Now the bike I had had one of those impressively useless metal "book racks" on the back, you know the kind with the 400 ft/lb tension hold down spring, but the design and capacity to hold somewhat less than one comic book. To a twelve year old this is MORE than sufficient to support a 20 kg battery and antenna, and it did until...

Driving down a steep grass hill at full speed the front tire dropped fully and resolutely into a deviously unseen hole followed by "slow speed" of the rear tire, battery, and 8 foot antenna attempting to be the first to travel to the moon unaided by rockets but instead pivoting on the front axle, snapping the bike rack neatly on both aluminum support twigs, and nearly skewering, decapitating, and crushing me simultaneously.

I couldn't believe it! (Man was I dumb at 12.)

Was my mother at home to comfort me when I dragged my bloody body and this mass of metal wreckage back? No...but the neighbor was, and didn't that battery and antenna look familiar...
.
.
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 13:18, 10 replies)
A success project!
I know this QOTW is for fails. But I think we do deserve the odd success story or two!

Anyway this is certinately one! Entitled: How a shy IT geek with no mates from the North of England successfully buggered off to Spain for a new life!

But I did it! Back in January 2007, I took a few days out to a well known Costa in Spain not knowing that in 4 months time i'd actually be living there!

I've always had the buzz to move abroad I think. I wanted to move to the states many years ago, but then 9/11 happened and things got all messy and stupidly complicated with visas and stuff. I really didnt want to be somewhere trying to build a new life knowing I was only on temporary visas and stuff. So the U.S soon lost its appeal.

But how awesome is Europe? And how awesome is our british passport? Allowing us limitless travel and stay in anywhere in Europe.
I had a bit of a messy break up from a serious relationship. My friends had all gone to Uni and never came back. I also ended up being in a car crash too writing off my car. So decided sod it! I'm going to do what I've always wanted to!

Taking a huge risk, I put my notice in as IT Manager which was a really good paid job and I gave up my rented apartment. A month later I took a one way flight back out to Spain.

I had a hotel booked for a week and a car hired and a couple of grand in the back pocket. That was it. I knew no one, had no work, didnt know the place and didnt know the language or anything. I just took the chance!

I got my CV out and about. Drove up and down learning the coast and put myself out there. I participated on loads of forums for expats and started meeting people. Despite at this point being prepared to work in Maccy Dees, I got a job as an IT Technician 2 weeks after landing!
It was long hours and low paid. But there I met the best team of people I ever could have done who have since become life long friends. Although that job finished 9 months later with the company going bust, we've all kept in touch, and I was straight back on my feet again and landed another job as a technician for a well estalished firm. I have now been there 18 months. I've been promoted up to Senior and life is just damned well amazing!

I have a great bunch of friends. Live in an amazing town in Spain. I've overcome so many personal barriers with once being a socialphobe, and my confidence is through the roof. I took on a project, and a challenge to turn life around and succeeded in doing it.

Even now I drive down the road, under the sun, with the sea to my right and think.. Woah I did it! Finances are good, work is solid, and I am very very fortunate. The economic crises has had a huge impact on people here. So many are having to return to the UK. Whereas I have managed to stay, and I certinately have no reason to leave.

It wasnt easy, but with the experience I've gained on this venture, If I did feel like leaving.. it would simply be a question as to where to next!

I've never been so happy! Just need to find someone to marry now!
(, Fri 4 Dec 2009, 17:08, 14 replies)
Ongoing.....
I knew I needed a hobby so I started.....

The first day all I did was turn on the light and stare at the empty space - I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I knew I needed water so I brought that in the next day - loads of it. 3rd day was sorting the dry bits out - after all that water it was a nightmare - I couldn't get the edges straight. I realised the light was a bit harsh and the heat from it was baking so I spent the fourth day sorting that out - I was aiming at nice and warm all over but I'm not great at this stuff; some bits were too hot and some too cold and then I ended up with a blackout for half the time (power supply I think) - it would have to do as I was getting tired. 5th day I filled the tanks up with fishes and added a few flying things - some good work but I was running out of ideas at this point.

6th day, I was under the weather and just put the rest of the stuff I had into a sort of self portrait sculpture - made a right mess of it too and had to take some off the first one to make another one - this one looked a bit better.

Anyway, there I am all tired out not entirely happy with what I've done and these 'mini-mes' started asking me what to do and really moaning on about it, but after the last week I was knackered and was like 'whatever, just don't eat the apples'.

Next day i just slept in.

Really must check back on that and see how it's all going.

- God
(, Fri 4 Dec 2009, 0:26, 1 reply)
Christmas fail
Was round a mates house last night. Wandered into his kitchen and noticed he had an unopend tin of Quality Street balanced on the electric hob on a low heat.

"What's all this about then?" I asked.

My mate followed me, "Got our office Christmas party tomorrow night."

"So...." I said, reaching out a hand to feel the heat radiating off the rumbling tin of chocolate and caramel sludge, awash with manky sweet wrappers.

"The cheapskates are holding the party at work this year. We were all ordered to bring something along to eat. I don't really like the people I work with and I fucking hate being told what to do."

Weird.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 13:13, 5 replies)
I forgot to fit these:


And it fucked me up big time.

Signed

Seth Brundle.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 18:17, 1 reply)
Pre-Compost Re-Post
I intend to tell the story of my compost heap shortly, but beforehand I thought I'd whet your appetite with a classic* from Pointless Experiments
*May not be a classic.
Solar Cooker: Budget Edition
A couple of years ago, I was living in a flat which was basically a loft conversion at the top of a house. The only upside to this claustrophobic, 4-bedroom dump was that we had access to the roof via a skylight and a ladder.

Now when the sun shone on this (flat) roof, it got very hot - far too hot to stand on barefoot. This gave me a daft idea.

I'd heard about third-world countries being given "solar cookers" - basically a big round mirror, into the centre of which you put your food and point the whole thing at the sun. The sun's rays are thus focussed on the food and this heats it up.

Now I obviously didn't have access to such a mirror, so I took the opposite approach - if I want to focus this solar energy, why not use a lens?

Well, I didn't have a lens, either. What I did have was some tin foil, a pint glass and a sausage.

Result: after 30 minutes of sitting on this piece of tin foil and under an upturned pint glass, the sausage hadn't cooked at all. It had begun to sweat a bit, but that was the limit of my solar-powered culinary achievement.

I abandoned this experiment and put the grill on instead. Oh, well.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 14:58, Reply)
Spencer
Got a mate named Spencer (once you get past the twatty name he’s actually a pretty decent fella; just hoping and praying his new flatmate’s named Mark, this would lead to literally minutes of amusement). Anyway, Spencer’s a bit of a dick at the best of times. He seems to spend all his time smoking weed, dreaming up get rich quick schemes, and generally arsing about.

A while back he gave me a call while I was at work. Went like this:

Spencer:”Come up with the best plan ever to get rich!”
Me:”And what would that be, Spence, my man?”
Spencer:”Time travel.”
Me:”Time travel?”
Spencer:”Yeah, time travel.”
- very long pause -
Me:”So are you going to tell me about this invention of yours, Spence?”
Spencer:”This is the genius part, mate. Fuckin’ genius part! I aven’t invented it yet!”
Me:”………………………. ?”
Spencer:”But I’ve decided when I do invent it I’m gonna get me to travel back in time and give it to me so I can have it now and not have to do any work on it! Fuckin’ genius!”
- CLICK !!! -

Like I said, Spencer smokes a lot of weed…
(, Fri 4 Dec 2009, 14:34, 12 replies)
Resuming relations with the Mrs.
It took longer than I'd like to resume sexy relations with my good wife after she'd given birth to our first child.

I put my best moves on, got on top, and started giving it some.

The doctor and nurses in the delivery room wern't best pleased. They were still waiting to deliver the afterbirth.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 15:53, 4 replies)
Polarity
(pearoast from here)

My friend Joe and I were working on cobbling together an iPod dock from plans he found on the Internet. As part of this, we had to hook a power supply up to the dock connector. Alas, the one he was going to use didn't have the polarity marked, and he didn't have a voltmeter. A dilemma.

However, he did have a drinking glass, water, and salt. So I filled the glass with salt water and stuck the power supply wires in there. The wire that gave off more bubbles would be the electrode producing hydrogen, and therefore the negative wire.

I was pretty pleased with myself, until we tried it and observed the electrodes giving off roughly equal amounts of bubbles. After an embarrassingly long time, we read the back of the power supply again and saw the text "5V AC."

We went to Radio Shack and got another power supply. And a voltmeter.
(, Sun 6 Dec 2009, 0:31, 7 replies)
I just thought of a hilarious one!
(note to self: finish this before Thursday).
(, Fri 4 Dec 2009, 11:28, Reply)
New Labour


That is all.
(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 14:49, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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