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This is a question Destruction, Demolition and Deconstruction

The Lone Groover says "I've just taken down a pergola with a metre-deep Russian vine over the top. It had nine birds' nests in it, and had rotted all of the cross timbers. It covered the entire lawn and needs a skip of its own." What's the biggest/worst thing you've ever taken down? Tell us your tales of demolition and wanton destruction.

(, Thu 8 Nov 2012, 13:17)
Pages: Popular, 4, 3, 2, 1

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It blew up in my face
I went through a very nerdy phase as a teenager, and instead of chasing women I spent a couple of summer holidays building pirate radio transmitters. (It was about 1990 and I wanted to be Christian Slater in Pump Up The Volume.) Anyway I was testing a new contraption, hunched over the circuit board while the thing was on air at full power, fine tuning it. In electronics there are these components called electrolytic capacitors, which you have to have the correct way round in a circuit (a bit like the way a battery is polarised, with positive and negative terminals) - and I must have put one in the wrong way round. This is a Very Bad Thing. Without warning, one of these things violently exploded right in my face. Luckily I was wearing stylish NHS glasses so my eyeballs remained intact. The room was full of noxious fumes and glittering dust particles though. (And god knows what nasty chemicals are inside those things - my lifespan's probably been shortened by a few years.) But the transmitter even stayed on air. I have a healthy respect for those little evil things now. Good job I'm short sighted too, otherwise my eyeballs would have little bits of molten metal and plastic embedded in them.
(, Mon 12 Nov 2012, 12:10, 1 reply)
Comedy Cliche
I was sorting the attic out, and carrying a large box of books from one pile to another. So large that I couldn't see my feet and, inevitably, managed to miss the flooring boards, and plunge one foot down between the joists. Large chunks of plaster plus the collected dust and debris of about 80 years showered down into the room below, closely followed by the random contents of the boxes and jars I'd knocked over, and a stream of swearing.

Naturally, because the universe has a sense of humour, my wife's mother, an elderly lady with a heart condition, happened to be directly underneath at the time.

(, Mon 12 Nov 2012, 11:51, Reply)
I blew up the death star lol

(, Mon 12 Nov 2012, 9:59, 3 replies)
A rather senior colleague of mine once looked after a well known wheelchair jockey..
...who'd broken his legs.

She was responsible for Deacon's Traction.
(, Mon 12 Nov 2012, 1:21, 5 replies)
In the barely-awaited third sequel to Pixar's mediocre and forgettable Cars,
we saw Lightning McQueen team up with Laurie, a heavy goods vehicle who moved office furniture around for a living. However, halfway through the movie Laurie spurned Lightning's friendship and went off with a bad crowd. You could say it was a one ton desk truck shun.
(, Sun 11 Nov 2012, 21:42, 5 replies)
the £80,000 cars....so many of them......
Once upon a few years ago I was working in Electrical Integration at Land Rover when the as-yet unreleased Range Rover Sport model was in development. As per any new car they're tested and tortured in all sorts of unimaginable ways, either to make sure they don't break or for legislative reasons like the EU bureacratic tossers like to stick their noses in and fuck things up.

However if the radio goes on the blink or the seat covers stain, it's not going to ruin your day. Safety, though, that's quite important.

So it was with a heavy heart that I had to represent the department during the crash testing phase.

To satisfy NCAP requirements, new cars are crashed to make sure the folks inside are protected enough that they don't end up a pink wobbly pile of organs if the car has a whoopsie.

The 4.2L Supercharged V8 was capable of propelling 2.5 tons to 60 in 7 seconds and if you optioned up with telecoms and top-line stereo you would be looking at £80k's worth of car.

£80 grands worth of perfectly decent car- smashed into a concrete block at 40 mph, full frontal mayhem. Then taken back to base so I could test/repair the internal network communication data bus- the car's own crash sensor data was recorded during the collision - so the car could then be crashed backwards into another block - repaired again- crashed sideways into a pole - repaired again - and the final indignity, launched into the air for a roll-over crash. At which point the poor battered smashed victim was stuffed into a compound alongside its other poor brethren and kept for many years getting rained on and occasionally, nested in.

And to a petrol head, the shame that this wasn't just the one car-

SO MANY CARS...shit, if you don't want them then give them to me, why don't you.
(, Sun 11 Nov 2012, 17:19, 4 replies)
Destruction, Demolition and Deconstruction
My fiance (who is currently awaiting posting permission) once burnt down a cotton mill!
Here is his story.
I lived next door to, what would now be considered, a family of chavs and the eldest son was always getting into scrapes that, to my young mind, bordered on the illegal. (Looking back through the mists of time it is apparent that he was a horrible little thief with a psychopathic streak a mile wide who revelled in breaking the law and other peoples property). My house backed onto said cotton mill which was a semi abandoned 8/10 story building set on waste land. A lot of the local children, myself included, would climb the rusted and rickety fire escape ladder to the fourth floor and get inside through a broken wooden board covering one of the windows. We spent our youthfully lazy days amid it's ramshackle open plan floors kicking around the half empty spools of cotton, exploring the offices, halls and each others underwear.
The ground floor was divided into sections and housed various small businesses including a car body shop.
One evening, my neighbour and I broke into the body shop section. There was precious little to entertain us inside save for some spray paint cans, tools and..... lo, a box of matches!
We started by lighting newspaper we had screwed up, this was even more exciting than just breaking in! We threw on some old rags.....
Before I knew it a conflagration beyond our firefighting capabilities was raging, we panicked and fled in different directions.
Now seperated from my neighbour a time of hiding followed, I don't know how long it was but after I had calmed down enough I ventured back to the scene of our crime to find the whole building ablaze!
Smoke and flames burst forth from every orifice bellowing into the burgeoning dusk as if every window held a flaming loudhailer to it's charred lips. My once beloved playground had been transformed beyond anything my imagination could conjure. Fire engines lined the street, endless firemen battling with soot stained hoses trying to quell my raging inferno of guilt, terror, ransacked lives and ultimately, juddering pride at what we had wrought!
(, Sat 10 Nov 2012, 20:27, 11 replies)
I once ruined another diner's meal
With my Motorola Startac.
(, Sat 10 Nov 2012, 13:19, 16 replies)
Queen Mary's Hospital , Sidcup
Some time in the seventies - accidentally burnt it to the ground with 1 match.
(, Sat 10 Nov 2012, 12:29, Reply)
Jackson Pollock
Taping a collection of almost out of ink, ink cartridges to a collection of taped together and re-fused rookies and throwing them into a wheely bin creates a nice Pollock style painting.
(, Sat 10 Nov 2012, 11:37, 1 reply)
Destruction of a processor
In my hardware class, we (my partner and myself) had to find out what socket our processor was plugged in. This involves jimmying a couple of clips either side of the cooling unit. Of course, we did end up breaking one of the clips, but kept going hoping no one would notice our error. The cooling unit was returned to its place and the surviving clip was put in place. No one seeing our error, we turned the computer on. There was a high pitched wirring sound followed by a slight burning smell. My partner and I turned the computer off and removed the cover. Upon its removal, we were hit with the somewhat unpleasant smell of burnt plastic, silicone and other burnt bits. My partner left to be sick whilst we looked and smelled the now burnt processor. Not a smell to be forgotten. That is probably the worst thing I have ever taken down
(, Sat 10 Nov 2012, 2:03, Reply)
I once dropped a Chinese takeaway ...
... the result was wonton destruction.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 22:25, Reply)
It wasn't my fault
Now my neighbour had a massive leylandii which must have been forty foot tall. I hated the thing, and plotted to sneak out at night, drill a hole in the trunk, and squirt weedkiller into it with a syringe. But I'm nice, so I didn't.

But by coincidence, the bit on my side of the fence was where I'd pile up grass cuttings. This heap was getting out of control, so one day I took the liberty of setting this dry pile of grass and vegetation on fire. I watched it for a while, and it burnt nicely, and then I went indoors.

Hours later, I was asleep in bed, went I smelt burning (this was an old house with sash windows which were a little drafty). I pulled open the curtains and saw the entire garden bathed in an orange glow. The tree on my neighbour's side of the fence had caught fire, and the whole thing was ablaze with orange sparks flying into the night air.

I put on some clothes and rushed down to the bottom of the garden. The tree was well alight - there was clearly nothing that could be done to save it. It wasn't near any structures, so I shrugged and went back to bed.

The following morning I surveyed the damage - the tree was now an ugly blackened skeleton.

Now my neighbour was blind in one eye, with very limited vision in the other. So I reckoned my best bet was to keep quiet and hope he didn't notice.

He did. He asked me what I knew, and I confessed it was my fault. And luckily he wasn't fussed. The end.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 20:39, 1 reply)
I destroyed my home planet
to stop a war.

It had a few repercussions, but since the universe has been rebooted at least twice since then, I think it's finally sorted.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 20:15, Reply)
Terrible fire
One day, back in the day, I was walking home from class at the University of Arizona when I came across a building destroyed by fire. I was appalled. There were still visible flames in the ruins.

Still, I had a niggling suspicion that something was wrong. I walked that route all the time, but somehow couldn't remember what that structure had been. There was a void in my memory.

No surprise, really. The area was a parking lot and the smoking ruin was a set for the movie Revenge of the Nerds.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 18:26, Reply)
A bit virtual this one
but I typed del *.* to remove my files from the LAN when I left university.

Turned out that the cretinous sysadmin had put all students' work in the root folder of the same drive and (this being ancient MS-DOS) there were no access permissions, so everyone could read or write to everyone else's folders.

And, having zero computer knowledge except a smattering of BBC Basic, I'd typed del *.* on the root folder.

And it did what it's supposed to do. Poof! went everyone's design projects.

And knowing the cretinous sysadmin, he never had any backups.

They never found out it was me, though.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 18:22, 19 replies)
A noise like approaching armageddon...
When I was a wee nipper, we used to play in an old abandoned plastics factory*. Much fun was had, lobbing plastic duck-heads at each other, sword fighting with plastic rods, pouring sacks of plastic chips on each other's heads from the dangling wreckage of upper floors, and attempting not to fall down gaping holes into the basement.

But the fun had to end eventually, and one day we heard that they'd started to demolish our fun palace. So that evening we headed over to have a look. This was the 1970s, when life was cheaper than it is now, so there was nothing to stop us wandering over the demolition site. The building was about half gone; the main part we could see still standing was an inner wall, which had only been half pulled down. On top we spied a loose block of masonry, maybe a metre square, which had been cracked loose but still stood, balanced on top of the wall. Naturally we started to rock it back and forward, hoping for a satisfactory crash when it fell, and entirely failing to consider that it might fall back onto us, rather than forwards over the wall.

But we managed to avoid getting squashed like Bernard Manning's wife, and the block teetered, wobbled, then finally dropped out of sight over the wall.

We were expecting something like CRAAASHHhhhh .... What we got was CRAAAASHHHhhhhhHHHSHHRRRRRROOOOOAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR... It seemed to go on for ages; we instinctively did the "Awoooga Two Step", and were several streets away before the ungodly noise faded away. Ten minutes or so later, having hidden behind some bins, we cautiously headed back to the site.

A police car was there, the coppers looking rather puzzled. It seemed that, entirely spontaneously, about half of the remaining building - in fact, everything the other side of the wall, which turned out to have been one side of the central stairwell - had collapsed about three metres down a bank into what had been the basement.

I often wondered what the demolition workers made of it, the next day, when they found that most of their work had been done for them.

* The phrase "old abandoned" generates a strong compulsion to do a Scooby Doo joke, but I'll attempt to restrain myself.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 16:21, 2 replies)
The true reason the twin towers fell.

Not really.
Fred Dibnah - on ropes, ladders, and the fun things you can do with fire.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 15:44, 4 replies)
So, basically this guy put a bomb on a 'bus
And it all went downhill from there.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 13:15, 5 replies)
a few years back - I dismantled a WW2 bomb shelter. Its walls were 3 bricks thick, with a massive slab of reinforced concrete on top.

Quite weirdly it was infested with of all things - Newts. They were in the walls, under the floor, clusters of 10 at a time.

I think at final count we managed to save about 160 of them? we must have killed the same amount again accidentally. never saw them in the garden - only inside the walls. very odd.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 12:44, 7 replies)
I work in construction
I have been involved with a few demolitions.

Nothing of any note has ever happened because I'm a professional and I work with other professionals and I'd rather not have anyone killed or injured on my watch.

I've nearly been killed twice, but they weren't on demolitions, so don't count.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 12:38, 3 replies)
A lesson in economics.
It turns out that, given the choice between sacrificing a couple of hundred quid on the altar of professional asbestos removal, and sacrificing thirty years of life expectancy on the altar of thrift, I'd rather have the cash.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 12:17, Reply)
The Joy Of Sledgehammers
1 x old shed hindering lovely view of countryside
1 x slab of beer
2 x friends

30-60 mins.

Hey presto!

Tip: have your friend's wife cook burgers.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 11:59, 2 replies)
The Last Straw
A colleague at work came in on Monday looking like he'd had a tough weekend. Turns out he'd had to dispose of his shed.

"It's annoying," he said, "Because it was in fairly good nick. But I went to put something in it, and it... burst."

A lovely comedy image, a bulging, creakingly overfull shed that just can't take one more item.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 11:25, 1 reply)
The Task of Destroying the History of Ontology
If the question of Being is to have its own history made transparent, then this hardened tradition must be loosened up, and the concealments which it has brought about must be dissolved. We understand this task as one in which by taking the question of Being as our clue, we are to destroy the traditional content of ancient ontology until we arrive at those primordial experiences in which we achieved our first ways of determining the nature of Being - the ways which have guided us ever since.

In thus demonstrating the origin of our basic ontological concepts an investigation in which their 'birth certificate' is displayed, we have nothing to do with a vicious relativizing of ontological standpoints. But this destruction is just as far from having the negative sense of shaking off the ontological tradition. We must, on the contrary, stake out the positive possibilities of that tradition, and this always means keeping it within its limits; these in turn are given factically in the way the question is formulated at the time, and in the way the possible field for investigation is thus bounded off. On its negative side, this destruction does not relate itself towards the past; its criticism is aimed at 'today' and at the prevalent way of treating the history of ontology, whether it is headed towards doxography, towards intellectual history, or towards a history of problems. But to bury the past in nullity is not the purpose of this destruction; its aim is positive; its negative function remains unexpressed and indirect.

The destruction of the history of ontology is essentially bound up with the way the question of Being is formulated, and it is possible only within such a formulation. In the framework of our treatise, which aims at working out that question in principle, we can carry out this destruction only with regard to stages of that history which are in principle decisive.

Needless to say, I had the last laugh.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 11:13, 7 replies)
Man v tree
At my old flat we had a small garden that was rather nice to sit in apart from the fact that a lot of the light was blocked by two (cypress, I think) trees that had been there for decades and were now far taller than the (four-storey) block that we lived in. At the time my German flatmate was trying to rig up his TV decoder to the old satellite dish on the back of the building and he was convinced that one of the trees was blocking his signal, so one weekend he climbed up the tree and cut a big chunk out of the side of it. I can't remember if it solved his problem or not, but the tree looked ridiculous and as we wanted more light in the garden we started to plan its demise.

The main problem was that we had no power tools or safety equipment of any kind, nor any real experience of tree felling, but we did have a good saw. So over three weekends we took it in turns to climb the tree to about a metre from the top, cut off all the side branches, saw through the trunk and then climb down another metre or so and repeat the process.

The secondary problem is that a massive tree produces massive amounts of wood and foliage. The entire garden was thigh-deep in green stuff with great huge logs lurking beneath the surface. It sat there for a few weeks before some men from the council arrived to trim the trees in the street and I heard the distinctive sound of a wood chipper. I asked them if it was possible to dump some of the tree in there and one guy pondered the question, replying "Milk, two sugars." Before long I was ferrying pots of tea and dustbins full of branches out into the street but all too soon they had to move on and I still had about three quarters of a tree to get rid of.

Now that it was at least possible to get into the garden again I set about the rest of the tree with saw and secateurs and reduced it down still further into piles of logs of varying sizes, from sticks to the last section of the trunk we cut out, which was about 2' across and 5' long. For a whole year we ate nothing but wood-fired barbeques - we even filled the boot with it and took our own firewood to Glastonbury. I used some of it to make attractive little borders for the rest of the garden which was starting to flourish now that one of the huge trees had stopped blocking out all the light.

We donated the last bits - the really big bits of trunk - to the local estate's communal bonfire that November, about 18 months after we first started cutting it down. The biggest bit took four men to carry and burned for a day.

About a year later, the letting agents sent someone round to do an inventory of the flat and I'd arranged to be in while they were there in case any awkward questions came up. Which they did, as he looked out of one of the first-floor windows...
"Didn't there used to be two trees in the garden?"
At this point the second tree was now nothing but a 4' stump with a birdhouse on top, which I was training ivy to grow over.
"What happened?"
"That one, uh, died."
"But what happened to it?"
"Er...some men from the council took it away?"
"Oh, right then."

I went past the old flat the other day and while the ivy has grown rather nicely over the old stump the surviving tree has taken full advantage of the space, expanding to block out almost as much of the light as two trees had.

TLDR: Men cut down tree, dispose of wood in various ways and don't quite have to lie about it.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 9:57, Reply)

My wee birdie of an aunt got this superhuman bust of strength and stamina to take out all of the contents from her soon to be ex-husband's shed and burn it on the lawn. Bit of family lore this burning - not even the shotgun shells exploding out of the flames seemed to put her off. We ran for cover; she just tore the double wooden doors of the shed with a crowbar and burnt them and then burnt the crowbar for good measure.

G & T's all round after that effort. The lawn didn't grow back for a very long time and the lumpen metally/plastic remains were broken down and some scattered through the garden like alien gnomes.

She even made us sing along to Dame Edna Everage's "The night we burnt mother's things". Good times.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 9:02, 1 reply)
When I were in my teens, my parents bought a new shed.
You can probably fill in the rest yourselves.
(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 8:16, 2 replies)
Right then

(, Fri 9 Nov 2012, 3:06, 4 replies)
The perfect crime!
In 1987, my brother and I discovered that a certain type of weed killer was extremely flammable. So we tried mixing it with sugar but didn’t get the results we were hoping for. Two days and many a singed finger later I had a better idea , we dissolved the weed killer in water, dipped cotton wool in it and let it dry. We lit it and it went up with a very pleasing FWOOSH! We were pleased!
So, the next thing we did was cut down an old steel hoover tube and fill it with as much of the cotton wool as possible. After ramming a lump or wood in each end and inserting a homemade fuse we were good to go and off to the greenhouse we went. We lit the fuse and ran for it, there was a little smoke but that was it. Back we went and tried again… and again… and again… so giving up on the fuse idea we lit a tiny fire in the greenhouse and placed the HooverBomb© on top.
With fuck all warning, there was an almighty bang (I’m assuming that there was a bang, all I heard was “BA-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” and continued to hear that high pitched noise for two days!) My Brother and I then had to rapidly escape a greenhouse full of smoke whilst we were completely disorientated. The smoke cleared surprisingly quickly, this was due to the newly created 2 foot hole in the roof.
My dad ran into the garden shouting “WHAT THE FUCKING HELL HAVE YOU TWO DONE NOW???” at the top of his lungs This is where my brother the criminal genius attempted to shine. “Deny everything” He said.
This might have worked if we hadn’t been stumbling round the garden, singed and stunned and had come up with a better answer than a shaky “Err.. Nuffin!”
How I survived to the grand old age of 40 is a complete mystery!
(, Thu 8 Nov 2012, 23:17, 2 replies)

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