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This is a question Eccentrics

We all know someone who's a little bit strange - Mum's UFO abduction secret, or the mad Uncle who isn't allowed within 400 yards of Noel Edmonds.

Tell us about your family eccentrics, or just those you've met but don't think you're related to.

(Suggested by sugar_tits)

(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 19:08)
Pages: Latest, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Was it him or was it me?
I'm still not quite sure who was the nuttier person in this situation, you decide.

Wiggly lines to simulate going back in time.

It was a Summer evening and I was traveling in a train, having just completed my 3rd year exams in University. You know what it's like when you've just gone through months of exams, your head is a bit wrecked. So there I was sitting at a table on a train with 4 other people. There was a teenage girl opposite me, next to her was "the nutter," and next to me was an older woman. The nutter starts to talk to the girl, wants to show her what he bought in the shops that day and starts to offer her chocolate. I have to say, that I felt for her. She was being very polite to the nutter as he rambled on, and all I could think was "thank God it's not me sitting next to him."

The evening sun was shining in through the train window, so I took out my sunglasses and put them on to stop the glare. Eventually, as the journey went on the other two women got off the train, so all that was left was me and the nutter. Well, as I was wearing sunglasses, I felt that I was quite safe to have a really good stare at the nutter without being detected. And in turn, he stared at me.

Time passed and it was nearing my stop, so I got myself together to exit the train. I pulled out my sunglasses case to put my sunglasses away and as I opened the case, there sitting in the case was one of the lenses.

Yes, I had been sitting there staring at a nutter with only one lens in my sunglasses.

To this day, I don't know why my brain didn't register that I only had one lens in. All I can think, is that I was tired, and that the sun was only hitting the eye with the lens in. I have to wonder though, is there a nutter out there telling the same story...only I'm the nutter.
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 19:51, 12 replies)
My friends mum
Ste's mum was mental. Everyone knew it. We used to call round for Ste - waving to him as he saw us coming up the drive from his bedroom window. We'd knock on the back door and she'd answer. "Ooh sorry Coke, Steve's not in. He's gone horseback riding" in all seriousness, she at that instant believed it. Ste would normally come down and gently tell her he was in, we'd look a bit embarrassed and come inside.

We'd go up to Ste's room, and his mum would knock on and look round the door - "boys, I've popped a pizza in the oven for you. I'm nipping out to the post office, go and help yourselves in 15 minutes".

We'd go downstairs when the time was up and open the oven door. Sometimes it would be a right mess. She would often put the pizza directly on to the oven shelves. Upside down.

One day she came home with a new pair of shoes for Ste to go to school in. Ste, being a 17 year old boy, usually had difficulty in wearing bright pink ballet shoes, best suited to an 8 year old girl. When this sort of thing happened, he normally quietly took them back and got a refund, replacing the money in his mums purse when she wasn't watching.

Ste's dad died when Ste was 22 and it was quietly devastating. His mum wasnt just a bit mental, she had early onset alzheimers and deteriorated quickly. She was eventually put in a home - Ste couldnt bring himself to clean her after she went to the toilet any more and realised he couldnt cope. The woman who ran the home said she had never seen a case quite as bad.

We went to visit her sometimes, and we'd walk her down the country lanes round the home, it was a lovely place. Most of the time she had no idea who Ste, or we were but sometimes she was more lucid. We always took carrots, because she liked to give them to horses in the field next door. They'd come over and she would stand, gobsmacked as the horses literally took the carrots from the palm of her hand. She wouldnt stop until all the carrots had gone.

One day whilst this was happening, a van pulled up, and the driver asked me for some directions. As I was explaining, Ste's mum came over and stood next to me staring at the driver. She watched him intently, then reached in her little bag and held out her palm, with a carrot resting on top, right under the van drivers nose. He looked confused. He looked at me and raised his eyebrows.

Ste's mum got annoyed and shoved the carrot forcefully right into his mouth.

We've never laughed so hard in our lives. Terrible really, but if you don't laugh, you'll go mental.
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 22:46, 8 replies)
The Geekpad
What happens when you put 4 of the geekiest extroverted guys in the world together in one house?

You get the Geekpad. It has it's own email domain, website, etc - but more important are it's parties...

You come in and you're directed to a back room, where an ID card is made for you - a picture taken, a name put on it all set!

What's the ID card for? For getting drinks of course - when you go to the free bar they swipe your card and enter which drink you wanted. Why would they do this?

For the updated Up to the Second, running totals leaderboard displaying everyone's blood alcohol content in the main room!

Each person's name and BAC was ranked displayed and adjusted itself over time for how quickly your liver would take care of things against how much more alcohol you were putting in... want to know the right time to pounce on that girl across the way? Well, where is she on the board? Do you get to keep your keys? Where are you on the board? Want to know how much liquid courage it took for that guy to approach you? check the board =)

It was an instant conversation starter, they had the proper "buzz" levels marked for each weight category, and it was just weird enough to be cool.

Of course the competitions guys had to hit #1 were ridiculous - quite possibly the most dangerous "video game" ever - but on the other hand, it's not like guys don't compete to be drunkest idiot anyway...

Good fun, good people - and I think it counts as eccentric =)
(, Tue 4 Nov 2008, 14:37, 11 replies)
My dad, the SS officer
My Dad used to shout at us in German whenever he wanted us to do something/get a move on/shut up, he would scream "Achtung!! Raus!! Schnell!!!. This comes from watching too many war films I think, however, this little habit has passed down the line to me. Which has got me into trouble once or twice.

2am I am working (Radiographer...takes x-rays) back in the UK. Old fella comes into my room on a trolley, bit confused but physically OK, in for a Chest x-ray. "Please sit forward Sir...no response. Could you sit up Mate...Still nothing. Now I was tired as well, so i slipped into my youth and..."Hande Hoch....SCHNELL!!"

The poor old fella sat bolt upright, hands flew into the air...result!! obvoiusly this guy loved war films like me Dad!

So I put the film behind him and take the x-ray. breathing in wasn't a problem as he was breathing deeply. Lovely film, job done.

The problem came when I wanted to send him back to Casualty, I couldn't get him to put his hands down. i didn't know Hands down in German. "OK Sir, you can lower your hands...(Oh Shit) Please put your hands down..(buggerbuggershit)

So he goes back to Casualty, bolt upright with his hands raised. his daughter asked what happened, "Dunno (says I) he just sat upright when I got him into the room" "Oh, he must be reliving his youth, he was interned in Germany during WW2" "Oh...how terrible" said I, beating a hasty retreat.

Apparently he stayed like that for another hour or so.

Its all dads fault..I was only following my training.

Sorry old POW fella.
(, Sat 1 Nov 2008, 20:02, 2 replies)
My best friend
I miss my old roommate - lets call him "Dan" - good soul, great guy - and eccentric? Absolutely.

While driving his Gold 70's Camero (which he had removed the back seat from and replaced with a set of giant bass speakers (girls, um, just loved sitting on them for some reason...) home from Washington DC one day we looked in the rearview mirror and saw not just one cop car following us - but a flotilla of cops taking up the entire highway behind us. Red and blue whirring lights literally filled our view as far as we could see. A U.N peace conference was going on that week in DC and they were getting a police escort back to their hotels (or the airport?) and the cops were driving in front and along side it to clear traffic to the sides as it passed and make sure everything proceeded in a secure and orderly manner.

Dan - in his camero with it's "Ozzie for president" bumper sticker and fake Zebra skin seat covers decided this was the moment to "get back at the cops" for all the times his car had been towed for parking violations.

And so he did *not* move out of the way.

Cops on motorcycles came up and flashed their lights.

He slowed down.

The entire motorcade behind him slowed down - they weren't going to split around him.

The cop on the motor cycle *knocked on Dan's driver side window* and gestured for him to move aside.

Dan went slower.

Through out much waving and gesturing between the cop and Dan starring straight ahead with a determined look on his face, the entire motorcade traversed two or three miles of the highway at a maximum rate of about 15 miles an hour... until Dan got to his exit and pulled off to continue home. I was sure at least one cop would follow to deliver a warning, beating or at least a court summons ... but instead the whole thing just sped back up and went on.

Bastard was lucky too =)

I'd never seen him so proud =)

While going to college - he built a running moat in his dorm room. With an operable 4 foot drawbridge.

Damn near killed himself when he was spray-painting it too. After 2 hours of spraying his drawbridge he just had a little bit of unpainted area left - and had breathed in enough paint fumes in the small enclosed room that when he ran out of paint the idea of just "popping open" the pressurized spray can to get that last bit of paint he knew was still inside... seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea... one hammer, one nail and *Boom* later - he was shocked sober enough to open a window to get some fresh air. He, the last patch that needed painting, and most of the room actually - were also covered in a fine mist of silver.

I met him a short while after that, we became immediate best friends when we met - because I gave him my extra oatmeal cookie. That was all he needed, friends for life from that moment on.

College spirit week with Dan was an epic adventure - Hat day alone was worth a 4 years tuition. His hat was over 5 feet tall, 4 wide, and had supports which went down to the ground from the edges with wheels on them so he could walk around and still wear the monstrosity. It had it's own sound system, was at least partially edible, and if I remember correctly had a live in resident (chipmunk? squirrel? something small and furry) which would clamber about on it. Fantastic, sitting in class when that walked in was something no one ever forgot. Of course it needed it's own seat when he sat down, but I think that's understandable.

He spent a summer packing parachutes for people who wanted to go skydiving. His one complaint? He wished the job came with some training...

His final project - a Movie titled "How to disarm a thermonuclear device in south america if your entire unit should have been eaten by giant radioactive fireants" actually didn't suck. The conversion of a riding mower into a "Battle Wagon" for the insertion team became legendary. "Samurai Night Fever" needed a little work though.

Living together after college (how could I not invite him to live with me out in DC? what bad could possibly come of it?) was pure pleasure.

We built a Tesla coil. If you've never built one - do so - it's a wonderful experience. Nothing like having pure electricity arc between your hands, stings like a bitch though. We used it mainly to tattoo tomatoes.

At one point he was looking for work ... so we ran for local office. I went for school board, he did more research and found out the local head of the "Office of Water and Soil" had run unopposed for the last 3 years - we felt a little bad when requesting the forms and such because the nice lady on the phone mentioned a local "Crackpot" who ran for elections with out any qualifications...

Even if it wasn't directly aimed at us we'd never graduated to actual, officially titled "crackpots" before.

He got a job doing in house instructional videos for a dotcom investment place - his "If you don't lock your computer, a Ninja will steal your pants" video was beyond Brilliant - best thing I ever saw - the demonstration (in both real time and slow-motion capture) of the ninja stealing the worker's pants convinced many an IT drone to properly hit ctrl-alt-del before leaving their work station.

Sometimes we'd just get in the car and trust to the universe to provide an adventure. From driving the stranded mother daughter hooker team home (a three hour drive where the daughter made serious moves on Dan, and the mother did rain man impressions at me - no, that's not innuendo - she just kept quoting Rain man at me - I don't know why.) to the "Little Ricky" Pirate soda Homies, to ... well, it worked, you should try it sometime. Adventures are there to be had.

When he moved out he moved into Hostel community in Georgia - that lives entirely in tree houses. You move in, and you can either pay to stay - or work on building more tree houses in trade. He stayed for over 6 months. Met his now wife there. Lovely place. Google it.

After that he became an air traffic controller. He's red green color blind, but he didn't let that stop him.

And recently he left that and joined the intelligence community. No joke.

In the evenings he does a local cable news show that's just about everything you would hope it would be =)

Great Guy =)

Apologies for length - but the young naked lady he tied up in a pirate flag swore it was all worth it.
(, Mon 3 Nov 2008, 21:52, 7 replies)
I used to hang out with a guy
who thought he was God's gift to women - despite living with his parents into his 30s, not being married, not having a girlfriend, not having ever had a girlfriend as far as I know, and the only two women I ever saw him with were a) his Mum, and b) a 'sex worker'.

He was a real charmer with his male friends as well - eg announcing out of the blue that "one of you're gunna dog on me" [ie inform on him]. Wouldn't say which one, or for what, or how he knew of course.

Oh, and you know how I said he thought he was God's gift to women? This was literally true. Someone said to him "you think you're God's gift don't you?" and he smiled, and I guess Minder must've been on and he thought talking like Arthur Daley was his secret weapon, because he said "yes my son", in this voice of complete confidence.

Mind you, he did rise from the dead on the third day.
(, Sun 2 Nov 2008, 19:57, 6 replies)
My family and other animals pt 1
My great uncle Eric, was a man whom I never met. He hated children. He wasn’t too keen on women either and never married. The reasons for this were actually quite sad.

He had as a fifteen year old, run away from home to join the Army Air Corps during World War One. It being 1915 / 1916 ish nobody was too hot on checking age or identity and he was swept straight into flight officer training.

He was badly affected by his experiences on the Western Front, and was according to my grandfather, never quite the same person. He managed to re-integrate himself into society with a rather stiff upper lip attitude, but remained quite an odd individual.

The first time my mother went to stay at his house (probably in the seventies), she asked if she could use his television to watch Corrie.

‘I don’t have a television,’ he said.

‘Yes, you do – I’ve seen one through there.’

‘No, I haven’t.’ he said more firmly.

‘Well, what’s that then?’ she asked.

‘Not a television.’

My mother slightly perplexed, approached said television, and tried to switch it on. Nothing. After pressing a few more buttons and twiddling the tuning knob, she ventured around the back to look for the plug. No plug. In fact, the television had a distinct lack of plug, back and insides – it was just an empty shell. She looked up to Eric enquiringly as he said:

‘I told you I didn’t have a television. I have a wooden cabinet with a screen because my elephants look good on it.’

He’d actually bought a TV, had the insides removed, so that he could keep his Indian ornaments on top of it.

Apparently, his favourite sport was screwing with the minds of the TV licence inspectors. When they arrived at his house to check up on him, he’d usher them into the front room and then deny all knowledge of having a television. Used to keep him entertained for hours apparently.
(, Sun 2 Nov 2008, 16:10, 2 replies)
My mum
My mother is gradually becoming a legendary figure on b3ta and it's only fair that she should feature in this QOTW. A few of the things she's come out with over the years:

"Will they still say FUCK on them when you get your lenses put in?" - said at full volume in the middle of Specsavers on a Saturday afternoon

"I think you should know, I've just been told off for being drunk and disorderly on a bouncy castle" - oh dear God...

"I met my friend Sam - he's black! - for dinner last night" - oh well done, you've got a black friend, how terribly MODERN of you

"Your uncle is a pillock of the community" - this one I agree on

"You're not fucking playing fucking Delius!" - on wondering whether I should play the 1st movement of the Delius Cello Sonata for my Grade 8 exam...she feels very strongly about Delius

"Do you think you stand a chance of passing this exam?" - every bloody time I ever took an exam

"So few black people are well-spoken" - MUM!!!

"You look lovely and slim, dear" - every bloody time she sees me, as if nothing else matters

"You shouldn't buy black bed sheets, dear, because black sheets show, um, stuff..." - :s

"It's okay, as long as you wash your hands afterwards" - on masturbation...I was 10 when she gave me this piece of advice.

This woman is 57 and owns a Johnny Depp calendar. She doesn't close the bathroom door when she's on the loo. She tells me all about her sex life. In fact, she expects me to listen attentively about her sex life whilst she's on the loo. Click "I like this" if you think she is growing old disgracefully.
(, Tue 4 Nov 2008, 21:13, 7 replies)
My old technology teacher
I went to a private boys' school. There were many weird and wonderful teachers whom I encountered during my seven years there, but there is one I shall always remember before the rest. I shall call him Mr H.

Mr H - an almost completely bald man in his 40s - took Technology classes. For those who did not have such subjects at school, this was basically D.I.Y, with some electronics introduced in later years. All boys were required to sit on stools placed around workbenches, while wearing white aprons, and to have their plastic safety goggles close at hand while Mr H instructed us in the finer points of sawing wood, etc.

Looking back now, it's hard to see how Mr H got away with behaving the way he did: but when we were 11, we just took it all in our strides. Let me try to begin to paint a picture.

Mr H would never refer to any boy by his name. When wanting to quiz students, he would whirl round and point his finger, and ask "That boy there". Most of the time, everyone was That Boy There. The rest of the time, they were "Percy Scroggins". This was his generic name for people, as an alternative to "Fred Bloggs", for example. He referred to his pointing finger as "The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate".

If the hapless boy could not answer the question, he would be labelled a "thickie doughnut". This is a phrase which Mr H would use 10-15 times per lesson, and every pupil was very familiar with it.

Mr H constantly alluded to punishment for misdemeanours. His favourite form of mock-justice would be to tell a boy to "have a Saturday" - referring to a Saturday detention. If he were in a slightly saucy mood - which he was all the time - he would tell a boy to "go and have a cold shower at LEH" (LEH being the name of the nearby girls' school). As the boy in question would hesitate in the face of the inappropriate line, Mr H would add: "You can keep your socks on if you're shy!"

The room in which Technology was taught was festooned with workshop machinery: pillar drills, vices, band saws, lathes etc. Mr H would never refer to any of these by name however. Every single one of them was an "Oscillating Swivel Gromit".

Oh yes - and he drove a hearse.

Good times!
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 21:46, 5 replies)
Council Nutters, part 2

Keith was every accounting stereotype rolled into one. He had clearly halted every aspect of his development (except that which related to cost codes) at age 12. He wore a grey suit that was clearly designed for a teenager (a Mr. Byrite "My First Court Appearance" type affair, circa 1979), which showed us rather more of his shins and calves (and the grey socks with coloured stripes at the top that may well have dated back to the Winter of Discontent) than any human being could reasonably be expected to tolerate, as well as treating us all to the way his belly protruded from a jacket that clearly hadn't been buttoned up since Emerson Lake and Palmer were at #1. His hair, of course, was styled in the classic Grange Hill side parting, which is particularly appealing with silvering yet greasy hair.

Keith walked with a wobbly gait and spoke with a spittle-throwing slobber. And his chosen topic of conversation was accounting. Not finance, not the latest happenings in tax law (that would have been almost interesting), but the minutiae of subjective and objective project codes, cost transfers, and recharging. Keith found all this fascinating, and would write us long, incomprehensible emails whenever we did something wrong, which, considering that his definition of "doing something wrong" included using lower-case when filling out timesheets and using the wrong font on expense claims, was often. Not once did we ever take any actions as the result of a "Keith-a-Gram", but the boss's PA printed out some of the best ones and made an incomprehensible yet charming collage out of them.

On no account should you ever, ever, ask Keith a question related to accounting. Because he will give you an answer. An answer that could last over an hour, by which time those not equipped with a snorkel would have drowned in a sea of accountant-spittle (and believe me, compared to other methods of local-government related death, such as fossilizing at your desk or getting impaled on a traffic cone, is a good way to go), during which you learned exactly two things:

1) Local Government accountancy makes counting the hairs on your arm look interesting
2) No matter how bad your life gets, you will never stoop so low as to be a local government accountant, even if you have to gargle battery acid for a living to avoid it.

Our office once paid host to a new temp, a cocky Aussie kid on his first proper job (if you can call temping in a council office a proper job) after leaving uni. The guy clearly thought he knew everything and was in need of taking down a peg or two. So, one of the more experienced temps in the office (an evil-minded Kiwi called Steve, who hated this guy even more than the rest of us) suggested that he ask Keith to come to his desk and explain the Council's accounting system to him, on the grounds that "it will help your understanding of how Local Government works".

52 minutes later (we timed it), a shellshocked Aussie temp did indeed have an enhanced undertanding of what working for the Council involved. So enhanced was his understanding that he quit two days later.

When your personality is used by third parties as a biological weapon, it's time to re-evaluate your life.
(, Fri 31 Oct 2008, 21:55, 1 reply)
Spanners the chemistry teacher
Now I've come to the conclusion that all chemistry teachers are a bit odd, and encouraging eccentrics into the profession is a good way to keep them out of harm's way.

Take Mr "Spanners" Spandrel, our 'O' level chemistry teacher. Mad as a sack of badgers, but great fun with it. He lost an eardrum after an attempt to make the school fireworks really exciting, an incident that saw an oil drum fired about 100 feet into the air before embedding itself a foot deep in the rugby pitch.

Other highlights include blowing out the front of a fume cabinet after an experiment with sodium went badly wrong, a detailed ten minutes on the production of LSD that was only stopped when the bell sounded (wish I could remember the details) and a slightly sweaty recounting of the sexual proclivities of Marie Curie.

As a man he just screamed eccentric. Imagine the hair of Einstein after a severe electric shock, the dress sense of a man who'd been dipped in glue and dragged backwards through a Salvation Army reject bag and fingers that both trembled and were stained with more obscure chemicals than you could shake a stick at.

However, like Bagpuss, he was loved by all and a lot of us turned up for his funeral (sadly a boring old heart attack - we'd all envisioned him dying of something more exotic like developing a new toxin or opening a gate to the nether regions of hell). Many of us then spent a happy afternoon/evening in the pub swapping stories about sundry weird lessons. Spanners, I salute you.
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 21:10, 6 replies)
Eccentric? You decide
As a child, I would amputate my Action Man's limbs and construct prosthetic ones to replace them. While other Action Men rappelled from helicopters, mine underwent physiotherapy and counselling.

While most young boys find it amusing to wear their sister's underwear occasionally, I wore my sister's all the time to school. When one day I shat my pants and had to go to the nurse, she was more shocked by the My Little Pony briefs than by the vast turdulous slug therein.

Euthanasia is pretty much frowned upon, but I helped my grandad to die by reversing over him in a tractor. He hadn't specifically asked me to, but it was implicit in the way he jigged about manically, and due to my young age I could not be prosecuted.

School mostly passed me by. All those lessons just blended into each other, so I'd sing to myself in an otherwordly high-pitched screech and pretend that aliens were communicating with me by radio waves. Despite being expelled and put into an institution for the mentally ill, I kept it up just to fool my parents - who had put me up for adoption.

I empathise with the homeless, which is why I set fire to my flat, got fired and became homeless myself. When I told the other homeless people about it, they were downright abusive and stole my cider, the pikey bastards. Just to spite them, I invented a new piece of software and became grossly rich, choosing to live in a drained swimming pool in Sussex with nothing but a tarpaulin and a diet of digestives to keep me alive.

I could have quite happily remained a virgin, but I chose to pay for sex with a succession of middle-aged prostitutes who were neither attractive nor proficient. I did it just to spite myself.

Teenage parties were always an opportunity to drink yourself unconscious and have sex. But I printed Christian tracts and attended the parties dressed as a 19th century Baptist preacher, handing out the tracts and speaking in tongues. When beaten almost into a coma, I recited the Old Testament.

Taking pot shots at people from a centrally located city rooftop is considered illegal in most civilised countries, but I couldn't resist when I found a WWII rifle in my dead granddad's shed. I got three nuns and a juggler before they dragged me screaming from the place.
(, Wed 5 Nov 2008, 16:27, 5 replies)
Oil Be Back
A friend of mine, Chris related this story to me:

He's part of a very traditional family, in that him, his old brother, Phil, and younger brother are expected to follow in his dad's trade of choice - working as an engineer on oil rigs. Since his dad has been working there so long, he was able to use his connections to get Phil, and more recently Chris, jobs working on the same rig in Scotland for Exxon.

They're often out there for months at a time, and as you can imagine, it's pretty isolated and can be quite boring when you're not working a shift. Whenever their shift breaks overlap, Chris's family - his dad, Phil and him, would relax in the break area provided by Exxon, and took to performing little magic tricks to pass the time. They are pretty competitive guys and would each try to better the trick performed by the others.

Eventually, they began working together, colluding in a big trick that required all three of them. Now I've seen this trick first hand, and let me tell you it makes David Blaine look like an underperforming children's entertainer. Anyway, the complexity of the trick means that they are constantly practicing, improving and refining it whenever they get the time on the rig. I'm not sure what exactly they're hoping to achieve, or if they'll ever perform it in public, but I think working as team helps them bond more as a family.

A couple of months ago, a new guy started work on the rig by the name of Gary. A rather rotund, Scottish fellow, Gary was, by the sound of it, fairly lonely with few family or friends back home. He got on fairly well with Phil (they worked in the same team, and partook in a good bit of friendly banter), so he got to know the whole family and began tagging along with them, to the point of annoyance.

One day, the family were once again practicing their big magic trick on the Exxon oil rig when Gary walked passed the window and peered through, quite curious as to what they were doing - "I'm curious", he said, "what are you doing?". To which Chris's Dad replied:

"Fuck off Gary, none of your business."
(, Tue 4 Nov 2008, 15:15, 6 replies)
Reading a few of these...
...I think maybe I am the eccentric one.

Over the years, I have made:

A helicoidal quadrafilar antenna for capturing APT (auto picture transmition) satelites pictures in real-time (still working as we speak).

An electronic catflap - it would open upon seeing any motion. It was attached to a laptop with servos attached (via a voltage regulator). It had a webcam (for the motion), and I actually wrote cat-face-recognition software for it (didn't work very well, although it did diferentiate human faces very well - it seems cat faces are very similar; who'd have guessed?).

A camera system for every room in the house and one on the front door so I don't have to climb down 4 flights of stairs to see who's just rung the bell. Not so bad in itself, but it also emails the pics to a hotmail account and/or notifies me directly at work (via a TCP listener) that there is someone at the door, in the kitchen, in the living room etc...

A hot air balloon made from a bin bag and coat hangers. Nearly burned the neighbours house down with that one. (surely everyone makes one of these at some point, no?)

A go-cart based on the inner workings of a Sinclair C5 (there is no way, despite Sinclair's claims at the time that it was run on a Washing machine motor - I could never get it working - 12v? 240v? Yeah! I think it speaks for itself!)

A program that changes my clock-in times in the database (of where I used to work), so that if I fancied staying down the pub at lunchtime longer than I should, I could simply use my mobile phone to tell it I had clocked in from where I was standing, rather than actually having to be at the clocking-in machine (gotta love those unsecured databases - yep, leave the installation to HR ;-) ).

A full sized arcade machine (based on Williams Defender) with kxMAME running inside. Should have seen the looks on people's faces when the estate agent was showing people around my house when they were confronted with 2 full sized 80's looking arcade boxes in the living room.

Am in the process of using my old servos (from the catflap - the cat, sadly is no longer alive) to control my telescope so that I can just tell it to point at a star system and it will move there automatically (if I stand near it, the resolution is such that even my weight moves it thousands of miles - I need to be *away* from it!) Thank God for Equatorial mounts!

EDIT: Forgot this; knocked a big hole in the side of my bedroom into my garage, which I then fitted fake beams and fake rocks to the walls, painted it all white, hung olde-worlde type things from hooks (parafin lamps, old knives, coins and trinkets), added a bar, fitted with pumps and turned the whole thing into a 17 century pub, complete with payphone and dartboard. Oddly, the misses didn't bat an eyelid (maybe she just got used to this sort of thing going on around her).

(still, with all this shit, I manage to get bored if I sit still for more than 4 minutes - is that a sign of being an eccentric?)

Mind you, reading this back, does it make me more devious and fun than eccentric?
(, Tue 4 Nov 2008, 13:25, 20 replies)
The Mad Artist, Part 3.
One day I was hanging around with the Mad Artist and we were drinking, and he invited me to his birthday party. I eagerly agreed, as I knew that it would be anything but boring.

"So what do you want for your birthday?" I asked him as I opened a new beer.

"There are three things I've always wanted," he replied. "The Library of Congress in a suitcase, a monkey suit and a four foot long tuning fork."

I choked on beer. "What?!?"

"The Library of Congress I've already got- I have a laptop with an Internet connection. And I've kinda got the monkey suit-" he pulled out a carved wooden mask and put it on, then pulled his hair loose into something that looked like Yahoo Serious after pissing on a transformer. "Now I just need the tuning fork."

I considered for a moment, then gave up. "Why the tuning fork?"

"So I can go to Manhattan and stand in the middle of the road and wear my monkey suit, smack the tuning fork on a tree and break every window for a block radius."

Everyone needs ambitions, I suppose...
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 21:26, 9 replies)
James Brown
Well, not THE James Brown, but a much skinnier lookalike that dresses in a very similar way, and sticks out in my small English town like the jive-talking expatriate sore thumb he clearly is.

He would have a top-flight strut going on were it not for the fact that something is obviously wrong with his left knee, so his unbending leg flails in an elliptical orbit at roughly a 35 degree angle out from his body.

One day, I spotted him out and about, slowly quarter-cartwheeling his way towards the bus stop. He was clearly in a world of his own, as he barely registered the unfortunate 7-year old in the path of his whirling limb, and clocked him in the solar plexus. The kid looked utterly confused and shocked, as JB snapped out of his reverie, and fixing him with a glare, bawled "y'all best be MOVING when I'm on rambling time, motherFUCKER!". Then, all that was left to be observed was the sight of the angry mother swooping in from nowhere, and smacking JB upside his head with a Lidl bag.

It was an ace little sideshow.
(, Sat 1 Nov 2008, 3:10, 7 replies)
My Nan.
I was thinking I had no eccentrics in my family. Sure there are a few that are slightly unhinged in one way or another, but the same can most likely be said of any family. And then I got to thinking about my Nan.

She's calmed down somewhat since crossing the border and entering the land of 80 something, although she insisted on continuing to look after 'the old people' until a spate of recent illness reduced her mobility significantly.

However, we need only travel back 10 short years or so to unearth some of her more eccentric behaviour. My Auntie (by no means eccentric, but certainly short of some marbles) had procured tickets to watch Iron Maiden in concert somewhere, and, when her friend had to cancel, she jokingly offered my sweet, old, sub 5' tall Nan the spare ticket.

"Oooh, a pop concert, how fun." she proclaimed.

"Mum, they're not exactly pop." my Auntie retorted, but Nan was having none of it and it was decided that she would be chaperoning her daughter for the evening.

Much later she recounted her thoughts about the 'strange dance' all the youngsters were partaking in; "where they shake their heads about so their long hair flies all over the place, would have given me a headache, I'm sure." she said to no one and everyone.

More amusing still were her musings on the strangely sweet smelling cigarettes that all the young 'uns were smoking. My Auntie pointed out that it was marijuana she could smell; "ooh, I should like to try some of that" she pondered aloud.

She then shuffled off muttering to herself about footwear and we allowed our mirth to catch up with us. So caught up were we with our laughter that we didn't notice her return, until she loudly insisted that we pay attention to her shoes. And rightly so, as her tiny feet were clad in a pair of brightly coloured, flowery 10 hole Doc Martins that she'd bought especially for her first ever gig.

She's ace, my Nan.
(, Fri 31 Oct 2008, 12:34, 2 replies)
Mother was a real eccentric. Her japseye was a constant source of pride for one half of the family, yet a well of unquenchable embarrassment for the other. Her winking aperture tore our family straight down the middle. I, as the middle child, tended to sit upon the fence. Father used to shout, nay, warble in his goatlike childvoice, for me to descend.

“Descend ye, fence perchin’ urchin, from that very fence!” but I was incensed by his pensive tones. His moans, they grated my bones and I, barely able to stay stable lashed out harshly yet sparsely, and struck him, sweet as parsley on a length of wet cod. He smarted though I’d barely started, and wished he’d long departed, but I brought out my slender member.
“Remember,” I wailed, “the sight of this slight and snow-white, delightful vestige, here only for prestige since thou rendered it unmended after pilfering Wilfred for Mother.

Our eyes met. The anger in mine melted. The fear in Father’s warmed. Soon our eyes were indistinguishable, such was the similarity of their temperatures and states of solidity. The only thing to tell them apart was the three foot gap between them as he licked my scrotum and I craned my ropy neck to suckle his anus.

Mother would never feel this kind of love, japseye or not, from either of us, and her eccentricities counted for nought on nights like this.

In your face, Mother!
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 22:39, 8 replies)
Hey, leave those teachers alone!
As a former member of the teaching profession I feel I have to defend my slightly off-beat brethren (and sistren). If we teachers are eccentric it's usually as a reaction to the even madder kids we have to teach. As examples these are ones that I've had the dubious pleasure of "edumacating" as they say.

- The boy who lets out farts like Beelzebub on vindaloo EVERY lesson then insists on dropping his trousers to show everyone that his arse is clean.

- The quiet kid who on being asked to write some of the effects of drinking simply wrote the word DIE. Over and over again, all over 3 pages.

- The fat girl who beats up the boys and then cries that they don't like her.

- One kid on being asked to bring in an example of a fungus brought an excellent specimen, unfortunatley it was attached to a dead rat. He said he had it in his room and was "studying" it.

- The smelly kid (there's always one in a class) who's addicted to chiken wings and ate them at break every day. He goes batshit loony if they run out so the dinner ladies saved some for him in the end.

- One boy (about 13-14) came up to me in the first week and said that he'd decided he was going to call me "dad", and he did for the next 6 months.

I have more and these are all in comprehensive schools so they don't even have the excuse of being mongs.
Oh and don't even get me started on the cluless shmucktards that are the parents. /endrant.

Phew. I wonder why I left?
(, Fri 31 Oct 2008, 18:26, 8 replies)
I know the perfect subject for this one- the Mad Artist.
(No, not the Lunatic Artist- she's not that eccentric.)

A pearoast from a long while back:

A very good friend of mine is a fellow I affectionately refer to as my mad artist friend, as that sums him up quite well. He's very talented- I've seen his sculpture and his paintings- as well as phenomenally intelligent. He can play chess like no one else I've seen, knows more about computers than anyone else I know, and has a memory that's truly frightening in its depth and accuracy- he can tell you, off the top of his head, the serial number of a copy of Windows 2000 he got as a bootleg, and can list the minor characters in Norse mythology in the next breath.

He's also madder than a box of frogs, lives in a basement apartment, chain smokes and lives on frozen pizza, Doritos and Diet Coke.

I've witnessed him telling the most outrageous bullshit to people, and because he's so brilliant he can almost always get people to believe him. He talks at machine gun speed, and always reminds me of Tom Waits' character in "Mystery Men", the mad inventor living in the abandoned carnival, because of his ability to weave in a lot of technical speak until you have no idea what the fuck he's talking about.

Anyway, he had a girlfriend who was also an artist of sorts, although her talents were considerably lesser than his. Apparently one day she showed him the painting she had just completed, and he was complimenting her on it profusely. So when she asked him to frame it for her, he agreed readily.

"Yeah, just go to Lowe's [a national hardware and lumber chain in the US] and get some wood for it. But don't get pine or some other crap wood like that- we need something special to make the frame. Go to the lumber department and ask the guys there if they have morning wood."

She returned a half hour later and started beating him.
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 20:28, 7 replies)
I knew this guy
he was a scientist, PhD and everything. He really fulfilled all the stereotypes, crazy hair, wild eyes, labcoat, real Einstein type guy.

I used to hang around with him when I was a teenager because he was fun and always had these cool gadgets. Seriously, he had this one sort of Rube Goldberg contraption that fed his dog. Plus, I didn't know that many people (I had a girlfriend and everything, but I wasn't that socially connected).

So anyway, I'd skateboard over to his house before school (yeah, I know, a bit lame, but I didn't have the money for a bus fare, or a car, and bikes were for nerds back then, so skateboard it was). We'd chill out, talk, he'd be confused by my modern slang, but we got on ok. This one time in fact, I got there and he wasn't in, but there in the middle of his living room was the biggest speaker I'd ever seen. But that's another story altogether.

The point when I realised that he was truly eccentric was when he called me up, really worried, telling me to meet him in a car park. I was a bit confused, but I trusted the old guy, and I turned up. He hands me a video camera. At this point, I'm worried I'm going to turn into one of the crew for Dogging Diaries Vol 14, but it turns out he just wants me to record the unveiling of his latest invention.

So he opens up the back of his lorry, and, in a cloud of unnecessary dry ice, emerges, a DeLorean.

Fucking thing broke down after five minutes. Stopped hanging out with him, got into weed.
(, Thu 30 Oct 2008, 19:20, 5 replies)
This is what I would do if I had the cash
I once worked at a festival, back in about 1997, and the land we hired was from a mental millionaire who owned most of the surrounding countryside. I never met the man myself, but was regaled with tales of his eccentricity by the locals and my co-workers.

Apparently he has a compressed air cannon onto which he loads cars and flings them across the fields for fun. I was also told that he has his dining room rigged up so that at a push of a button he can drop any guests he doesn't like into the basement, James Bond villain style.

But my favourite story was that he has, get this, a FULL SIZE MECHANICAL ELEPHANT that runs on diesel which he regularly rides around his estate.

If I were a millionaire I would do exactly the same stuff. Except I would do it naked.
(, Fri 31 Oct 2008, 10:07, 8 replies)
I've got CDO.
It's like OCD but I'll be damned if I don't put it in alphabetical order.
(, Wed 5 Nov 2008, 23:22, Reply)
Bhougremious Fpoon
Good Afternoon


I have the following issues with my new Arxinon 7380 Pentium VI Drive.

Firstly, the screen thren hassen can meddle notwith black squiggles.

Secondly, the inward-outward flange. It is not receiving, nor is it sending. It is also not sending, or receiving, when in TELE mode.

Thirdly, the COILON lead. Is it suppossed to dock with the male, or the female, SCARTING socket? If male, which end - north or south - goes in the modem? If female, how do you get the cover off?

Fourthly, mice. My Arxinon 7380 Pentium VI came supplied with 8 mice. How many should a man of my standing require?

Fifthly, she star mesoptron voltimater concordance. Nested quantuples - but incompatible vox boost. Deploy, scatter, uninstall, or all four?

Sixthly, the hash prompt reads thus:

HEXANAL: 14641
PHONG: Rouge
OUTPOT: 86789798735189754

Are these readings as it should be?

Seventhly, and most annoyingly, the CAC-card ejects every time I press "PURGE". Surely it should initiate PURGE process? Most annoying as I have to go into DOS and run PURGE myself.

Eightly, the flungward node (the one attached to the external dome) has cracked - do I need to puchase a replacement, or can I simply glue the casing back together?

Ninthly, the vidplayer. I have downloaded some pornography by accident, and the vidplayer refuses to work, even though I have deleted the pornography (I thought it was a nature documentary on the inhabitants of South Bristol), and sent an apology via e-mail to the manufacturers of both the Arxinon 7380 Pentium IV and the vidplayer. Could you advise what I need to do next, or should I simply hand myself over to the Police?

Tenthly, radiation. Is the Arxinon 7380 Pentium IV adversely affected by the presence of a large source of Gamma radiation? I need advice before installing expensive and heavy lead sheeting.

Yours Sincerely

(, Wed 5 Nov 2008, 17:32, 5 replies)
My family and other animals
When meeting up with each other, we use the 'Universal Greeting' (initially developed so that I could recognise family members from a distance without wearing glasses). This involves lifting both arms and one leg to an angle of about 30 degrees and lowering them again.

Don't ask me why we call it the Universal Greeting when only we use it.

We call our Mum 'The Mothership', and hence we the children are all 'pods' (Peapod, Charpod, Spudpod). If any of us need a hug, my mother will say "Ahhh, dock with Mothership".

The Mothership, when ranting/exasperated, will replace most words in a sentence with a sort of mumble and just go for the important ones e.g. "Cat! mnmnmnmn porridge! mnmnmnm curtains!"

My brother is and always has been mad about railways. For his eleventh birthday, what did he ask for? A 6' by 4' board to put his model railway on. Last Christmas (he was 16) I bought him some ear defenders and he was delighted with them. He's now an apprentice railway engineer.
I phoned up my family last week to see how they were and I could hear in the background a sort of low 'muuuuuuuuh' sound. Mothership just said 'Oh, the Boy is just pretending to be a foghorn." In my household, this is perfectly normal.

My sister also has a habit of flapping her arms up and down if she's excited or stressed. If sufficiently agitated, she may also spin 360 degrees on one leg.

My Dad talks to himself when he's in the bathroom, a habit which I've also picked up. He invented latin-sounding names for our cat and dog (besides their actual names). We call the cat 'Mogus' and the dog 'Dogus'. Mogus enjoys curling up and sleeping wherever she can. Favourite places have included 1)The top of the shredder 2) The recycling box 3) The cupboard where we keep the shoe polish (current favourite).

I think it's our house that breeds eccentricity, since it's rather eccentric itself. For example, none, and I mean none, of the doors fit their doorframes. There is a cavity in a supporting wall where the fridge is which is causing the kitchen wall to sag worryingly.
We also strongly suspect that removing wallpaper from anywhere in the building would cause the house to collapse.
(, Tue 4 Nov 2008, 23:10, 10 replies)
At work, occasionally, I like to retire to the lav for a little powernap. I've perfected the position, lid down, lean to the right, head on the toilet roll dispenser. I can nod off for a few minutes and feel refreshed.

In fact I did this last week. I prefer 'trap 3' at the end, as its harder for your feet to slip under the sides of the booth thus indicating something amiss.

I woke up suddenly as you do, shit! How long have I been asleep? Feels like it could be 2 mins or 2 hours. Check my phone.. about 15 mins.. not bad... and I do feel refreshed (btw powernaps really do work!). I get up, I can sense there are others waiting for a spare trap, I crunch up some bog roll, and fake the sounds of wiping and zipping up.. flush the bog.. dont want people listening to think I've been up to anything other than a nice long shit. Open the door and nod awkwardly to the next guy who now knows exactly who was warming the seat, no one ever really wants to know.

I wash my hands, glancing in the mirror as he enters the trap. The door closes and suddenly re-opens - "you dirty fucker!" he shouts at me. I stare horrified at the carnage. The occupant previous to me has obviously shit very carefully round about 40% of the toilet seat, and closed the lid on it. I'd been sitting on it for the last 15 mins. Of course, having elaborately faked the audible parts of my dump rather convincingly, he knows that I'm the one who did this.

Theres no real recourse for it. I didnt say anything and just walked out. He doesnt work in my company, we have shared facilities. He works for the call centre over the other side and occasionally I bump into him in the corridor.

I console myself thinking that he probably thinks I am eccentric.
(, Wed 5 Nov 2008, 16:18, 2 replies)
Saw meets gardeners world
I have a bit of a habit that makes others think I’m a nutter. I will drop whatever I am doing if I notice a slug or snail in my garden and deal with the situation using salt (if I see one in anyone else’s garden I don’t care).

This may sound a little boring but what really puts people off is the fact that I use the salt to create a maze for the slug to escape from. I always make sure the slug has enough room to manoeuvre and there is a genuine route to escape. At one point I was also thinking of adding some kind of obstacles to the mazes (Such as a see saw from a hamster run) but I realised that doing that would have me classed as a full blown loony.

On Saturday I was on my way out to the taxi with my wife for our night out in the town centre when I noticed a slug on my garden path. I will admit that I looked at the wife and made my excuses while I popped back into the house and fetched a salt container, the maze I made was a very crude rushed effort and the wife ranted at me for the entire taxi journey into town.

Just to let you know I’m not a diehard gardener and tbh I don’t know why I do this as I can’t really see a bunch of slugs meeting together and saying “I wouldn’t” go back into Mons garden, it’s a fucking death trap”.
(, Mon 3 Nov 2008, 13:30, 3 replies)
TPFKA MattDP reminds me
of my days working in a pub in Dover when I too got the reputation for being, as my boss put it, a 'mongol magnet'. You could guarantee that when I was working a shift some weird bum/real ale nutter/escaped lunatic would come in and generally baffle us with their strange tales/odours.

This was truly confirmed one day when this sweaty little guy with a wild, unkempt beard showed up at the bar and asked me for a lemonade. My co-workers were already starting to pull faces at me from behind him when he sighed and started to talk to me in his thick french accent.

Crazy bearded Frenchman: 'Tired'
Me: 'Why's that then?'
CBF: 'I walk here'
Me: 'Oh right, how far?'
CBF: 'From France, costa-costa-costa (while saying this he moved two of his fingers to indicate walking) around Spain, Portugal, Spain again. Then England, costa-costa-costa, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England then I come here!'
Me: 'Riiight'

Turns out he wasn't lying. He had been on the road for two years and was aiming to walk round the coastlines of Europe (costa-costa-costa) for World peace! And if that wasn't eccentric enough he had taken his bed of nails along for the ride! We didn't believe him until he took us outside and showed us. We asked him about his travels and he produced a scrapbook full of newspaper clipping of him in various places performing with his bed of nails. I meantioned I was from Glasgow so he rooted through his scrapbook until he found a picture of him out on Sauchiehall Street sandwiched in his bed of nails with one of Glasgow's MSPs standing on top of it!

So in exchange for dinner and lodgings he agreed to do a performance that night in the pub which was fantastic. I did take loads of pictures but it was before the digital revolution so I can't post one. I did find this on the net though it was taken during his time in Ireland:

I can't remember his name and I never heard if he finished his epic quest. He told us he planned to finish on the Champs Elysees about five years after I met him so I presume he's done by now. Pity about the whole lack of World peace thing. We met him in late September 2001 when the outlook was bleak. He was determined not to let it get him down though. Don't think I can say I've met anyone more eccentric.

Length? Nothing compared to the combined coastlines of Europe!
(, Mon 3 Nov 2008, 13:05, 4 replies)
A few years back,
I was stuck for money, so moved out of my nice flat in Balham to go and become a lodger while I re-financed.

I knew her through work, so thought it wouldn't be too bad. And, in fairness, despite very quickly finding out that she was rather desparetely lonely, once I'd set some boundaries, (No, I will not watch soap operas or be having dinner with you every evening. Or any evening actually) it wasn't too painful.

Until her batty old Mum set fire to her kitchen and had to move in with us.

Suddenly the place became an asylum, the kicthen became a tip, the washing machine was never empty for me to use, there were clothes everywhere, I couldn't cope.

I'd hear strange noises and screams in the night. I'd get woken up at 4am and find all the lights on and the back door open.

I eventually decided that I had sorted out my finances enough to move on when I came home from the pub at closing time one night and found the insane old woman standing at the kitchen sink

with her knickers round her ankles.

Washing her old lady bits.

With the sponge we used for dishes.
(, Mon 3 Nov 2008, 10:54, 8 replies)

This question is now closed.

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