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This is a question Starting something you couldn't finish

Finnbar says: I used to know a guy who tattooed LOVE across his left knuckles, but didn't tattoo HATE on the other knuckles because he was right-handed and realised he couldn't finish. Ever run out of skills or inspiration halfway through a job?

(, Thu 24 Jun 2010, 13:32)
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I bought an Xbox 360 to 'save money'
There once was a Miraclefish who swallowed a fly...

I had a few quid spare so I bought an Xbox 360. Ace, I thought. ‘This’ll save me loads of cash,’ I convinced myself, ‘I can stay in and play instead of spending countless quids on booze.

And for a time it was good. But….my 21” shonky old telly really wasn’t doing it justice.

So I bought a Phillips 42” plasma TV for £1100. Wow! A DVI cable later and everything’s in high definition! What a difference. Pity the sound is just coming out of the stereo flat-panel tv speakers.
I should really get myself an amplifier and a pair of speakers...

One £400 Yamaha amplifier and a set of £300 speakers later, I’m content. I’m blowing aliens to shit and it sounds and looks heavenly. Only…

This amp and the Xbox can do Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. I guess a centre speaker and rear speakers would solve that. And now I’ve got the capability, it’d be pointless to squander it. So another £300 turns into three more speakers. This is perfect. I’m dodging bullets in Call of Duty and being called a ‘Limey douchebag fag’ by Americans. Whatever that means. Hang on a moment, 5.1 means that it can operate a subwoofer, too...

So I bought one. I am Thor, I can create thunder! Oh, and I upgraded the rear speakers, too. They were the weak link in the chain. So long £200. I’m in the freakin' Matrix now, I have light and sound like you wouldn’t believe.

Games look so good it’s unreal. Shame about DVDs though. They look pretty poor when blown up this big. Oh, hey, that HD-DVD player add on is cheap. Only £130. It’d be silly not to. I’ll just order Transformers, too. And these other nine films… Look at Megan Fox! In high definition!

Hmm, hang on, my TV can’t handle black images over high-definition sources properly, it looks speckley. I think I need a better one...

£1000 later, a similar 42” plasma has replaced the older, ever-so-slightly inferior one. Yep. I bought a TV - the same size and type - to better handle not having any colours on it.

Oh, but it’s suffering with the component input – it really ought to be a digital signal over HDMI cable. But I got an early Xbox, they don’t have an HDMI port. But the new, Elite one does. £260? Well, mine will likely break soon, so it’s really a sound investment.

Wow, this is perfect. All I need is a set of leather, recliner sofas to go with my God-like AV setup. £900? Bargain. But one high-definition input really isn't enough. I should really invest in Sky HD. This is back when it cost £249. Eek. But it is pretty. All three channels of it...

It started off as £200. It’s currently past £5500.

Oh, and I sort of moved house because the living room wasn’t awesome enough. I’m not even going to think about the costs for that one…
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 17:20, 35 replies)
Jane Austen
I was a student in Brighton and lived in Wales, and back in the late 80s the cheapest way to get there (even with a railcard) was cross country to Portsmouth, then along the South coast. It was a nice journey - pretty countryside, etc. - but it would take four or five hours. Longer if there were any delays. Some of the trains still had the old compartments, which were quite fun, but it wasn't SO great that doing it six or more times per year was an attraction in itself.

So it was important to have some good reading material. One year, with Christmas book tokens, I made the mistake of splashing out on one of those Penguin compendiums - in this case, the complete works of Jane Austen.

I'd never really studied "The Classics" (e.g. Dickens, Austen, Dumas, etc.) and felt I ought to give them a go at some point.

I got about sixty pages into Sense and Sensibility. It got put into a drawer at home, and never moved with me when I moved out. Mum left it there for a year or two, tried it herself, and then it mysteriously disappeared (to a jumble sale, I presume).

My summary?

If I wanted to put myself through an unholy mix of reported conversation, arch passive-aggressive sniping and over-elaborate descriptions of fairly simple ideas, I'd phone my mum.

I realise that's more evidence of my deeply shallow personality and literary tastes (mind you, I did make it through and enjoy The Name Of The Rose) than any slur on one of the Great Works of World Literature™, but I still can't be doing with anything resembling a Sunday night costume drama, for fear that it might have something to do with Austen.
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 15:31, 15 replies)
It ain't over till it's done with a tie round the head and dancing like a knob.
Ironically enough, I have just finished something that I thought would be the end of me. Following on from this: www.b3ta.com/questions/nemesis/post712769

I resigned today and slapped a grievance on the table for the above mentioned bitch, all verified with witnesses and the union backing me up to the hilt. Thank you everyone who commented on the original post. You gave me the confidence to get the fuck out and the inside knowledge was paramount. You have saved me from dark days and hopefully the happy pills will not be required anymore. There has been days when I just could not move a muscle in my body to motivate myself and my GF has been suffering terribly too. I am going to take her out for a nice meal tonight and then bang the back teeth off her, haha.

I have been told that I do not need to work my 6 week notice and full pay plus hols is a given. Putting my tie around my head Rambo style and dancing and Irish jig may have been taking things to far. Today was one of the greatest days of my life.

Peace out my friends, you all have my deepest love and respect forever. Happy days here I come

Length-9 months of fucking hell
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 15:12, 14 replies)
PC building, it never ends (nerdiness ahead)
For a long while I used an old Pentium 4 powered beige box, equipped with a meagre 60gb hard drive, an asthmatic 512mb of RAM and integrated graphics. It was slower than a crippled snail, but it soldiered on and to this day mostly still works.

When I bought a snazzy new HDTV a couple of years back I decided to hook my PC up to it using the VGA connection, eliminating the need for a computer desk. However it would only display a resolution of 1024x768 - the integrated graphics were so poor the PC could not display widescreen resolutions, leaving the 16.9 display under utilised - it was a GNOPS display.

This would not do, I needed a graphics card. Ebay had a large number at reasonable prices, however most required a PCI Express connection, something my old motherboard lacked.

This would not do, I needed a new motherboard, which in turn needed a new processor, new RAM and a new Power Supply Unit. Thus began a chain that saw a small upgrade job become a complete overhaul to bring the PC up to modern standards on the cheap.

The integrated graphics on the new motherboard could provide widescreen resolutions, so I decided against buying a graphics card after all. Part by part the computer was changed until not a single original component was left - it was like Trigger's broom.

Along the way I came to the conclusion that the tower case was unnecessarily large and unsightly, so that was swapped for a slightly less visually offensive case as a stopgap measure. Research threw up HTPC cases - boxes that resembled home theatre equipment, a solution which would have been perfect were it not for the high prices such cases command.

"Fuck that", I thought to myself, "I'll knock one up from a knackered CD player, DVD player or VCR instead." As none were to hand I procured a faulty old Sony CD player for £10, which was subsequently gutted - after which I realised that the ATX PSU I had paid £10 for was too large and that the other PC compenents would be unable to sit flush over the raised bumps in the base. Fuck, that's £20 seemingly wasted.

At this point I purchased an mATX power supply, which turned out to be still too big for the case, unless it underwent surgery to make it fit. If the bumps in the case were removed, everything should have just about fit.

I took a break from parts-buying and set about upgrading the Operating System. Windows XP Home Edition worked fine, however my components could run a 64-bit OS and Windows 7 had just been launched, which for a student would cost only £30.

Windows 7's Aero interface chugged a bit on the integrated graphics, and the picture distortion caused by the VGA cable had been annoying me for some time. This would not do, I needed a graphics card.

And we come full circle, only this time I could buy a PCI Express graphics card, and a more powerful one at that as prices had come down in the year since I first started looking at graphics cards.

Although I bought a low profile card, it turns out this would get in the way of the DVDRW drive in the Sony CD player case, so I have officially wasted my money on the case. I am currently searching for a broken CD player, DVD player or VCR large enough to accommodate my PC's innards.

After over a year this project still remains unfinished. For those who are interested, the PC's specs are as follows (not a powerhouse by any means);

Gigabyte GA945GCM S2L Motherboard,
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 1.8gHz,
1x 2GB DDR2 667 RAM,
ATI Radeon HD4350 512MB PCI Express graphics card (passively cooled, low profile),
Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 250GB SATA hard drive (with an Apple logo on it, I wonder if the HDD burns as it runs Windows, akin to holding a crucifix to a vampire?),
Sony DRU-870S SATA DVDRW drive.
Windows 7 Professional x64.

Other projects include futile attempts to learn to play guitar, and my short lived effort to teach myself to write with my left hand in a bid to become ambidextrous. That project only lasted about a week, and at the end my left handed scrawlings were still abysmal, which when you consider how my right handed scrawlings resemble most peoples non-dominant handwriting the situation becomes all the more pitiful.

Also, like many of you I often leave videogames unfinished, going as far back as Turrican on the Amiga. Rather than grabbing a joystick and frantically tugging away to finally beat such unfinished videogames, I more often get sidetracked and grab my own joystick, frantically tug away and beat it to relieve gentlemanly frustrations.
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 15:05, 38 replies)
The World Cup 2010.
Too painful to continue watching. I live in Australia and follow both the Australian Socceroos and England.
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 13:27, 5 replies)
my novel
the concept is a good one. i've written a half decent intro...

and nothing. i cant write.
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 13:03, 2 replies)
Writing a diary
I've started writing a diary several times. It was OK in my teens - I had the time, the inclination, and the impression that I was interesting - but as a grown-up I have none of these.

I did start writing one in runes a while back, which was fun for ten minutes, but quickly went the way of the rest.

I really don't get either the point or the idea. What do I write down? What I had for dinner? How I feel about something? About what? How much detail to go into? What is relevent.

I don't see the point unles one is incredibly interesting, and absolutely no one is in any way interesting.
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 12:38, 6 replies)
Gauntlet on the Sega Master System.
Who came up with the idea of a game that can never be finished?!?

Somebodies going to tell me that there was an end now, but I don't believe it.

This also applies to Ghouls & Ghosts. I went round and round all the levels on that so many times, but it just never ends!!

Both great games though!
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 12:33, 13 replies)
Utterly fantastic game, I could play it again and again...

Except for the Xen bit. I did finish it the first time I played it, and was hugely disappointed with the giant baby you have to fight at the end... ever since then, I get to Xen and give up. I've tried to do it again, but I just really don't like that part of the game O_o
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 12:11, 6 replies)
Recumbent racer frame
I had a major operation and could not ride my mountain bike for bloody ages, at least two years. So I decided to design and build a recumbent racer bike. If you are not familiar with the idea, it is a bike that you have a sun lounger instead of a saddle and just sort of lay on it and pedal like a bitch. Great idea.

The frame is together and the wheels are on. I just can't be arsed to finish it because I got a bit wrong and have to cut it off and re-weld it. Also I got better and can ride my mountain bike again now, but discovered high performance motorcycles instead. You still need to be fit, but in a different way. I do miss riding my £2000 mountain bike occasionally, usually when I walk passed it on a cool sunny day after having had an amazing motorbike ride.

Length: about six feet of steel tubing and welding rods!
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 11:35, 4 replies)
DIY geekery.
Recently I got three stepper motors (motors with low torque and high precision) from old hardware like printers and floppy drives. These fuckers can be controlled from a serial port or USB. Since I don't have a serial port I decided to try use the USB ports to make something useful with the junk. I looked through how to output signals and stuff with C/C++ via some native driver.

But when I opened the floppy and got the motor, I lost motivation. The junk is now in some drawer somewhere. I've lots of other half finished DIY stuff as well.

This is utterly uninteresting, I know.
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 11:00, 7 replies)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
The only computer game I ever owned that I never managed to complete. The furthest I ever got was to the Technodrome but by then I was on my last turtle with no health left and died straight away.

Games were so much harder back then.
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 10:05, 4 replies)
Duke Nukem Forever
The release date of this game is "When it's done". Anything else, and we mean anything else is someone's speculation. There is no date. We don't know any date. If you have a friend who claims they have "inside info", or there's some game news site, or some computer store at the mall who claims they know - they do not. They are making it up. There is no date. Period.

And yes, we know the game has taken a long time. There's no possible joke you could make about the game's development time that we haven't already heard. :)

3D Realms
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 9:50, 6 replies)
Not one single thing, ever.

M. Magnússon
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 9:36, 2 replies)
Gravity's Rainbow
After hearing many good things about Thomas Pynchon, V being one of the books mentioned in detail, I decided to give it a read, however rather than buying V I thought I would give Gravity's Rainbow a go.
The plot based around V2 rockets appealed to me, what can I say.
However after countless attempts I seem to get so far before something else pops up. The best I ever managed was on a bus ride from Leeds to Nottingham (and back again) where I managed to get rather far (at least I think so) into the story, and as much as I enjoy reading it I just never found the time during my degree to give it all of my attention.

Although saying that, having now finished my degree I reckon it is a good a time as any to pick it up again and finish reading it. It is very well written and I have enjoyed it so far.

Damn you lengthy time consuming books! I need more time in the day to read you!
(, Mon 28 Jun 2010, 2:25, 3 replies)
Building a pond
When I was about 14, I spent 2-3 months convincing my mum to let me build a pond in the back garden. She eventually relented.
There were some council houses being refurbished nearby, so my cousin and I filled the shed up with 'borrowed' bricks that I would need for my extensive design. I ripped up the rockery and dug up the whole lawn - this was going to be one hell of a pond. I got about 6 inches down, when I found what looked like a bed frame buried in the soil. It was really difficult to get out, so I just left it and gave up on the idea. My mum eventually had the garden slabbed over 4 years later and my dad never got his bike out of the shed again. Jamie Regan, Dunbar.
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 22:09, 3 replies)
For the love of God, I'm trying my best
but right now I'm giving up, I concede, it's just too hot to wank
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 21:40, 3 replies)
A dump.....
No matter what time of day, or which of the three floors or buildings I choose to go to, I can fucking guarantee that within 2 mins of me taking a seat in my cubicle of choice and passing the point of no return, the loo door will open and a female voice will shout "Anyone in 'ere?"

So then I'm all put off and feel obliged to halt the download (so to speak) as I know she's just waiting outside with her little rope across the door to stop anyone else coming in. I always end up doing a sort of bog related walk of shame......I swear they bloody follow me around just waiting for me to commit.
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 19:28, 7 replies)
For some reason I never finish
my webpage criticising Sarah Palin's bigoted, ridiculous, dangerously firm, naked right-wing views.
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 18:54, 3 replies)
England's World Cup campaign.

(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 17:09, 4 replies)
Let's get the obvious one out of the way
Many, many times I have ordered poppadoms, a starter, curry, rice, sag bhajee AND naan bread and only when it all arrived, remembered the maxim "never eat anything bigger than your head".
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 16:05, 1 reply)
I have started answering so many questions of the week
but then, I start to think that maybe it's HEY HOLY CRAP A SQUIRREL
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 16:03, Reply)
X-com: Terror from the deep.
U.F.O.: Enemy Unknown was one of my all-time favourite games, up there with the likes of Syndicate from the halcyon days of the commodore amiga. It's graphics are showing their age now, but the gameplay still stands up. They don't make games like this any more, turn based strategy games are rather thin on the ground these days. So when I was rooting around the shops in the St. Enoch centre somewhere around thirteen years ago and discovered it had a sequel and, even better, it was for the ps1, I immediately bought it.

It was pretty much the exact same game. Slightly improved graphics were a plus and the soundtrack was great, but after playing it for months it dawned on me that something had gone wrong. I had gotten as far as I could with the research stage of the game, and months of sifting through blown up submarines revealed nothing new. I was stuck.

Several times I returned to the game over the years, each time being met with the same problem. Sometimes I would get as far as advanced armour, sometimes it wouldn't even get that far. For years, off and on, I'd get drawn back into it only to give up after encountering this bug.

It was about 3 years ago that I found an article online detailing the bug and how to get around it. There are several things in the game which needed to be researched in specific order to avoid the game becoming unwinnable. Armed with this new knowledge, I plugged the trusty ps1 mouse into my dusty old ps2 and put the disc in. A few weeks later I had researched everything I needed to find the aliens mothership and had started the final mission.

I got bored halfway through it and gave up. It remains unfinished to this day.

A few months ago I tried the old disc in my shiny new ps3 and discovered it works. Played it for a few months and decided this would be the time to finally complete the game! Then Assassin's Creed 2 came out.

I think I'll go and have a shot just now.......
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 15:00, 19 replies)
The Xmas muck you get given
and I have no regrets other than being seen throwing the shite in bin:


(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 14:00, Reply)
so i am doing this masters in creative writing at oxford
and we are on a "guided retreat" for the next few days, which basically means being trusted to sit around and work rather than listening and learning in seminars.

i am currently sitting in a room with about 10 of the others on the course. we are supposed to be working on our end of year pieces, of which i have written about 1,000 words. out of 10,000. everyone else is typing away like a fiend.

and i am...... abusing the university's wi-fi by reading b3ta.........................

on the plus side, i finally got my lovely shiny new pink laptop working all by myself. this is up there with the first monkey to use stones as tools.
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 12:49, 8 replies)
The Selfish Gene.. And many other "Must Reads!!"
About 1 year ago, I became a bit of a fan of the marmite-man Richard Dawkins. I often turn over or roll my eyes when he goes on about Religion and the arguments against it, as it just doesn't interest me. I find Dawkins, on the subject of Evolution, quite entertaining and he is able to put his point across simply yet, as much as possible, un-patronising.
Now, I have an interest in natural Science as well as I find Evolution fascinating. I was told his book is brilliant for an all round explanation without too much depth, yet scientific enough and to the point. I've started it at least 3 times, and I think I've got about 100 pages in. Why? Well, every chapter has a vital link to Evolution, and instead of explaining it simply, he'll use LOADS of analogies, and even though I fully understand what he's trying to put across, it is constantly shown in a different light. In a nutshell, his book can be summed up by two sentences: "Evolution is not aimed for the good of the species, nor is is it good for the individual. Rather it's good for the gene." -- don't buy the book, as it's ~250 pages which tries to explain that.

Also, other books:

A shit load of Bernard Cornwell.. I love his writing as well!
War of the Worlds.. I'm determined to read it one day.
Lord of the Rings. I'm just not fussed about mythical fantasy.
Stephen Fry's books. Love the man. Find his books difficult to get in to

I do genuinely enjoy reading. Yet the books I tend to read are about peoples terrible lives. For instance, in the last month I've read the following books:

-Christie [A book about John Christie, the infamous serial killer at 10 Rillington Place]
-Edith's Story -- A book about a Jew who's family were killed in the Holocaust yet she survived in hiding.
-The Nipper, A Glaswegian child who was beaten to within an inch of his life by his drunk father throughout his entire childhood

.. I hope this doesn't reflect some deep-seated insecurity which I've bottled up sub-consciously and will some day unexpectedly erupt.
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 10:45, 19 replies)
All autobiographies
I don't know why, I really don't, but whenever I read someone's autobiography, I literally get within 4 or 5 pages from the end, then get distracted for a good few months, and have to try again. I occasionally finally finish, but with Graham Norton's, Des O'Connor's and Bob Monkhouse's, I STILL fail in the last few pages, after at least 4 attempts of each.
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 10:23, 2 replies)
The parakeet couldn’t swallow too well, so I massaged its throat for a while and the bird cooed appreciatively. I had to take a break eventually, as the stirring in my generously proportioned loins was in danger of doing a mischief to either myself or anyone in the immediate locality.

Culkin didn’t like what he saw. His black armband was becoming frayed and many people were growing weary of his incessant grief. I started to berate him orally because the parakeet was clearly distressed by the way he ceaselessly held his palms against his cheeks, and the aroma of aftershave was somewhat overpowering.
“Doth thou covet this wing’d and befeathered skyfish?” I inquired.
“Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout?” Culkin barked.
“Don’t come that with me!” I retorted without hesitation. “He’s dead, Culkin. Let go.” And with that I tore the armband away and gobbled it down without blinking once. Culkin wept for a while, but his sobs turned to whimpers of ecstasy as I began to softly kiss his spongy lips. My tongue explored his nostrils and my fingers counted his ribs. Our mums are now firm “friends” and Culkin and I share a bedroom.
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 10:18, 8 replies)
Following on from the b3tans struggle
with my favourite book of all time - Catch-22...

The book that I purchased and haven't been able to finish, despite numerous attempts, is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M.Pirsig.

Now this is a book that truely, nothing really happens. It's the musings of some philosopher vaguely dressed up as a drawn out story which drags as much as a bike ride around America.

I think that it's a well written book, but it's just SO BORING. I guess you need to be in a particular mood to appreciate it, but I know that I'm far too impatient. I've made 3 attempts and the furthest I've managed is roughly half way. Each time my face collapses in on itself through boredom.
(, Sun 27 Jun 2010, 9:59, 16 replies)

This question is now closed.

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