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This is a question "You're doing it wrong"

Chthonic confesses: "Only last year did I discover why the lids of things in tubes have a recessed pointy bit built into them." Tell us about the facepalm moment when you realised you were doing something wrong.

(, Thu 15 Jul 2010, 13:23)
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This question is now closed.

Drawing with pen and ink.
A bit goes wrong - not to worry.

There is a bit of a pause for a few secs as my brain reaches for where the Undo is.

Oh bollox!
Paper is shite!
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 12:12, 5 replies)
My father and DIY
By any stretch of the imagination, tasking my father with mere DIY should have been akin to using a wrecking ball to crack a walnut. He spent his working life designing bits of military jets and oil rigs. Armed with this experience, you'd think that getting my Dad to hang a shelf would be like asking Chuck Norris to hang a picture, right?


My father is blessed with the self confidence of a herd of elephants, the patience of a small child and the easy going nature of Basil Fawlty. As a result, such trivialities as a set of instructions or even a cursory moment to check his calculations were frequently skipped, much to the hilarity of the neighbourhood.

I cringe looking back, neighbours must have been regularly regaled with the frenzied cry of "Oh SHIT!!!" being bellowed from inside sheds, under car bonnets or in the general vicinity of our tormented Black & Decker Workmate.

Boiler Room Rage

Incident number one occurred when I was about nine years old. Dad decided that the unsightly hexagonal key used to gain entry to our central heating boiler under the stairs just wouldn't do.

I recall being scooped out of bed by my nervous mother and bundled into the back of the family car for the four mile trip to our local Marleys at some ungodly hour of a Saturday morning. After a thrilling thirty minutes, I was ordered to assist Dad with his project.

After four hours watching his initial chirpy enthusiasm descend into a seething rage against every inanimate object within six feet, Dad had finished drilling into the metal door installed a proper handle. He took a step back to admire his work, placed a hand on the door handle when a deathly silence descended upon the house, which usually meant only one thing.

"Wha... Wha... You BASTARD!"

Oh dear.

I looked at the door and I looked at my dad. The expression on his face was midway between rage and utter befuddlement. His hand rested on the door handle he'd just fitted and he tried again, perhaps hoping his initial assessment was wrong.

Then Mount Etna erupted.

"They've sold me the wrong BLOODY handle. SHIT!" he yelled.

Yep, to open the boiler cupboard door, you had to pull the handle *up*.

Kitchen Farce

Six months later, Dad decided that mum needed a new kitchen. MFI? Not a fucking chance.

Despite spending his working day in front of a drawing board, Dad never bothered with such trivialities at home and simply planned it out in his head on the fly without so much as the back of a fag packet being used to scribble notes on. Sure enough, more or less the correct number of tiles was procured and saws, drills and spirit levels of varying degrees of reliability were produced. Lengths of wood were retrieved from the shed. All I wanted to do was watch Tiswas and goggle Sally James, but instead I was ordered to sit on the wood, hold screwdrivers and saws, not saying a word or moving a muscle while my father intermittently sketched marks on the wood with a pencil, sawed and ranted at the neighbours' children for being too noisy. The bewildering range of aged, rusting tools were dangled in front of my face with the faint promise that I might one day get to use them if I was quiet enough and concentrated long enough.

My mother kept her distance, she'd be told to "sod off!" when Dad got fed up of her nervously dispensed advice like "Oh, I think you need to put a screw in there" uttered at a hushed volume before she fled to the kitchen to brew more tea.

I guess she was desperately trying to contain his rage and placate him. Paradoxically, she was great at dispensing useless and rage inducing advice though, even a mild mannered soul like me cannot undertake any DIY while my mother is around, for being told "You need a phillips screwdriver for that" in hushed faux-knowledgeable tones usually had me grinding my teeth within seconds. Eventually, she resorted to her last line of defence - topping up cups of tea.

By lunchtime, our kitchen resembled the aftermath of Krakatoa crossed with a Greek Wedding. Bits of broken ceramic lay everywhere, in the middle stood a portly, red faced swearing man.

"The BLOODY walls aren't straight! SHIT!" he yelled, kneeling on the floor, with three inches of arse-cleavage peek-a-booing up from the beltline of his jeans as he attempted to tile from floor to ceiling. How he guessed from this altitude I'll never know.

"Shit! SHIT! You BASTARD!" he bellowed as another tile broke.

"These BLOODY tiles!"

The tiling was completed at long last. However, in a manner akin to one of those geometric illusion type drawings, if you traced the line of tiles along the top of the longest wall, the ceiling appeared to have been installed at an angle of two degrees off the horizontal. Apparently this was the fault of the builders for making the kitchen wonky.

By late afternoon I'd skulked off to watch The Fall Guy, but I can still hear the intermittent swearing coming from the kitchen as Dad sawed the last of the worktops and cupboard doors. By 5pm Sunday he was attempting to mount doors onto new cupboards. Yep, a sturdy looking framework and new worktops were fitted. Not bad.


It transpired that we suddenly had three previously unaccounted for inches between the cooker and a cupboard. This had my father in absolute apoplexy for a good few minutes until his genius saved the day.

Having seen the light, Dad wandered off with a saw and produced a cupboard door three and a half feet high by three inches wide. My mother was instructed to keep her baking trays there.

The Record Cabinet

Mum managed to win a small amount of money on the Football Pools. Yay mum! However, instead of treating herself to something nice, the poor, misguided soul did something truly daft in an ill conceived moment of kindness in the hope that giving Dad a new project would soothe his oft volcanic temper.

It was a bright summer weekend; I sat on my bedroom floor assembling the Forth Bridge from Lego. By 11am I was retrieved from my room and sat on a creaking Black & Decker Workbench steadying bits of chipboard as Dad intermittently sawed and ranted.


"Hold the bloody screwdriver properly"

"Where's my bloody tea?"

By late afternoon, the job seemed nearly complete. Despite the lack of plans, the cabinet was cuboid in shape. I was confident, had my super DIY dad managed to snatch a daring victory? It would appear so.

Supper on Saturday afternoon was almost a jovial affair. My mum wasn't a bag of nerves and things looked promising. A bottle of Blue Nun was produced to help the Chinese takeaway down.

Indeed, by Sunday morning, my own construction was coming along nicely. Humming along to the tune of "Relax" which was being played on my brother's stereo, my own Lego bridge was finished. Yay me!

Inevitably, the peace was shattered in dramatic fashion.


*sound of needle abruptly scratching across vinyl*

A blood curdling scream of rage and anguish pierced the air. Birds stopped singing outside.


Then I recall hearing a loud banging noise, the type you might hear if someone repeatedly kicks a chipboard record cabinet hard.

"SHIT!" *bang* "SHIT!" *thump* "SHIT" *splinter*

Startled I walked to the window, and was rewarded with the sight of an overweight middle aged man toe-punting the rapidly disintegrating remains of a record cabinet around the garden. The wood, tools and everything else in earshot were excrementally denounced.

The reason for the destruction? Turned out that Dad had lost his temper attempting to take a plane to chipboard...
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 12:03, 9 replies)
Mmm.. Shiny!
My sister and her fella had moved onto decorating their kitchen in their first house, a 3rd floor flat. As a surprise for her chap, she thought she'd get on with painting the kitchen ceiling for him, so he could have a break from the days and days of DIY he had been subjecting himself to.

She went out, got the paint, brushes etc and got stuck in.

Matt came home from work that day, he opened the communal front door and wondered "Thats an odd smell. What is it?" As he ascended the 3 flights, the smell got stronger and stronger.
He was greeted by my sister, pretty much floating out of the flat with a ridiculous grin and a glazed expression "Surprise, I've painted the kitchen ceiling for you!"

A surprise it was, for she had painted the whole thing with Gloss Paint.

After 3 days of giving her the silent treatment, he finally calmed down and can now laugh about their shiny ceiling. On the plus side, it is wipe free for when she attempts pancakes.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 11:59, 2 replies)
I was always doing it wrong ...
As a young turk I used to work in a little gaff off Denmark Street. It had soon become painfully obvious that I was never going to knock Hendrix off his throne when it came to guitar-playing, but at least I had a technical mind, so I figured I could at least do setups, tunings and all that. I was OK on the newer electrics and stuff, but occasionally we'd get some vintage kit in and I wouldn't know where to start, and it'd take me forever.

One of the other guys, a middle-aged American guy (Abner, a proper folk music name) used to take great pride in stuff like that. We were just techs, but he could build these things himself. Used to reckon he'd be able to clean and service one of those in less than a half day, always.

That was Ab's old lute par.

What? Was I doing it wrong?
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 11:55, 1 reply)
I say when it drops, oh you gonna feel it


Frederick "Toots" Hibbert
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 11:44, 1 reply)
I always answer the QOTW a week late.

Too subtle? Am I doing "doing "doing it wrong" wrong" wrong? (Yes, another XKCD reference.)
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 11:33, 5 replies)

I thought I had the parenting thing sussed. Every night as I lay my daughter to bed I used to sing

Coconut head, coconut head, my little tiny baby has a coconut head. She’s got bananas for arms and bananas for legs, but my little tiny baby has a coconut head

15 years and 10K on therapy later the night terrors are significantly less frequent, and I'm prepared to admit I might have been better off with a more classic night time lullaby.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 11:31, 3 replies)
sex eh?
I was 19 before I found out you had to put your balls in as well!
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 11:28, 6 replies)
The Story of The Pole And The Toaster
5 years back, I was at a low ebb. I was living in what's best described as a latrine, the faculties of water and heating were not a given, moreover they were luxuries. My Landlord had neglected to pay some heating engineers he'd employed to fit a new boiler after the previous one went bang just before I'd come out of an unexpected 2 week holiday in my local Hospital due to a case of Acute Pancreatitis.

Said "heating engineers", or "cowboys" as they might be more charitably known were in the habit of regularly visiting the house, determining there was no-one home and turning off the mains water supply. This was after they'd cut the mains gas supply also.

Anyhow, after one drug addict left the house, my Landlord got a couple of Poles to occupy the vacant room and proceeded to charge them both single-occupancy rent, because he was nice like that.

One of these Poles wasn't the sharpest tool in the box, and one day came rushing out of the kitchen after a blue flash had lit up the room. He'd decided to shortcut the process of making buttered toast by applying butter to the bread prior to toasting it...

Apologies for lack of funnies, etc.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 11:04, Reply)
People who don’t take marriage seriously; “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!”
A few years ago when I was in my late 20’s I went through that stage where all your friends get married. Now that I’m in my early 30’s I seem to be going through that stage where all your friends get divorced. I hear such piss poor excuses. Lets hear some of them:

“I thought I would feel differently after we were married” – Really? You thought there would be a magical change in your relationship after a wedding ceremony?

“I knew he/she wasn’t the one when we got married” – *Facepalm* Well genius, perhaps that was a sign that YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE GOT MARRIED!

“I wanted to have children and raise them in a stable family” – How’s that working out for you dipshit?

“I wanted my special day” – You stupid self-centred twat, you wasted all that time and money just so you could be the centre of attention for ONE DAY. Give me my present back.

“We were too young to get married” – YOU WERE 24! There are 18 year olds fighting a war in Afghanistan, THAT’S young.

“Well it was either get married or split up” – What did you do, flip a coin? Heads we marry, tails we’re idiots?

Some of these people are actually going to marry AGAIN. I have already told one of my mates that I don’t want to be his best man again, he actually had the gall to act a bit hurt, but not as hurt as his ex was when he divorced her for not being “the one”.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 10:46, 36 replies)
The Exotic Isle of Torquay...
For many more years than I am prepared to admit, I lived happily under the impression that Torquay was a sunny foreign holiday destination popular with club 18-30s types, much like the island of Ibiza.

Faulty Towers is tinged with a slight sense of disappointment now...
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 10:36, 4 replies)
I'm not gifted with computers
I was very proud to complete 7 lines in a game of Tetris once, and announced my success to some friends in the pub.

One asked how I'd only managed 7, what was I doing? I got confused, explained my playing method, and once my friend had stopped pissing himself laughing, he explained that you could rotate pieces and move them from side to side too. Ooops.

What makes this worse is that it was only 2 years ago, so it's not like it was a new game.

(I'm still impressed that I managed 7 lines without controlling the pieces at all though).
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 10:31, 2 replies)
That's not how you make coffee.
As an 18-year-old A-Levels drop out, I managed to get myself employment as an office junior at a small machinery retailer. My job was simple: input customer data, order stationery and make coffee. That was it. Problem was, I'd never actually made coffee before.

Thinking it was somewhat similar to hot chocolate, I put three teaspoons of coffee into the mug, added sugar, water and a splash of milk and delivered it to the boss, who had requested it.

About two minutes later, he came into my office and requested that I join him in the kitchen. He then went on to show me how to make coffee properly, talking me through it as if I were a retarded six-year old learning how to use the lavatory for the first time.

I never quite forgave him for being such a condescending prick, but I did get my own back on him by adding some "special extras" to his coffee on more than one occasion.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 10:31, 32 replies)
I still haven’t managed to get the hang of proper telephone manner
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 10:28, 1 reply)
I was in halls with a guy who had been a professional chef, cooking high-end stuff in fancy restaurants.
At the time, I was going out with a girl from Doncaster, who, typically, was pretty no-nonsense and straight-talking.

Pancake day came, and of course we decided to celebrate, and chef-boy started the proceedings, cooking the thinnest, tiniest, and apparently most cordon-bleu pancakes in all of Christendom, and served them up to us with literally a sprig of parsley on them.

"Bollocks" said my girlfriend, took the pan and sorted us out with massive, thick, delicious pancakes which we all proceeded to smother in lemon juice and sugar.


I'm hungry now.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 10:20, 8 replies)
Paternity Issue
For much of my childhood I laboured under the misapprehension that Kid Creole was my father. He was pretty brutal about it when he broke the news.


Coconut Annie
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 10:05, 7 replies)
I tried to help out a friend
Through not thinking things through properly, he'd made some poor decisions in his life and had several run-ins with Plod. As a result, his girlfriend dumped him and he was at a very low ebb.

I'd moved away and sort of lost touch with him, but when I heard about his latest predicament, I had to go and try to help sort it out.

Unfortunately, despite the 4-pack of Tennants and fried chicken I brought as peace offerings, things didn't end well.

(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 9:59, Reply)
I've never seen anyone cook it like that before
There was an Azerbaijani chap with whom I used to share a kitchen with in the halls of residence at uni called Amin.

He didn’t speak particularly good English so the vast majority of our conversations were a simple hello and a smile.

Over the year we saw some pretty bizarre behaviour. At first we tried to put him right, but because of the language barrier it was often difficult to convey your point, so we tended to let the little things slide and leave him to get on with it.

To this day, I’ve never known anyone cook a burger like Amin.
You try telling Borats cousin that you are supposed to put tomato ketchup on your birdseye quarter-pounders AFTER you have grilled them for 20 minutes.

He’d just smile and nod, give us a friendly “Hello, yes!” and get on with it.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 9:47, 1 reply)
The whole world could have been mein
If only I’d just allowed my Generals to make all of the strategic decisions instead of meddling and interfering with things despite not having any military training or tactical aptitude whatsoever.


(This is worryingly true by the way, as any WW2 historian will tell you)
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 9:29, 5 replies)
Not really a facepalm moment
but in all my 40+ years on this planet I've never yet learned how to tie a tie properly.

I use a kind of half-arsed method which works, but it's not a proper double Windsor knot. I've tried to do it properly, following instructions, and I manage it OK at the time, but by the next time I come to try it I've forgotten entirely. I don't wear a tie often enough to get much practice, so it's unlikely I'll ever learn to do it.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 8:49, 8 replies)
Ooooh, where to begin. Obviously Vampires don't sparkle, and for the most part they're not whiny emo twats. I think that most of us, given eternal life and a fuckload of cash, would do something slightly more fun than mope around after some skinny lip-biter who...

Bollocks to this. Anyone can have a go at Twilight for doing it wrong. You know who's had it too easy? Meteorologists.

"Hahaha! We've got the easiest job in the world! All we have to do is say it'll be hot in June, July and August and shitty for most of the rest of the year, and when we get it wrong we blame the inherent unpredictability of weather patterns, which if anyone stopped to think about it makes the very essence of our job fundamentally nonsensical!!!"

FUCK meteorologists

with apologies to Randall Munroe
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 8:37, 15 replies)
Digital Camera Confession
Somehow I missed the part about you press the shutter button halfway down for the focus, and the rest of the way down for the picture. Here is a concert photo of 'Like A Virgin', from Madonna's "Confessions" Tour, as if seen by Guy Ritchie with undiagnosed cataracts (which might explain a lot, actually):

(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 7:46, 2 replies)
Bitter shandy
When i was first hired as an illustrious seller of fine alcoholic beverages , i was shit.

I'm talking too much head (on the beer you dirty devil) ,no eye contact ,till confusion.
Well as any bar tender worth there salt will tell you , any smooth bitter when mixed with anything fizzy with froth up like so many rabies infected hamsters.

To conteract this i kept a spoon on the bar to beat the lemonade flat before pouring in the smooth bitter.
There is a nozzle on the tap which make the bitter "smooth" basically mixing it up.
I was shown one day that you could remove this to pour the perfect bitter shandy with no beating required.

My jaw dropped and the world turned on its head ,because you see ladies and gentlemen i just realised that i was actually listening to my co-worker , instead of staring at her massive clevage.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 3:58, 2 replies)

I was 19 before I realised that video stores arranged their videos in alphabetical order. I was aware that they arranged them by genre but it only dawned on me one day that they also organise them alphabetically within the genre when i realised that all the videos starting with 's' were next to each other. 'That's funny' I thought. WOW all the t's are too! and all the .. oh yeah that makes sense. Our house didn't actually have a VCR until I was 15 but most of my friends did and I'd made frequent trips to the store with them when I was growing up so that doesn't entirely explain it.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 3:48, Reply)

When I was only 12 I was mowing the lawn (it got me extra pocket money) and the mower needed filling up...no probs yeah? nope I f'in tried to fill up a petrol mower with a lig fag in my mouth, I ended up in hospital but...I now realise cigs and petrol do NOT fuckin mix :)
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 3:09, 6 replies)
AbbieXcat reminded me of this.
My 16 year old daughter decided to make me cheesecake.
She followed the ingredient list spot on (apparently) and I was eagerly awaiting it as I LOVE cheesecake.
The cookbook/making cake book she was using was the one she had in school and I remember the amount of times I had lovely rice crispie cakes or flapjack to eat, so I was getting more impatient for the cheesecake.

When I finally got a bit (seemed like 5 hours later), I was given a plate with nearly half a cheesecake, good girl, she knows how much I like it and has given me a proper slice.
I bite into it and promptly nearly throw up.
The ingrediants and 'making' instructions had recommended to use soft cheese such as Philadelphia.
I had a cheesecake made with philadelphia soft cheese.

She made it correct according to the book, but the school were doing it wrong!
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 2:09, 13 replies)
how to paint a bathroom the wrong way
four years ago, i was told by the council that my lovely little shithole was unsafe to live in and that they would be moving me to a new, much better home and giving me a large sum of money for my troubles.
as i now had a bit of cash, i decided that i would do this new place up the way i had always wanted, with no secondhand furniture, no cheap wallpaper, no making do.
the furniture was easy. it's amazing what you can get from ikea for a little over £300. the decorating, however, i decided to leave to my sister. she was skint at the time so, despite the fact that i am quite capable of decorating for myself, i decided to let her do it for a bit of cash.
i'd got some very nice paint for the bathroom, specially designed for coping with steaminess and such crap. i handed the tin and brushes to my sister and left her to it.
after about half an hour, i could hear muttered cursing from the bathroom. my sister emerged and headed for the kitchen, where she grabbed one of those green pan scourers. assuming that she had got paint on the floor or door and was using the scourer to get it off, i thought no more about it.
ten minutes later, i heard a rhythmic scraping sound coming from the bathroom. curious to see what the noise was, i went in, to find my sister applying paint to the wall with the scourer.
"what the fuck are you doing?" i demanded. "don't blame me, it's your paint!" she complained. "the brush won't put it on the wall properly!"
she'd globbed almost half a tin onto one wall, seemingly in an attempt to get it to stick.
after telling her to fuck off, i painted the rest of the bathroom - and the flat - myself. the brush worked just fine and, to this day, i have no idea what the fuck she was doing to make things go so badly wrong.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 0:28, Reply)
I'm quite ashamed of this
For an artistic type person i should have known better.
I had a commission for several paintings and wanting to keep my costs down as I wasnt being paid pots, i forgoed my usual frame supplier and bought loads of nice but cheap picture frames from Ikea.
Buyer chose the ones they liked and i got to work framing them.
I wasnt happy to find that the frame inserts were emblazened with logos.
So i got out my glass cutter and discarding the useless inserts i set to making new ones from sheets of glass in my workshop.
Several smashed pieces later I did have the pictures finally framed.
Buyer came round, was happy but decided they wanted to buy another couple.
Picked out the frames.
Great said I, but I said I needed to get some more glass first.
Biuyer 'Whats wrong with those in the frame?'
Me, they have bloody logos printed on them'
Buyer ' you do know its a protective film you peel off?'
Me 'Oh'

in my defence M'lud the local framers didnt have such new fangled nonsense

anyone want to buy a pile of Ikea frame inserts, still new in their protective film?
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 0:21, 3 replies)
Neither proud nor ashamed
This is one of those unquestioned childhood beliefs that survived into older years. It's not because you're dumb (though many do a good impression), it's just you never question it. I have no idea how this started. I've never found a reference in a book or cartoon to it and my family are none the wiser as to where I picked this up.

It's moths. When moths fly at a light or flame I genuinely believed it was because they thought it was the moon. See moths are in love with the moon and from the day they are born they want to fly to their lunar home. So if you shine a light at night a moth gets confused and thinks it is the moon. I can't decided whether this is endearing or depressing. I eventually realized that moths don't think a patio light is the moon.

I realized this a few weeks ago...I'm 23 years old.

One thing I have learned is I am definitely telling my children this story.
(, Fri 16 Jul 2010, 0:04, 12 replies)

This question is now closed.

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