b3ta.com user Rotating Wobbly Hat
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Past bash pics in bash pool.

Living in almost-East Anglia with The Cat's Mother where we have kicked arse and will continue to kick arse in the future.

Anyone needs budget band recording (studio or live) and mixing in the Cambs area, we haz the skillz and the equipment and also more importantly, we won't rip you off with a shoddy job or pisspoor excuses for why circumstances beyond our control meant we couldn't honour our commitments... some other local operators are getting notorious for it.

Peace out, y'all.

Recent front page messages:

Pea from 2005

(Thu 26th Jul 2018, 1:19, More)


why thenkyu:-)
(Mon 6th Dec 2010, 16:04, More)

another 'shirly binddun'?

(Tue 31st Aug 2010, 23:35, More)

Why the sudden surge of posts now, I ask myself...?

(Thu 15th Jul 2010, 22:31, More)

some people like to display signs of their faith on the back of their cars

I want everyone to know I like fish'n'chips
(Thu 3rd Apr 2008, 22:52, More)

check contents of box before handing over suspiciously little cash for shiny consumer goods

bless me b3ta for I have sinned, it has been many weeks since my last picture post...
(Sun 30th Dec 2007, 14:07, More)

I hear Hull is quite warm at this time of year
Don't ask HIM!

(Sun 12th Feb 2006, 19:24, More)

Trick or Treat is going to be quite competitive this year

I can't for a minute imagine saying 'Oh go on then...Trick!' (covers head with hands)
(Sun 23rd Oct 2005, 20:34, More)

b3ta is the one place I don't mind going 'shopping

(Thu 30th Jun 2005, 0:00, More)

In the 21st century
paper is becoming obsolete.

Even telegrams.

just wanted to see my new donate-i-con so I sort of rushed it...sorry!
(Thu 9th Jun 2005, 23:28, More)

Best answers to questions:

» Heckles

Not mine. A friend of mine went to a Comedy club in Birmingham somewhere.
A drunk bloke at the front kept interrupting the stand-up turn who was apparently rather good, but the constant stream of interruption was obviously riling the comic. Eventually he stops in the middle of a joke and makes a big announcement.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the average penis is 6 inches long. The average vagina can take up to 7.5 inches. So, for every woman in the world, there is 1.5 extra inches of capacity. Now, let's say that half of the world's population is women. Combined, that means that there is spare cunt of over one and a half million miles."

Pointing to the heckler, he finishes "and there's 5 foot 2 of it sitting over there".

There is a modest laugh, and then the heckler comes back with his riposte -"I'm 5 foot 8 actually".

To which the comic delivers the coup de grace - "Well, you're an even bigger cunt than I thought then".
(Thu 6th Apr 2006, 13:27, More)

» The B3TA Detective Agency

Apologies for length but Prof KM reminded me of this one.
Case of the mystery car stalling on the same corner of the same road.

Back when I was working for a certain car manufacturer there was a request from service to deal with a problem that was occurring with a customer's car and it was practically a case of 'look, I'm telling you it does it' even though the dealer technicians couldn't reproduce it. On the same bend of a road near his house in Aberdeen he claimed his car regularly cut out, leaving him with reduced steering assistance and diminished brake servo. It was serious enough for him to talk about returning his new car.

A buy-back is the worst thing for a car maker's reputation- plus, thanks to the Lemon Law in the states, if word of this got out people would be falling over themselves to claim the same thing so they could in effect 'borrow' a brand new car for a few months and then get their full retail price refund at the end of it.

Now service were baffled and were asking all departments to brainstorm what was going on, and as the diagnostics bloke in the department it fell to me.

First of all I got on to the AA to see how many cars they recovered from that area and what the symptoms were- maybe there's a crop of callouts suspiciously clustered in and around the same area;- but nothing really stood out as the statistical analysis only came to the conclusion that you get more callouts in the winter for non-starts than anything else, and there's less call out the further out of town you go. Rat's cocks. Next.

There was a suspicion that electromagnetic interference could be causing the problem, and despite the fact Google Maps showed 200kV (edited, I originally put 400kV but I've since found my file on the whole thing) power lines nearby, the vehicles have to be tested for electromagnetic immunity at the prototype stage so it would have to be something fairly unusual to cause this. Hang on, this is Aberdeen- don't they have an airport up there?

Out came Google Maps again. Yes indeed there was, Dyce airport. Airports have all sorts of electromagnetic sources, from VHF/UHF communications with aircraft, ILS, taxi cab offices, police radios, staff PMR radios, cellphone towers, observation radar for the runway, interrogation radar and navigational radar. But Dyce airport was a good few miles away, across the valley.

Aha- what's this on the map though? The airport was a few miles away BUT the radar head was actually stuck in a field out near the coast- less than 250 metres from the road where the guy was having his problem! The data from the radar head was beamed back to Dyce using a line-of-sight microwave link so we had a potential extra bogey to suspect.

More intelligence gathering was done- the interrogation radar was microsecond pulses which were designed, when recieved, to make airliners' on-board transponders send a burst back with their ID/altitude/heading information encoded, but the main navigational radar dish operated in the S-Band which was far and above the frequencies that cars are tested to. Suspicious....but surely it points up at the sky, not down at the ground?

Ah well now. The radar 'beam' formed by those 'goal net' parabolic reflectors actually makes a rather curious shaped compound pattern, with 'side lobes' almost perpendicular to the main beam. These emanated in such a way that the lobes may indeed project downwards and 'touch' the ground some 250 metres away where the road was.

Drawing the map and doing some triangulation I went to the boss to explain my theory. The big man thought it was an incredible unlikely story but then there were no other ideas and he almost wanted it to be right so he could be seen to have solved it where all others had failed. So, armed with a spectrum analyser I drove 500 miles up to Aberdeen in the same model car.

The plan was to log its internal computer module communication network signals while going along the same route and to measure the magnitude of the EMI that was coming from the
tower. Up I went, staying the night in Aberdeen and starting the next day.

Having contacted the local police to explain that I was measuring the radar, not trying to interfere with it (I had visions of being bundled into the back of a police van while being 'helped' by officers with MP5 machine pistols and heavy boots poised for a kicking, looking for terrorists trying to bring down airliners) I fired up the analyser and looked in amazement at the frigging peaks of radar energy zipping up and down the measurement scale as the dish swept on its constant circular scan. That's plenty of interference right there, in fact I'm surprised my eyeballs haven't clouded up from getting that much microwaving just standing there.

A quick word with the farmer whose house was just at the end of a track some 50 yards further on confirmed- oh yes he said, the TV's always buggered, remote control cars zip across the room without being controlled, mobile phone signal is ruined etc. and it turned out that once I got back and checked with the radio regulation rules from Ofcom, the levels actually exceeded what you should be exposing people to.

I did consider ringing up NATS and saying, in an offhand way, you might want to turn that down a bit, but the odds of them kowtowing to my request was minimal - NATS have data sharing responsibility
with the MOD and having a radar looking out over the North sea was considered quite a good idea from a point of view of those regular incursions that Russian bombers make into our airspace just to test the water. MOD 1, RWH 0.

Despite all this, I could not reproduce the fault with an identical car to the one that was supposedly giving the punter all this trouble. No cut out, no anomalous data on the in-car network systems. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Then out of the blue, after a quick look at what the guy did for a living, it turns out his company supplied marine safety beacons with a satellite uplink (INMARSAT I think) and after a chat it turned out he would regularly carry them in the boot of his car. The bloody things were becoming active after a jolt on that corner (which he must have been taking rather quickly) and from INSIDE the car blasting out several watts of RF energy - supposedly destined for a satellite 60,000 miles up in space, which instead was going up the nearest cable loom and confuddling the f*ck out of the car's internal systems.

Buy-back avoided, problem set to rest, tempers calmed and clashing with the civilian aviation authority unneccessary. However I was utterly and completely shagged out by doing a 1000 mile round trip in under 36 hours. Never again.
(Tue 18th Oct 2011, 11:56, More)

» Karma

I think I have finally come around
I got married early and had a reasonable job (working with Doctor When) with reasonable money, our own place (rented) and a rock club at the end of the road (XLs in Edgbaston). Every few months we'd get a performance related bonus of a few hundred quid (back mid-90s it was good money) every four months and life was sweet.

Then my ex fell out with her boss and the income dropped. She couldn't find another job and as we were just above the benefit line, we got no help. I changed jobs for a percieved improvement in pay but lost the job as it was a contract and they didn't need to give me any notice.

The only job I could find was at my dad's engineering firm so ended up working 12-hour shifts from 6pm till 6am, back breaking work although it did improve my upper body strength...

Then her mum became ill with Motor Neurone disease (like what Stephen Hawking has) and we moved down to Cornwall to look after her. She died very quickly and as it was where she grew up, my wife of the time didn't want to move back up to Birmingham.

I couldn't get a job anywhere- all the electronics industry was miles away and I had no car to get there. To get a job in the deep SW at the time you needed to be in the tourism industry or self-employed tradesman. We were stuck both living with her parents. Eventually the only place I could get a job was at Flambards' theme park for the summer season, and for a pittance.

The people were mainly pleasant but I was cooking in the SW sun all day and my eyes felt like they were hot gritty marbles because we weren't allowed to wear sunglasses. Eventually a company relocated to the town and I got a job in electronics again, assembling equipment. Not great, but I learned stuff and the people there were generally nice, including my best mate down in Cornwall who I still keep in contact with 11 years later.

However we were under threat of eviction from my wife's dad who, at the time, turned nasty after his wife had died and was making a grab for all the money she saved while he spent all of his. My daughter was born at this time and he was persuaded by the wife's older brother to let us stay while paying rent but he got us out eventually, sold her childhood home and pocketed the cash after burning his wife's will which left the house to my wife.

We rented a place in town but the wife was sufferring from all the stress and developed two auto-immune diseases triggered by the hassle. She was in hospital and almost died.

Eventually we managed to get a place of our own on an affordable mortgage for part-own through a housing association and wrote her dad out of our lives. But all the stress and pain caused my ex to lash out on the only person she felt would put up with it- me. I for my part had become sullen and withdrawn and unresponsive which made her madder. I played my part in the downward spiral of destruction. Hands up.

By the time my daughter was four I'd been through years of hostility, anger and frustration and our relationship was torpedoed. I moved out and lived in a pitiful bedsit earning toss-all money and having to live on beans and sausages on toast- 1 meal cost about 30p - to pay for rent and the mortgage on my daughters' place.

I had to get a better job to be able to afford my divorce and the only option was contracting up in Cheshire- but it was 350 miles away from my daughter. For three weeks out of four I'd try to come down to Cornwall with a car given to me by my dad (a huge Volvo estate) and do the 700-mile round trip to see her. I was exhausted permanently but gaining experience and had some peace during the week. Me and my wife got divorced amid the usual acrimony but because I was coming to see my daughter every fortnight she let me (and still does) crash on the sofabed so we learned to mainly get on, if very uncomfortably, with the occasional fall-out.

Then that contract came to an end and I was out of work for three months, during which timke the lease terms on my new car meant I owed £1000 and they reposessed it, screwing over my credit record for years to come.

I had to move back in with my folks, and anyone who has moved abck in with their parents will know it's hardly ideal and causes friction. I was driving 90 miles a day, 5 days a week to get to work and celebrated my 30th birthday with no money at all. Miserable.

The new job was closer than Cheshire so my trips to see my daughter became bi-weekly plus holiday time in the summer, easter and christmas. I was on a lower wage but respectable- I cruised for a few years doing this while the company that employed me contracted me out to a car maker in the West Midlands for more and more each year based on my growing exp[erience and skills but passed on very little of their increase. I started getting depressed and took days off for being ill- this came and went on-and-off for years.

The turning point came when I moved in with friends from work- we had a shared house and the social suport of having friends to come home to after work instead of a silent house and the cheap cider. I cheered right up, even with the occasional relapse.

I then tried to leave my company and go to work for the bigger client direct but I was backstabbed and prevented and found myself in a hellhole role which plunged me back into despair.

After a year I started looking in earnest for another job and found one working out in Peterborough- a 140 mile round trip but in a calm, clean, decent position, but boring- I had been so hyped up for difficult work I found this well-paid sedentary work difficult to adapt to- then I got a call from a manager I used to work for briefly a few years before- he had a role to fill and would I like to come and talk to him about it?

I went to see that fellow and came away determined to go there. After giving a months' notice I went. I had to drop a couple of pounds an hour pay but the job was the best....

Now my ex is calmer, happier and my daughter is 11 and relatively well adjusted, all things considered. I still come down every fortnight but now I often get to borrow a car from the work development fleet of prototypes (for which they pay for the fuel) and I'm getting paid enough to be able to treat my daughter and even my ex occasionally. I'm happy in my job and am privelidged to be able to drive the cars. Karma has paid me back in spades.

(Oh, I now work at Aston Martin BTW... nothing cheers up a bod than a weekend with a DB9 or a Vantage, unlimited petrol and 700 miles of driving a posh car)

/apologies for length
(Thu 21st Feb 2008, 19:31, More)

» Too much information

What's the sun made of, dad? It feels hot.
A seemingly simple quesion from my four year old daughter.

Now, I'm an engineer and I'm used to speaking to people all day in a highly concentrated acronym-laden convoluted mess of words and technobabble. So my first thought was to answer -

ah, subatomic fusion of hydrogen nuclei to form helium in a 14 million degree plasma.

Oh. 4 year old. Have to explain fusion.
To explain fusion, have to explain chemical elements.
To explain chemical elements, have to go into subatomic physics.
To explain subatomic physics, have to go into mass/energy equations.
To explain mass/energy conversion, have to engage in laws of physics revolving about mass, pressure,nucleus repulsion and the speed of light.

THEN-To explain how we know all of this, have to refer to the thermonuclear weapons program.
To explain that, have to go into mechanics of isotope separation and enrichment within a centrifuge / neutron cannon environment.
To explain that, have to explain global geopolitical history of the early 20th century.
To explain all of that, have to go into politics, fascism and communisim.
To explain how that could be executed, have to go into tactical military planning, bomber fleets, ICBMs, terrorism and the struggle against the axis evil powers.

And then we have to take into acount why the sun is a (mainly) uniform sphere 93,000,000 miles away. So have to explain gravity, simple harmonic motion, gas density etc.

To explain why it feels hot , have to explain radiation. To explain that, have to explain the theory of electromagnetic wavelengths. To explain that, have to involve use of mathematics to determine frequency versus EM band. And also briging the speed of light, vacuum permeability and electromagnetic wave propagation, wave-versus-particle photon theory as disseminated by quantum mechanics versus Einsteins' general relativity. And then it feels hot because of absorbtion, nerve receptors, chemical nerve conduction, axon interlinkage, cogniscence and resoning.

So either I can say "you'll find out when your older" (like, 14 years later in total) or I can avoid the TMI and say..


at which point she replied, in a disgusted tone of voice "Fire? FIRE!!?? DOH!"

To this day I don't know why the answer gave so much dissatisfaction... maybe she'd bet on the outcome with a schoolmate and realised she had wrongly said 'Fusion plasma brought about by the subatomic combination of hydrogen nuclei into helium and mass-to-energy conversion".
(Thu 6th Sep 2007, 16:55, More)

» Your first cigarette

Parents thought I was chasing the dragon...
When I was 14 my folks found small sheets of tinfoil and matches in my bedroom and instantly leapt to the conclusion that I'd taken up smoking skag like Zammo- they sat me down in grave silence and asked if there was anything I wanted to tell them- well, being a naughty kind of child I could think of ten things to which they would be referring but played mute innocence- until they said "We know you've been using matches and foil. Care to tell us what for?".

Oh shit.

The truth was, I found that if you scraped the heads off the matches into a little pile (about 5-10 was best) and then wrapped them up in tinfoil, then hit the pile with a hammer you actually got a pretty decent sounding bang.

I explained this, ashamed, as their eyes got wider and relief cut in that I wasn't on class A drugs after all. A lengthy silence ensued and then the biggest anti-climax of all time.

"Well- stop it".
(Mon 24th Mar 2008, 15:31, More)
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