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» Evil Pranks

Some years ago, I used to work in the City of London...
...which meant that going out for a drink in the evening often ended up with me and my colleagues being surrounded by braying yahoos in pinstripe.

One evening, we unaccountably found ourselves in Skinker's wine bar near London Bridge, making a fair job of several bottles of Pinot. It was a reasonably busy evening for such a small place, with perhaps 50 people in the main bar area and nearby alcoves.

I like my wine. But I'm no connoiseur and I'm not a snob about it. I'll find something I like and stick with it for a while, then move on. I was thinking this very thing as my round approached and I pored over Skinker's wine list . And that's when the aged wooden door with the dirty panes of leaded glass opened.

In strode a man whose bearing said "Alpha Male" with every step. I expected him to lift the flap of his £1000 suit and spray the doorframe. He was closely followed by a mixed entourage, all of whom had the look of people who were drinking someone else's company Barclaycard.

Alpha quietened them, and announced loudly that he would - blindfolded - take a sip of any person's glass and proclaim not only the grape, but also the vinyard. If he was wrong, he would buy the challenger a bottle of what they were drinking. If he was correct, he would receive the same from them.

Surprisingly, there were a few takers. He applied the blindfold and a glass was handed to him. He raised it. He swilled it. He breathed it. He drank deeply.

"Ahh, he said. A Chateau de Fremulence Burgundy. Marvellous."

The gathering crowd clapped delightedly at this, and the vinter opened a fresh bottle, which was presented to his party.

The second glass;

"Ah - a saucy little Chateau Neuf du Pape from the vinyard of M. LeBeauregard!"

Again the debt was paid.

And then he raised the glass that a member of my group proferred to him. He sipped. He sputtered and spat everywhere and the blindfold flew off.

"My God! This is PISS!"

"Yes", I replied. "But whose?"
(Tue 18th Dec 2007, 18:51, More)

» My most gullible moment

I posted this as a reply...
...much further down the thread, but I think it stands on its own (in an expanded form) as a post for this QOTW;

My experience of organised religion involved my first stepmother, who followed a perverted version of the Baptist faith. Dad was non-committal, so of course I followed her. I believed.

Beatings were frequent - but only when my non-believing father wasn't around. After all, you have to beat the sin out of a child - and you mustn't let the infidels stop you in your holy mission.

Hi Jan! Yes, I remember how you punched me in the kidneys for having the temerity to be ill and throwing up on my bed!

Dad only found out about this years later, after she had left us to take on with some other single-parent family that needed 'fixing'. Pity that kid.

So I was faced with cowardace, violence and hypocracy all in a package that guaranteed me to be a nasty little misogynist until the day I met a wonderful woman who, if you assume that the sky-fairy has a purpose for everyone, taught me that people can be responsible for the most remarkable acts of magnificence and beauty.

She died five weeks after we were married from the motor neurone disease that she'd suffered with for five years. And I might have hated any God that there might be for taking her away from me, but the 18 months I knew her for made me a better person. Able to function.

Whatever I might worship, and however I do it, it won't be because some effete, money-grabbing, self-interested control freak shitstack connned me into believing that it's in compliance with their ridiculous vision of their violent, emasculated "Lord".

If I worship anything at all, it's the glory of the truly righteous human.

And that is how I learned that, through an abuse of trust, organised religion had not given me a gullible moment, but gullible years.
(Fri 22nd Aug 2008, 20:11, More)

» Being told off as an adult

Paddington stare
Forget work - people mess up and you manage your way out of it. The bollockings from the director are like the ones your parents gave you if they caught you crossing the road without looking both ways.

Home is different though.

My fiance is one of those women with an exuberant temper. Her basic personality means she doesn't suffer fools, and she doesn't take shit.

But over time she has realised that doing your swede at someone doesn't help matters.

Fortunately, I met her after this lesson was learned.

She hasn't reverted to the girly sulk, but she knows how to use the Paddington Bear Stare (tm).

Me: "I'm going to open another bottle"
Her: Paddington Bear Stare (tm).

Me: "Work was just throwing all this equipment away! There's at least 30 Pentium III Xeons here!"
Her: Paddington Bear Stare (tm).

Me: "And there's plenty of room for that 42u rack they're all in!!
Her: Paddington Bear Stare (tm).

She can deflate me with that look in a heartbeat. It's like seeing the disappointment of a parent who thought you were going to be a doctor when you just want to be an astronaut... but you're gonna write poetry in the meantime.
(Thu 20th Sep 2007, 18:10, More)

» Family codes and rituals

"I saw it first!"
In S. Florida (Ft. Lauderdale) there is an enormous pyramid. I have no idea what it's for and have never been interested, but when me, my dad and my ex-stepmother were in the car (usually her Camaro, I'm afraid) we used to have a ritual when that pyramid hove into view.

The first person to see any part of it through the trees had to shout, "I SAW IT FIRST!!!".

As time went by, we also developed "I SAW THE WHOLE THING FIRST!!!" once we had driven far enough that it was entirely visible from the road.

I have no idea who was responsible for starting this, but I suspect it was my ex-stepmother who is now hopefully dead, the ridiculous cunt.
(Thu 20th Nov 2008, 20:03, More)

» Dumb things you've done

Difficult question.
I *have* been a teenager after all, so the list of stupid things I have done is quite long. Here's a recent (mid-30s) one though.

I build models. No, not the Linda Evangelista type, and not the Airfix type. I take raw materials and carve/bend/shape.

I'll work any material I can get my hands on. Wood, plastics, metal... whatever. And I'll build whatever comes to mind. There's a load of reasons for this, but the most important one here is that it gives me something else to do other than drink in the evenings.

Many of you will have been there. The slope from boredom to alcoholism is attactively steep, isn't it? And if like me you just can't switch off in the evening, there's comfort to be found in the bottom of the bottle.

It slows you down. It removes that hard-earned stress. It lets you sleep.

So that's why you can find me at 10pm using a bandsaw, or a Dremel(tm) or a drill. And not drinking.

There's a flaw in the logic though. Here it is.

"Drunk people will suddenly get the inspiration to do something - no matter how dangerous or stupid."

Half six on a sunny, summer afternoon. I'd just washed and waxed my car, and then the missus' motor, while enjoying a six-pack of Stella. I changed clothes then plonked myself in front of the idiot box. Out the corner of my eye, I could see the model I was currently building. And in my mind's eye, I could see the small modification what needed to be done.

It wasn't difficult. It wasn't something that required all the skills I have learned in the last ten years.

But it was something that needed me to be sober. I wasn't.

Not-so-random fact: Did you know that cyano-acrylite - also known as Superglue - was invented as a field suture/stitch for soldiers? It can seal a wound faster than you can say "Oh God - I've stuck my bollocks to my leg!!!"

I had none. I didn't need it for this job.

I looked at the model. I saw the grain. I honoured the balsa tree that had given its life to my hobby by contemplating how I would apply the knife.

I slipped...

I cut...

...right through my left hand. Down into the bone.

After the OhNoSecond had passed, blood started to *pump* out of my mangled paw. I applied paper towels with little effect. They turned red and soggy almost immediately. I applied more paper towels and fixed them with maskng tape. They fell off as my traitorous heart pumped the red stuff through my arteries.

In shock, I phoned the missus, who was at her parent's house. "Does... does your dad have any Superglue?"

I like to blame myself for the fact that it took her half an hour to get home with it. Maybe I didn't stress the urgency.

In the end I found an old bottle of the stuff, cut it open with a hacksaw and got enough out to seal the wound before she got home. Empty-handed.

"Dad's had dried out!" she said.

I don't dare tell her how close she was to claiming on the insurance policy. I still have no feeling in two fingers (middle and ring) on my left hand.
(Thu 20th Dec 2007, 19:41, More)
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