b3ta.com user spasm
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» Dodgy work ethics

Drill rig fraud
Worked as a blast hole driller in the mines in Australia for about a decade before regaining my senses and going back to uni. The boss and I go down to the nearest port city to pick up a brand new half-million dollar drill rig (I'm along for the ride simply to drive the thing out of the shipping container and onto the flatbed truck, 'cause the boss barely knows where the start button is). Problem is, the boss and I stop for a few drinks before the 15 hour drive back up to the mine. And a few drinks becomes a hideous shitload of drinks, because neither of us are really looking forward to the drive or being back at the mine. Nonetheless, we eventually stagger out the door and the boss is certain he's still in fit condition to be behind the wheel of a 36 wheel flatbed truck with a 16 tonne drill rig on it, and I'm far too plastered to object. We drive off. The boss knows a 'shortcut' which might avoid the police breathalyzer roadside stops. A shortcut involving a railway underpass. Slightly lower than a 16 tonne drill rig on the back of a flatbed. Drill gets swiped off flatbed with a huge fucking bang, and we grind to a huge jacklegged halt. Fortunately we're so limp from all the alcohol neither of us is so much as bruised. Boss calmly flags down a passing taxi, and the two of us return to the pub, where the boss promptly calls the cops and reports his truck & drill rig have been stolen. Cops turn up to interview us. We're clearly way too shitfaced to have driven the thing away, so thieves it is. Middle of the conversation other cops call in to report the drill and truck have been found lying in the road under a slightly bent railway overpass. The truck is undamaged enough to drive away, so a crane is brought in to tip the drill back up. I'm driven down to the scene by one of the cops and given special dispensation to get in the rig and drive it back onto the truck, despite my legless state, so the road can be cleared. The truck is moved to a side street around the corner and parked. More drinking commences, followed by vague memories of finding a nearby hotel and drinking from the mini-bar. I'm awakened sometime before dawn by the boss retching into the carpet, then demanding I get up. I get up, have a bit of a retch myself, then we take another cab to where the truck is. Boss insists I get in and drive the truck up to the mine "and park the fucker out of sight and don't tell anyone". I somehow manage to do so, despite still being fairly plastered and having to pull over to throw up several more times over the next 15 hours. A couple of days later, the boss shows up. The truck and rig have been reported as stolen again, the insurance company has been convinced the rig was a write off anyway, and have agreed to pay out for a new rig. The boss has me and my workmates replace a few smashed parts on the 'stolen' rig and it's rolled into service. No idea what happened to the truck - he probably sold it or something. Half a fucking million dollars fraud, repeat DUI.. All this was 18 years ago now, and he never got found out.
(Fri 8th Jul 2011, 23:08, More)

» Homemade Booze

I killed a kangaroo
I went to high school in a mining town in northwestern Australia in the 80s. Me and a couple of mates had discovered the joys of alcohol, but didn't have much money to pay for it (and there was the added complication of trying to buy alcohol in a small town where everyone knows you before you're 18). I had been reading encyclopedia articles on alcohol (this being before the interwebs) and had become aware that a) vodka was made from potatoes, and b) alcohol is basically the product of yeast and sugar. I convinced myself that I now knew the secret to making vodka, and, being blessed with the gift of the gab, convinced my mates that I knew what I was talking about and we should all chip in and buy some potatoes and sugar, and make a still.

Since none of us was confident we'd be able to pull this off under the noses of our parents, we decided it'd be best to start our moonshining operations at a cave a few km out of town. The next weekend, having made a quick run to the supermarket for sugar, potatoes, and baker's yeast, we set off on a camping trip for the weekend to the cave. At said cave, we peeled the potatoes and chucked them in 20 or so 5 litre plastic tubs with some sugar and baker's yeast and water, and sealed the lids on tight. Sterilizing the tubs? Encyclopedia Britannica hadn't mentioned that step. Or any other steps, quantities, or notes of caution for that matter. Confident that our brewing operation was now well afoot, we headed back to town the next morning with the plan of returning the following weekend for another camping trip where we'd spend our days distilling and our evenings drinking the product.

The week passed in a frenzy of still making, producing a masterpiece of coffee can and copper pipe, poorly soldered together with more lead-based solder than your average Roman water pipe. On our return to the cave, we found to our surprise that the lids had blown off all our containers, leaving some liquid and a lot of grey foamy sludge. And a hapless kangaroo, dead on the ground a few metres from our tubs. Much speculation commenced about whether it'd died after consuming the product of our fermentation or of unrelated natural causes. To our sixteen year old minds, the idea we'd brewed something so potent it could kill a kangaroo seemed like a plus rather than a subtle suggestion that maybe we should toss the stuff, so we immediately built a fire and commenced distilling what was left in the bottoms of the tubs. After a few false starts we got a nice dripping action going and slowly filled a cup with a greyish-white fluid. Much argument commenced about who was going to taste the stuff first, since it had eventually sunk in that drinking something that might have killed a kangaroo might perhaps maybe not be a good idea. Finally, the stupidest person in our group (yours truly) dipped a finger in and sucked it, only to discover we'd produced an incredibly vile tasting batch of vinegar rather than anything even vaguely resembling alcohol. Which probably saved our lives, and makes for a better story than 'I killed half my mates with homemade moonshine'.
(Sun 7th Dec 2014, 23:49, More)

» Bizarre habits

As a joke I head recently put it: I have CDO. It's like OCD except all the letters are in the right order, as they're supposed to be.
(Tue 6th Jul 2010, 2:58, More)

» Pure Ignorance

dumb question
"what street is the pier street car park on?"
(Tue 11th Jan 2005, 1:07, More)

» Stupid Colleagues

Visiting the States..
First time in the US. At a small college (university without graduate students) for the disaffected children of the absurdly rich on an exchange. A question I was asked at least five times in the first month: "So you're from Australia huh?" [pregnant pause] "That's in the southern hemisphere, right?"
(Sun 6th Mar 2011, 3:57, More)
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