b3ta.com user scruss
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Scottish. Design wind farms. Plays banjo. Lives in Toronto.

Has two shite blogs: We Saw a Chicken … and Numpty's Progress.

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Best answers to questions:

» Home Science

How to get (nearly) expelled from school a week before the A-levels
Simply by mixing ______ solution and ______ crystals (two somewhat dated but easily acquired household chemicals), you can make tiny black crystals that go "crack!" with a puff of purple smoke when you crush them. Or let them dry out too quickly. Or look at them funny. Or if someone 15 miles away eats a cheese and onion crisp. Or just if they damn well feel like it. Unstable stuff, is ________ _________.

So just before the exams, me and Bill thought it to be a thoroughly great idea to make some of this, and started crackling away on the chemistry bench. The teacher, a wise old bird who was the subject of daily mocking for his unfortunate speech impediment (sorry; we were little shits), knew that sound, and shut us down asap. We had to swab the bench with a neutralising solution, and were dragged in front of the Beak who admonished us that This Could Ruin The Career of Two Promising Young Men, and we had to swear that we hadn't made any more of the stuff and we wouldn't think of telling anyone what the chemicals were or we would be withdrawn from the examinations.

The thing was, we had made more. A lot more. An entire 10cm watch-glass full of evil little black crystals was quietly drying in a closed cupboard in the lab. We weren't allowed back in to the lab, it being late on a Friday afternoon. All weekend long we fretted ...

We got back into the lab first thing Monday, and made a rather hasty-but-innocent scramble to the cupboard. Which was open. In fact, the door had been blown off its runners, and it was happily sitting propped against a faraway bench. The watch-glass was intact, save for a thin line of char around the edge. Bill nonchalantly refitted the door, while I tried to clean off the watch-glass, all harmless like. It must've gone up over the weekend.

We still made a bloody mess of our A-levels, though ...
(Fri 10th Aug 2012, 21:20, More)

» Greed

Deep (Right Down The) Pan Pizza Company
In late 1992, I was on ET. Remember ET? For six quid extra a week, you'd agree to take weeks of half-arsed "training" to keep you off the streets — and more importantly, off the unemployment roll. For us, it meant being shut in a shabby office in Anderston for the morning, and then finding the cheapest pub that we wouldn't get stabbed in to nurse a pint until 4pm.

The group decided that, though we were short on cash, we needed to have a night out. There was a dismal place called the Deep Pan Pizza Company that had an all-you-can-eat pizza 'n pasta buffet for five quid. The house rule was you had to have a serving of gloopy pasta with your spongey pizza slice, and you couldn't go back with anything on your plate. Despite this, Smallish Jim decides to take the rules as a challenge.

After seven huge slices and their accompanying starchy pasta goo, I called it quits, feeling like I'd eaten a truckload of redimix. Smallish Jim makes it to 15 rounds, looking none the worse for eating the entire wheat production of Saskatchewan in one evening. To celebrate, we all chip in to buy him a pint. Smallish Jim is still smiling after a couple of sips. Three sips in, though, and he turns the colour of the filling in a Mint Aero. He barely makes it to the bog, and the retching noises are terrible. After much flushing and coughing, Smallish Jim saunters out, quietly gets his coat, and whispers to us, "We should leave. The bog's blocked with pizza and pasta spew. We don't want to be here when the barman finds what the floor looks like in there". We left, sharpish.
(Sun 17th Apr 2011, 22:21, More)

» Bad gigs

Acacia
… “supporting” Björk at the Barrowlands, July 1995. Bloody appallingly dreadful. The frontman, having clearly ingested some class of epic hallucinogen, was wandering about making vague burbling noises, and would occasionally stop to rummage about in a backpack he was (for some reason) wearing. The keyboard player was gamely trying to keep everything together, but the rest of the band had either sodded off or were in their own twelve-tone polyrhythmic reverie.

I seem to remember it all ended when the singer fell over, perhaps with the assistance of a projectile lobbed by a helpful Glaswegian. Good times.
(Sat 27th Jul 2013, 13:02, More)

» Prejudice

against bigots, definitely
For a short while, I lived near the Rangers football grounds. My neighbours were friendly, but the neighbourhood was not.

I once absent-mindedly put on my green jacket and went to the shops. I was kind of surprised to hear muttered threats against me from fellow shoppers. When I got back home, I took off my jacket to find that someone had spat a huge foamy greener down my back.

Match days we pure evil. The coaches from out of town would park on our street, and the fans would pour out on to the waste land next to us. They'd fight, set fire to things, and piss and shit in our stairwell.
(Sun 4th Apr 2010, 22:05, More)

» Old stuff I still know

Call of the tape relay
CALL &BBC4 would send most Amstrad CPC464s into an endless loop of display-flickering, tape-relay clicking weirdness. It didn't work on the very first (checkerboard on Ctrl-Shift-Esc) or last (horrid horrid keyboard) models of the 464, and on the 664 and 6128 it did nothing.

I can still remember the address of Colin "Bonzo Meddler" Harris, who wrote a bunch of tape/disk cracking tools, and sent a whole bunch of "special" things to his better customers.

|P would fire up Protext. Yes, I had so many ROMS that the welcome screen would scroll up when I powered on ...

Oh, and Z80 opcodes. I can still disassemble Z80 hex in my head. This stopped being useful more than half my life ago, argh.
(Fri 1st Jul 2011, 16:48, More)
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