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If you can't fix it with a hammer and a roll of duck tape, it's not worth fixing at all, my old mate said minutes before that nasty business with the hammer and a roll of duck tape. Tell us of McGyver-like repairs and whether they were a brilliant success or a health and safety nightmare.

(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 11:58)
Pages: Popular, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Last year I wanted bigger and better fireworks for Guy Fawkes' - so I made this:


It's not the best photo, snapped with a cheap camera phone before launch. What you can see is the biggest rocket I could find, bonded with epoxy resin to a half-full can of Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner.

Mr Muscle? Well experimentation beforehand (spraying the contents of various aerosols over a naked flame), proved that whatever the fuck is in Mr Muscle, burns longer and more violently than anything else I had lying around the house. Also, Mr Muscle makes much more of a 'liquid flame', and continues to burn on it's own for a good few minutes. Compare this to say, deodorant, which burns briefly and powerfully - but doesn't stay alight unless constantly in contact with fire.

The party was on the beach. Most people avoided me when I arrived with my contraption. But the host declared it 'worthy of the finale' - which meant Mr Flying Muscle was going to close the proceedings.

After 25 minutes of dull as ditch water 'fireworks' - I was called to the firing range, positioned a few feet from the water's edge. The idea being that the pyrotechnics would safely explode over the sea.

I grabbed Mr Exploding Muscle and loaded him into a sturdy rocket tube. I set the angle at roughly 45 degrees, facing nicely across the water to France. Then, as per the instructions, I lit the fuse and retired.

Some things I hadn't considered:

1. How the weight of the attached can of oven cleaner might affect the height the rocket could achieve
2. How the weight of the attached can of oven cleaner might affect the trajectory of the rocket
3. How absurdly dangerous this could be

The fuse lit. It burned smoothly towards the base of the rocket where it hit the primer chemicals, and made a satisfying 'fizz' as the engines were engaged.

The thing took off! But in almost slow motion. It seemed to hover up to height of around 80ft. But then it began an immediate descent. Thrusters still burning, Mr Mother Fucking Muscle was coming straight back down towards us at full speed.

But it didn't hit the ground! Nope, the rocket did its exploding bit at around 10ft high, taking Mr Muscle with it.

Napalm! I had created perfect home-made Napalm. When the rocket exploded, pure liquid fire burst out in an evil mushroom of hell. Fire rained onto the beach. Children screamed. People ran. And there I stood, the centre of attention, cackling like a loon.

If ever the time comes that we have to man the barricades a la Libya. I will be there. Firing home-made Napalm rockets at any fucker that steps up.
(, Tue 15 Mar 2011, 15:26, 159 replies)
EPIP
The week before we got married, Mrs Bigfatlazyman went back home to Ireland to sort out wedding stuff, leaving me with a list of jobs to do around our grubby flat in Glasgow.

One of these jobs was to sort out the slightly sloping floor by the gas boiler. I ripped up the lino and started hammering nails into the plyboard. That didn't work, so I got the electric screwdriver out and screwed the floor down. It worked, but it used a lot of screws. It was only while i was cleaning up that I noticed some pencil marks on the plyboard. There was a curious double line that kinked in the middle and changed direction, on which was written the baffling letters 'EPIP'. thinking it was just some builders code for 'bent floor board', I relaid the lino and thought nothing more of it.

Until two weeks later on honeymoon, I woke up with a massive panic induced adrenaline rush on realising 'EPIP. thats PIPE spelled backwards!'. Didnt sleep for another two weeks until we got home, and couldnt tell the mrs as she's have killed me.

It was actually a water pipe... and 3000 worth of damage to the flat below. I denied all knowledge. But she knew. She knew.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 14:10, 5 replies)
improvised security
A guy I know had his fuel nicked from his car by someone cutting the fuel line and draining the tank. (It was an old car). He referred to the culprits as fucking cunty shit cunts, replaced the line and thought that was that.

A week or so later, it happened again. This time it was fucking bastard cunty cunting arseholes. He replaced the line once more, but this time mixed a load of swarf and metal turnings with evostick and painted it on.

A week later or so, he went out in the morning and noticed blood under his car and a trail of splashes leading off up the road and across the field.

Sometimes you need to supplement a cheap car alarm.
(, Fri 11 Mar 2011, 8:56, 6 replies)
The punctuation and spelling
fell off my YouTube comment, but I replaced them with conspiracy theories and mental retardation.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 1:27, 3 replies)
Funeral bodge
This has been mentioned before by another b3tan who was also a witness, so I'll be brutally brief.

During the funeral of a family member, the coffin leaked gunge.
The gunge, presumably mainly composed of decomposing tissue fluids, was like watery gravy, and stank.

The gunge left a trail from the hearse along the pavement, up the church path and inside the church itself, and the bearers were smeared with it, some on their faces.

The vicar was seen comically gagging and clawing at the hearse window as the driver wound it up when they it pulled away from the church towards the crematorium. The gunge left another trail from the hearse to the catafalque and dribbled from the coffin during the committal while everyone was watching it.

The deceased had been dead for several days before being found, in early July, so should really have been contained in something more substantial than the usual plastic sheet inside the coffin.

When a couple of relations went to complain to the undertaker they were more or less told 'Well, we thought it'd be OK! Shit happens! Bad luck!' and offered no apology.

This funeral has become legendary among local undertakers, who refer to it in hushed tones as 'The Farce'.

To be honest, the dead bloke himself would have laughed his tits off, especially when the undertakers took the bearers round the back of the church to wash off the mess!
The family though were, and remain, Not Amused.
(, Tue 15 Mar 2011, 13:30, 9 replies)
hair-DIY
when i was about 15, i had a bit of a hair dye incident where i basically got dark brown hair dye over a large section of the brand new bathroom tiles..

i thought it would be ok as i tried to wash it off with some bleach and a cloth..but it wasnt OK, it was bad, very bad, and my mother was going to be angry, very angry.

although the dye came of the shiny green and blue tiles, the grouting was fucked. i mean there was no hiding that nearly half the bathroom now had a new black outline, and mum was due home in about 2 hours.

PANIC, FUCKING PANIC. after trying to bleach it off with all sorts of shit, oven foam, window cleaner, toilet duck i resided to the fact that it was not going to come off and id be better either moving in with my nan, or somehow hiding the evidence.

toothpaste.
it makes excellent grouting.
she sold the house about 2 years later, with the toothpaste grouting still in place and is still none the wiser about it.

remeber that one. it worked a fucking treat.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 9:39, 14 replies)
Less of a bodge job than a coming of age ritual...
Bought our first house earlier this year - Victorian terrace. Needed a whole load of work doing, including getting a radiator moved and a bunch of dead pipe taken out from under the floors.

The plumbers came and went - all good. Mrs. H went off on a Saturday to catch up with a mate leaving me to sort everything out after them.

I was in the middle of replacing the floorboards when I put a nail right through the brand new radiator spur I'd just had installed.

There are 2 lessons in this:

1 - Do not do it.
2 - If you're stupid enough to do it, then leave the nail where it is until you have taken the pressure off your heating system.

I failed on both counts, put the nail through the pipe, and as soon as I heard the water hissing I yanked the nail out, thereby breaking the partial seal it had created and causing the entire pressure of the central heating system to discharge over me, the walls and ceiling.

So I then - completely unnecessarily as it happens, turned off the water at the main and drained off every drop of water from the whole house. An overreaction yeah, but I wasn't thinking most clearly at the time.

I then did what any calm and rational man does in such a circumstance - started wandering up and down the street swearing profusely under my breath, wondering what the bloody hell I was going to do and how I was going to explain to the missus that we had no water and would need to call out a plumber to sort this schoolboy bloody error of mine out. Thinking as a minimum a weekend callout and replace the entire length of pipe... Expense... Fear...

When suddenly...

I passed a van marked "JBW Building Services" (www.jbwbuildingservices.co.uk - I carry their card to this day). In hope against hope I rang the number on the side of the van. Heard the answering voice in my phone, and also in my free ear coming from round the side of the house the van was next to. Not daring to think that there might be a way out of my stupidity, I located the guy in the yard. Turns out he was just in the neighbourhood doing a bit of work for his ex. I explained my predicament and threw myself at his mercy.

Half an hour later he's round at my house. Rather than replace the length of pipe he cut a small length of slightly wider pipe, removed the section where my nail had buckled the original pipe, and soldered a very neat little cuff over the site of the damage. Everything then refilled, up to pressure, good as new.

I had to physically press a tenner on him for this service - he'd happily have walked out of the door with nothing.

By the time the missus got home, I had everything cleaned up and dried off, the boards back in place, and no evidence whatsoever of my complete idiocy. It would have been the perfect crime, but I 'fessed up, purely because I just had to tell someone!

John - you don't strike me as a b3ta person, but if you are and you read this, then know that you are a god among men.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:18, 8 replies)
When we first got a house together
Me and Mrs SLVA were church-mouse skint. We'd rustle up a few quid each month to buy wallpaper and do each room. The downstairs toilet, being the smallest and therefore cheapest in materials was done first.

I'd never hung wallpaper before and it showed. I assumed the corner of the room was vertical (it wasn't because it was a council house) and used that as a guide. I never thought to make a plumb-bob to check if it was vertical, and fabricated a spirit level from a small box and a jug of water like some sort of bronze age tomb builder. One that got the boot by lunchtime.

Rather than working around the room, I did one wall, then the opposite wall. It all didn't line up properly at all. Still, it was my first time. I knocked a nail in and hung a mirror.

Later that day, I went for a pee. I finished up, turned around and nearly fell over. The vertical stripe not lining up with the door frame, or the mirror, or the string on the light switch fucked with my sense of balance and I felt like I was in one of those funhouse rooms with wonky walls.
I hurried out of there as it was making me feel rather disorientated.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 15:39, 1 reply)
Back in the early 80s
my brother offered to sort out some wiring on his mate's Triumph (a 2000 I think, it was certainly a large car). It had a 2 litre engine and went like a rocket. Well it did to me as a ten year old because I was used to tootling around in my dad's 1100 Mk1 Escort.

Anyway, to do said wiring, he removed the driver's seat and managed to lose two of the bolts down a drain and so had to go to the scrapyard to get some more. He secured the seat with some twine from my dad's greenhouse and set off gingerly.

He forgot all about being careful at a set of traffic lights when a neighbour pulled up alongside of him in a Cortina. The lights changed, my brother floored it and the car lurched forward.

However, the drag race was short lived because the twine snapped and the seat tipped backwards leaving my brother on his back like an astronaut in the ill-fated British Leyland space program, with no control of the car or any way of seeing where he was going as it coasted slowly to a halt three-quarters of the way across the junction.

He said it was a very awkward position to get out of and took slightly longer to right himself than it took for a policeman to wander over and squint down at him through the window with a bemused expression his face.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 11:29, 2 replies)
Gaffer Tape..
Not Duck Tape, not Duct Tape, not Fucked Tape - it's gaffer tape. Beware inferior rip-offs.

Proper gaffer tape, holds the entire professional music businesses together. Without it, live performances simply couldn't happen. I've seen or used it to:

Hold a mic-stand together
Tape a $20 000 special effects light to a vertical brick wall when no mounting points were available.
A, frequent, use is to use gaffer tape on the stage floor to mark cue-spots. Other tapes, chalk or whatever may be scuffed off or fail. Gaffer tape never fails.
Numerous: Use gaffer tape to hem trousers, gather slack cloth and, in one lovely instance, provide uplift and a cleavage to a less-than-well-endowed backing singer.

However, the ultimate gaffer tape award goes to the genius who taped a promoters Porsche, 90 degrees to the vertical - or in layman's terms, taped the fucker to a wall. It did involve an entire crew, a forklift and, unbelievably, TWO rolls of gaffer tape, but they got it done.

Wimps. I could have done it with one roll.....

Cheers
(, Fri 11 Mar 2011, 13:50, 30 replies)
Kettle of Death!
In order to plug the microwave, the kettle, the toaster, and the coffee machine in in the tiny office kitchen, we had a 4 plug ganger. The problem was, it wasn't attached to anything and sort of hung in space against the wall, suspended from the various cables running in different directions.

This was a bit dangerous, as accidentally snagging it would likely pull the kettle off the work surface onto the person making tea

First of all, we duct taped it flush against the wall, but it got knocked free. Then we put the kettle on top of the microwave, so the ganger hung down by the microwave and was slightly out of the way. This looked equally cumbersome. Something had to be done.

We called the maintenance guy. He turned up, had a look at it, then simply unplugged the kettle, pulled the microwave out, revealing 2 wall sockets no one had ever noticed, and plugged the kettle into one of them.

Then he looked at us like we were idiots, and walked out. He was kind of right.
(, Fri 11 Mar 2011, 10:17, 3 replies)
fixing? does a meal count?
This tale of genius stems back from my days learning how to make shiny lanterns be all shiny on silly actor types. We were the BTEC first group, the scum of the theatre, not even allowed to play with the nobs and slidey bits in the main auditorium. Relegated to the "back studio" for our performances, just to make sure we knew our place. Destined to spend a year feeling like retarded wannabes playing with the shitty equipment that you'd only normally find in a primary school drama club.

We were doing some shit that involved projecting silhouettes onto a shitty cobbled together piece of flat scenery and painting around them, trying to make it look as rubbish as possible, when my friend and comrade Ben, having already eaten his genoa cake ends that he bought from weigh and save, along with his 2 litre bottle of 26p cresta lemonade from sainsburys, he decided that he was still hungry, and thirsty. What better way to satisfy both hunger and thirst than with a cheap tin of soup.

But wait.

How does he cook such a meal with only the most basic of basic theatre equipment?

Well, first you pierce a hole in the top of the tin. No lighting technician worth his salt is ever without a nice sharp hard edge lurking within his penknife. So, hole pierced. Now what? To the average human being, game over. No microwave, no saucepan, no heat source... or was there...

Our hero took the half used roll of Gaffer tape, the tiny desk lamp that was positioned by the shitty travel lighting board and proceeded to become a legend in his own lifetime.
Step one. Tilt light back.
Step two. Tape the can to the light making sure the 40 watt bulb is in direct contact with the can.
Step three. Make sure the setup is stable.
Step four. Plug in and turn on light.
Step five. Wait for an hour or until there are bubbling noises coming from can.
Step six. Open can being careful not to burn yourself.
Step seven. Consume soup.

It took ages, but dammit, that S.O.B was eating soup while the rest of us starved.

I fucking love you Ben.
(, Tue 15 Mar 2011, 12:02, 3 replies)
Not mine
Mongolia + terrible car + terrible roads = Snapped axle

Snapped axle + tyre irons + belts + cable ties = fixed axle

snapped axle
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 16:14, 5 replies)
Mrs Vagabond And The Shelves Of Death
... and so it came to pass that Mrs Vagabond decreed that shelves would be put up upon the wall in the home office, that we could put boxes of paperwork upon them and be tidier in her eyes.

So up they went, and they were very bloody load-bearing shelves - 18'sq boxes weighing at least a couple of stone each.

Then it was decided that actually they should be moved up a bit, and thus the end of the rail cut off with the jigsaw to make it look nice. So it was spoken, and so it was done. In doing so, a couple of the screw holes had widened, and thus on consulting The Senior Vagabond, I put spent matches into the holes to make it tight to a new rawl plug.

Up again did the boxes go.

Now - at the time we had a computer that was so old, it used a CRT monitor! I'd loaded the Creative Suite onto it, and this had, frankly, made it shit it's pants.

The way to operate this computer was to wait until one was desperately thirsty and bored, and then turn it on. Go and boil the kettle, make a lovely cup of tea, slake one's thirst, read the paper, maybe have a biscuit, and then go and click on Potatochop.

Go and boil the kettle, make another lovely cup of tea, slake one's thirst, finish the paper, and then, if you were lucky, it would be ready to play.

And so it was that one afternoon on her day off, Mrs Vagabond switched the computer on, and went and made a cup of tea.

And woe was her and her heart filled with fear as a sound like a BOMB dropping rang in her ears. She rushed to the office to find that the shelves had in their entirity torn from the wall, leaving 2-foot wide holes, and completely crushing the machine, the monitor, and all that was good below them in turn.

She doesn't ask me to do so much DIY these days - we tend to get a working class-type in to do it for us.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:59, 2 replies)
If all you've got is a hammer ...
Everything looks like a prostitute.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:20, 1 reply)
My gf was driving me and a mate to Brighton for a weekend of fun and hi-jinx
We'd barely cleared the M25 before the two boys cracked open the first of many lagers to be drunk that weekend, while the missus got on with the sensible business of driving us to our destination. Spirits were high, when somewhere near Leatherhead, the vintage Metro began to cough and splutter and eventually we had to pull over at the side of the road. Luckily, we were near a garage.

I popped the bonnet and using my (albeit limited) mechanical knowledge immediately diagnosed the problem. "Honey?" I called out. "Where's your oil cap?"

Nowhere to be found, unfortunately. Neither did the garage sell replacement Metro oil caps, so I was forced to improvise. Thinking quickly, I downed the rest of my can of beer and ripped it in half, scrunching the torn ends together so it resembled a kind of cone. Wedging the thin end into the engine, I hammered it into place with an unopened can.

The car started and my beer-can technology remained in place for months afterwards.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 12:11, 18 replies)
a6poq *
When I was doing up the house, I wanted to mount the electrical sockets on the skirting boards, but these were quite thin and it made them rather close to the ground. Some appliances would have been hard to plug in, because the cable emerges from the plug downwards.

So I mounted them upside down. And you know what? It's much more convenient that way, and where you have to reach down behind something to get to them, it's a damn sight easier to plug plugs in that way up.

I'm always going to mount them that way, in future...

* stand on your head and read it
(, Tue 15 Mar 2011, 14:03, 7 replies)
Alternatively
If it moves and it shouldn't, slather it with WD-40 until the greasy residue drips from its surface like the blend of half-evaporated snakebite, puke and KY jelly that congeals on your thighs when you wake up on a Saturday morning in a strange bed. The shame will freeze the offending object to the spot.

If it doesn't move and it should, capture enough ducks to surround the object entirely and tie them together loosely around the object using heavy-duty adhesive tape. The circular downdraft created by the angry flapping of a flock of mallards will blast the object from all sides and create a vortex of momentum (harnessing the power of duck-duct tape) and before long the object will be wrenched from its moorings. Or possibly moorhens.
(, Sat 12 Mar 2011, 14:13, 8 replies)
My dad is a warchild, and thus resents having to replace absolutely anything.
He's a keen and celebrated scientist, and his office at the university when he was there was an original professor's combination of a desk surrounded by piles of books, batterered armchairs, and mechanical devices that no doubt today would have him surrounded by an army of health and safety experts every time he operated them. Some of my first toys as a child were jigsaws for the undergraduates of the current knowledge of DNA structures, and animal skulls, with which I'd play when he'd bring me into work with him. He made his coffee in a beaker on a tripod & gauze, over a bunsen burner on a blue flame. It took all of a minute and a half to make, as a result.

His current single bedroom flat is like a Heath Robinson cartoon designed by a graphophile: books line all the walls to the high ceilings, and everything nearly works. The cooker has a wedge with which to close the door, the fridge is leaning backwards slightly so that the door doesn't fly open when you open it, and the chest of drawers in the hallway fits so into the alcove so well it's supported by the skirting board.

That high ceiling has an increasing amount of dents in it - he regularly drives to France to stock up on booze, and has a taste for champagne. Thus whenever he opens a bottle he likes to pop the cork with aplomb, and wherever it falls it stays, for another visitor to find, that he can regale them with the story of who that bottle was drunk with and what was discussed.

Without doubt my favourite mechanism is for the shower door, which requires the "magic paperclip" as the door does not quite fit flush to the bath. This is a clip bent in a manner just so, that, when hooked over there and then tucked into there, holds the door shut.

Bodgers? He's the King.
(, Fri 11 Mar 2011, 13:18, 2 replies)
Testing bulbs
My mate's brother-in-law (tenuous but I did know him) was going through a stage in the 90s whereby he'd buy stuff from auctions, mainly bankrupt stock, tart them up and flog them on. One time, he bought a box of assorted lightbulbs from the bankruptcy of a smallish electrical suppliers.

He set about testing them. About 400 of the fuckers. He very quickly realised (after about 7) that fitting them to the ceiling wasn't going to do his back and neck any favours, so he got a basic bayonet light fitting, screwed it to a plank and added a flex and a plug.

He soon got fed up of pushing them into the bayonet after about 50 bulbs and sought an even easier way to test them. So he took apart the light fitting, cut away the metal bayonet part and thus was left with just the bare metal pins which he could touch the bulb on to. It worked a treat, apart from being extremely dangerous.

Halfway through, he fancied a drink, so went to put the kettle on. Rather than switching it off for obvious reasons, he decided it'd be ok plugged in as nobody else was home.

He went back out to the shed after 10 minutes to carry on just in time to see a snail slithering up one side and then connect the terminals. He said it went very rigid and straight, protruding spectacularly far out of the shell, before the shell cracked and steam puffed out like a tiny kettle, followed by smoke and a nasty smell of burning gastropod. It then went black, shrivelled up and fell off. All within the space of 5-6 seconds.
(, Fri 11 Mar 2011, 12:07, 1 reply)
electrickery
Recently moved into another house. The previous tenants have re-wired.....



Pretty much all the wires hanging out were live and just going near it was a scary thing to do.

The power had been cut off when they skipped out without paying the bill. EDF had removed the big fuses from the outside meter box to do this and when I asked for it to be reconnected, the chap turned up, fitted the fuses, then said he would check all was well inside.
"wow, err....I didn't see that", and he left, wishing me luck.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 17:45, 10 replies)
The house that Jack (of all trades) built.
My Dad basically built the house I grew up in.

It started life as a run down, deserted 1 bedroon bungalow with an outside toilet. It is now a 4 bedroom, two bathroom beautiful looking place.

That hides more pitfuls for the unwary than The Crystal Maze. There is:

The conservatory roof that has a wandering leak that gets 'fixed' and moves, gets 'fixed' and moves, gets 'fixed' and moves. He's been chasing it for five years now and I think it's winning.

The shower door that opens inwards, so you have to squeeze round it to get in and out. But its too tightly sprung, so is liable to snap shut on you at any moments.

The boiler that has two settings. Furnace and Off. No matter what it says on the dial.

The pair of kitchen cupboard doors where one opens whenever the other one shuts.

The garage entrance that is precisely 1 inch wider than the widest point of the car. Although that's brilliant just for the fun of watching Mum try to park.

The loft hatch which was measured precisely to be exactly the same size as the entrance to the loft, rather than maybe an inch wider so that it actually settled on the ridges it was supposed to. It stays in place by being twisted ever so slightly so that it catchs and doesn't fall. You can't even see the gaps. unless you look up.

The back step to the garage which, realistically, you ought to build a step to get onto.

I'm tempted to go round there at the weekend to make a note of the things I've forgotten and update this list.

I think my Dad's motto is 'If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing half of'
(, Thu 10 Mar 2011, 14:10, 4 replies)
Duct Tape. A-whoo-oo. Tales of derring-do, bad and good luck tales, etc.
Men (and unfortunate women too) if a long winter evening tempts you to try a bit of kinky sex and you are about to use that ever-handy duct tape as an impromptu gag, here is a tip:

As it is applied, compress your lips together. Hard.

Forget this tip, and when your snog-hungry partner rips that gag off, the following shall occur: a bodged up hair removal attempt on your upper lip PLUS a pair of chaffed lips torn forcibly off your very face.

A bodged waxing might be bearable, but let me be clear: also having your lips torn off is not. You will scream, you will convulse, you will knee your partner right in the claggies and you will spend the rest of the evening in chilly silence while you slowly bleed.

Just sayin'.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 23:47, 10 replies)
There was a hole in the internet
but I filled it with boobs and pictures of cats.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 16:41, 6 replies)
The bodged projector we named the "iTard".
I'm a cheapskate; I have no problem admitting it. I use servers and computer stuff salvaged from skips. That also makes me a bin raider and hoarder. I can't walk past a skip without delving in and sometimes I'll hawk my finds online and sometimes Ill manufacture and bodge something. This is a tale of one such time.

I had a laptop that was a complete write off. I'd inherited it from someone else. The motherboard had a crack down the middle and there was no screen, having been torn clean off. The first stage was to get this working. Using my autism to great effect and invoking my rain man style soldering skills, the machine was soon working having been screwed to a piece of plastic and the keyboard DUCT-taped to the thing. As it came with a Vista OEM licence (befitting the time) that was transferred to another machine and the hard drive went with it. Enter fellow b3tan epicsnail and his knowledge of Linux distro's and in a flash, the thing was running from a memory stick, with an external monitor. The LCD monitor I had was itself another bodged contraption, and we wondered if this was stripped down and placed onto an old style overhead projector, would it project the image. Within minutes, I was on the phone to the primary schools in my area. I figured that with the advent of interactive white boards, at least one would have one going spare. Turns out the second school I rang were only too willing to help. That afternoon, the projector, and trolley were in my dining room and the LCD was placed over the top having been ripped away from the casing and back-screen. The contraption booted up and projected perfectly. It took a few minor alterations what with being backwards, out of focus and upside down, but we got there in the end. We strung up a bed sheet in my living room and experimented watching films, streaming videos from the server and joining in with pron films!

The project got a little out of hand after that Ill confess. Custom boot screens, decals and permanent marker designs. We even went for an Apple style proprietary power supply design that involved a power cable made of a three pin plug at each end!
Not wanting to be accused of failing to keeping up with the latest technology, the next stage is the development of 3D. The broad plan is to build another one, find a source video with that has the left eye on the left and the right on the right. Then, using some sort of extended desktop arrangement, display the two images simultaneously and project through some sort of polarising filter and wearing glasses.

I know we took pictures, i'm trying to find a couple to post up.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2011, 14:09, 6 replies)
I have a friend
who absolutely LOVES mashed potato.
(, Fri 11 Mar 2011, 15:28, 5 replies)
Can't believe this one worked!
The jooster-molloy on my TC-895 came loose after an extended period of hoknoying. I had a look on freb-stuff.com and jooster-molloys were going for 132.80. Fortunately I had a spare treaknubbler from a SSSSSA4982 floating about, so I warbled it down with a mate's tremwozner (a story in itself!) and it fitted perfectly. The TC-895 is as good as new, but it does occasionally hiss like a Peruvian diplomat.
(, Fri 11 Mar 2011, 11:35, 5 replies)
Bodge Jobs
In the late 1970s we had to get together a scratch ceilidh band at short notice for a charity barn dance. Barn dances used to be held in real barns with bales of hay chucked around for 'atmosphere' whilst bands were put on a 'stage' made from a some kind rickety cart which was never large enough. On this particular occasion we were pleased to have with us a pleasant young man called Simon who was a good useful musician and an asset to the band. Unfortunately there weren't enough inputs on the amp so Simon said not to worry, he'd improvise, and stuck a couple of wires into one of the input sockets alongside the jack that was already in there.

You can see what's coming. can't you?

The first two dances went very well. Halfway through the third, I noticed a strange smell that seemed to be emanating from the amplification equipment. The others had also noticed it and at the end of the dance we could see that smoke was starting to emerge. "Not to worry" said Simon, who spoke with such authority and, given the nature of his day job, we assumed he knew about stuff like that. So we did not protest when he fiddled around with the wiring, stopping the smoke.

A little later we started to notice the distinctive aroma drifting our way once more. This time there was quite a lot more smoke. One of the organisers came and stopped the dance, and gave us an almighty bollocking about safety (no 'health and' in those days) and fire risks, and so on ad nauseam. The trouble was, we had difficulty keeping straight faces, especially when he started ranting about reporting us to fire safety officers.

Simon was a fireman.....
(, Tue 15 Mar 2011, 15:16, Reply)
Red nose and red face.
It was 1988, and the first Red Nose Day was upon us. I was at primary school at the time, and all my friends had red noses. I, though, didn't. This was because my parents refused to give me the money to buy one - I don't think that they'd quite understood what Red Nose Day was all about - and I had neither the cash nor the opportunity to buy my own.

I felt like I was the only kid in school not participating in this momentous event. In truth, I was not the only one - but this was mainly because my younger brother also lacked a prosthetic proboscis.

But things got worse: I was supposed to be going out that evening with some friends, most of whom were not at my school. Not only would I be the only person in class without a red nose: I would also be the only person in my entire social circle without one.

Something had to be done. I adverted to the one guaranteed weapon in the child's armoury: pester-power. And it worked. My mother relented, and provided me with a red nose.

I had won. Curse the gods, I had won.

My victory wasn't supposed to be like this.

The red nose with which my mother provided me was a ping-pong ball, coloured with red marker, attached with elastic.
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 14:01, 5 replies)
It only has to work until they're gone
I got a call from a mate, who was stuck because the key had snapped off in the ignition of his car. Because of the nature of this particular mate (a shambolic mess of clumsiness and weird coincidences), this wasn't at all surprising. Knowing that I was rather more technical than he was, he called me up to see if I could come and hot-wire the car to get him home.

It was an old mini, so pretty easy to get into the ignition and spark it up with a screwdriver. But there was another problem: the steering lock was on. Now a steering lock that can be unbolted would be rather pointless, so they use security bolts: strange shaped ones that can be tightened, but if you try to undo them the spanner just slips off.

Except that, as I gazed at these particular ones, I noticed that they had been filed so that they would take a spanner. Odd, I thought. So I had a look at the broken ignition key, and saw a strange residue on the broken edges.

It turns out that a couple of days before, he'd taken it to a garage for some work. At some point they'd managed to snap the key, but rather than replace it they'd dismantled the steering column (which required filing the bolts), extracted the broken key tip, then super-glued the two halves of the key together before returning the car...
(, Mon 14 Mar 2011, 13:21, 2 replies)

This question is now closed.

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