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» School Days

Even managed to get into the sydney morning herald
At my school, everyone always spent hours talking about what jokes they were going to pull on the last day, but no-one ever seemed to play any- all the ones that had been done had been done years ago by friends of people that someone had once spoken to someone who they knew.

During one of these conversations the idea came up that simply had to be done. While we still had a year before we left, we decided that this would be an advantage as we would both get to see it, and it would be blamed on the students that actually were leaving. The highly dastardly plan was to do a bit of artwork on the front lawn (which you got told off for walking on). Being a highly sensible, mature all boys school the subject was never in any question.

One maths lesson later and the exact dimensions along with the surface area of grass that would need to be killed had been calculated; one trip to sainsburies and enough weedkiller to kill 50 times this much grass was procured. The mission was all set and ready to go.

We returned that night and whilst a few of us mixed the weedkiller with water, someone else scaled the security fencing, climbed up the side of the tech block and turned the PIR on the security light to face the wall. By this time the rest of us were ready, some took up watch positions whilst the actual artwork was created. Nails and string were used to mark out the outline, the weedkiller that had previously been mixed with water was applied, mission accomplished.

Over the course of the next week or so, the library was periodically invaded by a dozen or so teenagers running in, laughing at a slightly yellowing patch on the lawn then running out. After a while it became obvious what was so comical.

The caretakers first plan to return the lawn to its former glory was to simply get some blokes from the council to mow a rectangle around it to the mud, then replant it and let it all grow back. He had not accounted for the amount of weedkiller used, up grew the grass around it, leaving a bare dirt cdc where there once had been a yellowed grass cdc. Plan B was brought into action- dig up the grass and re-turn aforementioned rectangle. Lets just say that pathclear (which advertises as keeping driveways clear for 6 months) applied at 50 times the recommended concentration doesn't give up that easily.

After a few months of making it more and more obvious, he finally succeeded, this was managed by digging up and replacing not only the turf but the mud underneath.

We thought that it was all over, but little did we know of the microsoft plane flying silently overhead.

A couple of years later a story suddenly appeared in the local paper. Being a teenager, I was of course invincible; I decided that I might as well give them an interview.

The police did eventually phone me up and arrange a convenient time to arrest me, after a few hours that consisted mainly of the police laughing and joking, I was officially reprimanded- told what I had done was very naughty and not to do it again.

Overall I think it was worth the reprimand, and I'm still proud that it got into one of the most distant newspapers possible: the Sydney Morning Herald

I know some of you might think I'm bullshitting, but take look at the email address I signed up with. I got this account years before all this happened.
(Thu 29th Jan 2009, 18:35, More)

» Vandalism

Pearoast
I assume my school was not particularly unusual in the fact that everyone always spent hours talking about what jokes they were going to pull on the last day, but the plans never seemed to materialise. All previous ones that had been done, had occurred years ago, masterminded by a friend of a friend of a guy who someone had once met.

During one of these conversations the idea came up that was just too good to not do. While we still had a year before we left, we decided that this could be used to our advantage: we would both get to see the full effects as they unfolded, and would evade punishment as it would be blamed on the students that were leaving. The dastardly plan was to create a piece of artwork on the front lawn. Being highly sensible, mature students of an all boys school, the subject of the art piece was never in any doubt.

One maths lesson later (the actual work being cast aside in an unusual show of enthusiasm for geometry) we managed to calculate the appropriate dimensions and therefore the surface area of grass that would need to be killed. Sainsbury's was visited and enough weed killer to kill 50 times the calculated area of grass was procured. The mission was all set and ready to go.

We returned that night. While a few of us mixed the weedkiller with water, someone scaled the security fencing, climbed up the side of the tech block and turned the PIR on the security light to face the wall. By this time the rest of us were ready. Some took up watch positions, whilst others created the actual artwork. Nails and string were used to mark out the outline and the weed killer was applied. We went home happy in the knowledge that the mission had been accomplished without a hitch.

The library happened to be on the first floor and had windows overlooking the front lawn. Over the course of the next week or so, it was periodically invaded by a dozen or so teenagers running in, laughing at a slightly yellowing patch on the lawn then running back out. After a while the reason for this became slowly more obvious.

The caretakers first plan to return the lawn to its former glory was to simply get some blokes from the council to mow a rectangle around it to the mud, then replant it and let it all grow back. He had not accounted for the amount of weed killer used. The artwork slowly reappeared, this time a bare dirt cdc where before there had been a yellowed grass cdc. His plan B was brought into action- dig up the grass and re-turf aforementioned rectangle. Lets just say that pathclear applied at 50 times the recommended concentration doesn't give up that easily.

After a few months of making it more and more obvious, he finally succeeded. This was managed by digging up and replacing not only the turf, but also the mud underneath.

We thought that it was all over, but little did we know of the Microsoft plane flying silently overhead.

A couple of years later a story suddenly appeared in the local paper. Being a teenager, I was of course invincible and keen to get my 15 minutes of fame; I decided that I might as well phone them up and give them an interview. The next day I was on page three of the local rag, with a picture of my massive cock.

The police did eventually phone me up and arrange a convenient time to arrest me. After a few hours, that consisted mainly of the police and my legal aid solicitor cracking knob gag after knob gag, I was officially reprimanded- a stern looking sergeant sat me down and told what I had done was very naughty and I was not to do it again.

The thing that still makes it for me is that it got into one of the most distant newspapers possible: the Sydney Morning Herald
(Thu 7th Oct 2010, 14:09, More)

» The best thing I've built

An arc welder


As a child I was forever dismantling anything I could get my hands on and trying (usually unsuccessfully) to make build new, better things. As I've grown up, my access to tools and knowledge of physics has improved; this has however had the result of increasing the frequency of both successful creations and disasters.

Earlier in the year, I decided that an arc welder would be a useful thing to own and would increase that number of other unwise things I could build. Now any sensible person would at this point would have checked out ebay or screwfix; in case it was not already obvious, I'm not that sensible. I logged into freecycle and posted, offering to save people a trip to the tip by taking their old broken microwaves off their hands.

There are lots of fun bits & bobs inside an old microwave, but for this particular project I was after the transformers; I salvaged 2 transformers and with the aid of an angle grinder, an oven, a variety of odd bits of wood and a mallet removed the original secondary windings then replaced them with some nice thick copper that I bought online.

Now that I had two transformers, I bought some car battery cable, a huge crocodile clip and a welding rod holder and wired it all up. I plugged both the transformers into a multi-gang extension lead and I turned the mains on. There was a nice satisfying buzzing sound, but as soon as I touched the welding rod to the scrap of steel I was using for the test the fuse blew. This was obviously drawing more than the 13A that the sockets in the garage can supply. Now clearly at this point the correct course of action would be to consult an electrician in order to install a dedicated 30A circuit for the welder; I didn't have an electrician handy, but I did have two 13A sockets in front of me. A little test proved that while 13A wasn't enough, 26A was plenty.

Once I had a working welder I set about welding every piece of scrap steel I had to hand together; this kept me occupied for a few hours, but suddenly the welder stopped working properly - it would not strike an arc and was making a much louder buzzing noise. I casually lifted my mask to see what was going on, and instantly knew what the problem was: the 3" flames coming from the top of each transformer.

After much swearing and fumbling with the power switch with welding glove clad hands, I disconnected the electricity and put the fires out. While the primaries were ruined, luckily enough the secondaries I'd wound survived. I went back to freecycle and managed to find a couple of replacement transformers, with which I rebuilt the welder. This time I left the thermal safety cutouts in place.

It has proved useful for building a variety of other things, the most useful is probably my wood stove thingie:

and the least useful is probably the swiss army teapot:

the welder was too powerful and made lots of holes; it's useless as a teapot and most of the other tools are impossible to use without having a teapot in the way.

Shameless link to my blog with more details
(Thu 11th Oct 2012, 18:21, More)

» The Best / Worst thing I've ever eaten

I can't be the only one...
In the shower with new shower gel; smells like lemons, claims to be made of lemons, nope- tastes of soap. Ooh, smells like mint, claims to be made with a metric fuckton of mint, makes bollocks minty fresh; nope, tastes like soap again.
(Thu 26th May 2011, 14:52, More)

» Awesome teachers

Taught me for year 3
Mr Lee (sadly died a few years ago) was one of several great teachers I've had in my time in education. Being in his class did involve semi-regular interruptions from kids sent from other classes in search of one of the myriad of tools which Mr Lee would have lying about in his desk drawer; this was the sort of teacher who would accidentally write on the whiteboard with a permanent marker so wander into his cupboard and fetch some white spirit to clean the board (this not being some science department, but the cupboard of a man who taught 7 year olds).

It is hard to describe just how brilliant he was, but just how much time and respect he had for his pupils is perfectly demonstrated by the time he phoned my home one evening. We had had something of an argument in class that day, but far from phoning my parents to give me a bollocking, he wanted to talk to me; he wanted to apologise as he had looked up the answer to whatever we had disagreed about and found himself to be in the wrong.

To have the humility to to phone the home of a 7/8 year old and admit freely both to the child and parents something which could so easily have been never mentioned again is the mark of a man who puts integrity and learning above personal pride. Such a shame I was one of the last to get the benefit of this particular example of great teaching, hopefully if I do decide to become a teacher (I'm toying with the idea) I'll be able to be as patient, honest and inspiring as him.
(Fri 18th Mar 2011, 0:32, More)
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