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Nappy Cannon

Wed, 25th Feb 2009, 11:19:57  |  Category: About Me  |  Permalink

Fantastic post on b3ta by lustfish today, made me laugh out loud for quite a while... Enjoy!

I have a mate. He's a bad influence. When he and I get together, we're positively chaotic. This episode tells of a time shortly after he was blessed with his first child. Sit back and enjoy.

So my mate lives on a fairly remote farm. Not served by regular trash pickup, he is quite canny with his rubbish. Once their little crotchfruit came along, however, he and the missus quickly (within three days) tired of terry-towelling nappies, and bought disposables. All was fine for four months. To deal with the disposables, he simply tossed them into a 55-gallon oil drum outside the house.

Well, the inevitable happened and one day, the drum was full. This happily coincided with a hot autumn day, a visit from yours truly, and less happily, after quite a lot of beer had been drunk. What to do, what to do?

Burying? Nope - not biodegradable. Can't take it to the tip, we're all too pissed. No more drums, so can't start another load. I know; let's burn it! It's, after all, a metal oil drum. That'll work great! Ah, but the drum is full - to the very brim - with sh*tty nappies.

So Dumb and Dumber dug out a drill and cut a hole about a foot from the bottom of the drum. We then dribbled, over the course of the next two hours, five (FIVE!) gallons of petrol into the top of the barrel.

Then - and we both thought we were SO very clever - we used some detonation cord, and ran it through the hole in the bottom of the drum to light the petrol from the base of the fire.

Now - picture this in slow motion - the following things happened. The det cord lit. The burning ACME-like spark travelled prettily along the cord. It vanished into the freshly cut hole in the drum. There was a rumbling sound. That was the oh-no-second. We turned around and began to run. Behind us there was a sort of squishBOOM sound as the tragically explosive mixture of petrol and festering, rancid nappies exploded.

So here's what happened next. It turns out that (who knew?) 55-gallon oil drums are stronger than nappies, especially when the top of the drum is missing. When you ignite a tightly packed drum full of nappies from the bottom, you have created a superb nappy cannon. As we found out. After the squishBOOM, there was a louder FLOOOOOOM sound. I looked over my shoulder to see a huge tongue of fire leaping out of the drum, and balls of fire above that.

The balls of fire turned out to be flaming, shit filled nappies - which flew about 300 feet into the air and then started raining down on the house, the cars, the tractor, us and everything else. We also found out that stamping on them to put them out isn't nice.

The smell was truly incredible. Some of those nappies had been festering throughout a British summer, at the bottom of the nappy cannon. The sound of the molotov shittails thumping down around us, along with the smell of roasting piss, shit and rotten nappy will stay with me forever.

The final crowning glory was when his wife came out of the farmhouse, looked around at the still-unfolding carnage, muttered "fucking hell" and went back inside - not knowing that at least 30 flaming balls of shite were setting fire to the roof above her head.

We eventually got the fires put out, with not too much damage to property, but I was banned for a LONG time.

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Cambridge Canadian Club

Fri, 20th Feb 2009, 23:37:05  |  Category: About Me  |  Permalink

Cambridge Canadian Club Annual DinnerA few days ago I got an email from the president of the Cambridge Canadian Club asking if I'd be interested in being the official photographer at their Annual Dinner. I said yes because I was in a bit of an impulsive mood at the time, and any experience is good experience. Besides, I got to meet His Excellency James R. Wright, the Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom!

The dinner happened tonight, and was great fun! I learnt some pretty good lessons as I went over the photos - namely to not bother trying to shoot without flash inside at night (I thought I might be able to rescue the photos with post-processing, but the photos were so noisy that I had to discard most). I also definitely need a wide angle lens - anyone have a spare 400 burning a hole in their pocket?

Anyway, enough of the waffle - as per usual, I've put the photos up on flickr and facebook. I've also temporarily put the full resolution files up on the web here. I've also put the un-tampered photos up, straight off the camera (there's quite a lot in here that I haven't included in the other sets, because they're rubbish) here.

Cheers for the opportunity though guys, I hope you're happy with the results!

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Trinity Hall Boat Club Website

Wed, 28th Jan 2009, 10:52:43  |  Category: Design  |  Permalink

THBCAfter a couple of months worth of work, the new Trinity Hall Boat Club Website is nearing completion...
The front end of the site took me about a week to create, but writing the code for the secure back end, where you can update basically everything that you can see on the site through a web interface, took a lot longer! Society websites at universities tend to live for as long as their creator stays at uni, but I'm hoping that the user friendly back end of this site will allow people to keep it up to date whether I'm around or not.

This site also has some useful features built in, such as users being able to book seats at Boat Club Dinners, and the collation of all of their information (college account numbers, phone numbers, ARA numbers) for easy society administration. Registered users can even search email addresses according to strokeside / bowside preference!

Now the site is live, I'm hoping that it will gradually come to life as it populates with content... We shall wait and see!

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From the inside out

Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 12:01:15  |  Category: Other Random Stuff  |  Permalink

Painting from the inside outA nifty little flash animation in an email from Irene today, a painting that goes from the inside out. The artist first draws the skeleton, then fleshes it out and finally clothes it - an interesting animation and obviously a good anatomical eye!

You can see it here...

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Dog Fail

Thu, 18th Dec 2008, 13:22:15  |  Category: Other Random Stuff  |  Permalink

Cooking Your DogA good post on the Fail blog today, made me chuckle... :)

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Thu, 20th Nov 2008, 09:18:16  |  Category: Web Comics  |  Permalink


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BP Expedition to Antarctica

Tue, 21st Oct 2008, 13:01:13  |  Category: About Me  |  Permalink

BP Antarctica Competition I was forwarded an email today asking for entrants to a competition being run by BP, who are hosting a 12-day expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula. The event is focussed around generating ideas to combat climate change and energy security. After seeing glacial retreat in the Alps this summer, I'm keen to get involved in projects like this, and travelling to Antartica would be a life ambition fulfilled.

Part of the event seems to revolve around participants using the experience as a launch ramp to go on to share the experience. If I get through the initial selection, I'm planning to build a mini site where I'll keep everyone updated with my progress, as well as running a forum to stimulate some discussion on the topic.

So, I'll start this discussion off by linking to a previous post on this site, with an excellent YouTube video.. You can see it here...


Aguille Du Midi

Sat, 4th Oct 2008, 23:25:26  |  Category: About Me  |  Permalink

Descending the ridgeI keep putting more and more of the Alps photos up on the web, I'm slowly getting through them. I've just put up the shots taken when we went up to Aguille Du Midi, next to Mt Blanc at 6.30am. It was a phenomenal place to be, and the photos go some way to doing the views justice. You can see them on Flickr here, in my Alps Collection...

Being there was amazing, and I definitely want to return armed with knowledge of mountaineering so that I can actually get out on the mountains! After some altitude training anyway... :)

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Thu, 2nd Oct 2008, 19:12:11  |  Category: About Me  |  Permalink

Well, I've finally moved down to Cambridge to start my PhD! House and PhD both seem good, plenty of friendly people and that familiar gravitational feeling of being pulled towards rowing...
I've had a very brief chat with my supervisor about my project, and it seems that I'm not going to be working with mice, but humans.. Good news after reading this article on the BBC!

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SET Awards - Results

Sat, 27th Sep 2008, 18:43:07  |  Category: About Me  |  Permalink

In a previous post, I wrote about how I was a finalist in the 2008 SET Awards (Science, Engineering & Technology Student of the Year). The interview and presentation gala was held in London yesterday, and amazingly, I won my category!

It was a fantastic evening, very glamorous and glitzy! I barely remember the presentation of my award, it passed in such a blur. Photos taken by mum are up on flickr here.

What a brilliant end to my studies at Bristol!

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