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back to article How I BLEW my co-workers' HEADS OFF ... without going to jail

Guns? Check. Ammo? Check. Bloody squibs. Er no. Chainsaw? Oh, yes indeedy. Right, let’s have a jog around the office, maybe waste a few dudes. And do please keep the camera steady, will you? We want to make sure this gets on video. This is not, as you might imagine, a case of going postal at work or happy-slapping taken to its …

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INCOMING!!!

Rubber band ball grenades. They can be fun.

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Terminator

Nerf guns. Lots of them.

From where I sit right now, I can see seven of them.

EDIT: sorry, eight. One guy has two on his desk.

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BXL

Re: Nerf guns. Lots of them.

Marmalade office any chance?

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Pint

Re: Nerf guns. Lots of them.

Ah yes, I fondly remember the days of Nerf guns, before it escalated to ping-pong balls....

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I've had an LCD monitor with a dodgy connexion that needed the odd slap to cajole it in to life.

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Windows

The correct terminology for whacking bits of kit to get them working is Percussive Maintenance.

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Likewise I have one at home with a somewhat dodgy cable connection at the rear, leading to some quite interesting psychadelic patterns occasionally..

But a swift application of percussive maintenance normally does the trick (where is the requisite Hammer icon by the way?).

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J 3

Yup, and I used to have a CRT at home that needed a strong slap on the right side every once in a while to get the image to show correctly.

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No, it is "Kinetic Recalibration"

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I have an LCD TV like that...

It's a choice between hitting it or waiting the 5 minutes for it to warm up enough that it corrects itself anyway...

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Stop

re: where is the requisite Hammer icon by the way?

This is the icon for when its hammer time ----->

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The laptop I'm using now (Toshiba TE2100) needs to be either on a perfectly flat rigid surface, or pressed down in just the right spot, else the LCD backlight goes into disco-light mode (constantly flickering on/off).

Plus the screen hinge is gone, so it needs to be propped up like a modern Microsoft wannabe laptop.

Still, it works, it has features the modern laptops don't have (apart from "character"), and does the job for basic web browsing… or running a node on an emergency communications packet network.

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When I was a lad, we found picking up the school Apple ]['s and dropping them back on the table from the height of a couple of inches worked wonders for fixing miscellaneous problems. Caused by dust perhaps?

In the office? Doom and Chess via MS Exchange.

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Hardware, the part of the computer you can slap :)

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In The sopranos its called a brogean adjustment :)

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Meh

Maybe that kind of thing happens in the offices of journalists. In an office full of software engineers you just see people appearing to be in some sort of totally immersive gaming experience. It's all screens and headphones and no awareness of each other.

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Anonymous Coward

> In an office full of software engineers you just see people appearing to be in some sort of totally immersive gaming experience.

We found that this behaviour caused all sorts of problems as people don't talk to each other. On the other hand sticking a set of headphones onto a staff member and letting them become one with the code can be fantastically productive.

So some unsung genius came up with the "office intercom". It's a rubber doggy chew toy.

The way it works is simplicity itself; when you need to speak to someone you launch it at their head from across the office. Not only do you get the attention of that person, you also get to hone your reflexes dodging the thing coming back the other way at twice the speed. You often get to learn interesting new swear words too.

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Immersive Gaming

Ah but in my old BP UK days we improved massively with the simple use of interconnected tables and X Wing V Tie Fighter. No headphones, just two teams (natch!) and full use of 'shout across the room' intercom technology.

Trying to get your wingmen to help in a sneak attack on an enemy ship called for truly inventive language when said enemy was sat next to you.

Ah, happy days

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Linux

"My only criticism of the show is that it’s apparent none of the performers have worked in a real office. The backing soundtrack of typewriters and dot-matrix printers was a giveaway, and at one point they slap their malfunctioning LCD displays to try get them to work." -- I had a LCD monitor that bleached to white every so often, one quick and deliberate slap on the top right corner (from behind) was enough to restore normality.

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Indoor Cricket

Make a ball of parcel tape (requires a considerable amount). Any straight thing will do as a bat. Use one or two handed depending on length of straight thing. Devise rough rules and a rougher boundary. Play. Under no circumstances use a real cricket ball - unless company bust and you've all been laid off.

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Automated defence systems

£20 USB missile launcher with built-in webcam + OpenCV programmed to recognise my boss. Reverse engineer the control protocol and the rest rather solves itself. It hasn't quite got the adjustment for range sorted out - I need to duct tape a kinect to it.

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Re:OpenCV

Thanks for the lead to OpenCV. It answers a need I have that I couldn't articulate properly to teh googulz and thus couldn't find for myself.

Now, live in fear of my next project, mortals. Bwah-ha-ha etc. etc.

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jai
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Curling

Used to work in an office with polished wooden-effect flooring, and all the chairs have wheels.

When the traders would get bored on a friday afternoon they'd wander round, grab one of the guys by the back of his chair, and whizz him down the length of the office, in between everyone's desks.

I never got 'curl'ed, my job was to man the brush, furiously scrubbing ahead of my speeding coleague, trying to steer them in a straight line and not piling in to the back of someone elses chair.

good times.

my current place of employment has carpets. can't get up any kind of speed or distanceon carpet :(

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Re: Self Curling?

Even though it was full of computers the desks were those lab bench type things with thin metal legs bolted to the (polished wood) floor. So you self launched on your 5-point caster chair down one aisle by grabbing one table leg and one bookcase and then had to handle the cornering force to do a right angle turn off the last table leg into the second aisle. Points awarded for accuracy of the right angle turn and speed with which you hit the cupboard at the end of the second aisle (which obviously required you to have achieved a reasonably accurate turn).

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Re: Curling

can't get up any kind of speed or distanceon carpet :(

Who needs distance? 20 feet on cheap office carpet is plenty to build up enough static charge to crash any PC you can touch on your way past.

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Re: Curling

Hospital wards get boring too. Bladder syringes make great water pistols. Bladder syringes and an electric wheelchair make a tank ... :-D

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Happy

Re: Curling

Oh Boy. I'd forgotten Islington.

On a contract for a new meeja company in the late 90s. We had an entire floor of the building, all polished wood floorboards, open plan, with a half wall separating out the little chill out area (where they kept the Nerf guns, Casio keyboards and drum machine). Come downtime, we played wheelie chair polo with a huge (1M+) plastic ball.

I had a nice 7 leg wheelie chair that could reach speeds of "OMFG!" and still remain stable enough for me to pay attention to the game.

Sometimes I wonder why so many web and new media companies from the 90s failed. Then I remember what we used to do all day and the question answers itself.

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Another favourite: There are a lot of enviro-loony types where I work who are forever putting up posters about getting to work more efficiently by cutting down on red meat or some such rubbish. So the local sport is writing spoof posters. My favourite so far spoofed a poster touting the fuel savings of car-sharing:

"Remember when petrol was 40p per litre? Well it still can be at Honest John's Fuel Emporium!

* Diesel in designer colours, red *and* black!

* All fuels fully comply with ISO 3082!

* Fully investigated by HMRC - three times in three years!"

and other similar foolishness.

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Anonymous Coward

Writing spoof posters

The best I saw was at a big-pharma company who were always trying to get staff involved in clinical trials ...

"Volunteers wanted for participation in LD-50 testing"

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jai
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Smarties Racing

Another favourite on a friday afternoon was the Smarties Race.

Occured most often in the weeks around the Grand National.

As the youth in the office i was dispatched to the nearest sweet shop to purchase two tubes of Smarties.

Then we'd all put in our quid and pick a colour.

Once all the bets were in and more importantly, everyone had put their quid down on the desk, then the first tube would be opened and the first Smartie would be taken out, and it's colour tallied down on a notepad.

After two tubes, the colour that had occured the most won the pot of quids, and possibly the big pile of Smarties too.

Looking back, we used to get REALLY bored in that office and found anything a worthy distraction...

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Pint

Gissajob?

You clearly work in a more interesting office than I do. Or perhaps a more interesting reality, given it's Friday afternoon and nearly beer o'clock.

Can I have a job at your place?

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NERF!

we had a bunch of nerf weapons, from 6 shooters to air powered multi launchers...

we also had a couple of sniper rifles and 2 chain guns, I modded my chain gun with increased rates of fire...

it was all hilarious and good fun, even managed to chase the owner of the company around, all the cool people knew it was us and enjoyed the fun, no one got hurt.

then the real boss found out... (the ceo)

all toys were prohibited

and we were meant to be one of those cool tech companies too

now we have grey drab cube hell and the cubes are expanding and taking over the place, like the grey goo death of the world...

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Pint

Office arms race

Every sensible line manager needs a rapid fire rubber band machine gun in order to maintain discipline among the riff-raff. And a PFY to load it, of course.

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Killing time...

Many years back I used to run the IT and engineering function of a small SUN microsystems and RS/6000 reseller and support services company (read, it was so small - it was just me and two others in said function). Having the run of the packing department and warehouse, I and a my colleagues used to pass the time seeing who could make the biggest sticky ball out of packing tape and then seeing who could launch it the farthest down the warehouse.

Pointless - yes; waste of work time - definately; prizes - none that I can remember.

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Anonymous Coward

Throwing screwed up paper into the bin! Basketball style.

That's about as far as my office shinanigans stretch I'm afraid.

And when I tried it at an investment bank, the VP of IT frowned menacingly at me and so I never did it again.

It does seem that the good ol' days when the director would dress up as a chicken and hand out easter eggs have well and truly gone away, and things get boringer and boringer every passing year. Sigh.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Throwing screwed up paper into the bin! Basketball style.

Nah, not more boring, you are just getting older and (possibly) more sensible.

There will come a time when you look back at some of the things you did in your childhood/adolescence/young person times and just shudder as you say to yourself, did I really do that <insert totally crazy thing here>?

For example, Playing leapfrog on the bollards on Googe St two days after one's wrist has come out of plaster after breaking it playing Rugby. I was glad that the Middlesex Hospital was just down the st. Needless to say, this was after a Friday evening drinking 6x in the Union bar on Bolsover St. Circa 1973

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Re: Throwing screwed up paper into the bin! Basketball style.

I agree. I doubt that any nurses these days would dress one of them up in a scary costume and then put them in a bed with another "specialling" them. At handover, a suitably odd report on the new patient would be given, and then, when the new "specialler" took over, the "patient" would do something ... unusual.

I loved psychiatric nursing!

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Bah!

I've slapped a CRT display many a time in order to provoke the computer to be more cooperative. It isn't about moving parts, which - if you don't count electrons - visual displays haven't had since Baird's first models. It's about conveying a tone of contemptuous mastery over mere bloody machines when they turn bolshy, machines which are easily portable and so can be taken to the nearest stairwell or even the firetower should the intransigence continue unabated so watch it you bloody little box of bits.

The only reason not to do this to flat panel displays is that they are made of the cheapest tat and will cease to function after a good punch, slap or karate chop. These days one must be satisfied with merely giving the tower case a good kick in the front panel. This is where the term "booting the OS" comes from of course.

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Re: Bah!

"I've slapped a CRT display many a time in order to provoke the computer to be more cooperative."

I carved a half-size baseball bat shaped club, out of leftover foam from some large equipment that came in earlier that week. Really useful for throwing full arm force and bashing the CRT monitor (it was some time back) without actually killing it.

I don't know if it convinced the computer to be more cooperative, but at least it made me feel better.

That said, one day when the club wasn't within reach, but a sticky key on a cheap keyboard and a screwdriver was within reach, I left a phillips-style indent in the ESC key.

For several years afterwards, I was known as "Mr Screwdriver Through The Keyboard".

And yes, if you're wondering, the ESC key *did* behave afterwards...

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Showing my age here, but..

.. a flowcharting template made a good rubberband sniper's launcher if the bands were too short to use with a ruler.

Two punched cards and a pencil made a decent indoor glider.

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MJI
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How about 2 pubs within 1 minute walk

Or more like run.

Our office is on the back of a building next to one pub and over the road - another pub.

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Anonymous Coward

Quake map

Anyone who has visited Legal & General in Kingswood will see how the building would fit so well into a Quake map..... well we did it, complete with various managers in there as the monsters to be destroyed! Amazing what you can use as a 'network load testing' tool. I'm sure I still have a copy of the map somewhere if I can just find a 3 1/2" drive to load it with.....

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Anonymous Coward

Animal Charades

I'll remain AC for obvious reasons but I love to amuse my colleagues by playing at Animal Charades.

Basically they are sitting shit bored in front of their screens and I arrive from my office door in various postures/positions/etc :

They have to guess the animal

Arm extended above head, using my hand to sniff around - I am a Giraffe.

Arm hanging down low, bent back etc - I am an elephant

Ok you get the idea.

It gets interesting with the more exotic animals, crocodiles, aardvarc, snails etc

We are a small team and I am the most senior person on our floor so it's not usuallly a problem but should a boss or a client walk in...........

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Bah!

In my old office everyone was armed with a Duzi rubberband machine gun and a minimum or three spare, loaded barrels. With a bit of care you could get on the order of a hundred band on each and be pretty confident they wouldn't jam at some point.

Or helldesk guy was the proof of concept target of opportunity for a three-gun ambush one day that resulted in him being entirely covered in rubber bands as he tried to walk someone through their first Powerpoint document.

The Duzi people are out of business, but an almost identical design made of wood is being kicked as I type.

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Happy

Fuck games...

The only thing I ever did for entertainment in the office was shag the Saturday girl - and yes, I did get in trouble for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Office cricket.. old poster tube for the bat and newspaper wrapped in packing tape for the ball (saves on tape and time).

Then I got thinking...

"Kidnapping" the supervisors shopping and leaving ransom notes. Blu-tacking her shows to the ceiling, Filling her folding, telescopic umbrella with paper clips, safe in the knowledge that, when she pressed the button to deploy, she would have a pretty silver shower, all of her own. She never saw it that way. Not sure how I kept a straight face as she showed her bus pass to the driver, not noticing the half post-it note stuck over her photo, complete with a less-than-flattering drawing of her. Having races to see who could get an elastic band in each of the pigeon holes in the post room. Oh yes, I always won that one. At Christmas time, there was always bending paperclips in half, exposing the two points, and taking out balloons by firing from an elastic band between finger and thumb.

Bloody hell, the office is boring now.

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Mushroom

Wireless Antics

I used the line of "network testing" to create a separate Wireless network and used it for impromptu games of Unreal Tournament - sadly this was stopped after the third successive headshot on my line manager - he thought I was picking on him -lol

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MrT
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U4UT?...

... end of the day shout out to my tech team - the rules were join from whichever PC you were on when the call came, and tough if that was over 802.11a or b. I had the server sat next to me... ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Some bright spark in our Marketing team had the great idea of handing out branded stress balls to everyone. Needless to say the ones in the IT dept ended up flying round the office whacking people on the back of the head when they weren't expecting it. This only lasted a short time as a fair amount of coffee was ending up on the all over the place and the balls were confiscated.

We've also had competitions firing toy dart guns at whiteboards (with a target drawn on) while blindfolded.

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Those chairs have wheels so...

Office chair jousting. That is always good for a slow day. Then there was a colleague who informed me they used to hunt each other with nurf-guns on slow call days...

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