back to article Nasty BOFHses. It burns us! It burns...

"Where's my car park gone?" I ask Security as I wander into the building in a very irritated manner. "What car park?" Security asks "My Car park. Basement level 2. Right beside the lifts. Now apparently somewhere inside a large concrete room." "Oh, that. Well we can't really talk about that." "How about a hint?" "I... …


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  1. fearnothing

    Puts a new slant on the term "Wet riser"...

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      And so very real...

      Some years ago a colleague told me of a block of new flats near his home. 12 stories, all the same layout, and shortly after it opened the inhabitants began to complain about the terrible smell permeating the building.

      Investigation showed a basement calf-deep in raw sewage. Seems that with all the flats the same, all the bathrooms were above each other. From convenience or laziness, all the toilets were connected to one vertical downpipe, which made a right-angle turn across the ceiling once it reached the basement. As my colleague put it "no-one had calculated the terminal velocity of a turd after falling 12 stories". After enough sustained impacts the downflow had punched the elbow off the pipe...

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Right-angle poo

        Happened to me fitting out a TV/Radio studio in Paris one time. Five stories of cast iron poo-pipe (I'm sure there's a technical name), right angle bend across our ceiling, not touched for fifty years until our contractors nudged it... it was quite, um, impressive when we discovered it.

        Paris, because.

        1. andreas koch
          Thumb Up

          Re: Right-angle poo

          Neil, you're looking for the term 'waste stack'.

          1. BeerTokens

            Re: Right-angle poo

            it's a 'soil pipe' I assume waste stack is an americanism.

            1. Michael Souris

              Re: Right-angle poo

              Usually a soil stack, but trade often refers to waste rather than soil. Strictly speaking, a soil stack is a collection of soil pipes and related fittings, which as the name suggests stack up to connect various sanitary ware to the sewer.

        2. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Right-angle poo

          If it was in Paris then I presume that "Tuyau de merde" would have been the common phrase although not the technicaly correct one.

          Technically it might be "tuyau d'evacuation".

          1. TechicallyConfused

            Re: Right-angle poo

            If it was in Paris I am amazed anyone noticed the difference in smell!

            1. perlcat

              Re: Right-angle poo

              In the US, it's usually called a "mud pipe".

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: Right-angle poo


      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        The other (com)mode of failure

        The pipe in the basement gets blocked and anything put in it comes out at the ground floor flat.

      3. I Am Spartacus

        Someone remind me not read comments like this whilst eating lunch. I need some screen wipes!

      4. Dr Dan Holdsworth

        A short, sharp shower of...

        Every so often, students in new halls of residence (or old halls that they don't like very much) come up with a Cunning Plan to test out the pressure-resistance of the sewage arrangements. This is actually very easy to do, by simply flushing every lavatory in the building as nearly simultaneously as possible, and because most sanitary engineers don't bother to build the pipework to the massively over-engineered level needed to survive this sort of pressure, the results are predictably messy.

        Normally the pipes in the basement burst and overflow, or the ground-floor toilets overflow massively.

      5. Alan W. Rateliff, II
        Paris Hilton


        "no-one had calculated the terminal velocity of a turd after falling 12 stories"

      6. Fatman

        As my colleague put it "no-one had calculated the terminal velocity of a turd after falling 12 stories". After enough sustained impacts the downflow had punched the elbow off the pipe...

        Then they must have very poor engineers/architects design buildings.

        Back in the '70's when I was in construction, working on a 23 story, the vertical sewer mains had a set of 4 45 degree ells every 6 floors, creating what the plumbers sarcastically referred to as a 'shit break'.

        This caused the flow to turn 45 degrees to the left, then straight down, then 45 degrees to the right, and finally, straight down. This "jogging" insured that the turds got "broken up".

        Flush that architect.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Years ago my parents watched a local builder put in a bathroom for the cottage across the street in the village where we lived in north Oxfordshire - they knew where the main sewer was because they had put a bathroom into our house but they could never figure out how the builder had connected the bathroom to the public sewer given the layout of the house.

          Some 40 years later the little old lady across the street died and my dad was asked to help her relatives owners sort out the deeds so that they could sell the house. He said that he thinks he must have been the first person to visit the cellar in 40 years - it was about 4 feet deep in compacted sewage. The bathroom waste had just been piped straight into the cellar and drained out through the floor ... these were very old houses, stone walls and stone floors laid about 400-500 years old.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > Then they must have very poor engineers/architects design buildings.

          More likely they had bone-idle workers who decided to save themselves some effort fitting a "pointless" zigzag, despite it being on the plans.

  2. Sir Runcible Spoon

    " 'Johnny Cash 10th anniversary memorial chicken Vindaloo' as the meal of the day?"

    "The Ring of fire!" the PFY gasps in hushed tones."

    Priceless :D

    1. perlcat

      ./= "...and it burns burns burns us" ./=

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        I'm not so sure I'd like to fall into it though....


  3. Stumpy

    Made my Friday that has.

  4. Alister

    Classic BOFH, thanks Simon.

  5. Dave K

    Great way to start a Friday with a new BOFH, and a good one too. Thanks Simon!

  6. Ragarath

    The Smell!

    I am a little concerned about the PFY and the BOFH occupying the room after this, it's going to take weeks to bleach the smell out!

    1. Graham Marsden

      @Ragarath - Re: The Smell!

      Surprisingly not.

      A market I sell at used to be in a basement venue, the toilets of which emptied into a large tank that then pumped the effluent into the sewers. Unfortunately the day before the market the piping broke and the venue ended up ankle deep in....

      They brought in a specialist cleaning company and by the next day you wouldn't even have known there was a problem except for the fact that the concrete floors were the cleanest they'd ever been!

      1. perlcat

        Re: @Ragarath - The Smell!

        Bet it gave them no end of amusement to use that old saying: "Clean enough to eat off of."

  7. Oli 1

    Everyone loves a bunker!

  8. T. F. M. Reader

    cash flow

    So Simon is 100 quid down at the moment. If the investment is not recovered, with interest, by the next Friday I will be very disappointed...

    1. theblackhand

      Re: cash flow

      I don't know... I'm sure execs wading in sewage for 48 hours would be classed as high quality TV compared to some of the reality TV shows currently on TV.

      "Vote now for what you would like staff to eat at the next cafeteria meal. Dial 80001 for Vindaloo for the fifth consecutive meal, dial 80002 for corn, dial 80003 for asparagus soup, dial 80004 for all of the above...."

  9. Craig Vaughton

    I'm so glad I wasn't sat at my keyboard with a mouthful of lunch, as is usual for reading BOFH. Saved at least another keyboard.


  10. Maverick


    all before the 2nd coffee as well

    could be a good Friday I feel

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Johnny Cash 10th anniversary memorial chicken Vindaloo'

    Reminds me of the time my last company promised everyone lunch in the middle of a day long meeting, they got a local cafe to deliver a big pot of curry and a big pot of chilli con carne.

    Needless to say, the afternoon meeting kept getting interrupted by visits to the traps.

  12. Thunderbird 2

    Always nice to see a new BOFH, but why pray tell, is it lodged in Bootnotes, and not in Datacentre/BOFH ?

    1. Phil W

      Also why is it not prefixed with "BOFH:" as is usual practicr?

  13. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Loved it!

    "You mean... al Qaeda?" I ask, using the words that can add a zero to the end of a security budget with the flimsiest of supporting evidence.

    Loved it to bits

  14. Reality Dysfunction

    Great start to Friday..

  15. Sandtreader
    Big Brother

    The BOFH is Harry Tuttle, and I claim my five pounds.

    1. Robert Forsyth

      Me too.

      I was thinking a plot inspired by Brazil

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *raucous applause* Now that... is comedy!


  17. MartinBZM
    Thumb Up

    Abso *bleeping* lutely Good

    Thanks Simon.

    Just keep 'em coming, love them to bits!

  18. Hayden Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    That's what got me. It is EXACTLY the noise made by elderly infrequently-moved stopcocks when abused round.

    Love it.

  19. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    New keyboard please

    that is all

  20. Wize

    Always in the sh...

    Just the depth that varies.

  21. The New Turtle

    Excellent and unexpected twist at the end - thank you.

  22. Stevie


    That didn't go where I expected it to go.

    I was thinking of piping in footage from DEFCON4 and The Stand along with hijacking the internet feed and rerouting it in order to control the story going in and nab the footage coming out, which would be sold as the latest and greatest Reality Show - Bunker Survivors of World War III.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Neither did the poo

  23. Snafu1

    This one is going to run..

    and run..

  24. Robert Helpmann??

    Not sure which is worse...

    ... what he did, or the fact I had the thought to do the same as soon as I read where the safe room was. I wouldn't have cut the comms, though, as it would have been been even sweeter to have the big-wigs call to have their bunker busted once they realized their just how deep it was going to get.

  25. The D

    Brilliant - always a weak point to any system

  26. The Gopher

    Well the building did need a new septic tank right....

    So glad I remember NOT to be drinking my morning coffee while reading the BOFH, laptop saved... Keep it up, but I do wonder how Simon is gonna make the £100 back... I bet he's got a book running....

  27. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    That was a big steaming load of... laughs

    Nobody got cattle-prodded, nobody died (probably), and this was possibly the most devious, nastiest plan ever hatched by the BOfH.

    I love to see he's keeping his repertoire fresh!

  28. 2StrokeRider

    Classic Simon. Almost on the level of the famous Ethernet Killer....a bit of kit the BOFH described that one day I shall construct just to keep on my desk.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Just looked up the EtherKiller.

      When I was at college back in '92, somebody (not me) made one by soldering a BNC connector on to the end of a piezo cooker lighter. Instant portable death. But, then, who wires an entire building full of 386 boxes using daisy-chained 10base2???

      1. Fatman

        RE: Just looked up the EtherKiller.

        But, then, who wires an entire building full of 386 boxes using daisy-chained 10base2??

        DAMAGEMENT, that's who!!!!!

  29. Herby

    And to think that today...

    Our "datacenter" is partially off the air because of a "blown fuse". It seems that this type of fuse is not your common 3AG, or 20mm type, but rather some big huge high voltage type that needs to be flown in from a state away. It should be back up in a little bit though!

    Yes, the 'datacenter' is in the lowest level of the set of buildings. I don't believe it is below grade though (we're on a hill).

  30. sad_loser

    Pedant alert

    I think the BOFH would be equipped with a Stillson wrench.

  31. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    - didn't exploit the "heightened danger" crap -

    That was my first thought after 9/11 - I wish I'd followed through with it ...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eeeevil :)

  33. Sly

    That's the STUFF!

    /coat - mine's the life vest

  34. Simon B

    Brilliant BOFH and not what I was expecting, very cleverly done :D We salute you great BOFH!

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