Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Drinking Tales - Volume 2

Rather than lament my morning's mis-adventures with leaking shower drains, I'll take up where I left off yesterday with drinking tales, volume 2.


I am an Engineer

Of the 5 morons who lived on the 2nd floor of a College Avenue apartment in Ithaca, NY, three of us were engineers. Sadly, some of our most exciting ventures were designing new and exciting ways to drink. To wit, our two-story beer funnel.

Some of you familiar with the beer funnel or beer bong as it's known in other parts understand that the object of the exercise is to fill a funnel and its attached tubing with as much beer as possible. Then you lift said contraption over your head and thanks to the force of gravity, down mass quantities of beer in record time.

But what fun is that when it's only 1 person at a time. Enter the multi-story beer funnel. Constructed with garden hose, this funnel's tubing would span two stories then split into two ends. Each of these two ends is split yet again, providing enough orifices to accomodate 4 people at a time. Can't find 4 willing souls? You can use clamps to make it a 3,2, or even 1 person beer bong. Brilliant! We were required to fill the thing from our second story fire escape and drink it from the driveway. Not sure it was OSHA approved, but we were college kids.

In order to show off the new device, we had to throw a party. Unfortunately, not many people showed up, making it very difficult for just a few people to finish off an entire keg. Difficult, but not impossible.

Under normal circumstances with normal attendence, we'd only be nearing the middle of the festivities. But because of the poor turnout, we were about to close up shop. Before we left our apartment for more adventures up the road at the Ithaca dive bars, I had an idea.

It hadn't been tried yet, but I was going to do an entire funnel by my lonesome.


As an inebriated engineer I failed to realize that the transition of potential energy (height) to kinetic energy (velocity) can be hazardous. Once the garden hose and the funnel at the top was full, I took my position. I undid the clamp and down came the beer. Real fast. And real hard. It was like swallowing rocks. I could actually feel my stomach filling when mercifully the flow of beer trickled to a stop.

Ok, now I was focused on keeping everything down. I wouldn't even swallow spit for fear of some bad regurgiation. Somehow I made it and once the wooziness subsided, we were off for more drinking.


I came home pretty blitzed. After failing my mechanical engineering course and nearly rupturing my stomach with beer flowing at bullet train velocity, I failed my electrical engineering training as well.

The community TV, which I owned, was no longer working. We had a lighting storm while we were downtown (good thing we were off the all-metal fire escape by then) and a power surge seemed to have knocked out the TV. Undeterred, I tried to turn it on anyway.

I got nothin'. did seem that it wanted to work. I could hear a familiar click signaling that the TV was going to come on, but it just never did. So, a few drunk engineers took the back off of the TV and found the wiring diagram. It wasn't soon after that we found the culprit, a blown fuse.

The fuse was a small cylinder made of glass about 1 inch in length. Inside of the glass where a small wire should have been was some black markings indicating that the fuse had indeed blown. A non-engineering friend said that he had some fuses in his car that might fit and I told him to go get them.

The markings on the blown fuse read .10A, 1.5V. The markings on the new fuse read 1.0A .15V. I really wanted that TV to work right then and there, so I rationalized to myself that fuses were meant to put a limit on power which in electrical engineering terms is simply Amps times voltage. Both fuses, when multiplying the values they were rated at yielded .15Watts. Sweet. A match.

I put the new fuse in and reattached the TV's plastic case. Eager to prove to the world that I could fix anything, I then turned it on.

Yellow and blue flames burst out the back of the TV.

I jumped back a few feet and we yanked the power cord out of the wall. Smooth move MacGuyver.

The next day after sobering up, I did finally realize that fuses are a protection against current, i.e. amps. I had put a replacement fuse into my TV that allowed 10x the normal current through circuitry designed to accomodate much less. Brilliant!

Lesson of the day: Do not mix BadBlood, Booze, and Engineering

See you at Bradoween!

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