Tales of Holiday Techno-Failure

Is it any surprise that when I asked a bunch of Gizmodo readers to share their holiday horror stories, you guys sent in tales of frozen cameras, techno-challenged dads and—yes—porn-filled PS3s?

Tales of Holiday Techno-Failure

Frosty the Frozen Nikon

A fellow who goes by Skunkabilly sent his pictorial tale on Flickr, which documents a camping trip to Monument Valley and the miserable story of a D90 which froze up—literally. Apparently the poor camera was set up outside the tent in an attempt to capture one of those gorgeous swirling-star slow exposures of the sky.

I've lived in Southern California my whole life, so I don't really understand how this whole cold and frost thing works.

When he woke up, his precious DSLR was covered with frost. "What the crap is this?" he asked himself. "Ahhh, yes. All hail Frosty the Nikon!" He tried to thaw his camera on the engine block of his Subaru, but ultimately decided to take it inside the car. Sure, it fogged up on the inside for a bit, but it was fine eventually, and the rest of the trip was smooth.

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The part that caught our attention though? Skunkabilly ended the tale by saying, "Hopefully I won't rappel into a pool and drown it to death like I did with my D200." Yikes! Sounds like there's a history of gadget abuse here.

Tales of Holiday Techno-Failure

How the Phone Guy Saved Christmas

Marte, better known as infmom, sent in this photo from 1961. It's Christmas morning, and she and her brother are admiring the elaborate electric train set their father had bought and built for them. Only that fact in itself was mysterious, as their father "could barely change a lightbulb."

Marte explains that, to his dying day, her father referred to record players as "Victrolas" and refrigerators as "iceboxes." Not so much Luddite as someone who didn't usually get involved with the technical processes of the household, he decided that year to break the trend, and get constructive.

A few days before Christmas, Dad brought home the train set and the plastic scenery and the controllers and a bunch of wood and nails and smuggled all the stuff into the basement through the outside door and told us to stay out of it. He borrowed a hand saw and a hammer from the neighbors and set to work trying to build a table to put the train set on. Including sawing a sheet of plywood to size. With a hand saw. Laid across our basement coffee table, which was a hollow core door on legs. When my mom heard the language coming from the basement she told us to stay way away from it.

Though his effort to this point was valiant, the electrical engineering—and a certain amount of required drilling, for which he lacked a drill—did him in. Still, on Christmas morning, the train set was up and running. How?

We were thinking some kind of miracle had occurred, until our mother told us that later that day we were to go over and thank our neighbor, who worked for the phone company, for responding to Dad's late-night cry for help.

Marte thinks that's the point where she vowed to grow up learning how to fix things herself. And considering that she's lurking around Lifehacker and Gizmodo, odds are that she did. I feel bad for her father though. While Marte and her brother got to enjoy their gift, to him this must've been a genuine holiday horror.

Tales of Holiday Techno-Failure

Floppy Disks Sold Separately

We've heard of coal in the stocking, but Jeff's story sounds worse. One Christmas, he hit the jackpot, scoring not just a cool RC car, but a set of Crazy Bones figurines too. So the next Christmas, he was reasonably quite excited:

I used to love sleeping by the fireplace at night, right next to the Christmas tree. Every season, I would do this with my little brother, and fall asleep to the warm glow of the fire, and wake up in the morning with presents all around us. I went to sleep too giddy to even imagine what I was going to receive the next morning.

I awoke to the sound of wrapping paper crumpling around me, as I stared at two of the biggest packages I had ever seen. I immediately started shredding the paper [the first one] was wrapped in, like a hungry wolf digging into its prey. What did I uncover? Two brand spankin' new... comforter and blanket sets. [And in] the smaller package next to it? A 100-capacity floppy disk lock box.

Sadly, he did not even receive any floppies to put inside it.

Photo by alliet

Tales of Holiday Techno-Failure

Son, You Can Play With Your Toys When I Sell You the Batteries

Luckybob343 grew up in the '80s, a time when "Christmas wasn't Christmas without a remote-controlled, battery-operated something."

The trouble was, Santa brought all the cool electronic toys but he never brought any batteries. Those we had to buy ourselves, but in our house we could only buy batteries from my dad's independent electronics store.

Sure, sounds nice to keep it in the family, but there were two catches: First, his dad bought hisbatteries in bulk from Walmart, and jacked up the price by $2 per pack. And second, Luckybob's dad's store was closed from Christmas Eve until January 2nd.

Come the new year, we'd fork over three weeks of allowances over to my dad to get to play with our toys one week after we got them.

Luckybob finally got some revenge though. This year, he got a multi-instrument weather station that he knew his dad had been eying, and he took out all the instructions except the ones written in French.

Photo by cosmic tito

Tales of Holiday Techno-Failure

Porn in the PS3

Jose was happy to return home after finishing Navy boot camp last Christmas. Most of his family members, from age one to age 65, were gathered at his house. There his step-father had recently installed a 50-inch plasma TV and all the gaming console goodies that should go with it, including a PS3.

One of my little cousins wanted to play the PS3 so he turned it on and a porno came on. Everyone's mouth just dropped to the ground. My sister quickly turned it off but it was too late.

Jose told us that about 25 dear family members heard and saw what was likely a film by the Bang Bros. Everyone stared down his step-father, giving him "the look of shame." Some family members left because of it, and are pretending Jose's step-father doesn't exist. Needless to say, his mom had to throw out some DVDs. There is a silver lining, though: "We are having the Christmas eve party at my aunt's now!" Yikes.

Photo by me vs gutenberg

You Name the Winner

So, who wins the pizza? Each story has its own particular charm (and nastiness), so we thought we'd put it to a vote. Have at it, and by the end of Christmas Day, whoever has the most votes on this baby wins.