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Build Your Own Roller Coaster 329

Usquebaugh submitted this link to a guy who built his own roller coaster. The guy builds grain elevators for a living and - let me take a wild, city-slicker guess - they probably use some sort of rail system for transporting grain, so.... Update: 03/14 14:29 GMT by M : We overran the bandwidth limit on his webpage - sorry buddy! From the comments below I see a mirror and another mirror.
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Build Your Own Roller Coaster

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  • Wait, beer comes from wheat... This man has tons of wheat nearby. That is one rollercoaster I will NOT be riding!
    • Ahh the humour of ignorance,

      Ignoring that the vast majority of beer is made of barley...

      Having once brewed beer up from raw malt (and malting the grain is a long and painful process in itself) I'd be more worried out for a man who lives near a liquor store.

  • Building one's roller coaster is like building an operating system: You might be able to do it, but is it worth all the work that you put in to come up with something that's essentially duplicated effort?

    I like roller coasters, don't get me wrong, but if I want the thrill of riding one of my own design, I simulate it. Much like I don't build my own planes and fly them for real--I just fire up MSFS2002 and release some tensions flying those jumbo jets filled with co-workers into the ground. :-)
    • Well, I don't make my own OS either (even though I was pondering the idea, just for the heck of it), but I am really happy that someone except for the big fat corporations out there is doing it. Really. You know why? Because this way people tweak with things, play with new features that these big corporations would be afraid to even try. And maybe they will burn themselves. And maybe this guy will win Darwin's award after all, but maybe, just maybe, he might by chance make some invention and change the way how roller coasters work. And maybe by doing the roller coaster he might find out how to make his work easier. The only thing I know is that this is the way how most of inventions ever came up. Some geek out there was playing and tweaking with something. And usually because he was lazy. If just lazy to drive to nearest roller coaster or too busy to be bothered to waste his time in line :)

      With your attitude there was no reason to climb down from trees. Really.

      • And this exact explanation of how new ideas emerges comes from the weirdest places sometimes. For example, a guy in Australia (grocery sacker) was an "engineer" in his spare time. Well, he created the worlds known fastest gun. The speed = 1,000,000 rounds per second using electronic ignition between propellant in a tube. Even Sandia National Labs bought rights (of what I know). Maybe he knew metalworking and thought he could make a better 'gun'. He did.

        The best inventions aren't came up in stuffy "invent rooms" in government labs or corporation research projects... It's the people who actually do certain jobs day in and day out. After becoming experienced, they have an insight nobody else (other than friends in the field) can have.

        And to compare, Linux was a hack job. Linus needed less restrictions on the source code. He started to hack away at the kernel, substituting things he thought was better.. In the end, look what he has built. He wasn't a lofty computer science professor or likewise, he was a student who thought he knew of a better way of implementing his OWN kernel.
        • guns... (Score:3, Informative)

          I think you're talking about metal storm...

          Their website is here [].

          it's an electronic round ignition system that lets them stack lots of rounds in each barrel and lots of barrels together and then fire them in a way it won't just all blow up.

          but the effect isn't all that different from a claymore mine.

          I'm pretty sure they advertise a potential 1,000,000 rounds a minute (as opposed to your seconds), and have built "proof of concept" but not the actual 1,000,000 round a minute "guns".

          Not to demean metal storm's work, or the other points you made, just wanted to clear it up a little.

          They certainly are Australian.
  • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @11:53PM (#3160879) Journal
    Judging by the rust on that thing, I'd say this guy's life expectancy is somewhere around (now + 4 rides).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:15AM (#3160967)
      uhm, obvously you're a city-slicker computer guy :)

      the rust you see is called 'flash rust'. Once you've welded any two pieces of steel together you grind down the welds to a nice flat surface. well that's if you want it to look nice, or it's part of some crazy redneck homebrew roller-coaster. Once the steel has been ground nice and flat, it's very prone to 'flash' rusting, where a very very thin layer of rust forms over the exposed parts. See, most steel is painted or coated or has already had it's surface treated in some way. even the heat from the steel's fabrication process can 'cure' the outter layer of steel to slow (not stop, but slow) rust a little. But newly ground steel loves to soak up O2 and rust, esp. if you are using water to cool the welds so the whole frame doesn't warp from heat.

      This article reminds me of one of my favorite jokes ever:

      What's the last thing a redneck says before he dies?

      Hey, everyone, watch this!

      (I'm a bit of a redneck, and as such, I relise that most rednecks laugh at redneck humor. Please laugh too, and don't worry about my being offensive)
    • This is a cute hack, but I wonder if we'll see him up for a Darwin award in a few months?
  • Just like the rollercoaster, the server goes down in one quick blue flash

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's the new Homeland Defense Terrorist Chart(TM).

    It goes up and down more often than the Orient Express.

  • by Augusto ( 12068 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2002 @11:54PM (#3160884) Homepage
    ... this guy wins a Darwin Award ?

    What a way to go though ...
    • ... this guy wins a Darwin Award ?

      Too late, I think he already spawned a youngin'
    • People build airplanes, and live a long life

      People build CRASH DURBY CARS.. and live a long..

      People build there own homes, and live a long...

      What the heck does this have anything to do with showing up on Darwin awards? He knows how to weld, he obviously understands metalargy and well, anyone can do this.

      Now if it was done by some hackers running linux that stole there daddy's blowtorch and used cutupp computer cases and garbage cans, then yes, that could possibly be a death trap.

      but people do alot of things on there own, this one is just a cool ass roller coaster. I'd be the coolest kid on the block, err farm, if my dad did this.

      But hey, we built a treehouse 15 feet off the ground and did other things that weren't totally safe or professional.

      but thats life'

  • Hurry up...we all need to chip in and buy this guy a computer & pr0nsite subscription before he hurts himself or others.

    He obvoiusly has wwwwaaayyy to much time on his hands.
  • Did anyone else notice that the coaster part of the assembly is an old car bucket seat strapped on to a toy cart by what looks like duct tape?
    (Look closely!)
  • grain elevators. if they break, you get spilled corn.

    now, roller coasters are a different beast. spilled brains.

    something tells me this is a field best left to engineers...
  • exhibits extreme balls, stupidity, or mabye a combination of the two. I'de be caught dead on(or is it off) that thing!
  • It looks like a really fun project and all, but from looking at the seat (what is that, an old carseat?) and the corkscrew loop, I think he's really aiming for the Darwin award...
  • This looks awesome.

    anyone notice his phone number is on the last page? Wonder how many phone calls he'll get from slashdot?
  • Is it just me or is that a Car seat bolted to an Automobile Floor Jack! (See page Seven). Wow this guy is brave :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I do.

    Friends worked at their facilities.

    Ever since sony via paramount owned the kings island facilities, well it was just never as fun as it was during the hanna-barbera days.

    Last time i stopped by that place some lame construction company that our construction company has a long standing feud with, had build some jive ass area51ish roller coaster. I never bother to ride it, as the fact of its creation was an insult upon my intelligence, not to mention over 10years of reverse engineering toys not created in the open and commercial markets.

    So next time you would like to start a topic that deals with roller coasters, if you would care to fly at over 1000mph underground from nyc to la, then just ask until such time stop posting usless information.

    Else my dear friends this Scooby Doo master scribe will bet its cache of gold upon you name the bet.

    Zai Jian

    Jon Sable, Freelance a First Comics Pirate Jest'n Jive

  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:04AM (#3160928) Homepage Journal
    CHeck out .Someone recently just made an all-Lego roller coaster, using monorail(or is it train?) parts and it does everything. Loop de loops, the works. Often passengers fall out, but it works. Motors control everything!
    • by ( 184378 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:13AM (#3160964) Journal
      CHeck out .Someone recently just made an all-Lego roller coaster, using monorail(or is it train?) parts and it does everything

      Perhaps this is the link [] you were referring to.
    • Someone recently just made an all-Lego roller coaster, using monorail(or is it train?) parts and it does everything. Loop de loops, the works. Often passengers fall out, but it works.

      Call me old-fashioned, but I've always considered perhaps the most important aspect of a roller coaster "working" is in its ability to not fling passengers to their doom.

      I just imagine some engineer unveiling a new coaster where people are constantly shrieking and falling at the top of the loop-de-loop, and his boss pats him on the back and says, "Good job, Jenkins. It got all the way around the track this time!"
  • Looks Cool! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Victa ( 186697 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:05AM (#3160936)
    What!!! Have you guys NO sense of adventure??? You have to die sometime... May as well have fun doing it...
  • and prolly an expensive hobby, but I think it'd rock a bit on the cork screw if a larger chap were to get on it. btw, the counter on the page is currently at 1947 for a ref.
  • No Rails (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rebel Patriot ( 540101 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:13AM (#3160961) Journal
    they probably use some sort of rail system for transporting grain

    Actually rails aren't used to transport grain at all. We use augers to do that task. An auger is basically a sheet metal tub with a long stationary screw inside it. The bottom end is placed on one location where the grain is poured into. The screw inside rotates slowly and pulls the grain up the tub to the top where it just spills out into the top of a silo.

    • Pneumatic Blowlines (Score:5, Informative)

      by Midnight Ryder ( 116189 ) <midryder&midnightryder,com> on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:27AM (#3161004) Homepage

      And once it moves from the Elevator to the flour mill (a good number are built side by side for a very good reason :-) and passes through cleaning and tempering, it all starts moving through pneumatic blowlines.

      And for longer distance moving under the elevators, ya got drag conveyors to move it, and elevator legs to move it upwards.

      Nice to meet someone else who's been stuck doing Industrial Automation for Grain Elevators :-) (I've done *WAY* too many of them!)

      • Nice to meet someone else who's been stuck doing Industrial Automation for Grain Elevators

        Actually no, I've never done any one that. I happen to be a farmer in Southern GA. We used to grow allot of cotton, sorgum (I can never spell that right), and corn for feed. Then we went full-scale into hogs untill the market hit rock-bottom in '87 and hasn't come up since. Now we raise horses almost exclusively in addition to my job doing network engineering.

        Not everyone who uses grep and vi doesn't chew tobacco. :^)

        • Not everyone who uses grep and vi doesn't chew tobacco. :^)

          ROTFLMAO! Ok, well, didn't expect to hear THAT! I'm a Kansas country boy (literally) who became a computer programmer. Guess I'm not the only farmboy to move on to computers - however, I'll pass on the vi and chew. I prefer Emacs or notepad and smoking :-)

          • by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @02:13AM (#3161339) Homepage
            Be sure to tune in next week for the next installment of Redneck Geek Holy Wars: smoking vs. chew
          • Nope, you're not alone. I too came from a farm (and go back every once in a while). The sys admin career is much better suited to my inherent laziness than grain and livestock raising. The cattle are strangely harder to fool than most users, though both seem to believe that sys admins are somehow magical beings... :)
          • Oh, you're definitely not the only one - I still do a fair bit of technology work for my dad and his farm just outside DeSoto (yes, there are still parts of Johnson County that have arable land) - This weekend, I'm going to finish setting up a greenhouse temperature monitoring system using Dallas Semiconductor sensors and RRDTool. Probably going to expand the LAN while I'm there, too.

            There are more and more areas where agriculture and technology converge, and geeks like us with the unique background in both are in a good position to take advantage of that situation.

            For the record, chewing is fscking nasty.

          • Dayum! I just spit tabaccy on my monitor! :P
        • I'm glad to see there are SOME people here on Slashdot with a background in farming. We certianly are a dying breed... :-/
  • I knew I was taking welding class for a reason! (I'm a mechanical engineering student.)

    I can build my own backyard amusements!
    Seriously, though, I've seen and heard of plenty of fun side jobs done with welding- My girlfriends neighbor built himself a 1/8 (ride-able) scale steam locamotive (yes, really steam powered) and in my home town, some one has a large metal dragon in their front yard.

    A little ingenuity, a lot of time, and a bunch of mild steel.... nothing you can't do :)
  • "No someone did not fall off, the lift was not able to carry me all the way up the lift (I'm working on losing weight and It should be able to carry me in a month or so plus the engine wasn't working up to par due to the 30 degree temperatures)."

    Read it for yourself here [].
  • Maintenance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Arethan ( 223197 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:25AM (#3160999) Journal
    Somehow I don't see this as being safe. Not because of the materials used for construction, but simply because a few winters of negligence will make this sucker rust right through. If I was this guy's neightbor, I'd probably ride this thing a few times, but only during the first few weeks, and definitely not after a year.

    The big difference between his ride and coaster parks that make the parks safer? They have mandatory ride inspections every morning before opening. Plus I believe they are also required to do a full inch-by-inch examination at least once a year. Probably before opening in the spring.
  • I think /. should spin-off the toys topic and created a new one for those nifty hacks (like the roller coaster, invisible case, portable playstation, even the potato-powered webserver).

    It should be called WICBTHT (of Wow, I can't believe they hacked it!, in analogy to that Simpsons program [])
  • by bartyboy ( 99076 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:33AM (#3161026)

    I saw page 1.

    I saw page 2.

    I clicked on the link to page 3 and got this:

    This site has exceeded its limit of 3 Gigabytes of transfer for the month. You may buy extra Gigabytes of transfer by logging in to the user menu and choosing "upgrade". Thank you,

    • fortunatly there site actually stops when you get to the limit and asks if you want more. Nothing like finding out you exceded your limit in the middle of the night, then geting a bill for 1000 dollars worth of bandwidth.
  • One more victim (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FakePlasticDubya ( 472427 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:34AM (#3161034) Homepage
    Another one bites the dust from the Slashdot effect...

    Perhaps /. could come up with some sort of caching system so the sites that are overwhemed could be accessed at least in the form they were in when it was posted... however there are copyright issues with that im sure...
  • by moniker_21 ( 414164 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:37AM (#3161051)
    This site has exceeded its limit of 3 Gigabytes of transfer for the month. You may buy extra Gigabytes of transfer by logging in to the user menu and choosing "upgrade".

    And I was SURE that his roller coaster was going to be the first thing to go down. Oh well.
    • Take the time and donate a buck or so to him, maybe he can take the cash and upgrade his service to handle the /. crowd, or maybe a little bit more than he has been able to.
      • Take the time and donate a buck or so to him, maybe he can take the cash and upgrade his service to handle the /. crowd,

        Better yet, he could use the money to buy a season pass to Six Flags or other park...
    • Re:Over his limit (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kintanon ( 65528 )
      You aren't missing anything. The site is TERRIBLE. It's a 3 pictures on a HORRIBLE background that hurts my eyes. Oh, and incidentally, there were 972 people on his counter when I saw the story, and there were no comments for it yet. I wonder how many hits he has now? >:)

      • 983. His immage were TIFFs. :) (j/k)
      • The site is TERRIBLE. It's a 3 pictures on a HORRIBLE background that hurts my eyes.

        Yeah, if you're dense enough to think that the site is just that page. There's a link down at the bottom for more pictures... there are actually 5-10 pages of pictures with 3-5 pictures on each page w/ descriptions. Much smarter to do it that way than put it all on one page, especially considering there are no thumbnails.

        • I couldn't look at the page long enough to find any links without getting a massive headache, I could barely read any of the text, much less tell if it was a link. I mean seriously, I don't see how anyone could stand looking at it for more than a few seconds.

      • Its the website of someone who -obviously- has spent his time on things that are -entirely- not website related.

        When someone builds their own roller coaster, do you honestly really expect them to have the time (and skills) to build a really polished website?

        (And what you saw was a page, not a site. A site is a collection of pages.)

        Not everyone with hobbies also has the skills to color coordinate. The page works, the links aren't broken, and frankly, it -exists-. What more do you want?
        • A nice plain grey background.
          Y'know, something non-blinding.
          I'm not expecting a work of creative genius, but if you don't have the skills to make a spectacular website, just make a readable one. Please.

  • Bandwith Exceeded (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nofx_3 ( 40519 )
    Well I guess this is a pretty popular topic, I really wish I could have done something like this. Anyway I hope someone mirrored it becuase as I was looking through the monthly bandwith was apperently exceeded. Guess they got some serious slashdot effect.

    I've seen something like this before only not as advance, there was just a single drop and turn of the side of a building, but it was even more shoddily built. These crazy guys were dropping down it in a little in box with wheels and it ended by crashing into hay barrels. Hydrolic brakes would be nice :)
  • by wrinkledshirt ( 228541 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:40AM (#3161071) Homepage
    This site has exceeded its limit of 3 Gigabytes of transfer for the month. You may buy extra Gigabytes of transfer by logging in to the user menu and choosing "upgrade".

    I can just see it now:

    "You've currently run out of track for this roller coaster. You may purchase new track by screaming bloody murder at the top of your lungs."
  • different weight (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ( 463190 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:40AM (#3161073) Homepage
    One thing I was wondering about this - how heavy is the cart? It looks like 75% of the weight is the passenger. In larger coasters, you have an enormous amount of steel in the vehicle, so the number/size of passengers doesn't make much difference.

    This guy has carefully designed the coaster so that you have just enough momentum to reach the bottom of the lift and hook on to the chain, so you don't have to ever get off and push.

    I would think that if (god forbid) a small child were to ride, the difference in friction and wind resistance would leave him with quite a bit of velocity still at the end of the ride. If the vehicle were heavier, it wouldn't make much difference right?
  • mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zak_Arcatia ( 243796 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:58AM (#3161134) Homepage
    It's probably not Kosher but I was able to snag some of the images and mirror them. You can find them here [].
  • by Tyler Eaves ( 344284 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @12:58AM (#3161136)
    First -

    Download Scream Machines ( or No Limits (You have to buy it,

    Then visit my site, and find over 2000 coasters created by other people.
  • Uh, doesn't a transfer limit seem like a catch? Lame.
  • by Raven_Rider ( 566402 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @01:22AM (#3161218)
    Hey Everyone; I'm the webmaster of the site you all just slashdotted. I thought I'd come on here and answer some of the questions. First off the guy who built the coaster was tired of waiting in line at parks like Six Flags so he decided to build his own so he wouldn't have to. He builds grain elevators and is a welder so he accquired enough parts to build the coaster and it was actually pretty solid. He's had a few problems with that style track (very simmilar to track made by Arrow Dynamics) so his next coaster is going to use a different design which should take care of roughness and stress on the structure. I was unable to ride it because there was some problems with the lift and the fact that it was 30 degrees out but my son Bond rode the second half which consisted of a downward helix(he loved it). The car is custom welded and the seat is from a catepillar tractor with a thick seat belt. Unfortunately as most of you know my site is now down for the rest of the month and my regular visitors have nowhere to go. Since you guys knocked out the site, I wonder if you'd be willing to help me get it back up and running? My paypal account is under my e-mail which is and if you want to contribute I'll buy more bandwidth so you all can see. Also if you have any questions I can be reached at the e-mail listed above and I'll be more than happy to answer them. Sincerely Paul B. Drabek Negative G Roller Coasters and Amusement Parks www.Negative-G.Net
    • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @02:03AM (#3161314)
      Who knows what deal you have with your ISP about over the top charges, you're much better off just asking someone to host it as its much easier to hand over bandwidth than cash, at least for me. It seems a bit disingenuous to ask for money instead of bandwidth.

      Well, I'm really interested in seeing where this goes. Will slashdotters pay up? Can the slashdot effect work in reverse?

      I'm also interested if anyone has ever attempted legal action for slashdot-like effects. Its bound to come up.
    • by BLKMGK ( 34057 )
      That sounds fair actually. I'll shoot you a couple of bux however before you bring it back up it sounds like you might want to crunch down a few of th epics. If they're really 700K you'd be much better off squishing them down to say 70K. Depending upon how you set it up - say thumbnails - you could really cut down the bandwidth that we're easting up on the site.

      Will be interesting to see who actually contributes, please post back and let us know ;-)
    • I can see it now, it's going to read:

      "Poor webmaster purchases new T3 connection and computers after mystery donations appear via paypal!"
  • ANOTHER MIRROR!!: (Score:3, Informative)

    by KFK2 ( 23515 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @01:50AM (#3161280) Homepage []

    Got this from someone else's mirror.. i tried to get the actuall page, but mozilla cache's funny and I lost the pictures.


  • by WankersRevenge ( 452399 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @01:59AM (#3161302)
    This site has exceeded its limit of 3 Gigabytes of transfer for the month. You may buy extra Gigabytes of transfer by logging in to the user menu and choosing "upgrade".

    I don't know what Hitchhiker book Douglas Adams wrote it in - but there was this floating party that literally floated above a planet, causing all sorts of havoc. Whenever it needs supplies, the party would raid some poor country, take all their booze, then float away.

    Slashdot is so like that. Its a floating party that hijacks poor websites, kills them, then moves on to other unsuspecting fools

    To that - I can only say -

    Drinks on the house ;)

    • /nick digital-locust-547211

      All your data are belong to us.

    • Larry Niven in his "Tales of Known Space" series wrote about a floating criminal gang that would monitor the news for riots and other massive public gatherings.

      The cool part was that they would use "stepping disks" (very much like Star Trek transporters) to enter into the crowd, steal a couple of items, and then get out before the police could get things under control. There were government attempts to control this behavior, but these were "professional" thieves that hacked the global transporter system. (Larry Niven even described some problems with transporter machines being found in every livingroom... I digress here though.)

      I agree that Slashdot is quite a bit like this floating party that zaps information providers.

      There are times, however, when this kind of behavior is useful. The DeCSS mess was one of those cases where I knew it would be important to spread the word on Slashdot and make sure that copies got to everybody and their cyberpet.
  • Safety inspections (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VAXGeek ( 3443 )
    What kind of provisions have to be made for safety inspections? Can anyone get a permit for this kind of thing?
  • Slashdot really needs to mirror websites and provide access to those mirrors to the subscribers.

    On a side note, I can't believe suggestion that Katz stories should only be available to subscribers was considered flamebait. I was just joking. I mean, I think it would be great if I woke up in the morning and was no longer able to view Katz's well thought out commentaries. ;-)

    Seriously though, I wish Slashdot would hurry up and accept subscription payment via something other than paypal.

  • This site has exceeded its limit of 3 Gigabytes of transfer for the month. You may buy extra Gigabytes of transfer by logging in to the user menu and choosing "upgrade".

    This guy must be really mad, now ;-)
  • This has got to be the ultimate fighting machine in a cubicle farm dart gun war. Add a few short walls and rig it so you can lay down and fly like Super Delbert and this would be an awesome gadget.
  • Thank you (Score:4, Funny)

    by Raven_Rider ( 566402 ) on Thursday March 14, 2002 @02:53PM (#3163578)
    Dear Slashdot; I'd like to say thank you to everyone who contributed to helping me purchase more bandwidth for my site. That bandwidth (5 Gigs) has been all used up so the site will be down until the hubub dies down unless someone else feels like contributing. There are a couple of mirrors up and I sent off a copy of the pages to another person to create a better mirror with all of the pictures. Hopefuly that will be up later so you all can see the coaster. I am flattered with all the attention and I'm over my frustration of last night when the site initially went down. Like many people online my site is an extension of myself and with it down it's like a part of me is not functioning but I'm learning to deal with it. I'll make sure the new mirror is up later tonight for the Blue Flash pictures and I'll have a link posted to it as soon as it's up. I'm going to be speaking to John (the coaster builder) tonight and I'll let him know what everyone thinks. Please check out the pictures at the mirrors and if you are interested in coasters please revisit my site ( sometime in the future but not all at once. Thanks Paul B. Drabek

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...