If you are lucky enough to have a backyard instead of just, say, an alley full of garbage cans or the ass end of your neighbor's trailer, you probably feel like a hero just for keeping the grass cut. Maybe if you're really ambitious, you've done some landscaping, or maybe you're handy and have built a deck. It really doesn't matter -- whatever you've got back there doesn't compare to these mind-boggling one-man projects ...
#6. The Miniature Paris
"This is the third time you've used 'A giant hand was blocking the bridge' as a late excuse."
This may look like a Photoshopped image of a giant, nuclear-powered Frenchman descending upon Paris, but the Frenchman is actually regular-sized. It's the city that is tiny. That's because for no particular reason, Gerard Brion decided to dedicate his life to building a scale replica of Paris in his yard. And when we say he's dedicated his life to it, we mean it: It's said to have taken 15 years to build. And since he was 29 when he finished, that means he started when he was 14. At least it kept him out of trouble, we guess.
People with scale models of world cities in their backyard are 14 percent less likely to end up selling drugs.
Working in his shed all by himself, Brion built his miniature Paris out of old concrete blocks, baby food jars, soup tins and other junk. He probably also raided the local toy store for thousands of Hot Wheels, because his city is complete with streets, cars, rivers that run under bridges and electrical wiring that lights up the city at night.
So many mice have gotten laid bringing their girlfriends here.
We're afraid to ask if he installed plumbing, complete with thousands of tiny toilets and tiny people pooping in them, because with this attention to detail, he probably did.
Can you spot the tiny molestation occurring?
His work attracts 15,000 tourists per year to the small town of Vaissac in the South of France, so if you want to visit Paris but can't afford the real thing (or you prefer to pretend you are Godzilla while visiting famous landmarks), this could be a good second option. You just have to resist the urge to stomp it all into the ground.
We would not be able to resist that urge.
#5. Jim Bishop's Infinitely Expanding Castle
As far as castles go, Bishop Castle in Colorado admittedly looks like it wouldn't hold up under a siege. But we can forgive that for the fact that one guy has built the entire thing, stone by stone, over the course of 40 years.
When Jim Bishop was 15, he dropped out of high school because his teacher told him he'd never amount to anything. Like most people in that situation, Bishop reacted by purchasing two acres of land in the Colorado mountains and spending the remainder of his life sculpting a giant castle out of rocks and junk.
Starting with an elaborate dungeon for that asshole teacher.
Bishop's castle comes complete with 250-foot towers, domes, vertigo-inducing bridges and a giant dragon's head that breathes smoke powered by an internal stove. And, most amazingly, he's put the whole thing together without the use of heavy machinery, laying every stone and beam by hand.
Meanwhile, you still haven't completed that couch from IKEA.
So when can he expect the project to be complete? In Bishop's own words, when he opens the paper in the morning and reads his own obituary. We're not sure that's how it works, but the point is that he feels the project is a form of therapy for him and he never intends to stop adding to it.
Unless he encounters some other guy who has obsessively built a fleet of trebuchets.
#4. A Homemade Roller Coaster
"If you build it,
they will come you might die."
What do you do when you love to ride the roller coaster but you don't want to deal with all the other bullshit that comes with visiting an amusement park? For most of us, not much besides sitting on an office chair and spinning around really fast. If you're John Ivers, you actually build a roller coaster in your backyard, because you are nuts.
Ivers, of Indiana, simply hated waiting in lines, and so he decided to piss in the face of engineering school and build his own roller coaster in 2001. Although he had no prior experience in the roller coaster industry, Ivers was a welder and had access to plenty of scrap metal. He built his masterpiece, which he named Blue Flash, using trial and error. In true MacGyver fashion, he even skipped a few steps and used his storage shed as support for the first hill.
"Why doesn't everybody use thin strips of corrugated metal to support their roller coasters?"
Ivers allows anyone who wants to ride his creation do so for free. Those brave enough to trek to Indiana and ride a roller coaster in the backyard of a stranger who had never built a roller coaster before face one final test of trust: They'll be riding on a slightly modified car seat without much in the way of safety precautions. Hey, the whole point of roller coasters is that they give you an adrenaline rush due to briefly tricking your body into thinking you're going to die. So on one level, we're pretty sure this is the best roller coaster in the world.