Friday Fun with Secrets

Straight in with the fun today, no messing…

Previously, Friday Fun has featured episodes in a series created by Londonist, sharing the secrets of each London underground line. This week, the series concluded with the Metropolitan Line (and a special on the Waterloo & City – appropriate as I travelled on it for the first time in years on Wednesday!). Honestly, these videos are GENIUS and will provide you with all sorts of tube knowledge that will impress/annoy those you travel with for years to come.

Even if you watched some of them before, they bear re-watching – you’ll always discover something you missed. I now have a list of things I need to look out for on my various travels…

Moving on to a different form of transportation. It’s now 8 days since I favourited a tweet including this video on Twitter (bad me for not Friday Funning last week) and I know it’s been widely shared. However, I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone I know share it on Facebook, so perhaps this will be a new one on you. If not, who cares?! It’s brilliant. This is what one man did to kill time while having to overnight at Las Vegas airport, equipped only with an iPhone, a roll of tape and a trolley case – plus a love of Celine Dion:

I love airports and I have a soft-spot for Celine – in fact, this version of All By Myself is the first one I heard, thanks to a teenage collection of her albums. Don’t judge me. It was the 90’s and I love a good power ballad.

On the subject of air travel, I am seriously in need of a long-haul adventure sometime soon – complete with all the novelties and deprivations of flying (limitless films versus limited leg room). I can’t decide if I feel better about flying, or worse, having read this great article on flying in a bygone age – complete with a large slideshow of photos. Definitely worth a perusal.

Sleeping In FlightCan you imagine the luxury??

Finally, a return to one of my favourite Friday Fun topics: periods. It’s been a while (largely because comedy on the subject is rather niche) but this is excellent. Brought to you by the same company who created last year’s Camp Gyno video, what if you were thrown a ‘First Moon’ party because your mother knew you were lying about having started?!

So. Much. Joy.
“Do you sell vagina cakes?”
“Do you know how hard it is to find a uterus piñata?”
“You’re missing the vagician!”
“Periods don’t have glitter in them!”

And with that, I’ll let you enjoy your Friday and all that the weekend throws at you!

Friday Fun with poetry & singing

As is traditional for Friday Fun, there is some TfL geekiness, but there is an entire blogpost of geekiness imminent, so I’ll keep it to a minimum today, with just one piece of fun.

I am a big fan of tube etiquette posters – largely because I am also a big fan of keeping tube etiquette. However, the recent series of posters using rhyming couplets to instruct us to give up seats; not eat smelly food; and let others off the train first has been derided by some. One such person decided to bring some quality poetry into the etiquette messages, re-writing them in the style of Blake, Byron, Shakespeare etc…

Blake Tube Etiquette

Kipling, Byron, Barrett-Browning

Not, strictly speaking, TfL fun, but both London and Transport related, is Jake Foreman’s third instalment of Unfinished London.  The first two are well worth checking out if you haven’t already (the unfinished Northern Line plans & the inner London orbital) and this one does not disappoint. This time, the subject is London’s airports:

Moving on. Still riding high on the joy of seeing Les Mis in the flesh last week, I very much enjoyed this rendition of One Day More – with lyrics translated through layers of Google Translate. It’s excellent, partly because the singers are, and partly because it’s just ridiculous. Quality intellectual musical fun:

Next, am I alone in feeling something of a Harry Potter absence at this time of year? For years, early summer involved heady anticipation of a new book or film – until 2011, when the final movie arrived. If you share my wistfulness, and don’t have the time/inclination to read all 7 books or watch all 8 films, then you can relive the joy through 5 minutes of how Harry Potter should have ended:

And, as I said at the start, keep watch for further TfL fun in the next couple of days…

Friday Fun returns

Excuses: Easter, holiday, essays, deadlines, colds…
But never mind the excuses, there is fun for Friday! [Except that I managed to forget to press ‘publish’ on this, having written most of it a week last Tuesday, so here it is a week late!!]

It may only have been a four day week , but I’m sure fun would be much appreciated!

Firstly, transport related fun:
A French architect has made it his mission to make all transit maps look the same – the idea being that if they use the same design, they’re easier to follow if you’re not a local. Nice idea, but it does destroy the beauty of London’s map:

London tube map restyled

Abandoned stations are always fun, even when they’re not in London. Take these examples from Barcelona – complete with the story of how the photos came to be taken; what the history of the stations is; and what has happened in their abandoned platforms and tunnels ever since. Hunting out abandoned stations can be an extreme pursuit and not necessarily legal…

Barcelona Abandoned Station 1

Next, another of those nerdy projects involving the mapping of data. Gosh I love pretty data mapping! This time, it’s a visualisation of the most popular rush hour destinations (and the relationships with the journey’s origin) via Oyster card data:


It’s another project from UCL, and the researcher’s blog allows you to switch from annotated to non-annotated versions of the map. (Plus, a detailed explanation of how they did it for those that are interested!)

Secondly, animal and food related fun:
Who doesn’t want to see a tiny hamster eating a tiny burrito? [Warning: you will have severe burrito cravings having watched this, especially if you haven’t eaten lunch yet.]

(A tiny hamster eating pizza video has recently appeared, but I think the burrito one is superior.)

Thirdly, amusing children:
It’s always interesting to observe children’s reactions to things – especially to things of the past (or perhaps that’s just because I’m a history geek?). A recent joyful discovery has been the “Kids react to…” series on YouTube. The premise is simple: a group of kids (ranging in age from pre-schoolers to teenagers) are given an object or shown a video and their reactions are filmed. I discovered it via “Kids react to a Walkman” – in turns hilarious and terrifying as children try to work out not just how it works but what on earth it does in the first place.

Similarly, “Kids react to a rotary phone” was jointly painful and funny. There’s a whole wealth of these videos, including specific “Teens react…” and “Elders react…” series. A lot of time-wasting opportunities there!

Hopefully a more regular blogging service will resume next week as, after tomorrow, I will have completed ALL of the work needed for my Vicar School degree! Freedom!!

Friday Fun (for a Saturday evening)

Apologies for the hiatus. When one has to hand in 8,000+ words of essays, immediately followed by a similar number of words across 3 sermons, the desire to write any other words is minimal! Still, the break means that there’s plenty of fun for this week!

[Also an apology for the fact that I wrote most of it on Friday, but then got distracted and forgot to post it. Rather than extending my hiatus further, I thought I’d better publish it now. Fun is fun regardless of the day…]

So, for starters, some London fun. Firstly, there’s been a lot of excitement on Twitter about the forthcoming opening of the Mail Rail as part of the Postal Museum due to open in a couple of years time at Mount Pleasant. I’ve mentioned the Mail Rail before – it’s a classic piece of hidden London geekery and thus the prospect of actually getting to ride is quite exciting. In case you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, Time Out have a collection of photos that takes you behind the scenes of the currently mothballed postal transport system:

Mail Rail

Moving on to the better known London underground network… Someone this week announced that they’d visited every single tube station and taken a photo of the roundel there. Excellent work Mr Mike Turnball!

Roundels...A screenshot from his Flickr stream.

This then opened the floodgates to others who had completed a similar feat. I loved this photo of a roundel made up of roundel photos:

Roundel, CottonSteve Cotton’s Roundel, via Londonist.

Other people turn their photos of roundels into videos. I liked the animation-style element of this one:

To wrap things up for this week, we return to a Friday Fun theme of old – the dulcet tones of the Swingles. This is one of their latest video offerings, a cover of Mumford & Sons After the Storm. [Warning: if you’re anti-beard, you may want to watch this from a distance as the camera goes rather close up to the epic beard sported by their hirsute tenor.]

Short & sweet Friday Fun

I’m in the mire of two big deadlines (8,000 words in total) due next week, so I haven’t the time to do a ‘proper’ Friday Fun, despite having plenty fodder.

BUT, there is one thing that’s brought me respite at intervals through the week which I’d intended to share – given that it’s fun and transport related. Out there, some brilliant geeks are working on a metro game, where you can create your own transport system. You connect stations; cross rivers; resolve capacity issues; and ultimately aim to safely carry as many passengers as possible. The game is over if serious over-crowding occurs, just as in real life.

It’s in beta, so they’re welcoming feedback and in the course of the days that I’ve been playing it I’ve noticed both bugs and improvements, so you’d actually be contributing something too! This is what the developers have to say:

Mini Metro is an upcoming minimalistic subway layout game. Your small city starts with only three unconnected stations. Your task is to draw routes between the stations to connect them with subway lines. Everything but the line layout is handled automatically; trains run along the lines as quickly as they can, and the commuters decide which trains to board and where to make transfers.

Mini MetroThis was one of my more successful escapades. I think I got 397 passengers [note the number in the bottom right corner] before over-crowding shut down my system. The circle on the bottom left is a new station – they appear at intervals and you have to work out how to incorporate them. The symbols at the stations are passengers waiting for trains – panic ensues when those lines grow longer! But each time Sunday rolls along (see the clock in the top right corner) you are offered a choice of bonuses, from extra capacity trains, to additional river tunnels.

At times it seems fiendishly difficult, but practice improves things! (Although I did note that my friend Matt had already reached 471 when he sent me the link, but he is a techy nerd, so maybe he’s just better at these things!)

Anyway, there’s your challenge for the weekend! Enjoy!