diamond geezer

 Monday, November 21, 2011

Ten ideas for Boring 2012

There must be several posts on here that would make an ideal ten minute burst of presentational tedium at next year's Boring conference. Not that I would, obviously, but if I did...

1) The annual variation in the date of Easter
Easter Day can fall on any Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. The period between March 28th and April 20th is the most common, and any Easters outside that range are rather less frequent. The cycle of Easter dates repeats every 5,700,000 years. During this period, Easter falls on March 22nd only 27550 times (less than ½% of the total) but on April 19th 220400 times (nearly 4% of the total). Even if you're not particularly religious, the date of Easter affects the length of the Creme Egg season every year, which can be as long as 17 weeks (as in 2011) or as short as 12½ weeks (as in 2008). Look at this graph...

2) The redevelopment of Bow Road tube station (Feb 2004 - Oct 2005)
My local tube station, Bow Road, was the first to be upgraded by Metronet as part of the PPP station upgrade programme. They took their time, delivering not very much very slowly, and squandering £3.3m of public money in the process. As a permanent record of this process I took notes and recorded all the daily changes to my blog. I think you'll find this very interesting...
Monday 9th February (Day 1): Four blue portakabins have appeared on the pavement outside the station.
Tuesday 10th February: A blue wall has appeared in front of the four portakabins. It is made of metal.
Tuesday 27th July: The top two layers of scaffolding across the passenger bridge are now covered by white sheeting. The new white sheeting is made from flame retardant fabric (satisfying "LPS 1215 standard").
Wednesday 1st September: In the absence of any apparent renovation work going at the station, I thought I'd report on the progress of the conkers on the horse chestnut tree outside the station instead.
Sunday 20th March: Along the westbound platform I counted 24 security cameras and 28 microphones.
Tuesday 2nd August (7:30am): Three policemen are standing in the glass-fronted control room in the ticket hall, presumably watching some of Bow Road's 75 new CCTV cameras.
Friday 30th September: The second conker season looks to be drawing to a close.
Friday 14th October (Day 614): The three blue portakabins on the pavement outside the station have been removed overnight.
3) London's four geographical extremities
I thought I'd tell you about the times I visited the points in London that are the furthest north, south east and west. One's in a field, one's on a country lane, and two are on the M25. Think of it as an urban safari, following in the footsteps of Amundsen, Peary and Raleigh, but using equipment no more specialist than an Oyster card. Look, I've even taken some photos to show you...

4) The Count
Every February, for reasons even I'm no longer sure about, I count things. It seemed a good idea at the time, anyway. What this means is that I have ten years of data about my life, in a variety of areas, which is ideal for turning into pretty graphs and spreadsheets. See how stable my daily tea consumption is. I think this pie chart of daily escalator usage is particularly illuminating. And then there's this table which looks like binary but is in fact the number of times I've...

5) Rail Replacement Safari
One of the most boring, but enlightening, things I've ever done is to spend the entire day travelling on all of the different rail replacement buses in London...

6) The oldest food in my kitchen cupboards
We all keep food for longer than we should. It looks appealing as we place it in our trolley, then it languishes forgotten at the back of the larder for years. But even though many sell-by dates are purely for convenience, the contents of any packet or tin are likely to be less tasty the longer they're kept. So I've rifled though my kitchen cupboards to find the ten foodstuffs that are most out of date, and here they are on the table. What's first up?
» Microwaveable Apple and Cinnamon Sponge Pudding (320g) [use by Nov 2002]. Ah, do you remember the days when 'microwaveable' was a) still novel b) a selling point?

7) Olympic pin badges
You'd be amazed by the number of different inanimate objects that appear, for no particularly good reason, on London 2012 Olympic pin badges...

8) Installed by cretins
It never fails to amaze me how TfL manage to install so many next train indicators where people can't see them. At the far end of platforms, stuffed into alcoves, and especially blocked by "Way Out" signs and security cameras. I've put together this slideshow for you, starting with the northbound Piccadilly line platform at Holborn where the next two trains are going to Cock...

9) The Joys of Canvey Island
...out of season, even the crazy golf is locked away...

10) (tomorrow's post)

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