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11 Functional Homemade TARDISes

The first episode of Doctor Who aired 50 years ago today! Celebrate with this round-up of homemade TARDISes from the archives.

TARDIS is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. In the Doctor Who universe, they are vehicles for Time Lords to travel through time and space. Besides its function, the most striking feature of a TARDIS is the fact that it is bigger on the inside, because the door is "a dimensional gateway to a micro-universe." Most such vehicles change their appearance to blend in with the location and era to which they travel, but the somewhat obsolete model the Doctor uses is stuck in the form of a British police call box. Therefore it has become an icon for Doctor Who fans. And there are many Doctor Who fans who want a TARDIS that works, even if they have to make their own.

1. Refrigerator

The blogger at Time Machine Yeah moved into a house with two roommates and needed a refrigerator that's bigger on the inside (and who doesn't?), so she converted her unit into a TARDIS. Watch the transformation process in a time-lapse video. Oh, and it's perfectly functional -as a refrigerator.

2. Cat Playhouse

Astromark first built a 1/6 scale TARDIS cat toy as a gift, then decided to build a 1/2 scale TARDIS for his own cat Kaylee. The result was the most elaborate toy/shelter a cat could ever ask for. Kaylee finds it nice to sit on top of, or inside where there are plenty of climbing, sleeping, and scratching surfaces. This one is very functional -to a cat.

3. Teapot

Rebekka Ferbrache makes these beautiful ceramic TARDIS teapots to sell in her Etsy shop. They are each made to order, which takes about ten weeks of lead time. As you can see in this video, it functions perfectly well -as a teapot.

4. Sewing Kit

Craftster member Joesuplicki made a small TARDIS to hold a variety of sewing tools and supplies for whatever disaster may befall you on your travels. After the top comes off, each side folds down to reveal what you've stashed away. The center pole can hold spools of thread as well. This is really functional -as a sewing kit.

5. Cubicle

DeviantART member deezoid thought his office cubicle needed more room. There wasn't much he could do about it, but a makeover turned it into a TARDIS and it certainly feels bigger inside! And it's perfectly functional -as an office cubicle.

6. Bookcase

Hannah's father built this TARDIS bookcase to hold her collection of DVDs, because she needed plenty of room on the inside. The lighted sign on top really grabs your attention. You can get some details on the build in this video. Oh, you can bet it's functional -as a bookcase.

7. Telescope Cover

Duncan Kitchin is a stargazer and a Doctor Who fan. He also has a rather large telescope that’s too big to easily take inside and back out often. So he built a TARDIS as a telescope shed! One side comes off, and the rest rolls away on wheels. When Kitchin is through with the telescope, he just covers it up again and the instrument is protected from the weather. See more pictures at Astro Imaging Blog. Yes, it's functional -as a telescope cover.

8. Toilet

The Way Station is a Doctor Who-themed bar in Brooklyn that has a TARDIS sitting right in the middle of the room. This is handy because it's the restroom! Patrons will tell you it is wonderfully functional -as a toilet.

9. Door

TARDIS

Normal Jean and her husband scalpod put a TARDIS right in their living room, insuring that it will always be bigger on the inside -which is the outside, meaning the great outdoors! This project was part of a TARDIS competition a few years ago. You can see more pictures of the building process in her Flickr set. This TARDIS is quite functional -as a door.

10. Arcade

Simon Jansen built a M.A.M.E. (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) console inside a homemade TARDIS.

MAME is a piece of software you run on a PC that lets you run and play thousands of old arcade games. It works by emulating the hardware necessary to run the original game ROM files. So the games aren't a simulation of the originals. They ARE the originals. The aim of the MAME development team is to ensure the old games aren't lost as the hardware becomes more rare. Note that their purpose is to preserve these items of electronic history as exactly as possible. They aren't trying to make every game playable on your regular home PC. The fact that most games are playable is just a nice side effect for people who love the classics.

The resulting product is a complete game arcade inside a TARDIS. Yes, it's functional -as a game arcade.

11. Murphy Bed

A man in New Zealand built a very special bed for his son. By day, it’s a life-size TARDIS disguised as a police box. By night, it’s a fold-down bed! It has a working police light, pulsing LEDs, and a talking telephone. The bed was put up for auction in 2010, but unfortunately did not sell. However, you can still get some build details at the auction site. It's is very functional -as a bed.

Note: The plural of TARDIS is a subject of some argument. I borrowed the title usage from the site The Who Universe.

This post originally appeared in 2011.

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16 Geeky Coasters to Keep Your Coffee Table Safe
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Avoid unsightly ring stains on your coffee table with this delightful selection of coasters:

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. FLOPPY DISKS; $22.79

Floppy disks are not obsolete—at least in your living room area.

Buy on Amazon.

2. MARIO; $20

Mario Question Mark Block Coaster Set
Etsy

Unfortunately, no coins will be coming out of these coasters, but they will keep your table dry.

Buy on Etsy.

3. GAME OF THRONES; $12.99

Game of Thrones coasters
HBO Shop

Avoid a royal mess with house sigils of houses Targaryen, Stark, Baratheon, and Lannister.

Buy at the HBO Shop.

4. PACMAN; $20.95

Use these on a black table to recreate the retro video game.

Buy on Epic Giftables.

5. AGATE; $35

Rock on: These fancy agate coasters will look solid resting under your glass.

Buy on Amazon.

6. ELEMENTS; $56.99

These glowing coasters are perfect for chemists, Breaking Bad fans, and anyone who forgot to pay their electric bill.

Buy on Amazon.

7. BUILDING BLOCKS; $19.99

Build your own coaster with this LEGO-esque design.

Buy on Amazon.

8. STAR TREK; $16.63

Star Trek ship coasters
Amazon

This ceramic set celebrates all the best ships from Star Trek.

Buy on Amazon.

9. DR. WHO; $22.99

Just make sure you don’t accidentally send your glass into a different time period when you set it down.

Buy on Amazon.

10. RILAKKUMA; $1.95

Rilakkuma coaster
Bonanza

Cover your counter space with the cute face of Rilakkuma.

Buy on Bonanza.

11. HARRY POTTER; $50

Set of wood burned coasters featuring the crest of each Harry Potter house
Etsy

All the houses are present in this set of wood coasters.

Buy on Etsy.

12. FALLOUT; $25

fallout coasters
Etsy

Just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean all manners go out the door: Never forget to use a coaster!

Buy on Etsy.

13. BRAIN; $19.99

This set comes with 10 coasters, each with a slice of brain specimen. When you’re not using them, you can stack them together to create a full brain.

Buy on Amazon.

14. THE LAST AIRBENDER; FROM $13

Aang and his entourage face off on these wooden coasters.

Buy on Etsy.

15. BUFFY AND CO; $20

Getting totally wigged by the idea of a stained table? All your favorite characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer can give you an assist.

Buy on Etsy.

16. STUDIO GHIBLI; $25

Studio Ghibli Stone Tile Coasters
Etsy

These coasters feature scenes from the classics My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle.

Buy on Etsy.

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15 Educational Facts About Old School
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DreamWorks

Old School starred Luke Wilson as Mitch Martin, an attorney who—after catching his girlfriend cheating, and through some real estate and bitter dean-related circumstances—becomes the leader of a not-quite-official college fraternity. Along with his fellow thirtysomething friends Bernard (Vince Vaughn) and newlywed Frank (Will Ferrell), they end up having to fight for their right to maintain their status as a party-loving frat on campus.

The film, which was released 15 years ago today, marked Vaughn’s return to major comedies and Ferrell’s first major starring role after seven years on Saturday Night Live. Here are some facts about the movie for everyone, but particularly for my boy, Blue.

1. THE IDEA ORIGINATED WITH AN AD GUY.

Writer-director Todd Phillips was talking to a friend of his from the advertising industry named Court Crandall one day. Crandall had seen and enjoyed Phillips's movie Frat House (1998) and told his director buddy, “You know what would be funny is a movie about older guys who start a fraternity of their own.” After being told by Phillips to write it, he presented Phillips with a “loose version” of the finished product.

2. SOME OF THE FRAT SHENANIGANS WERE REAL.

While Crandall received the story credit for Old School, Phillips and Scot Armstrong received the credit for writing the script. Armstrong put his own college fraternity experiences into the script. “We were in Peoria, Illinois, so it was up to us to entertain ourselves," Armstrong shared in the movie's official production notes. "A lot of ideas for Old School came from things that really happened. When it was cold, everyone would go stir crazy and it inspired some moments of brilliance. Of course, my definition of ‘brilliance' might be different from other people's.”

3. IVAN REITMAN HELPED OUT.

Ivan Reitman, director of Stripes and Ghostbusters, was an executive producer on the film. Phillips and Armstrong wrote and rewrote every day for two months at Reitman’s house, an experience Phillips described as comedy writing “boot camp.”

4. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT VINCE VAUGHN.

Vince Vaughn in 'Old School' (2003)
DreamWorks

It didn’t seem to make a difference to DreamWorks that Phillips and Armstrong had written the role of Bernard with Vince Vaughn in mind—the studio didn't want him. After his breakout success in Swingers, Vaughn had taken roles in dramas like the 1998 remake of Psycho. “So when Todd Phillips wanted me for Old School, the studio didn’t want me,” Vaughn told Variety in 2015. “They didn’t think I could do comedy! They said, ‘He’s a dramatic actor from smaller films.’ Todd really had to push for me.”

5. RECYCLED SHOTS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY WERE USED.

The film was mainly shot on the Westwood campus of UCLA. The aerial shots of the fictitious Harrison University, however, were of Harvard; they had been shot for Road Trip (2000).

6. VINCE VAUGHN FANS MIGHT RECOGNIZE THE CHURCH.

In the film, Frank gets married at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California. Vaughn and Owen Wilson were in that same church two years later for Wedding Crashers (2005).

7. WILL FERRELL SCARED MEMBERS OF A 24-HOUR GYM.

Frank’s streaking scene was shot on a city street. As Ferrell remembered it, one of the storefronts was a 24-hour gym with Stairmasters and treadmills in the window. “I was rehearsing in a robe, and all these people are in the gym, watching me. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘Shouldn’t we tell them I’m going to be naked?’ Sure enough, I dropped my robe and there were shrieks of pure horror. After the first take, nobody was at the window anymore. I took that as a sign of approval.”

8. FERRELL REALLY WAS NAKED.

Ferrell justified it by saying it showed his character falling off the wagon. “The fact that it made sense was the reason I was really into doing it, and why I was able to commit on that level," Ferrell told the BBC. "If it was just for the sake of doing a crazy shot, then I don't think it makes sense.” Still, Ferrell needed some liquid courage, and was intimidated by the presence of Snoop Dogg.

9. ROB CORDDRY WAS NOT NAKED, BUT HE STILL HAD TO SIGN AWAY HIS NUDITY RIGHTS.

Old School marked the first major film role for Rob Corddry, who at the time was best known as a correspondent for The Daily Show. He had a jewel bag around his private parts for his nude scene, but his butt made it into the final cut. He had to sign a nudity clause, which gave the film the right to use his naked image “in any part of the universe, in any form, even that which is not devised.”

10. SNOOP DOGG AGREED TO CAMEO SO HE COULD PLAY HUGGY BEAR IN STARSKY & HUTCH.

Phillips admitted to essentially bribing the hip-hop artist/actor, using Snoop Dogg’s desire to play the street informant in the modern movie adaptation of the classic TV show (which Phillips was also directing) to his advantage. “So when I went to him I said, 'I want you to do Huggy Bear,' he was really excited. And I said, 'Oh yeah, also will you do this little thing for me in Old School a little cameo?' So he kind of had to do it I think."

11. SNOOP WANTED TO HANG OUT WITH VINCE VAUGHN ON SET, BUT NOT LUKE WILSON.

Snoop Dogg in 'Old School' (2003)
Richard Foreman, Dreamworks

Vaughn and his friends accepted an invitation to hang out in Snoop Dogg’s trailer to play video games on the last day of shooting. Vaughn recalled seeing Luke Wilson later watching the news alone in his trailer; he had not been informed of the get-together.

12. WILSON WAS TEASED BY HIS CO-STARS.

Vaughn, Wilson, and Ferrell dubbed themselves “The Wolfpack”—years before Phillips directed The Hangover—because they would always make fun of each other. A particularly stinging exchange had Ferrell refer to Legally Blonde (which Wilson had starred in) as Legally Bland. Wilson said it didn’t make him feel great. Wilson retorted by telling Ferrell that "the transition from TV to the movies isn't a very easy one, so you might just want to keep one foot back in TV just in case this whole movie thing falls through!"

13. TERRY O’QUINN SCARED HIS SONS INTO THINKING THEY WERE TRIPPING.

Terry O’Quinn (who went on to play John Locke on Lost the following year) agreed to play Goldberg, uncredited, in what was a two-day job for him. He neglected to inform his sons he was in the movie, and when they saw it, one of them called their father. “I got a call from my sons one night, and they said, ‘What were you doing in Old School? We didn’t even know you were in it!’ They said, ‘We’re sitting there, and the first time we see you, it’s, like, in a reflection in a window. And when we saw it, and we both thought we were, like, tripping or something!’”

14. THE EARMUFFS WERE IMPROVISED.

Before filming, Vaughn worked with Ferrell to figure out their characters' backstories and how they knew each other; he credited that with helping him figure out who Bernard was, which led to several ad-libbed moments. “The earmuff scene where he swears in front of the kids, and then I tell the kid to earmuff, that all is off the cuff. But that stuff is a lot easier to do when you know who you are and your circumstances, and who your characters are,” Vaughn explained.

15. FERRELL AND VAUGHN DIDN’T LOVE A SCRIPT FOR A SEQUEL.

Armstrong had written Old School Dos in 2006, which saw the frat going to Spring Break. Ferrell said that he and Vaughn read the script but felt like they would just be “kind of doing the same thing again.” Wilson, on the other hand, was excited over the new script.

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