"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." - Maya Angelou
I don't use Twitter; I've never seen a need for me to use it. I can understand why folks on the go might want to send a message along the lines of "stopping for a coffee" or "picking up drycleaning," but my daily life is pretty static. Why would I want to keep saying, "Still sitting at desk" ... and why would anyone want to read it?
All the same, I can see some benefits of the application. And then there are things like TwittEarth, which collects real-time Twitter messages, and rotates Earth to show them to you. Oddly fascinating, for a few minutes at least.
[Surf's Up, as publishedin the St. John's Telegram on Thursday, May 8, 2008. Click here to read more columns.]
The most popular band in the land overhauls its website, the dean of evolution gets the full-on literary tribute, and an easy tip to help your deck plants flourish this summer … all that, and more, in this week’s hop, skip and jump around the web.
Great Big Sea A sign of a healthy website is that it reinvents itself every now and again. The GBS site unveiled its makeover last Friday, to herald the upcoming album Fortune's Favour. The album is now out for more than a month, but you can amuse yourself aplenty on the site, which has a new player (stream a half-dozen songs while you surf), some new social-media functions and various other features. Old favourites are still in place, including the forums, where hardcore fans meet up.
Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online Next year will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, one of the scientists who truly changed how we look at the world, and ourselves. Get a jump on the festivities with a site that pulls together everything Darwin wrote, which is no mean feat.
Pop Bottle Irrigation If you have outdoor plants and a plastic Pepsi bottle kicking around, you can solve two problems at once. Instead of dropping the bottle into recycling (or, worse, the garbage can), making a few snips can give you a tool to keep your plants moist during the summer days to come.
Lost Spoilers In our house, I'm alone in following the TV show Lost, but I’m certainly not alone out there in cyberspace, where there are, I don’t know, a billion sites picking apart the show that raises two questions for every one it resolves. While I like to being surprised, I’ll cop to getting a buzz from this well-informed blog that tracks where the next dozen or two plot turns might lead.
Sandwiches A couple of months ago, Esquire magazine ran a feature on great sandwiches, and asked readers for their ideas. Apparently, every reader had a different idea on the ultimate sandwich. Here’s the central page, which is sliced, buttered and stuffed with an endless variety of sandwiches. I bet you can’t scroll through the list without wanting to head to the kitchen for a snack. If you’re planning on a road trip, take notes; the suggestions here are fixed to particular restaurants, diners, etc., that serve up wonders on a plate.
Animated gifs Ah, the animated gif. The Graphics Interchange Format has been a staple on the web for years; who, after all, can forget the burning fires that dotted many a personal web page around 1995? The animated gif is still a favourite; you don’t need any plug-ins or special software to make them work on even the most basic of web pages. This particular page consists of nothing but animated gifs: row upon upon row of them, all fit into tiny squares, each endlessly repeating.
Hansard When the House of Assembly is in session, Hansard makes for some of the best reading in town. Well, for some people! Get your political fix here, and keep up with legislative business, too.
Type the Alphabet Not all games involve zapping aliens, bouncing balls or cute animals. This is a twist on hand-eye co-ordination, and rewards those who can actually do one important function of daily life: type. See how long it takes to type the alphabet in sequence; I was humbled, and I can touch-type. (Allowing for a few boo-boos, that is.)
With a new Indiana Jones film in theatres ... something that doesn't happen every decade .. fans may want to drop into The Raven, a message board for comments on plot points, characters, spoilers and such.
Mario is one of the best-known game characters ever concocted. The plumber gets the proletarian treatment in The People's Mario, a sendup that imagines the mighty fist of the worker smacking down evils everywhere (mushrooms included).
I did not know until today, via a note from my friend Samantha, that May 25th is Towel Day, in honour of the late, great Douglas Adams, creator of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Nor did I know you can get such great swag!
When I have some free time, even a few minutes, I like to go through photo blogs; part of it is envy, as I am no photographer at all. Lately, the Newfoundland photobloggers have been looking for signs of spring, and reacting to the lack of it sometimes. Here are some of the pics I've seen the last week or so.
At Bitstop, Karen posted this shot of a foggy walk last week, which I thought captured how pleasant fog can be (apart from the, you know, bone-chilling aspects, too).
Kim Goodyear responded to the solid run of RDF with a few photos of sunnier times, including this joyful one below.
This is a shot from the Scenes & Things, showing a skiff in Pouch Cove. I like the painted walls that make up the backdrop.
Lloyd C. Rees posted this shot of a marsh last week; it struck a chord with me, as this what May really looks like: the leftovers of winter, but poised to burst again, sooner or later.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.