All set for summer

John
John Gushue
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My vacation is getting close enough now that I can pretty much smell the sea and the beach where we'll soon be. I should start getting ready for it.

Most of the weather over the last week has been, well, crappy, but it's still easy enough to slip into a summer frame of mind. Life takes on a more relaxed pace, people loosen up and take a breath, and things - for a while, anyway - don't need to be taken so seriously.

Surf's up - My vacation is getting close enough now that I can pretty much smell the sea and the beach where we'll soon be. I should start getting ready for it.

Most of the weather over the last week has been, well, crappy, but it's still easy enough to slip into a summer frame of mind. Life takes on a more relaxed pace, people loosen up and take a breath, and things - for a while, anyway - don't need to be taken so seriously.

With that frame of mind, I've picked some sites that fit the summer mood.

Phatterism

www.phatterism.com

Luis Santi Jr.'s site is so charming and so cleverly rendered, you'll want to e-mail the address to a bunch of friends, just so they can enjoy it, too. The Miami-based graphic designer collects some small writings, photos and videos, and puts it together with wit and a wink.

Purplish Rain

www.spin.com/prince

In July 2004, the Prince movie "Purple Rain" came out and, to mark the 25th anniversary, Spin magazine has compiled a tribute version of the bestselling soundtrack album. You can't get it in stores, but you can get it online, for free. A catch: you'll need a copy of the magazine to answer the gateway question. The covers, incidentally, aren't bad at all, with some clever interpretations involving mariachi, indie pop and old-school soul.

50 Best Movie Villains

tinyurl.com/qf2xm5

Pop culture lists - the 10 or 25 or 100 top, best, worst of this or that - are as common as popcorn, but I'm a sucker for them all the same. This list is from the Times of London, which has the cheek to start its countdown with Dr. Evil of the Austin Powers movies. Don't worry: things get much, much nastier from there.

Celebrities & Simpsons

tinyurl.com/m7xa87

Springfield, the town where the Simpsons live, is most likely in a flyover state (which one? we'll never know), but it sure does get its share of celebrities stopping by. Here's a list of 20 quotes from the show featuring the likes of Alec Baldwin, Mick Jagger and Mel Gibson, quipping and mingling with the four-fingered folk.

Comixed

www.comixed.com/

Yonkoma is a popular format for comic strips and storytelling in Japan; Comixed takes that four-panel format, and plays with it, with varying degrees of success. The images come from movies, TV, the news, random Internet shots, wherever ... and then are processed with captions concocted by users.

Alien photos

www.zen171398.zen.co.uk/Alien.html

If you're a fan of Ridley Scott's groundbreaking space thriller, you'll want to take a peek at this gallery of production shots, many of them about models and sets put together three decades ago. I'm curious enough to want to see the whole film again.

Barcode Art

www.barcodeart.com/art/yourself/yourself.html

Barcodes may seem anonymous and bland, but they are, by necessity, unique ... at least in differentiating one product from another. Here's a humourous way to adopt barcode-technology to yourself, with a customized print that's all about you. It's a free download.

Pictures at Right Angles

www.hogrockcafe.com/pictures_at_right_angle.htm

At just the right angle, to be precise. When a camera and a subject connect in a particular way, weird things come to laugh: a statue of Lenin sinks a basket, a cat's head re-appears through a plank of wood, a woman gives the Sphinx a kiss. Not all of these are in great taste, as a warning, but most are bound to lighten your mood.

Guarded bumper stickers

www.zazzle.com/nuanced_stickers/gifts

"My other car is substantially similar to this one. My wife drives it." So goes one of the "Nuanced, Ambivalent or Guarded" bumper stickers on sale here, for those who like to keep their opinions close to the vest.

John Gushue is a writer in St. John's. Blog: johngushue.typepad.com. Twitter: twitter.com/JohnGushue.

Organizations: Purple Rain, Spin magazine, Times of London

Geographic location: St. John's

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