Surf's up -
Our lives are made of serious moments and foolish thoughts, of solemn reading and outright silliness. This point really came home to me when I took note of some of my recent surfing habits.
A few recent stops are included in this week's column, which runs the full spectrum, from the noble to the hilarious and definitely to the profane. (You've all been warned!)
Voices From the Field
The world hears much about Doctors Without Borders (a.k.a. Medecins sans frontieres) when there are natural disasters, such as last month's earthquake in Haiti, although the organization is active year-round, around the world. Voices From the Field is a collection of reports that add important perspectives to stories that have been reported, but not necessarily understood.
I like Dwell magazine, which I learned about years ago from the architect in our family. I've bought many copies since then, even though we're not planning to build one of those ultra-cool houses from scratch with reclaimed or industrial materials ... the sort that magazine art directors plan photo shoots over. What I had not noticed, though, until I saw the Unhappy Hipsters site is how often the subjects have grim (or at least bored) expressions on their faces.
It's been years since Memorial University ran the renowned Extension Service, but it still reaches into the community with non-credit courses on a wide range of topics, from art to business skills to all sorts of recreational pursuits.
Talk shows cover the gamut of issues, from the day's news to celebrity foibles. Here's one with a twist: a talk show dedicated to wine, and nothing else. A new audio podcast goes out about every week, sometimes replaced by a video feature. It's about far more than wine tastings: you'll hear about urban wineries, how restaurants go about putting together great wine lists, and the science of winemaking. It's fascinating, and terrific listening for, say, making a Saturday supper while sipping on a nice glass.
Amid the countless sites pitching ways you can spend money and buy more, the site mnmlist (that's a minimal way of saying "minimalist") takes things in exactly the opposite direction. In other words, that means decluttering and simplifying your life, and especially doing away with many of your possessions. Sure, reducing your carbon footprint, etc. etc., is noble, and many people will find inspiration in the posts here, but I found that even a few minutes here was about as much piety, earnestness and self-admiration as I could digest.
Star Wars Weather Forecast
If it's freezing cold out there - really freezing, so cold you'd need to find warmth in the carcass of a peculiar creature - you could say it's just like Hoth. Hot and cloudy? Yavin 4 comes to mind. This is a fun site that will appeal to Star Wars fans, even though it's a one-note joke. Theoretically, you can enter any city's name and get a matching forecast, though I couldn't get far with anything for St. John's.
The Filthy Critic
Often foul-mouthed reviews, and presented in just a few words. Here's an example of the kids' animated movie, "Barnyard": "Hate your kids? Show them this." Ouch. As you might guess, be prepared for swear words and strong language.
Let Me Google That For You
Here's a chuckle, and a novelty to pass to your friends - especially those who like to get you to look stuff up on their behalf. Whether or not you satisfy yourself by sending a link to them (on the hopes that they well and truly get the message), you'll get a kick out of watching what happens when you type in a question.
John Gushue is an online editor for CBC News in St. John's. Twitter: @johngushue. Blog: johngushue.typepad.com