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Weekend Picks

February 08, 2003 11:10 IST

Play a war game, experience simulated space travel and get into the mood for love!

Love is in the air. But before we get to the mushy, gooey stuff, let's get a little serious.

Love and war are in the air!

The US and Iraq are on the brink of war making half the world's population very edgy. China probably doesn't care either way. Besides making people worried, the war threat has resulted in some very creative endeavours online. Sample this game and you'll know what I'm talking about.

The game is a projection of the most likely outcome of a new war in the Gulf. The creator promises this is the 'mother of all Flash games'. Once you get a hang of the military units, missiles, bombers important people like Dick Cheney, Colin Powell will be your guide and take your through the game. A great distraction from the real action.


Space travel is in the news following the Columbia tragedy. If you want a first-hand experience of what it feels like, this real-time space simulation lets you experience the universe in three dimensions.

To ensure a good experience, you will need at least a Pentium class processor and preferably a 3D graphics card accelerator. Once you download and install the software, it allows you to travel through the solar system to any of the 100,000 stars or even beyond the galaxy.

A 'point-and-go-to interface' allows you to navigate the universe or any object you want to visit along the way. Download Celestia and you too can get a feel of what space travel feels like.

One minute vacations

Let's go away for awhile, you and I, to a strange and distant land, where they speak no word of truth...'

We had five-minute books. We even had one-minute books. This time, it's one-minute vacations. Unedited recordings of someone, somewhere; sixty seconds that allows you to be someone else.

The project began when the author, Aaron Ximm travelled to Vietnam and made recordings of musicians, trains, crickets, monks and drunken tourists. Later, he applied this technique to his travels around the San Fransisco Bay area. Annapurna: Memories in Sound a thirty-eight minute audio program of his trekking trip in Nepal with wife Bronwyn was awarded the Director's Choice Honorable Mention at the Third Coast Festival.

This is a sample of a one-minute vacation entry, in mp3 format, dated December 23: "A chilly night in Kalaw, a few days before Christmas, 2000. In the Shan state hills of Burma, horse carts with bells and ghost-plumes of breathe lend an unexpectedly Dickensian atmosphere to an early evening stroll: a hard way of life painted romantic by our nostalgia. A few hundred yards from our hotel, the unexpected sound of carolers practicing their rounds. Contemporary Christian missionaries, we wonder, or the long shadow of the British Raj?"

He also has a request: "I have always encouraged people to listen with headphones, preferably while lying down in a dark room. As an artist, my ego still demands that I list this possibility first." Go ahead and give it a try.

Bitter Sweets

You might be eagerly browsing sites to choose the perfect gift for your Valentine. But there's another set of people who feel this is the cruelest day of the year. A day they anticipate with nausea, grimacing, trauma and grief.

If you are a part of this unsatisfied mass, BitterSweets is for you. These candies are made of flavoured, chalky tasting sugar and sport disgruntled, bitter messages on their face. Messages "recalling an almost forgotten, unbearably painful memory of being dumped. Or perhaps of a dysfunctional, psychotic ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or of that cruel-hearted girl (or boy) in elementary school who rejected your valentine solicitations, informing you that Jake (or Holly) was "so totally way hotter". I'm sure you get the drift.

There are 37 designs to choose from. There are also cards. This one is a sample. 'Dysfunction: the only consistent feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you'. There's the pessimist's mug: 'The glass is half-empty. Deal with it'.

There's also a warning: "Supplies are limited. But the pain that accompanies them may not be."

Love Poems

We've saved the best for last. With Valentine's Day around the corner, here's your chance to impress your loved one with words. After, all it's important to say the right things at the right time, and you probably need help if you've come so far. From 'Sappho to Shakespeare, Byron to Browning, some of the best known love poetry is just a few keystrokes away' promises the site.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Quote that and she's definitely yours forever!


Anita Bora