Here we are again, with some more insightful, delightful, informative and nonsensical excursions on those webpages that aren't hosted at Tangmonkey.
Urville is a city imagined, designed and drawn by Gilles Tréhin, of France. It's all entirely fictional, but Tréhin has gone so far as to create an elaborate history to go along with the astonishingly detailed pictures. Although it doesn't say so on the website, a letter to Wired Magazine explained that Gilles is a "functional autistic". That is, he suffers from autism, the perplexing neurological disorder that afflicted Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man. "Functional" autistics can operate in "normal" society, but still display some of the symptoms of the disorder - for instance, the astoundingly detailed architectural drawings composed by Tréhin for Urville.
If imaginary societies aren't up your alley, but you're frustrated by the inability to travel back into those cool cultures that used to exist, you can at least visit them through culinary methods. A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes is home to a number of medieval recipes, "translated and adapted for the modern cook". James Matterer has compiled a cornucopia of recipes, from caudell ("wine thickened with eggs") to elus bakyn in dyshes ("eels baked in wine"). If ye olde appetite hasn't been sated, check out the Andalusian Cookbook, dating from the 13th Century. It's got frittata of pigeons and - look out I Can't Believe It's not Butter - "The Making of Marrow Without Marrow, Which No One Will Suspect".
With food prepared, you can proceed to the Make Out Party. (No, it doesn't make sense to me, either.)
Stardust Aerogel has got to be just about the coolest thing in the world. It's 99.8% air, is 39 times "more insulating" than fibreglass... and appears to be the gaseous equivalent of Nickelodeon gak - that is, it's solid, but sure-as-heck looks (and feels) like a wispy gas. If that's not enough to convince you to look at the pretty pictures, well, er... it's also used by NASA.
You know what else should be used by NASA? The VWvortex. It's one swanky car.
Scott Kim writes phrases so that they can be read up, down, right, left, and sometimes inside-out. His calligraphy is astonishing: so many varied styles and effects. My favourites? The handiwork for Meir Yedid, the stylish Dance, and Kim's tour-de-force 2001 New Year Card.
Antcity allows you to burn people to death with a magnifying glass. No, it's not for real. Domo-kun, however, are real, and must be protected. The brainchild of a Japanese television program, Domo Kun are just about the coolest thing on the planet. So cool, in fact, that JP and I were both using this image for our desktop, until we found out about the synchronicity and burned out computers.
In Hartlepool, they elected their soccer mascot mayor.
Have you ever been struck by the world's bizarre variety of flags? Me neither. But Josh Parsons has, thank god, and he's given the world an invaluable resource: The World's Flags, Reviewed. Here, national symbols of pride and patriotism are methodically evaluated, reviewed, and stamped with a letter grade. Canada gets an A (80/100). The US checks in lower - a paltry 60% (C). On top is Gambia, and ranking last is Northern Mariana. The one that amuses me? Guam (pictured right). I guess no graphic artists live in Guam.
There's a great Easter Egg hidden at Amazon.com - a secret farewell page for one of their former employees. To find it, go to the Amazon homepage. Scroll down to the bottom and click on "Directory of All Stores". Zoom to the bottom of that page, and find where it says "Copright 1996". About a centimetre below the "6" in "Copyright 1996", there's an invisible link. When your mouse hovers over it, the pointer should turn into a hand (as with most links). If you click, you'll be brought to the special (super-secret) Thank You David Risher page. Check it out, then impress your friends. Then impress them again, without mooching off me. Ya mooch.
I'll leave you with some silliness: A Québecois radio-station prank-calls Bill Gates; Comedian Eugeme Mirman's website is frickin' weird; zombie jokes are hilarious; and, finally, waste your time away learnin' groovy pen-tricks. Once you've mastered the Index Spin, the ladies will all be yours. Or the men. Whichever you prefer.