Internet Reviews III
Delightfully simple notion find your old school chums within a few clicks! Beyond finding your school and its pupils, there are a few message boards including one to note all those 'famous' ex-pupils plus 'School Memories' message boards attached to individual institutes, broken down pupils and teachers. You can search secondary schools, colleges or Universities there are over 28,000 listed and if you can't find it, just let the good folks at Friends Reunited know. You can search by school name, or the pupil's name, although it helps if you remember it!
Add a photograph, a nickname (I passed on that) and a few words about what you're doing now (not surprisingly, most of the ones from my school are 'very happily married' with lil sprogs running around), and sit back to await those exuberant reunions.
Friends Reunited will notify you when someone joins your school list if you so wish, and also send out emails recounting 'funny and bizarre memories and success stories'.
Pondering, it's a bit of an odd word to use, 'Upside'. Of course on the surface, the chance to find friends from the 'best days of your life' is terrific... having been the 'fat, spotty lezza' at school, being the cynic I am, it's also a mix of trepidation and a prospect of catharsis. But simply put, it's an opportunity to relive some of the better days: there's a lot of nostalgia here.
As for the site itself, it works easily and quickly, and updates any changes or additions you make very swiftly.
The colour scheme's a bit... grim, but it's not a crime. It's free to add your name, but you cannot access the email for your old allies or adversaries without a fee, but it's only £5 per year, which enables you to contact as many people as you like. Oh, and your best bud might not have signed up either...
'Internet Like Burning'
Web toys, tests, web cards and internet projects. From Burn Maker to translate any phrase into 'a fiery ball of anger' to the Academic Paper Generator (type in the book and author, and get a varyingly useful 1500 word essay ('Merchant Of Venice's incorporation of phallic imagery is in keeping with its Dadaist point of view') via the Bone-Easy Sex AcquisitionTM Software Programme, which provides a number of pick-up lines such as 'You're smoother than a nymphet on fire' and 'Come back! I'm spanking my sock!' There's also a number of 'science projects': the Date My Sister Project for example is one man's effort to secure a date for his unaware sibling and record every moment using bugs, telephotography and digital pictures (it's much funnier than it is creepy, honest!); The Fat Project 'Who dares gain 30lbs in 30 days?' ('Nicole's tired of people judging for her good looks, so she's agreed to ruin them' apparently); Stinky Feet Diaries ('The Goal: To infect myself with athlete's foot'), and the rather less than appetising Stinky Meat I & II '3 kinds of meat, 19 days and a million maggots' I won't go on, I felt quite queasy...
The bulk of the users go to the Test and Answer series, which have been taken by over 45 million people, so it says here. You can try tests on Personality, being Gay, Stress, IQ and Un-Tellingence, Death, Pregnancy and Wealth, among others. Find out if you're a Bitch or a Slut too...
I discovered that I was 'likely to kiss people when drunk', am 87% gay ('the typical lesbian is only 44% gay!'), and will have sex with 82 people in my lifetime. 32 to go then, but then I'm going to die on 1st November 2030, so I'll be busy 'til then. Oh, and I'm 'definitely a man!' according to the gender test 'People like you, who walk the scary line between man and woman, are very helpful in understanding exactly what it means to be human. Thanks, and good luck!'
A complete waste of time! But then you're on the net anyway... Easy to navigate, loads quickly on a 56K modem connection rate, a number of Laugh Out Loud moments, and many hours can slip by unnoticed...
Some of the tests use repeated questions, some teeny tiny captions on the photographs, and um, many hours can slip by unnoticed...
Other useful time-wasting sites to surf...
And just before you're finished, try http://lurquer.com/ama.html
Gay Life: The 100 Best Websites
Publ. The Good Web Guide, £4.99
Deciding which are the 'best' websites is subjective, of course, and with this in mind, I read Carr's choice selection. it's also difficult to be witty or verbose about a book that rates websites... I'll leave that to Carr himself, as he can be sardonic and illuminating in one breath.
The main contenders in the 'Lifestyle' section - Gay.com, Gay365.com, Gaydar.co.uk, Rainbow Network - have been reviewed in these pages. The rest are a handy assortment of police and business associations, airline and travel clubs, switchboards, legal assistance and religious organisations, biker and car clubs, health, sports and spas... a right little medley of links.
But it doesn't end there, oh no! 'Lifestyle' is followed by 'Sex' which barbecuing, Allman.com, Celebpecs.com, UK directories, XXX movies, event sites, and gay postcards. On from that, we have 'Stars' - Barbra, Cher, Judy, the lovely Kylie, Madonna of course, Robbie and the Spice Girls. A little restricted and to be honest there are hundreds of really splendid sites, but space is obviously cramped.
'Bars and Clubs' come next, and it is entirely London-centric which to be honest, I think is a crying shame given the national span of the Web alone, and is followed, obligatory, by 'Shopping'. Here however are a mix of URLs so random as to be rather pointless. Do you really need the address for a site that sells private jets, or include escorts and plastic surgery as 'shopping'? But then, these aren't my choices...
'Freaks Liars & Christians' is pretty self-explanatory but I must have missed the sites for the latter category: the URLs here seem to be concerned with odd sexual proclivities or people. There's also a selection of 'Books & Magazine', health resources, and a glossary of internet terms for those unacquainted with surfing.
I admit I didn't have time to test all of the links out, but those I choose at random all worked. How often the book will need to be updated is anyone's guess.
Carr marks sites for updates, navigation, content, readability and speed (which is fine if you have excellent connection and all of the varying Flash and animation whatnot that you need). As for the actual site recommendations themselves, if you surf with any regularity, a lot of them will possibly already be bookmarked.
© Megan Radclyffe 2001
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