Tips & Tweaks: Post-Halloween Goodies

Well, I've been scooped. PC World colleague Dan Tynan has dug deep into Dig This territory with "The 15 Freakiest Web Sites"--a whole article about, well, freaky sites.

Dan, as his colleagues, and probably even his wife, will agree, is a freaky expert. Take, for example "William Shatner Sings." And while we're on the subject of sounds from Shatner, check out Urban Chillers, where the acting is scarier than the short horror films.

All this got me thinking... with all the wacko sites and pics I've come across over the years, Dan's got nothing on me. So this week I've dug deep into my own archive and come up with a trove of Dig This hits.

Stay in the Spirit

A Disagreeable Squash: With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought a bit of pumpkin overindulgence might amuse you. [With thanks to Gabe.]

A Famous Scream: Listen, did you hear that scream? If you're a movie buff, you may have heard it before, lots of times. That's because the Wilhelm scream has been in dozens of movies. For a detailed history of the scream, go to Hollywood Lost and Found. VideoSift has a compilation that shows dozens of examples.

The Final Word: This is definitely nothing I want on my tombstone.

You Can Take It With You: Word is, a Silicon Valley dot.gone.bust firm has gone into a new business, one that helps you make the computing transition into the afterlife. (It also gives the Blue Screen of Death a new meaning.)

Ghost Hunting Gear: Spend some time at The Shadowlands and pick up some honest-to-goodness ghost hunting equipment. Dousing supplies, Electronic Voice Phenomena testing devices, and (no, I'm not kidding) Ghost Hunting Kits.

Alternate Universes

Mysterious Environments: The Crimson Room is a really, really difficult puzzle, a Flash game that I doubt even the brightest of you will get through in short order. So go kill a little time. (One clue that's not cheating: Use the Tab key to find out where to click.)

If you liked The Crimson Room, you'll get a kick out of Mystery of Time and Space, a 12-level game of the same ilk.

Virtual New York: Celluloid Skyline will easily give you a half hour to avoid a deadline. Start by clicking the "Visions of the Dream City" link to understand the interactive feature. Then click one of the locations towards the top of the page, say, "Waterfront Setting ... " Choose a photo from the menu on the left and slide your mouse across the photo on the right.

Lose Yourself: I love mysterious, creative sites and 99 Rooms is both (and a great way to lose an hour). See the four boxes at the bottom of the screen for instructions (well, kind of). Once you enter the site, watch for how the cursor changes and use it as a guide for what to click (try doors and light switches). And don't worry, there's no beginning or end--just wander around. [Thanks, Brad.]

Bizarre Web Sites

Culture Shock: Japander's a site with videos of celebrities doing Japanese commercials. They aren't shown in the U.S.--the thing is, most of these stars wish no one knew about the commercials.

Dancing Chicken: The Subservient Chicken deserves a spot in the Timewasters Hall of Fame. Just tell the chicken what you want it to do--sit down, lay an egg, flap its wings, and yes, flip you the bird.

Steve Bass writes PC World's monthly "Hassle-Free PC" column and is the author of PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things About Your Personal Computer, available from O'Reilly. He also writes PC World's daily Tips & Tweaks blog. Sign up to have Steve's newsletter e-mailed to you each week. Comments or questions? Send Steve e-mail.
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