Looking to make tonight a net night. Need to line up some delicious time-wasters to occupy your mind as the hours creep by at work tomorrow? Well, I’m following up with a second edition of Websites You Probably Already Knew Existed But I Think I’m Hot Stuff Cause I Just Discovered Them. (OK, maybe not just discovered, because I’ve been compiling this list for at least a few months, and some of these probably could’ve been included on the first list had I thought of them then. But I digress…)
Why the site rules: Having a bad day? Pathological faux pas? Otherwise mortifying moment? Just when you thought your life couldn’t get any worse, chin up–someone, somewhere, is having a worse day than you. Sometimes it’s their own damn fault, other times not. Some are truly tragic, some are humorous. Either way, you’re sure to feel a wee bit better about your own life after a few pages.
Why the site rules: Need a tidbit for an upcoming ’round-the-office-water-cooler discussion that sets you apart from the rest? Need to look impressive or brainy? Or, are you a science nerd for whom learning is its own reward? Look no further: neatly categorized, semi-in-depth articles about lots of fascinating subjects to nurture your inner geek. You will feel dignified and intellectually charged just for visiting.
Why the site rules: Fixing to sign up for an upcoming class? Are you flying blind and you’d like to know what you’re getting yourself into before you pay that tuition bill? Help is here! Simply enter the professor’s last name in the big bright search box and presto: they’re listed alphabetically by school–although I recommend clicking on the tab on the home page that says “Find your school”, because then you can retrieve a list of professors at that school, which is more likely to be relevant to you.
Why the site rules: This site will keep you laughing, ESL-style. A random collection of miscellaneous cellphone-snapped photos, no doubt of tourist destinations, typically of signs written by those for whom English is definitely not the native language. The results are hysterical. Who knows? Maybe after seeing this, more people will want to travel in search of funny Engrish sightings of their own. Might even boost the economy.
Why the site rules: It doesn’t but it’s sure to pass the time in class! The site is well-organized and navigable, with an OCD flair, having categorized and classified mullets by their different types, complete with example photos with funny captions added. Class has never been more fun!
Why the site rules: If you work in customer service, inbound call centers, retail, fast-food, restaurant serving, or any other line of work in which you are forced to endure humanity’s lowest common denominator on a daily basis, you will find comforting solace, for there are many others just like you who are either in your same boat, or have been at one time, and will definitely be able to feel your pain! Any time the boss has said, “the customer is always right!” leaving you defenseless and defeated, and you just wanted to smack him or her, this site is for you.
Why the site rules: You can enter the name of a food in the search box and a whole list of variations on that food will pop up. Once your selection is nicely narrowed down to a single item, you can obtain a bonafide Nutrition Data label, along with where this food fits in the big picture (i.e. the various pyramids and indices). You can even see how inflammatory a food is, or how large a glycemic load it produces. If you need to be particular about your diet, this site is your Bible.
Why the site rules: It’s plain and simple. It’s common-sensically navigable. It’s just plain hilarious. Another hodge-podge collection, but this time of one-liners sometimes taken waaaaaay out of context from a text conversation. Quite self-explanatory. If you want to laugh your ass off, this site provides plenty of material.
Why the site rules: Are you tired of having to create an account (even if it’s free) and sign in at certain websites just to access certain content? Do you (as I do) consider it to be excessively time-consuming and privacy-breaching? Do you wonder what they do with the information? I mean, if it’s “free” to sign up, then why do they make us do it at all? What are they doing such that we need to be uniquely identified and tracked? Sure, they disclose all that, but it’s buried in the middle of long paragraphs written in impossible, brain-freezing legalese, and with 4-pt font that makes your eyes swim after 6 seconds. I counted. Solution? Beat ’em at their own game, and this website illuminates the way.
Why the site rules: If you’ve spent 5 minutes in corporate America–or some other shithole place where the morale is low enough to necessitate artificial inflation via “motivational posters”, and you’d like to call your management/admin out on it, you’re in luck. This site hosts multiple product lines based on the concept that you’re not alone in your contempt for posters of lily-padded ponds preaching tranquility, commitment, or to “reach for the sky”. Behold: DE-motivational posters. Designed in the true spirit of the motivation but portraying the opposite message, there is still cheeriness among the cynicism as you discover that you could easily get away with having one of these posters or mugs at work because they look so much like the real thing the boss won’t even notice. At least, not for a while, anyway.
Why the site rules: Probably the quickest, user-friendliest, and most comprehensive sits of its kind. How user-friendly? Consider this: you bring up the site and there’s a big search box. Simply start typing a word, whether English or Spanish. It will bring up an optional drop-down box of both Spanish and English possibilities to choose from, if you wish. Also contains figures of speech and other phrases to demonstrate contexts in which the word is used. This site is ideal if you’re looking to sharpen up your Spanish.
Why the site rules: This site is another miscellanous collection, this time of funny photos of cats, including funny captions. While its original focus has been cats, there are other animal categories too. Or so I hear… I haven’t gotten past the cats yet. I just found out about this site this week. It’s too funny.
Why the site rules: No, it’s not a pot connection, nor is it an unemployment line. (Sorry.) No, it’s a Pandora competitor. Pandora is rumored to have made some fatal mistakes (rumored due to the fact that I haven’t yet tested the theories for their accuracy myself, such as the 40-hour-per-month limit unless you “upgrade” to a “premium”–read: paid–acount). Some changes they’ve made I am familiar with, such as their addition of ads, not only to their website (quite blatantly, I might add, although they haven’t sunk to the dreaded pop-up/pop-under low–yet) but also their audiostream, making it impossible to use as background music, especially for sensitive uses like massage therapy sessions. Enter Slacker. Slacker has preset stations to choose from, I haven’t yet heard any ads in their audiostream (it’s possible that they’re there and I just hadn’t listened long enough), and you can either create your own station by entering a song name or artist (just like Pandora), or you can choose from a pre-made station (which Pandora doesn’t have). There are plenty of genres and subgenres to choose from and rumor has it you can tweak/fine-tune any station in several different ways. The only drawback is that the interface wasn’t designed well, so it’s cumbersome and a bit annoying to use. But then, there are more bells and whistles.
Th-th-th-th-that’s all (for now) folks. I’ve saved some for next time, so look for a Part III.