Just this evening, I was spending a little time doing something I rarely take the time to do…surf the web. I was bored and looking for something interesting to read, something that would draw me in and make me think. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that there is less and less on the internet that will so capture my attention that I won’t be able to drag myself away from it.
I remember back in ’98 when I finally broke down and bought my first computer. I couldn’t wait to get off work everyday so I could go home and play on it. I’m an avid reader with very limited time for pursuing my love. Before my computer, I had to take the time to go to the store to buy something to read, before I could settle down to reading it. Trips to the library were just as time consuming. My computer made all that inconvenience just go away. I’d log onto AOL and within instants, I was surfing through site after site, reading news about technology, history, politics. I could look up just about anything I wanted to know and find it within seconds.
These days it seems that the more time I spend looking for something interesting, the less I am able to find. Maybe that’s because the content is no longer limited to sites designed to inform the visitors. Now most of the sites are designed to make the owners money through advertisements on the page.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the site owners making money from their “work,” but really! Do the visitors HAVE to be subjected to the kazillion underscored words that cause ads to pop up the second the mouse passes over it? And what’s with the little movie boxes that start blaring out movie trailers for the latest box office release? There’s nothing more annoying than having a commercial compete for my attention while I’m reading. It’s one thing to be subjected to a dozen commercials while watching a television show, because that’s the nature of the business. Those commercials are visual advertisements for people who are visually engaged in watching moving pictures on a screen. When I settle down to read, I don’t turn on my television so I can catch the next commercial between chapters.
Occasionally, I’ll get bored and check out one of the free gaming sites. I don’t do it too often because they’ve become more irritating than the little bit of fun I might get out of my visit. These sites used to have periodic ads that popped up on the playing area for 30 seconds or so. It’s the price to be paid for playing “free.” The costs of the site must be paid for, and that’s understandable. But they’ve gone way too far in their quest for the almighty advertising dollar.
I was on a game site the other day, one I hadn’t been on in quite some time. They’ve made some changes. Not only did I have to suffer through the obligatory commercial break, but now they have ads that constantly change in the right hand margin of the screen. How stupid is that? Gamers don’t like to have their eyes distracted from their game because it only takes one second to lose a bunch of points by missing a target, or a clue, depending on the game. It’s not just the irritation of having all that movement in your peripheral vision. Don’t these geniuses who come up with the advertising programs know that their constantly changing ads keep freezing up the game controls? By the time the new ad is fully loaded, the opportunities for a win have passed and the players are left fuming about having their fun interrupted.
I stopped back a couple of hours ago to see if they had corrected the problem. Nope. I mentioned the issue to a friend whom I knew used to be a regular on the site. Apparently, it’s been like this for the last six months or so. She no longer visits the site. I know I won’t bother, either. What good will all their advertisements do them when their numbers keep dropping? Before long, very few companies will want to spend money advertising on a site with low exposure. I can just see the idiots scratching their heads and wondering where all the little people have gone.
I logged onto a news site to see what was going on outside my four walls. I’m so disappointed. The page I visited had various news bits. There was one with updates about the Joplin tornado disaster, where the numbers of the dead are piling up. There was one about the Air France crash and the recovery of the little black boxes, which incidentally, were red and they weren’t all that small. I’m just saying….. There was even a blurb about some 15 year old girl who shot an arrow into the side of her father’s chest. Apparently, she doesn’t like being grounded without her cell phone.
But the really big spreads were saved for the news no one can live without. Lindsay Lohan finally settled her court case with the woman she drunkenly chased down a freeway three years ago. And though she still has the ongoing case brought by the three men inside the vehicle she used to give chase, she believes she will win that one without a hitch. I don’t know about you, but I’m soooo relieved to know that all is well in Lohan Land. The suspense has been keeping me up at nights.
Let’s see…….there was an article that finally gave me some relief. It basically said that Lady Gaga was born weird. I always wondered about that. Then there was one that let me know texting while driving may bring death and fines. It’s good to know. I’d really hate to do something that not only killed me, but would leave me under threat of having my corpse jailed for non-payment of fines. Geez! They might even take away my license too. However would I get to the afterlife?
I had to take a break away from all that mind blowing information. Intense bouts of education make my brain hurt. After stopping to make a cup of tea and stretch my legs, I was ready for another intense session of learning. Did you know microwaves can be used for more than just reheating leftovers? I had no idea I could actually make popcorn and melt things like butter, chocolate, and cream cheese. Here all these years I’ve been slaving away making extra portions at dinner so I’d have something to heat in my microwave.
The surf session was topped off with a masterpiece article. It was a real page..er…screen turner. I learned 18 things not to ever say in a conversation for fear of insulting the other person. Did you know it’s bad manners to notice when someone’s lost weight? Well, it’s okay to notice; just not okay to say it. Apparently if we mention the weight loss the other person may hear our comment as a message that they didn’t look good before. Well, no sh*t. I would imagine the weight loser had a real good idea that he or she was getting a little thick, or he/she wouldn’t have worked to lose the weight. Personally, I think it’s bad manners not to mention it. What kind of friend doesn’t notice those kinds of accomplishments? “Wow, you sure took a load off your ass, didn’t you?” would definitely be in bad form. I’m talking about a more discreet, “I noticed your thighs don’t rub together anymore,” kind of comment. But, hey! What do I know?
The same article advises us not to be straight and tell anyone we don’t have time to talk in the workplace, no matter how busy we may be. Instead we should tell the person we’re finishing up something at the moment and will get back to them at the first opportunity. Hmmmm….. seems like that may be a lie if you’re working on a project deadline a month away. Wouldn’t the boss know something was up if you told her you’d get back at the next opportunity? Based on my own personal experience, I know when an employee is thinking, “I really don’t want to deal with your bitchiness, so shut up already,” as opposed to believing they genuinely will get back to me later.
As I sat in front of my laptop, sipping my cup of tea, I felt a soft warm breeze coming through the open window. I was thinking how great it is to finally be free of the cold and slush filled streets of winter when I came across the article that simply was the piece de resistance. It was a travel article touting all the really great low cost places one can visit without breaking the bank. The top two places to go? Iceland and Alaska.
Within seconds of reading the headline, I logged of the internet and closed my laptop before heading out the door to the nearest bookstore. I guess I don’t mind trading inconvenience for quality reading.
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