Top Five Timewasters

A week or so ago, I posted my top five productivity enhancers for when I am feeling the need for a major boost to hit that rapidly approaching deadline or kick out yet another round of queries to my favorite editors. Now I present my favorite time-killers– those web sites I visit when I need a mental break from the writing game. Beware, these sites WILL sap valuable time from your day and are too much fun not to explore in depth. The way I see it, the time I spend on these sites is the time I would spend in the car doing a commute if I was slaving away in an office somewhere. It all balances out, right? 

5. There is no way to describe this website at all. It’s been on the web so long–possibly a decade now–that I take it for granted. This is one of the few pure art sites online. There are no explanations, no real indications on how to properly use or access the info on the page. You have to figure things out for yourself and try to draw relationships between what you see and what you click-if you can. Sometimes crude, often baffling, always intriguing. A true zen puzzle.

4. Charles and Marie is chock full of a lot of great stuff including my favorite, the On/Off Mug. If I had more cash, Charles and Marie would get a decent chunk of it. I manage to lose time searching through this stuff, and it pays to be a savvy shopper here–they often deal with unique small businesses that run out of their popular products before they can make more!

3.  Phaidon publishes art books, photo collections, monographs, and much more. Phaidon is a sort of holy grail publishing house in both senses of the word. If I buy a Phaidon I know I’ve gotten something truly special, and I would give my right arm to get five minutes of a Phaidon editor’s time with my own portfolio. If you love art, architecture, travel photography or anything else in the visual arts category, you know Phaidon. I like to browse their extensive catalog, online window shopping for the art lover who never has enough coffee table for the coffee table books.

2. I’ve ranted about Dave Allen’s blog in this space before, but it bears repeating. Music industry news, commentary and criticism, plus a bit of the old snark thrown in for good measure in just the right amount. I get my music fix here on several levels and have found plenty of new sounds to please these jaded old ears. If it weren’t for quality music blogs like this, I’d probably share the sentiments of an editor of Slash Magazine interviewed back in the late 70s in the Penelope Spheeris epic, Decline of Western Civilization; “I think I’ve been through one too many youth movements.” Thanks, Dave, for insisting there will always be great stuff recorded and performed somewhere.

1. Neil Gaiman’s Journal. I have only read a single Neil Gaiman title–American Gods.  But DAMN, what a read! Great stuff, and the journal is fun to read because he’s on the other end of the writing game. Fiction has always tempted me, but it’s tough to make it pay unless you’ve got time to develop a following like Gaiman has, or Chuck Palahniuk’s or even Irvine Welsh. All great writers and all talented multi-taskers. Me, I don’t have the time to spare at present, or I’d be scribbling a bunch of twisted tales. Ahh, pragmatism. Still, I can live vicariously through Gaiman, thanks very much! Highly recommended.

That’s not all, but that will certainly tie you up for quite some time. Good luck getting back to work after this, folks.