Time sucking vortexes and Top Model Marathons

There exist, in the nebulous world of the Internet, magical portals whose sole purpose is to consume large blocks of your life. They’re like the Lotus Casino from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan; while you’re there, you’re perfectly content; but when you leave, you look around and ask where did my whole day go?

I believe these portals take on different forms for each person. For me, they are: Facebook, Amazon.com, and Author blogs. My non-Internet portals are museums, coffee shops, and House marathons. Well, House, Top Chef, or America’s Next Top Model marathons. Okay, if you make any show into a marathon, I’ll get sucked in. I can’t make the weekly commitment to remember when a show is on – but if you put it on back to back, you can effectively glue me to my couch.

Facebook’s time sucking powers are probably pretty universally known. You start by checking out the photos a friend posted from the New Year’s party. You may or may not comment on a few. And of course you un-identify yourself in any less-than-flattering pictures. Then you decide to check her friends list. From there it’s just a few clicks and you’re cyberstalking the kid you had a crush on in third grade. You’re flipping through his wedding pictures and the photos of his wife’s pregnancy and their trip to Martha’s Vineyard and three months’ of posts on his wall. From the “Hey dude – what you up to?,” “We missed you at Gus’s on Friday,” and “We still on for Sunday? Go PATTTSSS!” you try and decide if he’s grown up to be a person who was worth suffering through cooties shots and that sitting-in-a-tree song. Eventually the vortex spits you back out and it’s dark outside and your dogs are whining at the door to go out. Everyone can connect with that experience, right?

Author blogs are just as treacherous. For example, take this morning when I finally sat down to write my own long-overdue post. I have lists of things I want to write about scrawled on various post-its around the house, but I didn’t feel capable of retrieving those until after I finished my coffee. So, while I was sipping I figured I’d cruise around and see what other writers were writing about. A good way to spend a few minutes while I got my b.c.l. (blood caffeine level) back up to an appropriate point.

It’s two hours later. My coffee’s cold. I’m still critically uncaffeinated . And I ordered five new books on Amazon. Author blogs are dangerous.

Which author blogs are particularly insidious? I’ll save that list for another day – if I start compiling it now, I’ll be re-ensnared. Who knows when I’d reemerge? Right now it’s time for me to step slowly away from the keyboard and consume large quantities of double-strength java.

What are your time-sucking vortexes? Actually, maybe if it’s safer if you don’t let me know.

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