More Ways to Kill Time before you Leave Your Job
By Tim Snaith
It has been estimated that George W. Bush has spent 42% of his presidency on vacation. Now, the world should probably be grateful that his finger is only near the button for a mere 58% of the time, but some pundits argue that this makes him the laziest, most useless Commander in Chief since records began (although, admittedly, it seems records only began last week). We suspect that the president's shocking skive is partly our fault.
We have pretty good evidence that Dubya visited I-resign.com (using an anonymous, plausibly deniable AOL account) and read the Killing Time Before Leaving article that appeared on our site. And, like thousands of others, we believe he has spent most of the time since busying himself with our recommendations.
Well, a lot has happened since then. Here's a new crop of highly entertaining yet deeply pointless activities and challenges. Go forth and self-gratify!
Ol' Faithful - Internet-enabled time wasting
It's possible to wile away the hours using the Internet while appearing to toil away at your desk. Now that serious business has abandoned the worldwide web, its true purpose is clear to see - a source of interactive games, a means of keeping in touch with your friends and downloading the entire back catalogue of Western civilisation.
Excellent site. Watch full-length episodes of classics like Doctor Who and, er, Knight Rider to the latest installments of The Sopranos and The Tudors.
These people have really gone the extra few yards to provide you with some ambitious and highly playable games.
More games including a tip-top ping-pong simulation.
This, the most bass-heavy web site on the web, is a favourite of ours. If your office needs chilling out a little and you happen to have a subwoofer connected to your PC, you will love Dub Selector. It's a collection of half a dozen Flash applications, each with a different, hallucinogenic interface that allows you to boom original dub creations through the workplace. You will either be hailed as the Ranking Don Gorgon as people break out the Red Stripe and herb or you'll be bundled away roughly by security. It all depends on the type of firm you work for.
This website's popularity, and therefore its usefulness, has exploded over the last few years. The concept is simple - each school, university and college has a homepage where ex-pupils and students submit their name, year of leaving and some biographical details. You have to pay £5 to view email addresses, but people have found ways to get around that.
Having entered your own details in the correct place, you can sit back and wait as people decide to contact you as they appear on the list, one by one . Friendsreunited can turn up some real gems: "To everybody I bullied at school, I'm really sorry. I'm now working as a prison officer." goes one entry. Others have rekindled long-extinct old flames. This site succeeds in answering those "where are they now?" questions. It sometimes has the air of the Final Judgement about it, when all the lost souls from your past rise again and account for themselves, but we recommend it nonetheless.
This site is devoted to the work of Chris Morris, an iconoclastic British comic who blends slick satire with absurd deception. He's been doing it for years but hit the headlines earlier this decade with a Brasseye Special that sent up the hypocrisy of the media's depiction of children and the sensationalisation of the threats they face. He was demonised by the more ignorant, reactionary sections of the press and may even face a police investigation.
Most of his oeuvre, from the classic news spoofs of The Day Today , the dark, dystopian Jam and earlier episodes of Brasseye is here in a range of video and audio formats.
Self-testing with Queendom.com
There are probably more ways of measuring your potential, intelligence, knowledge, attitudes and personality on Queendom.com than on any other web site. It's quite astonishing, they seem to add new tests every day. The name hints that the content is aimed at women, but there's no reason why men shouldn't find it useful and entertaining too. Queendom.com is an excellent site.
Away from your desk
So, what if you're fed up with staring at that screen and don't want to do it for a moment longer? Well, for modern office workers at least, it's pretty difficult. The simple things - putting your feet up and reading the paper, making long telephone calls, flicking peanuts into the wastebasket - these are all honourable diversions. But being I-resign.com, we have to offer you a little more.
Across the divide communication
We witnessed this time-wasting technique close-up at the I-resign.com offices. Email and text messaging has given people new ideas about communicating with strangers by novel means. On this occasion two offices on the second floor of separate buildings face each other across the street. It's easy to see into the office opposite, and vice versa. They look like a nice bunch, always laughing and joking. But it might as well be a firm of mime artists, we can't hear a thing they say and they can't hear us. It's hard to discern their intentions - maybe they hate us.
Then, one day last month, a breakthrough: a piece of paper appeared on the window opposite. Upon it, a classic smiley face printed in black ink: the international symbol of greeting and goodness. Maybe one day smiley faces will be etched onto interstellar probes in order to convey humanity's positive vibes to any civilisation that might find them. Here on earth, they definitely get things moving. In response, a smiley face appeared on our side of the divide. Contact!
It started to rain. The old image was torn down and replaced by a sad smiley, this one bemoaning the pixelated raindrops that beat down upon it's perfectly round head. The reply - a winking smiley face with an umbrella. and so it went on, a dialogue was opened. Finally a piece of paper with an email address appeared and communication continued along more conventional lines.
So, if you're bored with everyone in your office, everyone in your building, take a look out of the window and across the street - does anyone take your fancy? A couple of sheets of A4 and a printer are all it takes to bridge the gap and build new networks of friends and contacts. It may even lead to a new job or, at the very least, an intense and exclusively sexual relationship with a near stranger.
Something to ponder
Maybe you're the more cerebral type, someone whose mind is prone to flights of fancy tempered by scientific rigour. Well then, maybe you can help. I've been tormented by the following question for my entire working life and I'd appreciate the assistance of anybody out there who has enough raw intelligence to solve it for me. If you have time and mental energy on your hands, please, please, spend a few moments pondering this:
How big would a Big Mac have to be in order that its gravity generated sufficient heat to keep it warm enough to eat for all eternity? And there are supplementary questions: would orbiting gherkins smash it into oblivion before the final bun layer could settle? Would it have its own mayonnaisosphere and ketchup oceans? What of its meat tectonics? Could life or even civilisation flourish on a burger-based world?
It's a question that takes up whole chunks of my afternoon some days, usually while I'm mopping congealed beef fat from my chin. I hope it gives you some pleasure too.