Translation Journal
Caught in the Web

Web Surfing for Fun and Profit


by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Caught in the Web
Well, Matthew Schlecht thought this was a fun timewaster, although actually it could be useful for friends and family of travelers. "Live tracking of all airline flights - updated every 10 seconds. Left click on the plane image to see airline, plane type, flight origin and destination. It's especially interesting to zoom out and look at where in the world the clusters of air travel are - and aren't."
Gudmund Areskoug suggests this site: "Why working from home is both awesome and horrible." Comics!
The dictionary site WordReference has a new place "to provide a fun, interactive way to strengthen your language skills". The games seem to be based on English at the moment.
I am not going to even pretend this is useful for our work, but it's a fun timewaster for the nonverbal part of our brains. A blonde hairpiece gets around...
Here's a fun way to procrastinate while allegedly working on your typing skills. Words and sometimes letters drop down at varying speeds and will explode off the screen only if you type them correctly. Gives you your accuracy in percent and words per minute. (English)
The board is filled with hexagons and you need to make paths between them by rotating the hexagons with possible path segments inside, avoiding the outer walls and making the paths as long as possible. Fortunately, they include a YouTube video ... Good time waster, er, brain exercise that doesn't involve any words. /
If you have been at the computer so long that you wonder what other humans look like: Here's a blog accepting submissions of family pictures recreated at older ages, side by side. Amazing how relative heights seem to change in 20 years or so...
Kirill Sereda says this web radio station is cool, so of course I believe him.
Here's a wiki for multilingual idioms passed along by Yves Lanthier. IDIOMIZER is "an idiom comparison site currently incorporating over 40 languages." Fun to browse, also useful for translators.
00GLYves Lanthier also passed along this YouTube video about an elaborate turn-around prank on a Belgian company known for awful customer service. It's in Flemish with English subtitles. If you have ever played telephone tag with customer service anywhere for anything, you will love it.
I Can Has Cheezburger now has a free iPhone//iPad/iPod Touch and Android app (and maybe Palm Pre and Blackberry by now) for all you folks who can't get enough of internet cats (and especially Lolcats) plus occasionally clever captions. Access to other quirky sites also via the app and the url above. But you'll get more of the Lolcats at the url, so just bookmark it in your mobile phone's web browser unless you are on a strict low-Lolcat diet.
This is actually (gasp!) work-related as well as a bit of fun: Nuance, the home of Dragon Dictate, has some free mobile apps if you want to try out dictation or no longer remember how to type with fingers. Three apps for iPhone/iPad/iPod: Dragon Dictation, Dragon Go!, and Dragon Search. Also Dragon for E-Mail for Blackberry and FlexT9 for Android.
Here's a nice collection of free demos to download for all the timewasters, er, skill-enhancing applications you might need. The downloadable versions are all PC games (or as I like to call them, "non-mac games") but there are also some that can be played online (with any species of computer).
From the Monterey Bay Aquarium: Check out their library of deep-sea videos.
"The Visual Dictionary is a collection of words in the real world. Photographs of signage, graffiti, advertising, tattoos..." Not exactly much use for translating, but a lot of fun to look at while procrastinating.
Origami taken to a new level: Cardboard furniture for the kids, constructed from all those boxes you keep collecting in your office. Downloadable patterns you can print out on your printer and let the kids decorate. "Follow the instructions and assemble a stable piece of furniture."
Old photographs from the 1850s to the 1950s. Street scenes, individuals, groups, etc. Thousands of photos.
Travel without leaving your office - click on a spot on the world map, and see local photographs.
"The World Digital Library makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world." An ongoing project. Journals, manuscripts, maps, photos, books, sound recordings, even some short films. Nice for browsing.
Here is an enlightening tiny drama ("A Wicked Deception") you can use to explain why exactly Google Translate hasn't put you out of a job: "In the spirit of international brotherhood, the dialogue for the following film has been translated from English into French, then into German, then back into French, then back again into English using a popular translation website. The original dialogue will be subtitled for your convenience." It does indeed "fire my heart with a flame extreme." Thanks to Louise Morehead for pointing out this one.
Howard Scott suggests this "Sleeping Beauty Remix... brilliant visual jokes, great drawing": Sleeping Betty (Claude Cloutier, 2007; 9 min 13 sec, slightly shorter than a Spongebob Squarepants episode). Grand example of a cartoon ready for international distribution without a single subtitle. Other enjoyable animated time wasters available at the site, if you have more than 9 minutes and 13 seconds to spare.
Check out your isp's home page to see if they have online games and free game demo downloads available and maybe good prices on downloaded full games. This url is for my cable company's games site. Check out the Puzzle section for good time-wasters for stressed-out translators.
Loads of fun time-wasters at the zefrank site in the games and interactive toys sections. Memory is an abstract animated memory match game--fun to play even if you keep making bad matches.
Process Engineering Terminology (what process Engineers say and what they mean by it). For example: "Developed after years of intensive research" means "It was discovered by accident." "Test results were extremely gratifying" translates as "It works, and are we surprised!". Other subject-specific fun stuff at the site.
"This is a 'cheat sheet' for the Japanese language. It is an attempt to condense and organize as many of the basic elements of the language onto one sheet of paper as possible." Meant to be downloaded and printed, but can be viewed on the computer as well. Lots of other Japanese language-related and cultural info at the full Nihonshock site, such as how to park your car in Japan, all about Japanese keyboards, a comparative consumer study of Japanese pizza joints, etc. Nihonshock is a blog by Lloyd Vincent, "a translator living in Nagoya, Japan" that "offers useful and enjoyable content for Japanese language learners, foreigners living in Japan, and anyone else with an active interest in the country." Well worth a look even if like me, the only Japanese you know is "arigato" (learned from a Japanese tile set in the Shanghai computer game), "konichiwa" (learned from a Kim Possible cartoon), "sayonara," "pokémon," and "Godzilla" (also learned from too much time watching tv).
Nice collection of free online time-wasting games. (mobile phone version)

This can be used both as a time waster and for legitimate work purposes (see duplicate entry under Search Engines). Michelle Asselin found this relatively new but cool search engine that insists it isn't one: "Wolfram Alpha [is] a computational knowledge engine. It generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links." Clear as mud, perhaps, but this just means that when you enter key words in a query, if it knows about it then you get back an organized bit of information rather than a set of links to explore. (Woefully ignorant about current cartoons, better on movies. But it does know Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy and some of his family tree, except for perpetually lucky cousin Gladstone Gander. ) Hit the Examples link at the top to see how it works. You can also insert a Wolfram Alpha box on a Google or Yahoo desktop or your own website. Before you ask&151;there's an app for it (iPhone and iPad). And yes, if you type in the query:

answer to the universe and everything
then it indeed returns the answer "42"...
UK-US English etc. Words with Different Meanings in Other Countries. Nice for browsing and figuring out Britcoms (if you're in the US) or American sitcoms (if you're in the UK).
This seems appropriate for translators, sort of a dynamic Boggle plus Tetris: bubbles with letters drop down, type words from the letters in the bubbles to make up words and clear them before they fill up the screen. Seems to be just in English...
This will keep you from working every again: more than 22,000 archived short "educational" films that are much funnier now than when we were forced to watch them in a darkened schoolroom. The archive goes back to the 1930s, so you can see what traumatized your grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents.
Wonderfully detailed reviews of candy from around the world, complete with colorful pictures of the exterior and interior of the fun stuff. Who knew that there are so many "localized" KitKats, or that different companies are licensed to make them in different countries? Nestle Japan seems especially innovative. Hershey makes their own varieties in the US, although we seldom see anything but the "standard" KitKat in my area.
Not sure how to describe this, but great for browsing to see what you could do if you weren't tied to your computer all day. Or maybe even if you are. Plug in "home office" or "workspace" in the search box.
Sonia Murray found this eclectic collection of annotated links to "Jargon, slang, and niche vocabularies." Worth browsing through even if you think you'll never need it...
Astronomy Photographers of the Year for 2009 at the National Maritime Museum. Really beautiful photos. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
Good safe place to find freeware and shareware and free demos (including, of course, games). I suggest searching in mac games for "jewel" to bring up several nice, sparkly, match-three type games to get your eyes and brain away from words for a while. (Bejeweled, Jewel Quest, Jewel Twist.)
Jill Timbers found this YouTube offering on "how to negotiate rates" that is of course very work-related in case someone catches you watching: "The Vendor Client relationship&151;in real world situations".
The adventures of Mox, the struggling translator: Mox, Lena & Mina, a comic strip by a not quite so struggling real-life translator, Alejandro Moreno-Ramos in Madrid.
Another mind-boggling site: How to convert fast food (Chicken McNuggets, Dunkin' Donuts, etc.) into apparent gourmet dishes. You have to see it to believe it, they are not just rearranging the McNuggets on a plate.... Blenders are involved. Blenders! Complete with real photographs and instructions in case you are insane enough to try it yourself. As they say: "Yeah, it's still bad for you - but see how good it can look! These photographs show extreme makeovers of actual fast food items purchased at popular fast food restaurants. No additional ingredients have been added except for an occasional simple garnish (and a touch of irony)." You are invited to contribute your own fast food makeovers, or at least comment on the ones already there.
If you like the fancyfastfood site&151;here's another junk food winner of a site. "This is why you're fat (where dreams become heart attacks)." Photos galore of junk food creations guaranteed to clog your arteries just looking at them. Many are real menu items, but some are just surreal homemade concoctions. Fortunately, most are not suitable for vegetarians, so I'm relatively safe. Except I think the pizza cones are actually a good idea.... and I've had fried macaroni & cheese balls and also fried ravioli, and they actually were pretty good.
Free registration to view online tv shows and movies, past and present. Even Disney is planning to come on board. Cartoons included&151;they've got the English-dubbed Astro Boy! Anime, sitcoms, dramas, etc. All 105 episodes of NewsRadio! Alas, restricted to viewers in the USA at the moment.
Loads of online games perfect for procrastinating&151;and they have time limits! Perfect for meeting deadlines.
Interactive art: create your own, "revise" other's efforts, be the art critic.
A big collection of optical illusions to amuse and confuse. Detailed explanations about how to observe each one and why it works.
Online paddle ball: keep the ball bouncing, aim for the record. Check out other flash games available at the site also; they do tend to be a bit weird.
The old game of Concentration updated with pairs of music clips.
Well, this shooter is reasonably nonviolent: you bounce a circle at other shapes, trying to create a trajectory that will hit certain shapes while avoiding others.
Okay, I admit it. Mac'er though I am, I am entirely too fond of old DOS games such as Monuments of Mars but haven't been able to play them since my pc emulators went to DOS 6 (they won't install). Here is a legal and nicely done site that provides a lot of old DOS games as freeware and shareware and also links to commercial games that are still being sold. Some of them can be played online if you're lucky (more than 150 of them so far). They focus on the really good ones, not heaps of the so-so ones. (Including, of course, Monuments of Mars, which can now be distributed as freeware in its entirety rather than just the first volume.) Most importantly for me, they provided info about and a link to a DOS emulator called DOSbox, available for several flavors of computer species. The version for Mac OS X ran fine right away on my mac mini/intel in Tiger. I downloaded Monuments of Mars from the site to avoid further hassle getting the disk images onto my mac from the floppy&151;and voilà! There was the little astronaut trying to pick his way through all those guard robots! All the old colors and clicky/zappy sounds I knew and loved were there, and the speed was perfect. (The really amazing thing is that I actually remembered most of the DOS commands...) The site also has forums and other helpful information, well worth a look for DOS distraction.
Howard Scott found this "pharmaceutical resource" of interest to all, the official site for the new drug Havidol (avafynetyme HCl): "When more is not enough. Havidol is the first and only treatment for dysphoric social attention consumption deficit anxiety disorder (DSACDAD)." If you don't have it, please pass this vital information along to a loved one who does.
Karen Tkaczyk found this new cause for us all to get behind, "saving lost words from extinction". You can adopt a word and promise to spread the word. Now if I can only figure out how to get "ten-cent store" into a conversation... At the site, you encounter a colorful collage of words up for adoption, all clamoring "pick me! pick me!". Literally. Like a basket full of puppies.
Susan Larsson steers us toward this actually work-relevant distraction: "Word Quiz: Evil Twin. Star Trek made it easy to tell the Evil Spock from the normal one. The goatee was a giveaway. Though the English language has no telltale goatee, it's a hairy thing. It's full of words that sound alike but mean very different things. How well can you distinguish these evil twins from one another? Martha Brockenbrough created this quiz for you to find out."
Amy Bryant gives us yet another way to procrastinate. This particular link sends you to "The Impotence of Proofreading" page on the site, so you can pretend you're working. Once you're bored with that - follow the other links.
Oh, no! Another collection of word games!
Short "how-to" videos on all sorts of subjects: music, pets, business, fitness, tech, games, food, travel, sports, etc. They bill themselves as a "Life Videopedia". Hey, you can spare 5 minutes, right?
Sonia Murray is to blame for pointing out this "addictive timewaster". Hey, it's educational! Sort of. Exercises another part of your brain, at least. If you can't resist adjusting pictures that hang slightly crooked on the wall, this one's for you. You can test how good you really are at aligning those picture frames: "The game works by showing you a series of geometries that need to be adjusted a little bit to make them right. A square highlights the point that needs to be moved or adjusted. Use the mouse to drag the blue square or arrowhead where you feel it is 'right'. Once you let go of the mouse, the computer evaluates your move. The correct geometry is also shown in green, so you can see where you went wrong." It's quick and much simpler than it sounds.
Salvador Virgen says this is "a web site that records music from the Internet radio stations and allows you to play them later at your leisure."
Worth another look if you haven't checked it out in a while &151; the old 10-minute limit is finished. In addition to the usual fun, YouTube is now running some full-length episodes from various networks. Apparently the networks are waking up to the profit possibilities: In the past, when a network has complained about an unofficially posted clip, YouTube gave them the option of having it deleted or putting ads on it and splitting the revenue. More than 90% of the time, the complainer decided to take the ad route.
Here's an example of episodes available on YouTube, suggested by Margaret Schroeder: Garth Marenghi´s Darkplace. Margaret says: "Don't be afraid to start, there are only 6 episodes." She says the second link is "a guide (scripts, episode guides, characters, etc, here). But watch an episode first so you will appreciate what it's all about. 'Maggots? Maggots. [looks at book to check word] Maggots. Maggots, maggots, maggots. [looks again] Maggots.' (from opening of Episode 2) ."
Now you get to predict the news at this online prediction market. "Hubdub makes news more exciting by letting you stake virtual dollars on the outcomes of running news stores." You can also just browse through what people are betting on now. New registered users get 1000 hubdub dollars when they join and you also get 20 hubdub dollars each day you log on to the site. Can't buy a pizza with it, but can keep on gambling without losing the rent money...
Okay, now we have an anti-fun contribution. Free mac and windows program that tracks your time spent in all your applications. No longer can you hide from your solitaire addiction. The site has a demo to illustrate the features.
"Bad Haiku: Horrible poetry for the digital age." Yes, you can make your own contributions. My Earthlink isp suggested this site in their newsletter, saying:
Visit this site, please.
Bad haiku? Judge for yourself.
At least it's quite short.
Those of us who remember Archie the Cockroach, who had the transmigrated soul of a poet and banged out lower-case-only poems painstakingly every night on an old typewriter in the newspaper office (he would have greatly appreciated the caps lock key on modern computers), may relate to this Cockroach Caresheet. The main site of the Bug Club (Amateur Entomologists' Society) has other buggy resources also. Apparently the Madagascan Hissing Cockroach makes a great pet. Who knew?;-My-Daily-Column.html
Tony Crawford passed along this link to a novel time-tracking method for the more three-dimensionally visual multitaskers amongst us. Really worth a look! Check out the comments, too. We're never too old to play with blocks.
If you don't already have a batch of child-generated artwork on your refrigerator door - this might be a substitute. The Global Children's Art Gallery: from kids 2-12 years old.
A recent windstorm that knocked out my cartoons on cable tv for more than half a day (the horror!) reminded me how essential it is to have backup sources of media. There's a reason I have both cable and dsl net access... The Fancast site has full-length TV shows from many US networks.
More links to all sorts of interesting shows and clips available on the web. Not so helpful for cartoon addicts, leans toward more intellectual fare (documentaries, dramas, etc.). But is still great for procrastinating.
Great time-waster site with interesting news and trivia about food, food, food and of course recipes. One woman claims (with pictures) that she found a strawberry embedded in a tomato... Now there's a hybrid! Comments areas to ask and answer questions. For instance, how to make vegan junk food.
Get your astronomy pic of the day, along with some explanation of the astronomical wonder. You can even claim it's educational rather than a procrastination tactic.
Check your typing speed with TypeRacer! Brag about your stats! Pretend you're working! One of these days I'll have to find my old Nintendo Mario Teaches Typing....
Hey, we all need to exercise our memories! We get enough of words in our work. In Picto, you have to click on the last-added graphic symbol. Not so easy when there are dozens on the screen.
Amazing collection of videos showing Japanese beer-for-kids commercials (not to worry, it's nonalcoholic), a tv English lesson for Japanese kids, the kids doing a bunch of odd things for some Japanese game show and also kid bands, etc. In case it disappears, YouTube tags would be Kodomo no nominmono, Japanese beer for kids, Japanese, children, kids, beer... Also includes a Japanese beer commercial featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger (I assume before he was elected governor of the US state of California). Ran into it when researching the can of whatever that Shin Chan's dad was guzzling after a hard day at work. (See? Cartoons are educational.)
If you want to see more of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Japanese commercials for various things, here's the site for them. He seems to be into noodles and various beverages.
The Nickelodeon kiddie shows "Dora the Explorer" and her spun-off cousin's "Go, Diego, Go", mixing Spanish and English, have been so popular that now Nick Jr. is branching out to Mandarin Chinese/English: "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan" with another cute little big-headed kid (Kai-Lan), her grandfather, and a bunch of bilingual animals and ants. Yes, ants. I learned how to count to ten in Mandarin, but forgot it by the end of the episode. Maybe after the umpteenth rerun, it will stick.
Yanko Design ("Form Beyond Function")/Industrial Design News. This is really fun to look at - all sorts of creative designs for everyday things. Endless opportunities for procrastination (huge archives). Hit the little plus sign (+) for the fuller description of each item and any comments.
Cass Greer found this delightful but scary look at how Chinese kids learn (?) English with building blocks. Don't miss the "Destroy the Evidence" block at the end (no, not a shredder). Truly a cautionary tale to those translators who rely too much on dictionaries. Or Google translation... Check out the whole blog for more entertaining tidbits about life in China from some Chinese-challenged (but they're working on it) foreign English teachers: "Emily & Joshua live in Qingdao, People's Republic of China. peer-see is their blog about life in China. The name is a play on P.R.C., but nobody seems to think it is funny but them."

Dorene Cornwell sent me some amazing photos of "coffee art" - forget tea leaves, now they're drawing pictures in the foam of lattes! So I googled "coffee art" a bit and found some more information for your amusement. The blarney site has Irish music in the background for an odd sort of ambience. One spoilsport on the first page points out that the coffee will cool a few degrees while the art is being etched in the foam, claiming that this lessens the quality of the drink... The last link will show you how to do your own.
A nice time-waster that you can pretend is job-related: A dictionary of German words used in English. Paul Gallagher says this is a "fascinating etymology site, with much more; very entertaining." Includes a lot of related links.
Also from Paul Gallagher: an American English/British English dictionary. Just what I need when watching britcoms! At least until they start subtitling them for US audiences. Paul says: "Enter search term in appropriate window (left side for AE>BE, right side for BE>AE), or just browse.";jsessionid=AWVJGKYU1LUJSCTYAIUDVSQ
Not sure how much this qualifies as fun - but sedentary translators might like to look at these sites for info on how many calories they really need, hunched over the keyboard all day, and what kinds of other activities burn up more. Any excuse to postpone work!
Eclectic collection of information and experiences by Wayne Schmidt "covering everything from kaleidoscopes to electric rocket engines." Pages on different types of writing, chocolate, movies, music, gardening, astronomy, photography, medical problems, sports, science. Easy to read, lots of detail. Translators might be interested the Dragon Naturally Speaking page. Want to make your own books? Check out the bookbinding pages. Warning: This site may be addictive.
Amy Bryant is the culprit responsible for forwarding this gem: "Gutenberg offers 15th-century IT support, to ease the transition from scroll to book." Video with English subtitles.
Dagmara Troller says: "Nothing to do? Complain!" Yes, you can join a complaints choir and sing about your difficulties with the world.
Go spelunking from the comfort of your office. Nice pictures, and links to more info about caves and cave exploring.
Distracted by the birdies outside your office window? Want to get even more distracted? Loads of info on attracting the birds and their habits. And of course birdie photographs.
Make your own warning labels! Provides the templates and a step where you choose the message, then it generates a label which you can download. Down at the bottom of the page, there is a drop-down menu that will take you to the street sign generator and the tombstone generator.
Tired of words day in and day out? Getting right brain fatigue? Try this online drawing site to exercise the left side of your brain.
Carolyn Perkes found this site: "Beautiful maps (can be magnified and downloaded), mainly of the British Isles, especially London (16th, 18th and 19th centuries, one of which is hand-coloured on silk), and Australia, but other maps will be made available in future (e.g.. a map of Europe, 1772 and Paris, 1854). Free."
Margaret Schroeder says you can look up a country or a place here and get a map of it.
Billy O'Shea says: "Ever wondered what a willeyer does? Or a qwylwryghte? Does a shoe finder really find shoes? How do you become a quarrel picker? Find the answers here."
Carolyn Perkes found a site that gives recordings of birdcalls and transcriptions.
This should inspire you to do some home cooking.... Calorie counts for "fast food."
"Aquarium Cams" from Monterey Bay Aquarium. Not just the fishies: penguins, for example.
Great time waster. Dots are connected by lines, and you need to drag the dots so no lines intersect. And of course the number of lines and dots increase in the next level....
Susan Siewert ran into this site (English and German) that is of course work-related if you have feline assistants. For the assistants, that is. Yes, some German engineer attached a miniature digital camera to the cat's collar, set to take pictures at certain times as Mr. Lee wandered around the neighborhood visiting favorite places and feline friends. All the techie details as well as (of course) the pictures Mr. Lee brought home. You can now buy your own catcam - or make your own with the detailed instructions.
Karin Adamczyk found this set of sources for podcasts, sure to help you procrastinate. She accepts no responsibility for missed deadlines. A good way to find more is to google podcast plus relevant keywords.
Wondering what that Japanese snack in your favorite anime really is? Check out the great descriptions and pictures at the J-List site, "an online shop based in Isesaki, Japan, just about in the center of Japan. We ship fun and unique products to those not fortunate enough to live here. " The guy who runs it (Peter) is an American who fell in love with the place (along with falling in love with his Japanese wife...). Includes a bit of history on each item and even some tv commercials. Plenty of other Japanese products and info/commentary on Japanese culture, ranging from Hello Kitty mania to recommended resources for learning Japanese to the latest loose socks craze (yes, you can buy loose socks here). I was hungry and focused mainly on the food. The second link is Peter's blog, more entertaining detail about culture and products and language.
The first link is to full-length episodes of various Adult Swim shows (Cartoon Network), including the quirky Japanese series now running in the US as Shin Chan. Plenty there to distract you from your work.

The second link is to a good Wikipedia entry on the show Shin Chan that includes lots of info on dubs into various languages, so you can pretend it's work-related. The US is apparently not the only place where the kindergardener Shin Chan violates way too many cultural taboos to be safely put on kid tv. Korea solved the problem by obscuring certain body parts and making the jokes G-rated. Adult Swim's version is visually uncensored and they made the translation aimed definitely at their allegedly adult audience all the way, with ratings ranging from TV-14 [for 14 years old and up] to TV-MA [mature audiences].

The third Shin Chan Interactive link will take you to an episode interlaced with interesting comments by the US dub team (writers, director, actors) explaining some of the liberties they felt they needed to take with the original script (many things were just untranslatable anyway) and also some examples of scripts with alternate lines of varying length for matching the "mouth flaps" in final production, including one version closest to the Japanese original.
Pages and pages and pages of pictures of US pennies (USD 0.01 coins) stacked in various interesting ways without using any glue (bridges, towers, etc.). From a civil engineering school project. Includes instructions on how to build from one structure to another and how to spectacularly demolish them. Also many pictures from other inspired folk, using pennies and other coins and such. This could be bigger than the traditional house-of-cards...
Martin Douch provides this link to complete instructions (pictures included) for a crafts project very relevant for translators "on the move". You can also follow links on the same page to make a duct tape wallet or iPod cover. Or how to knit an iPod cozy. Follow the main link for more enticing articles such as "How to Save Your Home from Foreclosure" or "How to Breed Hamsters" or "How to Get Out of a Car Gracefully Without Showing Your Underwear." Oh, there's one on "How to Save Laptop from Liquid Drainage", definitely a must-view for translators, and has a link to "How to Save a Wet Cell Phone." And of course since it's a wiki, feel free to share your own extensive practical knowledge.
Samuel Murray found this online typing speed tester. You can even pretend you're working!
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic found this hamster-a-day site. Words of wisdom, more or less. "Wear leather, not fur." Connect Four - play the computer!
Not sure how to define "normal", but here are pictures of "normal rooms" in various areas of the world. Thankfully, my office is not included. You can upload your own interior design triumph, though.
Conflicted about modern life vs. traditional values? Concerned about the environmental impact of the tools of your livelihood? Get yourself a wooden computer! Or at least a wooden keyboard or mouse. For real. Great pictures.
Guinness World Records online. Never lose a bet again. Searchable. Videos! Including a failed attempt to beat the record for "Most m&m's Flipped with the Ears and Caught in the Mouth in One Minute." (The ear flipper and the mouth catcher are not the same person, in case you're wondering.)
Follow the link to see the amazing piano-playing cat Nora in action on YouTube. Unlike all feline assistants of my acquaintance, she does not play the piano with her feet. Wait for the duet with a human pianist... And contrary to some skeptics' comments - there is no catnip on the keys!
YouTube is a truly hazardous place for the easily distracted. Your home movies now can be inflicted on the world. If you liked watching Nora the Piano-Playing Cat - check out the Pets & Animals section sometime when you don't have a deadline looming. More hazardous timewasters for young-at-heart couch potatoes: the Disney and Nickelodeon tv sites, where excerpts and sometimes full episodes of their cartoons and other shows are periodically available. Just click on the icons for the shows and check out the "videos" buttons to see what they have.
Kelly O'Connor says it's worth registering for this net radio site. Look for the ListenLive link, among other things.
Susan Siewert says: "If you ever find yourself having a lot of time and a lot of patience, not to mention a lot of matches...." See Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry constructed entirely of 602,000 matchsticks! Some other marvels displayed in the first link.
Margaret Schroeder says: "Once I entered this site, there was no return.... All sites of interest known to me are now being marked." Wikipedia says: "Google Maps with a wiki system, allowing users to add system, allowing users to add information (in the form of a note) to any location on the globe. Created by Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev, the project was launched on May 24, 2006 and is aiming towards "describing the whole planet."
Another reason to procrastinate. Jo Ann Cahn says this site is "really interesting, beautiful, and... even useful." Biomedical Image Awards 2006.
Even if you are stuck at your computer, you can pretend you are lying on your back on the grass, staring at the clouds.... A gallery of colorful atmospheric phenomena.
Has to be seen to be believed. Extraordinarily detailed pictures done on an Etch-a-Sketch. Interactive version of Alice in Wonderland, for those days when you're always late anyway.
Well, here's a twist on Nintendogs and Tamagotchi.... You've heard of watching grass grow? Grow your own virtual mold colony! Fun with fungus.
Billy O'Shea claims this is Wikipedia in Scots: "Guid tae see ye at the Scots Wikipædia, the first encyclopædia in the Scots leid!" Hoot mon indeed.
Take a visual break with a daily dose of art, with a short paragraph about the artist and the background for each piece.
Paul Makinen claims this is "fun": "home page for Josip Broz Tito. Humorous, sad, glorious, and pathetic, all at the same time....:" The "wives" link can substitute for soap opera breaks.
Must be some fun in this for podcast fans especially: "LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net (via podcast and catalog). Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books."
Pictures and sound samples from strange and wondrous musical instruments! Quick - what's an aquaggaswack?
Now you can search for a melody! Yes, the Musipedia database is searchable via a virtual keyboard. You can play back your query to make sure it sounds right ... You can even whistle or hum the tune into the search engine.
Can't use the excuse that you lost all your sheet music in the move - get back to that piano or violin or aquaggaswack during your work breaks after downloading your favorites as printable pdf files from this archive of public domain classical music.

This site is just what you need to realize how good you have it, even buried under your pile of cables and peripherals and dictionaries. "The Early Office Museum engages in research on the history and evolution of offices, antique office machines and equipment, and business technology based on original documents, artifacts, and photographs." Click on the Exhibits link to see the photographs and descriptions.
Yet another simple time-wasting game site. If totally bored and listless, try Poke the Bunny. If more energetic - well, I liked Bubble Trouble. Many more games at the site, updated regularly.
Billy O'Shea passes along this link to "blunders in 10 languages." The BBC says: "Learning a language is all about diving in and having a go. But sometimes our attempts to impress the locals don't go according to plan." Many personal and entertaining anecdotes illustrating the hazards of multilingualism, organized by language and vague topic. Feel free to add your own favorite stories!
Amy Bryant found this site with funny newspaper clippings, and claims it helped wake her up when in danger of falling asleep over the keyboard (we've all had those kinds of jobs, yes?) . "WARNING: Put away your coffee, tea, etc. first." Funny headlines etc. F'rinstance, there's a rather detailed "employment wanted" ad from a "former marijuana smuggler" that just has to be read to be believed.
The Globe & Mail provides this guide to What Canadians Think About Everything. Found by Marie Gouin. Take the quiz yourself!
Entirely too nice a collection of flash games to keep you from your work. You can procrastinate with a different one for each client. Arcade, Puzzle, Skill, Sports, Role-Playing, Casino, and of course some Classic and Holiday-themed games.
Yesterland! "A theme park on the web featuring discontinued Disneyland attraction." If you could never afford to go in your youth, here's your chance. Loads of information as well as pictures, pictures, pictures. There are some gaps: apparently The Bathroom of Tomorrow isn't there (yet).
Just as the url says, this is definitely Cute Overload. Gobs and gobs of pictures of entirely too cute non-humans of various species, mainly youngsters. Not just kittens and puppies, either.
Seems like heresy, but this collection of puzzles, illusions, tricks, and toy ideas actually encourages you to leave your keyboard occasionally. "For the most part they're intended to be played with simple props, such as coins, or by cutting out paper shapes, away from the computer. Check them out on your screen and, for the ones that intrigue you, print out the challenge and play it wherever it suits you."
Willeke Barens found this enchanting site of real images of quirky translations mainly from Japanese into English. (Engrish exists elsewhere, but the site claims the Japanese are the most creative practitioners.) Guaranteed to make you feel useful. How about this "Written Oath" from an internet store: "It is hardly responsible about the trouble of the internet store at all." Gets better and better.... And yes, there's a book: The Joys of Engrish.
Pandora is "a music discovery service designed to help you find and enjoy music that you'll love. It's powered by the Music Genome Project, the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Just tell us one of your favorite songs or artists and we'll launch a streaming station to explore that part of the music universe. " Free subscription on registration for ad-supported version, paid subscriptions for ad-free version.
"All cats! All the time!" Now your feline assistants can enjoy their own music live 24/7. Really. I'm not making this up. "We are an Internet radio and TV station specifically for cats to listen to and also watch. Meow Mixing Monday, Tuesday Night Cat Club, Wednesday Night Cat Attack, Thursday Night Purr Party, and the Friday Night Feline Frenzy ... Cat Galaxy is based in Scottsdale, AZ and broadcasts live 24/7 to a feline audience worldwide in 128k CD quality stereo... Cat Galaxy is also the first station to play the Feline Freeform format approved by cats." No, I don't know what that means.
Yet another time-waster, Caray Snake: You're a snake and have to find the path through the maze that lets you eat all the eggs (growing longer with each one) without meeting up with your tail. Instructions in French and English.
/ You may never meet another deadline. Many games of all categories to download and play on a trial basis. They seem to mainly run on Windows 98 and above, try them in VirtualPC if blessed with a mac.
WordSplay is the successor to WEBoggle: Boggle online, multiplayer. New game every three minutes, so there is a natural limit for how much time away from that exciting annual report you can spend (unless, of course, you join in a new game...). In case you had a Boggle-deprived childhood, here are the rules: "When the timer starts, each player searches the assortment of letters for words of three letters or more (four or more on the 5x5 board). When you find a word, type it into the blank and press the ENTER key. Words are formed from adjoining letters. Letters must join in the proper sequence to spell a word. They may join horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, to the left, right, or up-and-down. No letter cube, however, may be used more than once within a single word....The winner is the player whose words have earned the most points."
Totally Absurd Inventions: "America's Goofiest Patents! Featuring Real, USA Patented Inventions!" Has to be seen to be believed. Check out the Patently Absurd Inventions Archive. I wonder if the US Patent Office has a "humor" keyword? If not - why not?
I recently stumbled into Margaret Marks' "Transblawg" (Weblog on German-English legal translation). Have to put it in both the FUN and LEGAL resources category, because it's full of both.
Graham Chave found this "cute little time waster". You move a red block to try to avoid converging blue blocks and the walls, and your score is your survival time. I haven't made it to half a second myself.
Cass Greer says this virtual cat is "for all you who depend on feline assistants :) ."
Michelle Asselin found this amazing collection of cat pictures plus captions for a more realistic view of felinity.
Cass Greer suggests this "homage to several classic video games" as a nice time waster. Apparently "quitting the game is not an option".
Billy O'Shea suggested this resource, I think after some people on Lantra revealed they simply start talking another language if caught by a telemarketer.
On a related note—here is a collection of excuses you can use to get off the phone. I'm going to try this one next: "There's a fire drill."
Cass Greer found this gem to threaten your deadlines: "The Tattered Coat unearths this instant classic of movie advertising, that, without re-scripting a single line, casts a classic piece of terror in a new light." Follow the links to see more such mini-masterpieces in Quicktime format from the Trailer Park competition, "where assistant editors Œre-cut¹ trailers for famous movies to try and make them seem like different movies." Imagine The Shining as a family film, for instance.
Alan Johnson claims this is "the ultimate procrastinator: A mere 500 questions on nerdity or not." You get a report on your Nerdity Quotient. I'm a bit afraid to take the test, since just the first screenful of questions is loaded against me. Oh, wait&151;Number 17 is ok, I never had perfect attendance in school.
Paul Gallagher suggests this time waster with all the fun of driving without the repair bills: "You're in a news truck that has to knock off the competition by ramming or sideswiping it in traffic. Hitting other vehicles or the guard rail costs you, hitting the competitor costs them. Wrenches are food. Win by reducing the competitor's energy to zero."
Now that you have all that road rage out of your system, cool down with a look at the New York Public Library's online collection of digital photos: "NYPL Digital Gallery is The New York Public Library's new image database, developed to provide free and open online access to thousands of images from the original and rare holdings of the Research Libraries. Spanning a wide range of visual media, NYPL Digital Gallery offers digital images of drawings, illuminated manuscripts, maps, photographs, posters, prints, rare illustrated books, and more. Encompassing the subject strengths of the vast collections of the Research Libraries, these materials represent the applied sciences, fine and decorative arts, history, performing arts, and social sciences",
Here is a solution to a definitely not-fun situation if you have a cat, a cat door, and a plethora of bunnies and chipmunks and birds in the neighborhood. After I complained about having to spend two hours trying to rescue a non-volunteer in Oliver the Cat's "bring 'em home alive" program who got stuck under a bookcase, Margaret Schroeder suggested this very informative and persuasive site on Flo Control: "This is Flo. Her job is testing our image recognition algorithms..we have built a computer-controlled device that visually determines if Flo is carrying anything in her mouth when she enters [the cat door], and if she does, it simply does not let her in."
Yves Lanthier suggests this site for plumbing terminology, but also click on the "great quotes" link at the bottom for some distraction.
Free geography web games for many different areas of the world. Great for kids and those of us who are foggy about where we are at any given time.
"Palindrome: A word, phrase, verse, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward." Alphabetized lists with some interesting illustrations... "A dog! Panic in a pagoda!"
This might actually sometimes be useful for (gasp!) WORK: A collection of tv, radio, movie, stage, and anime scripts.
"Based on the book Maze, by Christopher Manson, this hyperlinked area allows you to move from room to room of a maze by selecting the door of the room you wish to enter...Your challenge is to find your way from room 1 (after the Prologue) to room 45 and then back to room 1 using the shortest possible path. There are any number of clues in the drawings and in the story to help you choose the right door in each room. Clues in a series of rooms may relate to one another, and may indicate a path. Other clues may refer to a specific door in a single room."
This one (pointed out by someone on Lantra-L) has to be seen to be believed: OEDILF, The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form. "The OEDILF Project, our online Limerictionary, is proud to present the work of writers living in 13 different countries in which English is spoken." Oh, yes. You can join the project...
Veronica Lambert Hall suggests that we vent our frustrations at this site: "You can subject your least favorite website to all kinds of vile attacks here... I have just nuked telefonica who have left me without a phone since Tuesday." Don't worry, no websites are harmed in this activity. The damage is seen only on your own computer screen.
Chris. DeSantis found this wonderful guide to all the different types of Flame Warriors who appear in internet discussions, complete with appropriate pictures. Please contact the site administrator if you can contribute sightings of any new variants.
Pengapop, a flash game (also available as downloadable version for mac and non-mac), lets you miss your deadlines helping a penguin shoot colored blocks (as in Breakout) to reach food.
Another time-waster: "Every Second Counts" &151; all you have to do is hold down the mouse button for the exact period of time indicated. Simple, yes? Ha. Ha. Ha.
A site for the reflective among you: The Mirror Project, a collection of pictures people took of their images on an amazing variety of reflective surfaces.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in Flash!
Billy O'Shea suggests this "eye test": "Do it quickly, just once, and don't cheat."
Rene von Rentzell recommends this time-wasting site for a free but potentially addictive game. They seem to change the games periodically.
Robert Huff suggests this site for avoiding deadlines: "Play Petals Around the Rose...The computer will roll five dice and ask you to guess the score for the roll. The score will always be zero or an even number. Your mission is to work out how the computer calculates the score and become a Potentate of the Rose...However, you must pledge to be a cruel and heartless wretch who will never divulge the secret of the game to anyone else. Only those that can work it out for themselves should know the secret of Petals Around the Rose." Robert also suggests "there's more useful information on the following pages."
"Color in Motion" (English and Spanish) by Claudia Cortés. "An interactive experience of color communication and color symbolism." Besides finding out what colors mean in different cultures and times and what your favorite color reveals about you, don't forget to go through the Lab door for fun with the interactive kaleidoscope.
Rene von Rentzell, who just happens to live in Japan, also found this "Quirky Japan" site: "Are you tired of shrines and temples, reconstructed ferro-concrete castles and tea ceremonies? Do you like to get off the beaten track? Would you like to meet Japanese people who do not meet the conformist stereotype? Japan, behind the conservative grey suits and formal bows, is a country quirkier than you can ever imagine. The Quirky Japan Homepage provides information about oddities such as the The Meguro Parasitalogical Museum, the Thousand Person Bathtub, love hotels, temple lodging, and the Yakiimo man (the ice cream man's evil twin)." Don't forget to click on the television link, especially if you are under the illusion that US trash tv and reality shows are the worst...
Great time waster. Use arrow keys to move black ball around to grab gray squares without getting creamed by the moving little blue dots. Links to other free games also.
This is hard to explain: Basically, the Existentialist Strindberg is paired with a chronically cheerful talking pink balloon named Helium in some short web vignettes. But hey, you're looking for ways to avoid work, right?
An Earth and Moon Viewer: "You can view either a map of the Earth showing the day and night regions at this moment, or view the Earth from the Sun, the Moon, the night side of the Earth, above any location on the planet specified by latitude, longitude and altitude, from a satellite in Earth orbit, or above various cities around the globe." So you can pretend it's educational.
The Lazytown songs in the original Icelandic, including the impossible-to-get-out-of-your-head "Bing Bang". Just pick the song by clicking on the list and then hit the > play button. You mean you don't know what Lazytown is? Great distraction from work. Weird but mesmerizing live action/life-size puppet kids' show on Nickelodeon in the USA and YTV in Canada (based on characters well known in Iceland, where Lazytown is "Latibaer") featuring Sportacus (Icelandic fitness promoter Magnus Scheving) as the hyperathletic hero who goes to bed at 8:08 pm (sleep gives him super energy) and who eats lots of fruits and veggies (candy saps his energy) and pink-overloaded little Stephanie who breaks out in song and dance at the drop of a carrot. My fave is the villain, Robbie Rotten (Stefan Karl), who expends an amazing amount of energy trying to get them all to eat junk food and be lazy. Check out for more details and even music videos from the English-language show. Amazingly, the propaganda seems to work. In Iceland, they ran a game where the kids got reward points for eating good food and lost points for candy and soda, and Pepsi recorded a significant drop in sales... plus kids were complaining about getting cake and soda at birthday parties!
Digital Gallery of World Picture Books. "This series introduces famous picture books of Japan and the West in the period from the eighteenth century to the 1930s. " A pleasant interlude for procrastinators. For instance, one exhibit features child-oriented drawings and songs from 1920's Japan: "The Picture Book Gallery No. 2 Exhibit centers around some 300 illustrations published in the Kodomo no kuni [Children's Land] picture book magazine during the first decade after its inauguration in 1922. Kodomo no kuni was one of the leading artwork-featuring journals for children... The magazine included pictures, stories, children's songs, dances, plays, and articles on handicrafts for young children." Click on the Children's Songs link and you can look at the pictures and Japanese words while listening to the songs. The Gallery (picture pages from the magazine with English translations of the titles) also gives links to some information about the artists. (Japanese/English)
Twenty Questions with the computer: You choose a category (animal, vegetable, mineral), think of some object, and the computer asks you questions to try to figure it out. " is an experiment in artificial intelligence. The program is very simple but its behavior is complex. Everything that it knows and all questions that it asks were entered by people playing this game. is a learning system; the more it is played, the smarter it gets." Actually rather fun, although I still don't know why the computer thinks a yam can swim.... (Methinks a previous player was trying to confuse the poor thing.) Multilingual.
Just made for translators yearning to break free: "Welcome to pseudodictionary, the place where words you've made up can become part of an actual online dictionary". Searchable and browsable. Example: "halfwitticisms—Word puns and usages that only one person finds at all amusing&151;namely, the person who said them." Now, there's a useful word!
Suzanne Bernard found this site. The French childrens' book publisher Gallimard Jeunesse provides this nice picture gallery of beautiful free images (can be downloaded and printed) on various subjects (nature, science, places in the world, , religion (includes holiday images), history, arts and recreation, etc.). For some nice info (in French) and images from their books plus a look at the "author of the month", click on the "Gallimard Jeunesse" title at the very top. You can avoid translation work while pretending you're just looking for "educational material" for your kids!
Well, this site that Michelle Asselin suggested for procrastinators should keep us all busy for a while avoiding work. Links to quite a few time-wasting games. You can even fling elephant dung at poachers in one of them. The site is German, but the game instructions seem to be mainly in English. But who reads instructions?
Now, this is REALLY neat! Choppa Morph found this "page turner". Well, actually, it's called "Turning the Pages" from the British Library. "Just click on the links, wait a few moments, then turn the pages of our great books." You can choose "magnify" and move your mouse around to see enlarged sections of oldies but goodies that you would never be allowed to touch in the realspace library: Leonard Da Vinci's notebook, the Chinese Diamond Sutra ("the world's oldest, dated, printed book"), Blackwell's Herbal etc.
Neologisms A-Z: Thanks to Franc Smrke for this one. How can you live another day without knowing this: An affpuddle is "a puddle which is hidden under a pivoted paving stone. You only know it's there when you step on the paving stone and the puddle shoots up your leg." Zlander means "to talk badly or disrespectfully about someone during sleep".
Too busy to see movies? Peter Tuffley found this site of 30-second versions, "re-enacted by bunnies".
Still too busy for movies? Here's the short version of the battle between Spiderman and Doctor Octopus, with a cast of Lego characters and Lego sets... Strangely fascinating. But doesn't Doc Ock look like Elton John?
Susan Larsson, of course, points out this site showing photos of a cat staring at a screen showing another cat staring at a screen showing another .... well, you get the point. It all started with Frankie the Cat, and the chain continues in The Infinite Cat Project (up to Cat #355 so far).
Michael Osmann found this odd collection of "haikus you can use" with embedded repair tips from the Samurai Appliance Repair Man. What can you say about a site that ends with the invitation:

"Page of bad haikus,
surely you can do better.
Please click here to write."
Jussara Simoes and feline assistant Lea not only found this site &151; Lea joined it. Be forewarned &151; your feline assistants may get more hits on their web pages than you do on yours.
Amy Bryant steers us to yet another "intelligence test." My score indicates I was "possibly dropped on head at birth." Well, I'm better at video games.
Amy Bryant also found this stash of "useless information" to keep us away from paying work.
"Worth1000 is the top creative competition and photoshop contest site on the web." Archived closed contests include "inappropriate uses for power tools", "famous people without any pants," "movie scenes you didn't get to see," etc. Click on the "galleries" link at the bottom for a long list. Browse the entries, waste lots of time!
See how many meters you can guide the drunk toward home before he crashes on the sidewalk. (Really! In German...) Not very easy, probably since the guy keeps on drinking.
Click on the "view the clock" link. Every minute the picture changes, with different humans (and occasional non-humans) in pictures showing the exact time. Has to be seen to be believed. Analog and digital options, more submissions welcomed. You, too, can have your 1 minute of fame.
Type a command in the box and see if the guy in the chicken suit will do it. Yes, a real guy. In a real chicken suit. This isn't animation, folks.
Just in case you missed the ebay auction that generated 17 million hits—here it is, archived in all its glory. Larry models his ex-wife's wedding dress and explains it all.... (Well, it worked. He sold the dress.)
More rooms to lose yourself in, from Oana Popescu.
Another way to do anything but translate, from Oana Popescu.
Mirella Soffio gave us this way to procrastinate. All for the children's sake, of course.
Also from Mirella Soffio. Not sure how to describe it, but I got tired just watching.
If you made it out of the Crimson Room, Graham Chave provides this link for the Viridian Room and promises of more to come. (I'm still in the Crimson Room, napping on the bed.)
Susan Larsson continues to amaze with more ways to avoid meeting our deadlines. She says this one is "for those with time on their hands... ." It only worked in Internet Exploder for me, but time will tell.
modo.swf R. H. Stoll's contribution to the procrastination collection. His advice: "Keep your mouse bothering him."
Michal Molin posted this on Lantra: "Cliché has amassed a list of over 2100 clichés..." And of course fellow lantran Michael Burns chimed in "Well, I looked at it, and it didn't seem very original." Actually has explanations, so you can claim you're working.
Amy Taylor found this informative site on a clear and present danger. Don't take even one more sip of your 8 glasses a day until you read it.
Graham Chave points us to "an in-depth, perceptive review of an important computing accessory," complete with visual corroboration and entirely too many useful links for all conclusions. Plus a handy chart comparing kittens, puppies, babies, and new video cards.
Rene von Rentzell found this "time waster" for us. You'll never guess what Animals on the Underground is about unless you look.... Easily adapted to other habitats.
Rene also passes along this gem. Will we ever get back to work? Hint: WAIT before you assume you've reached the wrong page ....
Margaret Schroeder says: "Look out! If you found the snowflake-cutting pages too addictive, don't go near this site!" (Don't ask.)
Michael Roehrig must be responsible for a lot of missed deadlines or at least unwashed dishes. He mentioned this "Whack the penguin" site on Lantra, and the list was soon cluttered with triumphant claims of high scores. I wish I could definitely say no penguins were harmed in this game, but it seems to depend on how exactly they land.
Laura Ballester innocently suggested: "See how long it takes you to come out of the room." on Lantra and once again, dishes were left unwashed, proofreading chores were set aside, and term queries were buried amidst the bragging. Please notice my lack of bragging. That's because I'm still in the room, taking a nap on the bed.
The Dialectizer. Dorene Cornwell says "Should you be dissatisfied with websites in Regular English, I highly recommend this achievement in machine translation. It will translate the website of your choice into a number of special dialects including Redneck, Hacker, and Swedish Chef." Also Elmer Fudd and Pig Latin. Can use to dialectize any piece of text as well. Try it on your next translation, if you dare! Give a project manager a heart attack today.
Kirk McElhearn warns: "Cat-lovers beware..." He must have been talking about the Groove Kitty video ("Have some fun with a dancing cat"), but there are many, many more on various topics for every taste (or lack thereof).
Héctor M. Gayón pointed out this distraction, plenty of items to waste your time in Fun With Flash and The Game Room. Should be something to annoy and disgust everybody.
Omar Johnstone says this is about "Language in popular culture" but it looks like comics to me... Also has links to various comics sites (where you can read archived strips until your deadline is missed).
Billy O'Shea inexplicably suggests reading up on the Squirrel Liberation Front (conveniently providing appropriate background material on his very own web site).
"Honor your dirty car" at the Wash Me site. Look at the pictures, get inspired. Unless of course, you find "" written in the dirt on YOUR car ....
Chris DeSantis suggests this complete collection of Brooke McEldowney's Hallmarks of Felinity "if you like, don't like, understand, or misunderstand cats." Warning: Not for when you have a tight deadline.
Kirk McElhearn found this distraction, "Interesting Thing of the Day." Very informative articles on the Interesting Things, so you can pretend you're working (all translators need to keep up on Interesting Things, after all).. You can even buy an Interesting Thing t-shirt, of course.
Jacques Clau found this site where you can also pretend you are working, "devoted to recently coined words and phrases, old words that are being used in new ways, and existing words that have enjoyed a recent renaissance." Well, you never know when you might need to translate metrosexual, coffee-spitter, patent troll, or Lake Wobegon effect.
At first, I thought "Where's George?" was yet another George Bush parody site based on the "Where's Waldo" puzzles... But the George is actually George Washington, the first US President and the fellow whose mug graces the US $1 bill. Willy is Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the first French Canadian Prime Minister and the fellow who is on the Canadian $5 bill. Karin Zimmer (who also alerted us to coffee-spitter at WordSpy) found this way for US and Canadian translators at least to distract themselves. Pull out a bill, enter its serial number, and track its progress around the country. If nobody else has started tracking that bill, you will have to spend it first.... You may even find a bill with the url already marked on it! Folks outside the US and Canada can click on a sample report to see what all this is about. And yes, of course you can buy the t-shirt.
Lien from Lantra-L found this site that's perfect for professional web surfers: We can nominate web pages for the list of losers and also click on the already nominated links: "Losers. You know them. You've seen them on the street. You've seen them in the office. You've seen them at family reunions. Now they're on the Internet. And LOSERS dot ORG is your guide." Has to be in English, though: "There are undoubtedly plenty of losers who speak other languages, but we'll save them for another site. If we can't read it, they ain't losers. Mind, you pages in bad English are perfectly acceptable. " The losers are helpfully categorized. I'm afraid that I found the ones in the Trekkie category actually interesting, which tells you something. The entire staff of editors at also listed themselves amongst the losers, suggesting they are both fair and accurate.
Look for the animated icon down at the bottom of this page (describes a lot of my life and work).
Some things you just have to see to believe.'s always-interesting Random Access of July 21, 2003 reported that the Google search engine "still offers its site translated into the 'bork, bork, bork' dialect of the Muppets' Swedish chef. [Google executive Marissa] Mayer said she actually created the translation when she was working on Google's internationalization efforts&151;she didn't speak another language, so she picked the Muppet character's lingo. 'We actually do 100,000 pages or more a day in Bork,' Mayer said."
Howard Scott kindly provided the url for the original Hamster Dance. Er, Hampster Dance, actually, except in the url. Kind of hard to take your eyes (and ears) off it. Imagine—you can buy the cd. Following in the pawprints of Alvin and the Chipmunks, I guess.
Diane Di Biasio found the sequel: Hampster Dance 2. You can rearrange the dancers in this one. Move over, Hamtaro!
Haydn Rawlinson suggests "Clothes for your cat in Glorious Technicolor Japlish" to help wake you up during those all-night translations. Try not to let the Japlish style creep into your work, though: "Wow! Kind of scary! Am I?" or "A dress for all innocent, graceful lady cat!" might not get you much repeat business. Drag your mouse over the links to see the modeled clothing. The models look rather young and confused to me, perhaps the site should be reported for abuse of minors?
If the kitty clothes don't keep you awake, Haydn Rawlinson suggests "The Tales of the Plush Cthulhu." I can relate to this, although I always figured that my several dozen stuffed animals did more innocuous things (like having dance parties) while I slept. From the faq: "Question: Why in Heaven's name would someone make a stuffed version of an evil unholy creature? Answer: Something's got to keep all those unruly Beanie Babies in line." Makes sense to me. Will probably make even more sense to Lovecraft fans.,5952,724258,00.html
Claire Parker found this way to avoid work: taking a quiz to find out which superhero you are.... No surprise that I turned out to be Spider(wo)man. I've always liked spiders, and rent space on my walls to quite a few.
Lysa Salsbury found this hands-on antidote to boredom. Good for the vindictive artist in you.
If you're a cartoon fan... er, animation enthusiast looking for ways to avoid working, this is the place to go: The Big Cartoon Database. Has recent news on new and upcoming series/features as well as a huge collection of info on more cartoons than even I could watch in a lifetime. Did you know that two new NASA patches will feature Marvin the Martian and Duck Dodgers? Or that Carrotblanca starring Bugs Bunny will appear on the same DVD as Casablanca starring whats-his-name, that human guy?
If for some totally unfathomable reason you prefer to procrastinate with live-action tv shows rather than cartoons, here's a site to keep you occupied between deadlines: Morty's World of TV. Find out where you can watch those old tv shows that kept you from doing your homework, episode guides for your new and old favorites, who's still alive and who is making you feel really old by dying. Did you know that Hanna-Barbara actually made an animated version of Abbott and Costello? "Most of the episodes centered around various far-fetched schemes to get rich quick, all of which inevitably failed miserably." (Can't help it, I seem to zero in on the word "cartoon" wherever I go...)
Rasmus Carlsson says to "jack in your headphones and get rocking!" with this "wide selection of music channels" at Spinner to keep you going through those long nights at the keyboard ....
Michael Molin highly recommends this absolutely VITAL Glossary for Research Papers. Quite accurate.
Definitions Not in the Dictionary, pointed out again by Michael Molin.
And for even more "Language Humor" &151; check out this list of links (suggested by Michael Molin, of course).
Jacques Schlesinger suggests this Museum of Hoaxes Journal for "rainy day" entertainment. Good lunchtime reading, too, as long as you're stuck at your computer anyway.
For some relaxation from work and fun, Werner Richter calls this a "Tibetan prayer mill" site: "nice if you're in a contemplative mood. Have the sound on, not to worry."
If you're looking for an excuse to celebrate a holiday, check out this Encyclopedia of Days. Karin Zimmer says "it seems to have all holidays in about every country on earth". I have personally been trying to convince people that Monday is my Sabbath for several decades ....
Karin Zimmer suggests this "CAT User's Manual v. 7". Other interesting ways to avoid work at the site also, but the Gross Food page is not for lunchtime reading. Click on the Cat Pix link, and then the link to Theia's inspiring (though rather short) book on her successful battle against breast cancer: "Survivor!: A Cat Speaks Out."
Michelle Asselin says this site gives us useful advice on "how to tell if your cat is really an alien".
Héctor Gayón suggests this site for those ascii emoticons we all know and love that supposedly soften the blow when you've just posted a message to 15,000 people that your respected colleague Snodgrass is a complete twit. :-) The size of the list is positively mind-boggling. {8-o
Dagmara Meijers-Troller suggests this antidote for stressed out translators: "Just click on the link, relax and follow instructions."
Helen Elliot suggests this site "for your listening pleasure."
Intrepid web explorer Susan Larsson found this url for Tom Lehrer fans: "You can sing along to the music ... but—you have to use IE Explorer, doesn't work in either Opera or Netscape."
Uh, you'll just have to look at this peculiar list of insects (discovered by Michelle Asselin) for yourself.... French only, hélas.
Amy Bryant in the course of translation duty ran across this potentially useful site: "Welcome to The Wonderful Wankometer. This machine enables you to measure the quantity of Management Wank in a piece of text or web page. Simply type the address of a web-page, or paste some text into the box above and press the Start button. The Wankometer will return a Wank Factor which indicates the overall wankiness of the text."
Michael Molin gives us the means to amaze our friends with this "card trick terminology" site.
Quirky site by a Sea Monkey fan. Even I was once tempted to order some from the back of a comic book, many years ago.... Frugality overcame the impulse, though.
Do you want to lose friends all over the world with your multilingual insults? Carola Urquhart can get you started, with English-German glossaries of insults for Bavaria and Vienna.... You also can pick up German/English volleyball terminology on this site, although now that you have no more friends, you will have to play by yourself.
Lawrence Koch says here's where to go for "...cheese racing!"
Amy Bryant passed along this from John Walston, BuzzWhacker-in-Chief: "GOOGLEWHACK: The result of Googlewhacking, a game invented by search-obsessed fans of Object: Type two words into the Google search line with the hope of getting a single search result. If you see "Results 1-1 of 1," you're a winner (and clearly have too much time on your hands)."
Michael Grant pointed out this gem of a site, ostensibly in the midst of a conversation on cats (or was it on flat panel monitors?). Check it out when you're in serious need of a relatively nonverbal break. Be sure to explore all the archives....
Stephen Schwanbeck says, "I just found a 3-D site with pics, old comic book covers and other optical illusions. As if computer monitor glare weren't enough to bore holes into your eye sockets!"
Ro Nordström says this site is "for those among us who are not only bored, but also twisted."
Stephen Schwanbeck offers "Madlibs" sites. The main site explains "The web page will prompt you for a number of words which it will use to fill the blanks in a text passage stored on this server. The results just may scare you." If you can't think of what to say in an answering machine message, for instance, this might help you get started....
Yes, that's "altervistas" and not "altavista". Susan Larsson (who else?) suggests this peculiar site: "AlterVistas, the ongoing brainchild of two students from Bournemouth, England with nothing better to do. In the late summer of 2000, Ben Fryer and Peter Strange hit upon the idea of search engine for bizarre webpages, this idea grew and mutated into the site you see before you now."
Ran into this reinterpretation of some masterpieces by vegemite fanatics while trying to find out how to eat some vegemite I bought (not bad spread lightly on crackers, by the way)...
Susan Larsson suggests this site for the speedily connected who want some online aural distraction while working: "Live International Radio and Television Broadcast Listings".
Lantra's resident Funologist Susan Larsson points out this site and says "Don't blame me if you get a late start after reading about such inventions as nuclear flower stations—'appease the greenies while generating power'...."..
Well, it's sort of an Italian-English glossary of the food, toys, etc. that some pampered Italian cats like. The English is a tad quirky, but you never know when you might have to translate something about feline favorite things. The rest of the site may provide some helpful Italian vocabulary also (well, at least some nice cat pictures....)
Stephen Schwanbeck found this definitely unauthorized site about McDonald's beyond the Golden Arches.
Stephen Schwanbeck also discovered this distraction: "1st international Collection of Tongue Twisters. 2003 entries in 87 languages." Stephen provides these two examples: "Je suis ce que je suis et si je suis ce que je suis, qu'est-ce que je suis?" and "Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?"
Another excuse to delay work from Susan Larsson.
If you're looking for ways to procrastinate, read the fascinating history of Mrs. Stewart's Bluing (and learn how to get those dingy whites looking like new again, especially important for busy translators with little time for laundry). Mrs. Stewart's stern image also can be used to make a good "Get back to work!" sign.
Sue Horn passes on these sites for Spanish-language TV channels on the Web (originally from Mónica Adler on Translist). Okay, the news shows can't really be classified as "fun," but most of the rest may qualify....
Susan Larsson, who seems to specialize in FUN, says this site is perfect for "the easily amused."
François Lavallée told us about this bonanza for those who like to use their expensive computer to listen to radio shows. Full directory of online radio stations, categorized by country and by type (e.g., classical music, news).
Graham Chave says this is "another Microsoft helper." Well, I've certainly felt like this while working in Word 98!
Here's a site that will help you impress your friends at parties: Numbers from 1 to 10 in Over 4500 Languages. Paul Frank says, "Includes overview of the various language families and the names of thousands of languages."

Asterix fans, these next few items are for you! Courtesy Manon Bergeron.
In French, of course, by a "passionate" fan of Asterix.
The Asterix Annotations Version 3.0 (English and American Translations).
The International Asterix Page.
In French. "Lots of links to Asterix pages."- MB
The Asterix Wall of Honor. "This site gives a list of translators of Asterix books."- MB
When work gets boring, go watch the video of the entire October 5, 2000 Ig Nobel awards ceremony (for achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced"). To give you an idea of the tone: Regular (not Ig Nobel) Nobel Laureate William Lipscom (Chemistry, 1976) was the prize in the Win-a-Date-with-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest.
A typical 2000 Ig Nobel Prize winner: Andre Geim of the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and Michael Berry of Bristol University (UK), "for using magnets to levitate a frog and a sumo wrestler", according to APS News (December 2000). Really, I'm not making this up. The pdf file gives the whole journal article, Eur. J. Phys. 18 (1997) pp 307­313, although I could only find mention of the frog... Froggie takes a nice picture, though.
Check out the free demo of "TileTag", a game that teaches Japanese hiragana and katakana characters at the same url. The same home page features PawSense: software that knows when a cat is bouncing across your computer keyboard and keeps kitty from wreaking too much further havoc by disabling the keyboard until a human returns. Chris Niswander has just been awarded the year 2000 Ig Nobel Prize for Computer Science for his PawSense software. We first alerted readers to Pawsense back in December 1999, since translators seem to have a disproportionate number of feline assistants. They've jazzed up their web site since last year, with nice pictures of cats in action and new independent reviews. It's still only for the mac-deprived, though, so mac'ers should keep annoying Chris until he comes to his pawsenses and makes a mac version
Susan Larsson, the never-ending source of ways to avoid work, passes along this url (needs Shockwave for most games):"Play fling the cow, watch the eyeballs watch you.., pop the bubble wrap, whatever tickles your fancy." My personal favorite links from this page are indicated below.
Well, talk about the US Election 2000 was banned from Lantra-L by an angry mob, but you can mold the winner and loser (whichever) to your heart's desire at this site. Just click and drag any spot on their faces to add visual distortion to the other kinds common to politicians. You can even print out your final version.
"Let the hours waste away with the PERPETUAL BUBBLEWRAP! For the ultimate in time wasting, simply roll your mouse over the bubble wrap to see and hear a satisfying 'pop' as the bubble bursts. bursts. Trouble is, the bubbles come right back after a bit, so it is—we are proud to announce—well and truly useless!"
Iris Heres says this is "An amazing collection of sites about fun with words."
Susan Larsson says this is for "anyone who has ever enjoyed peeps at easter... or not...". Really worth a look! Especially if you are immersed in yet another pointless "animal experiment" translation as dawn breaks and have to fight the urge to put the principal investigator in a water maze. Don't forget to click on the Peep Home Page button for still more Peep fun. Lots of pictures, so even if you have no idea what a Peep is— you will soon find out.
Another one from Susan Larsson, who obviously is entirely too distractable (at least in the wee hours of the morning, when she says she finds such things). At first glance, this seemed to potentially take more thinking than I am capable of at that hour (it's all I can do to proofread), but I found you can just wiggle your mouse around and play reasonably mindlessly without even reading the instructions.
Manon Bergeron was amazed to stumble on The Roller Coaster Database, with "statistics on 652 roller coasters from 251 parks located in 3 countries. There are 726 pictures in the database."
Victor Dewsbery CLAIMS that he was "looking for something else" when he stumbled on this source of all things tiddly. The author of the lexicon says, "Winks has a vocabulary and subculture all its own. For instance, you might overhear at a tournament "I can't pot my nurdled wink, so I'll piddle you free and you can boondock a red. But if Sunshine gromps the double, I'll lunch a blue next time." Well, now you have a reason to go consult the lexicon.

Hans Fisher (Fisher International Services) translates a different Ted Goff cartoon (“Mostly Business”) into German every day here:
You can click on a link to see an English Ted Goff cartoon also, although the translation appears at a different time than the original. But that gives you two laughs for the price of one!
László Gábris invites us “to check out the translation-related humor section under Blooper Brigade and Humor.” Definitely worth a look!
DeFUNitions: A Lighter Look at Medical Terminology. Okay, this won’t help your translations at all.... but it’s fun! Also has a random generator of DeFUNitions.
“Here’s a tool that’s simply cool: Find Your Hawaiian Name.”—CH, WebToday
“The Internet Anagram Server will take any word or phrase and find it’s anagrams. WebToday Destinations yielded, among others: A Bad Destiny News I Toot.”—CH, WebToday
The Principles of Eddy Current Testing by Dr. H. A. von Flugen, M.B.S. I stumbled on this during a SERIOUS search for information, but was tipped off by the footnote to the term “eddy currents": “Less commonly—and more formally—referred to as ‘Edward Currents’". It goes downhill (and in circles) from there.
Be sure to also check out the good Doctor von Flugen’s Glossary of Terms here. This starts out with:
A.C. Alternating Current. Hence, a pulsating raisin.
ABSOLUTE CAPACITANCE “I just couldn’t eat another bite.”
etc. etc. etc.
Want to see descriptions of your favorite tv shows in German? You might find some of them in the German version of TV Guide here.
Oh, if you MUST have English-this is a good site to get a full schedule of TV programs (complete with short descriptions) for broadcast, cable, and satellite.
If you’re into accelerators at all, this piece is full of fun information about the real-life hazards. Really! For instance, there was the time that they almost shot up the parking lot.... Search for “Folklore” to get to the good stuff.
Paula and Steve’s Misery Pages. “... one of the best personal homepage parodies I’ve ever seen complete with useless links, photos of people they don’t know and hobbies they don’t have.”-CH, WebToday. If you’ve ever been annoyed when a web search accidentally leads you to an irrelevant home page, this site’s for you.
A Comic Book Periodic Table. “Click on any element for illustrations of that chemical’s effect on various comic book figures.”-CH, WebToday. Great scans of real comic book pages!
“The Music of the Internet takes your IP address and converts the numbers into a little song that plays when you visit the page.”-CH, WebToday. Weird, but perhaps just what we need as we surf around the web during the wee hours trying to meet a deadline! You can download a free Windows version for your continuing delight, or just visit this page and enter any IP address and hear it play.
Nest-Box Cam: Private moments in the lives of a bird family are broadcast to the world every three minutes during the breeding season. Archives of previous pictures also available for the dedicated birder voyeur.
Well, I guess I should blame Igor and Konstantin for this “Russian Cats Collection,” since I stumbled on it accidentally through the APORT! search engine they recommended.... Has both Russian and English pages, check them all out since they have different stuff on them. The pictures are universal, of course.
Do you need to choose the right eatable-at-the-computer food to avoid self-destructing nutritionally as you sit hunched over your keyboard for hours on end to meet a deadline? Do you want to prove to doubters that your favorite snackies are good for you? Search the USDA food database for complete info! Calories, fiber, protein, fat, vitamin and mineral content.
You paid thousands of dollars for that computer, why not use it as a radio?“The International Internet Radio Stations page lists dozens of stations that can be heard over the Web with a simple click of your mouse.”—CH/WebToday.
“[Microsoft] Word not only checks your spelling, it reviews your grammar too and provides suggestions on sentence structure, word usage and ease of reading. Word uses its own logic when it comes to the English language though and the authors of this site have exploited that fact to the fullest comic extent. It’s an all out fight to the death as Word takes on The Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence, The Gettysburg Address and others.”—CH/WebToday
“Cliches are easy pickings. They’re easy as pie. I take as many out of my writing as I can, after all, easy come, easy go. The Cliche finder will take a key word and return relevant cliches in a snap. One might say it’s as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.”—CH/Weboday

Do you want to know how to mark that airmail envelope or read that web page advertising another stamp collector's wares half a world away? Lucky you! Here's a page with philatelic words and phrases in several languages.
You no longer have to subscribe to the whole dull newspaper to read the comics page. Skip all the bad news, bad advice, and incomprehensible economic forecasts and enjoy the archives!
Here's an example of a web site dedicated to one comic strip. In addition to archives of old FoxTrot comic strips, it also has fun stuff to download such as a free Quincy the Iguana screensaver for the mac.
This British site made my day—history and biting commentary on favorite and not so favorite junk food (soda, candy, chips, etc.). Let me tell you about the time I tried to place a software order with a mailorder salesperson on her second shift and at least fifth can of Jolt.... Check out other areas of also if you are into pop culture, UK-style.
Okay, I admit it, I am hooked on the Canadian tv show Red Green ("duct taped in front of a live studio audience") after a hard week at the computer keyboard (which in my case really is held together with duct tape....). This PBS site provides more than you ever really wanted to know about the Handyman's Handyman ("If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy" and "If it ain't broke, you're not trying"). Check around for any of your favorite PBS shows on the general site.
Bettina Winterfeld passes along this spot on the web where "you can send 'electronic postcards' (short pieces of classical music) to your friends."
The quite decadent Kool-Aid Faq—all about Kool-Aid by quirky fans. Includes instructions for mixing current flavors to get extinct flavors, how to dye your hair with Kool-Aid, other Kool-Aid links, and of course a French/English glossary of Kool-Aid flavors from the Canadians. (Bet you didn't think this was relevant to the Translation Journal! Hah!) Any unanswered questions can be directed to the Kool-Aid newsgroup alt.drinks.kool-aid.
Moving right along to solid junk food—here is a collection of Strange PEZ facts, complete with images of some famous and infamous PEZ candy dispensers.
Shark Cam! See what your favorite shark is doing right now! Or check out the other "cams" on the page: Ant-Cam, Puppy-Cam, Penguin-Cam, etc. I'm still waiting for Translator-Cam myself.
Margaret Marks suggests this "cat-typing detector" for those of us with feline office assistants. Yes, PawSense is software that will detect tell-tail signs of kitty on the keyboard and will block characteristic kitty-like typing, and even will attempt to train kitty to stay away by obnoxious sounds (probably futile with my crew, they like it when my mac frantically beeps at them). My own feline assistant just tried to delete the URL above and replaced it with the cryptic 8777, so the cat community must be really worried about this latest inroad on their freedom of expression. Needs Windows 95/98; the mac version isn't ready yet, but they provide an e-mail address for mac'ers to ask to be put on the notification list.
Shannon Armstrong says "This site is so much fun! It is for little kids and it is all in French—lots of pictures and sounds so it is good for teaching kids French." Sounds good for the young at heart also.
Veronica Lambert Hall says "try this site for flashing Christmas lights to decorate your screen!" For Macs (System 7, 8, and 9) and Windows 95/98.
Panda Cam! Be a Peeping Tom and watch Hua Mei (first surviving giant panda to be born in the US, last August at the San Diego Zoo) do her stuff. Just hit the link to Panda Central on this page.
Phil Ball warns that a visit to this site "could lead to late delivery of projects pending" for map lovers.
Diane Di Biasio says "Sing along to your favourite Beatle song as you work through the night"!
Diane Di Biasio pronounces this "the sweetest site I've seen". A nice dose of cuteness for the jaded translator. Oh, also lots of WAV files for your computer listening pleasure.