A few of my favourite things…

Ahhh the Internet. We all know it well but do you love it the way you should? After checking your email, doing a little stalkbooking on facebook and searching up dirty jokes and images to send to your friends (ya, we know you do this), how else are you using mankind’s greatest invention? (Sliced bread, take a backseat please).  

After vodka, scouring the web is my next favourite thing to do at work home. So it only makes sense to always keep a list of favourite websites to check out when on the phone with your annoying friend bored. There are millions of websites out there (many of them badly made) which makes finding the good ones very difficult, to say the least. So how do you discover new ones worth your time? How can you find them? What are they about? Where do you go?

You take a gander at my list, that’s how. I’m creating a list and adding to it too. It’s the start of a series of cool links, great websites, and useful cyberspace time wasters. The more time you waste, the better.

So without further adieu, I present to you…

Nelleytimes’ inconclusive list of random favourite websites (pt I)

RottenTomatoes 

  • Passing judgment, giving criticism and counting dollars. Three of my favourite past times all rolled into this great site that amasses numerous critic’s assessments of a movie and the end result is shown via the rotten tomato meter. For example, Little Fockers  is only 10% fresh so it gets a rotten tomato rating.  However, Black Swan is 88% fresh so it gets a fresh tomato rating (fresh being any movie with a grade of 60% or higher). You can also view top rated movies, weekly box office results in dollar amounts as well as fresh ratings for upcoming movies.

Radiotime 

  • I checked this out on a friend’s suggestion and never looked back. This site allows you to make musical selections by genre, location, type, etc. Then it provides you with a list of related radio stations, radio shows and streaming internet options to choose from that are located all over the world. A reggae music station from the Netherlands? Yes please!

Upcoming Movie Trailers  

  • If you’ve ever gone to the movies with me, you know that I love, Love, LOVE movie trailers! Sometimes moreso than the actual movie (I’m looking at you – Couples Retreat!). Now although I’m not a fan of Apple and its related products, I do love this website which provides access to upcoming movies I want to see and some I’ve never even heard of and really want to see. You’ll need to download Quicktime to view the trailers, but it’s a small sacrifice to make to gain access to this content rich site. It’s like a movie trailer buffet, woo!

And the list goes on. Trailers, wheeee!

Bejewelled 

  • Game time!  Never have I wasted so many hours of my life and loved every minute of it. Introduced to me by an equally obsessed friend, I downloaded this game several years ago when it was free but facebook does have a free version too. If you decide to try it out, make sure you free up your evenings and weekends for the next several months. You’re gonna be awhile.

Addiction, thy name is Bejeweled!

Cute with Chris    

  • Hahahahahahahaahaha! This is the only way to describe my sarcastic, acerbic hero.  From the pics on his website to the videos on his YouTube channel, he, as his website describes it: explores the ugly side of cute.

Le Love

  • This is my sentimental entry. Now, normally I don’t like love or anything to do with its subsidiaries but I came across this site in early 2010 and immediately fell in, well, deep like. It’s created mainly from user entries so it definitely has the potential to be filled with sappy, clichéd crap but thankfully the readers send in some thoughtful photos, clever quotes, random entries and intriguing snippets representing both sides of love’s cruel equation (the happy side is not = to the unhappy side).

Excerpt from Le love

Onespout.com 

  • I wrote about this back when there were only a few well known websites out there: 
  1. Groupon
  2. Living Social
  3. Social Shopper
  4. Indulge Living
  5. Steal The Deal
  6. Good News
  7. Town Hog 
  • Now that there’s 20+ related sites and growing that I need to check out on a daily basis, OneSpout is the solution to my new age problem. This one site contains info and breakdowns of all the numerous daily deals and side deals in your city, while also providing each deal’s countdown/time remaining clock. A convenience I’m happy to take advantage of and share.

What’s next?

Got a cool site you want to suggest? Just write it in the comments section below and I’ll check it out. If it’s pretty cool, useful or handy, I’ll post it up, credit you for the find and add it to the list!  But if it’s just a site dedicated to you and your cat/man/workouts/weird fetish/etc. still send it in. I’ll just have to file it away a little differently….

As in file ’G’ for garbage.  😉

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e-Frenzy

It’s official: Another fad is taking over my life.

More desirable than an iPod and as mighty as a good makeup artist – e-coupons have arrived. By all likelihood too, they’re here to stay. If you’ve heard of that new doohickey called the “Internet” and have used your computer for something other than illegally downloading music and movies (and you know which movies I’m talking ‘bout…), then you’ve definitely come across advertisements for some of these*:

  1. Groupon
  2. Social Shopper
  3. Dealathons.com
  4. EthicalDeal.com
  5. Indulge Living
  6. Tastygo.com
  7. Wagjag.com
  8. Buytopia.com
  9. Dealfind.com (best referral payout as they send you cheques in the mail!)
  10. Swarmjam.com
  11. Living Social

Say what?

The concept is simple, ingenious and effective: Provide mass offers for services and activities that the masses already use (ex. restaurants, bars, spas, beauty salons, fast food restaurants, fitness centres, etc) but offer them at heavily discounted prices.

Example: A 50% discounted coupon for a local eatery. You pay $20 for the coupon and in turn it provides you with a coupon valued @ $40 to use at that local eatery. Easy.

With typical offers listed at up to 50 – 70% off the regular price, they’re seemingly providing huge discounts and massive savings. If you can name it, there’s probably a coupon for it.

The ‘catch’: the offers are only available to purchase for a limited time (typically 24 hours), immediately sparking the ‘buy now or lose out forever’ mentality. A mentality that sells thousands of coupons every day.

So what’s the downside?

Relatively few, which is both a surprise and a welcome change. The offer limitations (if any) are clearly explained, restaurant offers include food AND alcohol purchases, and expiry dates are plainly visible.

If you’re still puzzled and wondering “Well how can they afford to offer it so cheap?” here are some of the numbers and rationale that motivate businesses to take part:

  • 1000+ people might purchase the offer but not all of them will remember to use it by the expiry date. Even when the expiry date is a year or more later. People forget, move away, give them away as gifts (and the receivers forget) or people just don’t make the effort to use them in time. This translates to a 100% revenue purchase from you that goes right into the business’ pocket
  • The heavily discounted PRICE of the offer can still be more than what it actually COSTS the business offering the promotion.
  • The offer gets you into the restaurant but people rarely dine alone and you and your cronies will probably spend more than the total amount of the offer on additional food items, drinks, etc, etc, etc,. AKA– ka ching!
  • Businesses want you to try a product or service at a discounted rate and assuming you like it and have a wonderful experience, you’ll happily go back and pay the full price. Well worth the 1 time loss for the business to gain several new life long customers

My so called-coupon filled– life

Never one to clip coupons (what am I? A 1950’s housewife??), these offers,like the best things in life, are free and delivered directly to me. Everyday I excitedly open my email inbox to see what offers are in store for me today.

Alas, a new problem has arisen – excessive credit card bills. I wasn’t planning on going to The Gap, but with a $25 off coupon, how can I say no?

I’m buying things and viewing offers for activities I normally say I would do or want to do…but really had no intention of actually doing:

Scuba diving instruction; a walking tour of Chinatown in downtown Vancouver; salsa dancing lessons; bootcamp fitness classes; 1-month gym memberships; $2 Dairy Queen Blizzards; 1 dozen cupcakes; discounted Mexican food, gourmet cheeses and fancy chocolates; pole dancing lessons, photo shoots, make your own wine kits (I don’t even like wine!), house cleaning services ($60 for 3 hours??? DEAL!); take-home chef prepared dinners, yoga classes,…the list goes on and on…and then on some more. Yikes!

I recently printed out all my e-coupons in an attempt to organize them and hopefully use them and the stack was ridiculously large.

Heck, I even bought a coupon to get your va-jayjay blinged out. Yes, you read that correctly. A bikini wax complete with a Swarovski Crystal be-jeweling of that oh so special area. The service is called Bling Your Thing and the offer was for $25 off so how can you pass that up?? Ok, ok, so technically I’m planning to use my e-coupon to get the body facial type treatment at the same spa, but hey, you never know… 😉

What’s worse is I now have a fear of signing up or paying for anything I don’t have an e-coupon for in fear that a coupon will come up the next day (Dammit, Pauly Shore videos are now 50% off?? If only I had waited one more day!).

Whoops. Looks like they be-jeweled the wrong kitty…

Addiction Absolution

As with every popular fad, addiction soon follows:  see video game addiction, Civilization addiction, the sims addiction, iPhones/iPods/iPad addiction, etc.  So soon enough I’m sure a self help program will arise for my e-coupon addiction, complete with products endorsed by a famous recovered celebrity (Jennifer Hudson, perhaps?) , DVDs & audiobooks featuring a 12-step plan, and certainly a line of self help books but before I buy any of that crap…

I’ll wait till there’s a coupon for it. 😉

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*FYI-My referral links are included too where applicable. Tee hee 😉

-Titles taken from groupon.com, socialshopper.com and livingsocial.com

-Swarovski crystal image