For the casual web user, there is a decided lack of genuinely interesting things happening on the internet. Oh sure, there are 8,000,000 cat videos—cats with human looking eyebrows, and cats whimsically sitting on record players and cats smoking cigarettes on the toilet—but for those who don’t like cats, the internet can often be mistaken for a barren wasteland of futility.
And though the tedium is occasionally punctuated by delightfully racist comments left under unrelated Yahoo! news stories about the “best burgers in America!” the internet is, for the most part, mostly pretty boring. Unless you know where to look, that is.
Everyone already knows all of the good stuff—the sports and the porn—but let’s suppose for a moment that you’re NOT in the confines of your windowless basement, a thin sheen of sweat and Doritos dust covering your skin. Let’s suppose you CANNOT visit www.xhamster.com for the 5th time in an hour because you’re at work and well, upper management tends to frown upon things like BUSTY BLONDE TAKES IT IN ALL HOLES when reviewing your internet browsing log. Let’s pretend—eschewing all things tawdry—that you’ve exhausted all of the day’s professional athlete gossip (well, and the ubiquitous “dong-shots,” to be fair) on Deadspin.
What do you do?
Well, if you’re like me—always at work, and always under the watchful eye of someone from some sort of ethics committee—you seek out the deeper pockets of the web, places that are either dumb enough, or just interesting enough to keep your attention. You know, until you can get home and watch NATURAL BRUNETTE BLOWS MIDGET.
Here are some of my favorite websites where everyone keeps their clothes on.
I’ve been a fan of Retro Junk for a few years. I don’t remember how I happened upon it—probably looking for pictures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sharing a romantic interlude with their reporter friend April O’Neil or something (don’t judge me)—but I immediately found myself buried in the deep embrace of nostalgia. The site is primarily divided into two sections: old commercials and movie trailers sit side-by-side with essays about retro subjects in a matrimony of memory. (And when I say old, the site is definitely geared toward 80’s and 90’s kids, so please, do not visit hoping to find crazy old Chesterfield cigarette magazine ads or audio broadcasts of “Wagons, Ho!”.)
The videos—all culled from YouTube—are okay, but I really come for the essays. At best, they are tolerable screeds of reminiscent exuberance; at their worst, they are an English professor’s nightmare of raped language and broken attempts at guttural communication. More than a handful of the regular contributors seem afflicted by a dash of autism, perhaps, with offerings capable of making Craig Glazer look like D.H. Lawrence.
My personal favorite “essayist” goes by the handle of Copper20, and he (or she?) has written five articles, two of which focus solely on his or her personal experiences with storms. Yes, storms. Here is an excerpt from Copper20’s seminal piece “Childhood 1992-2002,” submitted for your approval.
1994 was a bad year for me; I was tortured a little, mostly my dad did that. Second, I was starting to get hungrier more faster than in 1992 and thirstier. During the winter, we had heavy snow, then it melted the next day very quickly as the temperature quickly rose to the late 60s. The melted snow caused the most flooding I’ve ever seen.
This year was a bunch of firsts. I started school for the first time ever which was okay, but I only stayed for a few hours like most of you did. Also, this year had a very boring winter, with no snow at all. Third, we had derecho come through, causing cosmetic damage, some of the worst I’ve ever seen during the hottest temperatures I ever saw, definitly worse than DFW’s. We lost power for 3 days afterwards.
We moved out of the deep south during late May after we got done with school. Our new home was located near the Virginia-Maryland border in southern Maryland. During this time, my older twin brother and sister went to a different school while I went to another preschool. Although the year was very quiet, during sometime in late summer 1996, Hurricane Fran came near us as a tropical storm and spreading chaos near me.
Almost poetic, in a way. I’d also recommend checking out “Corrosive Storms of My Life,” and “Top 10 Scariest Logos,” in which the author tells you why the Paramount Home Video logo from 1979 is terrifying. It truly is a must read.
But if you’re not interested in the probably-insane ramblings of internet weirdos with regard to their thoughts on weather (and classic Nintendo games), don’t worry: I know about some other websites.
GrubGrade, for example, is a website that focuses exclusively on fast food news. They average about five or so posts a day, mostly promotional release material directly from McDonald’s and the like, but they also spend a healthy amount of time (poor choice of words given the topic at hand, I know) reviewing fast food offerings. The entertainment factor is two-fold.
First, it is fun to see people discuss slop in reverential tones typically reserved for haute cuisine. (example: when reviewing Subway’s “Chipotle Chicken Melt,” contributor Adam says of the sandwich’s pepper jack cheese: “(it)melts fantastically into the bread and chicken, and gives the sauce a bit more fat to tighten up the viscosity.” Wow. That’s serious, bro.)
Second, it’s even MORE fun to read the sometimes angry comments at the bottom of each piece. Internet commenting in and of itself is a bizarre art, and it’s made even stranger when the discussion is a war between two people debating the merits of Burger King’s Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch.
FatInPhilly: I had this sandwitch and I thought it was good. Don’t agree with the review AT ALL.
BKHater: @FatInPhilly You would like it, fatass.
FatInPhilly: Your mom dint think I was to fat when I was PUMPING HER PUSY.
BKHater: While you were eating a Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch? Figures. Fat fuck.
If fast food aficionados bemoaning the disappearance of KFC’s original Chicken Little sandwich isn’t your thing, or you’re simply put off by unchecked hostility, try SDCFans Forum: The Unofficial SDC Fansite—it is one of the most peaceful (and odd) places on the internet.
SDC—for those who aren’t “hip”—is Silver Dollar City, and the aforementioned site is exactly what you think it is: a bunch of people posting on message boards about their favorite 1880’s themed amusement park.
Not. Even. Kidding.
People on SDCFans Forum love Silver Dollar City (and to some extent, Branson) as much as you love your mom, or an ice cold beer. They post thread after thread about seemingly inconsequential things—the best stand to get apple dumplings, their favorite area of the park. They speak about the smell of the asphalt in tones typically reserved for someone recounting the moment they found the Lord. (Seriously. In the thread entitled “Passionate? Or Overdoing it?” poster OkieBluegrass says: “I was at a grocery store over the weekend and the asphalt was getting hot. My kids were with me, and when I started smiling they knew exactly what I was thinking. My son says I am an addict and obsessed with SDC. What do y’all think?”) They dream aloud about a future where they can retire to Branson to be near their favorite place on earth, and they discuss a fantasy world where they could theoretically LIVE in the park.
It is all very, very wholesome. Everyone is polite. They don’t argue, call each other names or say “pwned.” It is a true embodiment of the park itself, and, by virtue of its pleasantry, a wonderful pocket on the soiled dungarees of the internet.
Therefore, it is probably NOT for most of you.
That said, your patronage—or lack thereof—is just fine. The good folks at SDCFans will be okay without you, and you’ll be happier elsewhere. After all, there are HUNDREDS of websites on the internet; there are bound to be at least a few you’ll enjoy.
Know of any other really great websites? Leave them in the comments.
Also: Follow me on Twitter @StanfordWhistle