If hearing Happy Monday! makes you want to gouge your eyes out (or mine) then I have the post for you, created with one sole purpose in mind: to get you through your work week. And, sure, it has very little to do with working…but that’s the fun of it, right? There are some steps we have to through, though, to prepare you.
Step One: Practice your Alt+Tab.
This is absolutely critical. How quickly can you switch to another window if your boss walks by? If your answer is not fast enough, then practice, practice, practice!
(True Story: I wrote my first full-length story thanks to Alt+Tab. And the payroll still got done.)
Step Two: Practice muting your speakers.
When pressed for time, a loud, hacking cough will cover that extra precious second it takes for you to lower the volume on your computer. If you put a lot of effort into it and make your cough sound really phlegmy, chances are your boss will stay far away for the rest of the day. Follow up with one of those disgusting, snot-sucking nose inhalations (lemonade always helps with this), make sure to wad up a ton of Kleenex and leave it all over your desk, and you’ll have Alone Time all week.
Option #1: Visit hulu.com
They don’t just have great commercials – they are freaking loaded with TV shows (old and recent) and movies. Want to re-watch episodes of Firefly or Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Check out Warehouse 13? See why Glee is causing such a fuss? Watch the episode of The Office that you missed? It’s all there, and more. Shows that you are watching now, and that you watched a long time ago…like, say He-Man.
Then there are the movies. If you have a couple of hours to kill, try Last of the Mohicans. If you’re depressed and feeling like your life is crap, try the British film All or Nothing, and see how much more life could suck (Seriously, seriously depressing. I was bawling, not because I was so sad, but because I was so miserable watching it.) If you’re in the mood for zombies, they’ve got blood and guts and zombie babies in the Dawn of the Dead remake (which has one of my favorite opening credit sequences, and an ending that I hate with a fierce and unyielding passion).
Option #2: Free reads
I know not everyone can stream a video during work hours, and that’s why free stories and books are so, so nice. Even if you get caught with your window open, it probably isn’t immediately obvious that you are dicking around instead of working. Text is rather innocuous, and if you save the files under benign names like projections10-08.doc instead of burning-hot-lurve-XXXXX.doc, you can probably even have it showing on your taskbar without drawing too much suspicion on yourself.
I know what you’re thinking: Meljean, those free reads are on people’s websites! That’s not innocuous! My boss is going to see the browser and know I’m dicking around!
I know, I know. So, here’s what you do. Go to the website. Copy the story text and paste it into your Word document (or your e-mail program, and e-mail it to yourself with a boring subject like: RE: Janitorial Services). Close the website really, really fast. (Or plan ahead, and e-mail it to yourself the night before.)
NOTE: That doesn’t mean you should e-mail the story to your friend, distribute it, put your name on it and say that you wrote it, and so on. We’re sticking it to The Man, not the author.
So, free reads. Where to go?
Ilona’s site. Jill’s site. Patrice’s site. Nalini’s site (scroll down to the Free Stories section). I don’t have any, because I used to spend all of my extra time writing *hackingcough* Wonder Woman fanfiction *hackingcough*.
Kresley Cole’s first entry into her popular Immortals After Dark series, “The Warlord Wants Forever,” just went online as a free download (PDF) here.
Love science fiction and fantasy? Tor.com has a ton of free short stories here.
And, of course, there’s the Gutenberg Project.
Okay, so that will probably get you started. What’s your favorite not-really-working-but-I’m-pretending-to link? Your favorite free read? Do you know of a book that’s available free online that everyone should be trying out? The show or movie that we should all be ignoring our duties in favor of watching? Post a link in the comments (and, just to be on the safe side, please make sure that they are available by permission of the copyright owner).
Some of these comments might go to moderation, but I’ll keep an eye on it throughout the day. If you post and it doesn’t show up, don’t worry – it’ll be up soon.