The Web Hostess: Online manners, memes and must-see video

Aug 10, 2011

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme. She will also take questions about her recent story: Debt crisis, sure. But a good day for life’s tiny joys.

Afternoon, everyone, and thanks for stopping by.

Guess what? Today both Paul and I thought it was Tuesday and prepared nothing for the chat. So it is entirely possible that I am sitting here typing to myself.

The good news is that yesterday I spent the day hearing about other people's good news -- the spots of mundane awesomeness that made life good in an otherwise sea of black. Today I'll ask the same question to all of you: What's the best thing that has happened to you today? Bonus points for the odd, the unusual, the ordinary.

Extra doubleplus bonus points for anything you can think of that related to the Internet. We are looking for cheerful, happy, joy-bringing spots of amazingness. No need for them to be new -- I'd happily revisit some old memes, especially if they are happy.

All right. Let's get started. As it were.

This morning I dropped my bagel and it landed cream cheese side up. I think that violates a law of the universe, but I was grateful.

This is divine. If it had landed cream cheese down, would you have thrown the whole thing away, or just scraped and begun anew?

I know these guys have been around for a while, but dammit if this tune didnt' take me back to high school in a hauntingly beautiful (always wanted to use that phrase!) way.


What other things do we think should be rightly classified as "hauntingly beautiful?"

I nominate corn fields in the fall after they have turned brown, and also Julie Delpy.

You know that time during a tube of mascara's life when it's just freaking perfect? Not too thin, not too clumpy- just PERFECT? Yeah, I have that right now. Hooray!

In deference to the non-mascara wearers in this chat, I will not let it turn into a discussion in which I ask you to tell me, in detail, which brand of mascara you buy and all of your tricks for application. But I want to. How I want to.

NSFW. I'm usually mad about something on the Internet.


Sometimes tiny moments of irateness are just as valuable as tiny moments of pleasure.

you resemble Julie Delpy?

In person, she is a bazillion times more hauntingly beautiful. (Do you notice how I did that? Threw in "in person" so you would all know that I have hung out with Julie Delpy?)

I don't have anything new to tell you, but I am here. Actually, I'm looking to *you* for some time wasting. Not that the *chat* is time wasting...but things that people in your chat would recommend so I can waste time.

I am glad you are here! We will attempt to load you up with lots of time-wasting things in the next hour.

Speaking of: Didn't we have a question at the end of last week that we were going to rehash this week? Amd I making this up?

Living in Los Angeles, I'm starting to discover my mood can be wildly swung by whatever major movie ad campaign is taking place-- and thus whichever actor's face is plastered all over my bus, my bus stop, the billboard behind my bus stop, the poster under the billboard on the wall of my workplace, etc. With this in mind, my tiny joy is that "The Change-Up" is slowly metamorphosing into "30 Minutes Or Less." Thus my twenty-minute bus waits can be filled with staring at Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari and Jesse Eisenberg looking confused... instead of Ryan Reynolds making a "oops-I-seem-to-be-getting-laid" face.

That is the best description of Ryan Reynolds face I have ever read. It sounds like something my sister would write. My sister lives in Los Angeles. Would you like to be her best friend? (Is this my sister?)

And yes. Jesse Eisenberg is happy-making.

You think it's just a video of some cool doodling and then suddenly BAM! You just learned some math.

Clearly recommended for 6 minutes of time wasting.

I am sitting here at my office cubicle, surrounded by stacks of incoming mail, all giddy because I FINALLY GOT MY LETTER FROM HOGWARTS. Okay, it was an e-mailed entry confirmation from Pottermore. BUT MY OWL CAME AT LAST, HALLELUJAH, PRAISE BE TO MERLIN.

Yes! YES!!!

I am a guy, and if the bagel had landed cream cheese side down, I would have done a quick calculation involving the five second rule, how hungry I was, and the last time I cleaned my carpet. I was really hungry this morning.

On the carpet. You are a brave man.

After yelling at my face for still getting pimples at my age before heading out for my weekly volunteer work, I got into a skin discussion with another volunteer. She told me how all her siblings have eczema, and their kids are getting it too - one of her nieces is even scratching her eyebrows off because it itches so bad. So I went home and smiled at my pimples, grateful they weren't eczema. Tuesday was a good day to appreciate the small things.

Ow, and to feel bad for nieces with eczema.

Did anyone ever write in suggestions for me to check out on the webs? I've been looking forward to this discussion all week! GSTQ

I think this is what we were going to talk about this week. I think I have failed you. But we will have some suggestions by the end of the hour.

Can you be pacified by looking at some photos of Michael Buble being stalked by a velociraptor?

Was it about websites to look at from work when you should be working but need a break? Maybe the OP wanted something educational, but I like to be amused and also be able to shut down my browser at a moment's notice without feeling like I need to mark I highly recommend, (now blocked from my work),,,,, etc. The OP might have been looking for something educational. In that case, disregard my list. I like being able to log in for some quick comic relief and then being able to close my browser real quick when my boss walks by without feeling like I lost my place forever.

Look! Chatters helping chatters!

So in other news, I'm gonna visit the WWOHP next week. Want me to bring back anything?

Bottled butter beer. Also pumpkin juice. And any candy from Honeydukes. Not the chocolate frogs. They were gross.

I sent a we-should-get-together message to a good friend I haven't seen in a few months. My ulterior motive was to share my pregnancy news (due in December). She wrote back this morning to say great, how about next week...and ps, she's pregnant and due in January. It's no letter from Hogwarts, but I have been smiling all day.

However, now your kids could be in the same class at Hogwarts, so...


I'm the mascara poster and I love makeup. My absolute favorite mascara right now is the ORANGE tube Cover Girl Lash Blast. Do not waste your time with purple or yellow... you will be sad. Yes, you could go buy expensive stuff from Sephora or some weird even more expensive makeup store that I don't know about because I can't afford to shop there, but ORANGE LASH BLAST is the way to go. For pimple-haver... have you ever tried washing your face with just regular white Dove soap? I had pimples into my 30s and a new friend with flawless skin let me in on her secret. It will take about 2 weeks, but seriously, my skin hasn't looked this good since I was seven.

Oh my word, this chat just became a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CHAT. But I think we all learned something important today.

So I signed up but I don't really know what I'm doing. It seems like the only advantages are that you can "friend" colleagues you don't want to connect with on facebook, and you can cold-contact people with the excuse that you have a mutual colleague in common. Am I missing something?

I'll be honest -- I don't use Linked In, nor do I know many people who do. I think that the success you're going to have on it will depend on what line of work you're in and how common Linked In is for that line.

Anyone here have success with it and can explain what they've used it for?

thank you for the bubleraptors. Poor guy needs to change his cologne to t-rex.

Also, purchase Orange Lash Mascara.

Does anyone else find Andrew Garfield less than attractive? He looks like he is 5 years old. He just doesn't strike me as Spiderman material.

Instapoll: Andrew Garfield vs. Toby Maguire? Because I think that Toby looks like a perpetual 12-year-old, but some people are up in arms.


I'm the OP. I was looking for fun websites that *if* they are educational, they can present it with sarcasm and silliness like Please no more Ted. My husband's obsessed with TedTalks on hulu. I just end up feeling as the laziest person in the world.

Ah, okay, my memory is refreshed.

Actually, this gives me a chance to share another site I like, which is

It is what it sounds like -- you type in a site that you like a lot, and it spits back 10 sites that are similar. It's like Stumbleupon, but more targeted. So, if you like Cracked, SitesLike recommends Fark, SomethingAwful, TheOatmeal, etc. From what I know of these sites, I think those are fair comparisons. But users are also given the opportunity to review how accurate they think the similar sites are, which helps improve the recommendations.

How's that for this week?

Yesterday at Starbucks I got in line right behind a friend and coworker. She paid with a gift card and handed it to me when she was done. It had a dollar left on it, which was nice by itself, but when I handed the cashier my card to pay the remainder, she accidentally hit the cash button. Instead of re-ringing the transaction she just said, "my bad" and waved me on. An all around terrific start to the day.

Nice cashiers!

When Parents Text. You will wonder where your whole afternoon went!

Even more than I usually wonder that?

To Lash Blast gal - thanks for the Dove info. I am going to buy some today and will try it. I'm also going to get the orange lash blast too! You are the best!

Lash Blast poster, from the number of thank yous in this queue right now, you have pleased several chatters today.

is for contacting people in a professional way. so not a friend-y kind of thing. I just read an article (NYT? wsj?) that said that more and more companies are using facebook rather than monster/linkedin to get employees. but that many people are skeeved about that because facebook is more casual and they don't want to mix business with pleasure, so to speak. but linkedin is good for connecting with colleagues...getting recommendations, connecting with companies, finding information about companies - and tons of headhunters find me there when they're looking for people for jobs.

Just posting...

(And yes, if it wasn't clear, LinkedIn is solely about professional contacts. It's not a place to socialize)

How about what music should I listen to on grooveshark instead of just a website to waste time? That way I can work and be entertained at the same time.

Doubletasking, you!

Anyone have anything that they're loving on Grooveshark/Spotify/Pandora/etc? seems like an interesting starting point. although, the homescreen features some porn sites and I'm accessing it at work. This will be test to see just how close i'm being monitored.

You can also try, which is a similar concept to SitesLike, but seems to be porn-free, at least on the homepage.

In fact, it's not even a place!

Debatable. I think all web sites are places. Ooooh, philosophizing.

I use only Crabtree and Evelyn soap and L'Occitane shampoo (from eBay). It's my small luxury.

I am picturing some sort of elaborate market testing by which your eBay L'Occitane is secretly replaced by Suave before it is mailed to you. It's the plot of a toiletry horror movie.

I'm cracking up while reading whenparentstext. thank you chatter!!

I cannot believe that your need to waste time was so great that you could not even wait until the chat about wasting time was over. just sounds dirty, but thanks more making sure its porn free on the homepage :)

"Just sounds dirty" is the other name for "the Internet."

LOL I used to work at Crabtree and Evelyn and was so excited about all the free samples I got. Then I got sick of every single scent in there. I now use suave.

There you go.

Can there be a subplot based on my experience specifically shopping for body wash without fragrance (extremely sensitve skin), only to find that my "fragrance free" purchase smelled like flowers? Made me sneeze when I opened it.

The killer, when unmasked, will be a giant, clumpy mascara wand.


I'm multi-wasting. You should be proud. Also, i keep searching for an imgae of a raptor wearing mascara with the caption "Cover Girl" instead of "clever girl"

If this image does not exist, it should, and it should also feature Michael Buble.

My cat did NOT wake me up this morning at 4:30. For once.

Excellent. Yesterday morning I tried to take my dog for her morning walk, and she just gave me the "Oh, Please" look and went back to bed. I am raising her right.

We are going to end a little early today, all. Apologies for the shortness, but we'll be back next week, same time and place.

Internet Boredom person: email directly if you still have not solved your online woes. We will assist you. It is my mission.

Same goes for anyone else here: email is, twitter is @monicahesse -- and I'll type to you all next week.

In This Chat
Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

Read the The Web Hostess Archive .
Recent Chats
  • Next: