Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Internet Saves the Day

Allow me to sound like an old fool for minute by saying "the Internet continues to amaze me." It really does. It's so much a part of my daily life now, but I have vivid memories of life before the Internet, so I mean it when I say the thing amazes me still. Here are just a few examples of how I used it to save the day just this weekend alone.

1) I was working on a column for Small Town Newspaper about the virtues of e-books, and I had a Thoreau quote I wanted to use about books being the treasured wealth of the world and an inheritance for everyone who reads them. Lovely idea there, don't you think?. To begin with, I found the quote by googling "quotes books" and following a chain of results to the Thoreau sentence. Not wanting to use it out of context, I googled the entire sentence and discovered it to be lifted from Walden. So, using my iPad, I downloaded the full text of Walden and read the page that contained the quote. I have the book in paperback, but having it in digital form made searching for what I wanted a breeze, which is actually one of the virtues of e-books.

2) On Saturday, Eustacia and I had to attend a bridal shower for one of her friends from high school—people are getting married so young!!—and one of the dadblasted games on the list required we each bring a food item that begins with the first letter of our first name, and we would use this item to introduce ourselves to everyone else at the party. You say your name, hold up the food item and tell how you know the bride to be. Then the girl gets to keep all the food to help stock her new kitchen. Eustacia was busy setting up tables and decorations for the party, so I was left to find the food. What non-perishable starts with E, I wondered but wasn't interested enough to think it through on my own. Bridal shower games tend to turn my otherwise sunny disposition into a bad attitude. So, I googled it instead—foods that start with E, I typed in, and would you believe it? People have actually typed in that same question before, other people who have had to play these games and couldn't be bothered to figure out the answer on their own. And other people answered them with a long list of E foods. I selected elbow macaroni, chose ranch dressing for my own item and went to the party.

3) And here's the instance with a long story, so stick with me. As I've mentioned, we're doing some remodeling work that includes hardwood floors. Part of that project involves refinishing our existing wood floors that were never quite finished properly to begin with, and in order for that to happen, we have to vacate the house for nearly a week. The schedule seemed to align with Eustacia's spring break, so we decided that she and I should go away for a while, and Husband would stay behind in a hotel. He wants to watch the process with the floors and stone work. So, we put our heads together and decided we needed to see Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando and that we needed to stay on Disney property—we really only wanted to spend one day at Universal but the rest of the week at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot because those places speak to our inner children. It turns out the floors aren't going to be refinished for another couple of weeks, but the trip is booked, so we're going anyway. The small glitch is that Disney does not provide transportation to Universal, and who can blame them, so you're stuck having to maneuver around the city bus route late at night or take an expensive cab ride to get from one place to another. Enter the Internet. I googled "getting from Disney World to Universal Studios" and was met with an astonishing number of suggestions, most discouraging and expensive, like renting a car for the day. Really? I'm going to rent a car for one day just to see Harry Potter World? But then a vacation savior emerged from the clutter and brought me here to this site—Destinations in Florida—where they sell Universal Studios tickets that include a free transfer shuttle to and from any Disney hotel. You buy the tickets on line, print out an email receipt, call ahead for your ride, pick up your park tickets at a will call counter and problem solved.

So, yes, after all these years, the Internet still amazes me. Not only does it help provide immediate answers to my questions, but it allows me to tell you all about it. You come here nearly every day, and I have no idea who many of you are, yet I'm telling you my stories like we've met and have been friends for years. Amazing.


dive said...

Hoorah for the interweb!
Without it I could not have moved to Blogville and so would never have met you (and indeed Eustacia). What a boring life that would have been.
Have a great time in Florida!

Madame DeFarge said...

The internet is most marvellous. Even if I sometimes think that it's a pity that it makes the world very small, at least it enables me to navigate my way around it.

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