Whether you’re on a PC for work in an office, toiling away from a converted bedroom or checking in via 3G on the road, it’s important to take some time out. In fact, ergonomics and workplace experts recommend at least a five minute break every 30-45 minutes to help reduce stress.
For most of us, however, a break has less to do with stretching our legs and working on a six-pack of rock-hard abs from the comfort of our own desk and a lot more to do with a well-deserved mental break. Canadian Lawyer Christopher Bird is better known to his legion of fans as MightyGodKing
but don’t let the amusingly overblown name give you pause. Over at MGK you can experience musing (and corresponding spirited debate) on topics as diverse as comics, Canadian Politics, TV, cinema, literature and, as a continuing theme, Rex the Wonder Dog.
The AV Club & Fark
For a broader pop cultural break, The AV Club
is a collection of new, opinion and reviews of music, film, DVD, TV, books and more. Of particular interest is the TV Club section, where the team dissects episodes of everything from cooking shows to the latest HBO dramas and even revisits “classic tv” to take a second look. Lovers of bad films will also enjoy Nathan Rabin’s “My Year of Flops” series. And for the just plain weird, Fark.com
can keep you abreast of the strangest (and sometimes not very safe for work) news from right around the world.
The name doesn't really do it justice, but this ecclectic site offers a daily mix of stories about cocaine being intercepted on submarines to articles about the law, photos of banjos, and offbeat history. Boing Boing
generally has a nerd bent, but here it's much more than gadgets and toys.
WikiHow & Gymgym
More importantly, it can help reduce workplace injuries caused by repetitive stress. WikiHow
has a great selection of exercises, while the truly dedicated (and overpaid) might enjoy the bizarrely named Gymygym
– a chair and personal gym all rolled into one.
Eye strain is another issue for the computer user, with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affecting 90% of people who spend three hours or more daily at a computer. CVS is caused by a decrease in blink rate, with focussing on a screen actually taking our blink cycle from 16-20 per minute down to as low as six to eight. Take a load off your tired eyes with some of the exercises and prevention suggestions at EyeStrain.Org
Armor Games & New Grounds
If reading doesn’t quite give you the tune-out you need, then maybe a quick game break will. Both Armor Games
and New Grounds
feature a variety of fun flash-based browser games. Specifically, Knightfall 2 at Armor Games has impressive longevity and excellent replay value for a fantasy-themed puzzle game, while Nuclearoids at New Ground is sheer explosive fun.
Hark! A Vagrant!
The last serious census of webcomics put the number being published at 38,000 (and that was in 2007) so it’s safe to say that there are a few more than that around now. It’s also safe to say that the majority of them are absolutely terrible, bordering on the unreadable. Even more are bizarrely pornographic. Luckily, Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant!
provides a pleasant palate cleanser. Beaton’s comics mostly revolve around her love of history, although she’s not afraid to slip in a little Shakepeare and Crime Solving Teens to keep everything fresh. Quite why the sight of a depressed Napoleon stuffing biscuits in his face while Josephine cheats on him is funny is hard to explain, but trust us – it is.