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Efficient Time Management
by The Phantom Websurfer
©2003 Bard and Cubist -- all rights reserved

In this modern world, the demands on one's time are greater and more varied than ever before in all of human history. In truth, there are so many things one must do, that one scarcely has an opportunity to do any of the things one wants to do! In the past, Reader's Digest Condensed Books served the laudable purpose of cutting the fat out of modern literature; sadly, the relentless encroachment of time pressures has rendered even Condensed Books rather too lackadaisical for practical purposes. As for movies, it is surely not just random happenstance that the average running time of contemporary films is creeping steadily downward. Should present trends continue, it is merely a matter of time before the movie-going public simply does not have the 60-90 minutes to spare for a movie, let along the additional time required to drive to the theatre, find a parking space, and wait in line at the ticket counter. What can one do? Here are two possible answers.

Booked solid

Everyone would like to be better-read... but really, who has the time to waste slogging through page after dreary page? The answer is, nobody has that much time to waste. Particularly not when Serious Authors, the ones whose books you're supposed to have read if you want to call yourself literate, are more concerned with staring up their own navels and playing with the reader's head than with telling a goddamn story.

Fortunately for those of us who would like to be well-read without having to inflict Modern Literature on our unsuspecting brain cells, there is the Book-a-Minute site. Their crack team of specialists puts their mental health on the line so you don't have to! And once they've finished a book, they pause on the way to their therapist for only just long enough to record the most essential points of what they've read -- to 'ultra-condense' it, in a word. You may judge the quality of the resulting ultra-condensations, from this representative sampling of the breed:

Dune, by Frank Herbert
Ultra-Condensed by Christina Carlson
Frank Herbert: I'm lots smarter than you are. I challenge you to understand even one of my paragraphs!
Reader: Gee, Frank Herbert is smart. I can't even find the plot.

It would be fair to say that anyone who has actually managed to make it all the way through Herbert's massive opus, would readily agree that Ms. Carlson has overlooked no significant aspect of Dune. This ultra-condensation, and many more like it, can be found at Book-a-Minute.

Condensed film product

If time pressure is making it more difficult for people to enjoy reading books, it's making movies bloody near unwatchable. Since you can pick up or put down a book at any moment, you can squeeze any book into your schedule, even if only in tiny bits measured in minutes or seconds; the same is not true of movies. Once you've bought your ticket and found your seat, you are stuck for the duration, end of discussion. Is it any wonder the movie-going audience is shrinking year by year?

That's where The Editing Room comes in. The Editing Room does for movies what Book-a-Minute does for novels: Condenses them down to a fare-thee-well, reducing a Big Name Creator's two-hour-long bloviation to a teensy little nubbin of intense amusement. Read a film's 'abridged script' at The Editing Room, and you will be more than able to discuss the film's merits intelligently, or at least mercilessly tear into its flaws, without ever once having had to soil your brain by watching that celluloid turkey.

An unearned reputation as a movie maven can be yours, courtesy of The Editing Room.

If you know of any sites whose subject matter renders them suitable for inclusion in TSAT, send us the URL!

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