Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where does the time go?

Just came full circle on a bit of web surfing, following my curiosities and whims, when I realized how a moment of "I wonder..." can lead to hours "wasted." (Whether they are truly a waste is somewhat subjective I suppose.) Still, this is probably something more of us can relate to than we might at first realize.

I'm just unwinding after a long week, no commitments this Friday evening, but an inkling to maybe work on some character cleanups or maybe get around to boarding a short that's been rattling around in my head for a while. Well, after checking my email (not a big time-suck for me compared to some folks) I decide to finish reading a news story I had open in another tab left over from by morning web browsing. Story's about NorCal scenic highways and quirky stuff along them. Someone in the comments section mentions that Route 101 around Monterey used to run along a adjacent road from the current 101, and that there's a lot of cool old buildings along there. Well, we're off to the races now.

I try to look up the location of this "old 101" so I can check it out next time I'm traveling near Monterey. I look at the page for the 101 on Wikipedia, and it mentions a bunch of obscure history about old routings of the road. I decide to look for an older Bay Area map to see what they are talking about. About 40 minutes in to looking at old maps, I see one of downtown S.F. that mentions an "Alcoa Building." Never one to ignore "lost history" I decide to look up this Aloca Building I have never heard of after living here more than a decade. Turns out it's the big dark diagonal cross-beam encased building over by the Embarcadero. Oh, good to know.

At this point, maybe I could have cut this stream of searching, but no.

This building reminds me a lot of a building seen in various Star Trek episodes, some kind of Starfleet facility. (Heck, they even position it near the Embarcadero towers, just like the former Alcoa Bldg.) After browsing various image links looking for it, I stumble upon images of a GM pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair that "inspired" a different Starfleet building. I see that it looks almost identical to the "Venture Industries" HQ in The Venture Bros., and go browsing for comparison images. Find one, and it is on a page with other Venture links. So of course I end up watching a streaming episode, one I have already seen (only once before, tho!) from Adult

As I close the window after the episode ends, and see the string of tabs, I realize it is like a sedimentary layer, recording the progress of my web surfing for the night. With that US 101 news story at the bottom of the pile, I see that it is 12:30am, my evening is gone, and I should probably go nighty-nite. All that was the result of a domino effect from one moment of "I wonder..." I had about an offhand comment I read. And so, THAT is where the time goes...