We're a winter country, but this remains the season of cocooning, when many prefer to stay at home rather than venture outdoors and face the elements. And who can blame them?It's cold outside, and besides, technology has made it possible to live a relatively normal life -- human interaction aside -- without leaving the humming comfort of your computer. No more dreary days as a starving shut-in; lots of services can now be delivered to your doorstep with the click of a mouse, and there are plenty of tips on how you can get by without strapping on your boots and breathing any fresh air.
If you're staying in until the spring thaw, you'll probably want to develop your own routine, but here are a few tips on why you shouldn't open the front door. Happy cocooning.
Newspapers: Why bother leaving the house for information when every newspaper on the planet is online? A few, like www.timesonline.co.uk, have started to charge for their online versions, but most, like www.globeandmail.ca, www.nytimes.com and www.guardian.co.uk, are still free. If you're desperate for a quick fix, check Google's excellent new news site at www.google.ca/news.
Movies: Toronto still lacks an established DVD delivery service (in New York City you can order a movie online and have it shipped to your door), and video on demand hasn't quite materialized on the Web. But if you're desperate, just go online and steal the movies. File-sharing sites like Grokster and KaZa have feature films still in theatres available for download. You'll need a high-speed connection and the correct names for film files, available through www.fasttrackmovies.com.
Food: Services like www.grocerygateway.com with their door-to-door delivery of food and other essential supplies, mean you'll never again have to suffer the indignity of shopping in a store.
Weather: Know when it's safe to go outside by checking www.weather. ca. When in doubt (about the weather or anything else), the Farmer's Almanac at www.almanac.com is a good bet.
Entertainment: Thousands of online games can help you pass the time. Food TV fans tired of seeing Jamie Oliver's smug mug can go to www.thewebshite.co.uk/games and toss darts at the smarmy British chef. If you're desperate for "human" contact, go to www.thesims.com and play the online incarnation of the wildly popular Sims game. It's almost like speaking to real people.
Sex: If you need help finding sex online, you really need help. Stay warm and have fun. firstname.lastname@example.org