I am consistently amazed that in this day in age, many people just do not think of the internet first. Maybe it’s because of bad press about lack of credible sources. Maybe it’s because most of the state I live in is coping with dial-up. Maybe it’s because some folks are wired to wonder while others are wired to find. Who even know, the point is, regardless of your reason for previously not consulting the internet first, there’s a website for it.

Here’s an example. Friday night, I pulled up to my TV with a bowl of Buffalo & Beer Stew, kicked back my recliner, started to scan through my DVR programs, and noticed the cats noticing a snake wriggling its way out of my heater duct. For some, this would be a Hitchcockian nightmare, but for me, I was more, “No freaking way, huh!” about it.

I did become concerned with my cats concern because I noticed right away that it was not a Gartersnake. So what was it? No internet at home, no field guide. Could it hurt the cats? Was it going to be bitey when I grabbed it? So, I called up my mother’s house and I instructed them to Google “Vermont Snakes” and gave them the coloration and told them to get back to me with some probably species while I waited for it to show enough of itself that I could grab it.

They were skeptical about the efficacy of such a search, but I knew better. First site that comes up: Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas, a product of Vermont Herpetology hosted by the folks over at Middlebury College. Not only does it give great, reputable information, but it is user contributed. Once we confirmed it was a Milk Snake (eastern), then I reported it to them as a siting and now they know my town has confirmed Milk Snakes. Everyone wins.

I have used this method for so many things I have lost count. Remember folks, there is a society, interest group, club, for every conceivable kind of thing. Most of them at least have a website with contact information. I am disinclined to wonder, I like to KNOW things, and I like experts and enthusiasts to give me that info. It is the most efficient way I know of.

And if there isn’t a website, you may have a niche here that could earn you a little petty cash!

I am NOT keeping up with this blog. No surprise there. I would have resolved to do better in the New Year, but who am I kidding.

I did discover some new stuff not having a thing to do with libraries, though:

Energy Co-op of Vermont – I had no idea such a thing existed because I’ve never been able to buy heat via my own choice of vendor. I found them in the good ol’ Yellow pages. Their heating fuels are at least 50 cents cheaper a gallon than the other 15 companies I talked to in Chittenden County, plus they give 8 cents off for paying within 10 days or allowing them to just charge a card they keep on file. Plus, they’re a co-op, which is about as awesome as one can feel about heating oil.

Wildblue – In case you are not aware, you CAN get the nets in Vermont where we all thought only dial-up would go. Now, it is more expensive to have Satellite internet than dial-up, but it is comparable to DSL or Cable, so if you were already prepared to, or are used to, paying that much, check out Wildblue, they were the cheapest one I found. Plus, if you have DirecTV, they have a promotion of $10 off a month for 12 months for high speed internet with one of their partners (of which Wildblue is one), making the cheapest Wildblue package $39.95/mo. Not bad. The only drawback I can see is that it looks like you are operating some sort of command center from your house. Personally, I don’t have that kind of vanity, so you can put all the dishes you want on my house as long as I can check IMDb while watching TV! I don’t have it yet, but I’ll report back later on how well it works.

Swagbucks – I learned about this from I’ve Paid for this Twice Already… This search site uses Google and Ask as it’s structure, and pays you in swagbucks for using it to search. Since it is using Google, and gives Amazon gift cards as a reward option, I was easily sold. If you click through and sign up via the link I gave, I evidently get some sort of referral reward.

That’s all for now folks.