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*Not* playing with myself - got that down already...
July 18, 2007 10:08 AM   Subscribe

What can you think of to occupy my time when I am stuck at home with no electricity, no running water and no heating?

I am stuck at home with no light (boo), no power (boo), no water (boo) and no heating (boo). I can use teh intarweb at work (yay) and charge up my phone and mp3 player there (yay) but otherwise I need some ideas as to how to entertain myself for the next week or so. I have three tea lights with very little ability to throw light around and that's about it. What can I do to keep myself entertained?

***possibly more than you need to know section***
I know I could just do what boys do on their own but as I am very visual I can't read my "gentleman's periodicals" by tealight - not without burning my old chap. Also there is only so much chafing I can deal with.
***END***
posted by longbaugh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (55 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
get a flashlight and some books.
posted by nitsuj at 10:08 AM on July 18, 2007


Whittle.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:10 AM on July 18, 2007


Is there outside space you can cultivate? Breaking ground / gardening / weeding is a great way to both use energy and improve your world.

You could also take up knitting.

Set up a chair and table outside and write or read.

Get together with friends in the evening, for conversation or joint projects.

The good news is, since it's summer, you can count on daylight lasting pretty late. Outside activities could be really good.
posted by amtho at 10:14 AM on July 18, 2007


Sleep. Drink beer first
posted by A189Nut at 10:18 AM on July 18, 2007


Pick up a Nintendo DS and charge it during the day. If you don't use sound those things last a very very long time on one charge. Lot of good games out too.
posted by Riemann at 10:18 AM on July 18, 2007


Learn to juggle (with glow-in-the-dark bags or pins if necessary - they're available).

Write about your neo-Luddite experience.

Get an appropriate companion to join you. You may not even even need those "gentleman's periodicals" ;-)
posted by elendil71 at 10:19 AM on July 18, 2007


take up a musical instrument, like guitar or harmonica.
posted by waxboy at 10:19 AM on July 18, 2007


Freak yourself out in the dark. Listen for noise at night, get paranoid and enjoy the adrenaline rush!!
posted by spotty_dog at 10:21 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can you seriously not get some more candles or battery powered lights?
posted by tristeza at 10:23 AM on July 18, 2007


practice yoga, meditate.
posted by indigo4963 at 10:23 AM on July 18, 2007


Make a Dadaist poem

I'm all about the Dada today
posted by silby at 10:24 AM on July 18, 2007


A led headlamp can last ~15 hours on just a couple of batteries. I'd suggest getting one, and perhaps some rechargeables and a charger, and reading.
posted by OmieWise at 10:30 AM on July 18, 2007


I'm not even going to ask how you are showering every day...but I'd ditto the DS suggestion. New Super Mario Bros will keep you occupied for hours.

You may want to adjust your schedule to the light situation...go to bed earlier and get up earlier, so you have less time in the dark.
posted by radioamy at 10:33 AM on July 18, 2007


Buy a bag of mini marshmallows and a box of toothpicks. Toast the marshmallows, one by one, over your tealight.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:34 AM on July 18, 2007 [10 favorites]


Oh yeah, and I have no money. Perhaps I should have mentioned that too...

re - Whittling me + knife + darkness = disaster. See burning penis above...

I can read by natural light up to about 21:00 but I don't finish work until 21:30 so that's not too awesome. It's dark out and there is no light in my garden (although there is a really big tree that fell down in it).

I have no beer. NNNNNNooooooooooooOOOOOOooooo.
posted by longbaugh at 10:35 AM on July 18, 2007


Again, yoga. Also, explore your neighborhood/adjoining wilderness areas. Alternately, do a little loitering at a bookstore or coffee shop. Bring a teabag and ask for hot water.
posted by Pecinpah at 10:39 AM on July 18, 2007


Stay away from home till bed time. Library, the movies, mall, coffeshop, arcade, friends houses, basketball court, biking (go buy a $10 bike at Goodwill if you don't have one), hike, walk, take pictures.

But, you asked for what to do AT home.

1) For crying out loud go get some battery powered lights!!!!!!!11!!!!ONE!!!

2) Board games with friends. (Cards too.)

3) Read.

4) Puzzles.

5) Write. Start a journal. I'll give you the first sentence: "I am alone in my house with no lights, no power, no water, no internet..."

6) Battery-powered speakers for iPod.

7) Catch up with old friends by phone.

8) Get some canvases and brushes, and paint, even if it's just messing around and making an abstract.

9) Exercise. (Non-mechanical eqipment: jump rope, push ups, sit ups, broomstick routines.)

10) Build plastic models. (Remember, you have those battery powered lights! Right? Right????? Right???????)
posted by The Deej at 10:40 AM on July 18, 2007


Practice math in your head and start figuring out a budget. (Attempting to be practical, not snarky.)
posted by Soliloquy at 10:40 AM on July 18, 2007


While at work, read this recent link on neo-primitivism (lots of Godesky goodness, in there).

When you get home, practice your tribal skills.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:41 AM on July 18, 2007


Batteries and a simple light, as described above, could provide you with a plethora of activities to explore. For example:

- Reading
- Writing
- Painting/Drawing/Sketching
- Meditation, Yoga, etc.
- Knitting
- Woodworking
- Cleaning your place (and I mean a serious, hours long cleaning!)
- Sewing
- Crossword puzzles/Sudoku, etc.
- Rearrange your furniture
- Build a model from a kit
- Legos
- Rubick's Cube
- Clean out your closet, or modify/make new clothes
- Propagate any houseplants you have
- Study a language
- Plan a trip/vacation

You could always call some friends and

- Play cards by candle light
- Play a board game
- Drink some liquor and chat
- Tell ghost stories
- Pickup some carryout, a bottle of wine and have a candlelight dinner
- Ouiji board
- Act out a play
- Charades
- Have a poetry reading

You could even go outside and

- Garden
- Pickup an Audobon guide and do some tree/butterfly/insect identification
- Exercise
- Pickup sports at a local park (basketball, soccer, etc.)
- Go for a long walk or bike ride
- Watch the sun set
- Do outside chores for your house or apartment such as mowing or car maintenance
- Hang out for a few hours at a coffee shop
- Get a disposable or Polaroid camera, take a walk and see what kinds of neat photos you come back with.
- Go to the library
- Go to a museum

Learn a throwaway skill such as:

- Pen twirling
- Juggling
- Throwing your voice
- Ventriloquism
- Magic tricks/Card tricks
- Spinning objects on your finger
- Throwing cards
- Whistling

I notice that you're in Sheffield, UK. You could explore your own city and go

- Ice skating at your large indoor arena, ICE
- Swimming at Ponds Forge
- For a walk at the Sheffield Botanical Gardens
- For more ideas see WikiTravel.

Just some thoughts.
posted by dead_ at 10:59 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Clean your house. Not the scrubbing the windows kind of cleaning, the getting everything you've got stored away out and blowing the dust off and chucking a lot of it out. Since traditionally all the places where clutter accumulates are dark and difficult to peer into, having no light isn't that much of a disadvantage. (Closets are often a good place to start.)

(On preview, drat you dead_!)
posted by anaelith at 11:00 AM on July 18, 2007


Stargazing, too.
posted by anaelith at 11:03 AM on July 18, 2007


Get a propane or gasoline-powered Coleman (mantle, not wick) lantern. They're quite bright -- more than enough to read by -- and last longer than most battery-powered ones. Your local sporting goods store can hook you up, and it shouldn't set you back more than $40 or $50. And it'll make good camping/emergency gear later. (Example, or if you're feeling flush, a much nicer one. Both will burn gasoline, the latter will burn pretty much anything, for use during and after the world-ending nuclear holocaust.)

Then catch up on all your correspondence (maybe write some handwritten letters?) / reading / whatever.

There was a fairly long phase of civilization in between wax candles and electric lightbulbs; 'no electricity' does not imply 'darkness' or even 'reading by tealights.'
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:06 AM on July 18, 2007


Oh yeah, and I have no money.

Your tealights will only last a few hours each. An LED flashlight, even with a single LED, will end up a better deal.
posted by mendel at 11:15 AM on July 18, 2007


Can you run a long extension cable from your house/flat/whatever to the next nearest house/flat/whatever to get some electricity?
posted by iconomy at 11:17 AM on July 18, 2007


#1: start going to bed and getting up in the morning with the sun. A week of going circadian (instead of fighting your natural tendencies by using artificial light) can work wonders for your health and stress levels.

#2: this is a great time to pick up a ukulele or similar easily-learned (and easily toted-around-the-house) instrument and learn the fundamentals. Of course, when the lights go out, put it down and go to bed.

#3: spend more time outside in the mornings and evenings. Watching the light levels change as the sun rises and sets is a very relaxing and linear experience, whereas when we're inside all the time it's "light outside one minute, dark the next." This will also feed into your circadian syncing.

#4: enjoy it. It's always nice to have a bit of a change.
posted by davejay at 11:20 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Even if you're too broke to buy a flashlight, surely *someone* you know can lend you one for a week.

(If it were me, I'd just sleep a lot. But that's the hypersomnia talking.)
posted by happyturtle at 11:21 AM on July 18, 2007


Okay - further info 'cos some people don't seem to be aware (my fault for not being specific). I am fine during the day - I have light so it's not a problem. I am, however working from 1pm until 9.30pm and arriving home around 10.15-10.30pm. It is dark when I get in (as in almost pitch black). I have no electric (not because I haven't paid my bills) and no hot water (not because I haven't paid my bills) and no money to buy anything "new" at all. I need something I can do for about 5 hours a night to stop me from sitting there "strumming my ukelele" if you get my meaning.

I have no way to charge batteries other than the internal ones within my mp3 player or mobile. As a rule I don't generally sleep until 3-4am on account of the shifts that I work so I need activities that require 1 person, no light, no power, no money. I have about maybe 30p in copper coins (that's like 60c to you Yanquis).

I live in the UK. There are no 24hr shops other than petrol stations and I can't really hang around there reading.

I am showering at work btw.
posted by longbaugh at 11:30 AM on July 18, 2007


Seconding music as an option. Try to teach yourself some drum patterns. This is cheap - you can drum in the dark with two pencils on a table. Also, you can learn to hand drum by slapping your thighs with your hands. This is endless entertainment.
posted by crazycanuck at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2007


Oh, and I don't have any rechargeable night vision goggles or infravision 10yds or what have you. Writing in the dark isn't very easy - I did try this.
posted by longbaugh at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2007


You have a downed tree. You thus have a bonfire.

Smearing your naked self with mud and dancing 'round it should amuse you for an hour or so, maybe longer if you can get the neighbors in on it.
posted by klangklangston at 11:36 AM on July 18, 2007


You could try just sitting for a while every night.
posted by peeedro at 11:43 AM on July 18, 2007


If it was me in your situation, I'd go to bed immediately upon getting home, thereby totally negating the issue of lighting.

It's been mentioned before but you can do a lot of exercise with no equipment at all.

If you change your sleep schedule, you'll be able to get a ton or reading/hanging out/walking about done.

Interesting situation. Any time frame for how long you need to entertain yourself like this?
posted by Drew_Blood at 11:50 AM on July 18, 2007


If I were in that position, I'd sit down and tell stories (to the black void of your favourite room, of course; if you're sitting alone in the dark you can be forgiven for talking to yourself for several hours), refining them over the course of the evening until I have one that I like, and then run through that story again the next night and the next. Then once the electricity came on, I would write it down, publish it, and make several zillion dollars. This would also cultivate a great PR blurb.

But building a fire would be a better option if you have a safe way to do it.
posted by cmonkey at 11:51 AM on July 18, 2007


Inspired by dead_,

-learn to breakdance
-braid hair
-cat's cradle
-try to scare yourself
-invent an imaginary friend
-invent an imaginary world where he and his friends can live
-spy on your neighbors
-follow your mailman
-take a walk and pick up every coin you see, keep the oldest
-take a walk and find strangest item
-dumpster diving
-learn how to freestyle rap
-write poetry
-try and do 1000 pushups 1000 pullups and 1000 situps
-count to 1,000,000 backwards
-abc's backwards
-see how big of a prime number you can find
-learn how to sow
-cut your hair
-cut someone elses hair
-make a quilt out of your old clothes
-make a pillow out of old jeans sewn together
-make anything
-memorize all of your friends phone numbers
-call someone you love to say hello
-practice handstands until you can do one for 10 seconds
-lay on the floor, stare at the ceiling and imagine it's the floor
-build a fort with your furniture and sleep in it
-set up a tent in your bedroom and put your bed in it
-make a collage out of only garbage
-paper airplane
-paint a self-portrait
-stare at yourself in the mirror
-using household materials, try the "egg drop" science experiment. create something that hold an egg, and drop it from a high place to see if your creation protects mr. egg. repeat until you have the perfect egg-protector
-make a vinegar and baking soda volcano
-stage a fight with green army men
-play with GI joes
-practice juggling a soccer ball, some space required
-dance with yourself for practice
-learn how to beatbox
-make a musical instrument out of household supplies and learn to play it
-practice singing a song
-send a postcard to postsecredt
-write a letter to a friend or family member
-Have arguments with yourself, defend one side and then the other.
-play dress up
-create a halloween costume
-go christmas shopping
-create a new language and learn to speak it
-learn to write with your opposite hand
-shadowbox
-sort everything in home that can be recycled and then recycle it
-curl, shave or straighten your hair and suprise someone your know
-make a rubberband ball
-play jacks
-setup army men around your house and shoot at them with rubber bands, see how many shots it takes to knock them all down.
-try to bunnyhop on a bicycle, go for six inches off the ground
-build something from popsicle sticks
-learn to skateboard
-walk backwards
-talk backward, or in jumbled sentences like yoda
-learn to speak pig latin perfectly, everytime. make it automatic.
-blindfold yourself and learn your apartment perfectly, as if you were blind
-make a figurine out of a bar of soap using a pocket or butter knife
-learn to pick your own lock
-make any kind of artwork for your apartment. hang it. make a specific piece for each room
-repaint your apartment
-give yourself a henna tattoo tell everyone it's real
-memorize the words to your favorite songs
-go to a local concert you might not normally attend
-climb a tree
-look at the stars
-buy plastic stars and stick them to your walls and ceilings, try to make them resemble the nightsky
-go on a walk and try to start a rock collection
-make furniture out of leftover industrial goods behind retail stores
-punch yourself until you blackout
-do whip-its
-say bloody mary in a dark room and see what happens, five times that is
-dig through your couch cushions
-imagine how you would write the new harry potter book
-try to fill enough balloons with helium to lift you off the ground
-find a church open late and walk through it silently
-go down a manhole, explore the sewers
-try to feed a bird/duck/feral cat
-sit on the sidewalk with a sign asking for money
-sit on a corner and play your homemade instrument
-disguise yourself to the best of your ability. call friends and see if you have fooled them
-plan the perfect crime
-invent a fake laugh
-try to impersonate cartoon characters
-work on voice impersonations of people you know
-practice a fake smile
-paint yourself silver and go downtown: become a living statue.
-find the scariest cemetary around, sleep there.
-climb onto your roof
-learn to roll a cigarette
-make a potato lightbulb
-use a waterballoon launcher to attack your block
-make a corncob pipe, or any kind of pipe
-learn to spin a basketball on your finger
-make a target and work on increasing your spitball accuracy
-start a fire without a match, lighter, or flint
-try to wiggle your ears
-try to raise just one eyebrow
-create a small shrine to a loved one or famous person you are a fan of
-learn to do the wierd belly-rolling trick
-see how many different bodyparts you can make fart noises with. some ideas: hands, armpit, back of the knee, etc.
-eat corn and then time how long it takes to digest. (you'll see it in the toilet)
-make a flamethrower out of a can of aerosol and a match
-make a stove out of a popcan and lighterfluid
-try to get a noodle through your nose into your mouth
-make a hat for yourself
-collect your earwax
-put a message in a bottle and leave it somewhere
-write funny notes and leave them in library books
-strike up conversations with every police officer
-try to get to the roof of the largest building in your neighborhood
-try to defy gravity, make wings if you want
-become an expert at the game of 'quarters'
-examine probability: flip a coin 1,000 times and record the results. see if it really is 50/50
-practice spinning a quarter, try to keep it going indefinitely with repeated flicking
-try the gallon challenge(1 gallon of milk in 1 hour, no puking)
-make a gingerbread house with frosting, graham crackers and sprinkles.
-make s'more and roast it on your tea-light
-spend the night, or week, in a store that's open 24 hours(ex:wal-mart in usa)
-crab walk everywhere in your house
-learn how to do the moonwalk convincingly
-pour wax on yourself or a partner
-shave yourself, your entire self
-dress yourself up like someone of the opposite sex(could result in playing with yourself)
-paint your nails/toenails
-give yourself a piercing
-test out the old prison-escape anecdote and make a rope out of bedsheets. try to escape from your home
-find a train and ride in a boxcar for a while
-build a bomb shelter in your backyard
-go through a terrorism drill, fire drill, earthquake drill, etc.
-find the tallest building in your city, and ride the elevator up and down and up and down
-walk around a collegiate neighborhood, find a party and join it.
-turn your car into a float for a parade
-have a parade.
-setup a christmas tree, including ornaments, then take it down.
-protest something
-go to the grocery store and change pricetags around for fun
-explore an abandoned building
-see how long you can sustain a conversation with a worker at your local Wal*Mart
-find a good bench and people watch. write about them in a notebook.
-stand at the entrance of a department store and greet everyone who enters
-have a pillowfight
-jump up and down on your bed, try to do a flip
-spend some real time looking at yourself in the mirror, and learn to make the funniest face possible. practice it on people.
-also, stare into the mirror and learn to flash a perfect smile every time.
-try to explode a lighter on the cement by throwing it.
-put Mentos into a new bottle of soda, then cap it, shake it a bit and throw it or don't cap it and just watch it fizz everywhere
-rescue an animal
-make up a superhero and try to fight crime for an evening
-pick up all the litter you see
-clean up any roadkill you see
-take a jug of water to a bike path and give people dixie cups of water
-find a shrub that needs pruning and prune it
-learn to sit in the lotus position
-build a dog house, and if you don't have a dog sell it or give it away
-try to read graffiti in your area
-audit a night class at a local university
-build a house of cards
-play with dominos, make a design and knock one over
-try to learn origami
-floss your teeth
-chew bubblegum and try to blow the biggest bubble, then try and blow a double bubble
-sculpt with play-doh
-make a mask out of objects around your house. wear it
-do that one chore you've been putting off.

Good Luck.
posted by trueluk at 11:52 AM on July 18, 2007 [17 favorites]


Thanks for the clarification, especially about your working hours.

Here's what I would do: I would change my sleep schedule. I would come home and go right to sleep, then wake up and use the daylight hours to read, go to the library, etc. Then go to work. I know it's only a week, but I bet you will adjust by day 2.

Of course, that may not be possible for you. In which case:

...I would borrow enough money, or pawn something to get enough to buy a battery powered light, and follow the suggestions already given. I have been in a "no money" situation myself a few times, and I had to swallow my pride and take some CDs or DVDs in to the pawn shop. $20 here in the US would buy a battery-powered lamp, with change left over. In fact, my electicity was out for a couple days a few months ago and I bought a lamp/flashlight combo and the required bigass battery for a total of $10. Good luck!
posted by The Deej at 11:54 AM on July 18, 2007


better than regular led flashlight: make a joule thief
posted by dorian at 11:54 AM on July 18, 2007


Try to change your sleeping pattern so you get the 5 hours at home in the morning instead of at night - that way you get your time off in the light rather than the darkness. Either force yourself to go to bed much earlier or pull an all-nighter (you won't have long to wait between your normal bedtime of 3-4am and the time the sun comes up, so this won't be much more boring than your nights currently are). Then the following night you'll be so tired you'll be ready to sleep when you get home from work.

Either you could borrow a flashlight or the money to buy one plus some rechargeable batteries from a colleague or a friend. Recharge the batteries while you're at work.

Or, you could try learning braille!
posted by hazyjane at 11:57 AM on July 18, 2007


Dude, just hang out at a friend's house till you want to go home.
posted by Wild_Eep at 11:58 AM on July 18, 2007


Also, a question. (Not to answer here, but just to ask yourself): Is there no one who can help you for a week? Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintences? Maybe they can loan you the lamp so you don't have to borrow money. Failing that, call a local charity shop. Tell them what you need. They will GIVE it to you; that's why they exist. They will GIVE you books as well. I don't know how common such entities are in the UK but I can't imagine that there is nothing like that in a community of any size. You can donate the items back when you are done. Call them.
posted by The Deej at 11:58 AM on July 18, 2007


This is a perfect opportunity to learn a musical instrument. You can get a beater acoutstic guitar for free or next to free on craigslist. Take it to the guitar shop and have them tune it. Blow 2 dollars on some new strings if you feel up to it. Get a book from the library or print out tutorials from the net. Do the lessons at night. As you progress and get better and can play covers you can use your mp3 player for reference.

Ideally, you should ask someone to show you the bare basics like how to strum, change a string, tune, which strings are which, how to properly hold down some chords, etc. If you cant find this person (try for first guitar lesson free ads) then just ask on the internet and do the best you can.

Practicing guitar in the near dark is doable and will come to you naturally after your hands get used to the position of the strings. Reading your printed out lessons might pose a challenge. Get a cheap LED flashlight if you can.

10 days of this and you'll be able to play basic chords and basic songs.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:19 PM on July 18, 2007


I lived in a caravan in the woods (UK too) for almost two years. I was working in a pub most of that time so I'd get home late, tho I usually managed to turn in earlier than you are.
Anyhow, I found the best lighting was the old hurricane lamps. No way you can lay your hands on one or two of them? There's often one rusting unloved in a mate's shed. Then you have all the fun of wick-trimming (oh, you said your weren't going to do that. Arf.)
How far is it to the countryside? What about joining a badger-, owl- or fox-watch group? I used to love the walk back through the woods in the dark with all the creatures rustling about.
posted by Abiezer at 12:34 PM on July 18, 2007


No nearby friends or family to cadge off of and I really don't sleep that much. Most nights I get by on between 3-6 hours. I wake up when the sunlight hits my face so I really can't adjust my sleeping pattern. I have weights and stuff and I do that for a bit + push ups etc. so that's okay.

I would love to favourite or reply to more of these but I am working way, way hard right now - as of 21:30GMT I won't be able to read any more but once I am back in the office tomorrow I'll let you know how it's gone and favourite any more suggestions that meet my extraordinary standards.
posted by longbaugh at 1:11 PM on July 18, 2007


Work on summoning a spirit from beyond into your home. If nothing else it will provide some company. You could accomplish this through automatic writing if you want.
posted by tastybrains at 1:53 PM on July 18, 2007


Sorry about all of the above not being night-friendly. Here's another hundred or so that should work for you,

-build a secret compartment inside one of your walls, perhaps behind something
-or build a secret compartment inside of a hardback book
-go around your neighborhood taking plant cuttings and propagate them later.
-climb a belltower and ring the bell
-doorbell ditch your neighbors
-drive to your local "makeout" spot; makeout with someone if you can
-go sledding down a steep, grassy hill
-fashion a golfclub out of something long, practice putting in your house
-take apart something electornic, or just bash it
-try to rip a phonebook in half
-try to fold a piece of paper in half more than 7 times
-prank a friend of yours.
-swim in a fountain
-do burpees until you drop
-learn how to do every cheesy dance perfectly: the running man, the hustle, chicken dance, hokey pokey, etc.
-find a merry go round and ride it as long as you can. try to beat your own record
-practice your paper-rock-scissors skills
-try spoon bending with your mind
-pretend you are in a body building competition and really focus on flexing your muscles for about 30 minutes. try some different poses.see how long you can hula-hoop for
-give yourself a mohwak with hair gel or mousse
-go to a laundromat and strike up a conversation with another patron, or do laundry
-paint a watch onto your wrist
-stare at your keyboard and try to come up with a yet-unthought of emoticon
-practice "air typing," that is, typing without a keyboard: your fingers will move and you can imagine a screen
-masturbate with your weak hand
-invent a religion, including dieties, prayers, symbols, dietary guidelines and mythology. proselytize on the corner.
-attempt auto-fellatio
-try to make a bigger lamp out of household items
-get someone to tickle you until you are immune to it or pee your pants
-from outside your home, try to unlock your front door, get inside and then lock it as quick as possible. Image a criminal is chasing you.
-make a tin-can phone
-make a zen garden from dirt and rocks you find in your neighborhood, tend it
-find bugs, eat them and keep a log describing the tastes
-try to make a top ten list of your favorite memories
-learn how to lucid dream
-ride a merry go round for as long as possible; try to break your own record
-sabotage a library computer for fun by stwitching the 'c' and 'v' keys
-use your unplugged keyboard to become incredibly proficient at typing with one hand
-create a small sailboat out of household items and set it out to float in a local pond or lake
-make a time capsule and bury it in your yard
-spend time creating an intricate scavenger hunt in your neighborhood; hide the items and then invite your friends to play the following day
-find some chalk and go do some sidewalk-chalk art
-setup a bucket at the far end of a room, and practice throwing a ball or beanbag into it. see how many you can get in a row
-if you live alone, practice doing a dance like in STOMP where you make the drum beat with only your body.
-play spoons on your knee
-learn to do that finger whistle thing that is so impressive.
-try to "sit" against a wall without using a chair, see how long you can hold yourself up for
-learn how to make noise by running your finger along the edge of a glass
-memorize impressive formulas
-play a game of hide and seek
-learn how to fold your tongue into various interesting shapes (the star, the worm, etc)
-practice yo-yo tricks
-before going home, print out a famous speech--something you admire. At home, memorize and deliver it, trying to emulate the original orator (think MLK Jr., Abe Lincoln, etc)
-get a variety of different sized bottles and play music by blowing over the top hole
-create a puppet with some string
-or make finger puppets and stage a small play
-measure your entire house in terms of "steps." that is, your living room is X steps by X steps. etc.
-collect tree leaves from around your neighborhood and do rubbings of them with crayons
-try to "talk in tongues," and convince people that it is real.
-make a duct tape wallet, backpack, or pair of pants. The possibilities are endless.
-invent a gang sign, practice flashing it
-learn to burp on command
-then learn to burp the alphabet
-volunteer somewhere for an evening
-build a pillow/cushion ramp down your stairs and dive down it
-take unneeded canned food to the local food bank
-make a huge pile of everything soft(pillows, cushions, comforters etc.) and jump into it from a chair
-practice changing your spare tire as quickly as possible. see how fast you can do it
-learn one song and practice singing it over and over again; plan on performing it at the next possible chance for karaoke
-build cars, tanks actually, out of legos and ram them into eachother, you may need another person. Then the loser gets to rebuild for a minute or two and you go again.
-climb up the inside of one of your doors using your feet. get to the top and see how long you can stay there
-replace an accessible lightbulb with your barefeet while standing on your hands
-learn to type with your feet. practice on your unplugged keyboard
-make a potato cannon and launch potatoes from one of your windows
-build a trap and set it up in your back yard, try to catch an animal
-see how many childhood schoolyard rhymes you can remmeber
-play jenga, try to see how tall you can get the tower
-play a four-person game of Risk by yourself, be ruthless
-drive to a quiet lakeshore and listen to the waves for a while.
-revisit important places in your past (university, high school, former homes, etc). Walk around.
-walk one mile without stepping on any cracks (you'll break your mother's back)
-learn how to snap with each finger, even the pinky
-walk a route that you drive every day.
-act like your favorite animal for half an hour or so
-or just come up with incredibly convincing animal noises
-practice your vertical leap. smear ink or a bit of charcoal on your finger, and touch the wall at the highest point. try to beat your best.
-open up a phonebook, flip to a random page and point, then call the person
-do the same with a dictionary, if you have one, and learn some new words
-walk around your home naked, try to get comfrotable, but no pogo sticks
-Write a letter to yourself that you won't open for 40 years
-write a letter to your unborn child
-practice your cursive, with both hands
-Drink some everclear(dont swallow though) and then spit into a flame.
-zip yourself up into a sleeping bag and get your roll on
-run an extension cord from your neighbors house, let there be light
-make shadow puppets (not sure if the candle will be enough light though)
-try to unwind a casette tape completely without breaking the tape. then make something out of it or just respool it
-call a radio station and chat with the DJ
-call as many toll-free numbers as you can. try to find out as much personal information about the person on the other end as possible. see who you can get the most from.
-invent new pickup lines
-see how long you can stand completely still for, then try it on just one leg
-practice a ballet style pirouette
-take a walk around the block and try never to step out of a shadow
-make a diorama of the planets using a coathanger, scissors and cardboard
-make up nicknames for all of your friends
-come up with the perfect baby names, should you ever have children
-try to do improv comedy
-maneuver through your house by only somersaulting
-walk through your house on only your hands and knees, try to imagine that you are an infant. deal with any obstacles you encounter accordingly.(dont get stuck under the bed though)
-practice knife or dart throwing. make a target and document your progress
-learn how to spit and suck it back up before it breaks off. see how long of a strand you can make
-learn how to blow snot rockets. use one of your targets to practice accuracy
-slather yourself in any household cooking oil and see how it feels(vaseline will work too)
-see how many condoms you can fit on your penis at the same time
-do pilates
-examine your deepest held ideology, and try to find the perfect argument against it
-trace your hands and feet onto paper and color them. trace any other body parts you would like. assemble then into one large piece of artwork
-get a hand gripper and increase the instenisty of your grip
-trace your hand and make a turkey out of it
-meditate
-see how long you can watch a battery-powered clock for. can you see the hour hand moving?
-come up with a conspiracy theory
-sing the 99 bottles of beer on the wall song until they are all gone
-memorize all the squares/square roots from 1 - 100.
-print out the digits of pi at work and then take home to memorize
-fart over your tealight, make sure you have jeans on.
-try to sleep--or at least hang--like batman does. if you don't have gravity boots, find some sort of bar to link your knees through.
-try to count how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop
-practice bouncing a basketball very close to the ground with two hands, see how fast you can get it going
-remove all the stamps from any letters you may have received; this is the beginning of your new stamp collection
-imitate a model walking on a runway, get sassy!
-think of incredibly creative domain names you may one day register
-practice jumping and then clicking your heels in the air. see how high you can get and land safely. show your new talent off to friends when you get excited about something.
-try to increase your lung capacity by holding your breath longer and longer, then challenge friends to a contest next time at the pool
-take a good hour and examine your country's paper money; try and locate any bizarre symbols or connections you may have not noticed before.
-practice squat-sitting (like the Japanese). See how long you can sit this way.
-practice the tea-ceremony folded knee style of sitting. see how long you can sit before it becomes uncomfortable.
-hang from a door jam or bar and imagine you are tom cruise in the opening scene of MI2. Pull yourself up every once in a while and then lower and repeat
-Also, act out any other favorite movie scenes you'd like
-increase your flexibility by practicing doing the splits at least 4 times an hour. try very hard. practice makes perfect.
-make some mud bricks at night. leave them to bake in the hot sun while you're at work. build something with them
-burn a flag
-fly a kite with a key on it, become a human lightning rod
-practice falling from great heights, onto a mattress for now.

Have fun longbaugh.
posted by trueluk at 1:57 PM on July 18, 2007 [8 favorites]


Play free form rock-paper-scissors with yourself. As an example:
Buffy < The Anointed One < Spike < Drusilla < Angelus < Orb of Thessulah < a cinderblock wall < a demon from the Hellmouth < Buffy
Give yourself points for the length of each chain and any interesting connections, play different themed rounds...
posted by anaelith at 2:28 PM on July 18, 2007


I wake up when the sunlight hits my face so I really can't adjust my sleeping pattern.

Ya know... it's been a while now, and I am still trying to figure out how going to sleep at 11pm, right after work, and then waking up at dawn, thereby maximizing daylight, precludes changing the sleep schedule because you wake up when sunlight hits your face. Even if someone stole all your blinds, there would be no problem.

By now, I am thinking we are deep into hypothetical filter. So here's my suggestion: mark trueluk as best answer, along with the marshmallow roast, then print this thread at work, take it home and read it over and over and over for a week while you roast marshmallows on a toothpick. Once the week is over and you magically have heatwaterlightsinternetelectricity, you can take the printed pages, fold them into a tiny little square, and put them where sunlight won't hit their face.
posted by The Deej at 3:16 PM on July 18, 2007


Another vote for hurricane lamp. I've also seen wicks that will turn a bottle into a lamp. Lamp oil is pretty cheap. Get books at the library. Borrow a beach chair. Read by the light at a nearby convenience store or streetlight. For extra fun, put up a "7-11 Book Club" sign.

Walk, bicycle, lift weights, stretch and otherwise get in shape.
posted by theora55 at 4:59 PM on July 18, 2007


Hell, I would send you candles. I used to sell them. But by the time you got them, you would probably have your first paycheck (I'm assuming you WILL have money, eventually, right?).

I would steal pencils and paper from work and sketch away as soon as dawn hit my face, but that's just me.
posted by misha at 5:03 PM on July 18, 2007


I also have loooaaaaads of tealights if you want some more (I bought them on offer & just don't get through them) and I live in the UK so you'd get them quicker. I used to go to the beach at night and write by tealight-light so it's definitely possible.

I can't read the whole thread (have to go back to work) but one suggestion I have would be to see if any coworkers would be willing to lend you a handheld. game console (surely someone must have one?)
I'd send you my GBA but my generosity-over-the-Internet only goes so far...
posted by ClarissaWAM at 5:00 AM on July 19, 2007


(sorry, period in the wrong place there)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 5:02 AM on July 19, 2007


npr podcast + ipod + battery powered speakers = 1/2 hr of learning every day.
posted by softlord at 5:55 AM on July 19, 2007


Seconding the Nintendo DS. That and alcohol got me through quite a few weeks of living in an empty (though powered/lit) flat.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:35 AM on July 19, 2007


write, do push-ups, build a meth lab/the ultimate peanut butter and jelly sandwich, meditate
posted by brooklynexperiment at 8:47 AM on July 19, 2007


Could you pretty please tell us what you ended up doing?
posted by bilabial at 11:49 AM on March 6, 2008


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