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Questions in the Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation category.
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August 11

I need the finest camping air mattress in all the land
My family likes camping. My extended family LOVES camping. I like camping OK except that I sleep very very badly and that makes me miserable. I need the best queen-sized air mattress available that can be inflated without an electric outlet. Specific details inside. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT at 9:51 AM - 17 answers

August 10

Building a life as a long-term single in middle age
After spending many years with my head buried in the sand, I am trying to adopt a more realistic and pragmatic approach and build a smaller, simpler, but less stressful life. I ended my long-term relationship as while in it I had no possibility to do voluntary work or retrain for paid work (I posted a 2012 question about this but it took me until now to face the facts). I will soon be moving out into my own modest flat, with few friends and limited work opportunities due to not having worked since 2005. I am 44 and don't plan to seek a partner again, at least not unless I was working and in better shape physically and mentally, so I was wondering what middle-aged single people do that brings them happiness? Given some free time, what would help me the most to rediscover my appetite for life? [more inside]
posted by AuroraSky at 3:13 PM - 18 answers

Violas, how do they work?
Jeoc jr. will be joining the 6th grade orchestra in a few weeks. She has elected to play the viola. I don't know anything about violas, and am seeking help with selecting an appropriate instrument for a novice 11-year-old. [more inside]
posted by jeoc at 1:01 PM - 17 answers

Ukranian teenager reads English at eighth-grade level...
A friend of mine is looking for suggestions for novels to give to a Ukrainian fellow who is sixteen and who reads English at a seventh- or eighth-grade level. In his native languages he reads well and enjoys adventure and the like. Suggestions of what might float his boat will be much appreciated.
posted by mr. digits at 8:35 AM - 13 answers

August 9

Pleasant places to walk in Cambridge/Somerville and points west
I'm a recent Camberville transplant from a place that was more in the "trees that happen to have nearby houses" department rather than the "houses that happen to have nearby trees" department. I'm looking for pleasant places for, say, 3-10 mile rambles where I can forget for a bit that I am not cut out for city life. A few additional constraints within. [more inside]
posted by dorque at 8:28 PM - 15 answers

Stitch and Bitch
I have just bought the Stitch and Bitch knitting book. It's going to take a couple of days to arrive in the mail so I'd like to know what I need for the first couple of projects so that once the book arrives I can start straight away. [more inside]
posted by poxandplague at 5:32 PM - 15 answers

August 8

Chasing waterfalls - kid friendly Toronto edition
Looking for a recommendation for a park or conservation area within an hour drive of Toronto. Travelling with kids who love swimming, and exploring waterfalls, but aren’t up to long or rugged hikes. Hoping to encounter waterfalls, ideally combined with the swimming area. Requirements – kid friendly swimming, some kind of washroom available, parking / drive in location. Does this place exist?
posted by walkinginsunshine at 10:48 AM - 6 answers

Catch me up on the last decade of Indie Professional Wrestling
I've recently, sparked by Colt Cabana's podcast, come to love Indie Professional Wrestling and would like to check out it's recent-ish history. What would you recommend as the standout events from the last decade? [more inside]
posted by coleboptera at 3:25 AM - 5 answers

August 7

Chill, discreet psychedelic experimentation group?
I've been interested in psychedelics for a while, for recreation as well as the experience and potential introspective and worldview-altering effects. I haven't known anyone who's touched anything psychedelic or hallucinogenic, except maybe cannabis, since college. I would like to find a group supportive of responsible psychedelic drug use. Do such things exist in major cities, and how do I find them? [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 10:13 PM - 7 answers

August 6

Roll for initiative!
Mr. Machine and I have a blast playing D&D 4th edition, but our group doesn't get together as often as we'd like. Please recommend games we can play to fill the terrible void. [more inside]
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:09 AM - 14 answers

Selling a bike on Craigslist
I have a 2006 women's Schwinn Voyageur GS hybrid/comfort bicycle that has been gathering dust in my living room for the last six years. Is this even worth bothering trying to sell on Craigslist, or should I just donate it to the local bike rescue? [more inside]
posted by fussbudget at 4:01 AM - 9 answers

August 5

Need a non-slip solution for a DDR dance pad
The pad is the thicker foam-core type (so, still a soft pad, but not super thin) with a kind of suede-y rubber-y mat. It slides pretty bad over our short carpet! Any ideas? [more inside]
posted by curious nu at 3:47 PM - 11 answers

NYC helicopter rides?
My lifelong New Yorker spouse would like to take a helicopter ride for his September birthday. Have any of you done this, and could recommend a company?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:35 AM - 2 answers

Back-Country Camping in the Pacific Northwest
I'm looking for recommendations on where to do some back-country/wilderness camping in the Seattle/Portland area from around Aug. 31 through Sept. 3. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 10:21 AM - 8 answers

August 4

Has this life stalled, or stagnated, or does it just need a new hobby?
I'm either going to need a radical overhaul, or just a new activity to keep me going a bit longer. Can't decide which, either because I'm indecisive or out of ideas. I'd like some input on either front: a) should I throw caution to the wind and take charge of my destiny? b) any suggestions for new preoccupations to get absorbed in while this current life persists? Piled embankments of soggy sleet within. [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 6:22 PM - 18 answers

What train is that?
There are apps that will tell me precisely what plane is flying overhead. Is there an equivalent that will tell me something about trains I see or hear? (In the U.S.)
posted by beagle at 5:33 PM - 5 answers

Audiobooks for Long Runs
I'm looking for long, upbeat, engaging audiobooks to listen to while on long runs. Bring on your recommendations! [more inside]
posted by whodatninja at 3:57 PM - 12 answers

ChoreWars. On Paper. For a non D&D person.
I want to use a game like Chore Wars to motivate my kid to take care of his chores. Except it has to be paper-and-pencil only. [more inside]
posted by rouftop at 3:37 PM - 2 answers

Keeping a kid entertained during grown-up dinners?
In the next few weeks, I will need to attend a series of late-running formal dinners... with a five-year-old in tow. Please recommend your most magical, engrossing, dinner-table-friendly activity books, games, small toys, etc. for the early school-aged set, so we can keep her quietly in her seat and out of everyone's hair. [more inside]
posted by Bardolph at 2:01 PM - 28 answers

August 3

Minimal tools for basic wood projects
I'd like to become more adept at basic wood working/carpentry skills, but I'm pretty clueless. My first project is to modify an existing wood work bench by removing a portion of the cabinets and extending a plywood countertop over the open space[1]. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on tools, but I'm unclear what the minimal set (especially of saws) is for doing this job reasonably right. [more inside]
posted by primethyme at 12:19 PM - 15 answers

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