Fall back plans
February 3, 2011 7:43 AM   Subscribe

What are some "different" things to do when my original plans fall through?

This requires some explanation:

I decided to embark on a project to do something different every single day of February. "Different" meaning outside my normal routine-- either something I've never done or haven't done in a long time. On Feb 1, for example, I took a free boxing lesson.

On Feb 2, I was going to give blood, but the drive was cancelled due to weather emergency. My back-up plans fell through as well, so I baked an apple pie from scratch, something I've never done before.

I need a few ideas for things that would qualify as different and interesting that can be done when my first plan falls through unexpectedly and possibly at the last minute (snow storm, event cancelled, friend flakes out, car breaks down, injury, etc.)

Also these things should be substantially different from each other, so I consider that I've "used up" cooking something.

Incidentally, I live outside Boston in the Watertown/Cambridge area if that helps.
posted by justkevin to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Bake a loaf of bread from scratch.
Find an online tutorial for a programming language and learn to write a simple program.
Learn to count to 20 and say some basic phrases in a foreign language.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:49 AM on February 3, 2011

Get a manicure/pedicure

Change the oil on your car

Do some minor home repair/improvement that you would normally have someone else do (within reason)

If you are unattached, ask out someone you would never dream of approaching otherwise

(Although for all I know you may do all these things anyway)
posted by TedW at 7:53 AM on February 3, 2011

Best answer: I like this idea, but without knowing what your original plans are it's hard to come up with different plans. Can you give us your list?

That said, I would suggest ice fishing. Lots of places to do it around your area.

If you haven't done snowshoeing yet, this is just about the best winter for it. You can probably do it on the Charles River path west of Watertown Sq. There's also a plot of land around the Belmont area, an old mental hospital, I think, that should be good for it. Or maybe the Mt. Auburn cemetery.
posted by bondcliff at 7:55 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

i'd go to a craft store and stock up on a few back-up activities. knitting supplies, painting supplies, model airplane kit- whatever, there are tons of different things in places like that.

i occasionally like to take on over-the-top-cleaning projects as well. like cleaning my entire bathroom or kitchen floors by hand using Magic Eraser. (of course, my apartment is like a hundred years old, if your place is pretty clean already this won't bring the same satisfaction.) i've also been wanting to paint a mural or something decorative on my wall but haven't done so yet. maybe add these things to your list?

You already did cooking, how about brewing your own beer?
posted by GastrocNemesis at 8:00 AM on February 3, 2011

If you haven't given blood yet, boston children's hospital has evening donation hours and free parking if you successfully donate.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:03 AM on February 3, 2011

Do a handbrake turn.
Swim butterfly.
Write (to) your congressman.
Learn to order two beers in as many languages as possible.
posted by pompomtom at 8:06 AM on February 3, 2011

Best answer: Trying to think of things you can do by yourself and/or at home:

Build a snowman (I bet you haven't built one since you were a kid.)

Donate online to a cause you've been meaning to donate to but haven't gotten around to yet.

Knock on your neighbor's door to ask if they need anything, or to bring them their mail, or just to say hi. Or go shovel someone's sidewalk.

Rearrange your kitchen

Call someone you haven't spoken with in forever. Make concrete plans to get together.

Watch a critically-acclaimed movie that you know you "should" see, but that maybe hasn't really appealed to you. See what all the fuss is about.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:07 AM on February 3, 2011

Best answer: make stamps out of potatoes and send random "i miss you" cards to friends.

make a mix cd for your friends.

print picture off of your camera and put them in an album/frame them.

go through your closest and make donation piles of clothes you have not worn in over a year.

go through all your stuff, actually, and make piles to donate.

research/plan for a vacation.

write a short story or read poetry.

watch a youtube dance lesson and practice in your livingroom.

read food blogs to create a menu for a theme dinner party and send out invites to your friends.

look at the creatures on petfinder and break your own heart.

have a spa at home day, giving yourself a bubble bath (while listening to music), mani/pedi, and some masks (even the scary green ones).

go to a bookstore, walk to the cookbook isle. open up a random cookbook that calls out to you and write down the first recipe you like. go to the grocery store and cook it (alone, with a friend, for a friend, etc.).

take a camera for a walk through a new neighborhood and capture some of your new experiences.

find a jazz club and listen to new music, without knowing who is playing in advance.

get movies for free from the local public library.

sign up for your local volunteer listserve and see if any opportunities are going on that day/night.

go down the oscar list and watch all the best flicks.

i have lots more ideas but i'll stop now :) sorry if you already have some of these - we don't have your list.
posted by anya32 at 8:08 AM on February 3, 2011

It seems like transportation difficulties are the most likely culprit for plans falling through. When the weather's safe and your car works, stock up on things you can do at home. Maybe a sewing pattern with the appropriate fabric and notions, a cake mix and cake-decorating lesson kit, some wood blocks and a whittling knife, or a pilates DVD.

If you've never taken the bus before, this month seems like an excellent time to try it. Tell all your friends about your month-long endeavor to see if anyone would be open to a last minute "hey wanna go rock-climbing tonight?" call. Or go do something by yourself. Lots of people have never gone to a fancy dinner (or any restaurant at all) by themselves, so maybe you could put that on your list. Going to an afternoon movie by yourself can also be fun and is different enough from the usual couples/group activity that it might qualify for your list.

Other ideas:
- watch the nightly newscast from an organization that seems opposite to your usual
- skydive
- sing in public (karaoke? try out for a musical?)
posted by vytae at 8:12 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Some things that are easy that you may or may not have done.

- write and mail a letter to someone you haven't spoken to in over five years
- add a high school date to your friend list in facebook
- record a piece of music and upload it to MeFi Music
- sit in the library and read the newspaper back to front
- meet one of your neighbors you haven't met before
- go to the National Archives [seriously, they're near you, go]
- geocaching
- write a new article on Wikipedia
- mend some piece of clothing
- hang a birdfeeder and record the birds you see [alt: go birdwatching]
- compost all your food scraps for a day
- make soap
posted by jessamyn at 8:42 AM on February 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Seconding ice fishing, though you might need to team up with someone on it.

I'd also suggest a short vow of silence! I did one for a week once, but you could do just a single night, and you could do it wherever, whenever, you know? No outside force can restrict you on that one.

It's a pretty fun/interesting thing to try sometime.
posted by Glendale at 9:03 AM on February 3, 2011

Proofread a page (or five) on Distributed Proofreading.
posted by anaelith at 9:06 AM on February 3, 2011

Depending on your political leanings, spend an hour reading information from the opposite side and really try to understand their motives.
posted by CathyG at 9:13 AM on February 3, 2011

Type "tutorial" into YouTube and teach yourself something new. There's instructional videos for magic tricks, dance routines, cooking, crafts, games, stage make-up, lucid dreaming, etc.
posted by annaramma at 9:16 AM on February 3, 2011

In case you've never done these before:

* Write a sonnet (Shakespearean/Petrarchan)
* Does cake decoration count as cooking? Decorate a theme cake.
* Make your own chopping board
* Make a sock puppet of yourself from whatever scraps, threads, and buttons you can find in your home
* Make a short film with your cellphone camera
posted by zerbinetta at 10:23 AM on February 3, 2011

Response by poster: bondcliff: The list is largely being made-up as I go. I tell friends about it and they have ideas and together we make these ideas happen. Examples: boxing lesson, give blood, trapeze lessons, shooting range, bake and apple pie from scratch, concert and afterparty at the same venue, colonial era dance party in newly restored bar, watch the super bowl, eat at a vegan restaurant... Most of those were someone else's idea.

There are a lot of excellent ideas above; mostly I'm interested in fall-back ideas. Things that can be done when all else fails. Seriously, yesterday I had 3 things I tried to do each of which was thwarted by the weather. Even Mt. Auburn was closed.
posted by justkevin at 11:20 AM on February 3, 2011

Build and launch a model rocket. (Remember to check the regulations in your area.)
posted by anaelith at 11:39 AM on February 3, 2011

Try to get through a day (maybe even a weekend) without knowing what time it is. Cover all the clocks in your house, don't look at your watch, avoid other sources that will tell you the time. This is good to combine with a day of silence. Eat when your belly tells you it's time, end your day when you feel it's done, wake up when you're finished sleeping.
posted by Corvid at 11:51 AM on February 3, 2011

How about try a yoga class? There is good contra dancing in your area. A foreign language film. A massage or some sort of body work you never experienced (reiki or chiropractic or accupuncture or...).
posted by grizzled at 12:42 PM on February 3, 2011

Learn the "Thriller" dance.
posted by hishtafel at 2:34 PM on February 3, 2011

Try square dancing. Tech Squares is a great club at MIT that runs an intro class every semester (one session a week for 13 weeks). The first class this semester is next Tuesday. No obligation to continue if it's not your thing.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:19 PM on February 3, 2011

Go camping.
posted by JesseBikman at 12:18 PM on February 4, 2011

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