May 14, 2011 4:20 PM   Subscribe

I was run over by a car, and I have what looks to be a lengthy hospital stay ahead of me. Help me avoid suicide from boredom!

On Monday, i was doored by a livery cab on my bikeand knocked into the street. A second or two later, a yellow cab drove over my right leg, breaking my tibia and fibula in several places.

The would was a compound fracture. Competent surgeons went to work and set my leg with what's called an external fixator, an object that screws into my bones and it essentially so big it's like wearing a large metal clown shoe I'm not allowed to put any weight on. Since the bone broke the skin, my surgeon wants to wait until the wound caused by the compound fracture heals before they remove the external fixator and put on a cast, allowing me to return home. This could take anywhere from a couple says to a couple weeks.

I'm starting to get really bored and in want of things to do. So I wanted to ask you guys for help. Let me tell you what's been entertaining me over the past week:

The Comics of Joe Sacco
The pixeljam game Gamma Brothers
The iPhone game Geodefense.
All the websites I read on a daily basis anyway (which are honestly too innumerable to mention, but I a normal day I could never read all of them. But now I seem to blast through them in a couple hours.

Here's my question: based on everything above, can you guys give me some recommendations of ways to pass my time? My ideals would be:

Browser Games
iPhone games
Fascinating web non-fiction.
Lively Internet conversation.

Thanks to you all for your help.
posted by to sir with millipedes to Health & Fitness (49 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have Netflix? The iPhone app is pretty decent, even over 3G. You could, say, watch the entire run of Arrested Development.
posted by mkultra at 4:28 PM on May 14, 2011

This would be a perfect time to play some classic Infocom text adventures! I recommend the Zorks, Planetfall/Stationfall, and The Lurking Horror.
posted by vorfeed at 4:32 PM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, that's one important thing I forgot--due to bandwidth issues, the hospital has blocked Netflix and Hulu. I don't know how that impacts the Netflix iPhone app.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:33 PM on May 14, 2011

For internet reads: Longform is a great source of (you guessed it) longform articles available on the internet. I churned through some of the "Best of 2010" articles last year when I had to kill a lot of time over several days.

iPhone games: my officemate is in love with Unpleasant Horse, maybe give that a whirl?

I'm sorry you're laid up for so long... :(
posted by palomar at 4:33 PM on May 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

Reddit is a love-it-or-hate-it type website, but it can be a great timesink. Its strength is in its obscure sub-reddits, which cater to a specific subject, hobby, television show, whatever. If you have specific interests, there's a subreddit for that.
posted by Rinku at 4:35 PM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

For browser and iphone gaming needs, go to jayisgames. You might also be interested in tonypa's stuff.

For interesting nonfiction try browsing arts and letters daily.
posted by googly at 4:38 PM on May 14, 2011

to sir with millipedes: "Oh yeah, that's one important thing I forgot--due to bandwidth issues, the hospital has blocked Netflix and Hulu. I don't know how that impacts the Netflix iPhone app."

Do you get decent 3G reception? Just turn off WiFi.
posted by mkultra at 4:40 PM on May 14, 2011

I know you asked for online things, but how about doing some nice, long handwritten letters? I bet you'd thrill a few folks with them.

Otherwise, there's a nice big list of entertaining Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond. And here are some tales from the fellow who tried to pay his water bill with a drawing of a seven-legged spider.

I hope you feel better and get out soon!
posted by Glinn at 4:46 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Free iPhone Kindle App + eBook of your choice. I've read 4 books on my phone in the past month.
posted by dgeiser13 at 4:47 PM on May 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

I bought my kids Angry Birds (for iPhone) and have found myself sucked in way more times than I would like, wishing the bus ride would last longer, etc. For 99 cents, it's worth a try!
posted by bluedaisy at 4:51 PM on May 14, 2011

If you've got any appreciation for truly excellent science fiction, you should love the short stories of Ted Chiang (collected in this post -- the first story link, now broken, can be found here). Some of the best stories I've ever read.

Along the lines of vorfeed's text adventure suggestion, you may enjoy the classic life RPG Alter Ego, which is surprisingly engaging for a text-based game.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:07 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jesus you'll go blind with just this list as your entertainment. God old school, man. Learn to knit. Read a novel or 12. Import friends and play cards. Learn origami. Get soduku books. Do something mechanical with your hands. I have been long-laid-up myself and I swear to God, looking at various forms of electronic boxes all day will eventually cause your brain to leak out your ear.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:35 PM on May 14, 2011 [13 favorites]

Yikes, getting doored and then run over is pretty much my biggest fear on my bike! The Los Angeles Review of Books launched on the web about a month ago and I am really digging their reviews and essays so far.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 6:00 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're staring at your screen(s) all day, you'll start to feel like "you're staring at screens all day", even if the content is varied. Rather than just varying the content of your activities, you need to vary the form of your activities. To echo a couple of the folks above: do a jigsaw puzzle! draw! write! play cards with another patient (or even just play solitaire by yourself).
posted by Kololo at 6:03 PM on May 14, 2011

I would suggest reading A Game of Thrones. It's a perfect time to get started.
posted by redondo77 at 6:16 PM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

iOS:Super Stickman Golf , Tiny Wings Also the How Stuff Works App has a lot of great content.

Netflix is great for catching up on TV shows.

Audible or Kindle for reading. GoodReads for finding books....
posted by jmsta at 6:41 PM on May 14, 2011

Have someone stop by the store for you and get you some of those activity books that have puzzles, crosswords, word searches, sudoku etc.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:47 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, what DarlingBri said. Combine podcasts with knitting or wirework or embroidery or paracord bracelets or...
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:29 PM on May 14, 2011

For Browser games, Angry Birds for Chrome ifyou have the Chrome browser.
Words With Friends for iPhone
Kingdom of Loathing is silly browser fun
Would you be open to handcraft like knitting or embroidery? I like the funky embroidery patterns at Urban Threads & Sublime Stitching
I am enjoying the Finder graphic novels

Feel better - that sounds rough. Would you like postcards?
posted by pointystick at 7:32 PM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

A few other ideas:
- if you're technically inclined you could start tinkering with arduinos
- blog about a hobby
- make meaty FPP posts to metafilter
- become active in a stackexchange site that matches your interest
- play correspondance chess online (rehotpawn is a great site)

My sympathies. That sounds like a truly awful accident.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:33 PM on May 14, 2011

Thanks for all the advice. I do have a bunch of graphic novels to work on. Most of the reason I was mostly watching movies is because the painkillers I've been getting until today have been making it very hard for me to concentrate on writing. I would just go cross-eyed and fall asleep.

Activity books sound like a great idea. I installed the Netflix app on my iphone.

I'm a big fan of podcasts. I especially like Comedy Death Ray/Pod F. Tompkast, things like that. I also have a number public radio podcasts (radiolab, on the media, this american life, the moth, etc.)

If anyone has podcasts they can recommend, especially funny ones, that would be great.

Oh, and mandyman - it's horrible, it is also one of my worst fears come true. I've been a bike commuter in New York City for 5 years, and it was just way too sudden for me to have prepared for in any way.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:33 PM on May 14, 2011

When I really want to zone out, I sometimes find a chill podcast and listen to it in the background while doing a logic puzzle --- I like the Pic-a-Pix, it's halfway between coloring and math. (Well, not math, really. More counting.)

I recently downloaded Plants vs. Zombies for my phone and it's very very good. Scary good -- as in, the rate at which the difficulty increases is perfectly paced so that it's almost always in that sweet spot of challenging but not super-frustrating.
posted by Diablevert at 7:35 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would suggest getting the economist each week. It takes forever to read.
posted by ihadapony at 7:44 PM on May 14, 2011

Kongregate and Shockwave for browser-based games. There's nothing specifically awesome on Kongregate, but it's full of the kind of stupid-fun games that suck you in for an hour without requiring serious brain power. Shockwave has lots of that, too, and a decent selection of daily games which have a new puzzle every day (Daily Jigsaw, Daily Sudoku, Daily Hidato, ....), Picturiffic is my favourite.
posted by anaelith at 7:49 PM on May 14, 2011

Podcasts: this american life and the moth
posted by nile_red at 7:59 PM on May 14, 2011

Also, I have Mindtrap, I can start sending you puzzles to figure out.
posted by nile_red at 8:00 PM on May 14, 2011

Hey, you have my condolences. I got smacked in Boston back in '05 and had a much lighter injury than yours (T12 spinal body fracture, no impingement/no edema). The meds aren't going to do wonders for you concentration-wise. What I got into were podcasts and WBUR (national public news radio in Boston) since visually my mind would go a bit wonky and if I needed to close my eyes for a few minutes I could do so and it didn't matter.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:01 PM on May 14, 2011

If you want many, many hours of funny, entertaining, sometimes crude podcasts, check out Smodcast by Kevin Smith. He's been doing it since 2007, so there are many, many hours of listening to keep you busy. There are also other related podcasts done by him and his other friends, etc, as well as smodcast internet radio.

For iPhone games that will keep you occupied for hours, take a look at Plants Vs Zombies, Gemcraft, and both Puzzle Quests.
posted by cgg at 8:04 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hey there, each week the Onion AV Club compiles a list of the best podcasts from that week.

This seems like it might be a good way to spend an hour or two, and since it updates, you don't have to worry about fresh content. Get well soon!
posted by elder18 at 8:26 PM on May 14, 2011

What about doing something like brushing up on some language skills, especially once the meds are decreased. There are plenty of audiobooks that will help with that.

Dan Savage has a fun podcast, if that interests you.
posted by annsunny at 8:34 PM on May 14, 2011

Oh, and this happened when someone close to me had a compound fracture of the ankle... The body uses up a tremendous amount of energy healing itself, so expect to be tired for a while.
posted by annsunny at 8:37 PM on May 14, 2011

I was laid up for six weeks with a smashed tib and fib at the end of February. My lifesaver was Minecraft, and in particular the Aporkalypse server via Mefightclub.com. I would have gone insane without it. It was temporary, but wonderful. Especially in the middle of the night, when muscle cramps woke me, as they will you.
posted by unSane at 10:25 PM on May 14, 2011

Do you want to learn to knit? I re-learn every time I'm stuck in a situation like that. You just need to send someone out for a pair of wooden needles, size 8, and some nice merino wool and a copy of Stictch N Bitch. You could make a blanket for your dog (that's the sort of thing I engage in.)

It might not be your cup of tea right away but it has a really zen effect, and you're making something so it might be a good addendum to your plan.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:32 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

GSN's website has a ton of free games to play. I've become quite addicted to Find-It.

Seconding Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word searches, etc.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:10 AM on May 15, 2011

I have been in the hospital so much, I can relate. I was going to suggest drugs and staring at the wall, which is what I do. I could never concentrate enough on anything to follow it. I think I listened to the same song for 5 hours before I realized it. But the post would probably be deleted by a moderator.

Do you have someone who can download movies for your from the Internet Archive onto an iPod or portable device? There are some great old movies, and with the drugs and all they should be fun to watch. Audible.com is great. You can get audio books. If your public library has Overdrive, you can borrow audio books.
posted by fifilaru at 12:19 AM on May 15, 2011

Nthing knitting. Don't let anyone tell you it's outdated or uncool. Once you learn to knit your own socks, you'll wonder how your feet ever managed to live without this knowledge. It's surprising how much it can keep your mind at ease; when I knit I get very meditative. It's absolutely amazing how a bit of string and some sticks can distract me from whatever it is that's going wrong.

(If you do pick up the sticks -- or hell, if you decide to take up being a hooker crocheting, which is equally fun -- please check out Ravelry, which is the best yarny website ever known to mankind.)
posted by Heretical at 2:03 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Poor you, I'm so sorry :(

The Jon Ronson On podcasts are great - funny, intriguing real-life anecdotes weaved together around a different theme in each programme. Moving and entertaining, and cut up into short segments, which is welcome if your attention span is variable.

You could also keep an eye on this thread and take yourself on some armchair travels.
posted by penguin pie at 3:15 AM on May 15, 2011

Does your hospital have a number for volunteer services? Give them a call they can let you know about things they might have to help patients and also what's going on around the hospital. Sometimes musicians come play for patients in large foyers. If you can take your iPhone and get transportation or a friend to take you down to the lobby to listen or courtyard outside. Get out of your room a bit if you can - that may help the boredom. Get better soon! Sorry to hear of you accident.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:01 AM on May 15, 2011

Watching a screen all day will drive you batty. Reading a physical book or kindle will be better on your eyes.
Podcasts: BBC news Quiz, The Bugle, catch up on the MeFi podcast archives, BBC Excess Baggage is good for armchair traveling.

Get well soon!
posted by arcticseal at 6:51 AM on May 15, 2011

Dude, that sucks major balls.

I've been in the hospital for up to three months. What I did that might help you is establish a routine. I looked at internet shit until I'd had enough coffee, then read and read and read until like six, at which time I let myself watch the stupidest shit imaginable on TV.

Consider this: If X puts you to sleep, you might need to sleep. Your body needs lots and lots of sleep post a major ordeal, and not just because of the opiates.
posted by angrycat at 7:19 AM on May 15, 2011

At Kongregate, Cursed Treasure and the GemCraft games are fun tower defense games.
posted by elmay at 7:51 AM on May 15, 2011

I've spent many many hours going through the archives of Everlasting Blort and Miss Cellania. I believe they're both run by MeFites. Maybe your friends could bring some requested books.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:02 AM on May 15, 2011

If you like Radiolab and the Moth, try Snap Judgement too.
posted by fiercekitten at 11:45 AM on May 15, 2011

If you like pop culture - the Extra Hot Great podcast is fun.

If you like comedy and nerds, the Nerdist podcast is good.

Entertaining and varied sex advice - Savage Love.

Books books books. Real books are great, but audiobooks can be very soothing, and will take up more time and less energy than reading - I would recommend Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, read by Lenny Henry. Super funny.

Listen to all the music that you haven't had the chance to explore yet.

Look at this: Damn Interesting

Get friends to vist you and bring you treats, and a bunch of DVDs.

Answer a whole bunch of AskMefi questions.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:28 PM on May 15, 2011

Thanks everyone for all your suggestions. They've been a great help. Here's what's up:

My wife has gotten me some books from the library
A very kind mefite has gotten me e-books of the game of thrones series among a couple of other books.
I've started watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix on demand
I have started listening to the Kevin Smith podcast, which I actually find fascinating, because I enjoy his podcast immensely all while hating his movies with every fiber of my being.
I managed to get ahold of some great graphic novels.

Thanks again, everyone. if you have more suggestions, please don't hesitate to keep them coming.

I have a meeting with the doctor tomorrow that should give me a rough idea of when I get to go home. Wish me luck!
posted by to sir with millipedes at 2:07 PM on May 16, 2011

Ask friends to email you jokes. Start a blog (maybe about previous adventures, funny experiences or memories). Start writing the Great American Novel.

Phone dates: each evening, a friend will call you (esp. after visiting hours end and before you can fall asleep).

I also re-read favorite books, re-watched MASH and felt sorry for myself (a week in the hospital, 3 weeks at home after a routine gallbladder surgery was not-so-routine).
posted by MichelleinMD at 6:47 AM on May 17, 2011

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