That is so effing cool!
March 5, 2008 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm bored.

I'd like suggestions for interesting activies/missions that can be done in, say, less than 3 hours, do not cost a lot of money (< $25, but ideally free), and do not require practice to enjoy. The quirkier the better. The more non-illegal, the better, too. Basically, I'm at a loss for long-term type of hobbies/activities to pursue, but, in the meantime, I'd like to fill my time with non-boring experiences... the kinds that stories are made of.

Thanks for your suggestions!
posted by mpls2 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (40 answers total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
Look up urban legends, and/or ghost stories in your town, and go investigate.
posted by adustum at 6:44 PM on March 5, 2008 [3 favorites]

If you live in a city with existent but limited public transport, plan a trip using it, the farther, the better. Taking friends would make it more of a story situation, but in any event the people watching will probably be excellent.
posted by MadamM at 6:45 PM on March 5, 2008

Get yourself a roll of quarters and find a video arcade to while away some time.
posted by knowles at 6:57 PM on March 5, 2008

Strike up a conversation with some total strangers. Don't just pick people who look they'd be in your social circle. Try the mall.
posted by clearlynuts at 6:58 PM on March 5, 2008

posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:59 PM on March 5, 2008

Learn old sailor's knots.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:07 PM on March 5, 2008

Masturbate...some more.
posted by sixcolors at 7:08 PM on March 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


Then try to matchmake for all of the singles you meet while volunteering.
posted by 26.2 at 7:10 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hang out with old people, they have great stories and need the company.

Volunteer somewhere.
posted by Echidna882003 at 7:10 PM on March 5, 2008

Heres a good one:
Random acts of kindness, just wander the streets helping people. You get some walking and thinking time done plus you can help total strangers.
posted by Jack Feschuk at 7:11 PM on March 5, 2008

Into video games? Now's a great time to pick up a Xbox, PS2 or earlier consoles on the cheap and check out all the games you might've missed. Recently, I've spent a little too much time playing GTA: Vice City again.
posted by Diskeater at 7:15 PM on March 5, 2008

Take up the ukulele.
posted by bink at 7:19 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Track down novel pinball machines in local watering holes. Look into geocaching (might break the budget guidelines). If that mpls stands for Minneapolis, did you know you're in one of the densest park and greenspace cities in the world? Have you discovered the quaking bogs, Minnehaha falls (ah, maybe give it a couple months)? You can rent sledding tubes cheap at Columbia golf course (okay enough Minneapolis specific, maybe it stands for Man PLuS). Look into the local art scene, get snacks at independent gallery openings. You never know where a story is going to show up - start going weirder places and see what happens.
posted by nanojath at 7:23 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Are you good with kids? Maybe find someone who needs a babysitter - personally I find that to be ridiculously fun (but don't just sit there reading while they watch TV - play with them, get involved, everyone needs the opportunity to engage in an epic light saber battle every now and again!) PLUS not only does it cost me nothing, I actually MAKE a little cash in doing so ... hot diggedy!

Do you have a dog? Consider getting involved with agility training, or at least take him/her out to play ball, frisbee, whatever - again, overseeing and being involved with some other being who's having a great time can make for a great time for you, too ...
posted by zeph at 7:23 PM on March 5, 2008

Go fly a kite.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:36 PM on March 5, 2008

Response by poster: If that mpls stands for Minneapolis...

posted by mpls2 at 7:38 PM on March 5, 2008

Volunteer. And volunteer. Volunteering doesn't have to be boring, gross, or all-consuming -- contact your local volunteer bureau, and give them an idea of your interests. They can usually find something that you'll enjoy, and get some karma out of.
posted by liquado at 8:18 PM on March 5, 2008

I think doing a Biore Pore Perfect Cleansing Strip is a good way to waste 20 minutes or so. You get them at the drugstore for about a buck each. You wet your nose and smooth on a little cotton strip. In 10 minutes, it dries, and you peel it off like a band-aid (it doesn't hurt). It pulls a forest of nasty gunk outta the pores on your nose, it's pretty fascinating. Me and my boyfriend have been known to spend a horrified/intrigued half-hour comparing strips.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:21 PM on March 5, 2008 [4 favorites]

Homebrew beer. The startup costs will break your $25 limit but it'll well pay for itself over time.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:54 PM on March 5, 2008

Seconding flying a kite. Get a cheap beginner's stunt kite ($35-$50) and go learn to stunt kite. I am back in Phoenix now, so I don't get many chances to fly any more, but while I was in Tahoe, flying a kite was second only to rock crawling.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 8:57 PM on March 5, 2008

google everyone you know from high school.
posted by fumbducker at 9:05 PM on March 5, 2008

What about urban exploration underneath the Twin Cities?

I'm only half serious--it seems amazing, but insane.
posted by umbĂș at 9:06 PM on March 5, 2008

If you like building, making, and/or creating things, find something on the instructables website to make.
posted by mrbloo at 9:44 PM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Take up needlefelting.

It's also a great stress relief.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:20 PM on March 5, 2008

Check out all the sketchy ethnic restaurant's in your area, don't use yelp, that's cheating. Sometimes you'll find little gems, other times you might get salmonella poisoning. Either way, it's the stuff stories are made of. Plus, when you go on dates, you can do the "I know this great little _____ place." Beats the crap out of trying to impress people with the olive garden.
It's how I found my favorite Mexican restaurant.

Seconding Brewing and Geocaching. It's the stuff legends are made of.
(Bonus points for geocaching in the middle in the night)
posted by JimmyJames at 10:38 PM on March 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Also, Urban Sprinting.
posted by JimmyJames at 10:40 PM on March 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

Once you've done all that, try this stuff in combinations. Like, say, kuujjuarapik's and sixcolors'.
posted by flabdablet at 12:51 AM on March 6, 2008

Be someone else for a few hours.
Put on a hat, fake beard and eyeglasses and walk downtown. Extra points for offering two quarters to everyone you pass who smiles. (Tip the hat).
Head home when your pocket is empty.

Waiting to hear your stories!
posted by artdrectr at 1:16 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

in an urban environment, i get a kick out of just walking. it's free, it's good excersise without really seeming like exercising, people watching is fun, and if you vary your neighborhoods a bit, you're bound to find funky little spots (gardens, stores, restaurants, art, and various random things) you can check out at the time, or later. i used to do this regularly when i lived in the city, and it was always good fun. if you don't bring too much money with you, i never found it a problem to walk through "bad" parts of town either, though obviously ymmv.

depends on the layout and walkability of your city of course - i'm not sure if this would work in, say, LA. though you never know!
posted by messiahwannabe at 6:07 AM on March 6, 2008

Make an aluminum foil hat. Wear it and go window shopping. When people ask why, explain that it's complicated, but part of your religion. If pressed, explain to them about the orbital mind control lasers. This is great fun.
posted by waraw at 6:27 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Find an awesome movie and watch it
Play video games
Work out
Urban Exploration
Practice with musical instruments
Buy a mic and record some tunes
Make a website
Walk around your neighboorhood looking for stuff you've never noticed
Drive around your city looking for stuff you've never noticed
Go to the library and look around
Go to the mall and wander around
Go to a book store and look around
Get some art supplies and make a sculpture
Take cool pictures
Brainstorm money-making schemes
Go to a gun range and try out some rental pistols
posted by Caper's Ghost at 7:19 AM on March 6, 2008

Check out these suggestions for a previous question

List 1

List 2

List 3
posted by trueluk at 9:33 AM on March 6, 2008

I have a friend who dressed up in an animal mascot-type costume (a dinosaur?) and walked around the MOA for a couple of hours. She got some good stories and photos out of it. (urban exploration specific to the Cities)

Maybe you could dig in a playground for clay, like we did when we were in elementary school. Then you could make something with your clay. And you might meet some cool kids.

This isn't exactly adventerous, but interviewing an interesting person would take a few hours and, if you wrote it up or recorded it and cut it together, give you a literal story as a result. Maybe you could make it more exciting by finding random people to interview. Or think of a question, go ask as many people as you can about it, and then present the answers in an interesting way. Like with sticks that you found at the playground.
posted by ramenopres at 10:10 AM on March 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

i like finding spots in town that i haven't been into yet, shops in hidden alleyways, libraries buried down stairs in old buildings. just walking around means i bump into amusing people and situations occasionally.

my city is currently being rebuilt, so i like to take a camera around and record. it's here today, but will be different before you know it!

related to ramenopres's above post - local history organisations often are in need of people to conduct oral histories - recording and transcribing an interview with older people whose stories might otherwise be lost.
posted by sardonicsmile at 6:38 PM on March 6, 2008

Sort of along the same lines as pseudostrabismus with the pore cleansing strip up-page: cuticle trimmers. They're like teeny potato peelers for cuticles; this means hours of fascination getting rid of tiny bits of skin. Sort of disgusting, don't do in company. You could probably while away an afternoon doing this and be left with, I don't know, stumpy skeleton fingers with no further flesh on them. Err, YMMV.
posted by eponymouse at 2:26 AM on March 7, 2008

You don't need an XBox - you need old warez and emulators.

Racquetball is good, if you have courts anywhere where you live. It's super-fast, cheap, and definitely not boring.
posted by ostranenie at 3:12 PM on March 7, 2008

Equip yourself with a bottle of water, a notebook and a pen, and take a bus to somewhere nearby where there are lots of people. Walk to another bus stop about two miles away, heel-to-toe: with each step, make the heel of your front foot touch the toe of your back foot - yes, these are very tiny steps and very slow. Maintain absolute silence - speak to nobody (not even friendly policemen). Every time you hear somebody speak, stop, put down your water bottle, and write down what you just heard in your notebook. If abused by drivers, since it will take you a long time to cross roads, just keep on heel-to-toe walking until you're out of their way, then stop and write down anything you heard them say. If somebody takes your notebook from you, sip from your water bottle while waiting patiently for them to give it back.
posted by flabdablet at 3:38 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and, ha ha, Facebook-stalk people from your adolesence.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:32 AM on March 17, 2008

Try the assignments at
posted by potterybliss at 11:12 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm jealous.

There's a book for you that has 365 interesting activities, just along the lines of what you're seeking: This Book Will Change Your Life

No affiliation. I just remember seeing it at a bookstore recently.
posted by kmel at 11:44 AM on March 19, 2008

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