Go to the Library
Whether you want to find a good book to read or a book to help you learn a new trade or craft, the library is the best place to go. You could spend hours just perusing the many books on hand. If you aren’t much of a reader (or if you’re looking for ideas for someone else who isn’t much of a reader), the library offers a lot still. Most libraries carry movies you can check out. They also have a wide range of how-to books that offer step-by-step instructions with pictures.
You already knew those things about the library, you say. Well, while you’re there meander over to the genealogy section and look to see if your great, great grandma on your Dad’s side really did buy a hundred acres of land filled with buried treasure. You may be a wealthy person and didn’t know it.
Remember, too, that the library is a public facility. On a slower day, ask one of the clerks to tell you about strange and unusual happenings there. You will find that not only books are dropped in the night drop, and that people use the strangest things as book marks, just for starters.
Check out Netflix
With over a hundred channels sometimes it’s still impossible to find something good to watch. Netflix offers many, many movies and shows that are available for download on your computer for instant viewing, and much more that is delivered to your home (postage paid). The lowest package for instant view movies is approximately $10.00, but worth every cent if you are an avid movie or television buff (or just have dreams of becoming one). They carry almost everything that’s been produced for the masses (not your aunt’s home video of her trip to the Netherlands). You’ll find enough stuff to watch to keep you busy for hours, days, years. You can even learn yoga or how to knit.
You can have a really old weird B movie like “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” delivered to your home. Invite a bunch of your friends over, order pizza and the spend the evening critquing the movie together (think Mystery Science Theater 3000).
Learn to Draw
There are several books that help beginners with a step by step process. You can find many of these books at the library, and there are many websites available as well, which include download-able books – sometimes for free. Really, all you need is a good pencil, an eraser, and paper. None of the items have to be anything special. You can even use notebook paper. Break out of the stick figure box!
Make a Wish List
I don’t know how many times my family and friends have asked me what I wanted to for my birthday or Christmas. So, to be helpful (I try so hard to be helpful), I got online and created an extensive wish list with items that cover price ranges from $0.99 to almost $1000.00 (I found a nice laptop I liked). I just created a new folder on my “favorites” bar on my browser and added any items I saw that I liked. It began as a “labor of love” (I don’t want my loved ones to fret over me, after all) and I realized I was having a lot of fun! As I was going, I also found great gifts for my family and friends. It appears that I will now have most of my Christmas shopping done by summer!
Almost everyone and their great aunt blogs these days. Make yours interesting. Create a blog based on obscure facts about people, places and events. Add facts such as the fact that Walt Disney was afraid of mice, or that in every episode of Seinfeld there’s a superman somewhere. If that isn’t your cup of tea, then blog your favorite quotes. You can start with “In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.” – Charlie Brown.
Design a Dinner Party
That’s right. I said design a dinner party. Get as elaborate as you like. Plan a 5 course meal complete with appetizers and dessert. You don’t have to actually make any of it, or even invite anyone over. There are millions of recipes online to sift through. You can discover culinary masterpieces to try for real at home or some bizarre recipe that you know will never grace your tabletop, like Opossum stew.
Learn to Play Harmonica
Well, you’re bored, so why not sing the blues? What better way to do that than accompany your song with the traditional blues instrument (also known as the blues harp). You can get a harmonica and a beginner’s book for as little as $5.00. What’s great about it is that you can learn to play while you’re bored now, then later when you’re bored you can invite your friends over and impress them with your new skills. You could even stand at the corner of your favorite restaurant and play for change. Everyone will talk about how productive and creative you are!
The ancient art of paper folding has made a come back. And, it goes way beyond paper airplanes. You can make paper birds, pianos, flowers, several different kinds of animals, or even a dinosaur. For the truly quirky, there are directions online on how to make a man reading the paper. Add a little toilet, and you’ve got Uncle Bob’s Christmas present for next year. You can get as complex as you like with your origami making, but if you just aren’t in the mood to become the next Michaelangelo of paper art, you can just learn how to make a better airplane. Make two and have a contest.
Puzzles and Word Games
There’s actually scientific evidence that puzzles like crosswords and sudoku help keep mental disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease at bay. You can find these types of puzzles at your nearest drug store, and, again, there’s several online you can get for free. One of my favorite pastimes is playing a game called Literati at Yahoo games. It’s, for the most part, an online version of Scrabble. Get creative and find out what really is a word and what isn’t. Or, for the truly creative, make your own crossword puzzle, and get a family member to fill out.
Yes. Color. Like with crayons. Believe it or not they actually make coloring books for adults. I’m not ashamed to say that I own one of these fine books. It’s filled with abstract designs made by well known artists, and I have had a lot of fun trying to make each page as dazzling as possible. I’ve been known to sneak into my kids’ rooms and borrow their coloring books from time to time as well. Go ahead, get yourself a cool new coloring book and some crayons (I suggest Crayola). Tell the clerk it’s for your niece. I won’t tell anyone your secret.