01 July 2013

What To Do When You're Bored (And Learn Something in the Process)

Summer vacation is astonishingly mundane. It's the only bad thing about having two months (and then some) off from the only time when one can do anything productive and time-consuming as a kid. (Most of my teachers assign homework and don't give it back or correct it. But it takes up time.)

So, what does one do to ease the boredom of these long summer days when there's nothing to do? I know, it's tough. Today I have only done six things:

Play Sudoku nonstop
Listen to Moody Blues over and over
Watch WheezyWaiter and Numberphile videos
Make ramen (and eat it)

Last week I tried watching movies, which somewhat worked until I got bored of watching. Then I did summer homework. I have three assignments. Finished 1...and maybe another...and maybe that third also...

The point is that today, in 2013, we've gotten so out of touch with reality that we've forgotten that our ancestors in the 1800s actually used to do stuff. No, seriously. Not just, you know, saying "Godspeed, my good sir! How hast thou fared thee on this great day?" (And not that nonsense with the stick and the hoop, either. But that's pretty much the sum of it. Which renders this paragraph contradictory.)

But no one ever said doing something had to be lifeless without education! So here you go: 12 things to do, and you might learn something in the process.

1. Go to Sporcle.com. Now. There's a load of awesome quizzes to play, anything from Countries of the World to US Presidents, to European Countries by Letter, to Oscar Winning Movies, to States.

2. Memorize a really complicated song. Like... *looks at playlist* Umm...none of these really work. *goes to YouTube* Here: Major General's SongIn that accent. If you like the tune but not the lyrics, then here: The Elements Song. Or Countries of the World! You'll become smarter and you'll amaze your friends. *shrugs* Or you can memorize a poem and join your school's Poetry Out Loud contest, if you have one.

3. Learn lists from Listverse. It'll cost you a couple hours of your life, searching for fun things to read, but, you know, it's worth it!

4. Read something. Anything. Well, not anything (looking at you, Fifty Shades of Gray!). If you want some recommendations:

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (time travel)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (horror)
The Importance of Being Earnest by above (high-class wit and dandies)
Dracula by Bram Stoker (original, masculine, intelligent, actually creepy vampire)
The Stranger by Alfred Camus (philosophical mediations)
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (hard-boiled crime noir)
1984 by George Orwell (dystopia at its best and creepiest)
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (best book ever)
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (high society affairs and drama)
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand (swashbuckling, dramatic play)
Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale (not the movie, but the movie's damn good, too)
Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (detective)
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (science popularizing)

So yeah. Those books won't hurt you (though you might want a dictionary nearby at hand), and they're actually pretty good. The hardest one of the above might be either Dorian Gray or Dracula, just because of the depth and complexity of the language. But they won't kill you.

5. Write a novel. Or at least try writing 2 pages of writing.
Yeah, just go and look at my Germanic article for some word choices, or go do number 4 to see how to do it. Or go here.

6. Make marmalade. No joke. And not the song "Lady Marmalade", either. I mean, just see the DH Lawrence quote at right. *shrugs* Even if you don't have the blues. Sometimes one must be creative.

7. Get a pad of paper and some markers and pencils, whatever you want. And sketch. A map, a face: whatever. Look up Latin words and use them in your map. You'll learn something you never learned before. Try it. It's fun.

8. Mix baking soda and vinegar together. *shrugs* It's fun...

9. Go out to your local movie supplier, and buy/rent/steal Fringe: Seasons 1-5. Watch in order (except for episode Unearthed, which is in S2 as a bonus episode. Recommended to watch right after episode Bad Dreams, in S1.)

10. Start your own country. There are a number of prudent ways to do this. I will enumerate three of them:

a) Go into your bedroom, and survey the land. Do number 7 on the list (above). Write a constitution. Create money, a militia, your own enemy, etc.
b) Basically number 5: write a story about a faraway land that you created.
c) Go to nationstates.net. Register and get started.

11. Try donning a new accent. Someday (but not today) I shall post videos of myself doing various (patently horrible) accents. But try it. Scottish, French, British, Russian, German, hell, even go for the awesomely hard to do Transatlantic one! It'll be fun. (If you succeed at doing the Translatlantic accent video respond in the comments.)

And finally, my last one:
12. Maybe you just need to go outside. Some sun will do one good, especially if you've been inside for the past ten days and not seen a breath of fresh air. (I am being really hypocritical.) But, you know, it can't do you any bad! Try to go outside for at least 30 minutes. (OK, 20 if you want.) And then go back inside. You might feel a little less bored.

Now that I'm done, it's your turn. What do you do in the summer to avoid boredom?


1 comment:

  1. I was going to write... But you convinced me to go outside. This is actually a really good list. And it's on my list.

    But first I'm going outside bye.