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7 Lesser-Known Hobbies for the Bored and Adventurous

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Admit it—you're bored. It’s not your fault entirely; our society has removed the need for labor and replaced it with a ravenous emptiness, aching to be entertained and distracted. But model trains don’t do it for you and you just can’t devote any more hours of your life to staring at glowing rectangular screens. It’s OK! Try some of these lesser-known hobbies. You might just find one that suits.

1. Slack-lining

It’s like tightrope walking…except the rope isn’t tight. It’s elastic and bouncy, usually just a few feet off the ground. It is tied just taut enough to allow a well-balanced person to walk across it. It can be used to increase muscle control, core strength, and balance. Then, once you get the hang of it, you can go all Parkour on it, using it as a trampoline to perform tricks of agility and balance. It isn’t the most graceful of agility sports, but it does look like a lot of fun.   

2. Thrift Store Monster Paintings

Twisted Sifter 

It’s a sad fact of life that no matter how much grandma treasured that faded painting her sister drew of a girl feeding a deer under an apple tree, the people who clean out her house for the estate sale are going to think it’s hideous. And it will join thousands of other equally uninspired paintings leaning against walls at thrift shops across the country. But what if you could upcycle those boring pastorals into something truly inspiring? Then Thrift Store Monster Paintings, the brainchild of artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal, is for you. Once you've painted some glowing space slime in the girl’s hand and a herd of giant purple mutant deer behind her, you've got yourself some inspiring art.  

3. Rock Balancing

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Nature’s Jenga—except way cooler. The purpose of rock balancing is simply to create a tower of rocks, using only gravity to keep them stuck together. A particular goal is to create a structure, which looks like it can’t possibly exist without adhesive. It’s one of the cheapest art forms there is, yet one that requires the touch of a violin virtuoso and the precision of neurosurgeon.

4. Modular Origami

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Origami cranes are for 9 year olds. Time to fold paper with the big boys, friend. Welcome to the unholy marriage of geometry and paper cuts that we call Modular Origami. It differs from regular origami in that you always intertwine more than one piece of paper, and it really helps if you’re a surgeon with an engineering degree from MIT. But it’s worth it.

5. O'Ekaki Puzzles

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O’Ekaki Puzzles were invented by Japanese game-genius Tetsuya Nishio. Like Sudoku, O’Ekaki is a grid puzzle where you have to deduce what goes in each square. But this time you have to figure out if a square is supposed to be black or white, forming a pixel picture if you do it right. You can learn the basics here, or dive right into it by buying one of Nishio’s many books of O’Ekaki.

6. Lampworking

Glass-Sculpting

Etsy is booming; skilled artisans are supplying handmade crafts to a hungry public. You should get in on this. Lampworking  just may be your ticket. It’s glass work, but with no terrifying furnace involved. It uses a single extreme heat source, usually a blowtorch, to melt and shape glass. It’s commonly used for beads, but there’s no need to stop there. Marbles, ornaments, pottery—any of these can be hand-made in your own garage.

7. Contact Juggling

Ministry of Manipulation 

Remember in Labyrinth, where David Bowie hypnotically weaved and spun those crystal balls in his hands? That wasn’t a special effect; it was Michael Moschen, renowned contact juggler. He stood behind Bowie with arms outstretched, performing the astoundingly graceful movements of the magic crystals. In contact juggling, you keep the ball against your body, or at least give the illusion of doing so. A good juggler can manipulate the balls in such a way that your logical mind will tell you there is no way he can still be in control of them. If you always wanted to be a ballerina, and had the arms for it, but not the legs, you may want to give this a try. 

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National Geographic Ranks The 25 Happiest Cities in the Country
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Feeling unhappy? Maybe it's time to move. National Geographic recently released rankings of the 25 happiest cities in the U.S. The results: Eight of the 25 locations are in the Golden State, but the honor of No. 1 happiest city goes to Boulder, Colorado.

The rankings are based on 250,000 interviews conducted in 190 metropolitan areas between 2014 and 2015. The survey—developed by Dan Buettner, author of the new book The Blue Zones of Happiness, and Dan Witters, a senior scientist at Gallup—looked for data points that are correlated with life satisfaction and happiness, like whether or not you exercise, if you feel safe in your community, whether you feel like you live within your means, and whether you feel like you are reaching your goals.

A map of the U.S. showing which cities made the top 25 happiest cities index.
Courtesy National Geographic

Of course, all that isn’t necessarily the result of your geographical location. But you don’t see cities like Los Angeles or New York—where wealth is also clustered—on the list, so presumably San Franciscans are doing something a little differently.

Take a look for yourself. Here are the 25 happiest places in the U.S., according to the results.

1. Boulder, Colorado
2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
3. Charlottesville, Virginia
4. Fort Collins, Colorado
5. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California
6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
7. Provo-Orem, Utah
8. Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut
9. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
10. Anchorage, Alaska
11. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida
12. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
13. Salinas, California
14. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
15. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
16. Ann Arbor, Michigan
17. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
18. Colorado Springs, Colorado
19. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
20. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
21. Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia/Maryland/West Virginia
22. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota/Wisconsin
23. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
24. Portland-South Portland, Maine
25. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

You can grab a copy of November’s National Geographic to read more about the world’s happiest places.

The cover of Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones of Happiness and the cover of November 2017’s National Geographic.
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Here's How to Turn an IKEA Box Into a Spaceship
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Since IKEA boxes are designed to contain entire furniture items, they could probably fit a small child once they’re emptied of any flat-packed component pieces. This means they have great potential as makeshift forts—or even as play spaceships, according to one of the Swedish furniture brand’s print ads, which was spotted by Design Taxi.

First highlighted by Ads of the World, the advertisement—which was created by Miami Ad School, New York—shows that IKEA is helping customers transform used boxes into build-it-yourself “SPÄCE SHIPS” for children. The company provides play kits, which come with both an instruction manual and cardboard "tools" for tiny builders to wield during the construction process.

As for the furniture boxes themselves, they're emblazoned with the words “You see a box, they see a spaceship." As if you won't be climbing into the completed product along with the kids …

Check out the ad below:

[h/t Design Taxi]

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