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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January 23, 2014 - 2:00pm
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