|Things to Do|
|So you're bored as fuck and you hate your job and you have crippling anxiety and you're sick of having to drop cash to do a single goddamn thing these days. I could say the same. Here's a bunch of cheap and free stuff to do that was submitted by lots of friends and cool people and readers of this comic. (If I quoted you here and you want your name on it, or off it, let me know.)
"Might not be true everywhere but libraries are peak free to chill forever in perpetuity spots. And at least in NYC there's a number of libraries that allow talking in certain spots - so you don't need to go and be silent.
Similarly, some museums are 'pay what you can' or have free days. Might be good to ignore super busy hours if you want to walk around leisurely and not feel hurried - but museums are awesome.
Finally, there is a cemetery that does walking tours and has free events -it's not as dark as it sounds- they've got movies on the grounds during the summer. A cemetery is hyper specific but there might be other free places that are surprisingly open to the public to just exist in."
"-Bicycle club. All ages and ability levels. Ride long routes or short, around town, having fun and exercising.
-Softball leagues, from beginner to advanced.
-Community gardening on a big communal plot in the biggest park in town.
-Community clean-up. Everyone goes out in groups with bags, picking up litter and sorting it into trash and recyclables.
-During Covid lock-down, we had a local group who got together everyone in town who owned one of those inflatable dinosaur suits. They'd go to random places in town and parade up and down the mostly-empty streets, giving folks isolating at home something to look out on and laugh at.
-As Covid wanes, the community programs are starting to come back. I did a series at the local library where I'd bring in vintage tube radios and a short-range transmitter and play old-time radio shows, along with a talk on the history of radio. There are lots of different programs like this- art, literature, skills development, crafts, etc."
- Firefly Jelly
"My neighborhood has a free art class once a month you can go to! It is a figure drawing class and they keep it free by having the models just be the attendees of the class. I have done my fair share of modeling there! It's very fun seeing how people have rendered me; there have been some creative takes.
Sometimes there are free shows you can go to; I know there is a program here where teenagers can get free or highly discounted tickets to theater and art shows."
"- Hang out at the library (free gardening and cooking classes)
- Hike or walk in the park
- Explore abandoned places
- Go to each other's houses/apartments (simple but one not to forget about)
- Mutual aid workshops (cooking, repairing things, art, etc)
- Knitting circle"
|"I'm environmental biologist so my reply will be biased but - get involved in some animal protection organisations in you area and start doing projects with them. My friend is an ornithologist and every week she goes with her friends from one organisation at like 5am to count birds near the river. This way you can discover new interesting places and meet some people. And even if you know nothing about topic of this group they will probably be happy to teach you. There are also many tasks where knowledge isn't really needed. I measured some oaks recently so we can try to get government to protect them and all i had to know is how a measurement tape works."
"Fire twirling is one thing. Sure you have to buy or make a fire stick ut after that it's free and you can usually meet some cool people. Here the fire twirlers come out every full moon.
Free running and parkour, though that has kind of died off.
Cultural dances. Those groups are normally free to join and full of fun people. I did morris dancing until life got too busy but I'm aware of belly dancing, regancy and highland dancers around.
Instrumental groups...I can't play anything but they are certainly around too."
- The Letter M
"we have 3 large parks with large bodies of water. You can take a long nice walk around or rent boats or take a ship ride.
Parks and hikes are my go to. Free and nice. You don't meet new people but it's great with friends.
As alternatives, cultural events generally cost very little and are worth it. Most large cities have some museum or archaeological site or natural park or botanical garden or zoo or opera or theatre. They're really accessible and a good value for the low money. Plus the money goes straight to funding them further. Showing interest in them makes governments more likely to aid them, too.
If you know a local or ask around or google a bit, you can find really insane things that you can visit. Stuff I found in various cities that you could visit for super cheap: old castles or buildings or estates, old libraries with rare books, private art collections, private gardens, a private collection of ancient maps, a private gemstone collection, three wildlife rescues, bunch of farms."
"Spain without the a"
"We have a beautiful lake with paths basically going all around it. There's an art gallery, library and park very very close to each other. There's also the museum, which I walked to once (about an hour on foot there and back, I'm an idiot). Entry to all these places (minus exhibitions) is totally free!
For the more nature oriented, there's plenty to see (so much I won't list them all here, I'm a recluse LOL). We have the Botanic Gardens which are MASSIVE. You could spend a whole day there. There's a couple nice hiking trails too. I had friends literally spot pine forests and pull over to pick mushrooms on their way home. Where I live is a little wild.
There's also a wonderful Food Co-op who do free vegan lunches for the university students and much more cool stuff! They do cooking classes and let people volunteer at the shop as well as far as I can tell."
|The thing about food is sadly we all gotta eat it. There are recipes under some comics and maybe I'll put them here too but I don't have time to do that right now. This is a general starter guide if you're nervous about it. I'm not a pro chef and there are a million better guides to this around everywhere but you're here now, aren't you?
You can get cheap produce at the farmer's market. Bring cash and your own bags, maybe a rolling cart if you think you're gonna get a bunch.
This can be one of those things that's socially awkward cuz you have to get people's attention to buy things and fumble with cash. That's okay. There are a crap ton of people there and anyone you buy something from will just be happy about that.
It's also okay not to buy anything. If you get a vendor's attention and then decide not to buy something, just say "thank you" and walk away.
The cool thing is you get local produce and ethically sourced meat. It tends to be nicer than factory farmed stuff and you'd be surprised what kind of cool food you can find there.
If you're looking for pots and pans and spices and stuff, the ~international grocery store~ is a nice place to start. Go for stainless steel pots and wood for utensils. Avoid nonstick coatings cuz those get damaged over time and come off into your food. Same with plastic.
(Yeah I know you can take care of nonstick stuff properly and not scratch it up but look at me. Do you think I care? I wanna have stuff that I can smack around with a metal baseball bat in the morning and make a gourmet meal with in the evening. And I'm the one writing this so you gotta put up with my opinions.)
Make sure you get good quality knives and keep 'em sharp. Sharp knives are safer than blunt knives. They don't slip when you're making your cut. (Also, when you're cutting round things, cut them in half first and then put the flat sides down on the cutting board and then make more cuts. If something is rocking and rolling while you cut it, you're gonna hurt yourself eventually.)
These stores are great for spices. They got a lot more than default grocery stores and better quality, too. Spices are what make you want to actually eat the food you're cooking so get a lot.
When you sautee onions and garlic, people will come into the kitchen and say, "Wow, that smells good! You really know how to cook!"
Mincing garlic is a pain in the ass. If the thought of doing it gets you so nervous and exhausted it prevents you from cooking anything, there are simple mechanical tools that crush/mince it for you (simple mechanical tools aside from a knife) or you can get pre-cut garlic (enough people hate mincing garlic that this is a thing). But cutting it yourself is a good way to practice knife skills so let's talk about that.
When you mince things it's nice to start by cutting it into thin slices. Then turn it around and cut in the other direction. If you're dicing something you can stop here. (Onions are good to practice dicing with. In my experience, red onions make you cry more than yellow onions. Make your first set of slices almost all the way to the top and the onion will stay together while you're doing the second set.)
To really finish it off and get it as small as you can, you need a knife with a curved blade. Put your opposite hand on the top end of the knife and rock it back and forth over what you're cutting. You can go pretty fast and strain your wrist less like that.
Now that you got onions and garlic all cut up, put a pan on the stove (medium high, or around a 7/10) and put in enough butter or oil to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Once it's heated up (you can tell by putting a piece of onion in&if it sizzles, you're good to go, but if the oil is smoking, it's too hot and will burn all your shit) toss everything in and stir it around. Put in whatever spices you're feeling. Once the bottom of the pan starts to get covered with sorta-burned crud, you're done. (This is why it's good to have a steel pan and not a nonstick one. The burned crud is the best-tasting part of the whole meal. Trust me.) This is when you do whatever the hell else you're supposed to be doing with this food. If you stop here you'll have nothing to eat but people will still be pretty impressed.
Meat is like alcohol. People really fucking like it. But actually making it can be tough. The main thing about meat is the marinade, the mix of seasonings and juices(? or some better term) you soak it in. This is another thing you improvise by smell. Some marinades I like use yogurt in them. (UNSWEETENED UNFLAVORED YOGURT!!!!) You can use all dry spice powders but having a juice helps get everything on there evenly. If I was gonna make up a marinade off the top of my head it would be cumin, ginger, yogurt, chili paste, and thyme. Then you stick it in something airtight like a ziploc or tupperware for awhile, at least 4 hours but overnight is pretty good. So you do have to do this before you get hungry.
Chicken makes people nervous cuz it can have salmonella. (Actually, uncooked flour also can have salmonella.) Unlike steak, you have to cook chicken through, but if you cook it for too long, it gets tough and you have to sit there chewing it for an hour. If you're cooking for yourself, well, who cares, but if you wanna give something to your best friend then you might wanna avoid that. First things first, prepping the chicken: don't wash it with soap. Even rinsing it off isn't the best idea. There's gonna be chicken juice splashing around the sink no matter how hard you try and that's gross. Cooking it is enough to kill all the salmonella. If you wanna cook a whole chicken breast in the oven or by boiling it, you're gonna want a meat thermometer. It's cheap and you can probably get it at a grocery store. That's something you gotta wash off with soap after you use it.
You can get away with not having a meat thermometer if you cut up the chicken into small pieces. Make sure they're about the same size so they cook at the same rate. Testing if they're fully cooked is similar to what you do with vegetables&split one in half and see if it's cooked (white) the whole way through. It should split without being squishy. You're looking for the texture you'd get if you were chewing it ("it's cooked if it's ready to eat"&look, it helps to reframe it sometimes).
You can cook things faster and at a more even rate if they're cut up into small pieces. This is taken to its logical extreme in ground meat. I forget if ground meat is more or less expensive than the alternatives cuz it's all fucking expensive these days. If you want a quick meal you can grab a pan + oil and toss some ground meat in with whatever seasonings you feel like and pair it with rice, lettuce/kale/spinach/whatever, cheese, and canned beans (you'll have a nicer time eating it if you heat up the beans in the pan after the meat's done). It's done when it's brown. Since it's ground up you can cook every last bit of it.
IMPORTANT: you can sear a steak but you can't do that shit with ground beef. Ground meat has got to be fully cooked even if it's red meat. Germs and all that.
Oh god it's 4 AM and you're gonna die if you go to sleep without eating something. The inside of your mouth tastes hollow and a migraine is creeping in. You're already on the verge of blacking out so how about some eggs?
Scrambled eggs can be really good or really shit. If you've ever had eggs that tasted like warm tires you know that. The nice thing about scrambled eggs is they don't take that long to make even if you're being patient, so if you really are getting tremors you can still manage it.
Set the stove to medium heat and coat your pan in butter. It helps to have a smaller pan for this so the eggs coat the whole bottom. Once it's heated up (the butter will be sizzling just a little bit) crack your eggs directly into the pan. Two or three eggs is fine depending on how much you wanna eat. You can throw in a splash of milk to make them fluffier or white vinegar or soy sauce to give them some stronger flavor. Use a wood or rubber, flat (square) ended spatula to stir them around. Stir them very slowly and with long sweeps to avoid breaking them up (the yolks will break, of course). They won't burn or stick to the pan too bad cuz the heat isn't too high. They're cooked when they're not liquidy anymore.
You can throw in peppers (cayenne or fresno are nice) and mushrooms and whatever seasonings you want. Lots of people add a bit of salt and pepper to their eggs.