Staving off boredom in a respite centre

Long time lurker, first time poster.

Because of my physical disability, I have to spend several weeks a year in a respite centre. It can get quite mind numbing. I try to lessen the tedium by taking a couple of DVDs and reading eBooks on my rather low spec laptop - 256mb of RAM, prehistoric processor. Usually have them watched and read a couple of days into a weeks stay.

I have a mobile Internet connection but it’s pretty unreliable (checking the news and light forum use is all I can manage with it most of the time).

Anyone have any ideas on other stuff I can do or try? Mostly with my computer but I’d be glad to hear of any other ideas (nothing very active please!)

I don’t know if you’re into games, but even with a 256 MB computer, you can play NetHack. The graphics aren’t much, but it can still become very, very addictive.

Forgot to mention that - yes, I am into games.

I think we can bump Scozilla up a bit past text mode here. :dubious:

For the best 486-era gameplay, I recommend puzzle adventure games. Dated graphics/handling and lag aren’t going to be an issue, and some of them can be played over weeks certainly. If you can get a hold of Space Quest, Monkey Island, or any other similar series, I’d recommend them highly. Beneath a Steel Sky is downloadable via this page to see if you like that kind of thing.

Top-scrolling games like Dune, the early Command & Conquers, and Warcraft 1 & 2 should likewise be within the abilities of even a mid-range PIII.

A lot of the early stuff isn’t sold anymore, but can be obtained at places like here.

What about writing? It doesn’t even have to be fiction - you could try writing about your experiences. And of course playing games!

I assume you’re already familiar with Project Gutenberg?

If you can afford it, consider getting a netbook - they’re relatively inexpensive, small and light, and you can do many modern things. Investigate the possibility of getting a different provider with better cover of that area. Get an external hard drive for your old computer if you cannot get a new one - hard drive space can be a bit tight in older machines. In this way you have more space to store potentially interesting stuff you can find online.

Consider getting some older PC games, old enough to be run by your computer. You should find them for pennies. Consider open source games, they’re free and sometimes less resource intensive. Start from FreeGamer.

Do you like creative activities? They can be a lifesaver when you don’t have anything else to do. Try your hand at short stories and poetry, plan novels, sketch pictures using a painting program. Bring paper, pencil and crayons with you. The important thing is that you’re doing it for yourself, so there’s no need to worry about whether they’re good or not. They’re for you. And who knows, with enough practice you can become good enough to be satisfactory.

Do you like role playing games of the pen and paper kind? Write an adventure. Sketch a town. Create a memorable character. Thinking you’re no good? Nobody’s good without practice.

Learn something new. Languages. Art techniques. History. Economy. Philosophy.

Are you a tech-minded person? Consider programming. Start small, with text-interface programs. Give yourself little problems to solve. Get a tutorial book if you want, or download one of many tutorials available online before leaving.

If I can think of something else I’ll post again.

Are you able to cook? Planning and executing elaborate meals has gotten me through many boring, lonely nights.

Start learning a new language or improve an old one. Your public library may have some good language learning resource.

DVDs of TV shows- like junk off the Discovery Channel- can sometimes fight boredom better than movies because they are easier to get into. Have a friend with a DVD burning Tivo make a pile of them for you.

Learn other random stuff- card tricks, origami, knot-tying, etc. Memorize world capitals, etc.

A single copy of Games magazine can entertain someone for quite a while.

Nethack, and maybe Dwarf Fortress, can eat a lot of time and entertain you pretty well.

There’s a free version of Star Control II available - The Ur-Quan Masters. It’s very low on the system requirements and high on fun and time-wasting ability. I found myself writing copious notes, including each star system and planet I visited.

http://sc2.sourceforge.net/downloads.php

Nethack is a good one, but lots of roguelike games (dungeon-delving games) are good. I’d also recommend Zangband, also free, and a bit easier to start. Plus, there are multiple dungeons and a wilderness to explore:

http://www.zangband.org/

Both of these are small downloads. Dwarf Fortress is also supposed to be good.

Do you have an iPod or other music player? or can you load iTunes onto your laptop? If so, there are lots and lots and LOTS of interesting podcasts out there. Might be time to learn French, for example.

You can load a lot of CDs onto that laptop (hard-drive permitting) and listen to music on it even if you don’t have a connection.

Depending on your abilities, could you knit or crochet or do some other handwork?

What in the name of Cobra Commander’s Care Bear Underwear is a respite centre?

Respite care.
It’s a respite for the family members who are caring for a sick family member at home, usually an elderly parent.

Join us here for a crazy game of paranoia and mayhem. A regular game takes a couple of months a mini game takes a couple of hours to a couple of weeks.

mafia games

Everyone is quite insane, but for the most part we play well together.