15 Skills You Can Pick Up in a Month

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iStock

As an adult, it can be intimidating to try and learn something new. While reasons can vary, we usually assume we lack the time. It’s true it can take years to truly excel at certain things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t acquire a new knowledge base in a relatively short period. Check out 15 skills that can take less than a month to learn.

1. COOKING

Although it’s convenient, takeout can be expensive and nutritionally suspect. Learning to fend for yourself in the kitchen can be a great way to save money and even improve your health. A month is plenty of time to learn how to properly boil pasta (water level matters), when to adjust heat, and how to cook vegetables so they’re something you actually look forward to eating.

2. CODING

Basic HTML skills aren’t nearly as intimidating to understand as some telephone book-sized manuals would suggest. Learning how web pages are built could come in handy the next time a job application asks if you have any design experience.

3. SWIMMING

Not all children learn this valuable—and potentially life-saving—skill, making for a portion of adults who are wary of getting submerged. But you don’t need to feel confined to a life of doggy-paddling: It may take as few as eight 30-minute lessons to become proficient enough to feel comfortable in the water.

4. CPR

What would you do if someone wasn’t breathing or their heart stopped? If you’re not sure, you’re probably a candidate for lessons in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR. Learning this emergency response to keep blood circulating until help arrives takes just a few classes.

5. DRIVE A MANUAL TRANSMISSION

Ever find yourself itching to drive a friend’s sports car—but then admitting you never learned how to operate a stick-shift? Trust us: it’s not that hard. Practicing with the car turned off, then off-road, can help you build confidence to take it out on the street.

6. PHOTO EDITING

In addition to just being fun, digital photo editing is also a talent that’s becoming more sought after on the job market. While it can take a long time to become proficient in photo editing software, just a few online classes can have you picking up the basics of cropping, filters, and image correction.

7. CARD SHUFFLING

Envious of how professional card dealers can make shuffling seem like an art? You can learn how to properly shuffle and deal a card deck in just a few sessions—once those are mastered, learning more elaborate card spreads can follow.

8. LOCK PICKING

No, we’re not advocating that you learn how to be a criminal in four weeks. There’s actually a subculture of lock picking aficionados who enjoy the challenge of cracking a lock. More importantly, there’s a surplus of padlocks and other security devices that have missing keys or forgotten combinations. It’s a skill that could eventually save you the cost of bolt cutters.

9. DRAWING

Contrary to popular belief, getting the basics of drawing down doesn’t require any innate talent. You can learn how to do more than doodle with some daily practice and assistance from online or book-guided tutorials that cover shadows, lighting technique, and some of the geometric shapes that make up the foundation of illustration.

10. SURFING

While it won’t get you ready for a pro tour, a month of surfing lessons can net you some basic awareness of ocean safety, board balancing, and how to latch yourself onto an incoming wave.

11. SELF-DEFENSE

A black belt in a martial art can take years, but you won’t need that long to learn and practice some basic (but effective) self-defense techniques that could come in handy if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation.

12. LEARN A SONG

Some instructors will swear you can learn a musical instrument in a month. It’s not impossible, but you might be better off aiming to learn a melody or entire song on your instrument of choice as a way of finding out whether you’d like to dive in further.

13. NOTARIZING

More than just a neat addition to your resume, becoming a notary can also be handy if you decide you’d like to make a little extra money on the side by endorsing document signatures. While state requirements can vary, most mandate just a few hours of training.

14. PICK UP A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

You probably won’t become fluent in 30 days, but you’ll be surprised by how much you can learn if you commit to studying every day for a month. There are a number of free apps and websites that can help you improve your skills. Or you can kick it old school and make a stack of vocabulary flashcards.

15. JUGGLING

Maybe you’re not planning on joining the circus, but juggling can still help sharpen your hand-eye coordination. Experienced jugglers believe it takes just about a month to master what’s called the three-ball cascade, the alternating toss-and-catch method that will have you keeping three objects in the air.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

12 Very Haunted Roads

Don't get caught on these roads at night.
Don't get caught on these roads at night.
Pixabay, Pexels // CC0

What could be scarier than driving down a dark road at night? Driving down one of these dark roads at night. If any of the below routes—compiled by Commercial Truck Trader—pop up on your GPS this spooky season, consider finding an alternate way to your destination.

1. Jeremy Swamp Road // Southbury, Connecticut

Jeremy Swamp Road and several other streets in southwestern Connecticut are said to be frequented by Melon Heads, creatures that, according to the New England Historical Society, live in wooded areas and “look like small humanoids with oversized heads” that “survive by eating small animals, stray cats and human flesh, usually the flesh of teenagers.” Some say the Melon Heads are the result of inbreeding, with others theorizing that they escaped from local hospitals or asylums.

2. Owaissa Street // Appleton, Wisconsin

Legend has it that every full moon, a tombstone in Owaissa Street’s Riverside Cemetery bleeds. The tombstone belongs to Kate Blood, who, according to some stories, was either a witch who killed her husband and children with an ax, or was a woman murdered by her husband. (Local historians, however, say Blood died of tuberculosis.) Visitors also report seeing a creepy hooded figure roaming the cemetery.

3. Prospector’s Road // Garden Valley, California

Driving along this hilly, three-mile stretch of road is not for the faint of heart: It’s supposedly haunted by the spirit of a tall, bearded prospector who was murdered after he drunkenly bragged about his claim. According to Weird California, those who run into the entity—who is supposedly responsible for many an accident along the road—will hear him whisper: “Get off my claim.”

4. Sandhill Road // Las Vegas, Nevada

The flood tunnels beneath Sandhill Road between Olive Avenue and Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas are said to be haunted by a dead couple. People have also reported hearing creepy, ghostly moans coming from the darkness and being chased by the specter of an old woman.

5. Bloody Bride Bridge // Steven’s Point, Wisconsin

Drivers on Highway 66 in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, might get a glimpse of the ghost of a bride who was supposedly killed on her wedding day in a car accident on the bridge. Legend has it that if those drivers park on the bridge at midnight and look in their rearview mirrors, they’ll see the bride, in her bloody wedding dress, sitting in the backseat.

6. Boy Scout Lane // Steven’s Point, Wisconsin

Also located in Steven’s Point, the isolated Boy Scout Lane is supposedly where a group of Boy Scouts died, although no one quite seems to know why or how—some say they were killed while camping when their fire raged out of control; others say it was a bus accident; and some say they simply disappeared. Whatever the reason, visitors to the area now say they can hear footsteps and calls for help coming from the woods.

7. Route 66 // Villa Ridge, Missouri

Located on Route 66, the abandoned Tri-County Truck-Stop is a hotbed of ghostly activity. Before the restaurant shut down, employees reported hearing strange noises, seeing apparitions, and watching as coffee pots were thrown across the room by invisible forces.

8. Stagecoach Road // Marshall, Texas

On this red dirt road—which once served as a route for stagecoaches traveling to the town from Shreveport, Louisiana—paranormal investigators have snapped photos of ghosts and had the batteries of the equipment they were using to investigate drain inexplicably. Others who have driven down the road and turned off their cars said they felt a presence stepping on the bumper; when they went home, they discovered tiny handprints in the red dust on the back of the car. The road is supposedly haunted by the spirit of a Voodoo priestess.

9. Route 666 // Douglas, Arizona

The road formerly known as Route 666 may now be part of Route 491 [PDF], but some still call it The Devil’s Highway. Drivers traveling on this section of highway have recounted being pursued by a pack of terrifying dogs or a phantom semi-truck, among other strange and scary encounters.

10. Goatman's Bridge // Denton, Texas

Old Alton Bridge is an iron-truss structure built in 1884 that got its unsettling moniker from local legends. Fifty years after the bridge was built, a successful Black goat farmer named Oscar Washburn—who went by the nickname “Goatman”—put a sign on the bridge that read “This Way to the Goatman.” The sign incensed the Ku Klux Klan, who hanged Washburn on the bridge. But according to Legends of America, “when they looked over to make sure he was dead, they could see only the rope. Washburn was gone and was never seen again.” Some report seeing a man herding goats across the bridge, which was decommissioned around 2001, while others say they’ve seen a half-man, half-goat creature there.

11. Route 375 // Rachel, Nevada

Entertaining the idea of a close encounter? Drivers on this road—which runs near the Nevada Test and Training Range, home of Area 51—have reported hundreds of strange, potentially alien sightings from Alamo to Tonopah, leading to the route’s nickname: “The Extraterrestrial Highway.”

12. Ortega Ridge Road // Montecito, California

This road is haunted by Las Ters Hermanas, or The Three Sisters—three nuns who, it’s said, were murdered more than a century ago. They can be seen standing on the side of the road, arms crossed, their eyes bright blue and their faces glowing.