BLACKED OUT: 10 things to do without electricity

1: Cook the old-fashioned way. Obtain some charcoal, a lighter and meat from an animal you have hunted yourself (OK, vegetables work as well, especially zucchinis, corn and peppers). But don’t cut corners and use lighter fluid to get the blaze going, this often leaves a residual taste on the food.

2: Read a newspaper. So, exactly what you’re doing right now. Good job.

3: Make it personal. Write a letter in longhand to someone. Not only will it give you time to really put your feeling into words in a way that email does not allow, it also gives the people at the post office something to do. Just kidding, but people appreciate the extra thought displayed in the tedium of sealing an envelope and buying stamps and navigating your way to a mailbox.

4: Be (re)productive. But try not to let your work get out of control and turn into many little assignments (wink, wink). Remember, always work safely.

5: Use the candles you had in your dorm. Yea, that’s right, we know you’re breaking the rules. This can go hand-in-hand with suggestion 4.

6: Find out what is at hidden fields. Face it, you have been at this school for years, but have never visited. Is it really hidden, and what actually happens there? Now is the time to learn.

7: Dust off a battery-powered radio, then tune into a station outside the blackout area. Here’s a fun game; we call it AM roulette. Switch the dial to an amplitude modulation station and listen for a few seconds. Every time you land on Rush Limbaugh or a Christian station, take a shot. Then see suggestion 4.

8: Explore nature. Normally we are all too busy to really examine our rich surroundings. But now is the time to indulge, because as you are quickly finding out, electricity is the glue holding society together. Did you know about the metal moose a mile down the road from Rudy’s?

9: Engage in fun with simple machines. Sharpen pencils, you know you will need them soon. Or rediscover the playful wonder of a pulley system. Don’t forget about levers, the key concept behind see-saws. Hey, have you ever done math on an abacus? Neither have we, but there has to be some reason to recommend it—I mean they used them for hundreds of years—today is the day to feel the joy of moving beads from one place value to another.

10: Form an angry mob. Come on, you have always wanted to be part of one. I mean, those scenes from Frankenstein were so cool. Set off some illegal fireworks, or maybe just march around with torches. Whatever gets it out of your system. Because eventually, the power will come back on, and law and order will be restored. Life will return to the daily grind, and you won’t have the time to explore the whimsical possibilities of living involuntarily off the grid.

This page brought to you by yet another campus blackout and last minute production obstacles.

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