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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Keeping busy when the lights go out

With the power situation in SA worsening, the news is full of enquiries into who's fault it is and how they should be punished. In this trying time I thought I would follow Leo from Zen Habits' example and find something positive in it. For me this upside is that one really has to come up with other ways to keep entertained in the evening than staring at the idiot box-which Natz and I were doing anyway. So without much ado, here's a short list of things to keep you busy when you're load shedded, possibly by candle light:

1. *Censored* someone

This is a family friendly blog, I'm not going to spell it out-but there's a reason there is a spike in the localized birthrate nine months after any major blackout ;)

2. Talk to someone

If #1 is inappropriate, there's always good old fashioned conversation. Not instant messaging or SMSing or small talk on your cellphone-start up a serious conversation on something. Argue it out, pick the topic apart, practice the fine art of conversation. Sit down and really talk to your kids about their day, to your partner about their ambitions, your mom about her worries, anything.

2. Play something

No, not video games (unless you have a charged DS or PSP), I mean the good old fashioned  board games. Remember playing monopoly and scrabble as a kid? They're just as much fun today, and if you really need an incentive you can add alcohol to the rules.

3. Make something

Mechano, Lego, puzzles, or some kind of home craft. Again these were all fun and challenging when we were kids. They are still fun, haul them out, dust them off and get stuck in-you'll be amazed how time flies.

4. Read (or write) something

Remember books, those things with words on them that didn't use pixels? People read for hundreds of years by candlelight-and despite what your granny told you they didn't all end up squint. Pull one of those dusty old volumes off the shelf and start re-training your brain what it's like to imagine what a fantasy world might look like.

Alternatively, how about writing? When last did you write a letter to a loved one? That novel you've always wanted to write? Microsoft would have you believe otherwise but you don't actually need a word processor to do this stuff.

5. Grow something

If you have a garden, great. Go spend some time in it-yes even in the dark. If you don't, bonsai are fascinating and time consuming-and they don't need to be plugged in. Cash strapped? You'll have something in your kitchen that will sprout given some soil, water and fertilizer.

6. Go somewhere

If it's still early enough to be light out, take a walk, get some air. If it's a weekend and the blackout 'spoiled' your afternoon of sport watching, go find a park nearby and make your own damned sports! :)

Any other suggestions that could be added to the list?

On a related note, Zen Habits is running a guest article on combating boredom, go check it out. Also, a new gaming blog has just been started by a buddy of mine called Gaming in the Dark, get over there and pass some of these tips on to him ;)



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