NPF: TEDIUM

Have any of you been trapped indoors and/or without utilities by the recent storm? I did not, of course, but most of the people to whom I've spoken claim that the worst part is the sheer boredom – with the decline of hygiene that accompanies no power and no water a close second. The nearest experience I've had involved being in a winter "storm" in Georgia, where 3" of snow was sufficient to shut down the entire city and all of the roads for a solid week. After sitting in the house for about three days, I was fairly certain my ex-wife and I were on the verge of murdering each other, and we were not a violent people. There are only so many times you can move around in an enclosed space before you begin to get irritable for no good reason whatsoever.

Other than reading, what can we do to kill time once our electronic nonsense is taken away from us? I freely admit to being antsy if I have to go very long without being in front of my laptop. And god help us if there is no internet access. It's amazing, sad, and amazingly sad how rapidly these once non-essential technologies become indispensable.

In the future, if I have sufficient advance warning that I am about to be stranded, I am purchasing the necessary ingredients to make this fruit Rubik's Cube salad.

And I don't even like feta cheese. Don't care. Still making it. When else are you going to do it?

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52 Responses to “NPF: TEDIUM”

  1. Quicksand Says:

    Use Mexican queso fresco instead of feta. It's still very good with fruit, but not as funky as feta.

  2. Elusis Says:

    Cotija or mozzarella would also work.

    We had no power for about four days after the Syracuse derecho of 1998. At least we could go outside. (Had to – it was August and HOT.)

  3. LK Says:

    Actually, watermelon and feta (or even better- the stronger, more flavorful Bulgarian varieties) are a match made in heaven. If you go that way, I would exchange the kiwi for something less tangy (cantaloup? maybe even mango?).
    Or go for an all-savory version, with avocado and beetroot. Hmmm….

  4. Middle Seaman Says:

    Watermelon and feta is an ages old Middle Eastern recipe. It's simply the contrast of sweet and salty which is a universal combination. Most variants on this coupling choose other well known couplings such as sweet and sour, sweet and tangy, etc.

    The DC area was spared the hard hit of Sandy and most people stayed home surrounded by all the regular services. The wise lady and I spend many hours saddled on the laptops exchanging bits and pieces. It's typically works fine. I also spend time cooking, reading books, cleaning, organizing, tending to the dozen or so planted pots. Life is typically good.

  5. Jimcat Says:

    "Other than reading, what can we do to kill time once our electronic nonsense is taken away from us?"

    I didn't realize there were things to do other than reading.

  6. MKULTRA Says:

    Teacher, teach thyself.
    Read a book ya dumbass.

  7. Alex SL Says:

    That looks awesome, and I like Feta.

  8. c u n d gulag Says:

    I'd never finish making that damn thing, I'd be popping cubes as soon as they were made.

    No power? And you can't go out? Alone?
    Sleep.
    Read.
    Write.
    Sex – it doesn't always take two or more. Besides, you don't wake up a virtuoso – ya gotta practice!

  9. Mrs. Chili Says:

    Reading is my primary entertainment when there's no internet, though girls (and some guys, but I don't take you for the type) can also take some of that time up with home spa silliness; facials, mani-pedis, that sort of thing (I have teenage daughters, what can I tell you?).

    I don't like feta either; I'd opt for a nice, fresh mozzarella in that application…

  10. Anonymouse Says:

    We lost power for a bit more than a day when some jackass slammed his vehicle into a utility pole *before* the storm (gotta race to the store and load up the SUV with 300 pounds of potato chips!!!).

    Reading by candlelight is very hard–flashlight is better. We played with the cat and bailed the water out of the sump well.

  11. sluggo Says:

    I went looting.

  12. Hazy Davy Says:

    c u n d gulag used all of my planned comment.

  13. JulMonty Says:

    Excercise. Amazing how much better you feel after stretching. And not for 2 minutes. Try 45 minutes. Physical exercise (running in place, push-ups, jumping jacks) will relieve your stess.

  14. Hobbes Says:

    Also, if you can see to do it – get a teach-yourself-to-knit or crochet book and learn how to make some socks or hats or even just scarves.

  15. chautauqua Says:

    See how long you can sleep. I made it up to 20 hours out of 24 once on a particularly long transit by sea. It gets a bit surreal though.

  16. Jon Says:

    Survival packs should always include a deck of cards and a harmonica.

  17. Davis X. Machina Says:

    A chessboard and a copy of David Bronstein's "Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953" always does the trick for me. Smyslov at the top of his game, Reshevsky near his, the young Petrosoan….good times, good times.

  18. ladiesbane Says:

    I've been snowed in quite a few times, with and without power; in Montana we called this "winter". Aside from the good points above, I would add, "Go outside and play." Even if the trucks aren't running, feet still work. Building snow gargoyles, throwing snowballs, and looking at the sugar-icing transformation of the world is fun.

    When I moved to Oregon, a few inches of powdered sugar on the ground acted as a dogwhistle to rally the four-wheel-drive vehicles, drive like maniacs to the local Fred Meyer, and stock up on bottled water and Duraflame logs for the mild apocalypse already melting outside. Local antics amount to free theatre and shouldn't be disregarded as a source of entertainment.

  19. JohnR Says:

    cu was the first one to point out the obvious? The heck with reading; I can do that any time. Nothing passes the time like sex, though, and then you get nice naps out of it as well. What's not to like?

  20. Chicagojon Says:

    Mozarella would work but clearly the problem here is that 6 different things must be used and the cube must be made in a technically solvable position.

    Watermelon, kiwi, cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple seem like a logical 5 but I don't know about the cheese. Gotta find a non green, red, orange, green, yellow fruit that's large enough to cube. Maybe 2 and take out the kiwi cuz it would likely require 4-5 of them to make 9 cubes.

  21. ts46064 Says:

    Use cream cheese instead

  22. Amanda Says:

    When I was in high school Maine was hit by a gigantic ice storm which took out power to Southern Maine FOR THREE WEEKS in JANUARY. We could ice skate down the roads, and my family had a wood stove and gas appliances so we were okay for awhile, but since we used a well we couldn't shower unless we tried to drive to the local shelter, and I need to re-emphasize that we could ice skate down the road. Add to that that any tree was a weapon of mass destruction due to the weight of the ice, so we really shouldn't have been going outside.

    And my family wanted to kill each other most days. Imagine 3 weeks with no power, no tv, no generator, in the middle of rural Maine. It's a wonder any of us survived.

  23. Major Kong Says:

    Since everything I know I learned from watching cartoons – after the food runs low you start imagining your family members as giant porkchops.

  24. Andrew Laurence Says:

    The white cubes could be made of jicama.

  25. Mo Says:

    sluggo wins.

  26. atthebench Says:

    you could try writing letters, the pen on paper kind, telling all your friends and relatives how much fun it is to live in Peoria

  27. Bill Says:

    I have a piano.

  28. Bill Says:

    Also, fuck cheese.

  29. One Dissillusioned Guy Says:

    Well, we were "trapped indoors" during Isaac a couple months back here in New Orleans for four days, and I'd have to say "boredom" wasn't really an issue. I actually found the opportunity to do some serious practising on the horn (I'm a professional musician) without electronic distractions to be a real blessing. Sweatning my nuts off in 90F-plus heat and suffocating humidity and losing hundreds of dollars in cancelled gigs? Not so much.

  30. JazzBumpa Says:

    The cube doesn't have to solvable. Eating it would be great fun. Not cream cheese, though – too soft.

    Jon has a great idea, but screw the harmonica. I have 4 trombones and a euphonium!

    Damn, the euph takes a lot of wind. Way more than my bass tbn.

    Cheers!
    JzB

  31. mel in oregon Says:

    you are way too tied to modern technology, which in general is why people 50 & up find young adults so boring.

  32. Nick Says:

    If you want to get all fancy, you could use dragonfruit in place of the feta.

  33. sinned34 Says:

    So long as I have propane I could still brew beer at home. I'd also like the spare time to drain the 100L stores of beer I usually keep on hand. It's mostly British-style ales, so drinking it at slightly below room temperature is true to the style. I even have a beer engine in case I run out of CO2.
    Failing that, there's lots of activities to do. Play and compare Advanced D&D (2nd edition) versus D&D 3rd and 4th edition. Play Arkham Horror, Axis & Allies, Milles Bornes, or spend hours entertaining our dachshund. Grab a car battery and my power inverter to plug in the laptop to play classic DOS games (low CPU usage, so more battery time). Play street hockey or head to a local lake if it's cold enough to play ice hockey outside. There's always lots for a nerdy Canadian to do!
    I'd just be happy to not have to go to work and get a chance to spend a whole bunch of time at home with the wife.

  34. jojodawhale Says:

    Way to go professor!!! Your grammar is impeccable! Here is a good example of your writing skills, "we were not a violent people". And you have the audacity to criticize others? Really!?! After reading your dependency for your laptop and internet, I would strongly advise you to get a hobby or here is an idea for an alleged political science genius…RUN FOR OFFICE!!! Or would that be too stressful?

  35. jojodawhale Says:

    Way to go professor!!! Your grammar is impeccable! Here is a good example of your writing skills, "we were not a violent people". And you have the audacity to criticize others? Really!?! After reading your dependency for your laptop and internet, I would strongly advise you to get a hobby or here is an idea for an alleged political science genius…RUN FOR OFFICE!!! Or would that be too stressful?

  36. MBL Says:

    Jojo, your dumbass is showing, and you can't see it. I'd like to suggest stopping now.

  37. Major Kong Says:

    @sinned34

    I'm not quite sure what a "beer engine" is but I think I want one.

  38. Punt Speedchunk Says:

    Jojo, this stuff is priceless. Keep it coming, please.

    I have some commas and a semicolon if you need them.

    Ed could probably show you where to put them.

  39. chautauqua Says:

    Jojo, thanks so much for the double posting. The second one is what really convinced me.

    Of your idiocy.

  40. anotherbozo Says:

    Isn't he cute? You got a new troll while I was away! Unfortunately he's not very entertaining…

    Anyways, we in lower Manhattan (Soho) got power restored at 4:30 a.m. today after 5 days without, and Ed is right, it really limits about 95% of what one likes to do, needs to do. (Even my art requires floodlights and a spray gun w/ compressor) D Batteries were being sold out of open vans, but we had the foresight to stock up. Candles too. But FM radio, even public radio, sucks bigtime, recycles its own news stories ad nauseum. Even without knowing the hell that was going on in the outer boroughs and in New Jersey, I had my perspective restored by settling in at the window and starting Faulkner's "Light in August," initially a bleak picture of abysmal poverty ca. 1925. But found 4 hours reading feverish Southern Gothic was about my limit. Fortunately/unfortunately there were errands to run, as for ice, butane cannisters, etc.

    But the cell phone was acting up. Towers were down–no juice! People were walking en masse to midtown, still powered, just to recharge what mobile devices still worked. My kingdom for a wall outlet!

    Saw a cop giving a ticket to a generator. Free sandwiches on 9th Street. Free ice in Union Square. No traffic lights below 23rd Street, but no accidents either.

    Love the fact that Bloomberg came out for Obama this week. Oops- NPF, sorry.

  41. anotherbozo Says:

    off-topic, but this is definitely worth sharing:

    http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archives/2012/10/29/joss-whedon-endorses-mitt-romney-because-hell-put-this-country-back-on-the-path-to-the-zombie-apocalypse

  42. xynzee Says:

    @Mjr: A beer engine is a pump to assist in getting the beer out of the kegs in the cellar up to the taps. Can be mechanical or manual. IE think back to when we were young and had to pump the keg. Now that was an art form and an art worth living.

    He who could tap the keg and not turn it to suds controlled the universe!!

  43. xynzee Says:

    Third line: …learning. But "living" I think works in this case.

    Anyone know why my tags won't close?? As I only wanted to bold the *that*.

  44. Suttree Says:

    Out of power for 6 days for Isaac. Grill so long as the meat held out, and after that you tend to get creative with what cans of food you can combine with other seemingly non-related cans of food. Sex would have been great but no such luck. Walking through the neighborhood bs'ing with my people, getting drunk, rambling on about conspiracy theories of why we lost power 16 hours before landfall. Catching up on the last years worth of crappy sleep. Reading my six month backlog of The New Yorker. I always try my best to treat it as a vacation, but it does test your patience when its summer in New Orleans and you have no AC. I tend to go lay in the shower until I turn into a prune. Yes lay in the shower, it feels like laying in the rain. Breath deeply.

  45. Suttree Says:

    Also, I have found that when the annoyance of having no power gets me down. A quick cure is reading " A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich". It gets you a little bit of perspective, real quick like. It actually works for all kinds of perceived troubles.

  46. Tom Says:

    A troll is someone who is being disingenuous; A troll is not someone saying things that you disagree with.

    Language uncertainty is what got us into this mess in the first place.

  47. JazzBumpa Says:

    Oh, I think making a wildly off-topic ridiculing comment that stems from a presumed but unearned vantage point of intellectual and moral superiority is more than a little bit trollish.

    But, you are Tom, so never mind.

    JzB

  48. zebbidie Says:

    What's worse is that jojo missed the joke – which was a pretty good one.

  49. Tom Says:

    That's really bizarre. I read it as:

    "Hey dude, your blog post has some grammatical errors, and I'm bringing them to your attention because I love redress. Also, I am such a fan of your daily entertaining that you should take a holiday; have some fun: run for office!

    P.S. I'm posting twice to ensure you catch my grammar fix!

    xoxo,
    jojodawhale"

    Then again, as you so rightly pointed out, I am Tom, and probably have a lesser appetite for offense taking. Also, he didn't state any assumption about superiority: you invented it!

  50. Noskilz Says:

    I'd probably want to make some substitutions, but that Rubik's cube salad looks intriguing.

    Reading is probably your best best – that and boardgames, although many of those seem to have jumped on the electrified bandwagon, and batteries might be better saved from more essential things.

  51. BobS Says:

    Rather than purchasing Rubik Cube salad ingredients, your money would be better spent preparing for potential power outages by storing up on more useful items, with water being the number one priority. The rural area where I live experiences frequent power outages- inasmuch as my well uses an electric pump, what you're experiencing now is somewhat common, albeit not for as long a time. I've gotten by without a generator so far by storing drinking water in 5 gallon blue containers that are actually designed to store kerosene, so as not to confuse them with gasoline cans, which are red (I also keep a couple of those in the garage). Water heaters also contain a substantial amount of water that can be used in a pinch, especially for hygiene. Household bleach is useful to have on hand for purification purposes and backpacking type water purifiers should be among everyone's emergency supplies. As for waste, you can purchase toilet seat lids that attach to the top of 5 gallon buckets- it isn't pretty, but compared to the alternatives…
    Camp stoves and lanterns are also available fairly inexpensively- start getting ready for the next storm now.

  52. Amused Says:

    Call me old-fashioned, but I find reading books very satisfying. Taking walks, weather permitting, is also a fun activity to pass the time. (It is also one that, paradoxically, virtually doesn't exist in this country. If Americans walk, it has to be purposeful HIKING. So you either hike, if hiking trails are passable, or you drive. And even if you hike, you have to drive to the trail. Just taking a walk? Like, walking out the front door of your house and taking a leisurely stroll just because? How quaint. Only moms pushing strollers do that, amirite? Which is why I understand, Ed, why you and your ex-wife found yourselves confined to the house even though the snowfall had only been 3 inches.) There are board games, too.

    And as BobS has mentioned, why not prepare for things like this? Even if you don't have a generator, you'll be amazed what an inverter will do for you if your only source of power is your car.