10 things I learned from #DarkNL 2014

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(and some social media friends I need to thank for getting me through that difficult time).

Not sure if most of you are aware, but yesterday at approximately 9am, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador lost electricity, on one of the coldest days of life, during a ridiculous snowstorm. A fire at the Sunnyside station caused this wreck, and many people were without power for close to 24 hours. Some are still without power. Some had power come back, then lost it again. It holds potential for a pretty severe situation.


I am learning quite a lot from this experience. There are changes I need to make in my life, that's for shiz. There are also some people I need to thank. Because I had no coffee, I had few thoughts of my own, and essentially had to rely on social media friends to help me survive.


Behold, 10 things I learned and some social media friends I need to thank for getting me through yesterday's blackout:



  1. That I am completely unprepared for a potentially apocalyptic catastrophe. Did I learn nothing from my days with the Girl Guides of Canada? Clearly not. Clearly, the motto, “Be Prepared” escaped my mind entirely leading up to this latest disaster. It's simple, yet did not remain with me. I regret this ruefully. I am sorry, Girl Guides of Canada, for not retaining the basic survival skills you taught me in my youth. I should have tried harder. I should have gotten more badges. Would you like me to come back to a few meetings? I'd be happy to return. Back so far as Brownies, even. I'd happily re-join the Sprites and sit on the toadstool a few more times. I'll go to summer camp again, and this time, I promise not to get chicken pox and go home early. From now on, I vow to be prepared – I must purchase a Coleman Stove and heater. I must purchase a bounteous supply of large candles. Batteries. Beans. Chef Boyardee. A number of other things, which I will reference below. This is now an umbrella theme and motto in my own life, and I thank you for your roundabout way of showing me the light.





  1. If there was an apocalyptic catastrophe, I would surely be amongst the first to die. I tried to boil a small saucepan of water with tea lights – the idea only came to me through David Cochrane, on Twitter. Did I bother to put a lid on the thing? Nope. Did I contain the tea-lights in some kind of tin foil contraption, in order to make the heat more concentrated? Negatory. That's what having no coffee does to you, see.

  2. Mother Nature shut down Christmas, as my friend, Andrea Morgan, proclaimed on Facebook. Andrea, I thank you for this profound insight. Is this is a clue that we don't need to go bananas on our Christmas lights? As much as I love Clark Griswold, he was very wasteful with electricity. The opulent 80s are over, people. Did anyone see the ads for that show on ABC about families competing for a prize for having the most lights on their house? Ridiculous. All about buying more crap and going overboard during the holidays. Let's go back to more understated decor. Wreaths, holly berries, a few candles in the window. It'll still be pretty, especially if we have all the beautiful (HA!), white snow we had this Christmas.

  3. The value of a good hashtag is unparalleled in this age of technology. True enough, the hashtag won't last forever, because eventually all of our devices will perish. But while we have the juice, a good hashtag really helps connect us with everyone else who is making fun of the potentially disastrous situation we are in. Newfound Marketing did it. #DarkNL. Dramatic, horrifying, yet somehow playful – their creation bonded people across the province as we attempted to skirt the issue with our hilarious photos and photo captions, using our classic Newfoundland humour as a shield for our inner terror. My own personal contribution was a photo of my dead Keurig machine, with the caption: “Where's the blue light? I NEED THE BLUE LIGHT!!” Hahaha, I am so freaking hilarious! Someone even favourited that one, thank you very much. After that post, I decided to continue on my coffee theme, and Tweet out, “Apocalypse in NL caused not by mysterious virus that makes people go mad, but by caffeine withdrawal due to fire at Sunnyside. #DarkNL”. That one was favourited by social media guru, Lyle Wetsch, whose own Tweets kept me posted on the Tim Horton's lineup. So thank-you, Lyle, for making me feel that my own humerous contributions to the inner horror of Newfoundlanders were worthy and appreciated. And for updating me on the Tim Horton's lineup.

  4. Hot showers and hot coffee are under-appreciated in our society (note to self – also stock up on extra deodorant, both men's and women's).

  5. Hot coffee is under-appreciated in our society. Apparently, the Tim Horton's lineup on Torbay Road was stretched all the way to Macdonald Drive (again, thanks, Lyle!)! And once word got out that Target with a Starbucks within was open, it didn't take long for the lineup to sprawl right out. I bolted up as soon as I saw the Tweet, and when I got there, it was relatively empty! Amazing. I decided to be responsible and gather my tins of beans and check for a Coleman stove first (of which there were none to be had, obviously). By the time I got back there the Starbucks line had about 30 people in it. Empty gas tank, or beautiful, red-cupped bliss? Which would it be for this very crooked blogger? It was both, I tell you! Anyway, for the next time the whole province loses power, you can be damn sure I'll have a French Press and and one of those marble bowls with a sort of club to bludgeon some coffee beans with. This idea is of course, not my own, but that of Kelly Davis, another Facebook chum. Thank-you, Kelly.

  6. I really need to start making friends with some of the neighbours. Start baking them pies and muffins and stuff, and sending them Christmas cards and maybe mowing their lawns. Maybe some of the time I'll even screw up the baking, so they'll think I'm completely useless, pity me, and give me more time before they eat me if we do enter into a state of apocalypse. Plus, what a great reason to lose weight! If I'm frail and my body is without nutrition, why would they choose to consume me over someone who is a little more portly? They wouldn't, that's what.

  7. Start buying actual books again. Of late, I've been doing most of my reading on the old iPad. I just think it's great because it's more comfortable to hold, you don't have to worry about adequate lighting to read the words on the page, and if you finish a book you don't need to go anywhere to get another one! You just hop into the old iTunes and select your next literary feast. BUT, if we do have a #DarkNL for like, weeks, the old iPad is gonna go dead as a door nail. I do have a car charger, but there's a good chance I'll have no fuel by then because I'll choose instead to wait in line at Starbucks instead of seeking a gas station with power. So you can't go wrong with good old fashioned books and candles, can ya now.

  8. Get a battery-operated radio, or ask either Angela Antle or Ted Blades to move in with me for a while. I was tuned in on Twitter for as long as my conscience allowed, but as the life began to drip from my technological existence, I felt I needed to back off and conserve energy. Pace myself. I felt so alone. Without the thoughts of others to get me through, however was I going to survive? I didn't have coffee, for God sakes! How could I be expected to produce any thoughts of my own?! How, I ask you?? So Angela/Ted, how about it? A house full of beans and wieners, extra deodorant, and a Coleman stove. Hard to resist, huh? Wink wink.

  9. Blackouts aren't really as romantic as the NYC blackout of 1994, as was featured in a storyline of “Friends”. In the episode, Rachel meets a mysterious Italian man in the dark, who sweeps her away from the other friends to make sweet love to her. In real blackouts, what you have are a bunch of smelly, un-showered, decaffeinated, cranky people with mystery, whodunnit farts in the dark.



There's one more thing I remembered during the blackout – that we are pretty lucky where we live. This is no new thought. We go a couple days without power, lots of people in the world have no power, ever. But their survival skills trump ours by a Trump Tower. So we really need to toughen up. Stop being wussies and jumping on our iPhones for every little thing. Now everyone, go get started on those panic rooms!

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