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Things to do in the Dark

The world works in mysterious ways. Coincidences abound and are just frequent enough to make naturally suspicious people like me wonder about the nature of free will and conspiracy theories about supreme overloads controlling out actions. Or maybe that’s just the science fiction writer in me.

Whatever the case, I disassembled my large saltwater aquarium last weekend after running it for a year and a half. The reasons behind this move were many, but no fish, coral, or invertebrates were harmed by this action. One of my chief complaints of my setup was the nature of the sump tank plumbing I built. During power outages, in particular, bad things can happen very quickly that would cause the system to overflow and flood my living room.

Sunday I took the tank down. Monday night we had a power outage that lasted roughly an hour. Now is that simply good luck and timing, or evidence of some nefarious mastermind pushing buttons on a computer simulation that we’re all unwittingly part of?

To continue to power outage story, I saved my work on my laptop and shut it down. It’s a laptop with a battery, what’s the big deal, right? Well I went all American and supersized this laptop – as a result I get around 45 minutes out of a full battery charge. And yes, the battery is operating just fine. Then I rushed to shut down my desktop before the UPS it ran off of died, and finally I had to shut my server down in the basement for the same reason.

So there I am, sitting in the living room with my kids freaking out because they’re bored without TV, computers, or other electronic excitement to keep them busy. My wife remains glued to her Kindle reading my book, Vitalis, and using the light attached to her Kindle case. I had to check on her, I wasn’t sure she realized we’d even lost power!

Seeing my wife on her Kindle provoked an idea. The kids were terrorizing the dog and, given the gloomy lighting caused by a serious rainstorm, risking life and limb with their antics. I pointed out that the iPad and the Kindle Fire were fully charged. Zoom! Off they went, craving their electronic fix. For the record they’re six and three, but the devices are loaded with games to keep them happy whenever we need a digital babysitter (long car rides, appointments at doctor’s offices, etc.).

But these portable godsends aren’t just for kids! As evidence I point to my wife reading her ebook. Heck, if I’d have had another device I might have done the same. Instead it gave me yet one more reason why ebooks are great and on any e-reader with a backlight (or a battery operated front light) they are every bit as useful as a vintage print book.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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