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Today, the lights went out in Los Angeles.  There was a major power outage.  It affected more than 1/2 the city.  Everything went off, including Dreamhost, my web host.  That’s why my website was down half the day.  I was at home on my computer when it happened.  With no internet access or TV, I needed something to occupy my mind.  I figured that this was a good opportunity to try my hand at looting.

I shaved, put on a new shirt I bought on Saturday at Nordstrom, and ran into the street excitedly.  I ran to Wilshire Boulevard, but was disappointed when I didn’t see any other looters.  Frankly I was hoping for more of a “social” event.  And here I was wearing a new shirt for nothing.

I was going to back down from the looting experience, but then I told myself, “Sometimes you just gotta do things by yourself.”

My first decision:  What to loot?

I noticed that I was standing in front of a Cingular store.   I became indecisive about whether it was worth the effort.  I’m already with Cingular and their service is terrible.  Do I really want the hassle of looting the place just to get another Cingular-only compatible phone?

I ran across the street to IHOP.  I love their Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity signature breakfast (although I usually substitue tomatoes for the sausages).   But today I was less interested in food than I was of their Coca-Cola dispenser.  Imagine how cool it would be to have one during a party in your house. 

“Hello, Neil” said the waitress in front. 

Damn it.  It was Sheryl, the cute waitress I always flirt with when I order my breakfast special.  How can I ever ask her out on a date if she knows I’m a looter?

“Nice shirt.  Is it new?”  she asked me.

“Uh… I have to go.  I left my wallet at home.”  I said, as I ran out embarrassed.

I decided to go to a place where no one knows me.  I ran up the block — to Staples.  I love all sorts of pens and notebooks.  I could even use a new stapler.  But then I noticed that they were building a flashy new Office Depot right across the street. 

“That’s mean of Office Depot,” I thought.  “That’s really going to hurt Staples’ business.”

I decided against Staples, feeling guilty about their sudden competition.

Next up — Starbucks.  Finally, a place I hate.  A place that deserves to be looted by me.  After all, how much money have I’ve wasted there on lattes?  I ran into Starbucks #342334 and immediately went to that side display where they sell their wares.

“Putamayo World Music CDs?  Have one already.  Coffee mug for the car?  The one I have is fine.  The board game “Cranium?”  Played it once and it was terribly boring.   I’d steal some coffee beans, but then I’d have to make the stuff at home and I’m just too lazy to do that.  It’s so much easier just to come to Starbucks and buy a cup of coffee.”

Just then, the lights went on.  That’s it.  I missed my oppoortunity.  Just like always.  I bought a cappuccino and sat down to read the Los Angeles Times Calendar section.