So the weekend’s here, the dour predictions about power failures and blackouts have at last smacked you right in the face, it’s hotter than Hades, you’ve just endured the mother of all bad days on the job, and you’re nestled in your domicile without radio, TV, computer, fridge or — God have mercy! — your fan. What’s more, your money’s funny, you’ve heard that you can expect more of the same during these steamy summer months, you’ve used the last of that enormous cache of batteries bought during the Y2K frenzy, and the boss, who doesn’t care one grunt about the minor inconvenience of being without electricity, wants you on the job two hours earlier in the morning from now on, alarm clock be damned. What to do when you’re hit with those summertime blackout blues?

Well, if you’re not planning on boosting the world population (no kidding! Some time ago, blackouts in Canada were given as a possible reason for the rise in births nine months later), then relax, unwind and cool off out in the open, at the Music Center Plaza. Food and drink are available, and the attractive fountain that spurts out water at tricky intervals is always good for a refreshing spray. Ditto for the pool, with its gaudy purple arch, at Pershing Square, where you can remove your shoes and walk on the rocks that are around it. Best ä p.10 take this one in after an early dinner in Chinatown, because there aren’t any nearby eats available. Assuming that the Department of Water and Power is still in business (it, by the way, has plenty of juice), there should be enough light at both places for everybody. And you might consider taking a drive up into the mountains. If it’s the right time, you could find a spot with a panoramic view of parts of the city and surrounding environs blinking off and on like a gigantic pinball machine.

But what if you don’t want to go out during these difficult days and nights of power-grid mayhem, and just want to stay at home (not a bad idea, with gas prices the way they are)? Forget the light switch, flashlights and kerosene lamp. Now is the time to hustle over to the nearest botanica and stock up on candles. They’re practical, make great decorations, and come in scads of colors and varieties. And there is an undeniable eerie beauty that permeates a home or room lit by candles. Let’s face it, many of us now-powerless folk blow them out only if we’re lucky enough to still have cake with birthday celebrations. If nothing else, you’ll be ready the next time you want to have that special someone over for a candlelight dinner.

With a respectful nod to all the myth, lore and superstition that comes with candles and their use, how about taking this opportunity to connect with the great ethereal other? Candles are also used for charms, divinations and spells, and perhaps, with the right incantation, we can get the lights to come back on, or maybe the electrical rates to drop by about, say, half. And a little meditation would go a long way toward calming the nerves. Sit down in a quiet corner of the room (or take it all off and step into a tub of cold water), light your candle(s) and repeat over and over again in your mind, “I will not hate my boss, I will not hate the PUC . . .”

Or how about a good, old-fashioned séance? It’s energy-efficient and a great way to meet new friends (or some old, moldy ones). The procedure: Gather participants (usually three to five people); select a medium through which the spirit can be channeled; set the table with a food item, such as a piece of fruit or bread; light candles; join hands; summon the spirit (“We call thee forth, commune with us, _________”); wait for a response. If you get one (rapping, tapping), let’s hope it’s not some dead body of your past that you’ve pissed off. If all this seems to be a bit complicated or troublesome, then pull out the Ouija board so you can seek the aid of the disembodied in avoiding further rate hikes.

And if you’re the raucous type who loves a good laugh and the company of others, host your very own “Glow-in-the-Dark-Panty Party.” With a little preparation, a few bucks and some imagination, you could become an L.A. trendsetter, or maybe stimulating fodder for office water-cooler chitchat. Steer your potential party mates to Silverymoons in Woodland Hills (www.silverymoons.com), which sells a sexy array of glow-in-the-dark lingerie such as G-strings, thongs, ladies’ panties, bras and, for the bashful femmes, a crop-top-and-shorts set, all in various sizes and colors. And if sitting around in luminous undies enjoying some music and a cool libation isn’t enough, the folks at Eparty Unlimited (www.epartyunlimited.com) peddle glowing divertissements like a incandescent ticktacktoe game to help pass the time.

Who said being in the dark isn’t any fun?

LA Weekly