Citizens for Legitimate Government, a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush Coup d'Etat and oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.


Roll Your Own Blackout:
How we observed it

CLG was the third story on KFMB in San Diego this evening. I held a RYOB party at my apartment (we had a number of people through the evening but the film crew scared some of them off.) The reporter and cameraman hung out with us for about 90 minutes. I had about thirty seconds of air time but they cut out all of my anti-Bush commentary, although the piece overall was very favorable. I think the coolest thing was hearing the anchors say "a group calling themselves Citizens For Legimitate Government are holding a nationwide blackout to protest the Bush administration's energy policies". That was sooooo cool. My phone's already been ringing off the hook in support, since several of my friends were participating in their own homes.
Way cool.

I would be interested in how many people took part.. I know I am.. As I sit here trying to type in the dark, it is a rather interesting experience, but no lights on in my house.. I just took my dog for a walk and I would (estimate) at least 75% of my neighborhood here in San Diego is participating, the city has even turned out the street lights.. WAY TO GO!!!!

I just listened to CD's (with battery-operated CD player), lighted some candles and read books. My cats were having a blast romping and frolicking in the dark. I turned off my fans and my air conditioning and opened the windows, letting the fresh air in: a quiet evening in the dark.

We had a good time in our house with the blackout. It was actually pretty dark the whole time as it was rainy. We went out on the front porch and played rummy. When the mosquitos came out and threatened the baby, we moved to the kitchen table and played by candle light. It was just a nice relaxing evening without interference from electronic, or computer.

Jackie in Ohio

We invited friends over for a candle light party during the blackout. We had about 8 old time friends come over, ate chicken wings, and sang Jimmy Buffet songs. We did talk about the blackout and the need for more conservation. One friend couldn't make it so she said, "I'll come next year!" Let's hope not. sb


I heard about the rolling blackout from my local NPR station. Bless them and you. Before the blackout, I emailed my associates, law makers, local newspaper, KOA, riverkeepers, etc. During our house blackout my husband and I dined by candlelight and washed dishers by hurricane lamp. Then he tried to teach me French and I tried to learn. We took a lovely "power" walk. Our senses came alive. We had to think.

Here in Toronto, Canada, my family participated in solidarity with your concerns about President Bush's energy policies.

We played dominoes, the girls had a bath in a candlelit bathroom, and bedtime stories were read by candlelight.

In terms of bringing awareness to the next generation about energy conservation, a monthly observance of this kind might be an idea.


Alexandra Scott

Naples, Florida here. At 7:00 P.M. I went to the fuse box and flipped the main switch. Then we began to go through our home and proceed with candle and lamp lighting. Next we took out the dominoes and enjoyed the moments sharing stories and wonderful atmosphere that spawned seldom seen shadows. After loosing interest my son took a candle, went out to the pool and swam. We all joined him a few games later, and when we finally came back inside it was about 10:40. My children said they learned the difference from experience of not having the instant gratification of our electronic world. I hope the sensation stays with them creating a clearer reference point inside their data banks. A heartfelt thank you to all who participated. One Love,


We unplugged and turned off everything in the house except for the refrigerator. We sat on the front porch and read, we ate salad, we played a romantic game of candlelight scrabble, and ended up enjoying ourselves so much that we didn't end the blackout until 11pm!

We're anxious to hear others' stories, as well as some news about the nationwide impact of the blackout.

A coupla newliweds in Alabama

Hi! We decided to have a Blackout Party here in Austin on the strength of the one "Roll Your Own" e-mail I got. We had no idea anyone else was having parties, and were surprised to hear from our neighbor that there had been a Morning Edition story about it. And I was even more surprised when, during the party, I got a call from my credit card company. The (unexpectedly) nice woman on the phone had trouble hearing me; I apologized. "We're having a party," I told her. "Oh, a candle party?" she asked. Wow!

I made my own flyer, not having any idea pdf's were available on the Web. I've attached a copy - it's in Word 98 for the Mac, using the Hoefler Text font, so I don't know if it'll be readable for you, but I thought I'd try. The pdf is sort of the same thing, although the font got screwed up somehow - random italic letters all over the place. If you look at either one, you'll see that I thought only one organization "sponsored" the protest. Oh well.

About sixteen or eighteen people came to the party, all told. We had a great time.


Here in Memphis a local coffee shop hosted a blackout/ solstice candelight drumming circle from 7 to 10. Many people showed up-it was a wonderful way to come together in community and make a statement. We even had a local news station show up.
Ekophem < Memphis, TN USA -
At 7 pm, Peet and I ran around unplugging the computers, chest freezer, fridge, clocks, you name it. We even unplugged the phone, on a suggestion from my sister, who was doing the same. She and her roommate then came over, and as it was still light out, we just sat in the kitchen and talked for a bit.

Then we took our joint candle reserves and went down to our sunroom and played party games for the next three hours. A fairly quiet evening, spiced up a bit with Lisa's singing and Peet playing the acoustic guitar. Good times were had by all, and our hydro meter barely budged.

Two days prior I had emailed everyone I knew, including our local members of parliament. Hopefully some also participated!

Great to hear of others' stories!

Guelph, ON Canada -
Sittin’ in the Dark
Actually, it wasn’t dark. The sky didn’t get dark until about 9:30. And even if the sky had been dark the whole 3 hours (which we extended to 5 hours), it wouldn’t have been dark at all for the looming lamppost in the lot behind my apartment, the clusters of candles aglow in every room, and laughter and conversation lighting the evening.

I hosted a cookout which was originally intended to be a “Roll Your Own Blackout Party,” but gradually was downgraded to a bunch of people having a cookout without using electricity, and from that into “Just us Gals Sittin’ in the Dark and Rollin’ Our Own.” And having a cookout. Here in Beautiful Buffalo, New York, is a tradition where every week in the summer is “Thursday at the Square:” a free concert drawing tens of thousands of rockers and rollers downtown to mingle outdoors, listen to music, and drink til dusk. This week’s entertainment was the group moe. The invitations I sent out for the blackout party slowly returned, declined, until it was just us four gals rolling our own.

I prepared the night before with candles, batteries and flashlights, and plenty of ice and coolers on hand so we wouldn’t need the refrigerator. I played chef, preparing red pepper mayonnaise to go with the baby spinach and Portobello mushrooms I planned to grill, caramelized onions, and doing the prep work for the rest of the goodies I would put together Thursday – including A.K. guacamole, southwestern potatoes grilled in a packet, and barbecue burgers (which I formed on Thursday morning before heading off to work).

Just before 7:00, my guests arrived with taco salad, antipasto, and 3 bottles of wine in hand. We were in for a feast! The music was rockin’ (by battery!), the grill was going, the wine was poured, and the rain came. We were sprinkled with a very light and warm shower for hours, refusing to leave our perches on the fire escape except when we needed seconds. Or refills.

We tossed the salad and dressed our burgers and mushrooms by candlelight inside, and reached for ice and drinks in the coolers blocking the refrigerator. As added insurance, I removed light bulbs from the lights in the bathroom – by golly, we WILL pee by candlelight!

Our small gathering attracted a few curious cats and our party grew by two, lasting until midnight. We said goodnight and as hugs were exchanged, it was decided: same time, same place – next year.

Beautiful Buffalo, NY USA -
After promoting the event all day, I warned my kids, Molly (12) and Dylan (10) that the electric would be shut off. They were really really good about it, and in fact, happy to be participating.

They got all the candles ready and we began lighting a few, just in case we couldn't find them later. We grilled some stuff on the grill, and sat on the front porch for a while.

Then Molly and I walked around the neighborhood to see how many people were participating. We had a number of people doing this. I was to meet some people having a get-together in the park. I went running with my dog, Katie, and we were caught in thunderstorm for the final three miles. We came home soaked.

I saw several familes with candles on their porches and their houses blackened. All of my neighbors on our block participated, and one kept the blackout through to the morning.

After meeting the party in the park, I came back home to share in the ghost stories being told by my children and one of the neighbor kids whose family was also participating. I scared the kids to near death with my story about "Brother Joe," a Cappuchin Friar who lived at the Seminary where I went and lived as a highschooler; Brother Joe had killed a man when younger, served time, repented and joined the monastery after his sentence. I told them about the time I thought I saw Brother Joe at the foot of my bed, with his knotted rope in hand (the ones they wore around the habits) as if to choke me to death...(this never happened, btw)...

It was a fun night. My kids loved it, and my wife did too. It was rewarding to be hugged by my son who said, at the end of the night, "you are really paying attention to me, Dad."

Cheers from the Darkened Front,

Mike R.

Michael Rectenwald
Pittsburgh, PA USA -
Normally at Ocean Beach in San Francisco there are maybe 2 or 3 bonfires on a Thursday. Last night there were no less than 20. I checked 'em all out, then joined a drum circle and thumped away til 3AM. It was a deeply satisfying experience, and it's been an honor working with all of you on this.

Peter Schurman
San Francisco, CA USA -
Wow, I was thrilled to see how this idea spread. During the blackout I walked my dog, read by the window until it got dark, and then meditated. I figured out a spot to put one candle and have it light half of the house. It looked like my me neighbor across the street was unplugged too.
** I was thinking of choosing one evening each month to do this.**
I really would like to see a summary of participation rates, but I am not sure if it can be figured out very well.

Walpole, NH USA -
At 7pm, I unplugged the cable boxes, clocks, phone, etc. and went for a run. It was a gorgeous night here. Unfortunately, it was a night that I had a lot of house cleaning to do but vowed to do it by natural light or candlelight. I was able to clean (no vacuuming until after 10 pm) by natural light until about 9:15 at which time I lit candles in my kitchen and washed dishes by hand until 10:00. It was an enlightening experience and made me realize how dependent we are upon electricity. I was a little disappointed to look around my complex and not see more of my neighbors participating until I turned on Jay Leno here at 11:00 and saw that he did his whole show by flashlight! He said that the energy they saved in that one hour show alone was enough to power a four-bedroom house for a family of four for a whole month! Nice to know that all working together we did make a statement and have an impact.
chicago, il USA -
A beautiful day in Minnesota at ground zero for the "Back to the Fifties" weekend car rally at the state fairgrounds. My son and his wife showed up just as I had shut everything off and was making a sign for the front steps. We sat and talked without being distracted by the always on TV and as the sun was setting a friend of my other son pulled up in a shiney black 1930-somthing Ford street-rod and off they
went to see and be seen.

Just before I shut my computer down for the evening I got a message that the Nightline Lyme show was postponed, again. One of the Lyme-literate doctors in NY who lost his license in 2000 for the crime of actually treating Lyme patients has had it reinstated by a court and a farily good test done by an out of the ALDF camp company passed muster in CA after being held up for a year.And the MN reporter who
called last week still wants to do a piece on prevention and he actually had read our website. So it was hard to shut it down with so much good news to talk about but I did and I know it was the right thing to do.

Lynn Olivier
St Paul, MN USA -
We were all so excited - we flipped the main switch off and went out into the garden to enjoy the quiet evening. While my husband rocked our daughter to sleep, my stepson and I walked the neighborhood, searching for like minds. My brother and I puttered in the garden and slowly soaked the plants. At 10:01 we watched as several of our neighbors' lights came back on!

It felt SOOOO good to have a tangible way to say NO! to Bush and feel a connection to other folks across the country and across the street. My sister-in-law in germany said today that she wished we had told her b/c she could have organized her town to participate too.

We should organize more things like this.

Jennifer Anderson-Bähr
Corvallis, OR USA -
I participated in the voluntary rolling blackout at home with my family. My young son, Liam, thought it was wild that we were without lights on in the house. When I told him we were going to turn off the electricity, he thought it meant I was going to make it nighttime outside! He was happy to help me light a few candles, but blowing them out was really his favorite thing of all, that and the park, where we walked after playing out in the yard. Came back to read stories in the dark by flashlight. What a great evening. Helped me realize priorities are important, children being top on the list. I thought a lot about where we all go from here, and came away stronger in my convictions to stop Bush and Big Energy from further theft and damage to our country. Many states now are facing deregulation measures supported by Big Energy, so keep yourself aware and eyes wide open! Feels good to be affiliated with a group that encourages me to take action, and reaffirms my inner drive to not just complain about what's wrong, but to stand up and do something about it! I think what was most significant about this simple protest was that it brought a lot of us together in communities across the country even though we were hundreds, if not thousands of miles apart. Let's all stay connected and keep protesting until we make change happen! Eventually, our elected leaders will have to take notice. Thanks for participating!
Kat L'Estrange
Eugene, OR USA -
I attended a gathering on the beach with a bonfire for light and we discussed how our community can get free of the corporate energy industry.
Bob Dunn
Santa Cruz, ca USA -
At first my husband didn't want to do this. He has always voted Republican except for this time, he voted for Nader.

When I got home he had the candles ready and we fixed a light dinner without using any electricity. It was fun, we really had a chance to talk and get closer. We went to bed early and had a much needed rest.

It was hard to remember not to turn on the lights automatically as I can't see well in the dark and always keep lights on.

This experience made me feel so good we talked about selling our Jeep and getting something with better gas mileage. Also to think before we use this earth's resources as if they are endless.

Carol Moore
Wrentham, MA USA -

I hosted a RYOB party at my apartment in La Jolla and had people popping
in and out through the evening. KFMB, the CBS affiliate in San Diego, sent
over a news crew (reporter and cameraman) and they hung out with us for a
couple of hours. We played Scrabble by candlelight and had some very
stimulating sociopolitical dicussions amongst ourselves. At 11:05 pm, the
station went live to my apartment, where they showed it dark. They
mentioned my name and that this was part of an action by "Citizens For
Legitimate Government", who were "protesting the energy policies of the
Bush administration." I was interviewed on camera for about 30 seconds and
they interspersed that with shots of us talking, laughing, Scrabbling in
the dark. It was really fun. The reporter asked me what appliance I was
missing the most and, although tempted to say the computer, I said the
fan, since the candles were making the place so hot. I was mildly
disappointed that all of my anti-Bush comments were not aired but overall
the piece was very positive. At 11:15 everyone went home, but more than
one of us suggested doing this on a regular basis, just because it was so
damn fun. It's weird, I've been stopped three times already today asking
if I was the guy on TV last night! I didn't know people actually watched
the local news anymore!

Rod Schoonover
La Jolla, CA

Rod Schoonover
La Jolla, CA USA -
My roommate totally forgot about the blackout, but I managed to get the place totally lit by candles, anyway. Everything was shut down, including both computers, for a change, LOL. I had heard of one gathering for the blackout, but it was 30 miles away, and I felt it was defeating the purpose to burn gas instead of electricity, so I had to compromise with my roommate who came home with movies for the night. The movie we watched, however, was Cast Away, which I felt was appropriate. I did feel a brief moment of annoyance when I tried to read something by candlelight and wanted a drink refill. (It gets Very dark out here in the country) I'm pretty conservative with energy, but I still had to modify my activities quite a bit last night and plan ahead for some things like using the blender for frozen drinks and getting the meal prepared before seven. I felt it was a great reminder of how we take electricity for granted. I go camping pretty often, but it was still weird to remember to keep the electricity off in my home. My roommate forgot at three of ten and turned the bathroom light on. Next time I'll plan a little better and unscrew the bathroom lightbulb, LOL. We kept everything off for the rest of the night except one light and just watched another movie. It was also nice not to hear commercials the whole night.
I couldn't manage total blackout for the sake of peace in my home, but 90% black wasn't bad for a beginning; it all adds up. So if anyone else didn't totally blackout, don't feel bad. Actually, if anyone else had difficulties with total blackout, I'd be interested to hear those stories as well.

Tree Tenney
Standish, Me USA -
My husband, friends and myself had a BBQ and played board games under
candlelight. We had som much fun we hope to make this a monthly event.

Cynthia James
Logan, UT USA -
Here in Kansas, where we believe in evolution again, my family and I unplugged and it was great! We may have been the only house intentionally participating, but we comforted ourselves with all the people we saw on our walk and pretended they cared too.

Later, although I never watch Leno, we tuned in tonight to see if his show was unplugged. It was! And it didn't suck! He had Gray Davis on, and the crowd cheered him on. Another California-governor-turned-president in the making? He was a little nervous, you could tell. But he could STILL get out a sentence without a mispronunciation, a malapropism, or an outright lie. My friends, it was refreshing.

Samantha Adams
Overland Park, KS USA -
My husband decided to shutdown all the power to the house. It was great to see that the electricity dial didn't move at all for a full three hours. We ate a picnic type dinner in the backyard and enjoyed the unusually warm weather. We are thinking about doing a total three hour shutdown once a week.
Debbie in South San Jose
San Jose, CA USA -
At a few minutes before 7:00 I went downstairs and turned off the electric main, immediately noticing the sudden silence. It didn't get dark until about 8:30, so we sat out on the porch for a while, just reading and talking. When it got dark we came back I, lit the candles and set out an array of cheese, crackers, fruit, etc. We played board games and talked till 11:00 - not even noticing that the blackout time was over. This was a wonderful evening! Thursday was also the last day of school so my daughters were celebrating the beginning of summer. It was a wonderful way to switch gears and reconnect with each other. We spent some time talking about what issues were really important to each of us and making a family plan for activism. We also all agreed that we would like to do this again, maybe monthly.
Susan J
Hillsborough, NJ USA -
My family, me, my husband and 3 dogs, participated in the Rolling Blackout
by going to an outdoor concert of Beatles music at Furman University in Greenville,
SC. We took a picnic and sat by the lake listening to the soothing sounds and watching the
ducks and Canada geese swimming on the lake. The weather couldn't have been better and
it was a most enjoyable evening.

Genie Murphy
Simpsonville, SC USA -
We're over one hour into the rolling blackout here on the east coast. My wife and kids are tv junkies but I must say I am enjoying the quiet. They grumbled a bit but finally agreed to participate. They are reading books, while I type this on my (battery-powered--that doesn't count as using electricity, does it?) laptop. The temperature is rising
with the ac off. My youngest and I are going outside to catch lightening bugs, something I haven't done in years. It is really quite peaceful.

Jonathan Inskeep
Crofton, MD USA -
Wow!! Reading through these stories, from many places across the US, leaves me feeling so connected. Myself and my three daughers participated in the voluntary rolling blackout last night and, at the time, it felt as if we were the only ones participating. I felt like some radical outsider in my own reality. Then I read your stories and am so happy I act on my gut feelings and beliefs. Thanks.

Prior to the event, we put together a "Rolling Blackout Survivor" box which included candles, flashlights, batteries, instant soup, a battery powered radio and a non-electric phone (which was hard to find now that we have all wireless phones). We spent the evening in the yard then came inside to bathe in the twilight. When it was dark, we read by flashlight. My two year old thought that was a blast, having her own flashlight. My eight month old crawled around in the dark and my eight year old shined the flashlight on her. At 9:30pm, we walked down to the treat store (7-11) for gummi bears peeking in neighbors homes to see if anyone else was participating. While sucking little chewy bears on the porch,I thought this would be a good monthly ritual (the voluntary blackout, not the bears);-)

Christy Scherrer
Cupertino, CA USA -
This evening I lit the four candles on the mantel of my fire
place, and turned off all the lights. Outside, a cool breeze
- promise of a rain that never came. I opened all my windows,
sat in my rocking chair and for a long time I stayed there.
The burning candles gave a delicious color to the room,
picking up the subtle salmon tint of the walls. The only
sound was the breeze caressing the leaves of the trees.
I thanked the universe, I felt blessed and at the same time,
I took the time to reflect on why, how, I was determined to
do all I can do to make this world a better world .
That is all. I wanted to share my moments with you.

Monique Frugier
Ardmore, PA USA -
Tim and I rolled our own blackout last nite, that meant no internet, no cable tv, no lites. We ate by candlelite and talked about how our day had been. It was fun, however I dont think it would be so great under a forced situation where we had no choise in the matter, like the people in California who have no control over it. I mentioned the blackout to one of my co-workers who told me that she rolled her own blackout last nite too. I was surprised to hear that she had done it since she is not really that much of an activist but a hardcore democrat for sure.
MaryAnn Martinez
Hpuston, Tx USA -
The best blackout ever! Here in Oakland, CA, we had friends over for a BBQ, and went to shut off our grid-intertied solar power at precisely 7:00pm. When we looked at the meter, it was still spinning backwards, and since this was even *better* than a blackout, we left it on for another hour or so.
When we shut down the grid connection at about 8:00pm, we left the fridge running on batteries and used a little more (solar generated & stored) to run our landscape lights to put a spotlight on our USA Flag (we believe it stands for what WE believe it stands for), the flag of our beleaguered yet undaunted
California Republic, and to top it all off in the spirit of the evening, the Ecology flag (from the 70's, remember?). We played (acoustic, of course!) guitar & sang (although sadly no one could remember that "Night the Lights Went out in Georgia" song, so it was all Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen.
We could hear lots of neighbors, kids and other beautiful sounds from the neighborhood when we were quiet enough to hear them. Do you think we'll get stats from the Independent System Operator quantifying how much energy usage dropped last night? The Phantom Load has left the building! Sign us up for another one next year.

Sally Kemmerer
Oakland, CA USA -
We pitched a tent in the backyard and Miles (6) and I (mom) did our first
Vancouver, WA USA -
Out here in California the electric power comes mostly from Texas gas. The money runs the other way - back to the bushista junta center in Houston. Oil comes from all over the place. Therefore we just throw the main breaker open and run our backup diesel generator whenever load gets high. It costs more to do this, but not much more, and it screws richTexas fasists just a tiny bit. Power generators hate counter cyclical load changes. The rest of the time we just conserve - a lot! We use 1/3 of what we used on the farm last year.
Dean Moriarity
Here's my report from June 21: finally got some arugula, cilantro, and shiso seeds planted in the remaining spot in my planter box; then spent more than an hour in the hammock, looking up into an overhanging tree and the sky; eventually saw a "star"--but today I hear it probably was Mars! When it got too chilly, went inside, lit a lot of candles, and just continued the lovely, quiet evening.
Berkeley, CA USA -
My family and I shut off everything except TV (the twins are sick and we couldn't do too much) and I went outside and did something I haven't done for almost a year - Clean out the van and Armor All it.. It got me outside for once instead of on the computer, and we all enjoyed the candle light view of the storm clouds (and lightning) here in So. Florida..

I also disabled my website for the time period (7-10 PM ET) and linked to the RYOB page during that time.

It was fun to do, and I hope we do it again!

Herbert Riede
Pompano Beach, FL USA -
The issue of how I spent the blackout ended up taking a back seat to something I discovered during the process. I got in touch with a part of myself I'd almost forgotten-- the person who watches thunderstorms, who can think without a TV blasting, etc. In the silent glow of candlelight, I rediscovered the inner strength I need to join with others, to take a stand. It was a great time to reflect on the things I can do without and the people I can't be without.
Cleveland, OH USA -
I flipped off almost all the breakers in my home on June 21, 2001! Every electrical appliance except the refrigerator and the air pump on my aquarium were turned off. I felt proud reading by lantern!
Cherie Clark
Charlotte, NC USA -
During the RYOB, I went to a Democratic Committee meeting. Upon arriving home, my wife & I took our coffee (which we made before hand and kept warm in a caraf) and sat outside talking. Shortly before 11 PM, we decided to go to bed early - without turning on the 11 o'clock news. We took care of the clocks the next morning. This kind of reminded us of being at the lake (without all the mosquitoes) :0)
I did slip out of bed for a hour and listened to Radio For Peace International on my short-wave radio (used battery power) - quite a relaxing evening actually.

James F. Pasquini
Coeymans, NY USA -
I turned everything off at the crack of 7 and went outside
to water the garden. I also planted a couple of plants and
spread compost around my roses and hydrangeas. After awhile
I sat on the patio and gazed at the flowers and then lay on
my bed in the remaining daylight and wrote in my journal
about the day and the rolling blackout. I contemplated taking
a bath by candlelight, but decided to go for a walk instead.
About half the houses in the neighborhood were dark. I wondered
how many were participating or just not home. I enjoyed my
conscious respite from the computer and TV and realized I
could do this fairly often. It was painless and it was
satisfying knowing we were all in it together making a
statement, quiet but powerful.

Capitola, CA USA -
In this very republican State of OK there were at least three homes with anything electrical turned off. I spent the evening with 3 of my son's,2 daughter-in-laws and everyone of my 5 grandchildren. We enjoyed being outside and playing and swimming with the little ones. My 12 year old actually decided living like pioneer's wasn't so bad. We ended the our RYOB party by sharing my "Summer Solstice Baby's" birthday cake. My son Patrick turned 30 on June 21.
I think I had forgotten how much enjoyment can be had with out all of the electrical devices we have come to depend on. I know it was a brand new experience for my children and grandchildren. Maybe we should make this a monthly event.
Thanks CLG,especially Mike and Kat who worked so hard on this special event.

In Solidarity
Priscilla Schiltz
Shawnee Oklahoma

Priscilla Schiltz
Shawnee, OK USA -
It was a wonderful idea. I think it should be done on a regular basis
Nancy Shill
Newtown, PA USA -
Reading through all the stories, it is gratifying to be confirmed in the thought that RYOB accomplished something rare for our times: an inner peace,

We three--husband, stepson, and I-- sat in our sunporch and talked quietly as the raindrops sparkled in the dusk, sliding down the sloping roof. We didn't need the candles until it became truly dark, but I lit them anyway. I took three big (gift) candles down from acupboard and in so doing discovered a candle holder with the figure of a reclining Bongo on its tray, a ceramic sculpture created by my daughter. In candlelight, the beauty and vitality of the animal figure emerged more clearly than I had ever noticed before.

These men of mine very nearly backed out of the event. "This is silly," my husband grumbled, if we really want to conserve energy we should string a line and dry clothes in the basement." "Yeh, I was thinking the same thing, but then I thought, it might be an interesting experience, no lights, no TV" his son added, tactfully. "Well, since I've been telling everyone about this, I figure I should walk the walk, " says I, and with that, they acceded.

And so we sat and talked, quietly, and as the evening lengthened, we relaxed--something happened to each of us. For myself, I recalled long ago summer nights, capturing fireflies in a jar with my brothers as my father stood watch and doubtless enjoyed the moments as much as we did. My stepson said: "this really is educational--I just caught myself automatically reaching to flick on the lights--and then reazlized that for most of human history there weren't any except the stars."

Curmudgeon spouse didn't comment except non-verbally--he went peacefully to sleep.

Marcia MacMullan
Ann Arbor, Mi USA -
I spent the evening with my seven-year-old grandson, Douglas. I explained to him that we were going to turn off all the power that we safely could (we are rural--water & toilet require electric pump)--even the fans, although in Northern California we celebrated the Solstice at 100 degrees! He helped turn off the appliances & lights at 7:00 and we lit a kerosene lamp and made a sandwich and salad dinner, which we ate on the deck where it had begun to cool down. After dinner by candlelight, we went out on the lawn and looked at constellations & found the Big Dipper, but could not find Mars as it was not yet high enough in the sky--we did find it later. We listened to the creek and the crickets and told stories. Douglas loved the idea of doing a small action to help conserve energy--actually he has enough of his own to power a house for a week!

A great experience--we won't forget it!

Maggi Sullivan godman
We took turns reading a book out loud by candlelight and went outside to watch the night sky. Fireflies provided an impressive lightshow. It was a fun evening for us all as a family and was a painless way to protest the corrupt Bush administration.
Paul Cipriano
Windsor, CT USA -
I was there, turned off electronics at 7:00 (or before). A storm came that night so we enjoyed an actual pre-storm breeze.

It felt good to be connected with everyone. I'd like us to do this one night a month and each month to gather more and more participants.

Jay Leno did his show in the dark. He brought on some extraordinary nocturnal animals that could not comfortably be on a show with lights. He had Hawaiian fire dancers and Arsenio taking a stand about waste. I bet that show will be remembered as one of the best.

He announced at the end that they had saved enough energy to supply electricity to a family of four for a month. See how powerful we can be!

We enjoyed three hours or Vincent Bugliosi's book - Betrayal of America by flashlight......
Eric Gore,M.D. & Vickie Wilson,LCSW
Colton, , CA USA -
The Roll Your Own Blackout was a great introduction to others to Pull the Plug each and every Earth Day for the same reasons: to send the message to the policy-makers that the people want clean renewable energy at the heart of energy policy and to create benefits to nature through less wasteful energy use. Whether it's rolling a blackout or an Energy Fast, one considers carefully the energy they use when they go without and hopefully apply wise choices on its use thereafter. Earth Day is April 22 (for now) and remember each Earth Day to Pull the Plug.
Jeff Softley
Wow, I was on the phone to reporters right up until I pulled the plugs at 7, so I particularly appreciated the three hours of peace and quiet and just participating in the blackout with my family.

I'd been planning to attend my church's blackout picnic, but
decided not to risk scaring my co-parishioners off with a camera crew (as Rod in San Diego mentioned). My daughter and I played at a nearby park until it began to get dark (no fireflies in this part of the country, but a lovely warm evening), then our whole family had a candlelight indoor "picnic" and told stories. My daughter asked "is lights-out something people have to do tonight?", giving me a chance to explain "No, no one has to. It's like voting --you do it on your own, but the reason you do it is that you're part of a community."

Now as to the press, I am of course glad of the coverage and feel I was treated decently by the reporters -- but I also can corroborate Rod's experience that any political aspects of what I said in interviews tended to get cut. For instance, if they ask "why do you think this has spread so fast and has such broad appeal" and I say "because the administration's energy plan offends values that are deeply and widely held", a lot of them would rather not use the question than have to air that answer. The exceptions were live interviews (including KFI in Los Angeles, which isn't shy.) And to be fair to them, most of the reporters
*did* ask clearly political questions, e.g. "What do you think of Cheney's statement that conservation is simply a personal virtue?" and they seemed receptive to the answer (that in a democracy, we expect the virtues of its citizens to lead to a virtuous public policy). But then those parts wouldn't make the edited version.

Regardless, CLG has helped to organize what may be the largest political protest since Vietnam. And peaceful and reflective though it may be, I think there's a lot of determination behind it. And now when someone sees what the press calls a "handful of people who can't get over it" protesting a Bush/Cheney event, or sees one of CLG's famous aerial banners, they're much more likely to say "regardless of what I read, I can tell I'm not alone -- there's a lot more of us where these folks came from."

So to that extent, even with all those articles, the press
may have missed the story. What so many people were doing
last evening was realizing that they don't have to apologize
for (or edit out) their values simply because there may be
powerful people who oppose them. In fact that is precisely
the right time to reflect upon and assert them, and that's
how we build a legitimate government.

David Aragon
Berkeley, CA USA -
I must admit that this was not a terribly big sacrifice for me because I go to bed so early anyway! But it gave me a sense of power to participate in this.
The protest was very visible in the SF Bay Area. All the local news 11:00 news programs carried coverage because there was a candlelight protest in SF which was a natural lead to the story. I know that 3 of my neighbors houses which were visible to me were dark. My across-the-street neighbor was carrying a candle around the house. I think everything we do is important and can build on itself.
Irene T. Heinstein
El Cerrito, CA United States -
Our local activist group (CAG -see mssg. end) had a great electricity free potluck last night! We shared various house shutdown stories. Some had flipped the "big" switch on their house. While some had left on the fridge' and the digital clocks (that would be me). However, my Solar hot water system had shut off Thursday afternoon after reaching 180 degrees (and that's 82 gallons worth). So I knew damn sure that the water heater elements would not be tuning on! Surley this alleviates some of the shame of breach of RYOB etiquette.
The highlight of the potluck for me was the arrival of the heavenly jar of Dilly Beans (Dill pickled beans). For your own good, find some and eat them soon!

Corvallis, OR

Corvallis Action on Globalization (CAG) has been formed
to carry forward the energy generated in Seattle at the
end of 1999 to generate a grassroots movement.
It is our purpose to educate the local and regional community about trade globalization, and, in so doing,
to provide a reasoned response to it's governmental
and business supporters.

Andrew Bortz
Corvallis, OR United States -
At 7 I turned off the TV, radios, and all the lights. I had gotten out candles and our two hurricane (kerosene-burning) lamps. I had made a big salad, using largely our own home-grown greens, and my husband and I had a wonderful candle-light dinner. When it got dark we lit the hurricane lamps. I found the whole experience very serene and pleasant. It reminded me of childhood vacations at a cabin in the Vermont woods, where there was no electricity, and how peaceful it was. I'd like to repeat this on a regular basis. Thank you.
Rebecca Jessup
Boulder, CO USA -
Dear CLG,

Observing the rolling blackout presented a challenge for us. I have dilated congestive cardiomyopathy. For days we watched the weather reports, hoping for cool, unpolluted air on June 21st. That way it would be safe for me to get through the three-hour blackout without air conditioning. We weren't so lucky. It was a hot, muggy "code-red" day, growing thicker as evening approached. Any prolonged time in that air could, literally, kill me.

It bothered me that we wouldn't be able to participate "fully." I know it was just a symbolic act, but we wanted to do as much as we could. So here was the dilemma: to stay at home in air-conditioned darkness, or turn off everything at home and go somewhere that was going to be air-conditioned anyway. It would have been fun to do the "dinner by candlelight and reading by flashlight" routine, but we decided that the important point was conservation.

Remember the world before *everyone* had air conditioning? People flocked to the nearest cinema on stifling days, just to keep cool. So, in keeping with the "retro" mood, (and making good use of our "senior" discount), we opted to spend the time at the movies. Yes, we would be using a little gasoline, but we reasoned that the theatre certainly wasn't going to join the blackout, and we could get there before 7:00 P. M. (thus not using fuel during the "actual" blackout). The only sacrifice necessary -- or, from a more zealous point of view, possible -- would be the ten minute drive to the mall. Ironically, we saw "Moulin Rouge," a movie set in a time when the world was delirious with the magic of an amazing new phenomenon: electricity.

We met some other people who had decided to do the same thing we had, not because they were also ill, but because they had decided that it was a reasonable compromise to use "shared" electricity.

I will leave you with a conundrum. I couldn't survive long without air conditioning. But, then, if the air weren't increasingly polluted and getting warmer all the time, maybe I wouldn't need it. And, of course, as electricity becomes increasingly expensive, it is more likely that seniors on fixed incomes (like us) will be unable to afford the means of survival. As a wise fellow once declared, "We have met the enemy and he!"

With continuing concern,

Jeanne M. Godley-Davis

Jeanne M. Godley-Davis
Baltimore, MD United States -
My wife and I turned everything off, and then went out to dinner and a movie. We saw a great film called "Songcatcher" about a musicologist's attempt to document the folk music if the southern Appalachians around 1910. It's a wonderful movie and the music is terrific.
Los Angeles, CA USA -
I live on land with three other people. On the evening of the longest day, we met outside with food and drink. We listened to the silence around us and wondered how many others were joining in the same way. After dinner, we took a long walk down to the creek and found we we all were ready for an early bedtime. Usually I read before sleep but this evening, filled with the sense of having done something unusually good, I fell asleep like a child.

Dian Hardy
Sebastopol, CA USA -
I am one member of a group of approximately 80 individuals
who were mad as hell about the election coup of 2000.
We gathered together from surrounding communities in the
general area of Cincinnati, Ohio, including members from
various cities in Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio.

We banded together to protest the inauguration of that
resident thief back on January 20, 2001. For most of us
that was our first taste of activism.

Then we stuck together, decided we were a group,
named ourselves Stand Up 4 Demcracy and paid for a
banner to fly over the opening day crowd at Cinergy
Field screaming:

"Bush Stole Your Vote!

We were trying to get people to DC for the next event
we had all agreed to support - the May 19 votermarch in DC. We had a respectable group
It energized the group to continue fighting to educate the
public about the stolen election, the total media blackout
about anything to do with that theft, and the fight we
have begun for the return of our democracy TO THE PEOPLE!

Then in April the Cincinnati police shot and
killed another unarmed black man. Suddenly
we were faced with a full blown week of
"civil unrest" that the local police escalated
in to "rioting" by their violent treatment
of the angry crowds demanding justice for
Timothy Thomas.

Members of our group were outraged and joined other
local groups in organizing a legal, peaceful, mass
protest that called for an end to the police killings,
racist practices such as racial profiling and other
unfair and racist practices of the Cincinati police and
city leaders. The coalition of groups called this
protest the March for Justice. We were very lucky
that the event unfolded as a very powerful and peaceful
protest. I will never forget being in that crowd of
3-4000 silent people with fists thrust in the air in
memory of Timothy Thomas as his mother lay a wreath
at the spot of his killing. The only sound was that
of the circling police helicopter overhead.

Most recently we joined with the local GLBT community
in a show of support and participated in the Cincinnati
Gay Pride Parade. It has since been reported to be the
largest showing of support for this event in Cincinnati
history with approximately 5000 people participating in
the parade and attending the fesitval. Our group
sponsored a booth at the festival that followed at
Hofner Park in the warm and welcoming community of
Northside. We enjoyed a busy day educating and
registering voters as well as providing cold beverages,
snacks and political buttons and bumper stickers to the

We are working to educate the public and register
as many people to vote in this fine nation as we
possibly can.

We encourage participation. We envision a democracy
for all.

We wish to ensure that in our great nation never again shall
any of us be disenfranchised.

Our battle cry is simply "COUNT EVERY VOTE!"

My favorite chant:
"Ain't no power like the power of the people,
cause the power of the people don't stop!"

And so the "Roll your own blackout" protest
appealed to me since it was to be we the people
making a choice for conservation. Us making
a point to those oil gluttons and greedy
energy barons that we of a conservation minded
ilk are in large numbers and we can make a
difference. I encouraged all my co-workers
to join me. Others in our SU4D group also
encouraged us to participate. I posted
flyers around town. I left work early to get
my workout in before 7pm. I unplugged everything
in the house except the fridge and I turned it
down to 1. My daughter and I enjoyed an evening of
chatting, first in the twilight of the fading day
and then by flashlight. Sometime after 9 we both
dozed off to sleep. I remember her last remark
being that it was funny how a quiet, dark house
made it easy to fall asleep...and an old Joni
Mitchell tune was playing in my head as I
drifted off..."don't it always seem to go, that
you don't know what you got till its gone..."

I've turned my air conditioner permanently up to
80 and left lots of the stuff unplugged around the

Margaret Robinson
Erlanger, KY USA -
It was such a wonderful nightI spent it playing with all my dogs in the pool. they had a really good time. (usually i spent most of my evening on my computer)
it kind gets you back to your roots again
we need to do this again!

Cyndi Lenz RNC
Boca Raton, FL USA -

Published Sunday, June 24, 2001

People partying for more power
STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN when you turn off the juice. People get into long discussions about candles. There are spontaneous "Sound of Music" sing-alongs. Women lose their thigh-camouflaging sarongs.

That's what happened Thursday night in Walnut Creek, anyway. It was a "Roll Your Own Blackout" party, one of many events held coast to coast to protest energy bills climbing faster than a thermometer in Antioch.

Rather than have our lives yanked around by PG&E's whimsical rolling blackout schedule, this was a way to take back the night, flex our power, show Mr. Big Bad Utility that we can pull the plug whenever we choose. No sweat. (OK, maybe just a little.)

The e-mail hit cyberspace in April, calling for concerned citizens to turn off lights and switch off appliances from 7 to 10 p.m. on June 21, the summer solstice. The hours were the same from Manhattan to Modesto, so that it would roll across time zones.

"Light a candle to the sun goddess, kiss and tell (or not), take a stroll in the dark, invent ghost stories," the message read. Clear, simple and nonconfrontational, the idea took off faster than a utility exec from a board meeting.

The Walnut Creek bash was a potluck of mostly cold dishes in a back yard aglow with so many candles it looked like a scene from "The Omen." Among us was Sonja Christopher, the very first person thrown off the original "Survivor." Those of you who watched the show know that a ukulele was her luxury item. Need I say more?

She began with chestnuts from "The Sound of Music," then segued into "This Land Is Your Land." We learned that our host, Peter Magnani, once petitioned the Legislature to make this the national anthem. You just don't learn that kind of stuff when the lights are glaring and the stereo's blaring.

I cornered a couple of teen-agers playing with flashlights in the kitchen to get their thoughts on rolling blackouts.

"It's bad, but it's good too," said Natalie Pojman, 18. "Nobody does anything unless it affects them. We consume so much -- me too, I don't conserve."

Her family has taken a giant techno-step backward, abandoning their dryer for a simple clothesline.

Others I know are refusing to use their air conditioners, even with these triple-digit temperatures. Besides bringing bills down, it's empowering not to use power. Or as one journalist put it: "No power to the people."

Stepanie Hammon, 16, said her parents gave both her and her sister a roll of dimes. Every time they leave the lights on, they have to give one back. It's created a new form of sibling rivalry.

"We blame each other," she said.

Walnut Creek, CA USA -
According to a story in the LA Times I read while sitting outside during the RYOB, conservation alone has accounted for a drop in demand statewide of something like 4000 megawatts.. enough to have staved off several potential blackouts recently.

This must be an awful disappointment for president Cheney.

The RYOB was like getting paid to protest.

A great idea- let's do it again this summer.

Mark De Martini
Los Angeles, CA USA -
We turned off all the lights and other power sources and watched thousands of fireflies frolick in our backyard and the planet Mars which was the closest to earth its has been for over a decade. It was great!
We had a wonderful gathering of family, children and friends. We sat outside by candlelight talking and laughing. We played a board game. Everyone noticed the peacefulness and lack of electric and appliance buzz. My six-year-old grandson was allowed up late to participate. At the end, he asked if we could keep everything off until the next day. We agreed. We also proposed amongst ourselves that this should become a regular family observance.
Bibbe Hansen
Los Angeles, CA USA -
Sixty-four of us participated up here at Camp Thoreau in the Green Mountains of Vermont. All of the lights went out at precisely seven o'clock, and we spent the next three hours together. Some of us went jogging, some talked, and others sat and sang with the guitars. The evening was a lovely way for our staff to get to know one another before the start of the camp season.
Camp Thoreau-In-Vermont
Stratton, VT USA -
We watched the twilight fade to dark, but were disappointed that so many lights were on in our neighborhood. We saw lots of lights twinkling from communities across the bay. It would be great if we could have a community RYOBO and have another community do it another evening. We might actually help the power crisis instead of just making a demonstration.
Carmen Greenawalt
Morro Bay, CA USA -
I was home alone with our 4 year old daughter (my wife was out teaching a class) and explained to her what we were doing. She really got into it and we turned off all the lights and went outside to look at our electric meter. It was still turning slowly so we came back in and unplugged the fridge and stove and then went back out to see the meter completely stopped. The house was so quiet without the constant electric hum of the fridge and answering machine. It was so peaceful.

We went upstairs to our neighbors to remind them about the blackout and they turned off their lights too.

My daughter and I had a great evening and I read her a bedtime story by candlelight - which she thought was great fun - and spent the rest of the evening reading by candlelight myself.

I read in another shared story of someone wanting to do this every month and I've been thinking the same thing.

Christopher Dunning
Concord, NH USA -
My partner and our 3 dogs were on vacation at a cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Before we left home, we turned off everything we could. At the cabin we participated too. I fished until after dark and then we read and talked by candle light. I would be willing to participate regularly. Is it coincidince that the gas prices in Wisconsin dropped about 30 cents a gallon this past few weeks??!! I think not...
Justice Robinson
Madison, WI USA -
Fourteen people gathered at my home in Monrovia, a city in nestled in the beautiful foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. As we gathered on my patio, we were treated to a beautiful warm summer night. My house and patio were softly lit with a sprinkling of candles (this was a BYOCandle event)! Two guests brought a guitar and banjo and played and sang most of the evening, making a truly magical background as friends shared stories and commradry (OK, and some food and drink as well). It was such a fun night, that I believe will become the start of annual event!

Yes Mr. Cheney, this was just a symbolic event. Do not let the symbolism be lost on you and your irresponsible administration that seems to believe that the American people can be duped into handing over our country's natural resources and environmental safeguards to your powerful corporate friends. The true power is in the people.

Brian Ulm
Monrovia, CA USA -
Couldn't have had a better night for a blackout in our part of Georgia. Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, put on a spectacular electrical storm, natch. We all marvelled at how fitting the whole scene was. Too bad all that power couldn't be harnessed. Where is Ben Franklin now that we really need him? ;-)
Cheryl & Bob
Ideal, GA USA -
Our family of 4, in Athens, Ohio, had been looking forward to this for weeks. Shades of Y2K, we got our kerosene lanterns ready, and a canasta deck. I have to confess we did pop the corn in the last moments of electricity. But it was great to have this reason for our togetherness. We think we'll be "rolling our own" frequently now!
Richard & Dana, Jeroch & Ilona
Athens, OH USA -
We turned off the lights, computers, radios - everything we could think of at 7pm. Then took a walk & later played RumiCub by candlelight. It was nice. I'd like to think that others participated here - It was hard to tell,,,,
Karen Spencer
Longmont, CO USA -
My wife and I had been telling people about the blackout for weeks, with most people getting freaked out and not understanding it was voluntary. Unfortunatly we seemed to be the only ones participating so I was glad to see your stories here. We decided not to use our car that day either and walked every where. The weather in Chicago was perfect with a nice cool breeze comming off the lake. We unplugged everything in the house (did you know some electrical appliances use energy even when they are not on?! I'm not just talking the things like VCRs and things with clocks in them but your toaster, blender, mixer, and many more.) We lit candles and lanterns so our house was aglow in candlelight, which was very romantic. We sat in our living room and talked for a while and listened to the sounds of the neighborhood. The next thing we remember is waking up 2 hours later, we were so tired from all the walking we fell asleep and slept through the whole blackout! It was still very fun to participate, we are a lot more aware of our energy usage and will make more efforts to conserve.
Jim Marsh
Evanston, IL USA -
It was a real laid back evening here in Waterloo. Just about my entire neighborhood took part in the blackout. My two teenage sons (19 & 17) felt it was the least we could do for a protest. We had a campfire outside in the fire pit they built when I was on vacation in California and enjoyed the transistor radio and candles.
Diane Smith
Waterloo, IA USA -
My 'voluntary blackout' was a quiet evening at home with my family. We raced through cooking dinner, finishing at 6:59 pm. We had a candlelight dinner, then just relaxed and talked, enjoyed the peaceful silence. No radio, no TV, not even the hum of the refrigerator. My wife enjoyed it so much, she wants to make it a monthly event.
Doug Black
Westerville, OH USA -
We had friends over and sat and talked while the candle flickered against the walls. It was a quiet and very nice evening. Our friends did not not knoiw why we were doing this and we told them, This is our way of letting the corporations know what we think, the rest of the evening was just enjoyed for what it was friends being together
Richard Heinlein
Nickerson, Ne USA -
My daughter had a softball game so we turned everything off at 5:30...we came home around 8:30...lit candles and had a solstice prayer....with gratitude and wishes for the summer was intimate and sweet...Then Ella read jokes to us by candle light...
lets have another one!

Jeannie Burns
Ithaca, ny USA -
I live in a country setting, so turned off everything (except the refrigerator and one tiny nightlight) and went outside to sit silently watching the various wildlife that comes into my yard. I listened to birds till all but the mockingbird tucked their heads beneath their wings for the night. Then I listened to crickets and bullfrogs, while contemplating the number of stars in the that vast blue-black sky. It was so relaxing that I plan to repeat the blackout once a month for the rest of my life.
G. Reynolds
B.G., KY USA -
I enjoyed the evening with reading by candlelight Vincent Bugliosi's book "The Betrayal of America".
Michelle Colbert
Well, it was a first for me to do a gig unwired for sound! As a local singer/songwriter in Ottawa, Canada who landed my first gig at THE place to play in town. It was quite disappointing when I learned it co-oincided with the voluntary blackout which I was planning to participate in. I thought it was a huge stretch to ask if I could do the unplugged. The room at Zaphod Beeblebrox on the Byward Market is pretty big and so is the sound system. I wasn't sure if it was going to work. Immediately, however, the band that I was opening for, the owner of the club and CBC radio here in town took a genuine interest in supporting the effort and all those that I told personally were also very supportive. It became quickly obvious that unplugged was the way to go! I was interviewed on CBC radio just before the 6 o'clock news and the event was discussed and described for the whole town to hear! I was so pleased to have the opportunity to explain what I knew about George Bush's latest ideas of digging up the planet for profit. As a musician and environmental biologist, I couldn't think of a better statement to participate in!
So, my set began, as I strolled across the dance floor, barefoot, with my guitar strapped over my shoulder. I sang over the din of the crowd as I walked towards the stool surrounded by candles at the foot of the stage. The entire audience went silent! Between songs, I was able to fill the newcomers in on the reason for the 'blackout' performance. Each time, there were cheers and support from the crowd.
Thanks again for making me aware of such an important issue! I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to get the word out. Canada most certainly stands to benefit from more intelligent ways of using the earth's resources. Bye for now!

Julie Perrault
Ottawa, ON Canada -
My eight year old son and I turned out the lights,
turned off the computer etc. and ate dinner by candlelight.
We spent time talking and playing. He had so much fun that
he wants to do it again. We should do this on a regular

Cindy Klumb
Brooklyn, NY USA -

We celebrated "Roll Your Own Blackout" by taking our dog for a walk, reading by lantern & doing home crafts by candlelight. It felt really good to be a part of this & we are planning on making it a monthly event in our house.

Pattie Pratt
Portland, OR USA -

Our socially responsible investment club met on Thursday night by candlelight!
Linda Armstrong
Vancouver, WA USA -
We enjoyed a cool evening on the deck drinking wine, reading and watching the sun go down, then inside for candle lighting and music making (well, maybe the neighbors wouldn't call it music) with my husband and 7-year-old daughter. Our daughter read us a few chapters of a book she had started. It was so peaceful we decided to keep the electricity off for the rest of the night. We are thinking of doing this once a month, not only for the point it makes about conservation, but to destress as well. My teenage daughter didn't enjoy the evening too much, as her whole life revolves around the Internet, but I'm hopeful that she'll come around eventually.
Alison Courtney
Lee's Summit, MO USA -
We didn't get home until about 8:00PM, and the first thing my boys wanted to do was, put on the TV. Well, I had the candles ready, and told them what were doing and why. Actually, I reminded them as we had talked about this previously. It was fun really, as we played cards. Go Fish. Had played that game in a very long time. I also used this time to talk to them about Bush and what has been happening. As they are only 10, I had to be sure and not overload them with information. We also talked about school and thier going into the fifth grade. Another words, it gave us time to share. For that I was happy.
Elaine Clark
Fringefolk #75
Page 4

Elaine Clark
Because it gets dark so late in Seattle at this season, I hosted a candlelight dessert party for twelve. We lingered long after the blackout ended and after the candles burned down, enjoying being part of the elective rolling blackout, talking of what we could do and how we could become involved with others.
Marcia Barton
Seattle, WA USA -
Well, wouldn't you know, it was one of the hottest nights so far this year - over 104 here in Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada - but our house prepared and @ 7 everything went off - 'cept for the refrigerators. Hadn't completed refurbishing the jacuzzi - so NO RELIEF - this was gooing to be a real test - we all took a cold shower, put on the oil lamps - read the paper - and eventually dozed off. Around 9:33 the temp inside the house was still 99 degrees - but stioll cooler by 5-8 degrees than outside. Coundln't keep it up any longer - had to turn on the AC (got a little warm with 3 golden retrievers plus the whole family on the bed!) - but we felt "good" spiritually at least (never saw the cats all night - guess they love the warmth). Didn't manage to cool off the house for 5 more hours tho!

PLEASE - how about an early spring, fall, or even winter protest next time - the dessert is a crappy place without AC!!

John, Larry, Christy, Tank, Sherman, Polo, Tipsy & Lucky

John Marko
Las Vegas, NV USA -
My husband was reluctant at first to do the blackout, saying it wouldn't make any difference unless a huge number did it. I convinced him a small start was at least a start. I took of photo of him pulling the lever at our power pole. It was light until 8:45 here, so we read by natural light. But first we noticed how quiet it was. All we could hear was the birds through our patio door. No refrigerators, radios, tvs. it was wonderful. At 9 p.m. we lit a scented candle and sat in the living room and TALKED to each other. that was wonderful too. Let's do the blackout thing more often and get all our family and friends to join in. Power to the People off the power grid! :-)
B. Hannon
Anamosa, IA USA -
My husband and I had a quiet and very peaceful evening - (the kids were both at work so I'm not sure how they would have felt about it!) I would agree with making this a more frequent event - and hopefully with time more and more people would participate. The lasting impact has been in heightened awareness. We can NOT continue carelessly wasting the riches of our earth.
Kansas City, KS USA -
I shut off my power, including the A/C, and went outside to pull weeds and cut flowers from my garden. When I noticed a group of neighbors in their yards down the block I walked down and asked if they were in the rolling blackout. I was surprised to find that they were, along with half a dozen other households on my conservative Texas street. I shared my "Impeach Bush" bumper stickers with them. We had a great time getting to know each other and felt more comfortable knowing that there are still people in Texas who weren't blind-sighted by Bush's "bushwah".
Plano, TX USA -
I enjoyed the evening. My husband was in the hospital for minor reason, so I just took a map and and sat out in the yard - something I usually don't take time to do. It passed far too quickly
L. Mottaz
I participated in the blackout June 21st. Since I had to work I unplugged everything- freezer, clocks, TV everything. I was wondering if anyone noticed- (Power Companies that is) when just a couple of hours ago I observed an Energy One employee wandering my neighborhood checking power boxes and lines. Are they so out of touch they didn'tknow about "Roll Your Own Blackout" night? Probably.
Dawn Storm June 26, 2001

Dawn Storm
Glenwood, IA USA -
I feel bad because I didn't stay home and do groovy things in the dark like everyone else. We cut the power at the circuit box (tho we left the fridge on) and headed out for dinner and a movie.

Is there some way we can find out from power companies if RYOB was noticeable in usage rates?

R. Gregory
Nashville, TN USA -
I unplugged everything, including the refrigerator for 2 hours, and just rested in the silence. It is wonderful to see all these stories. I'm for doing this again, too!
Lisa Hannon
Marion, IA USA -
With the lights out, I joined 5 other people on their deck where we talked and sipped beverages from 7 to 10. Way to go!
Lucille Arneson
San Francisco, CA USA -
we turned our power off at 7 and enjoyed a nice, candle lit evening together, talking and enjoying absolute silence at times.
Jonathon C. Granger, Sr.
Houston, Tx USA -
Wow... I was just forwarded this link today (6/25) so I had no idea that this many people had taken part in the voluntary rolling black out. We flipped our main breaker just a few short minutes before 7:00.
We had a nice salad for dinner, took our 3yo daughter for a long swim in the pool and spent the rest of the evening laying on the deck under our magnolia tree. Did anyone else see how close and bright Mars was?
It was a lovely evening filled with candles, oil lamps and twinlking stars... AND ... so quiet without the tv noise in the background!

Angela Estrada
San Jose, CA USA -
My mother was here visiting from North Carolina. At 7pm we turned off the power and when it got dark got out the candles. My sister in Florida called to say she had turned off her power for the black out too. We had fun just talking and enjoying the peace and quiet! I think we should do this at least once a month if not a week!
Tedi Marville
Mt. Ephraim, NJ USA -
We unplugged the TVs and computers and shut off the lights.
We got candles ready so that as it got darker we would be prepared.
My sons and I had books to read, and we played board games and talked.

If it hadn't been storming, we would have gone swimming, too.
Not only did it save energy and send a message, but it was a great
opportunity to spend quality time with my kids!

Lake Mary, FL USA -
My kids (ages 15 and 11) were the ones who rushed to turn off all the lights and unplug our computers. They were excited at the prospect of joining with people all over the country who were protesting Bush and his myopic policies at the same time. Our neighbors also joined in making this one very unlit neighborhood!

We sat around using candles, built a fire and talked about what was going on with them and their friends. We also spoke abour what this blackout was supposed to accomplish. [We had these same types of discussions nightly while the pResidential election results were being decided.]

My kids are a lot more aware of their rights and how easy it was to have them violated. I see this as the 'only positive' result of what happened. They will be very active and unlike our generation, will get involved so that this will never happen again.

We turned on the tv at 10:30 pm to see the Jay Leno show. [which was shot in the dark.]

Mpls, MN USA -
I shut everything off, computer, clock radios, nightlights, etc. except the fridge about 6:30 p.m. and headed downtown, I was torn between staying home and felt like I was cheating but couldn't pass up a free concert by a great band, Econoline Crush, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Spent the evening walking around the city admiring some of the old beautiful architecture and our beautiful Peace Memorial. Even though it was drizzling it was a beautiful night to be out walking around. I was thrilled to read about all the people contributing to RYOB! Some days I feel like I am the only one that is so obsessed over the madness of the right-wing coup that has taken over our country. I am glad to know we are not alone! I thought about something Cheney said on a PBS interview. He said that the only way to lower energy prices was to either reduce demand or supply more power. So THEN WHY DON'T WE REDUCE DEMAND? We could spend the money that we pay in taxes on incentives to reduce our dependency on the GRID investing in solar energy companies instead of forcing us to subsidize his billionaire group of thieves.
Cleveland, OH USA -
Hi, I actually started at noon by throwing all the circuit swithces, except the one for the refrigerator and the freezer [they got thrown at 7pm]. I took my wind up radio and a book I was reading and sat at the door of my garage, until the thunderstorm came, at which time I moved to the back of the garage and watched the "light and sound" show.
After the rain I went in the house and lit 3 candles and continued reading, finishing the book I had been reading.
Everything turned back on at 11pm. It was neat to see the meters during the "down" time. I have 2 meters, and both never moved even to the next number during the 10 hours.
Often, when I go away for several days or more, I flip the swithces for everything except the line that has my answering machine on it. This also means that each time I get home, I must reprogram my tv, range, and microwave. But having done that several times already, it is an easy task.
When we doing it again?

Bob Simmons
Lebanon, oh USA -
I teach English as a Second Language and I work in the evening. When 7 o'clock came I turned off all the lights in the rooms that weren't being used. All my lights at home were off at that time. It wasn't much, but I wish to do my part. If everyone does a litle, a lot will get done. Resist early and often.
james r kenworthy
Longmont, CO USA -
We turned off the a/c, lights, fans, computer, everything except the refrigerator and spent the evening outside with our dogs. We weeded and fought off mosquitos and the dogs helped by digging up the garden. Before we knew it, it was 10:30 and we went inside to catch up on the news.

Luckily, while everything was turned off, cleanwatch accidentally sent out an e-mail with a virus. By the time we restarted the computer, we had received forty messages about the virus and were able to delete it cleanly.

We would be happy to participate again anytime!

Gerry Singer
Teaneck, NJ USA -
It was pretty effortless for us to participate since we were traveling hundreds of miles doing some furniture moving , so we had our lights off at home for a couple of days anyway, and when we did use them, we were so beat we threw our suitcases down and passed out pretty quickly. So our lights were out (in more ways than one) for at least 48 hrs. Can't say it was all that much fun, but I was glad to get the job done and make a statement at the same time.
Jeff Arbogast
Niles, Mi USA -
My husband and 13 month old son spent most of the evening outside, while I took the opportunity to clean out the fish tank, since I had turned off the filters anyway. When it got too dark in the house, I joined them outside and we watched the little guy play in the yard. After he went to bed, we used the time away from the TV and computer to discuss an important issue we had been avoiding.
I'm thrilled to see that so many people participated. Unfortunately, I saw no media coverage here in Albuquerque, other than in the Weekly Alibi.
Let's do this once a month!!!!
Albuquerque, NM

We actually had a wonderful evening. My husband,Ed made a refreshing cold salad and we ate in peace. We talked without any interruption. We then took a walk through the neighborhood. We live in Orange (Republican) County so we seemed to be the only ones that had turned the power off for the evening.

Then we settled down and had a rousing game of Scrabble by candlelight. Our two cats curled up beside us and it was really quite a fullfilling evening. No T.V.,music,phone calls, etc. We put our world on hold and really enjoyed each other's company. We have decided to do the same every Thrusday night.

Sallie Ingram
Laguna Niguel, Ca USA -
Dear president "shrub" thank you for being so greedy and stupid, enabling my wife and I to not only protest you and everything you stand for, by turning one of many protests to come....into a very beautiful evening at hard as it might be, I think everyone should revert back to old fashioned times....(in how we live our daily lives) reference to showing our "weed" in chief...that the rest of the country will not tolerate him, his family of "cronies"...political or otherwise.....and their policies.Just likee 1776...revolt and be free.......
Edward Kaminsky
Laguna Hills, Ca. USA -
Rode bike for an hour, listened to jazz on wind-up radio, ate salad in the dark. Who needs candles on the longest day of the year?
Valinda Carroll
Dear president "shrub" thank you for being so greedy and stupid, enabling my wife and I to not only protest you and everything you stand for, by turning one of many protests to come....into a very beautiful evening at hard as it might be, I think everyone should revert back to old fashioned times....(in how we live our daily lives) reference to showing our "weed" in chief...that the rest of the country will not tolerate him, his family of "cronies"...political or otherwise.....and their policies.Just likee 1776...revolt and be free.......
Edward Kaminsky
Laguna Hills, Ca. USA -
I sat outside and listened to a transistor radio. It was
refreshing to watch the sunset on the solstice! This was
a great idea because I would have just been working at the
computer otherwise. I think I will make this a weekly
ritual to hold the gouging practices of the power companies
at bay! This was a great project, and I hope there are
more to come to show the unity and solidarity of our

James G. Wilson
Edwardsville, IL USA -
I held a Rolling black out here in Mpls but have heard nothing form the local/national press/news as to how many people participated. Does any one know?
Mpls, MN USA -
we live on an unlit road next to the woods and our porch lights remained undone. the children ran with lightning bugs as twilight tiptoed in, and we grown-ups gabbled on as we are wont to do. the longest day of the year, the smallest light on in the dining room corner. candles and batteries played their roles brilliantly for our deep banana blackout drama with piano background music. yeah.
b. goldee greene
garrison, ny USA -
I really liked the idea of the "blackout" when I first heard about it, but figured I would have trouble convincing my husband to participate. (He thinks I'm "radical", I think NOT radical enough, and can't fathom his indifference to the whole situation.) While I generally try to conserve and recycle as a habit, I was really looking forward to this day. I told a few people about it, but didn't get a chance to pass out the flyers I had printed. As luck would have it, my husband was out of town for a few days, so I did as much as I could. I started out early in the afternoon, unplugging what I knew I didn't need, setting out candles (left over from protests in Dec. & Jan.), checking the batteries in my radio, etc. Shortly before 7:00, I shut down the computer and unplugged it, turned off the radio (electric) & turned on the portable (battery - rechargeable, of course!), unplugged everything I could reach (not the fridge, waterbed or microwave), and shut off the few lights that were on. About 7:30, I took a shower, then headed for a friend's house, remembering to take a flashlight, because the porch light was going to be off. We sat out on her porch, watching the sun set, and traffic go by. Later, I stopped to pick up something to eat, and took it home. I lit the candles, turned on the radio, and sat in the darkness, eating my dinner. Before I knew it, it was about 10:20, so I slowly started to turn things back on - I had heard there was some concern with everybody turning things back on all at the same time. Although it was a minor inconvenience not having the TV (I'm an admitted "newsaholic"), the whole evening was rather enjoyable. Lucky for me, my favorite radio station (KLOS) was having an "A-Z" countdown running since the Friday before, so I really debated turning the TV back on, and waited for the 11:00 local news to start before shutting off the radio. I personally don't know of anyone else in the neighborhood who participated, but I live close to the University, so I'm hoping some of their like-minded people joined. Also, I drove by downtown, where we have our regular "Market Night", and there were lots of people there. I think everyone should be encouraged to do this on a regular basis, not just for the political or ecological aspects of it, but to remind ourselves just how much society in general takes for granted. Abusing the Earth is not a "right", and living life in the "fast lane" is not a necessity. Blessings to all! :)
Redlands, CA USA -
The blackout was wonderful we had friends over and roasted the shrub while rejoicing in his super bad poll numbers!

Talk about a truly grass roots action!

I just saw a short story about the protest on KRON TV news, it painted it as a gesture of consumers showing we can do something. They shot the story at a restaurant that made an event of it. They said it was a general backlash against the Bush energy policy.

Hopefully more press in the papers tomorrow, especially since Enron CEO got pied in SF today.

Carla Golding
Oakland, CA USA -
Shrub's energy plan is so sort sighted and irresponsible it makes me ill just thinking about it. When I got an email sent to me by a friend suggesting I "roll my own blackout" I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I don't use much power anyway but I made sure everything was off during the appointed time. I doubt Shrub boy will grt the message but it made me feel better. Now to write my congress folks again!
Stephen Tillinghast
Picabo, ID USA -
Most of my family and housemates were away, but I turned off as much as I could and spent the evening playing acoustic music on the front porch, waving to neighbors. It stays light here until nearly 10 so little effect was visible, but I felt like part of something large and powerful--the Power of the People! Thanks for publishing all the stories; I feel so inspired to be in such wonderful company.
Jonathan Betz-Zall
Seattle, WA USA -
My husband and I turned everything off and went out to dinner. We then did some grocery shopping for a barbecue we were planning for Saturday. When we got home, my husband sat in the dark in our den and played the guitar, while I sat on our small porch with my cat Agnes on my lap, listening to the guitar music and watching the sun fade from the sky. It was one of the most peaceful moments I've had in a long time. We then went outside into our yard and just talked and gazed out over our quiet neighborhood. It was great. I'm very glad to have participated.
Nancy Cashman
Yonkers, NY USA -
My wife and I had a romantic candlelit dinner. Our daughter was asleep upstairs. We spent the entire three hours just talking and relaxing. It reminded us how important it was to stay connected to each other. We plan to do this again on our own. We don't need the so-called president and his buddies at Enron and Dynergy to tell us how we have to live.
Daniel Altman
Lake Forest, CA USA -
My daughter and I read by camp lanterns for about half of the
time, and then decided to walk in our neighborhood and see
how many lights were out. By our estimate, about half of the
homes were dark ('though not all may have been due to the
voluntary blackout)....Also, judging by our pre-blackout contacts, the number of people going lightless was under-representative of those in sympathy with the protest -- eg., we have several elderly friends who, while in agreement with the issue, could not go lightless for health and safety issues....and, my husband, a fireman, could turn out his lights in his dormitory room, but the fire station still needed its operating lights.

R. Boardman
Santa Barbara, CA USA -
I enjoyed the voluntary blackout, but of course I wouldn't if it happened often and unexpectedly. However, as an exercise in conservation, I would be happy to participate again soon. The hardest part was not opening the refrigerator. Of course, I didn't actually unplug it, but I tried to act as if it were a total blackout. Thus,I would not have wanted to lose the cold air for fear of food spoilage. Thank you for figuring out a way to record and tally this event.
Jean McBride
Waynesboro, PA USA -
Several days before the "event" and again on the day of the
"event" I emailed everyone I know about the RYOB.
My partner and I were very excited to participate in the
it. Anything to stick it to the illegitimate Shrub. Just
before 7pm we started turning everything off in the house
and watched the meter turn slower and slower until it barely
moved. Our house sits on a hill and we can view most of the
houses in our neighborhood from our back deck. Since Takoma
Park is a very "green," progressive little town, it was not
surprising to see most if not all the houses in the dark.
But it was still GREAT to see all the participation.
And it was SO quite. He cooked a nice dinner on gas by
flashlight and we ate by candlelight in the dining room,
which was really strange since we only eat there when we
have a dinner party or during the holidays. We wanted to eat
outside, but the mosquitos are really bad this year. We
had a great dinner and just talked without the constant
noise of the TV in the foreground. What a great night it
was. I hope we don't have to do it again, but if we do,
count us in. But knowing Shrub the way we are all starting
to know him (as if there was any doubt,) I'm sure this will
probably become a regular thing over the next 3 1/2 years.
Vote the bum and his "boys" out!!

Glenn Wallace
Takoma Park, MD USA -
We turned off everything and went out for an evening stroll along the river. Watched the sun go down from the bridge over the Platte. When we came back, we lit candles and maintained the cozy atmosphere. Wonderful experience.
Keystone Watson
Kearney, NE USA -
It had been a long time since we'd just kicked back and enjoyed being outdoors. We turned off absolutely everyhing, and went out to feel the fresh air and walk through our garden, checking new growth and snacking on mullberries. It is a fact that we didn't want to go in. But when we did go back in the house, it, too, seemed different---without glaring lights and TV ads, it was soft and inviting with the candles we lit and the finger snacks we'd made ready. It was a beautiful evening with much intimate thought-sharing and creative ideas which came bubbling up without the demands and distractions that usually happen.
T. Trees
Let do it again at the equinox, solstice,equinox etc.
Roll on, roll it out, roll your own!

I roll my own in the morning, I roll my own at night
I roll my own in the afternoon
Cause the people I say are right
Stop big business from screwing us
From killing the earth for greed
Everybody can do their part
Decentralize the need!

Alot of people didn't get the message.
Kill your TV

Scott Partridge
Sacramento, ca USA -
We passed out flyers in the neighborhood about the event and invited everyone to my street for the evening. The night of the Blackout, we had about 35 families in the street for hotdogs, hamburgers, and "night sports". We even had the electric company guy (from the next street over) come by and turn off the street lights.

Down near the end of the one-block dead-end street we set up all the food and BBQ grills.
The street was lined with tiki touches and lanterns and a "Blackout" banner at the front of the street. Many families brought side dishes and we had a banquet of food.

The night began with food, and music from a neighborhood band of 5 guitar players.
After the eating we made a quick thank you announcement for everyone coming out.
We then began some of the games like blind man races (everyone blindfolded have to race 200 feet in silence, which was a riot), candle relay races (mom, dad, son, daughter, or other - and don't let your candle go out, and several others.

The night took longer than the 3 hours of the Blackout event and ended a little after midnight. Everyone had such a great time, we're actually planning another bigger event for next year.

Michael P. Fagan
Slidell, LA USA -
Excerpted from "Repo Man"

Otto and Miller in vacant lot under bridge

Otto holds up book he's about to throw in burning garbage can. Book says "Dioretix: The Science of Matter over Mind. By A. Rum Bi..."

Miller: A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll Give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like plate or shrimp or plate of shrimp out of the blue no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.

Otto: You eat a lot of acid Miller, back in the hippie days?

Miller: I'll give you another instance. You know the way everybody's into weirdness right now. Books in all the supermarkets about Bermuda triangles, UFO's, how the Mayans invented television. That kind of thing.

Otto: I don't read them books.

Miller: Well the way I see it it's exactly the same. There ain't no difference between a flying saucer and a time machine. People get so hung up on specifics. They miss out on seeing the whole thing. Take South America for example. In South America thousands of people go missing every year. Nobody knows where they go. They just like disappear. But if you think about it for a minute, you realize something. There had to be a time when there was no people. Right?

Otto: Yeah. I guess.

Miller: Well where did all these people come from? hmmm? I'll tell you where. The future. Where did all these people disappear to? hmmm?

Otto: The past?

Miller: That's right and how did they get there?

Otto: How the fuck (hell) do I know?

Miller: Flying saucers. Which are really? Yeah you got it. Time machines. I think a lot about this kind of stuff. I do my best thinking on the bus. That how come I don't drive, see?

Otto: You don't even know how to drive.

Miller: I don't want to know how. I don't want to learn. See? The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.

James Agnor
Irving, TX USA -
since i live in a conservative republican little suburb of dallas texas i could only mobilize the children. several of my kids friends came over and lit candles and recited the pledge. we had fun!
karen e mcrae
rowlett, tx USA -
It stays light here in the NW to almost 10 PM, so it was fun to garden as late as possible, and then go in for a late candlelight dinner, and some reading by candlelight. What a great idea, let's do it more often!
Diane Williams
I was home alone as I turned off the circuit breakers to start the blackout in my house. I saw only one neighbor's house dark, but I had distributed the flyer at work and many were receptive. I called my sister and Mom in New Jersey only to find out they still had the air conditioner and the refrigerator still runnning. After I complained to them that mine were off and it was still 90 degrees down here in Florida, they turned them off. We had a great time talking on the phone to pass the time. I spent the rest of the time playing with my cat. I was really happy that Jay Leno topped off the evening with his flashlight show. He made himself a new fan. My friends in Italy were participating too! You are not alone California- Florida is behind you. Remember we had our votes stolen by the Supreme Court. We have to get rid of Shrub and Jeb!
Betsy Marville
Boynton Beach, FL USA -

The monthly meeting of the Akron Area Chapter of the National Organization for Women was that night of RYOB. Members were asked to bring candles and we ran the entire meeting by candlelight. Some latecomers thought the electricity had gone out because of the storms and when they found out why we were in the dark they were surprised and impressed by our dedication to the cause.
Diane M. Dodge
Akron, OH USA -


Thank you.
Miscellaneous, -
What is going on for 2002? We did a Black out Block Party last year and I have heard nothing about things for this 6/21. Anyone else doing this this year?
Therese Quinn
Everett, WA USA -

For first page of RYOB reports, click here.

Participating organizations:

Citizens for Legitimate Government

Roll Your Own Black Out.Com:

Clean North:

Straight Goods:

Stop Global Warming!

Fringefolk http:/

USDN National Coordinator

"Restore Democracy"

Pray for Peace Foundation

Bush Brothers Banana Republic (BBBR)

Dean & Justin's Political Journal

Earth Day Energy Fast

Center for a New American Dream

Press Release for 'Roll Your Own Blackout'

Press Received for 'Roll Your Own Blackout:'

CLG Index



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