Five ways to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

It is nothing new, this time of year. People in Portland have come to expect the elements of winter, the severity in temperature, the contemplative distance between bus stops, the volcanoes on the move. During winter people can be easily separated into one of two camps. The out and about, dodging the rain with company-types, and the hermetic, bringing-it-all-back-home types. So for all the hap-happy socialites and the "perhaps I will remain at home tonight-ers," we at the Vanguard have tried to coalesce some basic necessities for surviving the winter months.

1. Get drunk and play games which only require humans and not cards.

"Mafia" – To be played next to a large, indoor fire with several drinks and several friends.

Pick a moderator. Everyone puts their heads down and makes noise. The moderator then walks about the room, touching two people on the head who are now chosen to be "Mafia." While everyone’s eyes are closed and loud noises are being made the moderator asks for the mafia to raise their heads.

At this point of the game, when all heads are down, the making of the noise is called "night time." The point when all heads are raised is called the opposite – "day time" – which can only be announced by the moderator.

The moderator asked just the Mafia to raise their heads and silently agree upon whom to kill in the night. When everyone lifts their heads, someone has died and is no longer in the game. The rest of the players decide who-dunnit. "I have recognized the Mafia and it is…" each round players have the opportunity to accuse one person of murdering their friends.

After each accusation players have the opportunity for a final statement to convince the circle of the validity of their accusation or their innocence. A final vote is taken on their guilt. Only the moderator knows who is innocent or not. The decision is final. This continues until either the Mafia is caught, or the civilians have died.

Play again. See how good a judge of character you are.

2. Spend time considering the goddamn universe and take the to consider something you generally don’t accept.

3. Give every last centime to the Salvation Army.

If Target can kick the homeless workers onto the curb, who’s to say you’re not next.

4. Don’t shop Wal-Mart.

The Vanguard would like to thank you for not shopping Wal-Mart, and supporting your next door neighbor and their children and not Nike’s Chuck Taylor All-Star with John Lennon’s head replacing the old logo touting "Peace Chucks," this buying season.

5. There is no better time in this gorgeous city to do something wonderful and productive then during the oppressive season of winter.

I propose this year that every person in need find something more than just quiet comfort and acceptance. Get out there.