This is normally the piece where I review a couple of TV shows, and offer up (hopefully) funny observations about the world of entertainment as it turns.
Sadly, Hurricane Sandy took a nice fat bite about of my ability to watch TV (or go online, or do laundry, or be able to see in the dark), so you’re stuck with listening to me whine about the weather. That’s right, you won’t get to find out that a futon is just a dog bed for people or if you want your hobbit costume to be authentic you need to glue hair to your feet.
How will you go on without these pearls of wisdom? Beats me – it’s every man for himself! See that Wawa (for those not from the mid-Atlantic, a Wawa is a 24 hour convenience store that is WAY nicer than a 7-11). That’s about six blocks from my house. For the record, I live on Absecon Island, which is the four communities with Atlantic City to the north, followed by Ventnor, Margate and Longport.
Hit the title/continue reading to read more. . .
The first decision you need to make is should you stay or should you go, and the most important source of information you have is not the National Weather Service or the Governor of your state, it’s you. Know your street. Know your area. If you’re still bitching about how your car was half underwater the last time it rained a lot, then your street is probably going to flood in the freaking hurricane. Maybe your house will too. Do you live NEXT to the bay? You can’t stay. I happened to know my street, having lived on it for 40 years. It doesn’t flood. It’s half way between the bay and the ocean with (relatively) good elevation for an island town at sea level. When the flood came, the water was curb level on my street. It was another six feet to my porch, and another 12 feet to my front door. I put my car in the driveway. The water never got past my back wheels.
Once you make your decision, stick with it. Don’t “wait to see if it will be bad.” Even a pussy hurricane can kill someone who decides to go driving around in it. If you’re leaving, leave the day before. You will still have internet and plenty of time to find a hotel that’s inland. Leaving at the last minute is the kind of stupid shit that gets people killed. Ever read the Darwin Awards. Hurricanes should have their own category.
“I can make it. I gots a truck!”
If you’re staying, you need supplies. Not a lot. But enough to last you about 3 days. If you’re still stuck where you are after 3 days, you should have left. Tough luck, you deserve your fate. You need some food that tastes good cold. During the four days I was without power, I ate cereal, pb&j, a couple of BLTs, yogurt…use up the stuff in your fridge. It won’t keep forever. DON’T open your freezer. What are you possibly going to eat that’s frozen with no power to thaw it out or cook it? Assume your fridge stuff is not going to make it, and assume your freezer food will.
Of course, that’s just the supplies EVERYONE knows to get (bottled water, batteries, etc.). You owe it to anyone near you to make sure you have the supplies you, personally, cannot live without. If you worship the caffeine god as I do, be mindful that you will be deprived of hot coffee for a few days and stock up on soda or canned coffee shots or whatever works for you. If you’re a drunk, now is not the time to embrace your denial. Buy some liquor and keep it safe.
Don’t judge. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a hurricane with her if she were sober. She did it for YOU.
If you are with other people, pick out the person who is most useless and annoying. It might be that girl in the picture if she DIDN’T get her alcohol, but It is the probably the person who starts complaining that you don’t know what’s going on 5 minutes after the hurricane starts, and who wants you to go outside to “see what’s happening” in the middle of it. If things get really bad and you run out of food, now you know who to eat first.
Finally, you must the fight real enemy. Not the rain, not the flood, not the wind, not downed power lines. The real enemy is boredom. You know how long you can watch rain and wind out the window without going insane. 11 minutes. I know someone who tried it for 15. Her family tells me she was delicious.
No, the worst part of the hurricane is being stuck in the house with nothing to do – no TV, no lights, no computer, your mobile device may work, but you want to save the battery. So what can you do? Read. I set aside a stack of books – Stephen King, Larry Niven, Steve Martini, the Harry Potter collection, Philip K. Dick – it was all stuff I’d read before, but not for a while, and I figured I had plenty of time. In honor of having to live like a savage with no internet for a few days, I read Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, one of the best end-of-the-world stories you can ever find (easily as good as The Stand), about a comet that hits earth. I followed that up with Footfall by the same authors, about aliens who look like baby elephants and invade earth. I was about to re-read Cell by Stephen King when the power came back on. It helps if you can read in near darkness. I had to alternate between using a flashlight, candles and the screen from my cell phone at night.
Moooooove into the liiiiiight. Do you wanna buy some gum?
You can also listen to local radio, because people calling in during a hurricane are hilarious. For one thing, the local radio hosts know that with the cable gone their audience has suddenly octupled, so they are more than willing to go off on rants. People call in with the most ridiculous of questions. My favorite was a guy who called to scream and rage about a sign that was still lit up (obviously connected to batteries) while the rest of us were stuck in the dark freezing. Where do they get off having a sign?! Arrrrrghhh!
The funniest person on the radio, of course, was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Now don’t get me wrong, he did a fine job in a crisis. But Christie is such a jerk he couldn’t help having his personality come out every time he spoke. First he called the people who stayed behind idiots. Then he called out Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford, with whom he’s been feuding for six months. Then Steve Doocey of Fox and Friends tried to tweak the Governor by asking him about his kind words for President Obama and Christie got a look on his face that told you that if he had been in the studio, he would have knocked Steve Doocey on the ground, sat on his chest and dangled a spitball a few inches from his face.
Governor Christie also seemed to want to keep the barrier islands in Atlantic County closed for as long as humanly possible. That’s probably a mistake. The next time there’s a hurricane, anyone who was stuck an extra two days in some crappy motel AFTER their power was back on is not going to go running for the hills when Chris Christie tells them to. If they do stay behind, hopefully they’ll read this column first. Otherwise they won’t know who to eat first if things get bad.
After the hurricane is over, you can also enjoy walking around to see the damage. Do you need me to tell you to stay away from downed power lines? If you do, you’re probably not reading this, because you probably went driving around in the hurricane and already died. Darwin, people. He knew from whence he spoke. The most interesting thing I saw/heard was a house down the street that had a talking burglar alarm. Something must have set it off, maybe a squirrel or a raccoon, and its siren would blare for about 20 seconds and then a threatening sounding voice told the raccoon that it was calling the police. This was during the period when the police weren’t coming even if you did call them. I wonder if they got about 1000 voicemails from this guy’s alarm system.
“Ooooh sparkly. Let’s pick them up and see if they’re friendly.”
Finally, if you really miss reading about TV this week, I have a little bit of what I had started on Monday before the hurricane got me. By the way, if you’re in a hurricane and this guy wants to come in, don’t let him, unless that drunk girl has run out of alcohol. Then he may come in handy.
Observations From Geek Heaven: Meet the latest incarnation of Hannibal Lecter, as played by Danish Actor Mads Mikkelsen on the upcoming (January 2013) NBC drama Hannibal. Everything I’ve seen about this show, including casting this guy as Lecter, tells me it’s going to be awesome!
Louis C.K. will host Saturday Night Live on NBC on November 3.
You can’t escape. Live coverage of the Presidential election will air Tuesday November 6 pretty much everywhere.
Wil Wheaton returns for another guest spot on The Big Bang Theory on CBS on November 8.
Glee returns after a long absence with music from Grease on FOX on November 8.
Burn Notice returns to USA Network on November 8.
TV’s a big place and I haven’t been to all of it yet. Got a favorite show you’d like me to comment on? Post a comment below, contact me on twitter @RobLazlo. or shoot me an email: RobNJ564@yahoo.com. I welcome your input!