3 weeks

It is about more than electricity

I was thinking today about where bitterness comes from and how to make it go away. Again, I am one of the lucky VERY FEW to have not been flooded on my whole peninsula of over 100,000 people. I am appreciative, my tears have been for family and friends in terrible situations. You'd think I'd be skipping through daisies and smiling the rest of the time, and I probably should be. And yet, I do have moments of anger, and when you are "in it", there are so many emotions, it can be hard to keep up with them. Maybe some of my petty-er malcontent is misplaced, but when I really thought about it, it points in a very specific direction – at companies who provide services that I pay for, that I feel are not providing their end of that smple business relationship.  


And then I roll my eyes at myself, slap my inner self around a little bit and lecture myself about first world problems. But, beyond having to do without some creature comforts, learning to live more simply and realizing just how spoiled I am…I think there is a small and probably obvious lesson to be learned here for brands. And because some of the bigger emotions I'm not quite ready to tackle, I can only seem to start here. Let me explain.  


I realize that getting my electricity on will take time, that it is complicated and in an effort not to cause fires or more devastation… the linemen of national grid and LIPA are working their asses off and people are away from their families, from all over the country working, and that is not a small thing that needs to be acknowledged..  My beef with them is communication. Auto dial us with updates, provide timelines or something, anything. I don't want this to be about LIPA because enough is being said and scandals uncovered in the media, and since I really have no choice with who provides me power – I am going to move on and try to explain what I'm thinking in regards to other companies. (I'm also writing on my iPhone and it is tedious, I could fill volumes with the follies of our dealings the past week, it has been bafflingly epic).  


My renter's insurance is through Liberty Mutual. And while I probably could have read all the fine print and known specifically what I am NOT covered for, I pay for relocation if my apartment is uninhabitable. And, while I had no flood damage, I have not had heat. I know, I have seen many sleeping on parked city buses because they have no home at all. When I go there in my head I think I shouldn't say anything at all, and maybe I have no right for this rant. But, I guess I need to get it out, so I don't forget. It has been warmer, but last week was brutal at times. I also could not reasonably commute to and from work, the subway bridge out to where I live was destroyed, buses stopped running at sundown. And without electricity, I couldn't work from home. Then add a gas shortage and driving was not a reasonable alternative. Apparently though Mayor Bloomberg seemed to evacuate us on live TV the day of the storm, no evacuation order at any time was reported to my insurance company. Fires were cropping up with exposed gas lines and my house is surrounded by sinkholes. Maybe I should be angry with NYC. But, in common sense terms, I would have thought that enough conditions were wrong that my dwelling was not habitable. Not to mention seeing questionable hazards all around me – neighbors keeping their houses warm with exposed range top fires, freestanding fireplaces being delivered, and fumes from generators from every direction. I didn't even get that far in explaining to the rep assigned to my case. It was as if he has no idea a hurricane happened or that my address was now in a disaster zone with FEMA, the Red Cross, and countless other relief agencies you never think you'll be seeing in your neighborhood. He was not remotely compassionate when I first called not knowing if I even had a structure to return to. Fine, not everyone has a good bedside manner, or whatever term you would use for a good insurance adjuster…but, a week after this all started, I saw that Allstate has a team here. They are in my neighborhood in our time of need, providing telephones for anyone who needs them and on site to help their customers. I would even pay a decent amount more, just to know they cared enough to send people, in person to actually be here for their customers. And in the end, I don't want to not be here, I just thought I was paying for the option if I couldn't be, and I probably shouldn't have been until recent days. They might also come up empty with coverage to get me out of here when I wanted to be, but still, you better believe I will be calling Allstate and switching my service just as soon as I can.  


On the flip side, Geico insures my car. They were the only company I could find to insure me when I hadn't owned a car for several years. They are also here. They are providing water in areas that need it, they are visible and available for questions, in person. Their assessment marks were visible on the endless fields of flooded cars just days after the storm, before FEMA or the Red Cross arrived. They have sent emails offering to defer payments, they have sent information to make filing a claim easier, they are advertising human words of encouragement on the radio, which for many of us is our most reliable broadcast media. Yes, I could probably find a better rate now that I have insurance. But I am happy to be their customer, Moreover I am proud of the work I see them doing. I see their reps on the side of the road and feel like I'm passing a comrade, not some random person from my insurance company.  


And then there is Time Warner Cable. I have to say, from the day I moved they were a disaster, so I am biased. But, I have a choice. And I see Verizon here. trucks everywhere.  I pay more for their service than I will for Fios, so surely they can spare something, maybe auto dialed updates or emails for starters or even mobile internet if i really were to push my luck. Instead they can't give me an estimate for when I will have service, even a broad range after my electricity comes back on…but it's been two weeks and nothing.  


These are just a few examples., and I know I am leaving so many others out I almost feel unfair naming names and not including everyone who is here, sharing our heartbreak, seeing the amazing good in people, and doing something.  


There are food trucks I recognize from the city, we have virtually no dining options out here right now, so being able to grab a bite while walking around numb seeing your home town flooded and torn to shreds is comforting. And I dare not get on most of those lines because I know they are providing food for free, for people who need it more than I do. I take note of them and I will be standing in their lines at a later date, patronizing them because they were here. I know Home Depot and REI are donating cleaning materials and coordinating volunteer efforts. Not because they are flaunting it, because I see the notes of thanks from people on Facebook and Twitter.  


There are things you balk at when shit first goes down and then become regular over time. Shoddy cell phone service, living in the dark, snuggling hot water bottles at night, the only local grocery store being open the hours you are at work, the dampness from boiling water to keep warm ruining my stuff that was spared any flooding. A devastating storm flooded the entire peninsula I live on, and so many towns up and down the coast – nothing like this has happened here before. I know getting the basics back won't happen quickly. I have amazing friends and family who have offered an out, places to stay, generous offers that make me wonder if I am bordering on some sort of Stockholm syndrome, but my home is here, for better or worse.  


I can live without all these things because I know it is a lot worse out here for so many. I can flush my toilet, I don't have to walk down 10 or 20 flights of stairs to get out of my home, I am not sick and unable to get needed medication, my car was not here when everything went underwater, my home didn't flood, it didn't burn down…just to name a few.  And that's just NY and NJ, just this one thing.  More on this part later when I have a chance to really process and understand how this has changed me in what feels like a very fundamental way. Or maybe I'm totally full or shit, another reason I had to to document what this feels like, right now, so I don't forget.  


So just as I'm learning a different sort of lessons, there are lessons to be learned for companies with paying customers.  Time ranges are a must, it is scary to be in the dark with little communication. Your customers can't continue to pay you if they can't work.  If you can't restore services or let someone know when they can get back to work, you jeopardize that whole circle. I realize I am also very fortunate that I work for a company that has been unbelievably flexible and understanding. But, at the end of the day, just as my eyes have been opened to the suffering around me, I will resume being a consumer again one of these days…and I will be a lot happier working with companies who showed up, who made themselves visible, the ones who keep sending emails, who made my life and those around me just a little easier.  It seems so simple in such a complicated situation, I really can't say more at this moment… because I still don't really know where to start and my phone is about to run out of battery.



Update: It appears that Time Warner and Liberty Mutual are helping, I was incorrect in my assumption that just because I couldn't see them, that they aren't there.  – gothamist.com/2012/11/12/big_business_like_twc_now_funding_s.php


Also, heard from my Godmother in Florida that Allstate has an abysmal record there, something to consider and investigate before I switch insurance companies


Day 13

My little brain dump seemed to ease the tension in my brain for a few days. Started to feel optimistic, was regathering the resolve to stay, and then the lights came on across the street. Yay!



Then LIPA left. Boo!


That was last night and after a long, tough day memorializing an amazing uncle who passed right before the storm…we returned back to find there is still no power. So few highs, so many lows.


When I start to despair it's just that much harder to pick myself up and kick the gloom's ass. But I'm going to kick it, just might not be until tomorrow morning.

Jacob Riis Park, temporary landfill

The comfort of home

A week Since

7 weeks, or when your Borough President is a Nitwit

Woke up in a foul mood

So much help is needed, where to start

Gloom and Doom and F-ing Marathons?


If you can get to Ramsey NJ, we can help in Rockaway, NY

Taking food, water, blankets, flashlights, batteries, gloves, cleaner, clothes…anything you can spare in our car to our hometown of Rockaway, NY tomorrow. Please come to Dunkin Donuts, 233 N Franklin Tpke, Ramsey‎ New Jersey‎ 07446, we will be there from‎ 4-5pm Friday (11/2) and 9-9:30am Saturday (11/3).


Then straight to just one of places we can help, and help is needed.





I don’t even know what to say

Alphabet Soup Battle


In which 2 MTA employees duel announcing skills and drop knowledge.



You got all that?


For the perplexed among us, there was no shortage of helpful passengers to translate. The edgy banter had been going a good ten minutes before I hit record regarding today's A/C/E and D/F bungle and the "super abundance of trains" causing a delay. I held off transferring for a few stops because the chattier the MTA employee on the mic, the more fun the ride.


Transfer bonus: walking directly into The Still Of The Night.


9-11 WTC Memorial 8th Annual Floating Lanterns Ceremony

9-11 WTC Memorial Annual Floating Lanterns Ceremony



In 2008 I attended the 7th Annual Floating Lanterns Ceremony for the first time.  As I've found words are often an insufficient medium to articulate both the personal experience of September 11th, life after;  the same goes for this annual ceremony on Pier 40.  Among a crowd of strangers, of many cultures and faiths, I am grateful for the personal comfort I have found in attending this memorial the past two years.  Out of respect for the event, the speakers, those in attendance, and you…I wanted to share the audio of the ceremony, without my own commentary. in the hope that those unable to attend in person may benefit from hearing it.


*Shinji Harada, Eriko Fukui , and the Japanese American Association of New York Chorus with Reono Ito, Conductor, performed beautiful musical tributes. My apologies for having to edit those segments down to short snippets, but unless audio or video clips appear online (and I can get permission to post them), the only justice I could do to these gorgeous moments was to remove them and try my best not to remove their context entirely.  I borrowed a small audio device to record and didn't know how to use it properly.  I will insert video clips if/when they appear online.  Aside from that I, editing was kept to a minimum. 

9-11 WTC Memorial 8th Annual Floating Lanterns Ceremony

Sponsored by the New York Buddhist Church
Partner with Interfaith Center of New York
Supported by NY de Volunteers and New York Kayak Company
Supported by Buddhist Council of New York, United States
New York Disaster Interfaith Services
LIC Community Boathouse
and NYC Downtown Boathouse

Delicious and generous feast provided and served by the UNITED SIKHS


Sincere and humble thanks (and hugs) to all the volunteers and organizations who participate and make this event as perfect as they do, I appreciate every moment of what they have done to commemorate a tragedy I wish we didn't need to.  Please donate to them when you can.

Something Found Podcast #11 – Open Source Urban Exploration



If you have found yourself searching for the urban industrial sites in and around New York City, you're likely to stumble upon the following online:


I was personally really excited to have the opportunity to wander along the Harlem River on a sunny Sunday with these three incredibly talented photographers and curators of NYC history.  Listen to their experiences of avoiding injury, tales of discovery, and why they are drawn to the often broken-down sites of the city (and beyond).



A few of the sights from the day:

 along the Harlem River



More photos and details can be found:
Nate K – The Harlem River: "New York's Forgotten Waterfront"
Vacant Beat – Harlem River
My Flickr set

It's been a long time since I powered up the mic and hit record.  Re-learned a few lessons, if you stick with it a few minutes, the sound improves.  Many Thanks to Rob Blatt for his help trying to salvage it what I had.  Check out Blattcave Productions and hire him from the get-go…  He knows how to do it all and do it right out of the gate.

Something Found – At Home

Romancing the stone a bit. I needed to check in/talk to myself and otherwise say Hello.

Something Missing / Something Found – The End

I gush about…my move…

and what's next…



Something Found #9

Brett and I talk…
about babies, Gilroy garlic fries, San Francisco, marbles, boobs, Prince, email prowess, 9/11, living abroad, sports, private part “contests”, naked taboo, Brett’s wedding, martial arts, etc, etc…

Audio issues, apparently my mic only does well with whoever is close to it.

Some accompanying material

Wedding boobs photo
Why do men have nipples?
Price Is Right wardrobe Malfunction
Fabulous Price Is Right boob montage I stumbled on

Something Found #8

The podcast confessional – some very unfiltered thinking and babble

My amazing friends

Midtown at Christmas

Love and Adoration

Something Found #7

I start with the lovely sounds of Midtown NYC

Jill Barber

Song "A 7th A Minor"

Jill Barber - Oh Heart - EP - A 7th Minor

Dana and I are brainstorming.
BLARM! is hers.
What do you think of a collaboration?

Something Found #6

The Veltz Family

The Veltz Family



The Awesome Hotel, or generally being unable to find a place to stay

A better way, or to not hunt narwhals

Something Found #5

Dana was here! And she got me a present every day of her trip for my birthday, much like Chanukah! It was fabulous, but you get to hear one of the most upsetting nights…well, not really – just goes to show you how great it is when we get to hang out. We talk a little about what we’ve been up to and totally freak out (kisses to your eardrums). Big thanks to the podosphere for my favorite person in the world – my friend Wankergirl.

Something Found #4

Something Found – this week a listener wrote an impressively love email where questions and comments were itemized for each show I’ve posted. Because I’m lazy and because it inspired some topics for babble – here’s my response.

It was raining out and I’m once again sick, now drink up the airborne and enjoy.

Something Found #3

…forgive me, I fell down a well – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Free mass transit fare, Pump Energy Kitchen, losing weight, my short hair, being incognito, Fall, time outside with friends (and booze), giggling, Dana / Blarm / Wankergirl, chapstick, being a squatter, beer, THE BEACH, family reunions, swimming in the ocean, chronicling, celebration, “Monopoly" money, MTV’s Fat Camp, being too cool for “that”, Hercules, taking time off when I need it, pleasing myself…

Being sour grapes, taxi strike in NY, smelly boy dirty laundry smell, Boratisms, laundry laziness, bad days at work, feeling burned out, gaining weight, bad photos, migraines, when friends are hurt, being without chapstick, not rinsing after exfoliating, new “Monopoly”, cell phones at summer camp, when take-out goes bad, doing it “wrong”…

To have people do my laundry for me, a haircut, to be uninhibited, a new chapstick, “Monopoly” not to progress, to not be the old person, to fight authority at slumber camp, brown rice with tonight’s dinner, to figure it all out, to do it “right”, feedback on what you Love!…

A few minutes of my long walk in the sand and surf.

Something Found – #2

Semi Precious Weapons
Song: "Rock and Roll Never Looked So Beautiful", by Semi Precious Weapons

Semi Precious Weapons - The Magnetic EP - Rock and Roll Never Looked So Beautiful


Summer in NYC
or why I love air conditioning

The apartment/moving experience to be worth the wait



Something Missing (Something) on Podshow


1 – Something Found

Something Found…
Where I've been and where I'm headed…

Walking – I wander down a mountain and am oddly enamored by the sound of my own footsteps

Insects…or why I own a bug vacuum

I want a ridiculously expensive hairbrush