Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Any post in the storm

My heart goes out to everyone on the east coast getting battered by this vicious storm. I’ve never been in a hurricane per se, but I was in a cyclone earlier this year (which I’m told is just like a hurricane but in a different hemisphere). So imagine 100 mile-an-hour winds and 40 foot waves and being in a boat. The midnight buffet came to you.

Here in LA we don’t worry about hurricanes. All we have to contend with are those pesky major earthquakes, brush fires, mudslides, and tour buses. Since there is no drainage in Los Angeles to speak of, whenever we get five drops of rain the local stations shift into STORM WATCH mode. Programming is interrupted by updates on how many sandbags have now been filled to bolster Barbra Streisand’s fucking house.

I have experienced a few of our tremblers including the big one in ’94. I really feel for those people who fled LA for the east coast as a result.   Face it.  There's nowhere really safe.  Even in Oz a house could fall on you.

The thing about earthquakes as opposed to hurricanes is that there’s no way to prepare for them. Thank God so many people were able to evacuate ahead of Sandy. Or at least buy flashlights.

Has Fox News officially blamed the hurricane on Obama yet?

The president spoke yesterday reassuring citizens that the government will do everything it can to help people get through this and get them back on their feet when it's over, and some idiot reporter asked him how this affected the election.  I thought the president showed great restraint not saying, "Are you fucking kidding me?"  

As I watched those poor wretches in slickers reporting from flooded Atlantic City and lower Manhattan I thought, how are you guys going to get home?  Where are you going to spend the night? How come the pretty girl gets to anchor back in the nice warm studio?

I spent most of yesterday watching WCBS 2's coverage on line and they did a terrific job.

On the other hand, KCBS 2 in Los Angeles at 11 pm showed five minutes of highlights, then how cancelled flights were inconveniencing travelers at LAX (haven't we seen that story a billion times already?), and finally a five minute story on how some local seafood market was having trouble getting fresh clams from the east coast.  Billions of dollars in damage and this skeesix might have to buy his mussels elsewhere.  Oh, the humanity. 

And the media is only part of the coverage these days. Thanks to Facebook I’ve seen harrowing photos of the storm and its devastation sprinkled in with all the photos of peoples’ dogs and tennis shoes spam. 

But that’s the point of my post today – if you are going through this storm, document it. And not just with photos, write down your observations. A hurricane is certainly serious business, but if you have a sense of humor, now is when it can really come in handy. There’s always absurdity to be found.

Back to the 1994 quake.  There was a business affairs exec at Paramount who was battling insomnia. His doctor prescribed a pretty strong sleeping pill. As a result he slept through the entire earthquake. He woke up in the morning and saw all his dresser drawers were askew and clothes were strewn everywhere. So he called the police and reported a burglary.

Or a writer colleague who at the time had a development deal with Disney to create new shows. His house was near the epicenter and his grand piano slid right through a large plate glass window and crashed in a heap onto his front lawn. Ten minutes later a Disney exec called and wanted to hear his latest pilot ideas.

I’m sure there are stories – or will be stories like that in this case, and they will help get you through. People do heroic, selfless, extraordinary things during times of crisis. And they also do goofy things. Jot them down. Send them if you’d like. I’m not Facebook but I am capable of sharing and liking.

And whatever your emotions, whatever you are going through, however you are managing to cope with this disaster, I think you’ll feel a lot better having expressed them. It sure helped me through that cyclone. Well, that and twelve Dramamines and three bourbons.

Again, my very best to all of you undergoing this ordeal. May you, your friends, loved ones, and homes come through this safe and sound. May the clean-up and recovery go better than expected.  And if you happen to option your story for a million-five, hey, that’s okay too.

29 comments:

SkillSets said...

It felt like an earthquake as my building did sway in the 70 mph+ gusts. Didn't have to pull a Kent Shocknek and hid under the desk, but all is fine in the ancestral land of the Dodgers.

benson said...

Programming is interrupted by updates on how many sandbags have now been filled to bolster Barbra Streisand’s fucking house.

Well that's good to know, but what about the houses she does other activities in?

Mitchell Hundred said...

There's always absurdity to be found.

Yeppers.

Paul Duca said...

Not much...I live near Boston, and my power was out from 3:30 PM Monday until 4 AM today (all times Eastern).

Chris said...

I haven't seen anyone blame the hurricane on Obama, but I did see someone accuse him of reacting. Apparently the fact that he flew into action with speed as opposed to waiting four (?) days after Benghazi is a sign of... something. Probably that he doesn't REALLY love Americans. Which... just...

Wendy M. Grossman said...

A friend overheard a Republican on a pre-Sandy flight saying (rather happily, I guess) that the hurricane was going to hit all the BLUE states.

When things have calmed down, I'd be interested - a Friday question - to know how shows set in areas that have been affected by a natural disaster deal with it? Besides the obvious logistical things - like locations being destroyed and needing to be replaced and actors who may be stuck (or even injured) somewhere - the simple question of whether to go on as though nothing happened or write the mess into the story. There are a lot of shows set in NYC (and quite a few shot there). And what do you do about the shows already in the can?

wg

Tom Quigley said...

Ken, Thanks for your concern. Here in upstate NY, we didn't get nearly the variety of conditions expected, as the storm center is passing several hundred miles south of here, although there were some power outages in several areas.

Of course the local TV stations were anticipating (translation: hoping) we would get clobbered and were basically hinting all day long that Armageddon was right around the corner. I posted the following on my Facebook page to exemplify their absurdity:

From the "When news breaks, we fix it" department: Here in Rochester, NY, nearly 400 miles from the Atlantic coast, local TV stations are going all out to keep viewers updated on the six-inch wave crests that are lapping up against the shores of Lake Ontario... And have extra crews at the ready to cover the anticipated flooding of the merry-go-round at Ontario Beach Park...

VincentS said...

OK here, Ken. Thanks for the concern. And I, of course, assume that in your crisis you didn't take the Dramamines and bourbons all at once.

Ane said...

My heart goes out to those affected.

crackblind said...

In the heart of it in Chelsea, NYC. However my complex has its own power station so we have power (same thing happened during the blackout in 2003 - we were the few places with power on the east coast).

My wife took the kids out for Slurpees before it hit hard so they could say they went out in the storm. I stayed in bed because I'm not insane.

How has my eldest spent his "free" time? By noting continuity errors in Looney Tunes cartoons.

crackblind said...
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crackblind said...

PLus I do have to give Gov. Christie credit for praising President Obama and not giving a damn about politics.

Eric Abrams said...

My favorite earthquake '94 story involved a friend of mine who had planned on having a one night stand. He picked up a girl he met in a bar and went back to her place where he was forced to spend the next 36 hours. I'm proud to say they never saw each other again. Oh, the awkwardity.

Max Clarke said...
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Max Clarke said...
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Liggie said...

1) My aunt in Staten Islamd texted me before the storm that some idiot was jet skiing in the ocean, and the police were trying their damnedest to snatch him. You wonder about some people.

2) Dave Barry once wrote about a guy in San Francisco who was very nervous about getting a massage, but got talked into one. As soon as the female therapist laid her hands on him, the World Series earthquake hit. Wonder if the guy ever got another massage again.

A Freedom Place said...

Thank you so much for writing this post. It's so nice to feel like you are cared for in areas outside of the east coast. I was safe and secure in a high ground area of Queens but the winds were frightening and the feeling of being helpless while watching your neighbors in nearby towns literally go down in floods or up in flames is terrifying. It will be a while before we are up and running again. But NYC is an amazing and resilient city. We'll get through this.

Jeff Dunham said...

Great blog, interested in hearing a new opinion on things, especially from someone in the know about the inner workings of TV

chuckcd said...

"Has Fox News officially blamed the hurricane on Obama yet?"

No, but I have.

crackblind said...

So interesting to see the huddled masses sitting outside closed Starbucks piggybacking off the wifi signal.

Cool to see the Duane Reade just over the power "border" on 34th street setting out power strips so people can recharge their phones.

XJill said...

Friday Question: What do you think of "Up All Night" getting transferred to a multi-cam comedy?! Is there any precedent for such a thing? Won't the writers have to completely change the way they approach the show? Really hoping to get your thoughts on this one *fingers crossed*

Ken Levine said...

I will address the UP ALL NIGHT situation on Thursday. I'm writing a whole post on the subject. Stay tuned.

Carol said...

Not sure how funny you will find this, but we went to breakfast this morning, as we had no power, and thus no coffee. There weren't too many places that had power, but one little diner in Hatboro was open and super crowded. The phone was ringing every few minutes, and the conversation was always the same: "Daddypops. Yes, we're open."

Finally one exchange happened that had everyone in earshot giggling: 'Daddypops. Yes we're, open.' a pause. 'Yes, we have food.'

There was a nice sense of comradarie amongst all the coffee-hunting refugees that morning. The place was crowded, but everyone was in a good mood, and sharing a giggle like that just made a frustrating morning kind of fun.

Phillip B said...

YouTube is the current refuge of the conspiracy theorists - just search for weather modification, HAARP false flag or Northern Command.

The conspiracy described is pretty broad - their narrative was that a conflagration of some sort will cause martial law and cancel the presidential election. United Nations forces patrolling American streets will confiscate everyone's guns.

Cited as evidence that the "main stream media" knew of plans for the east coast hurricane -- this week's episode of Glee featured music from Grease.

Beth Ciotta said...

Thank you for your wonderful post, Ken. Appreciated the smiles! They've yet to let me (us) return to our New Jersey shore island. Anxious to start helping the community rebuild and to handle whatever with my own house. The support from many sources has been amazing. Just don't get me started on the coverage of Atlantic City which focused mainly on the casinos and boardwalk. There is so much more to the town and surrounding shore towns--many, many homes and small businesses... devastated. Oh, shoot. I got started. Sorry! Mostly spirits are good though. So many helpful souls just wanting to dig in and repair/rebuild!

Cap'n Bob said...

A good post. Living in the west, my biggest inconvenience was having Judge Judy pre-empted so I could see what was happening in the east. I hate Channel 7.

I believe you meant to say there is a difference between cyclones and tornados based on geography, not cyclones and hurricanes.

Johnny Walker said...

If you know anything about Chaos Theory, you'll know it's obvious that Obama clearing his throat during the third Presidential debate was responsible for this.

At least, that's what I imagine Fox News is reporting right now.

My thoughts go out to everyone affected.



Pat Reeder said...

If you want a Hurricane Sandy story that I think it would be okay for anyone to laugh about, I suggest this. New movie about Noah's Ark delayed by rainfall: http://www.imdb.com/news/ni39617518/

Anonymous said...

"Has Fox News officially blamed the hurricane on Obama yet?"

You mean the way people still blame President Bush for Katrina?