Category Archives: weather

sandy,..and stuff

She came, she conquered, she left.  And if the last sentence of my last post wasn’t prophetic enough, power was restored after one week just in time to upload this post from home.  Yep, one week without power.  But I’m not complaining.  Many had it much worse and after all, I was just camping in my apartment.  All I had to do was eat and wash by candle light.

The challenge was that my office was also in the same juiceless sector.  The line of demarcation in Manhattan was easily recognizable.  Below 28th Street on the West Side, below 39th on the East, no power.  Above, power.  When the sun went down, you looked uptown into light and downtown into darkness.  Most people in the ‘no power zone’ ended up in the ‘power zone’ looking for some. Therefore, every lit coffee shop, hotel lobby, restaurant with outlets in sight was scavenged by those looking for a badly needed charge.

The storm was Monday and Tuesday so there wasn’t much street movement.  By Wednesday, stir-craziness set in.  The main terminals like Penn Station and Grand Central were still closed.  Luckily, my neighbor invited me to his office above Grand Central for a current fix.  That was all I got.  I was hoping to actually get some work done, but because my voltage haven was a large financial brokerage house, especially one owned by a major bank, most web pages were blocked — even google.  Hence no emails. The 3G service on the iPad just didn’t cut it.

Thursday and Friday I was invited (invited myself) to a friend’s office in the garment district at Times Square.  It was nice conducting life inside the throbbing grid.

con ed info station for manhattan. not much info

The lengthly outage allowed me to thoroughly clean out the refrigerator and freezer.  It looks brand new — completely empty.  As the week wore on, I ended up the only person in my building.  The rest were in other homes in other parts.  I tried getting a hotel room, but that was impossible.  There were no rooms available, at any price.  To top it off, the New York City Marathon was still scheduled, which seemed like an irresponsible and insensitive event to hold in an urban area still not fully recovered from a weather beating.

union sq, free dry ice, for those willing to stand in a 2 hr line.

So where did Sandy come from?  Most of the politicians have declared from “climate change.”  Strange how many are all knowing when events like this occur.  It’s true that measurements such as temperature and ocean level rises occurred in recent years.  But how anyone could declare that climate change was the direct cause of this storm seems a little like barking out one’s behind.  But because of it, our mayor decided to support our current president for re-election – because of Sandy.

Politicians are correct in that we should all be paying much more attention to our earth.  We’ve come a very long way over the last few decades in the USA, but we have a long way to go.  Other countries have a much longer way to go.  If you live like a slob, your home can quickly become a toxic refuge if it’s not intelligently maintained.  And it doesn’t take much intelligence.

Granted, we can’t return to living like the American Indians, but we can and should make more aggressive efforts to being good stewards to our earthly sphere.

one of several windows displaying thoughts about Sandy

When I lived in Portugal I remember visiting fabric mills in the north.  The river flowing down the mountain changed colors depending on the color of the fabric a mill was dying that day.  That was not so long ago — modern day Europe.

fs’s thought on one window

When I’m in Colombia, many trucks and busses spew out thick black soot you could slice.  The picture would make a clever sitcom about how reckless we treat ourselves, and this earth.

It’s nice our current president is a green energy kind of pres, even though it’s not quite currently viable (we need to push the future envelope).  But there is much more we need to do.  How about the crazy farm subsidies for soy and corn which is destroying millions of acres and having a major negative impact on aquatic ecosystems?  Or the way we process meat which results in more methane gas in the atmosphere than all our cars?

We haven’t chopped down the entire rain forest yet.  And the oceans have become the world’s garbage dump.  There is a pollution belt from west coast US to Japan that is twice the size of Texas and in some places up to 90 feet deep — mostly plastic and other non-biodegradable trash.  Don’t know what to do with it?  Throw it in the ocean.

Sandy started over the seas.  There are such events such as 50 year and 100 year floods.  Could she have been one?  Not according to many politicians.  Sandy was  caused by climate change.

I voted for our mayor to take an unprecedented 3rd term, and he did an otherwise outstanding job with this recovery, but he did two things this past week which made me question his normally good judgement; 1) he didn’t cancel the NYC marathon immediately after Sandy left, instead, telling the 10’s of thousands of participants, most from other parts, to come to NYC .  They were invited for a date, then stood up at the last minute.  It wasn’t very classy.  Common sense would have said to cancel this event immediately given that this is a celebratory sports event which would have passed through areas where people are hurting.  Moreover, it would have displaced valuable resources.  You don’t go out dancing when you’ve been seriously injured.  He wanted to show that New York was resilient (translation, good economics) but instead showed that New York was myopically out of focus.  And, 2) he endorsed the current president based on a weather event.

On the bright side, from my own myopic view, it was exciting to walk home last night and see the dark sector no longer dark.  I felt kind of giddy turning the corner and seeing my street lights lit.  Our building elevator seemed to welcome me in for a lift to my floor.  I could table the scheduled forage for more candles.

Climate change or not, we’ll all have more Sandys to deal with at some point.  In the meantime, and regardless of climate change declarations, it might make sense if we keep pushing the “good earthly steward” envelope.  And stuff.

embracing storm

Any storm.  Right now there appears to be an earthly storm bearing down on the North East of the U.S.  Arriving at an unknown a mere calculation based on a set of variables.  It appears that this storm Sandy is headed from the Caribbean north directly up the Atlantic Ocean toward Greenland.  But the projection has her making an almost sharp left turn into the DC, NYC, Boston area.

sandy baby

We didn’t have that kind of visibility a few years ago.  That foresight, or those calculations, gives us more time to accept the (em)bracing part.  I had almost a month to embrace the storm of the jaw surgery.  The visibility gave me some time to brace and embrace.

There will always be storms, whether earthly or manmade.  Sometimes, we create our own.  Generally, we try to avoid them.  But visibility or not, if we don’t brace them with a big EM, we miss weathering them to our full potential.

Most storms end up doing damage.  That’s their nature.  The trick is in the sandbags, real or imagined.  Good sandbag prep takes patience, thought, and a little work.  With the right combo, we minimize destruct, maximize construct.  It’s our ability to prepare at all which is fortunate.  Of course we know that sandbag prep is prudent even when the horizon is clear.

a possible storm brewing on the horizon

So thank you mister weatherologist man for giving us the heads up about Sandy.  Tell us just enough without over-telling us.  The result is still an unknown.  Lots of variables in the equation, as there always are.  With your good calculations, we are lucky enough to brace for, and embrace,  the soon-to-be stormy but short-term atmospheric brouhaha.

But if the electricity must go off, let it not be too long.  There’s only so much embracing I’m in the mood for.