Celebrities want us to know they are having a good time at Coachella

With fear of terrorism continuing to rise across the globe, let’s not forget another powerful force that has the ability to cause causalities in devastating numbers.

The Earth.

Our planet can cause catastrophes like no other. And that was evidenced in tragic fashion in Ecuador on Saturday, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake ravaged the western South American country, killing more than 400 and injuring thousands.

Ecuador earthquake 2.jpg

I’m certainly not trying to make any type of statement that diminishes the threat of terrorism, but more so aiming to remind people about the amazing strength of nature.

The Huffington Post has compiled a list of ways you can help Ecuador victims.

But anyway, let’s move to a topic that, while completely different from the Ecuador earthquake, has a name that sounds just as scary — Coachella.

It’s the mother of all music festivals. And even as someone who is a music festival junkie, it’s one I’ve never been to. Part of that is because it’s on the opposite end of the country as me, but the other deterrent is that it’s one of the more crowded music festivals in the world.

And being a plain simpleton with no VIP standing, it’s just not enticing for me to make the trip only to stand amid a sea of tens of thousands of people when I can attend festivals that are much closer to home with less people in attendance.

Alessandra Ambrosio Coachella.jpgThat being said, going to Coachella is still on my bucket list. Right next to beating a penguin in tobogganing race down the side of a glacier.

But, it being a festival located in California, Coachella is a natural breeding ground for celebrities. And why wouldn’t it be? If you’re wealthy, have the time to spare, then why not head to one of the nation’s warmest places for some music?

I know this because I follow many celebrities on Instagram. Mostly of the female variety. And these past few days, my feed has been littered with Coachella pics.

You know how when we do cool things, and we want the rest of the world to know about it? Well, apparently famous people do the same exact thing.

If I happened to be at Coachella this year, I’d start taking selfies with everybody I stumbled across. Because odds are they’re probably famous. And if they’re not famous, they’re probably on acid, and you’ll be glad you stopped to talk to them. Trust me.

Also, apparently it’s mandatory to only wear hippy attire at Coachella. That’s not cliche in the slightest.

Who am I kidding. I’ve probably never written a more jealous post in my life. I would gladly switch lives with any of these famous people this week. Because Coachella Round 2 begins on Friday.

And meanwhile, here in new York, the only exciting thing we have going on is a primary election on Tuesday.

I think I’ll dress like a hippie to the polling station.

That’s sort of like going to Coachella, right?

… right?

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I got blogblocked by Sandy

And after a week, we are back.

As some of you may know, a superstorm hit the east coast last week. Though the storm’s path hooked around Long Island, and did its most destruction in New Jersey, both New York City and Long Island fell victim to Sandy’s outer winds, which apparently are the strongest winds that hurricanes have to offer.

Everybody’s obviously seen images of the aftermath of the storm on the news and online. Amazingly, I never lost power at my Long Island home. However, I did lose Internet for four days, and that is why I could not blog. It was certainly an empty feeling not being able to reach out to all my loyal readers. But I am back now.

The closer you live to the shore, the worst you got it. Obviously. The city of Long Beach has pretty much been wiped off the map. I have plenty of friends who lived down there, but most of them evacuated. A lot of naive people stayed put though, at least in the beginning, and as a result, their cars are probably ruined.

It just goes to show. If your own state officials are telling — not asking, telling — you to get the hell out, then, well, get the hell out. Even if there is just a small chance that something terrible may happen to you, then that’s probably enough incentive to get yourself out of harm’s way.

Homes burned to the ground in Staten island on Tuesday

You heard all these terrible stories of people losing their homes, their property, and in some cases, their lives. There was a 23-year-old girl in Richmond, Queens, who left her home during the hurricane to take a photo, and while doing so, she stepped on an active wire and burned to death. A neighbor who witnessed the scene told this to the New York Daily News:

“She was right on top of the live cables and they were just frying her. She couldn’t move. She didn’t have a chance.”

And then you have Glenda Moore, the Staten Island women who tried to evacuate during the heart of the storm, at 6 p.m. on Monday, and when her car got stuck in the storm surge, her two infant sons got dragged away and drowned in the rushing waters.

It’s things you never want to hear about, but, painfully, it’s a reminder that when Mother Nature decides it’s in the mood to go apeshit on us — just stay inside. Just stay inside the confines of your home for a few hours. Why take the chance?

And if you’re going to evacuate, perhaps next time do it the day before the storm? It’s impossible to judge people during such emergencies, but unfortunately, it takes situations like this for people to actually learn.

People are coining Sandy as in a “once-in-a-lifetime” type storm, but my thought process is, what if it isn’t?

This superstorm is a reminder of just how powerful our world is. This was nature to its most furious extent. People will blame global warming, and pollution and whatnot for causing the storm, but all I know is that there’s no reason why this can’t happen again.

Conspiracy theorists will say this is the beginning of the end, and that we should expect more of these. I hope they’re wrong, but, the mere thought that they could be on to something is a bit frightening.

It’s been five days since the storm left, and plenty of my friends are still without power. The few gas stations that do have gas have lines going back for miles. I’ve heard stories of people waiting for six hours in line to get gas. It’s chaos. Traffic lights are out at major intersections, and I have to drive in a maze just to get around fallen trees in my own neighborhood. And most Long Island, New York City and New Jersey schools have yet to even reeopen.

It’s just crazy to think that people who live in the west coast had a perfectly normal week, while New Yorkers and New Jersey residents had anything but.

But I consider myself fortunate. I didn’t lose power, and while I had no Internet, I spent most of my free time reading, watching DVDs and even working on a screenplay that I hadn’t touched in three years. To be perfectly honest, I had an extremely productive week. It’s just unfortunate it had to come at the expense of thousands of people losing their homes.

It’s also fair to wonder how such an event will impact the future. In the immediate future, you have the general election on Tuesday. People still lack gas and can’t go anywhere. How are they going to get to a polling station to vote?

And speaking of politicians, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally adhered to the intense ridicule he was receiving and smartly canceled the New York City Marathon, which was scheduled to occur on Sunday. I know it’s a race for charity, but how can you have people flooding the city amid all the damage? Especially in States Island, which got hit the worst. The fact that it took so long to cancel made Bloomberg look pretty bad. But hey, at least he can speak Spanish.

Meanwhile, between news conferences and receiving praise from President Obama himself, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went from relatively unknown to nationally acclaimed in the matter of days for his handling of the storm. Presidential campaign in 2016, anyone?

What a disparity between these two guys. You have Bloomberg banning large sugary drinks in his district, meanwhile, Christie probably downs about four large Big Gulps just to prepare for his press conferences.

But anyway, so it is going to take a bit of time for certain cities and areas, like Staten Island and Long Beach, among many others, to rebuild. But in the meantime, we should be seeing some sense of normalcy in the coming days. I assure you that, unless another superstorm hits again soon, I will not cease blogging again. So that is one bright light for you all amid this catastrophe.

And what’s the worst part about all of this? Halloween was canceled. Freaking Halloween!

Never in my life did I know that a holiday could be canceled. But several politicians, including Christie, said that trick-or-treating should not occur during the week. It’s understandably so, but still hilarious. I half expected newspapers to print headlines that read, ‘Halloween canceled — Christmas still up in the air.”

That sucks if you are a kid in New York or New Jersey. I know that there’s much bigger things to worry about right now, but when you’re 6 or 7 years old, trick-or-treating is one of the more fun things in the world to do. I loved the shit out of it. But that attention whore named Sandy came and took that away from them.

Oh well. There’s always Arbor Day. Kids love that holiday, right?

Alright folks, bearing some type of post-hurricane power outage, I won’t be going away this time. New York and New Jersey continues to rebuild, and so will the Weinblog. Except in my case, rebuilding a blog requires very little effort. In fact I don’t even have to stand up do it.

But it doesn’t make me any less heroic.

Me, myself and Irene

Hurricane Irene came went. It was destructive in some areas, and not-so-destructive in others. But who cares about other people? I’m just here to share my own personal hurricane experience.

As I angrily stated in my previous blog, the hurricane caused me to cancel plans. Well, the cancellation of all public transit and the mandatory evacuation of the area in which I was planning to have my plans in did not help either. So, on Friday, I wisely hit up the liquor store and loaded several movies onto my Touchpad in the anticipation of what was going to be a very long Saturday and Sunday.

As you remember, August brought about an earlier storm, which occurred on the 14th. I recall waking up several times during the night in that storm due to loud cracks of thunder and bright flashes of lightning. It was pretty scary. On Saturday, overnight into Sunday, however, I did not wake up one single time.

In fact, I slept so well, and so long, that when I woke up, I almost forgot that we were even supposed to have had a hurricane. So when I went downstairs, I saw my dad in the kitchen, and I said, “So… much to do about nothing, eh?”

My dad simply responded by pointing out the back window into the backyard, where I saw that a large tree had split in half and now rested on my patio. So much for “much to do about nothing.”

Where I live, in the south shore of Long Island, we got about 70 mile-per-hour winds. I later found out that the entire southern portions of my town were flooded with up to three feet of water. Taking a drive around my town, I saw that entire trees had fallen down on nearly every block. I had never seen destruction of such a kind before. In fact, there is some photographic evidence taken by yours truly!

Enjoy.

And those are all just within a couple hundred feet of my house. Here’s what the southern part of my town looked like: (This photo was not taken by me)

Not too shabby.

Need not worry though, because no damage was inflicted on my household, I’m perfectly fine, and as far as I know, I have not suffered any psychological or post-traumatic fallout from these devastating events. I’m still the same old me. That may satisfy or devastate some people.

But you’re probably wondering how I spent my Saturday, knowing full-well that a hurricane was on the horizon. Well, with my plans canceled, and the knowledge that I’d have to be an idiot to actually go outside in the predicted conditions, I prepared myself for a night in. Meaning this:

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not an alcoholic. I never drink on weekdays. I have no desire to. I also prefer not to drink completely alone. Because that certainly borders on alcoholism, weekend or not.

However, with a hurricane heading my way, combined with the fact that I was quarantined in my household, thrown in the fact that it was indeed a Saturday night, well, I figured that if there was ever a time to get drunk alone, it was now.

I started out slowly, pouring myself a glass of Jack blended with ice, and sipped my way to a light buzz. Then my brother saw I was drinking, and he offered to take a shot. We took two. Then I drank some more. Then some more. Then I took a couple more shots.

By midnight, I was lying on my bed while significantly drunk and watching “Thor” on my Touchpad. All in all, mother nature ain’t so bad in my book.

Hysterically, today, 24 hours after Irene, it was an absolutely gorgeous day. Of course the hurricane had to pick a three-day period that lied on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday as opposed to a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Hurricane Irene is such a cockblock.

The cool thing is that I can safely say that, in the past three months, I have experienced three near-natural disasters. I say near, because while they do qualify as natural disasters, I got mostly the minimum effect.

Irene technically qualified as somewhere between a tropical storm and a category one hurricane by the time it hit me, because the winds were about 70 mph, and 75 is what qualifies for a category one. Last week’s earthquake was number two, and we all remember how devastating that was. The third being a tornado, which I nearly experienced while vacationing in Memphis at the end of May. Tornado sirens blasted, the sky looked apocalyptic, and my friends and I were quarantined inside the Civil Rights Museum (go figure), but other than the some slightly stronger than normal winds and a slight drizzle, no tornado crossed my path. Thankfully. I guess before the end of the year, I can expect a near-tsunami and a near-volcanic eruption!

And that is really my story. I doubt any book publications will be begging me for the rights to it, but it was semi-interesting nonetheless. I hope all of you other north-easterners out there had as uneventful a hurricane experience as I did.

Because sometimes, no news is good news.