Sandy, the 900-mile-wide Chip on my Shoulder

Looks like Sandy threw a pretty wild party. Unfortunately, that bitch didn’t invite us and isn’t planning on helping us clean up.

So, two weeks ago, we had a little weather event here on the East Coast. Maybe you’ve heard of it – Hurricane /Superstorm/ Frankenstorm Sandy? This beast pretty much took over my life, stole my attention span and routinely woke me up in the middle of the night.

My family’s dear, little lagoon-side (and only) home was battened down and evacuated to ride out the worst storm it’s ever faced alone. The day before the mandatory barrier island evac order, Mark taped up the windows, put a few valuables on top of beds and off the floor, and put some towels in the doorways. Last summer, Irene coaxed the rising bay water just two feet from our back door and no one thought we’d be as lucky this time.

But I never thought it would be as bad as it was. Our little house took on more than three feet of water, most likely courtesy of a storm surge rising from the end of the lagoon that normally brings us mallards to feed.

I only know the extent of the damage because last Friday, 12 whole days after Sandy absolutely ravaged the Jersey Shore, my mom and AJ were bused over to our island from the mainland and given an hour to collect our most important belongings. This trip only included primary residents of the island, i.e. people with no other home to speak of. (Most dwellings on this strip of sand are summer homes and it’s pretty lonely in the off-season. I don’t know how I survived three long winters, but sometimes, when the clatter outside my Boston apartment get so loud I can hear conversations and car horns from three blocks away, I really miss it.) Continue reading

New Jersey “Survivor”: Who Would You Vote off the Island?

Ugly stereotypes just keep getting uglier.

My inner news nerd latched onto UniversalHub soon after moving to Boston last year out of a gnawing need to know all the ins and outs of superlocal news. (Post-journalism Stockholm syndrome? Maybe.) Before his arrest and awesome sentence, Sob Story Guy, a creative panhandler who tricked unsuspecting commuters with a tale of woe in exchange for cash, popped up quite a bit with readers’ accounts of his incessant bilking. The law eventually caught up with him and Sob Story Guy got three years in prison and had to agree to leave the state within 60 days of his release. Seriously. Exiled from Massachusetts. Major points to the judge on that one.

This got me thinking…what if we could kick people out of New Jersey? The longer I live out of state, the more I see that outsiders really think we live in a hellhole overrun by unintelligent buffoons with attitude problems. Unfortunately, there’s a few people in the public eye who confirm this to the world and potentially deserve banishment. Let’s start at the very top, shall we? Continue reading

Katy Perry can call herself a ‘gurl’ but she’ll never be a lady

Really?All summer, it feels as though my ears have been under constant attack from a barrage of crappy pop music. Public enemy No. 1: the Reddi-Whip brassiered woman at the left. In a rather short time on the beach today, Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” played on the radio more times than I cared to listen to. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a pretty catchy tune and certainly many quality remixes must exist that I probably wouldn’t mind dancing to. However, when it’s been stuck in your head for days (DAYS!), the lyrics become a little unnerving. Continue reading

THIS IS A LIIIIIIIIIBRARY!

Really could have used her yesterday.

Being a hip mobile journalist, I parked myself at the LBI branch of the Ocean County Library (a fantastic library system if you can avail yourself of a card) to get some work done early Tuesday afternoon. I’ve been experiencing serious attention deficit issues lately, so I figured the library would be a nice, quiet place with few distractions for me to get some stuff done. Right? Wrong. Continue reading

Emily Post, where are you?

So I read this Jezebel post about people not offering up subway seats to pregnant women with great interest this afternoon. The way people behave, interact and treat each other fascinates me. I’m usually fairly polite; I hold doors for people and let pedestrians cross at crosswalks. I smile a lot, say please and thank you and apologize for any unexpected physical contact, even if it wasn’t my fault. I’m not sure I’d give up a seat to a woman I wasn’t 100% was pregnant for fear of insulting her if she wasn’t. Continue reading

When Did I Become a Cranky Old Lady? Unfortunate Signs of Growing Up

Is this a commencement or a concert?

Last Thursday, my younger brother Mark graduated from Monmouth University. This was enough to make me feel ancient, particularly because it serves to remind me that I’m now three years removed from my own graduation. But there was something else irking me that made me step back for a moment and think, “When did I get so damn old?” Continue reading