Tuesday, July 03, 2012


I don't get this Instagram thing - it makes our photos look like crappy Polaroids from the 60's and 70's?  And everyone wants that?  Why?

local reporting at its best
Most people around here have their power back.  But not before the seniors in the independent living apartments up the road from me were literally abandoned by their management to sit in the dark and the 95-degree heat for almost 48 hours before anyone found out and sounded the alarm.  The local Patch correspondent put out a notice on Facebook and within an hour the residents were deluged with food and batteries and ice and lemonade. 

Let's hear it once again for social networking, all right?

For the record, the management defended its decision by saying that the building is for "independent" living.  Hello?  A senior citizen who is independent when the lights are on and the AC is going is not necessarily independent in more adverse circumstances.  Heck, I'm barely independent without AC and electric.   Apparently, the people in charge of a building full of senior citizens are unaware that many people over the age of 60 have middle ear problems that impair their sense of balance.  They can't walk in the dark without falling down. 

Of course, those abandoned could have called 911 for help.  But it turns out our 911 service was malfunctioning for over 72 hours.  I just found this out today.  You see, unlike the power companies - which at least put out continuously updated outage reports and repair schedules - Verizon didn't really tell anybody.  Nice.

But maybe that didn't matter so much, since - for some reason - people who had Verizon landline phones couldn't have made a phone call anyway, those first couple of days.  Again, no public explanations/warning from Verizon.

Trust me, these guys are schvitzing.
Anyone who thinks our country is prepared for emergency situations is seriously deluding him/herself.  This was, essentially, a thunderstorm with high winds.  A lot of trees fell down.  One power company's spokeswoman insisted that they "really can't plan for this type of unexpected situation."  Really?  Trees falling on power lines during a storm are unexpected?  Unusual?  Extraordinary?  What about setting aside a certain amount of money each year to bury some of the lines underground?  That's not rocket science, people.  It's just common sense.

Too expensive, the power companies insist.  But, as one Tweeter pointed out, does it really cost that much more than pulling in utility crews from other states every time there is an ice storm or high winds?  And how do you put a price on the suffering and fear my neighbor's dying mother experienced when her oxygen delivery system didn't work?

I'll be back tomorrow with my sense of humor.  But I still want someone to explain in the comments what's up with the Instagram craze.

[Patch logo: Fit To Print
[Utility crew photo: Vos Iz Neias]


  1. No idea about the Instagram craze. I don't get it, either. And yeah, some days I totally understand the whole Apocalypse Prepper mentality because there's no way the current infrastructure could handle any sort of mass problem. NO WAY. I just need more space and a giant generator...

  2. Sounds very similar to what happened up here when Irene came through last August. If I recall correctly, there were some abandoned seniors up here, too. (Wonder if the same company manages both sites? It wouldn't surprise me.) Some people were out of power for a week or so, and the same discussions occurred about why the lines aren't buried, and the same points were made about how unprepared we all are for a true emergency. (And leading up to the storm I was a bit flummoxed by how hard it is to find nonperishable gluten free food that will actually nourish you, but that's another story.)

  3. I thought Instagram was neat the first couple of times I saw one, but I don't want my own pictures to be that way...

  4. It's less annoying and less complicated than the Facebook beast and you don't have to put filters on the photos.

    It's an easy way to share pics with my fam without texting them allllllll.

    But it is silly like most of the internetter.

  5. I bet that power company was PEPCO, wasn't it?
    The situation at the local independent living apartments... Can I get in line to kick some lazy, lying, thoughtless jerks?

    It was one heck of a wicked storm. Here is a link worth watching (it's a video of the storm cell in color):


  6. I keep thinking that all the cell phone pics are going to be like the horrible poloroids I have from my childhood. Make them instagram and I guess they are just higher quality bad pics?

    That really sucks about the power outages. The longest we've ever had is about 10 hours and TG it was cold. Can always put on more clothes and it doesn't really get THAT cold here.

  7. FINALLY someone says what I;ve been thinking about those pics, so strange!

  8. I am so glad that I am not the only one who doesn't get Instagram, and I just saw on Pinterest(which I do get)that people are printing them out to look exactly like Polaroids. Nostalgia makes everything we remember from our childhoods seem good, I guess.

  9. The "old timey" look of instagram photos got old for me quickly. Also, I don't really like the idea that it's a social network in and of itself, so every photo is kind of public.

    We had a downburst storm here several years ago, with the same kind of straight-line winds that caused the damage on the east coast this time. The area lost hundreds of mature trees --they were splintered like toothpicks. Since then, the local power company has spent a lot of time trimming trees to try to minimize the line damage from the next storm. It's not great for the trees, but it's helpful for the power lines.

  10. I don't understand Instagram at all.

    Storms like the derecho truly show the gaps in our systems. My father is terminally ill and in hospice care at his home. He has a morphine pump and supplemental oxygen and he lives in fear of one or the other giving out, so he has systems and back-up systems for both. My grandmother, on the other hand, did lose power her in retirement community and then refused to leave her apartment, even though my mother bribed, cajoled, and pleaded with her to come to an air conditioned hotel room with her. Stubborn.

  11. i've never understood the retirement home mentality. My grandmother's cousin was in a retirement home with his wife for the last several years of his life. My parents, as well as my dad's cousins, visited them several times a year. It had been a few months since anyone had visited, so Dad'c ousin and her husband drove to ct from NYC city to see him, to find he had died several weeks earlier. The nursing home had followed his written requests, which did not specify they should contact relatives when he died, so they did not.

  12. When Instagram first came out and people started posting them on twitter I thought I was losing my eyesight. After a year I tweeted that it didn't make people look like good photographers, it made them look like drunks.

  13. Another vote against Instagram. Not a fan.

    Horrible that the management of the independent living facility would say anything other than an apology.

  14. I've been praying for the people in your neck of the woods ALL WEEK. I cannot fathom no power in this heat, no matter what your age. Just horrible to comprehend.
    I feel lucky.
    And I'm not a big fan of Instagram either.

  15. Deborah JJuly 08, 2012

    I think they look interesting but I think the novelty would wear off fast.
    ...but I don't have an iphone, and I don't faceboring, tweet or pin ether. I may be an internet savvy luddite,or just discerning.
    I do believe however that we are not prepared for disasters. Australia and the US alike.
    Excuse me while I go pedal the bicycle to power my generator.

  16. I don't get the appeal of Instagram either. And I have a student who made an excellent point about it, and I'm going to quote him because he said it so well [I deleted his swears, sorta]:

    "Instagram might be the strongest example I can give for how quickly our generation can change the meaning of a context. It took, what, 5 or 6 months?--and an antique-styled photograph now means next to s--t when it comes to history. Now the way a photo looks means nothing. There's not even a specific feeling we can say it's supposed to generate. THIS is why the English department is so p.o.ed when you make a grammatical mistake. Because within a few years all those grammar rules that connect us to great authors are going to be thrown out the g-d- window. Hemingway will be as alien to us as Chaucer."

  17. I'm still in my 20s and thought as part of the generation who started to use computers and internet when they were teens I should get all those internet things. Yet here I sit. I totally get Facebook and I even hopped on this Pinterest train, but Instagram? No! I don't wanna take silly pictures of normal things or tell the whole wide world what I prepared for dinner tonight.