Dave Dorman 2018 Convention Schedule

Dave’s Convention Schedule for 2018

Dave Dorman

Hi Everybody,

Here is where I’ll be this year (so far):

MARCH:

Toronto Comicon, March 16-18 

APRIL

  • C2E2, April 6-8, McCormick Place, Chicago
  • Super Texas Comic Con, April 27-29

MAY:

  • Portsmouth UK, May 5-6
  • MegaCon Orlando, May 24-27Heroescon, Charlotte, NC, June 15-17

JUNE/JULY:

  • Fyrecon, Utah, June 21-23.
  • Fanboy Expo, Knoxville, TN,  JUNE 29-JULY 1
  • San Diego Comic Con, San Diego, July 18-22

AUGUST:

Fan Expo Boston, August 10-12

OCTOBER:

Dallas Fan Days, October 19-21

Fan Expo Vancouver, Dates TBD

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Alice Cooper Lawn Care, Anyone?

A friend sent me a lawn care promo he recently received in his mailbox. I’ve been unable to stop looking at it for the past 18 hours now. It will be one of my touchstones (like my collection of Jack Handey Deep Thoughts books) whenever I’m bummed out and need a good laugh. It’s already saved in my phone photo favorites.

I have many ideas to help this landscaper improve upon this theme, if ever asked. First off, he should probably get Alice Cooper’s permission to include Alice in his promos. Secondly, there’s the misspelling of maintenance and that errant apostrophe (to name just a few of many issues).

But since I’m all about experiential design, I have some ideas that might actually enhance his lawn care business. But before I unleash, here’s the document I’m referring to. And no, before I get dragged into a lawsuit, I don’t have the address or contact info for this promo.

Hmmm…there’s a staple mark in the upper left hand corner…what was attached?!? An “Alice Coopon”?!?

My Ideas for an Alice Cooper-Themed Lawncare Service:

  • There should be a fake dollar bill attached, with Alice’s face in the middle. Underneath would be the slogan, In Alice We Trust. This would be the “Alice Coopon” for $10 off on the first mow.
  • During California rainy season, they should run a Generation Landslide special.
  • Their value-add pest control service would be called No More Mr. Nice Guy. 
  • The  School’s Out for Summer recruiting program for new hires is a must.
  • The workers must agree to wear heavy black eye makeup that melts in the hot sun. After all, they need to look the part.

One of my friends pointed out that this rock ‘n roll-themed lawn care marketing must be a thing. He sent me this image, which ALSO has me dying:

“And I’m mowing…in a most peculiar way…”

In all seriousness, Alice Cooper would never have a career in this day and age. Only Women Bleed would be deemed misogynistic, Cold Ethel too sick, and someone would surely get triggered by his School’s Out for Summer lyric, “School’s been blown to pieces.” As a kid, I used to ride my bike with my brother up and down our long, gravel driveway, singing School’s Out for Summer at the top of  my lungs. Those were different times. God, I miss those days of innocence and blissful ignorance.

 

 

 

 

The Benicio del Toro-Fred Fenster School of Call Center Training

I’d research where AT&T is outsourcing their call center to before I write this, but since I’m still on the phone with them, I’m capturing this comedy routine while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Somewhere, there’s an AT&T Call Training Center with scripts being taught by THE USUAL SUSPECTS’ Fred Fenster…

So far, the first thickly accented woman I spoke to in my attempt to reduce our monthly bill sounded like the understudy to Benicio del Toro’s “Fred Fenster” character in “The Usual Suspects.” (Benicio intentionally invented his film accent to be virtually impossible to understand.) You know…THIS character:

Actor Benicio del Toro in my favorite role (so far).

The part of the conversation I did understand, the woman was trying to convince me that the “Deesh Network” was the way to go. But I know AT&T installation people. They have protected us from stepping foot on that electronic land mine. Even they won’t do the deesh. They divulged that if it rained, snowed or our verdant oak trees got a little too shady, the Deesh would be rendered impotent. That was all I needed to hear. Next, she suggested I downgrade to the Uverse 300 bundle. We were online researching everything she suggested. It turns out, anything below the Uverse 450 bundle is no longer in HD. Dave was visibly vibrating at the prospect of that. He’s an A/V savant. There are certain lines I am not allowed to cross. I’ve spent a bundle on their HD bundle for the past nine years. If only I had invested that money in Bitcoin instead…

Suffice it to say, Frederica Fenster’s solution did not satisfy me. She moved me up the chain to her supervisor.

The next person on the line, Frederica’s male supervisor, asked me for my “circumcise” in his thick accent. “Did you just ask me if I was circumcised?!?” I asked, in shocked disbelief. Dave slapped his forehead, or SMH in text speak. Apparently, this is how they pronounce “service address” in his part of the world. I live with a mumbler, so I’m pretty good at discerning the let’s-not-put-any-effort-into-it style of elocution. So it was Dave who understood and answered the supervisor’s question.

I’ve seen plenty of documentaries on call centers. I know for a fact that they spend an inordinate amount of time training offshore call center representatives how to enunciate English clearly. I do feel bad for them when they get saddled with these unbelievable, Americanized names like “Dustin” and “Jessica.” Why not let them just be themselves? Isn’t life hard enough, dealing with disgruntled customers like me all day? If you listen closely, you can almost hear the sheepish embarrassment in their voices when they have to introduce themselves.

I didn’t catch the name of Frederica’s supervisor. What I did catch was his same line of bullshit. He, too, explained that he could do nothing for me, despite my nine years of customer loyalty. He offered to send me to what Dave — also listening in on the call — interpreted as the “Fluoride Department.” Perhaps they could hear me gritting my teeth too tightly — a fluoride treatment could replace what I’ve possibly chipped off from tension. Maybe they have a “Temporomandibular Masseuse Department” for the ensuing TMJ, as well. We were put on hold for the third time. I slowly realized it’s how they say “Loyalty Department” over there. They should really call it the “Customer Disloyalty Department,” since only when the customer is jumping ship to XFINITY do they step in.

Now I’m on the phone with my third person. He’s the supervisor to the supervisor. He can hear me typing away, describing our call to you, Gentle Readers. I know I’ve now graduated to the big time. This gentleman speaks perfectly understandable, accent-free English. I didn’t catch his name, but I’ll call him Nebraska; I think he was raised in Johnny Carson’s neck of the woods. In five minutes’ time, he knocked $80 off of my monthly bill. I am beyond irritated that I didn’t negotiate this sooner. Lesson learned.

So, boys and girls, the moral to today’s story is, if you ever need a circumcision in the fluoride department, call AT&T Uverse. Just prepare to be on hold for a while.

PeacockGate: The Perversion of Commercial Flight Comfort Animals

Well, you knew I couldn’t let this one pass without comment. Last week’s ludicrous attempt to claim a peacock as an emotional support service animal on a United Airlines flight in New York has finally drawn public disgust to the very issue I’ve been bitching about for two years (to anyone who would listen). The service animal concept has not only jumped the shark. It has officially joined the cow in jumping the MOON. (And isn’t it only a matter of time before someone tries bringing a live, gasping-for-air shark on board to alleviate their flavor-of-the-month emotional issue?) Most of my friends with flight anxiety just pop a Xanax. And no, I don’t condone cavalier opioid usage — far from it — but they have ‘scrips so they can fly without drawing the ire of a sky marshal with their twitchy behavior.

The stern, unfriendly face that I would never wish to awaken to on a flight. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

If you’ve ever spent time around peacocks — and I have, from a safe distance — you know they are extremely LOUD animals. Your noise-dampening Bose headphones could never drown out a peacock’s cacophony. So…does the flight remain grounded until the passengers can actually hear the flight attendant’s instructions, being drowned out by a verbose peacock? And how will this affect the airlines’ on-time arrival stats? Give that peacock a Xanax, stat!

A year ago, I was writing an article for a corporate travel management client. They wanted a piece on the rules and regulations of service animals. I had Starbucks with some flight attendants to get their subject matter expertise. I was gobsmacked by what they shared. (Oh, and the mile-high club is alive and well, I’m here to report. That detail didn’t make it into my article.) Most people, in their opinion, were simply avoiding paying for their animals’ flights by deeming them “service animals.” One passenger literally brought a service pony — not a typo — on one of their flights. Another, a goose.

My friend Mike Baron, creator of the famed comic, “The Badger” just shared that this is HIS support animal of choice…hmmm…

Anyone who knows me, knows of my extreme bird phobia. In this new, weird era of the .000001% minority having the greater influence and the louder voice, I have to wonder…at what point does my phobia override the emotional issues of the service animal-dependent passenger? Or my allergies? I’m allergic to animal hair (hence Jonesy, my hairless cat, whom you may have met in my previous blogs.) And I know I’m not alone in that. Somehow, airlines have lost sight of this. They’ll bend over backwards to ensure no one violates another passenger’s nut allergies with a random PBJ, but what of my issues and allergies? Will they matter?

I’ve heard the halt to this recent peacock invasion was due more to the space the bird’s tail feathers required–at least 2 seats–than the disruptive nature of the beast in question. All I know is, I miss the days when common sense prevailed, and we as a society weren’t catering to the obscure desires of the .000001%.

I’m hoping PeacockGate has raised enough awareness to put a stop to this insanity. But if this service animal trend continues its reckless trajectory, I’ll be next in line for a Xanax ‘scrip.

 

 

 

The 31 Shows I Binge-Watched in 2017

Dear Friends,

If you’re looking for shows to binge-watch this winter, do I ever have the list for you! Full disclosure — we are premium cable, Amazon Prime and Netflix subscribers, so some of these shows may not be accessible to everyone. Okay, pull up a chair and let’s get started!

31 Shows?!? Seriously? What were you thinking?!?

  1. Mind Hunter — While the anachronisms of the years and the music choices drive me a little crazy, this deep dive into the genesis of forensic science has been really fun to watch.
  2. Hap and Leonard — Not since True Detective paired Harrelson and McConaughey have I seen such brilliant casting as partners James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Williams. These two are perfect together. It was fun to see Christina Hendricks again, too. I’ve missed MAD MEN so! This series is based on the books by author Joe R. Lansdale, all of which I binge-read — he has a new one out I cannot wait to get my hands on!
  3. The Patriot — Quirky, clever, and captivating. Also, this has probably one of the most haunting pieces of opening music of all the shows I’ve heard this year, second, maybe, to the opening music in Season 1 of The Affair. Here’s a link to The Patriot’s opening theme song (I’ll forewarn you, it’s a haunting ear worm. I’m hounding Jack’s guitar teacher to teach it so I can sing along, much to Jack’s chagrin). “The Train Song” by Vashti Bunyan: https://youtu.be/0AGD78mWcss
  4. Fortitude — This series, set on an uber-bleak isle off of Norway, is the site of murder and sci-fi mayhem. You’ll recognize two actors from Game of Thrones and in Season 2, Dennis Quaid plays a lead role brilliantly.
  5. Stranger Things — I talked about that previously, here. It gave me an ’80s-gasm from which I have yet to recover. They’ve avoided the anachronism issues I’ve had with “The Goldbergs.”
  6. Orphan Black — I have such a show hangover from this one. I sorely miss the believably different characters Kosima, Allison, Sarah — all played by actress Tatiana Maslany, who has given Streep a run for her money. And then there’s Felix…I miss Felix’s amazing flat. This series was so much fun!
  7. The OA — This series was super quirky and haunting. It made me yearn for more.
  8. Fargo — Regardless of the season, I love, love, love this quirky murder mystery series set in the Coen Brothers’ world. Watch them all.
  9. Channel Zero: Candy Cove — This was super creepy and probably fairly inexpensively made. It had a really interesting concept.
  10. The Missing — Season 1 is eerily reminiscent of the tragic Madeline McCann case, and this has your heart breaking for the parents of a missing boy and the long-term effect it has on them. I had to binge-watch Season 2 right away, as enamored as I was of the wonderful French “cold case” detective, Julien Baptiste.
  11. Catastrophe — This romantic dramedy is such smart writing, and I loved Carrie Fisher’s role in it. (I’m still so sad she is gone–watch her last documentary with Debbie Reynolds–haunting.)
  12. Sneaky Pete — This has that “Wait! I HAVE to see what happens in the next episode!” quality to it of Breaking Bad, and it was created by Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, who plays one of the lead roles. It’s wonderful.
  13. Better Call Saul — I’ve had many friends tell me they didn’t like this as much as Breaking Bad. To me, it’s just as good, but you have to be more patient with letting the story evolve than you may have been in Breaking Bad.
  14. Preacher — Okay, I must admit, I wasn’t keen on seeing the Christ — the religious figure on whom I base my entire religion — having sex, but outside of that, this quirky story and cast of characters was a blast to watch. Tulip is the best, and oddly enough, you’ll feel empathy for Hitler. I know, that news is hard to swallow, but trust me.
  15. Taboo — Tom Hardy had probably one of the greatest sex scenes of all the shows I’ve seen in the past year. I can’t wait to see what happens in Season 2. Oona Chaplin is wonderful, too. I hope she is back.
  16. Mr. Robot — I’ll admit, I’ve only seen Season 1. After the “big reveal” at the end of Season 1, I’m truly unsure if I can move forward, but I’ll probably give it a go for a couple of episodes.
  17. Tin Star — I was happy to see Christina Hendricks in another great role, but sadly, her character wasn’t likable, nor were any of the characters. After the last episode, I sat and thought about it, and realized I genuinely disliked every. single. character — even Tim Roth, who played the lead.
  18. Longmire — There’s a comfort to watching this series — that slower-paced, unpretentious western vibe, and the Indian reservation and the customs they discuss are fascinating to me. If you loved Battlestar Galactica, you’ll recognize the wonderful Katee Sackhoff.
  19. Black Mirror — This is the Twilight Zone for the modern era. I love it. But frankly, if I had never seen the episode with the Prime Minister having sex with a pig, I’d be a little less traumatized. I’m told that episode was loosely based on some true story, which sickens me even more.
  20. Ray Donovan — I binge-watched Season 1 and I found the storyline of a dysfunctional Boston family transplanted in L.A. fairly enthralling, but somehow, I lost steam on this one. I’ll give it another go.
  21. The Americans — I am a couple of seasons behind, but I really enjoy this one. It’s not the level of Breaking Bad (can anything ever be?) but it’s engaging.
  22. Homeland — Now that they’ve gone PC and started foregoing the route of mentioning radical Islam in any storylines, I’m losing interest and finding this fairly dull.
  23. Westworld — This show taps into the zeitgeist of sexbot and artificial intelligence anxiety in such a smart way. The opening music and imagery is beautifully rendered and let’s face it — anything with Anthony Hopkins and Peter Weller…how can it lose?
  24. Big Little Lies — While it was hard to see Alexander Skaarsgard, my favorite True Blood vampire, playing the role of an abusive husband, the storyline and its stellar cast kept me hooked and let’s face it — anything set in a California backdrop…sigh…
  25. The Affair — I binge-watched Season 1 and have Season 2 waiting for me, but I’m sort of losing steam on this one, as much as I love Maura Tierney.
  26. Broadchurch — This is my current binge-watch show. I finished Season 3 last night. I adore the pairing of actors David Tennant and Olivia Colman. I also like how they wove the characters & tropes from Season 1 into Seasons 2 and 3. I wish for more, but alas, it’s a trilogy.
  27. The Walking Dead — Once they killed Glenn so brutally in Episode 1 this past season, I could never go back. It was torture porn to my mind. Now my friends just tell me what’s happening, and that’s enough for me. I don’t need to see it.
  28. Fear the Walking Dead — The Walking Dead set in California and Mexico made for some interesting scenes, but to be honest, most of the characters in this season aren’t terribly likable, aside from Colman Domingo. It doesn’t help that the lead actress is a Katie Couric look-alike, since she irritates the shit out of me.
  29. The X-Files — I was beyond thrilled to see new episodes, but I need to know what happened to Scully & Mulder’s child! Keep filming!
  30. Ozark — Justin Bateman (whom I believe also directs?) and Laura Linney do a great job of taking us on this incredible journey on how quickly things can get effed up when you are unwittingly involved in money laundering for a cartel, going from a simple upper middle class life in tony Chicago suburb Naperville, Illinois to running a crappy marina and strip club in The Ozarks. The last episode was breathtakingly shocking.
  31. Goliath — Billy Bob Thornton could read the phone book and I would be captivated, but he plays a down-and-out, alcoholic, underdog lawyer in this amazing series, fighting the evil corporation. (This series also gave me the blueprint for my retirement plan, which is to rent two long-term rooms in a seedy hotel, strategically positioned across the parking lot from a seedy bar/restaurant where I can get a decent burger, and within walking distance of Santa Monica Pier.)

Well…it’s clear I need to be doing more productive things with my time than binge-watching shows. That explains some unfinished paintings in my office/studio. I didn’t realize how insanely extensive this list was until I got to the very end! Maybe I’ll be better next year…

 

 

 

How to Live With a Hairless Cat

We bought her for Jack. After two weeks, his allergies to my gorgeous Persian cat triggered asthma, and a dear friend adopted her within hours of me posting the request on Facebook. So a hairless Sphynx cat came home with us in November 2014. We named her Jonesy, after Ripley’s cat in ALIEN.

Back when we still thought she was lovable…

We were so excited to love on her! The breeder told us they were an affectionate breed. The breeder also told us they loved to wear warm sweaters and tube socks to stay warm. Both of these predictions turned out to be dead wrong. I bought her an adorable red and black buffalo plaid fleece jacket. Jonesy rolled around on the floor moaning like she was having a seizure. I removed it. We tried petting her. She would contort her wrinkly, bald body into a u-shape beneath our hands to escape human touch.

Jack’s hopes for a loving pet were dashed. 

I noticed Jonesy the Cat spending more and more time with my mom and dad, who were living in our basement walk-out apartment. Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer the end of December 2014, and from that point on, Jonesy the Cat never left his side. Dad died in early February, and then Jonesy the Cat decided my mom was her new alpha. As much as her anti-social, nutty behavior drives my mom crazy, she never leaves my mom’s lap. When Mom tries to pet her, she continues perfecting her u-shaped body contortions, even for my mom. She steals pens and paint brushes from the first and second floor of the house and carries them down to my mom, plopping them at Mom’s feet as her offerings.

The most unusual part of Jonesy is her avoidance of Dave, who has always had a way with animals and small children. It’s become the running joke. Rather, Jonesy intuits which of our house guests fear her bald, alien-like appearance or simply hate cats altogether, and those are the victims on whom she foists her obnoxious, laser-focused attention. In the cat world, she is truly the Queen Asshole.

The other day, my BFF Marovich turned me on to the “My Talking Pet” app on her iPhone, which she was using on her employees at work to hilarious effect. Needless to say, I could hardly wait to make this 4-second video of Jonesy, below. I texted it to all of my friends last night and this morning. It got rave reviews. They all agreed it needed to be said. Then I played my new video for Jonesy the Cat. She watched, she sniffed my iPhone screen, and then she jumped down, non-plussed by my creativity. My advice for living with a hairless cat? If yours is as awful as ours, you will experience inordinate relief by doing something like this:

http://bit.ly/JonesieTheCat

While I normally disdain passive-aggressive behavior, this is how far this nasty cat has driven me.

I’ve realized in today’s society, only food and animals are politically correct and safe for comedians to mock anymore. Jim Gaffigan will be the last man standing. Then again, I’m expecting PETA to send me a cease and desist any moment now.

Got Hollywood Sanctimony Fatigue Yet? Just Wait.

I’m a far-removed creative in the Midwest, so when even I have heard about Weinstein’s smarmy exploits, I cannot and will not buy it that others in the industry have not, also. For one thing, women talk. We have a stealthy sisterhood warning system. It goes something like this: We get up from the table at the restaurant, go the restroom in pairs and compare notes. “Don’t ever get alone with that guy,” or “I’ve heard he only likes it (insert the most disgusting, kinky fetish here).” And from there, we phone or text our separate tribes. And that’s how word spreads. If someone’s husband or boyfriend is skeevy, trust me, he’s fooling no one. We already know it.

I feel anger and compassion for every one of those women — and men — and underage children –who were abused at the hands of powerful Hollywood moguls, but then again, I feel that way about anyone who is abused in any way by someone in power. The difference is, the ones I know personally are left to pick up the pieces minus the SAG/AFTRA medical benefits, Hollywood paychecks, fame and gold-coast lifestyles.

This was, as Malcolm Gladwell so eloquently coined the phrase, the TIPPING POINT. In the next little while, you will see every long-repressed harassment situation splashed across the National Enquirer, TMZ and beyond. Those who wish to stay relevant will defend Weinstein, because to them, at least they’re still getting column inches. From afar, we’re witnessing the Hollywood snake eating itself.

So I’m told Mr. Weinstein has jetted off to Europe. Here’s how I imagine it went down: 

POV: We are looking over the broad shoulder of a Hollywood power broker, watching his fat, stubby, hairy fingers dialing an iPhone. The light reflects on his pinkie ring.

Cuts to: Split screen of two men talking — Weinstein on left, Sir Richard Branson on right.

Weinstein: Hey, Richard, any chance you can put me up until things cool down?

Branson: No man, you’re too hot right now. And I’m still cleaning up Neckers from the hurricane.

Weinstein: But I clearly recall Princess Diana complaining about you trying to get into her pants.

Branson: Don’t drag me into your shit storm — give Polanski a call!

Hangs up. Sausage fingers places the next call.

Weinstein: Hey Roman, wanna be roommates?

Polanski: Sure! Come on over! I’ll send a jet for you.

Weinstein: No need. Mine’s gassed up and ready to go.

Polanski: Ooh, I’ve got a fun idea! Let’s call Jeffrey Epstein and see if he can fly us both down for some entertainment…wink, wink…

Weinstein: Okay, but I don’t want Bill Clinton or Prince Andrew’s sloppy seconds…

************************************************************************

So…some friends and I were just playing the “Let’s rename Weinstein’s new company” game online. The winner? Touchbone Pictures.

Talking TAKIs

In an emergency grocery store run this a.m. since we were out of eggs on Dave’s birthday (D’oh!), Dave Dorman made the mistake of taking Jack, which always means a 40% higher bill at the checkout line. In addition to the eight taffy apples and chocolate chip Lego waffles they returned with (NOT on the list), Jack procured this:

Guacamole TAKIs, meant to be savored, just not smelled.

For those of you who have never partaken in TAKIs, you’re not alone. They appeared on my radar about six months ago. They’re the rage of this YouTube generation — a super-compressed taco chip, saturated in flavor dust, shaped like a rolled Dorito doobie–by design, I’m sure. This morning, Jack couldn’t find his regular-flavored TAKIs, so he brought home the guacamole flavor. In theory, it sounds good, but…Jack opened the bag and we each took turns taking a whiff. It took a leviathan amount of cajoling to convince Dave to join in, but he eventually caved because Jack has the master persuasion skills of a Harvard law professor. Here are the Dorman Family’s Top 4 Guacamole-Flavored TAKI Smell Descriptions.

(Your results may vary.)

  1. Rotting corn field (Dave)
  2. Lawn Clippings-flavored Jelly Belly (Jack)
  3. Dead Bugs on the Windshield (Denise)
  4. Dead Box Elder or Lightning Bugs (also Denise)

Despite the funky smell, they actually tasted pretty good, but Jack still favors the original flavor. I favor the “original,” too…as in: DORITOS.

For fans of Stephen King’s IT and Pennywise the Clown, Dave did a pencil illustration of Pennywise the Clown yesterday on Facebook Live. Here’s a link to that footage for your viewing pleasure:

https://www.facebook.com/DaveDormanArtist/videos/10159276116220063/

You’ll hear Dave responding to questions posted by those watching him, which is often enlightening commentary about comics, entertainment and publishing. If you do a search, he’s done several other demonstration painting and illustration art videos that have been well received — follow him on Twitter @DaveDorman and you’ll see him post links to those videos as they occur.

A #ComicBook #Artist #Illustrator and #Marine Friend in Need: Clifford Van Meter

Our friend CliffordVan Meter needs our help…

Dave Dorman

Dear Friends,

It’s time to rally the troops and help a fallen soldier and comic book artist friend of mine. I want to make you aware of Clifford Van Meter, a Marine friend in Michigan, who is also a comic book artist/writer and non-fiction writer, as well as a galleried wildlife artist. Clifford is losing his home and, as of Friday, has just lost his job due to his medical condition(s). Like me, he also suffers from Type II Diabetes. Clifford’s write-up below was posted before he lost his job. Denise is scrambling to help him find social services and VA help, but in the meantime, please consider giving any amount — even the smallest amount to you would mean the world to him — at this page: https://www.gofundme.com/arctostor

Here is Clifford Van Meter’s story: 

I’ve been an artist and illustrator for more than 30 years now. I’ve worked…

View original post 231 more words

Volunteering for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma Clean-Up? Here’s What You’ll Need

Unfortunately, I know all too well the paralyzing fear and anxiety the folks are feeling in Florida right now, since I went through Ivan and got displaced from September 15th, 2004 to end of January 2005 (and months later, received a whopping $300 from FEMA — thanks for nothing!)

My cameraman Kenny is helping his cousin in South Florida once Hurricane Irma clean-up begins, so I put on my producer’s hat (the problem-solver’s hat) and started compiling a list for him of stuff he’ll need to drive down there with once it’s over. I may go with him, depending on my workload. It occurred to me that some of you reading this may be helping with Hurricane Harvey clean-up–or Florida clean-up–so I’m sharing this list with all of you, just in case.

3 Things You Need to Remember Whenever You Enter a Hurricane Clean-Up Zone:

#1. There are nails and broken glass on the road and in parking spaces everywhere. You will need spare tires and tire patch kits for your vehicle–you can only drive over that debris for so long before you get a flat.

#2. The air quality will NOT be good. It gets funky. Some people are affected for a very long time afterwards with skin lesions, breathing issues, etc. Have masks for breathing and wear thin, soft clothing that keeps your skin covered. Have an asthma puffer medication on hand, if you can get one. Whenever someone has a chest cold, I tend to save the half-used ones for later on.

#3. The mosquitoes will be out of control with all of that humidity, so eat your odor-free garlic pills for a week before you head down there so the mosquitoes love you a little less. Bring Avon’s Skin-So-Soft or head to Cabela’s and get yourself bug repellant with DEET. I know, I know…it’s deemed unsafe, but trust me, you will need it.

Here’s your list of supplies to drive down in your moving truck rental:

#1. Bottles of bleach for the mold. Rags, towels.

#2. Sledgehammers and crowbars to pull off the water-damaged sheetrock. You will have to strip the home’s interior down to the studs. (I know this first-hand!)

#3. 50-gallon garbage bags galore!

#4. Sheetrock, construction nails, sheetrock mud, hand-held manual sanders (since electric will be unavailable for a while), saws, hammers, saw horses, a battery-operated drill, drywall screws, gloves, 2 x 4 pieces of wood, caulk and caulk guns, rolls of insulation, duct tape, large, thick Sharpie markers, spray paint.

#5. If you’re lucky, the home you’re repairing has a natural gas generator, but most likely, it’s gasoline-generated, so bring empty gas cans for getting fuel, and lots of money because they WILL price gouge you…once fuel is available again, that is, which could be a week.

#6. Ziplock baggies — gallon-sized and sandwich-sized. They will come in handy.

#7. Brooms, dustpans and shovels. I remember the storm surge during Hurricane Ivan literally filled the first floor of the condos on Okaloosa Island with sand, from floor to ceiling. If this Hurricane Irma situation is similar (and I’m sure this happened for Harvey victims), you will be digging out debris forever before you can even start the home repairs.

#8. Pre-charged phone chargers. LOTS of them. We were lucky we had a land line in Florida, so we never lost contact with the outside world. But that was 13 years ago. Now everyone’s on cell phones, and that’s one of the disadvantages of having no land line.

#9. Tons of bottled water. As much as you can buy and pack. Also, coolers filled with ice.

#10. Pre-packaged foods that won’t go bad without refrigeration — you know, the stoner crap you’d buy at a convenience store when you’re starved and in a helluva hurry — those peanut butter crackers, granola bars, cheese crackers, etc. Also, soup and bring manual can openers. Paper plates, cups, plastic silverware (an oxymoron), also. Juice boxes are convenient if there are kids involved.

#11. In Hurricane Ivan, the ceiling crashed in on our bed and it was soaked all of the way through (and I was 8 months pregnant with Master Jack at the time) so I ended up sleeping on a blow-up floor mattress in the most God-awful, un-air-conditioned, moist, hot air. If you can hook up a fan to a generator, you will be so glad you did. Those blow-up mattresses are wonderful — about $50 — buy up one for every person in the home you’re renovating. Pillows & blankets, too.

#12. The anti-gun folks among us won’t appreciate my next comment, but looters are a serious problem.  Don’t judge until you’ve been through a fucking hurricane, assholes. When your possessions and family are at risk, you’ll wish you had one. The only thing that deters looters is knowing you have a weapon, and you’re unafraid to use it. Hearing warning shots in our neighborhood, post-Hurricane Ivan, wasn’t uncommon.  I hope there’s a special, more torturous hell for those who prey on the vulnerable (including those price-gouging gas stations).

#13. First-Aid kits – Band-Aids, plenty of peroxide, Cortisone cream, Triple Antibiotic Cream, Bactine, rubbing alcohol, disinfectant / hand sanitizers. Also, bring pain relievers, ace bandages, and tweezers (lots of slivers will occur when you’re working with wood, even if you’re wearing gloves).

#14. You’ll want tons of wet wipes/butt wipes and dry/spray shampoo for your hair. Personal hygiene will be at a bare minimum for a while, so at least try being odor-agnostic to be around. Depending on your bathroom situation, toilet paper may not make sense, but ziplock baggies and wet wipes will be a good alternative. You will likely need to bring a porta-potty (like the kind in any camper).

If anyone has additional items to add to the list, speak up — I’m just brain storming as I’m writing this, so I may overlook the obvious.