Good morning! I am writing this after almost driving out to Long Beach this morning to volunteer. I have admittedly not been out to the beach communities since the storm hit, but I have been holding all of those affected in my heart and have been trying to think of ways that I can help AND get my work done (grading papers, preparing lectures, studying for a PhD exam in Latin, writing four other papers, running a journal, completing the research I was hired to conduct, the list goes on). Fortunately there are others in this world who dedicate themselves to finding immediate and physical solutions to problems such as those caused by Sandy and we should be grateful to them. I am sure you have all seen a number of facebook and twitter posts about ways you can help and donate. I strongly urge that you do. A program that has caught my eye as having a significant plan and ability to impact the clean up and rebuilding situation in a major way is Waves for Water's Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative. They have a timeline and an easy way to donate/get involved right there on the site. I have decided that I am going to hold a raffle in the coming weeks to win a surfboard and a few surf lessons. I first need to get the paypal account associated with Conatus Surf Club established, but that shouldn't take too long. All proceeds from the raffle will go either to Waves for Water or to another fund which I see as having a direct impact on improving the situation affected by the storm. It is getting colder, the sewage is overflowing into the ocean, there is debris everywhere, etc., etc., etc., very bad. People aren't working and a lot of them did not have flood insurance. At the end of the day, the insurance of human community is a far better system anyhow.
In other news, there was an election and it was a big deal. Obama won. I am overjoyed at the result. I do not have the space here to elaborate on why I feel that this is so awesome as well as Rachel Maddow already has, so you can watch her break it down right HERE. So inspiring to see a politician who is willing to face facts and deal with them (not that the conservative dinosaurs still in the House and Senate aren't going to make things hard for him—oh they will—but in this case it's the statement of truth that is most important).
Last, surf lessons are pretty much done in NY for the winter 2012/13. Had Sandy not rolled through there might have been a few more weekends to eke out some quality water time. But now there is no water quality clean enough in the foreseeable future to go surfing close to Manhattan. And all gas spent on a trip out to the beach should be utilized in the clean up efforts anyhow. As much as I myself don't want to admit it, considering time constraints of city life, the sewage problem, the gas crisis and the amount of help needed in the beach communities, surfing (not just lessons) is over for NY surfers for the time being. I think it may be clean enough out east and down in North Carolina, but then you have travel and time to contend with. Trips away from the East Coast (PR, CR, DR, CA, HI, EU, UK, etc.) are probably better options if you need some quality surf time. That said, Conatus Surf Club at Rancho DiAndrew is still planning to run January 5-12; 12-19; 19-25.