Hey my fellow players, it’s been a while since I posted to the blog- 2 months actually- but I kinda, sorta have an explanation which I’ll keep brief as possible.
Anyway- so…-what happened?
To keep it pretty simple, I am currently homeless (living out of a shelter) and virtually jobless. 😯
“Why and how”!?
Unbeknownst to many of my treasured subscribers, I’ve been living in the Caribbean islands over the last 6 or so years, full time, although I’m a New Yorker.
One of my main bases was on a tiny island named Barbuda, where relatives of mines reside.
Nearly 2 months ago, that island was completely devastated and totaled by Hurricane Irma, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in history.
It took a flush hit from the cat-5+ storm, which caused severe damages to 98% of the homes and structures on the island, before making its way to Puerto Rico and almost wiping it out also.
As a result of the flush impact of Irma on Barbuda, 98% of my property and belongings were destroyed: laptops, miscellaneous gadgets, HD cams which I used to record pick-up related videos, virtually my entire wardrobe, souvenirs, entire library of books, documents, etc.
The roof of my apartment had collapsed on itself and unto my bed. It was a miracle that I happened to sleep out that night, or I would’ve been dead from the fallen debris of blocks, mortar and 2×4 beams descending on my sleeping body.
When I returned to my gutted apartment, I was able to salvage about 2 articles of clothing, a pair of shoes and some toiletry items.
Apart from that, I abandoned everything else which was damaged anyway.
Where was I during the hurricane? And did I do well?
Well, I decided to stay at my grandma’s crib which was more secure in the event of hurricanes, opposed from my apartment which was near the coastline, vulnerable to tsunamis.
An older cousin and I stayed at my grandma’s, while she was spending time in New York from about a week prior to the hurricane.
Let’s just say that I almost died at my grandma’s, in spite of the fact that her home was thought to be hurricane-proof.
However, Hurricane Irma was unlike any other hurricane which preceded it, packing over a whopping 200 MPH winds, winds capable of toppling the most fortified homes on Earth!
Hence, about 1 AM on September 5th, 2017, the winds of the hurricane intensified violently.
Prior to the arrival of the monster storm, my intention was to sleep it out on my grandma’s couch in the living-room area, just as I customarily do with any other storm that the island sees during hurricane season.
Boy oh boy: Irma was no fucking ordinary hurricane that one can just ignore, ride out and sleep through like a category 1, 2 or 3.
Irma was rumored by hurricane trackers, to be a category 5+++.
In plainer language: that’s like a category fucking 7 or 8 storm!
The hurricane was so strong that it registered on the Richter magnitude scale as an earthquake!
As a natural skeptic, hours before the hurricane’s touchdown, I scoffed at the projections and warnings from meteorologists, the media and local disaster services, that this storm will be unlike no other!
With that, I had all intentions to sleep through it on the couch, while my older cousin [a male] ride it out in the bedroom!
As I lied on the couch with my earphones plugged into my eardrums in order to block out any minor interruptions such as strong winds [approaching 1 AM], I noticed water gushing through the tight seams of the door. Freshly dismembered Leaves were also finding their way through the tight seams of the door in the living room.
What that meant was that the wind was so intense and concentrated that it penetrated the tightest crevices, carrying leaves and small twigs with it.
My face was being battered with twigs and leaves from trees from across the road, as I lied on the couch!
It was at that moment I realized that this hurricane was the real-fucking deal! Nothing like the ordinary stuff I casually sleep through!
I removed my earphones which were blasting some Spanish music.
For the first time during the night, I was able to hear the ferocity of the winds which weren’t just howling, but slicing and ringing!
It carried a sound of which my ears never witnessed in 35 years of my existence!
It was terrifying!
I never felt such fright and fear in my life as I did at that moment, just from the noise of the wind blowing outside.
I was petrified!
I normally laugh at the winds of hurricanes. But that was no fucking time to laugh! I was genuinely humbled and scared stiff!
I managed to get up from the couch. Just as I did, the electricity was cut, internet-data connection gone and the phone lines went blank.
The telephone pole and lamppost came down atop the roof of the house, making a huge noise which prompted my cousin to run into the living room to see what happened.
Since the power was down, island-wide, likely from the beginning of the intensity of hurricane Irma’s rampage, my cousin and I had to use our cellphones as flashlights until he was able to stumbled upon a flashlight and battery-powered lamp.
Just as every house and edifice on the island, grandma’s house was also boarded up with shutters. And other hurricane-protective measures were taken.
However, the ferocious winds tore off the shutters from the door, leaving the house vulnerable to flooding.
My cousin and I scrambled to and fro, grabbing any old clothing and stuffing them across the bottom of the door, a futile attempt in preventing more water from gushing in.
The winds being so strong, easily blew aside any and everything we placed against, over and under the crevices of the doors!
With that, the worst we anticipated was some water (rain) getting inside the house and wetting the rugs and floor mats. So in the darkness, we rushed to move away the large rug from the door, in order to avoid wetting.
Little did we know: that was the least of our concerns!
By the second, more water kept gushing in, so we moved away the television set, desktop computer, printer, couches, sofas and cabinet set, to the middle of the room, away from the door.
The winds were piercing!
By the second, unknown debris were smashing and slamming against, and into the house, from the North-East angle, as the wind was coming from a northerly angle.
With every impact from unknown flying objects, we shuttered, cringed and ducked!
My cousin tried to reassure me, sensing the fright in my demeanor, “It’s nothing. Just a little water. Just keep an eye on the door in case more water comes in. That’s all we gotta worry about”.
I felt reassured, honestly.
I said to myself, “right…only water. No big deal”.
My cousin went back into 1 of the bedrooms, I guess to lie down again, so I took to the couch in which I was lying down previously.
With every wind gust, I shuttered in fear at its strange, whistling sound.
A while later, I felt droplets of water hitting me from above.
I removed my hood in order to investigate. Since it was pitch dark, and at that point, my phone battery had died, I wasn’t able to see from where came the droplets exactly, nor the cause of the leakage.
Alas! There was a lamp in the dining-room area, so I took it up, brought it back to the living room, held it up to the ceiling, above the couch on which I was lying.
Water was coming through the ceiling, however in minuscule amounts!
“It’s just a little leak”, I kept telling myself.
In hindsight, unbeknownst to us, what was happening at that moment, is that the winds were so fierce and strong, that it was gradually [rather quickly in fact] peeling away the roof (galvanize and other stuff that hold the roof together).
As each layer of the fortified roof was violently ripped off and flown away by the 200+ MPH winds, it only made it easier for the rain to penetrate the now vulnerable roof, through the ceiling…which accounted for the droplets I was feeling from above.
While this was going on, my cousin and I had no clue that the roof was being compromised, breached and yanked off!
How come I didn’t foresee this at least?
1.) During my many years of being in the Caribbean, I’ve witnessed many hurricanes. Two per year, albeit of much lesser intensity. But never any damage in the least to my grandma’s home, nor any other home on island (in recent memory). So to think that our roof would go, was unthinkable!
Secondly, my grandma’s house is very very strong in every sense of the word! Additionally, most houses in the Caribbean (the exception being Haiti) are built to withstand hurricanes, because of the region which is prone to storms. Therefore, I just didn’t foresee any damage whatsoever!
Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma was making shredded cheese of my grandma’s house, including 98% of the homes on the island (we later found out when the storm subsided).
Anyway, no longer able to lie down on the couch, I stood, aimlessly watching the ceiling and its seams.
Although the wind was VIOLENT all throughout, the gust shot up with extra ferocity every 2 or so seconds, causing foreign debris to slam into the house.
Out of nowhere, something heavy and big smashed into the house- I think it was on the roof- so my cousin and I ran into the kitchen area from where the impact sounded, “what’s that”, he exclaimed frantically!???
Panic mode was setting in. It was already set on my end though.
We investigated and went back to our stations: mines the living-room, his the bedroom.
I went back to staring into the ceiling as I stood with the lamp.
It was as if I sensed something more dramatic about to go down at any moment now.
Moments later, the droplets of water became puddles!
The main entrance to the house, the living-room door, violently rattled as I stood before it!
It was as if an intruding swat team were thumping, kicking and ramming the door, violently trying to shake it off its hinges while trying to scream it open at the same time [the noise of the wind]!
I was full-on panicking, but didn’t want to alarm my cousin by telling him that the door seems as though it’s about to burst open or burst off. So I bit my tongue and hoped for the best as I quaked in my boots…literally.
Since it was pitch dark outside, because the hurricane had torn down every electrical system on island, also because of the wind’s ferocity, outside was hazy and foggy, I wasn’t able to see a thing as I tried my best to get a peek outside of the windows which were completely covered anyway by the shutters.
Little did I know, nor anyone for that matter, the neighbors to the east, their home was completely decimated, gutted and laid bare into the street!
All the thudding sounds we heard on our roof and walls, were likely from debris: ovens, stoves, washing machines, refrigerators, TV sets, iron bins, etc. being taken, propelled into the air by Irma’s winds as flying projectiles, and tossed into my grandma’s house from about half a bloc away.
Little did we know, stuff from my grandma’s yard, and debris from the house, were being rocketed into the air and causing damages to other neighbor’s homes.
Anyway, moments later while I gazed into the ceiling as water and leaves began gushing in, I noticed something eerily strange from the corner of my eye- something occurring in the left corner of the ceiling, and above the door.
The ceiling began separating from its seam and from the roof!
In other words, the winds were so strong and piercing, that it made its way under the roof and lifted the ceiling from its base!
The ceiling was dancing and fluttering as the wind gusted higher!
With every gust of wind, which had to have been over 220 MPH, the ceiling and the roof lifted, shook and cracked!
At that moment, it was the first time in my entire life, I felt as though I was about to fucking die!
“This is it”, I said to myself!
“This is how it ends”, I said to myself!
I envisioned myself dying at a mature age of natural causes. But not by a fucking hurricane. It was too unfortunate to go out that way, I reasoned to myself as I watched a portion of the roof being torn to shreds, almost right above where I stood.
My life didn’t flash before my eyes as some people would narrate of near-death experiences. But I kept saying to myself, “this is it. I’m gonna die in a freak-accident sorta way by a hurricane”.
I didn’t have time to think rationally or otherwise. I don’t even recall thinking of my 2 small kids who would probably never see their dad again.
I was just frozen and paralyzed, in such shock that it will end this way; so freakishly and so violently.
As an Atheist who doesn’t believe in a higher power, I didn’t find myself calling on a God, praying, prostrating, begging for forgiveness, begging to be spared, etc.
I just accepted my fate, and resigned myself to it: being killed at the ripe age of 35 by a freak storm on a tiny Caribbean island, relatively unknown to the rest of the world.
That’s what raced through my mind at that very dire moment of staring death in the face, by way of violent winds propelling me down the street, or debris falling on top of me.
I guess my cousin also noticed a portion of the roof and ceiling loosening, lifting and bucking, so he rushed to where I stood in a trance-like state and shook me out of it.
“Yo! Yo! Look! Look”!
I shouted at him, telling him to look at the ceiling as it rises, rocks and sways!
It was the first time during the ordeal that I seen panic and fear in my cousin’s face.
His voice quivered and cracked as though he was about to break out in tears while shouting orders at me, to “keep cool”!
By the second, we could hear portions of the roof above us being torn to shreds, as hundreds of sturdy, long nails which held the roof, planks and galvanize in place, were being violently ripped and plucked from their holes in rapid-fire fashion, sounding like a machine gun going off as the nails and screws left their places!
I mumbled, “why us? Out of everyone…why us”? Not realizing that the entire island was being ravaged and pummeled in similar and worse fashion.
My cousin scrambled aimlessly with flashlight in hand as the door was being torn apart by the violent winds trying to burst inside.
“Help me move the rug and the chairs to the kitchen”!
As futile as it was, we dragged the furnitures through the hallway, but they (sofas and couches) were too wide to fit through there, because of the legs which were screwed on. So we aborted that mission; scrambling, panicking, shouting while the violent winds howl around and above us.
“This shit is real serious! Look at the ceiling”!
I yelled to him!
“All we can do now is just pray to God to keep us safe”, he calmly said.
We were like sitting ducks for a mere moment, awaiting our fate: death by Hurricane Irma.
He kept saying, “Lord, lord, lord”!
I was very surprised since he isn’t one for religion and praying. But he was at that moment.
While we sat in the living room, awaiting our pending death, water poured from above, gushing in from the door and the ceiling.
The ceiling/roof still wasn’t breached to the point of visible wreckage, however, it shook and lifted with every gust.
We knew it was a matter of time until it caved in or flew off!
My cousin frantically rushed to the other rooms in the house, in order to check on the situation: every room had water leakage, which meant the roof was being damaged.
Suddenly, the strongest gust of wind I ever heard in my life, crept under the air tight seam of the ceiling and blew a hole into the ceiling into the roof!
It was so profound, that for the first time during the ordeal, I was able to look up and see the foggy sky…through the roof!
This meant that there was no further security from anything airborne coming through the roof.
I shouted to my cousin, who ran back into the living room to behold the rapidly new development: a shredded hole in the ceiling and the roof.
“Well Bad News, this is it”!
“Bad News” being a childhood nickname given to me by my older cousins and uncles.
“This is it”, he kept saying!
“Just pray”, he kept saying!
Another violent gust of wind came through, debris fell!
“Come let’s go”, he shouted at me at the top of his lungs!
“Grab your shoes, grab any valuable you have, grab all the passports and documents! We making a run for it”, he exclaimed!
I wasn’t sure if he was serious, so I said to him, “go out there in that” [“that” meaning the violent wind]?
Cousin: “We gonna either die in here or we can die out there trying to get to safety”!!!
He grabbed me by the shirt and shook me, “Come on!!!! Where your shoes”!!?????
I only had a pair of slippers- flip-flops- which I wore to my grandma’s house, so he yelled at me to go put them on now, “we gotta run now Bad News!!!! Not safe here!!! This serious”!!!
I threw on my flip-flops, frantically tucked my smartphone and a stack of passports in my pocket.
Cousin: “We’re gonna make a run for it to the neighbors to the south”!
Every command at that moment was issued in ultra-loud fashion, because the whistling winds were so loud that we could barely hear each other from 5 yards away.
I was still uncertain whether leaving the damaged house would’ve been a safer idea. So I hesitated and questioned my cousin’s plan to evacuate.
He yelled at me that we will die if we stay. I argued that we will die if we go out in the storm, which was likely at its max force!
“Come! He yelled!
We rushed to the back door in order to make our break.
“The flashlight”, he yelled at me!
Him: “You have everything”?
Me: “I think so”!
As if we were in an adventure flick making a dash for it, the roof began violently shaking and breaking as we got nearer to the rear exit.
My cousin grabbed a hammer and a few nails, not sure what he was to do with them.
“Come on”, he yelled!
The back door violently flew open, and we were exposed to the raw elements of the strongest hurricane ever recorded in history!
He shouted to me!
As we exited the back door which swung open due to the wind, it was virtually impossible for us to close it back, as the wind was fighting us!
We both pushed and pushed and pushed! He yelled and yelled and yelled at me in annoyance and panic; “Push! Push”!!!!
We finally got the door to close, after about a good minute of fighting the wind which kept resisting us from the inside. But it kept blowing open, so my cousin struggled to nail it shut while I struggled to hold the flashlight straight.
The ferocious winds had us like rag dolls, trapped behind the house, holding on for dear life as debris smacked us in our face, back and hands!
We exclaimed with every slap received by flying bushes and branches!
I could barely hold on to the flashlight as the wind tried to wrestle it from me.
In the tussle, I lost both slippers as I fell to my knees and tripped over downed electrical wires in the backyard.
I was now barefoot: both of us blinded by flying debris, fogginess, stinging rain and pitch darkness.
The more we tried to go East, in order to exit the yard through the side gate, the more the winds fought us since it was coming from a North-Eastern direction.
We were literally brought to our knees by the winds! It was impossible for us to fall flat on our face if we wanted to, since the wind was virtually holding us up from falling flat.
My cousin kept yelling “Get Low”!!!
it was literally impossible for us to see anything!
Everything was just white!
There wasn’t much rain to speak of. Just haziness, fogginess and blinding wind!
We were literally trying to make it out the yard (to the neighbor’s) in blindness.
We had to use our sense of touch and re-call memory, in order to find where the east gate is.
We were totally vulnerable and blind to any projectile smashing our heads in and being left for dead.
Razor-sharp galvanize by the boatload, ripped off of roof tops, were being tossed about like confetti, crashing all around us as we struggled to make it out of the yard.
It only takes a flush blow from 1 flying, 4×10 sheet of razor-sharp galvanize, to sever our necks or some other limbs. And there were hundreds of sheets of galvanize flying at rocket speeds being propelled by the hurricane-force winds!
We chugged along sideways, on knees and all fours. Because I couldn’t see a thing, I relied on the dim light from the lamp which my cousin held, so I followed as he led the way top the gate.
As we grabbed for the fence in order to hold on, we realized that the fence was down on its face, flattened by the winds.
This caused us to trip and stumble as our feet got caught up in the downed fence.
With nothing else to hold on to as a source of anchoring and grounding, we desperately grabbed at air until our palms caught grip onto a parked pickup truck outside of my grandma’s yard, leading towards the neighbors to the South: our destination.
My cousin yelled: “Hold on to the truck”!!!!
We were slapped across the body and face by flying debris.
We barely had good grip on the truck’s cab since the wind was wrestling away our hands.
We slid and tumbled as the wind was blowing us sideways. I managed to grip the door handle of the pickup truck and held on for dear life, hoping that it wouldn’t break off under the force of my death grip!
We finally managed to make it to the neighbor’s yard- the entrance gate- but we had to suddenly halt, because downed power lines and a snapped tree bark, blocked the gate.
Luckily for the lamp being toted by my cousin in lead, we were able to dimly spot the debris and thick electrical wires, which would’ve otherwise close-lined us.
We wrestled our way through the blockage, climbing over and through dead power lines and cables, while holding on to the gate in order to prevent us from being blown away.
We made it onto the porch, screaming at the top of our lungs, “Inside”!!!! Anyone inside!!!!????? Hello!!! Help!! Help”!!!!!
My cousin banged loudly on the window with the butt of the flashlight, hard enough, but to not shatter the glass.
We were praying that someone inside would hear us! Shit- we didn’t even know if anyone was inside for that matter!
The wind was blowing so ferociously and loudly, that it rendered our screams and banging for help, almost silent and futile.
Alas! There was movement inside the dining room area! Someone looked out, noticed us and let us in.
Somewhat relieved, I stood there awkwardly while the neighbors tended to us.
Little did we know, their house was also compromised, as I noted buckets were placed at various spots of the house in order to prevent flooding.
A mid-age male was scrambling, trying to stuff and seal holes and cracks in the ceiling of the bedroom.
My cousin and I gave him a hand.
From my vantage point, apart from my cousin and I, there were 2 adult males in the household, 2 adult females and 3 little girls.
The kids had utter terror on their little faces. They were told to remain put in the bedroom, but the winds were howling so frightfully, that it was virtually impossible for them to stay put.
I examined the ceiling and realized that it was just a matter of time until it either caves in or blows off.
Freshly stamped in my mind, the visual from minutes ago of my grandma’s roof being mangled, it kept replaying as I noticed the exact same signs occurring at the neighbor’s home.
Seconds later: Pandemonium!
Screams and crying emanating from the back door.
What apparently happened was that their neighbors to their West, had to flee their house because it was totaled.
Their house was struck by a huge wooden electrical post, which snapped in half and came down on their roof, careening through the house [we later found out as the storm cleared]. The gape gave the wind unhindered access to wreak havoc throughout their house (as it did).
Hence, they fled in utter panic and cries, making their way to the neighbors on their east, which are my grandma’s neighbors to her south.
They barreled through the neighbor’s back door. I counted 4 adult females, 1 adult male, 1 little boy and 2 babies in hand.
Every last 1 of them crying in terror (on the exception of the lone-adult male).
In essence, there were now 3 families huddled in the hallway of the house.
Within no time, the ceiling and roof in the bedroom started to dance, rock, sway and flutter…just as it did 10-15 minutes earlier at my grandma’s before the ultimate defacing.
Everyone watched in disbelief and horror.
A loud gust of wind, or some flying debris, created a crater in the roof, starling us, and water began rushing in. So we all made a dash for it, to a more secure part of the house: a cramped area.
We stood there and hoped for the best.
All around us- outside the house that is- we could hear glass and iron being shattered and battered, tossed, rolled and flown!
Vehicle windshields and windows were being exploded by sheer pressure of the winds.
A window spontaneously blew out in the kitchen area, which caused us to scramble in terror.
Seconds later, another family frantically banged on the window: “HELP”!
We let them in!
They [a family of 4] were actually relatives of the initial neighbors in whose home we all sought refuge.
Out of breath, they began recounting what happened to their home: “everything is gone”, they said.
Their home was completed demolished while they were inside, van overturned (by the hurricane winds), so they had to flee blindly on foot in dangerous winds, and made their way to this house, which was almost a mile away.
Every roadway was blocked nevertheless! So even if their van was drive-able, it was utterly impossible for them to drive 10 yards without meeting downed houses and power lines in the streets, which made it impassable.
There’s a lot more to this life-changing story, but I decide to wind down here.
Shortly afterwards, the eye of the storm passed directly over the island of Barbuda, which brought with it a surreal calm and quietness.
If you’re unfamiliar with hurricanes, within the eye itself of the storm, everything is eerily placid, quiet and a sense of normalcy looms above.
No winds, no rain, no clouds, no nothing.
That was my very first time witnessing the eye of a storm. Prior to that, I actually thought the eye of the storm was the worst part of a hurricane. Little did I know; it was absolutely peaceful.
However, once the eye begins to pass, a new wall moves in, which spells round 2 of the storm.
Thus, in spite of what we went through during the initial round, there was a round 2 to come from the other direction…and it did come…packing more violent winds than the initial round!
The initial salvo which started about 11 PM, came from the North. The final salvo, which occurred about 3 AM, came from the opposite direction: the South.
Those houses and structures which withstood the salvo from the North, will feel Irma’s wrath from the South.
Since it was still pitch dark out, no electricity on island, no one really understood the scope of the devastation caused by Irma.
When daylight came and the winds subsided after 6 AM, everyone was astonished, struck numb and aghast at the sheer devastation which went down outside of our homes.
I mean, everything sustained damages!
Every power plant was down, every lamppost, street light, electrical and telephone pole was down in the roads and atop people’s rooftops, smashing into their ceilings onto the floor!
Virtually every house lost its roof!
Something completely unheard of on this island.
They’ve had many hurricanes, just as every Caribbean island, but never had a roof been blown off, caved in nor ever budged. So to see almost every roof flattened or blown away, was a sight to behold!
The streets were strewn with mangled cars, buses and trucks on their hoods and sides.
Cars securely parked in garages, had their windows smashed in, blown out and sides dented in.
Every supermarket and corner store was flattened or blown away, leaving bare foundation alone.
The roadways were littered with goods and items which once stood on shelves just 16 hours prior.
Looters looted what was left of supermarkets.
That same morning, on the 6th of September 2017, after the catastrophic hurricane departed, with the little juice remaining on the battery of an old digital camera I had laying around, I walked about immediate neighborhoods, taking dozens of photos and videos of fresh damages (hundreds of photos in fact).
I made my way to my apartment, to then face the damages there, and the destruction of 98% of my belongings.
Here are some of those photos from that dreadful morning which rendered me homeless, and now living at a shelter.
As to the original question of why I haven’t been posting lately, you now know why.
I simply haven’t had the time, barely had stable internet connection, laptop ruined, etc.
As for game and pickup, do I still game, and have I been gaming since?
The answer is an emphatic yes!!!!
The day after the hurricane, I was out gaming women.
Hence, my dating, pickup and game routines, haven’t ceased 1 bit.
In fact, I’ve actually stepped up my pick-up activities from the day after the hurricane.
On social media, among my fellow pick-up artist buddies, including Mystery and others, I jokingly dub my game “homeless-man game”.
Saying that to say, I’ve since doubled down, and the hurricane appeared to have had zero negative psychological effect on my outlook, state and game.
In fact, my new pick-up line and opener is, “hey, I’m currently homeless and I’m looking for a fertile gal to adopt me”.
Not to blow my own horn, but it takes real dedication to a craft or lifestyle, to continue on that path as if all were good.
Anyway, all photos below were taken by me as the hurricane left island.
Anyway folks, as I mentioned earlier, I am currently living at a shelter in a neighboring island.
The entire island was evacuated to a neighboring island, days after the storm.
I leave you with these.
Coverage from CNN as the hurricane closes in on the island (below).
Coverage from CNN, after the hurricane (below).
Videos from local residents (below).