by Ben Baller on July 5, 2012
man oh man….
I headed down to the #1 destination for los angeles folks for the 4th of July, which was San Diego… and with the only expectations of watching a sick fireworks show…. I got a nice sky top room and set up some nice reservations for every meal…. jumped in the flying spur and headed down with some friends (a couple). never knew that this shit would turn out to be an evening with a viral pic of mine that went haywire!
okay, let’s just jump to the evening.
had a nice dinner at Oceanaire restaurant in the gaslamp… me, my wife, Eric and Michelle….
the shrimp scampi though…. wow! after the stomaches were filled, we were ready for some fireworks!
figured that we would hit the bay fireworks show up since that’s what most people do for the 4th. after we finished dinner, we drove over to the Marriott Marquis and valet’d the car…. was told to walk out by the pool and try the coronado lounge, but the lounge was booked for a private party… most of all the restaurants with a bay view were already booked, sorry, I mean EVERYTHING was booked, so we walked out and followed everyone, but it was like a huge mass of people. I was thinking a few thousand at most, maybe a several hundred, but later found out it was 350,000 to 500,000!!!!!!!! wtf????
so we kept walking for a minute, but my wife is 8 months pregnant and got really tired quick and it was kinda cold outside, so she wanted to stop right by a restaurant called Sally’s right on the bay…. so she said, if we keep walking down further, there will be no more places to sit and there were already few open spaces as people had been there for hours prior…. we sat down and the couple next to us were from Richmond Vancouver, Canada and then a family from the bay area and texas to our right….
they said the show was to start at 9pm…. so we waited a while…. at around 8:55 I saw a huge array of lights shoot out like nothing I have ever seen before. I mean I love fireworks, I live for this shit and I have seen so many crazy sets of fireworks shows from Hong Kong to Las Vegas to Disneyland to big games at Dodger Stadium, etc etc….. but this was like some prometheus pods flying out of control for about 5 seconds and I mean I stopped mid sentence and by the time I figured out that this shit was ready to rock, I grabbed my phone out and immediately tried to get my camera ready, but it got stuck so I missed the initial firing out of the fireworks…. finally I got it ready and used the HDR feature on my phone and took 2 quick pictures…. the first one was of like a nuclear explosion but more like a crazy plasma blast! it looked like aliens had landed and the sound of the explosion was insane! there were implosions inside the explosions and it ended real fast. I thought about 30 seconds, but the port of san diego and coast guard stated it was 15 seconds. BUT I didn’t know til later that there were 4 barges launching off and each were supposed to last around 15 minutes long!
people were complaining and we waited for about an hour with a bunch of folks and the only fireworks show that actually happened was the one off coronado beach way further away…. this explosion we saw was literally 200 feet from our faces and my wife chose this spot. had we walked any further I wouldn’t got the images I did….
I didn’t want to leave, but I heard the people next to us say, man this is bullshit, I have my 5 kids here, ranging from 1 year to 5 years in age who were all waiting for the big bay boom, but all it was was a bust! so we started to see a bunch of angry folks leave and upset and people saying that this is definitely going to be on the news….
I was pissed and disappointed so I tried to upload my pic to Instagram but it failed as we had no signal… we walked back to the valet to get our car and I finally got service. I enhanced the “clarity” in my camera+ app, but that’s all. the lights and explosion and all types of shit gone wrong lit up that picture crazy, but the smoke and things were too overwhelming in my pic, so I used that clarity feature. it made it get how it was featured all over for millions of folks to see….
I found out tonight that the total cost of this fuck up was over $250,000!!!!! that guy who messed up everyone’s 4th of july show has to be fired! damn
I still never imagined that my pic would be the one everyone used and had my wife not complained about her feet, I would have never got the shot! lol
oH YEAH! …. I can’t believe those yachts in front of me didn’t catch on fire! after that 15 seconds of craziness, there was smoke covering the entire bay and the smoke migrated and even covered the entire Marriott hotel!
I have done interviews for AP and Reuters and everyone from MSNBC, ABC, FOX NEWS, YAHOO, HUFFINGTON POST to so many others have ran my story…. it all started out with a push from Weho Daily and next thing you know, my friend Christine Devine from fox channel 11 local news ran with it, then shit got real and busted out of control…. I found out later from the press that my photo that I took was the most viewed picture in the last 24 hours in America! but it hit all the way to the BBC and UK news stories and I’m still baffled by it…..
crazy, how this shit went viral so fast! again, started out with weho daily, then fox news, then it went haywire…. by the early morning once I did my thing with the Associated Press, that official AP photo was used by EVERYONE! from new york city to small city media. pretty dope. especially when all I could think of was, I can’t believe this night was a damn bust! and I can’t believe we didn’t get to see a show. I can’t imagine how pissed people were who booked bay view rooms at premium prices to see nothing. I can’t believe NOBODY GOT A GOOD IMAGE OF THE SHOW! there were a lot of SLR camera folks out! I think they were all just dumbfounded like myself.
here’s some shots from friends who were watching the news in LA and Sacramento
I have to say again, EVERYONE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE BIG BAY BOOM for the next 13 hours! every news outlet period…. it was trending on twitter all day long.
we just headed back to our hotel and watched a movie.
but I was doing interviews with Fox News on the phone and answering emails and obsessed with my twitter and IG feed as shit blew up out of nowhere…. I was trending in san diego and los angeles! crazy lol…. then woke up to even a crazier timeline…. famous dudes were using my pic as their avatar on twitter! (i.e. tim from tim and eric from adult swim)
when we got up, I again was just on the phone and thinking to myself, damn I had no idea this would be world news lol smh…. got out and got some coffee and a bagel to hold me over then headed down to our fave spot “seersucker” but they weren’t doing brunch, so we walked over to this spot called Cafe Chloe which was all the money! the decor was like an ill parisian style and the food was all made from scratch and really good….
chilled out for a while then headed back home.
I’m back home now, back on the grind…. tomorrow is a new day and I need to get it in for my son who’s on his way here in about 5 weeks!
from celebrity jeweler to news journalist smh… LOL!
damn, 12,000 + likes on an instagram pic