The last few days have been rather eventful.
Friday night I attended the first annual Philadelphia Geek Awards. I had been a resident of Philadelphia until this past November when I moved to Abington, just north of the city. Physical distance and getting through the move has kept me out of touch of what’s been going in town. The City Paper doesn’t find its way to Abington. The Geek Awards brought some fun events and blogs worth following to my attention. I’ll be following the winner of Best New Blog, Drink Philly, and keeping an eye out for the next Mega-Bad Movie Night from the Academy of Natural Sciences. The full list of winners is available at Geekadelphia.
Then it was onward to the filming of “Brewing for Zombies” and “Grilling for Zombies” featuring instructional videos for zombies teaching various hobbies. This is by zombies and for zombies. More on this next month or so after the videos have been released.
This week I’m down in Chevy Chase, MD, for client training. If I walk across the street I’m in DC. At approximately 1:50 pm this afternoon I experienced my first earthquake. Well, that’s not entirely true. In ’73 or ’74, when I was less than a year old, a small quake hit Philadelphia. I’m told it only rattled the pipes in the basement of our house. It may not be my first quake, but it is the first one I can remember. I was on the 7th floor of an office building in a class room with an overhead projector. The room shook. I thought it was some construction equipment getting pushed around on the floor above, but it was too thorough of a rumble. A few of us stepped outside the room into the hallway. The entire building was shaking. I wasn’t familiar with the layout and it took a few moments to find the stairwell. In a fire, that’s where you’re supposed to be. It’s also supposed to be the most strongly built portion of the structure. If anything stands, that will, right? For some reason, the scene from Predator where Schwarzenegger yells “Get to the choppa!” quickly flashed through my mind. I admit, for a possible last and final thought, that’s pretty lame.
People were milling outside their buildings all over Wisconsin Ave. The quake lasted only thirty seconds. It was already over before I set foot in the stairwell. The ground might have stopped shaking, but my legs hadn’t. I’ve seen plenty of quips online from people on the West Coast looking askance at our seemingly overblown reaction to an East Coast earthquake. If I had lived through (and remembered) more on a routine basis, sure it wouldn’t be a big deal. When you’re struck with the wholly unexpected it has an impact. Is LA prepared to deal with a blizzard dumping two feet of snow? I think not. No doubt, we would scoff at their reaction to it. While in Austin, back in January ’08, the town was hit with an ice storm. They didn’t have any salt and covered the streets with sand. Everything, including the airport, came to a halt. They were as unprepared for an ice storm near the Gulf Coast as we were for an earthquake on the East Coast. Blizzards, I can handle. Earthquakes are another matter.
This afternoon, #DCQuake was trending on Twitter. There was an image of a downed lawn chair introduced with the text: “Shocking images of the devastation after the #dcquake A 5.9 earthquake!”
Granted, there were no deaths or quake-related injuries reported. However, there was some minor damage. A wall collapsed onto four parked cars. Cinderblocks were in the driver’s seat in one of them. It could have been worse. Two spires on the National Cathedral toppled off. It’s located two and a half miles from the hotel where I’m staying on Wisconsin Ave (I checked online for driving distance). The last thing I expect to find online is sensitivity from anonymous online postings. It bothers me more than it should. And the fact that it bothers me stands in contrast to my initial thought referencing Predator. Tomorrow, I’ll probably have another opinion, but tonight, as I write this in my 9th floor hotel room, the image of the chair doesn’t get a laugh.