Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Missed yet another earthquake...[sigh]

We don't have earthquakes here in my small town. Unless you mistake the rumbling of a dozen or so combines heading down Main Street as a 5.0 trembler, the only shaking our house does is under 70 mph winds or the [yawn] occasional tornado warning.

I have to admit to be experiencing some withdrawls having heard about the 5.2 shaker on Sunday just outside of Anza -- which was felt all over the Southland (what the local newscast call the greater LA basin).

Digging deep, I don't miss the actual moving and shaking, per se. Since the survivability rate of earthquakes (so far) is astronomically in your favor, the event itself can be scary at the onset. However, once your brain kicks in and you realize what's happening, most of the time you just ride it out, watch for falling bookshelves, and can't wait to turn on the TV.

See, what I really miss about earthquakes is the local news coverage afterward.

I missed the big Northridge quake in '91. I was in a remote part of Oklahoma, researching and co-writing a historical screenplay. With no tv reception where we were staying, we had to run into the nearest diner that had cable TV, and convince them to switch on the news.

In LA, the local news "post-quaking" coverage is live TV at it's pinnacle of silliness.

If the quake is early enough in the A.M., you may be fortunate enough to see normally perfectly coiffed on-air talent without pancake makeup or hairspray.

Witness your favorite news personalities ad-libbing inadequacies as they scramble to find words not yet scrolling on the teleprompter.

Scoff at the quick response teams on the street, frantically interviewing the most inarticulate quake witnesses they can find.Was it more of a rolling or sudden jerking motion?And yes, you are reading the blog of an actual witness to NBC morning anchor Kent Shocknek, ducking under the newsdesk as an aftershock of the '87 Whittier Narrows quake hit the southland during his broadcast.

He defends his actions here. Scroll down to "Part Three with Kent Shocknek."

It made the national news and he was chided for his behavior, but I liked Kent for his brazen display of self-preservation on live TV. The term "pulling a shocknek" even entered the slang lexicon for a short time, defined as "savings ones own butt."

Shocknek love y'all.


Anonymous said...

Things I missed about earthquakes when I was living in the midwest:
- That little lady from CalTech who always has the details on the quake
- Sleeping right through them

Things I didn't miss about them:
- Those damn people they interview
"Did you feel the quake?, Yes! Did anyone get hurt? Nope. Was there any damage? Nope.. oh wait a dish broke." LAME.

Dave said...

I still remember Northridge quite clearly (I was still awake because I wasn't planning on going into the office that day). I came within a couple seconds of being trapped in my office as the bookshelves came tumbling down and completely blocked the door. It was the older boys first exposure to a real quake and the first (and last) time I saw my still small children's eyes appear to be the size of Susan B. Anthony dollars.

With last nights big quake up north, the first thing I heard was the tail end of a Tsunami warning for the entire west coast. That's the first time I've ever heard one of those and I was puzzled until the news looped and I finally caught the bit about the earthquake.

OKDad said...

S was listening to NPR and heard a lady being interviewed from her "ocean side" apartment near Crescent City - she was describing the tsunami threat near her stretch of the beach.

She mistook ocean side for where my folks live down in Oceanside, and thought they were having to evacuate.

Seth speaks of Dr. Kate -- ah yes, everyone's favorite lesbian seismologist from Cal Tech. Calm in the eye of the media storm following any major shaking in the southland.

Dave brings up another thing I miss as much as after-quaking news coverage -- the post-quake water cooler stories, aka "where were you when it hit?" Best thing about quake anectodes is that they're all unique and many of them involve partial nudity or at least people running around in a panic in their jammies.