Surfing The Venice Earthquake In The Quake Pod

Quake Pod
The Quake Pod

I was sitting in my magic floating office pod when there was a very explosive and intense jolt – I felt a big shock / compression wave burst through the house (and me).  Everything shook and rattled.  It was powerful and incredibly jarring.  Then, for a very short duration – maybe three seconds – there was major shaking; the house and its components made noises that I do not wish to hear again.  I made it out of the pod and up against one of the core beams of the house within that time, and waited a few seconds.  I looked out one of the small windows and the trees and telephone poles were visibly swaying.  There were several more seconds of diminishing wavey motion, underscored by the oddest, deepest, almost-soundless roaring I’ve ever heard.  Like the world’s biggest subwoofer turned way up, but without any actual music.

I stayed where I was for a bit, then checked around the house.  Pictures on the walls are moved, a few things fell over, but there’s no visible damage.

To find out that the quake was a puny 3.4 was also jarring.  A 3.4 felt like that?  I must be a serious rookie.  Virgin in the ways of earth-quaking.  Really new and gone all wimpy-Maine-kid on these nerves-of-steel Californians. But then I found out it was centered about 800 meters from my house.

So I grabbed the camera and zipped down to the epicenter – the end of Venice Boulevard where it meets Pacific Avenue – to see if there was anything up.  Everything looked normal; no sign of damage or anything.  I walked the canal area for a bit; chatted with some people at Canal Club [literally at the epicenter].  Fuck yeah we felt it, the staff said, that was crazy.  I talked with a girl who lives at Venice and Canal Street, and she said it was the biggest one she’d felt in her life, and she thought someone crashed into her house.  Everyone was buzzing about it down there.  This helped me feel a bit less wimpy.

Then I checked the Richter Scale article at Wikipedia and found that the approximate “energy yield” of a 3.5 is 747 gigajoules, or about the same shock wave as detonating 178 tons of TNT.  Put another way, that’s a quarter the yield of a small atomic bomb.


Nearby, Xeni had a similar reaction.

The pod is also where Deanna was sitting when we had the rolly-quake last summer.  She found that to be a unique experience.  So, I’ve redubbed it The Quake Pod, and don’t plan on going back in there tonight.

Why Doesn’t Los Angeles Have Reverse 911?

During the recent earthquake here in Los Angeles, I found myself mildly spooked.  Not because of the quake itself, nono – after all, I had, since I moved to LA, wished for exactly this kind of quake.  “I want a quake,” I told friends, “just strong enough for me to experience one [I’d never felt one before], but mild enough so no one gets hurt.”  The quake of a couple of weeks ago was exactly what I’d ordered.

Continue reading Why Doesn’t Los Angeles Have Reverse 911?

Venice Fire

Spoke a little too soon. I was getting ready for bed when I heard a strange noise – sounded sort of like the dryer was on or something. I looked outside and saw a large conflagration a couple blocks away. I could see towers of flame well above the houses between us. I grabbed my camera (wrong lens for the occasion, but I was in a hurry) and jumped on my bike to get a closer look. I found a patch of brush, palm trees, and a garage or small home totally involved. Power lines and a transformer fuzzed and sparked and fell to the ground. The fire was high and hot and it moved quickly. I shot these pictures. I was worried the fire would spread quickly because the palm trees – some probably fifty feet high – were fully engulfed and spraying embers all over the area. A man jumped from the flames. A couple concerned residents were out with their garden hoses, doing what they could. The fire department was on scene within a few minutes and brought it under control very quickly. Thanks, dudes.