Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

25 Years Ago

Obligatory "Where were you 25 years ago?" Post. I was working at the HP Response center, 2nd floor, in a cubicle with three walls on which were bolted covered bookshelves. The covers were up, and there were large binders wall to wall to wall of all manner of HP manuals, including the entire current set of HPUX. My workstation was on the desk module, a very sturdy slab of laminated pressboard. I was wrapping up the day's work when the place started shaking.

This was my second major earthquake, I'd been in German class in high school in Seattle in 1965, http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm… and had also been way too close for the second Mt. St. Helens eruption. So there was no panic.

I went under the desk, and watched the manuals walk their way to the edges of the shelves and lemming dive my cubicle, it was sort of slow motion. The electricity went out, but we heard the emergency generator out in front of the building fire up. And die. And its backup sputter and die.

This was a very new building, designed to withstand a quake. At orientation when we moved in they told us the floor-to-ceiling windows were designed to fall outward instead of breaking. They shook, but they held. Good news for all of us parked on the rooftop parking lot, where they would have fallen.

When it was clear we were not getting power back, they sent us home.

All the stop lights were out, and the only exit was to Central Expressway which was like a parking lot. It took me 2 hours to get home 2 miles away.

Caught in traffic, I tuned in the World Series, expecting it to continue after the shaking stopped, but heard about the Bay Bridge top deck making itself into a ramp to the lower deck, and the BART transbay tube being closed, effectively stranding the A's players at Candlestick Park.

I can't remember if the power was on at home, but I do remember watching the Cypress structure horror on TV, so I guess there was power by then.

The next couple of days at work were spent picking stuff up off the floor. One of the water pipes in the basement broke, flooding the server room, and the quake-proof columns holding up the underground lot had cracked and the lot was permanently closed.

I went to Watsonville to take photos, and also Santa Cruz. They had been hit very hard.

At the end of the month I moved out of the half of the duplex I was renting, donating a lot of my stuff to Earthquake Relief (not Red Cross because they wanted cash, and not the Salvation Navy because they Jesus up the folks they give to), putting most of my remaining worldly belongings into the car and parking it at the Response Center. Took my camera gear and a backpack of clothes and sundries and got on a plane for Bali and Thailand. The new renters were kind enough to babysit my piano, and a friend took care of my tall Infinity speakers.

I have a lot of photos of the Watsonville and Santa Cruz damage, but they are prints, and I'm not feeling the urge to get them out and scan them. Photos of my Bali/Thailand trip are here:
Phuket, Krabi, Pangnga:
Southern Thailand:
Central & Northern Thailand:


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