Today's earthquake was one of the biggest I've felt in a long time, but definitely not panic-worthy. It actually provided an inexplicable thrill, maybe due to the fact that I haven't felt one that big in so long, yet without the sheer terror that accompanied the 1994 Northridge Quake. The automatic instinct after an earthquake is to go outside and see if--well, I'm not sure what people go outside to see, but they end up finding each other out there, briefly discussing objects that teetered ominously on the shelf, and then going back in the house to call family and turn on the local news. Upon stepping outside, I was disappointed to see that nobody in my building felt like observing the time-honored post-earthquake block party tradition. The television did not let me down, though, faithfully displaying the needle that still hopped around reminding us that tectonic plates never stop moving, as if to say, "This isn't over yet." Then for the rest of the day there were the standard shots of schools, brick walls, and shiny supermarket aisles littered with fallen merchandise. Still, aftershocks and speculations of "the Big One" notwithstanding, this one appears to be over.
On CNN, Wolf Blitzer actually seemed disappointed by this. I guess now that Obama's back in America and McCain has yet to choose a running-mate the election just doesn't have the same punch it did a week ago, so as they covered major news stories around the world CNN for some time maintained a split screen displaying a live shot of an empty podium. Eventually Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped up and Blitzer interrupted another report to hear the Governator spend a few minutes assuring Californians that everything is fine before moving on to address questions about the state's budget problems.
Serves CNN right for expecting so much with so little sensationalism. The local stations--now those guys can squeeze water from a stone. You don't see Anderson Cooper in a Honda dealership pointing out weather sealing strips falling from the windows and staff moving the merchandise to safety "in record time." I bet nobody at CNN even knows what the previous world record was for moving Hondas out of a showroom.
photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times