All shook up


It’s been awhile since that’s happened. Or at least since I’ve felt it.

Earthquake in (well, I presume near — it wasn’t *that* strong) Ottawa at about 1:45pm.

Thank god for Twitter, that’s all I can say.

I’ve been on a weird night shift sleep pattern lately so I was sleeping when it happened. Thought someone was blasting or something. (We have construction going on near here.) But it went on for quite awhile, longer than blasting or a big truck passing by would be — about 20 or 30 seconds, followed by a little lull and another little shimmy. (I don’t know if it was related but within about a minute of the shaking ending, a number of emergency vehicles went past here. Surprisingly, there were no car alarms.) Then I thought maybe I was (a) imagining it or (b) having some kind of weird back spasms.

So, I did what any self-respecting person would do. I Googled “Ottawa shaking”.

Internet WIN.

Loads of tweets within seconds. Blog posts within minutes. And there are already news reports about it. The Earthquakes Canada site is impossible to load, as is much of the rest Natural Resources Canada. (I can just imagine how many hits their servers are taking right now).

Edited to add: Finally got the Earthquakes Canada site to load (kind of) and all it says about today is “June 23 1:45 pm Eastern Time – A moderate earthquake has occurred in the Ottawa-Montreal region. More information to follow.”

The US Geological Survey DYFI (did you feel it?) page for the event (event ID us2010xwa7) loads much more quickly. (The main USGS page for the event offers more details about the event.) They say the earthquake was at 13:41:41, centered about 50 kilometers northwest-ish of us (see Google maps), a magnitude 5.5 at a depth of 15 kilometers. Until the Canadian site is working better (and updated), report your experience on the USGS site.

Edited to add again: The Earthquakes Canada home page is now only loading the message I quoted earlier and nothing else. But you can visit the page for this event (which has been downgraded to a magnitude 5.0, with a depth of 18 km) directly and submit a report without going through the home page.

And again (16:00): An interesting commentary on how the earthquake became a Toronto earthquake in the Twitterverse. Some particularly awesome tweets include freemurphy (“Pitchfork gives the #earthquake a 5.5, calls it “derivative, clearly influenced by more seminal eastern quakes”), kylemcinnes (“Ottawa government buildings evacuated. Productivity unaffected.”), and Guin (“Reports coming in that the #earthquake caused a tsunami at the #g20 fake-lake :P”). Some nicely in-depth coverage by the Ottawa Citizen now, as well. Some raw CBC video footage (you can see what that looked like on TV here). Some YouTube video coverage:

And finally a little apropos xkcd:

xkcd Seismic Waves


Television nostalgia from a more innocent age

Back when I was a kid, cable television, video players, home computers, and the Internet were still far in the future. (I know, hard to imagine for some of you, but it’s true.) If you wanted to watch a movie, you had to wait until it came to your local movie theatre or aired on CBC or CTV. And certain television specials became annual rituals.

The most heartbreakingly bittersweet specials were three created by Readers Digest Canada in association with Potterton Productions. (I was an odd child — I loved to watch shows that made me cry.)

The Selfish Giant, which was created in 1971, was a 25-minute animated film narrated by . It told the Oscar Wilde short story of the giant who didn’t like children playing in his yard.

The Happy Prince, which was created in 1974, was a 25-minute animated film featuring the voices of Christopher Plummer and Glynis Johns. It told the Oscar Wilde short story of the statue of the Happy Prince and the little swallow who stayed with him until winter. I still bawl when I watch it.

The Little Mermaid, which was created in 1975, was a 25-minute animated film narrated by Richard Chamberlain. It told the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the mermaid who wanted to be human as it was originally written (in all its sadness), not as Disney would rewrite it many years later. I still remember the music and it can still make me cry buckets of tears.

Genie Awards coming to Ottawa

The 29th Annual Genie Awards are  scheduled to take place Saturday, April 4, 2009, at the Canada Aviation Museum.

Via the Ottawa Citizen: Genie Awards coming to town

More details — including a list of nominated films and who will host the show — will be revealed Feb. 10 in a press conference in Ottawa.

I’d say it was cool except that I’m hoping to be in Toronto that weekend so I’ll miss the hoopla.