Shaken, not stirred

Haven’t felt a significant earthquake myself here in Ottawa since the one I wrote about in June 2010.

Was trying to get a nap in after working all night and felt this vibration go through the springs of my mattress, like a huge truck convoy going past the house. When it went on too long, I decided to get up and check online. Twitter for the win!

According to the Earthquakes Canada site, they’d initially said it was a 4.8 near Braeside, ON, but now they’re reporting it as a 5.1 magnitude quake 21 km NE of Shawville, QC, at 09:43. The page for it is at

The USGS page for the event is at

Be sure and report it if you felt it at both places. (Both pages offer questionnaires to fill out for just that thing.)


Leap towards what makes you uncomfortable

I swore I’d never move to Ottawa.

No matter how often the idea came up, I’d dig my heels in and say I wasn’t going, you can’t make me. I’ve lived in Ottawa now for almost sixteen years, and I’ve never regretted the decision.

I’ve sworn I’d never move to Toronto. Anywhere else in the country — even Moncton, which I hate with an unreasonable passion — is open to consideration. But never, ever Toronto. I won’t go, and you can’t make me. So there.

Now I find myself actually actively considering moving to Toronto. With no qualms, no questions, no second-guessing. I’d move in a shot and not feel like I was coerced. Sixteen years of stubborn refusal and now no resistance at all. It took the Universe eight years to convince me to move to Ottawa. It’s not surprising that it’s taken twice that to change my mind about Toronto.

The moral? Never say never. You’re just asking the Universe to prove you wrong. And it will, even if it takes years. The Universe always wins out in the end, one way or another, so you might as well go gracefully.

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

That person

You know that person who slips onto the bus via the back door (with a transfer, not a bus pass, knowing full well that they shouldn’t do that) and then gets called to the front to get lectured by the driver, holding up everyone else who would just like to get home on time?

Yup, that was me. I was that person.

If you were on a bus with me this evening, I’m so sorry.

PS: To the several people I hit with my backpack as I lurched towards the principal’s office bus driver, double apologies for you. And thanks for not saying out loud what you were thinking. I promise I’ll be a good girl and a dutiful bus rider tomorrow.

I’ll huff and I’ll puff

Holy crap!

Now I really believe it’s Winter in Ottawa.

I was woken up at about 2am this morning by the sheer force of the wind blowing against my windows, and by the sudden drop in temperature in my previously-warm apartment — at about 10pm last night, it was -4 degrees Celsius; within a couple of hours, the temperature had plummeted by more than 10 degrees and the strong, chilly winds from the northwest, which is the unfortunate direction that all of my windows face, had kicked in.

At 3am, in the face of the 59 kph winds that were making me dream of natural disasters, I finally gave in and got up. (The cat is thankful, I’m sure, since I decided to be useful and clean his litter box while I was up.) The winds are slowly dying down, but as they do, the temperature is dropping more: it’s now 5:00am and the temperature is -17, with a wind chill of -30.

All I can say is “Brrr!!!”

The down side to anonymity

I’d considered before what would happen if someone I know in Real Life attended one of the  Ottawa blogger breakfasts, too, but that seemed to be an outside chance. Now I realize that it not only has an outside chance, it’s a dead certainty.

And that leads to my conundrum. If I attend one of these breakfasts, I either have to be answerable to my real name or I have to ask people that I might know to pretend they don’t know me. One exposes who I am (defeating the purpose of having a semi-anonymous blog) and the other is just plain weird. So, the only real option I seem to have is to just not go. Or restart my old, non-anonymous personal blog so that I can actually attend as myself.

I feel the earth move under my feet

A Crack in the Edge of the WorldA Crack in the Edge of the WorldI’m reading Simon Winchester‘s book, A Crack in the Edge of the World, which describes the 1906 earthquake in California and the events and geologic theories around it. (The book is most notable perhaps because of its unique dust jacket, which unfolds into a huge, 55cm X 93cm poster.)

The man isn’t half long-winded — I’m already almost a third of the way through the book and he hasn’t gotten past the plate tectonic theory and his reminiscences about his travel to other geologic hot spots. Title aside, this is less a book about the Great Earthquake of 1906 than it is about plate tectonics and the turn of the 20th century in general. Once you get past your expectations, it’s actually an interesting read,and it took me back to my high school geology classes, reminding me why I’d considered geology as a potential career path.

In North America, you tend to think of earthquakes as being a distinctly West Coast thing, occurring only in the westernmost parts of the US and Canada. After all, the eastern and western edges of the North American Plate are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and along the western coast of the continent respectively, thousands of miles from where we are. You forget (or never knew) that there are stress zones all over the place, crisscrossed with fault lines.  Continue reading “I feel the earth move under my feet”

Bus service to resume February 9

Ottawa Citizen breaking news: OC Transpo back on the road Feb. 9

OC Transpo bus service will resume on Feb. 9, with the system running at about 80 per cent of full capacity, Ottawa’s transit director Alain Mercier said Friday. That includes 60 per cent of peak-hour service and 100 per cent of off-peak service, he said.

So, a little more than a week of same old, same old and then a return to (no doubt somewhat cranky) normalcy.

Deal nearly done to settle transit strike?

Breaking news from Ottawa Citizen: Deal nearly done to settle transit strike

The city and its largest transit union are making a dramatic push to reach an agreement to end the transit strike ahead of federal legislation sending 2,300 OC Transpo workers back on the job.

A number of city councillors are in Mayor Larry O’Brien’s office now, working on the effort. Mr. O’Brien is expected to make an announcement shortly.

“It looks good. It’s going to be good,” one councillor said.

This comes on the heels of news that the federal government was going to be looking into back-to-work legislation. See Day 51: Area MPs willing to legislate Transpo back to work.

According to CTV, the deal is done, but I haven’t seen anything about it in the Ottawa Citizen.

The City of Ottawa and the Amalgamated Transit Union have reached a deal that will end a public transit strike that has paralyzed the nation’s capital for 51 days.

Both sides have agreed to put the contract dispute to binding arbitration.

Although an agreement has been made, it will still take at least one week to get the first round of buses serviced and back on the roads.

Dammit, this better not be a tease.