Tuesday, September 21, 2010

mice & men

My plan (as far as these things go with me, i.e. not far) for September was to attempt a post a day. Nothing big, just a few lines and a pic maybe. Which all got fairly spectacularly derailed by the earthquake back home.

The resulting time in Christchurch really should have provided me with plenty of blog-fodder but I found myself far too exhausted and busy to write much. Since I've been back it's taken the better part of a week to recover from the aftershocks, sleeplessness and general agitation so writing has been pretty non-existent. Plus I'm missing being in New Zealand so much at the moment - despite the circumstances it was wonderful seeing so many friends and catching up.

Again I'm wondering what I'm doing in Sydney and how long I'll be here.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Back in Australia now. In geologically torpid Sydney. Christchurch saw me off with a lovely rolling magnitude 4.0.

So the earth hasn't moved for me here. My heart races when a heavy truck goes past though - fortunately my apartment doesn't suffer from that very often. It's going to take a little while to completely shake that reaction - there's something deeply unsettling about the ground on which you stand shaking so often.

Right now I'm off to my bed to sleep long and deep.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

outta hair like, well.. me

I've had enough. I'm off back to el Syd tomorrow and Sydney's firm geological footing has never looked so attractive.

The earthquakes are getting much more sporadic but they're still pulse elevating. We just had a little one about 15 minutes ago - it's not on Geonet yet but I reckon it was only a 3.8 tops. I think I'm getting pretty good at gauging the strength of tremors - to within a couple of decimal points.

Anyway, I hope the big aftershock doesn't happen tonight 'cause it's freezing and bucketing down out there. I'm more concerned about being cold than of being crushed to death. What can I say, I more about personal comfort than safety.

I'll be following the clean up and recovery from Australia and will be back again in a few months to see how things are progressing. I have to say I'm not so hopeful for some of Christchurch's lovely old buildings. The whole architectural tone of the city is going to be changed long-term. I just hope someone with an eye for aesthetics gets a say...

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Shovelling silt, carting bricks and carrying furniture has killed me. I'm exhausted and beginning to come down with a cold. I have to get back to Sydney and recuperate. Eight hours a day of data cleansing has never looked so attractive.

Of course the late night drinking last night hasn't helped matters either. On I think my fourteenth trudge up eight flights of stairs carrying a table my legs started to shake - partly from the exertion, partly from hungoveredness.. It's been awesome seeing people and hanging out, even amidst the devastation, but my liver and sleep patterns will thank me for leaving.

Right, I'm off back to bed.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

clean up

Spent the day shovelling silt out of peoples homes and gardens. Am too knackered to write coherently. Sleep now.
This is my shovel. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My shovel is my best friend. It is my life.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

rude awakening

Today started with a serious jolt - at 7:50am there was a 5.2 magnitude quake with a bunch of smaller mates. Centered pretty much on my folks' house too. I'm beginning to feel a little persecuted. Though the rest of today has been much calmer.

Tomorrow I start early with the volunteer clean up crew. It's going to be a long day of shovelling silt I think. Wheee.

I think I mentioned yesterday but the Christchurch Quake Map is a brilliant, if rather unsettling (ha!), site. Check it out.

Right, must sleep now and focus on not dying in the night.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

tired, so very tired..

I don't have many words - I've been using them all on Facebook and in text messages. Apologies if I've missed keeping in touch with anyone but it's been a bit of a busy few days. The quakes seem to have quietened down now and I choose to believe this is because it's all over rather than (as some geologists are saying) there's a bigger aftershock to come. Fucking doom merchants.

I've gone from flippant to excited to nervous to shit scared to edgy to numb. Adrenaline and coffee can only carry you for so long - the nerves fray and catatonia sets in. Especially after a few beers. I'll put up the email I sent last night at some stage, it encapsulates Monday pretty well - even though it was written just before the wee swarm of 4 to 5+ strength shakes around midnight. It wasn't a restful night.

Anyway, here are some photos from the days after the quake. Credits to Eroica and Greg.

a few cones should solve that..
a good fixer-upper
al fresco dining
we're going to need a big broom
hand of god..?
wall, meet car - now be friends
I can see your crack
illiterate teens
just a minor pothole
no morning papers today
plenty of free bricks
the front fell off
PS: Like many people - when I can I've been glued to GeoNet - it's been an awesome resource and a great way to focus on something other than being frightened.

PPS: This Christchurch quake map is the best way to explain the number and intensity of the quakes over the past few days - makes me incredibly glad I wasn't here on Saturday. All it needs is a percussive soundtrack.

Monday, September 06, 2010


I'm in Christchurch - it's still shaking. I'm over it. Australia has it's problems but at least the ground doesn't try to kill you.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

like living on a jelly*

Bugger this - I'm off to Christchurch. Hope there's some of it left when I get there.

Here's Eroica's blog about the quake - I'm torn between being so sorry I'm not there (yet) and so glad I wasn't there when it hit. Plus a photographic round-up of the wreckage from a site appropriately (and unrelatedly) named crashbang. Love the obligatory drunken yobs cavorting in the ruins shot halfway down.

Here's my fave though - by Eroica:
Clock stopped at 4:38am...

* my dad's description of what it's like with all the aftershocks. He seems to be at most faintly amused by the whole thing - my parents are annoyingly unflappable..

Saturday, September 04, 2010

all shook up

Sucks to be away from home when all the exciting stuff is happening..

Still I'm very glad not to be still working at the aquarium, that'll be one hell of a clean up in there. It's also encouraging that the earthquake preparedness of buildings in NZ has been pretty effective - although if it had been 4:30 in the afternoon rather than the morning I'm sure the casualties would have been much worse.

This 7.1 quake is bigger than we've had in my lifetime. I'm kinda glad I wasn't subjected to it but I wish I was there for the people I love. Wish I was there to take some photos too..

Friday, September 03, 2010

link lasso

A few things that have been amusing, interesting or horrifying me lately (you can figure out for yourself which label is appropriate..):
  • Bugger iPhones - I want one of these! Well, only if they actually work.
  • Pictures of men of unflappable coolness: #10 and #4 are the best I reckon.
  • Smiling tubes of fat. Awwww.
  • Pulitzer prize winning but still difficult to read.
  • I knew it!
  • I know I've plugged it before but Digger is ramping up to a climactic ending. Start here - it's funny, touching and beautiful.
Finally, it's pretty crowded out there. I hope they don't visit any time soon..

Thursday, September 02, 2010

from little things..

Something I like: urban decay. Especially when plants sprout out of cracks in walls and paving, which is quite a common thing in Sydney: ferns would take over this city given half a chance. Most days I come to work more than half hoping that there's been a miraculous explosion of plant growth overnight and the place has been swallowed by jungle.

Perhaps one day...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Today is the first day of the rest of the sweating season. Spring has arrived with the implied threat of summer heat to come, and swiftly. In the meantime it's beautiful in Sydney at this time of year with the trees tarting themselves up like the wanton insect-whores they are.

Well hello Sphingidae...