Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

What’s shaking in Berkeley?

with 3 comments


Well, that was exciting. The biggest quake in the Bay Area since Loma Prieta in 1989. It wasn’t all that big, only 5.6 on the Richter scale. A lot of stuff knocked off shelves, a few windows broken, a few things fell down. Here in Berkeley the building gently swayed for about 15 seconds, nothing to be alarmed about, but I knew from the duration of the ground movement that this was a decent size quake some near distance away. The media found a few hysterics to quote, a few pics of broken bottles, just another day in California. My cats didn’t even wake up, so much for animals detecting earthquakes.

Speaking of cats, my cat travails have continued. My eldest decided he was going to start sleeping on the shower curtain rod again. Aside from the dirt he sprayed around (Cats are clean animals only because they use our possessions to clean themselves on and around,) when he fell he was clawing long strips in the shower curtain. So now when I shower it looks like my shower was the site of a Freddy Kruger attack. Appropriate for Halloween I suppose.

I didn’t just roust him with no thought as to where he would sleep of course. I built him a lovely shelf up in the skylight where he could laze about and actually relax, instead of sleeping fitfully draped over a beam. Did he want to use the bed I made for him? Oh no. He was determined to sleep somewhere even more inappropriate than the shower rod. Thus began a week long ordeal of me tossing my cat out of the kitchen cupboards, off the back of the toilet, off the kitchen counter, out of the dish rack, etc. With every eviction he seemed determined to find an even more inappropriate spot to sleep. Finally he decided the shelf I built was suitable for his sleeping needs.

In fact he’s decided it’s so appropriate that he hasn’t come down for days, I wouldn’t even know I had a third cat except for the food missing during the night, the litter box deposits, and the occasional glimpse of some portion of cat anatomy protruding in a relaxed fashion over the side of his platform. That’s the problem with having a battle of wills with a cat, victory isn’t an option, only a draw. I’m thinking of tying a mirror to a stick so I can at least occasionally look at the cat I am housing and feeding.

Yes, it’s Halloween. I came across this article speculating about how American horror films are about gentrification and surrounding issues. I thought it was interesting and recommend it for people who are curious about how our culture’s outward appearances mask, compensate for, and signal our collective inner demons. I find stuff like this fascinating. I read a book last year conjecturing how the TV shows Gilligan’s Isle and The X Files were signs of their times so to speak. It was interesting, and true as far as it goes. The problem with theories such as these is that one can easily find the evidence one wants to support one’s theory, so they remain in the realm of academic speculation rather than hard science. Heck, I read a book some years back where the author tried to make a case that the modern art movement was ultimately responsible for the rise of fascism and the holocaust. Now that had some tortured logic, Picasso and Salvador Dalí caused the holocaust? I don’t think so.

No real point here, except the oft belaboured one that if you want to blame something bad on people you don’t like, it’s usually not too difficult to find reasons to do so. Much harder to look at the bigger picture and see how bad things are usually the result of numerous factors, including the human tendency to blame bad things on other people. Like how the holocaust was partly justified by Germans blaming the loss of World War One on a (fictitious) Jewish fifth column. I rest my case.

Happy Samhain everyone.

(The above image of Alice Eastwood examining the “mole track” left after the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake precedes 1927 and is public domain under US copyright law. She had quite a life actually, and didn’t pass away until 1953, a few years before I was born. Read about her here.)

Written by unitedcats

October 31, 2007 at 12:28 pm

3 Responses

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  1. My wife and I didn’t feel a thing.


    October 31, 2007 at 5:01 pm

  2. Samhain, (All) Hallows Eve or even (correct me if I am incorrect) winter solstice! HURRAY for candy sales the day after halloween woooot!

    Lexia Fira

    October 31, 2007 at 6:42 pm

  3. Happy Halloween! ( Is it Samhein already? who knew?)
    So much for cats’ seismic psychic skills…but maybe they were otherwise occupied with plans for Halloween witchery.

    I thought the quake last at least 60 secs…but yeah…no problem.. : /


    October 31, 2007 at 9:42 pm

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