"Now you know what it's like to live in my brain...."

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/02/28 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/02/28/10134642.aspx

Where were you at 10:54am on February 28, 2001?

It was a Wednesday, if that helps you remember.

Or, if you are more event oriented, it was the date and time that the "clocked at 6.8" Nisqually intraplate earthquake happened.

I was at work, in Building 9 at Microsoft.

I had come in early that day because I was excited about finding the fix for a bug in the Microsoft Layer for Unicode on Win9x Systems, which was going to be announced soon. In fact Cathy and I got the approval to not turn in our slides for our stodgy sounding Unicode on Downlevel Windows talk at the 18th Internationalization and Unicode conference in Kowloon Bay (HongKong). We broadly hinted that it was something e couldn't talk about yet but they wouldn't regret sticking with us (our slides were technically late at that point, but since both of us were on the committee for the conference we had some ability to influence and plead to not be replaced by a backup talk.

But alas, I digress.

Anyway, I was working on this bug that I had found a fix for, and wanted to make sure it wouldn't cause performance problems.

Going on with me personally, the Multiple Sclerosis was (really just in the few months prior) starting to have a more marked effect on my balance, as I had been moving from an 'occasionally falls down" place to a more "depends on the cane to not fall down all the time" place. and I had moved from mere disequilibrium (where I wouldn't feel unsteady but the ground would suddenly come up at me) to a more overt feeling of unsteadiness that I could no longer ignore but was doing my best to not pay attention to.

People in the hallway were making noise all of the sudden. So I grabbed my cane and got up to investigate.

Everyone described what was happening with us all pretty much poking our heads out of our office doors, basically standing in our door frames because of some vague notion that this would be safer.

We were a bunch of n00bs when it came to earthquakes, and all of my previous seismic experience (time spent in Japan and in Southern California) usually involved my being somewhat intoxicated and/or romantically entangled, so it wasn't like I had much to add anyway.

I didn't feel anything different, though.

My world had been going topsy turvy all the time now. Though I did have one comment on the matter that I made to the people looking out into the hallway:

Now you know, now you know what it's like to live in my brain.

We had no injuries; the epicenter was far away from us.

And we did all get back to work after that, and much later when an "emergency procedure" manual showed up in all our offices, even the page explaining what to do in case of volcanic eruption (call reception, don't leave the building or touch lava) had a slight edge to it beyond the obvious humor, since if we could feel an earthquake did lava seem so very out of the question?

Of course those manuals are gone, so we have no idea what to do In Case of Lava....

But alas, I digress again.

Anyway, there you go -- my experience of the Nisqually intraplate earthquake of 2001. It was good it happened late enough that people were around or I may not have even noticed the ~46 seconds that everyone in the Pacific Northwest got a little bit of what it was like to be me....

You're welcome, of course.

John Cowan on 28 Feb 2011 11:01 AM:

Heard at a political rally:

"What do we want?"


"When do we want it?"


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