Saturday, April 20, 2002

I added some more India photos. 5/21/2000, 5/27/2000, 6/1/2000, 6/4/2000, and 7/9/2000. Pics are now caught up through leaving for Thailand the first time.

Shaken, but not stirred.

I just wanted to let everyone know that we're all okay here in Boston. The earthquake this morning was very traumatic for us, as I'm sure you can imagine. 5.1 on the richter scale was enough to shake my bed quite perceptibly, as if I were sharing it with a pair of frisky ghosts who were reaching the pinnacle of their ethereal commingling. In fact, it seemed that everyone in the house had their own discorporate copulating couple, as we discovered over breakfast later.

"The beds shook, but the house didn't make any noise at all," Jon noted, before we'd ascertained the true source of the 6:50am disturbance.

"This happened twice at our last place," Paige explained. They'd been pretty sure the old apartment was haunted, but it had been only mildly annoying as they'd merely been renting at the time. I don't imagine she was eager to discover that the mortgage payments on their brand new house were subsidizing yet another family of phantasms.

"Maybe it was ghosts," I suggested bluntly, speaking the words no one wanted to hear.

"But all our beds shook at once," said Jon doubtfully.

"Ghosts may not be limited to our linear reality," I rebutted.

Ryan, visiting with his family from the twin cities of Minnesota, eyed me curiously. "I think he knows of what he speaks," he concluded. His wife Terra and his three-year-old son Ethan tacitly agreed. Tiny swaddled Ruby had been tacitly agreeing with the entire conversation, so it would be presumptuous to imply that she had developed a considered opinion on the matter.

Thus we concluded that in fact there had been no earthquake, it had actually been paranormal activity that had shaken us from our respective slumbers. Or at least, nobody argued the point for a moment.

Occam's razor, a rule of scientific thought, suggests that "the simplest of competing theories be preferred" over its more complex counterparts. This may not have been the impetus for reopening the discussion, but perhaps it should have been.

"Are there earthquakes in New England?" somebody asked.

We speculated on the relative likelihood of seismic activity on the two coasts, on the historical data (of which we knew none), and on tactile similarities to previous tectonic experiences.

Finally we'd exhausted our uninformed suppositions, and consulted the oracle of subterraneous agitation, USGS, to get the facts.

The earthquake, as mentioned above, had been 5.1 on the richter scale, epicentered in north-eastern New York state. There, it had collapsed some roads and cracked some building foundations, apparently with no humans injured. By the time the ripple reached our beds in Boston, it had become a momentary vibration, hardly worth two quarters in a motel magic-fingers. (That particular metaphor has not been endorsed by the USGS for accurately describing seismic activity.) I'm sure you'll forgive me for exaggerating the extent of our trauma for the sake of capturing your interest; after waiting in vain a few moments for an aftershock, I went back to sleep.

The last earthquake in the area was the same size in 1983, it turns out; the largest was nearby in Canada 220 years ago, weighing in at seven richters.

You may recall that the previous big news to come from New York was dated 9/11 -- a well-known number suggesting emergency and panic. Interestingly, today's event occurred on 4/20, a slightly less widely recognized three digit sequence symbolizing getting stoned. Perhaps it's time to do us all a favor and relax, New York. Happy 4/20.

As the Big Apple seems to be getting a lot of psychic disturbance these days, it may be appropriate to engage a specialist. Who you gonna call?