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Season of Satan - Earthquake, Hurricanes, Jitters & Twitter

I read Andy Leonard's Blog on Earthquakes and Technology, who thought a helicopter was landing in his back yard (LOL), and inspired me to make the following entry, about my own experience yesterday!

One hopes as the summer season winds down, those lazy days of summer will be quiet, relaxing and uneventful.  WRONG! It seems when we're most complacent, an unexpected "event" happens that gets our attention, and lights up our discussions.  The day before yesterday, the big news was "HURRICANE IRENE" expected to be a Cat 3 or 4 by the time it hits the US Coastline.  I tweeted, "Here we go again, wish everyone in its path to be safe!"

Steve Jones, aka Twitter|way0utwest, missing the Earthquake by a day,had blogged on the approaching Hurricane, in his recent editorial Pop Tarts and Hurricanes  - about what one buys to prepare!  Somehow, he managed to tie it in to Hadoop for SQL Server - that truly takes talent :-) Cool!  I saw another tweet by Mr. Leonard, where he bought milk and bread, and in reply to his tweet, SQL Brother in Solidarity, Geoff Hitten, aka Twitter|SQLCraftsman, advised he had forgotten eggs, which constitutes a "French Toast Emergency"! 

Little did we know, here on the East Coast, that about 2:20PM, the earth would start shaking, under our feet, literally!  Yes, it was SQLRockstar Tom LaRock singing and a tweetin Carole King's 1971 top pop-chart hit, "I feel the Earth Move"  Given the recent tornados and power outages, I asked if there was any seismic activity up in Boston, and they did feel it, with a few buildings evacuated.  My first reply from SQLRockstar in a while - see how catastrophe brings us all together :-)

Cluster MVP & SQL Expert Allan Hirt, aka Twitter|SQLHA was on his way home from vacationing on the West Coast in California, never thought for a minute, we'd be having a major quake on this side of the country!

It was the first major East Coast Earthquake in a century!  The BIGGEST news out of this, THANKFULLY, little damage was done to lives and property!  We are very lucky! 

I was at a client site out in Nassau County, Long Island, and on the phone with someone in Lower Manhattan.  Suddenly, he says, can you hold on a minute, our building is shaking.  I'm thinking, as we approach the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, Lord, please don't let this be happening again!  Then he returns to the line, and says, "I think we're having an Earthquake!"  In that minute, everyone out here, was rushing to the door to get outside!  I thought it was the LIRR, which has tracks adjacent to the building we're in! 

One of the workers, talking to a relative in North Carolina, says, "they're shaking there too!"  Live feeds on the internet came through of DC being evacuated, and the empty White House shaking from side to side!  No one knew what to think of this!  When an event happens in one location, you try to rationalize, ok, an isolated incident.  But, when practically the WHOLE EAST COAST is shaking simultaneously, you're thinking, 2012 is a bit early!!  I was also thinking my two cats home alone must've been freaking out! :-)

I also remembered, another all-encompassing event, not too long ago, was the major NorthEast Blackout of August 2003!  Another August event!  I was in Mid-Town Manhattan that fateful day working for a Canadian Investment Bank, when around 4PM, all the lights and computers shut off!  Again, thinking this was a localized event, one of my co-workers is still on the phone with headquarters in Toronto, and they're saying all the power went off there as well!

Too many flashbacks every time an event like this occurs!

So, after it was over, I tried like everyone else to call the family and kids and make sure everyone's okay.  Seems, cell phones were overloaded, and all circuits are busy!  Great!  Eventually, I got through, and everyone's fine.  My mother-in-law was watching the kids, and told my son to stop playing around and moving the furniture!  You're cleared, kid, this time not you!

Interestingly, while I waited for the cell-phone service to be restored (this happens EVERY TIME, a major event occurs! - can't these cell-phone providers implement High Availability with redundant cell-towers?), I took to Twitter, to find out the latest from my SQL Tweeps, up and down the coast.  Guess what?  Twitter was still in service!  In fact, it was the one most reliable means of communication. 

I tried to call Michael Coles aka Twitter|Sergeant_SQL, who I knew was in NYC, but got him on twitter.  I asked, what were you doing during the quake?  He tweeted, "Hiding under my desk"  Glad that military preparedness was paying off!

Just the other day, Steve Jones posted another editorial about Twitter, "A Flock of SQL Servers".  In this post, he reflected on the advent of Twitter that at first, "It seemed a little silly to me and I couldn't understand the value."  I pinged him, and let him know I felt the same way.  We both agreed that it had come a long way, and now find Twitter to be a very exciting way of keeping in touch with people around the world, learning new things, and even getting information at various events, as well as technical help on SQL Server (use the #sqlhelp hash tag when posting a question).  Less than a week later, we'd all be using Twitter, to tweet about the Earthquake.  While on a serious note, many were happy and releived to hear from their loved ones that everyone was safe.  On the other hand, many took comfort in the twitter-stream of humor about this unusual East Coast Quake.

SQL MCM and Microsoft man, Robert Davis, aka Twitter|SQLSoldier, tweeted, "What happened in your area, is what we call Tuesday morning in Seattle".  (Now I know why they're "Sleepless in Seattle" :-)  Recently minted SQL MVP Mike Walsh Twitter|mike_walsh made twistory (history on twitter), by aptly tweeting in response to DC being evacuated, while the White House rocked and rolled, said "This is NOT an earthquake, it's our Nation's founders rolling over"  Ooh!  His tweet was actually featured on MSNBC.com, where technology (Twitter) was used to make fun of the wrath of nature.  Well, done, Sir, Mike! Some other hilarious tweets there as well.  Another twitterer tweeted that in the brief moments after the Capitol was evacuated, the DOW actually jumped up 300 points!   In one other tweet, someone said the Khadafy was asking about the Earth Quake in Virginia. LOL

In another funny exchange on twitter, after we earlier tweeted on the hurricane, an unsuspecting Pragmatic Works SQL Peep, Jose Chinchilla aka Twitter|sqljoe, innocently asked me about the earthquake:  "How big was it?  Did you feel it?"  "That's what she said", in a Retweet from SQL Professional Argenis Fernandez, aka Twitter|afernandez.  Hey, get your mind out of the gutter! :-)  I was about to block it as SPAM, when I saw it was only @sqljoe!  ROFL.  I guess we need to mind our tweets.

OK, well, enough on this topic!  Let's all hope this was just a fluke of nature, and doesn't have any deeper meaning, and we can all talk and laugh about it, far into the future, when we look back on this day, August 23, 2011! 

I already ordered my "I Survived the East Coast Earth Quake of 2011" T-Shirt!  Now that we've had it, I'm taking donations in its aftermath.  Please send $0.01 in a self-addressed stamped envelope to the "East Coast Earthquake Relief Org" or text ECERO and charges will apply.  {JOKE}

Finally, with blackouts, hurricanes, floods, 9/11, and earthquakes happening in the August-September timeframe, I dubbed this blog the Season of Satan. We must remember WHO is really at the helm, and pray for safety!

One last comment on how Twitter proved to be a reliable and revolutionary means of communications. The telegraph changed the world when its first message was sent on May 24, 1844 proclaiming "What hath God wrought!”  We've come a long way from the telegraph to Twitter!  In the context of today's events, those words ring forever true!


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