The Loma Prieta Quake of '89

[ general ] Message 12189: Wed Oct 18 1989 1:16am
From: bobeson (bobeson@ucscb)
Subject: The big one.

I just finished trying to pull my friend Robin out of the wreckage
the S.C. Coffee Roasting Company.  The city building officials
called off the search because of the aftershocks, and thirty feet
of cracked brick wall surrounding the people trying to dig
her out.

One person was pulled out of the wreckage already.

I have heard of twelve confirmed deaths on the mall.

Every store front is destroyed, and most of the older buildings
suffered major structural damage. 

Fords department store collapsed completely, killing four.

This doesn't seem real.

I don't know how she can be alive in there.  I was pulling
bricks off of a pile ten feet high, over her desk.

But somehow, I don't know how she can be dead, either.
[ general ] Message 12190: Wed Oct 18 1989 3:39am
From: Cookie Monster (shandon@ucscb)
Subject: This is Kzin from Georgia

as you saw in the login message, I'm taking email requests
to call parents on teh east coast if you need to get a 
message out..this should keep the phone lines a little
more clear.

Lots of people from forumnet are asking what they can send or
do to help...they're also asking for addresses of places to
send.  if you mail I'll try to 
keep forwarding things to people..

I'm kind of sitting here worried about a lot of people..
I know that Blkeagl and boborob, and the people at
Yoyodyne are ok...but other than that I know very little..
I've gotten a ring from Jenalen's phone..but no answer..
so I'm real worried about her..

Anyone who knows me...please, send me a letter sying you are ok..
or even just that youu are alive..and tell me if you need
me to send you anything..  I'll do my best.

You are all in my (and other's) thoughts.. Good luck,
and god be with you.

John Rudd
[ general ] Message 12191: Wed Oct 18 1989 9:20am
From: The Devil IS a Lawyer. (lucifer@ucscb)
Subject: the campus seems to be all right.

most of the damage was downtown as you probably already know.
I just don't know if I should call Washington to tell my sis
I be all right..
Communications and Computer Center are obviously open.
[ general ] Message 12203: Wed Oct 18  6:34pm
From: Just Another Silly Alias (carioca@ucscb)
Subject: wow.

yesterday morning john changed my prompt to:

was this prophetic or what?
[ quake ] Message 71: Thu Oct 19 1989 3:05pm
From: Armoror (spcecdt@ucscb)
Subject: armory status

     This place fared well.  No structural damage, just a few small cracks in
the walls.  My room was a disaster, though.  Books and my monitor flew off the
bookshelves in my room.  Some orange candies did too; now I have lots of books
with crushed orange stuff firmly stuck to them.  Yuck.  And the lid of my jar
of shot broke when it fell and spilled it all over my carpet.  I still haven't
gotten it all up; it's lead so a magnet does no good.  Fortunately the shelves
themselves stayed put since I had bolted them to studs in the walls with four
3" screws.  Unfortunately the monitor landed on the $40 glare screen I bought
for it a week or so ago and marred it badly enough that I'll probably have to
get a new one.
     Most of the stuff fell off of the high shelves in my closet, including a
bottle of glass cleaner which the top broke off of, soaking clothes and
(worse!) a couple of slides which I had picked out to have prints made of
because I liked them so much.  The place reeked of ammonia for a while.  At
least the cologne that came out of the bathroom cabinet (along with everything
else) didn't break; that would have *really* left a smell!
     Luckily, I had bolted all of my metal shelves together into L-shapes.
A couple of them bent and twisted trying to fall down but didn't (I just put
another bolt on that pair to hold them together better).  The television that
was perched precariously on top of one didn't budge.
     The biggest cleanup was/is due to the 11 parts cabinets with 436 drawers
that I had stacked on my workshop table.  I was extremely fortunate that only
one of them actually fell, since most of them are stacked three high.  But,
that was probably the worst one to fall, since it had most of my discrete
semiconductors in it, and most of them are not individually labelled (only the
drawers are).  There were more than a thousand parts in it.  As I picked them
up off the floor I tossed all the ones I knew I'd never be able to identify in
a box.  Everything still in the drawers is mixed up too but I just pushed them
back in; I'm not going to try to deal with it until I get a new cabinet (since
this one was damaged).  I did bolt it to the shelf it was leaning up against
though; I wish I had done that before!
     Other damage... slide cubes, vase, glass, candle holder, etc. broken. 
Maybe I own too much stuff...
     Altogether, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.  Everyone who
came by wanted to see my room; it looked bad but I got it cleaned up in a day
or so.  Now all I need to do is vacuum to get more of the shot and orange
candy shards out of the carpet.
[ computer ] Message 2086: Fri Oct 20 1989 10:34am
From: Tim (garlick@ucscb)
Subject: Unix B

B did not come up automatically.  We had a power failure,
meaning the motor generator went offline and had to be manually
reset.  We decided to bring up only three machines Tuesday night.
Unix O so that dispatch could have access to their online phone number
data base, B so that students could send messages out (since the phone
lines were flakey), and C so that we had name service.  The rest
of the machines were brought up Wednesday.
To: spcecdt@ucscb.UCSC.EDU
Date: 	Sat, 21 Oct 89 18:38:00 EDT

[ quake ] Message 194: Sat Oct 21 1989 7:50pm
From: Armoror (liz@ucscb)
Subject: don't know if i should say this but...

     truly and honestly, the only time i've been the least bit disturbed/
worried about my own well being since/including the first one was for the
roughly half-hour period on Thursday when I was without film in my camera.  If
something big had happened then and I hadn't been able to get film to record it
I'd never have forgiven myself. Fortunately, I got over to Camera World, which
was open despite its lack of power, just before it closed.  I had no cash, but
the manager let me use my credit card despite not being able to run it through
his machine because he knows me (I worked with him for a year at a dept. store
in Pacific Grove). Now I've got 5 more rolls... I'm ready.
     On the other hand, if the first one had been just a bit bigger, I'd have
been out in the street fast!  :-)
Article: 1924 of ca.earthquakes
Newsgroups: ca.earthquakes
From: (John DuBois)
Subject: Re: San Francisco Earthquake 89
Organization: The Armory
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1992 07:21:57 GMT

     I was logged in to a machine at UC Santa Cruz, lying on my bed in my
house just down the hill from UCSC.  Things started to move.  I lay there
and enjoyed it for a moment (always liked quakes).  Things moved more
violently.  Screams emanated from other parts of the house.  It built up to
the point where I decided that, actually, this was on a somewhat different
scale than quakes I had previously experienced.  I finally got up and, for
the first time in my then-25 years in California, headed for the doorway
of my room.  The two housemates who happened to be home at the time came
running up to my room and held on to me for dear life.  
     Things came crashing down.  I watched the heavy steel shelving units
that I had bolted together into an L shape (not as any sort of earthquake
preparedness) flap back and forth violently, trying to tear apart. 
Fortunately they didn't succeed.  Amazingly, my television, perched atop
another shelving unit, didn't budge as far as I could tell.  A cabinet
full of a thousand odd electronic parts, a large fraction of them
semiconductors with types marked only on the drawer, lunged for the floor,
shattering its little plastic drawers and creating a hopeless mess.  I
guess I was lucky, since I had a dozen of the cabinets stacked three high
on my workbench and only one fell.
     After the first quake subsided I let my housemates calm down and then
surveyed the damage.  My monitor had leapt off of its shelf and landed on
the $40 glare screen I had bought a week before, marring it to the extent
that it was more annoyance than help.  The large wood bookshelves were
almost completely vacated, but they stayed upright by virtue of the 3"
screws holding them to studs.  The lid of a large jar of shot broke when
it fell; I still find shot in the carpet (lead, so a magnet doesn't work,
nor does the vacuum cleaner seem to).  A bottle of glass cleaner fell and
broke and soaked a couple of slides I had out to make prints of because I
really liked them :-(  A few other broken items.  Altogether, though, not
too bad.
     I checked out the house and didn't find any structural damage.  I
began to feel that it hadn't actually been that serious a quake.  But then,
while checking out one of my housemates' rooms I saw a thick black column
of smoke rising not too far away.  I rummaged around and found a battery
radio and listened to reports for a bit.  I began to worry about my
girlfriend, who had moved to California from Wisconsin in August and had
just about shut down with fright in an earlier, barely perceptible tremor.
The phones were inoperative.
     So, I grabbed my camera and hopped in my car, hoping foolishly that I
might be able to get the few miles to where she lived.  My housemates
didn't want to stay in the house by themselves so they came with me.  I got
down to Mission (Highway 1 as it passes through Santa Cruz) and quickly
gave up on that route: it was at a near-standstill, packed with cars.  I
later learned that, in addition to the traffic signals being out, an
overpass had collaped onto the highway.
     Instead, I crossed 1 (which took a while in itself!) and tried going
through downtown Santa Cruz.  I got less than a block before giving up.  I
abandoned my attempt at getting across town.  I parked and we walked
toward the Pacific Garden Mall, which was a few blocks away.  As we
approached I began to see the first real damage.  First, we reached a
point where there was no intact chimney in sight.  Then encountered large
pieces of rock that had rolled out into the road after breaking off of a
bluff. Then buckled sidewalks with water gushing out of them.  
     We passed the source of the smoke I'd seen, a house that had already
almost burned to the ground.  From afar, I had thought it must be a gas
station or such because of the volume and type of smoke it was producing. 
I later learned that a car in the garage had been responsible for much of
that effect.  The damage was interestingly distributed; on this same
street, a house had jumped off its foundation and crumpled, and another
house's entire chimney and fireplace had turned into a heap of bricks,
leaving a hole in the house and unpainted chimney-shadow up to the roof.
The next street over had nothing on this scale.
     The mall was truly a scene of devastation.  Glass from shattered
storefronts was everywhere.  Pieces of buildings lay in the streets.
Cordons had just been set up so we didn't get far down the mall, and
instead paralleled it.  We smelled the remains of a liquor store well
before we reached it.  People were digging through rubble searching for
survivors.  Every once in a while another aftershock rolled through.
     We eventually headed back to the car.  On the lot where the burning
house had stood, all that was left were the concrete front steps leading up
to nothing.
     The most stressful time I had was the few hours on the day after when
I was without film.  Another quake might have come along, and there I'd
have been high and dry!  I had no cash, the banks were closed, and the
power was out so the ATMs were down.  But, I was able to buy film at a
store where the manager let my charge go through without being able to
verify it because I'd worked with him at another store.
     I eventually got rid of the unmarked electronic parts, not wanting to
face testing them all to try to determine what they were.  The marked ones
still await sorting.
     And, look... isn't *this* exciting... the last sysline output saved
by Kermit's session logging that was written to disk before the power went

84 /b/c/spcecdt> rsh b -n -l liz quota -v&
5:02 16.0 +4.3 30u-
[1]    Done                 rsh b -n -l carioca cp /b/c/spcecdt/randst foodity/ranst

John DuBois	KC6QKZ
[ whine ] Message 13462: Mon Jan 4, 1993  12:15am
From: Zaphod, Galactic Prez (spcecdt@ucscb)
Subject: aw

     Yesterday I finished cleaning up the last and most intractable of the
messes created for me by the quake... something I put off doing for 3+ years.
Namely, the 60-drawer cabinet full of jillions of electronic parts, many
unmarked, that leapt to the floor from my workbench.  All sorted out now.  At
least, all of the ones that are marked meaningfully or easily testable.
     Anyone want about 60 TO92 devices, probably mostly transistors?  You can
even use my transistor tester to determine the type & beta.  I have enough
transistors that they're not worth keeping without knowing the Ft, Vce, etc.
which are more difficult tests to do and I'm just not going to bother.  I'm
[ general ] Message 44438: Mon Sept 12, 1994  4:23pm
From: Zaphod, Fugitive Galactic Prez (spcecdt@deepthought)
Subject: the quake of '89
wasn't an 'oh shit' experience for me.  I thought it was pretty darn cool.
I stood in the door of my room with Liz and Marlo latched onto me, they having
come from remote regions of the house while it shook; Marlo was downstairs and
came up!  Had lotsa stuff scattered about, a few things broken, but nothing
disastrous.  I looked out Dierdre's window and saw a column of smoke in the
distance, and thought "gee... it didn't seem *that* bad".  It wasn't until I
got downtown, an hour or so later, that I realized how serious the quake was.

AND to tie a couple of threads together, Cameron mailed me yesterday and 
told me that he just found the windbreaker I left at his apartment at Outlook
the night of the quake.  It has a shredded sleeve because it's the one I was
wearing when the rocket engine blew up in my face.

At Cameron's that night, we drank liqueurs by candlelight and played 'Suck and
Blow' while the aftershocks rolled through.
This web page maintained by John DuBois