There’s been a new major Earthquake (?6.3) in Christchurch. Major damage throughout town and apparently multiple deaths.  Check here for updates:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/

I turned 30 two weeks ago. I finished a week of nights that morning (the 5th year running I’ve been on nights on my birthday), went for breakfast and slept most of the day. In the evening we went to a comedy club (part of the Busker’s festival) and some friends from down here came along. It was bittersweet. I’m not sure how I feel about it all.

At the moment I’m delaying going to bed and have just made scones. I’ve been baking a lot. Mostly though I’ve just been tired. I’ve been on call twice this week, I’m working the weekend, then next Thursday then start nights again Friday. We’re covering an absent doc but it’s still a relentless roster.

In an attempt to even out the karma I sent someone I don’t really know a gift (with a certain amount of creative googling/internet stalking to dig out what I’m hoping is the correct address). They sound low and I felt like giving. It’s for my benefit just as much.

I might come back here more.

Aftershocks continue.  This morning I got trapped in the underground carpark when the 5.4 shock cut the power again.  Then our boiler sprung a leak and we were without water (thankfully only for a short while).  It’s amazing how the situation becomes rather blasé.  Especially when you’re still at work everyday.  Aftershocks stronger than 5?  Commonplace.

So just to spice things up Christchurch decided to have a massive earthquake.  As you do.  So I thought I’d briefly break my absence from the internet.  Sometime around 04.30 on Saturday morning (4th September) at the tail end of  a bad dream I woke to feel the room starting to move and then about 5 seconds later all hell broke loose with violent shaking, a roar from outside and general freakiness.  It was pretty scary and the whole thing lasted about a minute though the initial aftershocks continued for a few more.

One of things that amused me coming to NZ a few years ago was the ‘disaster planning’ adverts on TV explaining how to create a plan and stock emergency supplies.  ‘But surely NZ is one of the most passive countries in the world?’ I scoffed before also mocking the section at the back of the yellow pages offering specific advice on a range of possible natural and man-made catastrophes (‘in the event of a volcano do not move towards the lava…’).  I never really put much belief into the local tales of small quakes every now and then.

Last year however, we actually did put together an emergency swine/bird flu kit/food cache just in case the two strains did cross and suddenly the end of the world came about.  When this didn’t actually happen we just ate it all.  Foolish.  So in the early hours of Saturday morning we finally had an occasion to utilise my well thought out (and patiently listened to repeatedly by K) ‘zombie apocalypse survival plan’.  Kind of.

How are you supposed to run and get under a door frame when the ground won’t keep still?  We got petrol and food in the morning and whipped out my camping stove and had tea.  Reaching 7.1 on the Richter scale it was pretty powerful stuff (stronger than in Haiti recently) with no deaths but a huge amount of property damage and destruction.  There was a curfew yesterday overnight in the very centre (we fall just outside) and a strange quietness to the place.  Lots of people were milling around yesterday, talking to strangers and neighbours and sharing stories.  We didn’t get power until late in the evening but water had been running since lunch and got to sleep in our own bed after spending the evening with friends.

Thankfully we got off pretty lightly with just a broken coffee jug and a minor crack by the stairs.  We’re still having ongoing aftershocks (one of the recent shocks was 5.1 on the scale) though the general queasy sea-sick feeling I had yesterday seems to have gone.  Very strange sensation.  The only previous quake I’ve had was in Nepal in 2006 (5.3) where the bed felt like it was vibrating.  I missed the one in Folkestone (my home town) a few years back, being in California (of all places) at the time.

Weirdness all round and my thoughts are all over the place.  Looks like it’s going to take a while for things to settle but it could have been a lot worse.  Amusingly I got a worried and urgent phone call from my mum this morning (almost 30 hours post event) informing me there’d been an earthquake and was I ok?  Ha ha.  She needs to watch the news more.  More photos are here or you can follow breaking events here.

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On a different but equally exciting note I met the Prime Minister last Friday at Burwood Hospital.  He wasn’t supposed to come to out ward but stopped off for a chat with the tea lady and then one of my patients stalked after him with her zimmer frame so he came back for a brief hello.  Opening gambit of, ‘yes I’m far shorter and less attractive in real life…’.  Nice.  Seemed extremely approachable and friendly with no airs or graces.  It should be one of those ‘thing to do in NZ’ eye spy tick boxes – meet the PM.

Right.  I’m off to sit quietly and try not to get too excited by the ground wobbling.

That’s how many more people need to come to my blog for me to reach 6000 hits.  Yet I don’t really write any more.  Why?  I want to and frequently construct entries in my head but when it comes to the sitting and the writing and the composing, well my muse leaves me.  Stranded in the desolation of the internet and the shallow reciprocity of many online interactions.  I sometimes miss that online blanket of like minded people with similar ideals but when it comes I also miss the physicality.

……………………..aside……………………

When my brother was younger he had an imaginary friend called Chocky.  He was young at the time and not corrupted by all the movies I let him watch way too soon.  Chocky lasted for a year or two and then one day departed.  It was only years later that I found a battered copy of Chocky (by John Wyndham) in a charity shop.  It’s about a boy who has an imaginary friend who turns out to be an alien consciousness communicating with the boy’s mind.  There’s no way he would have known of this or seen the TV version.  That freaked me out quite a bit.  It’s quite an unusual name to just make up.

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The time I wound down the writing corresponded to the time I found the wonderful xkcd – this sums up my feelings about the internet and online journals pretty accurately:

So true.  And it struck home.  I mainly exist in comments these days.  Find me there.

Mogwai’s first live album will be released on Rock Action Records this spring. Released alongside the live film Burning (by Vincent Moon). The formats will be CD and DVD and limited deluxe triple vinyl box set which will also include the dvd of Burning, set lists and a poster. The artwork was designed by Aidan Moffat.

To mark the announcement of the full track listing for this release Mogwai will be giving away a free MP3 of the song 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong taken from the Special Moves live CD via the minisite: www.mogwaispecialmoves.com

The track list for the the cd/dvd version is:

– I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
– Friend Of The Night
– Hunted By A Freak
– Mogwai Fear Satan
– Cody
– You Don’t Know Jesus
– I Know You Are But What Am I
– I Love You, I’m Going To Blow Up Your School
– 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
– Like Herod
– Glasgow Megasnake

The track list for the vinyl version contains the above plus:

– Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home
– Scotlands Shame
– New Paths To Helicon Part 1
– Batcat
– Thank You Space Expert
– The Precipice

The extra songs featured on the vinyl release will be available as a free download with the CD.

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Awesome, awesome, awesome.  Alright so it’s never going to fully capture the Mogwai live experience (unless you’ve got a terrifying home music system) but it should be a lot of fun.  Not a bad set list all told (especially with the extra tracks) and the free download is well worth listening to as a taster.  As my last post detailed – my favourite song of the last 10 years.