Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Building at the Arts Centre - taken 27th May 2011

Today I am doing something that I try not to do.. cramming for an exam. Specifically, the Nutritional Biochemistry exam on Friday. I've also got a Community Psych exam on Saturday, but I feel ok about that one. Nutritional Biochemistry is an exam of many, many short and medium length answers, no multi-choice and not many clues as to what will actually be in it. It's pretty much, try to memorise the study guide and take it from there.

Naturally, I'm also trying to get my head together after yesterday's serious little shake up, which the media has been all day breathlessly reminding us has been upgraded to a 6.3 on the richter scale. Yes, a free upgrade! yay?. We also had four or five quite decent shakes through the night. Of course, I had a moment today, forgot about it all and went out to 'get a few things' from the supermarket. Bad idea.  Not only was the supermarket in its usual post-quake state of packed full of panicky people trying to take the whole shop home with them, but also there was a 4.2 aftershock while I was waiting at the checkout. Several people abandoned their shopping and fled, pushing and shoving their way through the crowd. The rest of us just shrugged. I guess we are just resigned to it, or have had our panic buttons pressed so many times that they don't work anymore, or something.

Tired of reporting on quakes, the media is now trying to get the country revved up about whether Christchurch should actually be rebuilt. Comments are running hot and fast on news sites, with about 30 percent of respondents seeming to think that it's all getting a bit costly and that perhaps the earth around Christchurch is entering a centuries long phase of shimmy shimmy. The consensus seems to be either a) move the city or b) abandon it. I told Sistasana about it on Skype and she said 'do they think this is a Hollywood movie?'. You know... everyone packs their things into a bag and makes a mass exodus.  Looks good on screen for sure.  The reality is not so simple, really.  Where are you going to put 500,000 people? And just try selling a house in Christchurch right now.. any takers?  In my own mind, I am on the pro-rebuild side of things, but also feeling less attached to the old buildings that are progressively crumbling with every big shake. Unfortunately, the future is not going to look much like the past if we are to be clever about this rebuild.

This building below is the Christchurch Art Gallery, which has acted as Civil Defense HQ since September. I hated it when it was built. Critics called it 'The Tutu'. I'm currently feeling quite affectionate toward it.

It is massive, it is fronted completely in glass, it is new and, as far as I know, has has come through all quakes without so much as popping a window. This goes to show that, if the buildings are made to suit the ground, they will be fine. As for quakes continuing for decades or centuries... well, that's not what usually happens, but nor is such a consistent run of big quakes so.. you never know; you just never know. 

I think that there is going to be a polarising of citizens; those that can live with the uncertainty and those that can't. Those that can't (e.g. the ones that made a stampede in the supermarket) should certainly leave, rather than lose their mental health. I think I'm ok with it for now, although I would never say that it's ideal to always have your internal quake sensor primed to duck for cover, not that this helped at all in yesterdays biggie because I was crossing the road.  The ground moved violently, with a deafening roar and I collided with a car that was stopped at the lights. Or, we collided with each other as both the car and myself were being shunted around. There is a nice bruise forming on my right hip but I didn't really feel it at the time as I was cranked on adrenaline and erm... cracking up with laughter at the guys in a nearby truck that were whooping it up with the 'yeeeehar's and wooohoooo's'. All from the comfort of a stranger's car bonnet mind you...

On a business note, I've checked all the stock and everything looks fine. It will be business as usual tomorrow, although today we did not dispatch due to traffic congestion.  Onward.

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