Thursday, March 31, 2011

Now I've gone and done it...

...I'm no longer a Twitter virgin. But I still ask that you please be gentle with me.

It all started because I set up a phone meeting with a Penn State career counselor for next week. Up until now, Facebook was my only foray into social media, but Penn State is big on having their students on Linked In for job networking purposes. So I took the plunge and joined Linked In because I knew the counselor would ask me about it.

There I needed to include a summary bio of myself, so I wrote this: "I'm fluent in media -- radio, TV, voiceover, production, social media, blogging, event hosting. I love words and I love to make them sing. (Oh yeah, I sing too!)" But then I started thinking, "Am I being truthful by saying I'm fluent in social media if I've never joined Twitter?" Oh, I'd surfed around it before, mostly at work looking for things to blog about on the station's website, but fluent? Hardly. It was at that point that I decided to make an honest woman of myself, so I did what I never thought I'd do. I joined Twitter. And now here I am blogging about it. (See how I'm embracing this whole techie-communication thingy?)

For now I'm still in Twitter 101 mode, so don't expect too much from me right off the bat. But you'll find me there under the username @MBbluesky. I just tweeted for the first time a few minutes ago... even used a hashtag. And ooh, it felt so good.

Friday, March 11, 2011

An emotional tsunami

It's been a strange 24 hours, that's for sure. I was working on the air last night when news broke of the massive earthquake and devastating tsunami that hit northeastern Japan. As much as I love San Francisco in spite of its quake-prone reputation, when I hear about a big shaker I always get a bit paranoid. I start to think, "Man, we really need to make sure that disaster kit gets stocked." Maintaining our recommended stash of bottled water, non-perishable food and extra cat supplies is one of those tasks that we keep putting off in the hopes that we'll never need to tap into it. Of course, in the worst cases, such denial can be fatal. I'm so thankful that Japan takes its earthquake preparedness seriously, or else the sure-to-climb death toll would be of absolutely unimaginable proportions.

I got home from work at 12:20am to find Steve glued to the TV waiting to hear if the West Coast would be placed under a tsunami warning (a watch had been issued by the time I left the station). Sure enough, within minutes, we got the warning. We live in a tsunami evacuation zone, just four blocks from the Pacific. Following the horrific Indonesian tsunami in 2004, the city installed several warning sirens to give us the heads-up if we need to evacuate. No sirens sounded, but that didn't stop me from being awake and concerned for half the night.

Not long after 8am, the first waves hit near us at Ocean Beach. Fortunately, due to the topography of San Francisco Bay and the fact that it was low tide, the surge didn't amount to much more than a few feet. After keeping an anxious eye on the news for a couple of hours, it became obvious that our neighborhood had escaped the tsunami's wrath. Sadly that wasn't the case about 80 miles to our south, where the waves wrecked dozens of boats at the Santa Cruz marina to the tune of $10 million. The waves also did a number on Crescent City up near the California-Oregon border, where some dumbass ignored officials' instructions to stay away from the coast and went sightseeing... for the last time. He got caught in a wave and was swept out to sea. Sorry, but I find it hard to feel sympathy for that guy.

It always strikes me as sad that it takes witnessing a tragedy of this magnitude for us to realize how fragile life is. That no matter what burdens we may carry in our lives, they're mere annoyances compared to seeing lives and property swept away in seconds. That you never know which moment is going to be your last. It reminds me, for the umpteenth time, that we need to embrace life and live it to its fullest. We must never waste one precious moment that we are given. And we need to remind those around us how much we care. If you're reading this, I'll assume that you care. Thanks to our family and friends around the country who expressed their concern for our safety. It turned out to be a non-event for us, but we had no idea what to expect until those waves hit the shoreline.

I'm headed back in to work soon. Please God, let it be an uneventful night.