Saturday, June 20, 2015

San Andreas, the movie

I took Belladonna (my daughter)on a date last night.  We have similar taste in movies.  She is an adrenaline junkie and likes action movies.  So do I.

Bella had already seen San Andreas with her buddies.  She took me as a Father's Day gift.

Be Prepared

I was a Boy Scout when I was young and impressionable.  "Be Prepared" stuck.  It is now part of how I am wired.

One of the things I like about "disaster"movies is that I can see other people's "vision" of how things might unfold.

Examples of what are consistent with what I believe
  • Some first responders will abandon their jobs to take care of their families.  Perhaps even most first responders.  For the rest of us, that means we better be able to fend for ourselves.
  • The pesky, younger brother is a kindred spirit...he had a map...a paper map.  The map proved critically important.
  • People will behave in inexplicable ways.  Some will rise to the occasion.  Many will not.
  • Looting will happen.
  • People will be walking.  They will be walking for miles.  They will be walking, running and climbing on on crappy surfaces.  Shoes, people.  Think about the shoes.
  • Rally points are good. The ERJ family has a deficiency of rally points.
  • It is critical to have the flexibility to switch from Plan A to Plan B without becoming catatonic.
  • There will be many people hollering advice.  Much of it will be wrong.  Have the strength of conviction to do what you know will stack the odds in your favor even if all the lemmings are running the other way.

One of the things I dislike about "disaster" movies is that the director makes changes to increase the production's drama.

  • The main character is a Fire/Rescue specialist and he absolutely SUCKS at CPR.  This is the single most egregious error.  Some people will actually think this is the proper way to perform CPR.
  • Current best practice is to stand in doorways because curtain-walls and bricks will rain down, almost straight down from the exteriors of buildings.  Next best choices are the middle of the street or inside beneath a stout table or desk.  How can a Fire/Rescue guy in California not know this?  The hero moves a bunch of people from the middle of the street and has them huddle against the exterior wall of a stadium.  (Readers,  let me know if I am out in the weeds on anything in this post.  Please!)
  • Cell phone service works too well.  In an actual "Big One", it might last 30 seconds before it is overwhelmed with traffic.  Then service will crash as towers collapse, antenna aim is compromised and then the power dies.  Your world will get very, very small when cell service dies.  It will extend as far as your eyes can see and as far as your ears can hear. 
  • Movie makers love sparks.  The movie has the grid up well into the second major shock (three hours in real-time).  The buildings looked like welding shops with all of the sparks flying.
  • The tsunami leaves San Francisco flooded to a depth of over 120 feet (10 stories) for an extended period of time.
  • The hero is able to steal or appropriate, in turn....a helicopter,  a new Ford pickup truck, a turbo-prop fixed wing (which sounds like a piston job on take-off) and then a 24 foot Boston Whaler with a 300 horsepower outboard.  This is in California where people take theft deterrence seriously.  See comments about walking.
  • The hero has a chance to take a gun after he effortlessly knocks out a "bad guy".  But rather than take it, he left it on the pavement next to the presumably knocked-out bad guy, loaded.  Later,  that gun would have been extremely handy when he needed to breach a glass curtain-wall on a high rise building. That gun was a resource that God put in his hands....and he did worse than throwing it away...he left it in the hands of somebody who demonstrated a willingness to mis-use it.
  • The Cal-Tech professor takes shelter beneath an Ikea desk.  You can see the wafer thin press-board and the itty-bitty brackets holding it together.  No way would he have jumped beneath that
  • The dumpy, koala-bear looking professor keeps ending up beneath the tables and desks with the News Reporter Babe.  Maybe it is different in California, but most beautiful babes were immune to this engineer's animal magnetism at Michigan State.

The take home?

  • Have a plan
  • Stay fit
  • Wear functional shoes or boots even when in the big city
  • Don't learn CPR from the movies 
  • And a couple of things that were left out of the movie....grab a backpack and some water.  It is going to be a long, long day.


  1. Rally points within walking distance ARE critical. And I'd like that Boston Whaler myself... :-) Gets me out of the area, and gives me transportation. Re the Tsunami, that would last maybe 5 minutes at most... Flood in, flood right back out! 400kts and 10-15 minutes between crests are not unusual.

  2. Rally points within walking distance ARE critical. And I'd like that Boston Whaler myself... :-) Gets me out of the area, and gives me transportation. Re the Tsunami, that would last maybe 5 minutes at most... Flood in, flood right back out! 400kts and 10-15 minutes between crests are not unusual.

  3. Another anomaly is that the water is trashy on surface (which is likely) but crystal clear below the surface. I would expect it to be opaque with sediment churned up off the bottom of the bay.

  4. This is the next movie on our to-see list. We chose to see Jurassic World yesterday. I'd recommend that one if you're going to the show again anytime soon! Kids and I both enjoyed it.

  5. Thought it was amazing that they could speed thru the water and not hit a darn thing that disabled the boat! But it is true that people can come back a long time after presumed drowned. Every prepper should take a CPR course as it has changed a lot and rescue breathing is not recommended; just continue to do chest compressions. As a nurse who has been at a number of cpr events compressions are totally exhausting. I thought it was a good point that the macho man star had taught his daughter a lot of survival skills that could teach kids if pointed out.

    1. My biggest beef about the CPR is that he stopped. One of the first lessons is do not stop. You can hand it off to another person. You can stop when a medical team arrives. But do not stop.

      His rescue breathing seemed entirely random and haphazard.

      And it looked like he was busting out about 150 compressions per minute. No, I did not time him, but that is my best semi-educated guess. All very dramatic but it does not allow lungs time to intake much air nor does it give time for the heart to refill. I think the loses in stroke volume outweighs the any gain from increased number of compressions.

      In the "for what it is worth" column, my sister was running in the Detroit Marathon when a runner ahead of her went into cardiac arrest. The runner had no prior history. They were actually able to save the runner. My sister, who is an R.N. was amazed because she has seen the statistics....CPR in the absence of quick use of an AED saves about 5% of the patients.

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